Federal Register Vol. 80, No.239,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 239 (December 14, 2015)

Page Range77231-77566
FR Document

80_FR_239
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 77333 - Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License: Lockmasters IncorporatedPDF
80 FR 77563 - Human Rights Day and Human Rights Week, 2015PDF
80 FR 77381 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 77343 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 77379 - Sunshine Act; Notice of Agency MeetingPDF
80 FR 77316 - Government in the Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 77343 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 77329 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 77239 - Department of the Treasury Regulations for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust FundPDF
80 FR 77319 - Request for Public Input on Sectoral Dialogues To Inform Work on Standards Cooperation Under the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial DialoguePDF
80 FR 77316 - Certain Steel Nails From the United Arab Emirates: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Final Determination and Amended Final Determination of the Less Than Fair Value InvestigationPDF
80 FR 77323 - Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 77323 - Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
80 FR 77321 - Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014PDF
80 FR 77325 - Aluminum Extrusions From the People's Republic of China: Final Results, and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013PDF
80 FR 77367 - Endangered Species; Recovery Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 77374 - Notice of Public Meeting, Pecos District Resource Advisory Council Meeting, New MexicoPDF
80 FR 77375 - Notice of Application for a Right-of-Way Across Gates of the Arctic National PreservePDF
80 FR 77329 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77318 - Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013PDF
80 FR 77380 - License Renewal for Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, Unit 1PDF
80 FR 77231 - National Organic Program (NOP); Sunset 2015 Amendments to the National ListPDF
80 FR 77315 - MeetingsPDF
80 FR 77352 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77353 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77336 - Southern California Edison Co; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 77335 - Central Antelope Dry Ranch C LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 77335 - FTS Master Tenant 1, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 77337 - Emera Maine; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective DatePDF
80 FR 77336 - East Tennessee Natural Gas, LLC; Revised Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Loudon Expansion ProjectPDF
80 FR 77334 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 77343 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10326, Legacy Bank, Scottsdale, ArizonaPDF
80 FR 77341 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment Request (3064-0046, 3064-0113, & 3064-0178)PDF
80 FR 77252 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Hoquiam River, Hoquiam, WAPDF
80 FR 77416 - Agency Information Collection Activity; WithdrawalPDF
80 FR 77275 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska Management AreaPDF
80 FR 77417 - Reasonable Charges for Medical Care or Services; V3.18, 2016 Calendar Year Update and National Average Administrative Prescription Drug Charge UpdatePDF
80 FR 77264 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna FisheriesPDF
80 FR 77405 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Request for Entry Into Children's Passport Issuance Alert ProgramPDF
80 FR 77405 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Local U.S. Citizen Skills/Resources SurveyPDF
80 FR 77365 - Recovery Policy, RP 9525.7, Labor Costs-Emergency WorkPDF
80 FR 77361 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 77365 - Final Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 77356 - Final Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 77359 - Final Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
80 FR 77351 - Proposed 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic PainPDF
80 FR 77384 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 77383 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 77355 - Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 77277 - Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Increased Assessment RatePDF
80 FR 77356 - Customs Brokers User Fee Payment for 2016PDF
80 FR 77352 - Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, (BSC, NCIPC)PDF
80 FR 77377 - Notice of Entering Into a Compact With the Kingdom of MoroccoPDF
80 FR 77317 - Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 77312 - Control Date for the Blueline Tilefish Fishery in Waters North of the Virginia/North Carolina BorderPDF
80 FR 77267 - Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Trawl Rationalization Program; Midwater Trawl RequirementsPDF
80 FR 77397 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77396 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77392 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77398 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77382 - Approval of Exemption From the Bond/Escrow Requirement Relating to the Sale of Assets by an Employer Who Contributes to a Multiemployer Plan; Harrington Air Systems, LLC and J.C. Cannistraro, LLCPDF
80 FR 77344 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
80 FR 77355 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77376 - Certain Dental Implants; Notice of Correction Concerning Notice of Request for Statements on the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 77330 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 77404 - Advance Notification Regarding Reporting by State ABLE Programs Under Section 529A of the Internal Revenue CodePDF
80 FR 77331 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 77415 - Nitto Tire U.S.A, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
80 FR 77416 - Designation of One Individual Pursuant to Executive Order 13581, “Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations”PDF
80 FR 77311 - Offers of Financial AssistancePDF
80 FR 77333 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Student Assistance General Provisions-Annual Fire Safety ReportPDF
80 FR 77379 - Arts Advisory Panel MeetingsPDF
80 FR 77349 - Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and RecommendationsPDF
80 FR 77371 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for Water Delivery and Electric Service Data for the Operation of Irrigation and Power Projects and SystemsPDF
80 FR 77407 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently-Approved Information Collection: Motor Carrier Identification ReportPDF
80 FR 77408 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes MellitusPDF
80 FR 77236 - Amendments to Rules and RegulationsPDF
80 FR 77376 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 77380 - Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
80 FR 77377 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Furnishing of SamplesPDF
80 FR 77399 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Make Permanent the Pilot Program Eliminating Minimum Value Sizes for Opening Transactions in New Series of FLEX OptionsPDF
80 FR 77374 - Notice of Continuation of Concession ContractsPDF
80 FR 77375 - Manhattan Project National Historical ParkPDF
80 FR 77392 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Provide That Any Senior Official of a Listed Company With the Rank of Corporate Secretary or Higher Can Sign the Written Request of a Listed Company Seeking To Change Its Designated Market Maker Unit Required by Section 806.01 of the ManualPDF
80 FR 77384 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Listing and Trading of Shares of Cumberland Municipal Bond ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 77402 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Certificate of Incorporation of Its Parent CompanyPDF
80 FR 77394 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Certificate of Incorporation of Its Parent CompanyPDF
80 FR 77314 - Amendment to Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America ProgramPDF
80 FR 77406 - Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearing Concerning Policy Recommendations for Deepening the U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment RelationshipPDF
80 FR 77340 - Information Collection Requirement Being Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Emergency Review and ApprovalPDF
80 FR 77354 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 77369 - Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California Liquor Control StatutePDF
80 FR 77372 - North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California Liquor Control StatutePDF
80 FR 77253 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; El Paso Particulate Matter Contingency MeasuresPDF
80 FR 77255 - Naphthalene Acetates; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
80 FR 77337 - Official Release of EMFAC2014 Motor Vehicle Emission Factor Model for Use in the State of CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 77279 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 77314 - Guarantee Fee Rates for Guaranteed Loans for Fiscal Year 2016; Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for Fiscal Year 2016; Annual Renewal Fee for Fiscal Year 2016PDF
80 FR 77234 - Establishment of Class E Airspace, Neah Bay, WAPDF
80 FR 77283 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Deer Lodge, MTPDF
80 FR 77289 - Improving Wireless Emergency Alerts and Community-Initiated AlertingPDF
80 FR 77284 - Nondiscrimination in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Assistance from the Environmental Protection AgencyPDF
80 FR 77260 - Polyamide Ester Polymers; Tolerance ExemptionPDF
80 FR 77419 - Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2017PDF
80 FR 77519 - Telemarketing Sales RulePDF

Issue

80 239 Monday, December 14, 2015 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service RULES National Organic Program: Sunset 2015 Amendments to the National List, 77231-77234 2015-31413 PROPOSED RULES Increased Assessment Rates: Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico, 77277-77279 2015-31371 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

Architectural Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board NOTICES Meetings, 77315-77316 2015-31403 Army Army Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 77330-77333 2015-31350 2015-31352 Broadcasting Broadcasting Board of Governors NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77316 2015-31498 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77329-77330 2015-31420 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77349-77351 2015-31344 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, 77351-77352 2015-31375 Meetings: Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 77352 2015-31367 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77352-77354 2015-31398 2015-31399 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77354-77355 2015-31314 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Hoquiam River, Hoquiam, WA, 77252-77253 2015-31388 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77329 2015-31479 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

See

Navy Department

Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Student Assistance General Provisions - Annual Fire Safety Report, 77333-77334 2015-31346 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Texas; El Paso Particulate Matter Contingency Measures, 77253-77255 2015-31310 Pesticide Tolerances: Naphthalene Acetates, 77255-77260 2015-31309 Pesticide Tolerances; Exemptions: Polyamide Ester Polymers, 77260-77264 2015-30924 Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2017, 77420-77518 2015-30893 PROPOSED RULES Nondiscrimination in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency, 77284-77289 2015-31050 NOTICES Motor Vehicle Emission Factor Model for Use in the State of California, 77337-77340 2015-31307 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Class E Airspace; Establishments: Neah Bay, WA, 77234-77235 2015-31274 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 77279-77283 2015-31306 Class E Airspace; Amendments: Deer Lodge, MT, 77283-77284 2015-31273 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Improving Wireless Emergency Alerts and Community-Initiated Alerting, 77289-77311 2015-31234 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77340-77341 2015-31318 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77341-77343 2015-31389 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77343 2015-31481 Terminations of Receivership: Legacy Bank, Scottsdale, AZ, 77343 2015-31390 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77343-77344 2015-31544 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations, 77361-77365 2015-31379 Flood Hazard Determinations, 77356-77361, 77365-77367 2015-31376 2015-31377 2015-31378 Recovery Policy: Labor Costs - Emergency Work, 77365 2015-31381 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Southern California Edison Co., 77336 2015-31396 Combined Filings, 77334-77335 2015-31391 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: East Tennessee Natural Gas, LLC; Loudon Expansion Project, 77336-77337 2015-31392 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Central Antelope Dry Ranch C LLC, 77335 2015-31395 FTS Master Tenant 1, LLC, 77335 2015-31394 Refund Effective Dates: Emera Maine, 77337 2015-31393 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Motor Carrier Identification Report, 77407-77408 2015-31341 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Diabetes Mellitus, 77408-77414 2015-31340 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77344-77349 2015-31356 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission RULES Telemarketing Sales Rule, 77520-77561 2015-30761 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered Species: Recovery Permit Applications, 77367-77368 2015-31424 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Meetings: Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee, 77355 2015-31372 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 77416 2015-31348 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77355-77356 2015-31355
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Water Delivery and Electric Service Data for the Operation of Irrigation and Power Projects and Systems, 77371-77372 2015-31343 Liquor Control Statutes: Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California, 77369-77371 2015-31313 North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, 77372-77374 2015-31311 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China, 77325-77329 2015-31425 Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts, 77318-77319 2015-31419 Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China, 77323-77325 2015-31427 Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China, 77321-77323 2015-31426 Determinations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Certain Steel Nails from the United Arab Emirates, 77316-77317 2015-31429 Meetings: Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee, 77323 2015-31428 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, 77317-77318 2015-31365 Request for Public Input: Sectoral Dialogues to Inform Work on Standards Cooperation under the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, 77319-77321 2015-31430 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Rack Mountable Power Distribution Units, 77376 2015-31338 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Dental Implants; Correction, 77376-77377 2015-31354 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Furnishing of Samples, 77377 2015-31334 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Pecos District Resource Advisory Council, New Mexico, 77374 2015-31423 Millenium Millennium Challenge Corporation NOTICES Compacts: Kingdom of Morocco, 77377-77379 2015-31366 National Credit National Credit Union Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77379 2015-31502 National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts NOTICES Meetings: Arts Advisory Panel, 77379-77380 2015-31345 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

National Endowment for the Arts

National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Petitions for Inconsequential Noncompliance: Nitto Tire U.S.A, Inc., 77415-77416 2015-31349 National Labor National Labor Relations Board RULES Rules and Regulations, 77236-77238 2015-31339 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 77264-77267 2015-31384 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area, 77275-77276 2015-31386 Fisheries off West Coast States: Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Trawl Rationalization Program; Midwater Trawl Requirements, 77267-77275 2015-31363 PROPOSED RULES Control Date for the Blueline Tilefish Fishery in Waters North of the Virginia/North Carolina Border, 77312-77313 2015-31364 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Applications: Right-of-Way across Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, 77375 2015-31422 Continuation of Concession Contracts, 77374-77375 2015-31332 Manhattan Project National Historical Park, 77375-77376 2015-31330 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Permit Applications: Antarctic Conservation Act, 77380 2015-31335 2015-31337 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Exclusive Patent Licenses: Lockmasters Inc., 77333 C1--2015--30491 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Facility Operating Licenses: Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, Unit 1, 77380-77381 2015-31418 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 77381-77382 2015-31567 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation NOTICES Exemption from the Bond/Escrow Requirement Relating to the Sale of Assets by an Employer Who Contributes to a Multiemployer Plan: Harrington Air Systems, LLC and J.C. Cannistraro, LLC, 77382-77383 2015-31357 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 77383-77384 2015-31373 2015-31374 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: Human Rights Day and Human Rights Week (Proc. 9380), 77563-77566 2015-31582 Rural Business Rural Business-Cooperative Service NOTICES Funding Availability: Rural Energy for America Program, 77314-77315 2015-31325 Guarantee Fee Rates for Guaranteed Loans for Fiscal Year 2016: Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for Fiscal Year 2016; Annual Renewal Fee for Fiscal Year 2016, 77314 2015-31300 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 77392-77398 2015-31358 2015-31359 2015-31360 2015-31361 2015-31362 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: C2 Options Exchange, Inc., 77394-77396 2015-31326 Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 77402-77404 2015-31327 NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 77399-77402 2015-31333 New York Stock Exchange, LLC, 77392-77394 2015-31329 NYSE Arca, Inc., 77384-77392 2015-31328 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Reporting by State ABLE Programs, 77404 2015-31351 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Local U.S. Citizen Skills/Resources Survey, 77405-77406 2015-31382 Request for Entry into Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program, 77405 2015-31383 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board PROPOSED RULES Offers of Financial Assistance, 77311-77312 2015-31347 Trade Representative Trade Representative, Office of United States NOTICES Policy Recommendations for Deepening the U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Relationship; Public Hearings, 77406-77407 2015-31324 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department See

Foreign Assets Control Office

RULES Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, 77239-77252 2015-31431
Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Customs Brokers User Fee Payment for 2016, 77356 2015-31370 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals; Withdrawal, 77416 2015-31387 Reasonable Charges for Medical Care or Services: Calendar Year Update and National Average Administrative Prescription Drug Charge Update, 77417-77418 2015-31385 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Environmental Protection Agency, 77420-77518 2015-30893 Part III Federal Trade Commission, 77520-77561 2015-30761 Part IV Presidential Documents, 77563-77566 2015-31582 Reader Aids

Consult the Reader Aids section at the end of this issue for phone numbers, online resources, finding aids, and notice of recently enacted public laws.

To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents LISTSERV electronic mailing list, go to http://listserv.access.thefederalregister.org and select Online mailing list archives, FEDREGTOC-L, Join or leave the list (or change settings); then follow the instructions.

80 239 Monday, December 14, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 205 [Document Number AMS-NOP-15-0015; NOP-15-07] RIN 0581-AD39 National Organic Program (NOP); Sunset 2015 Amendments to the National List AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule addresses recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) following their October 2014 meeting. These recommendations pertain to the 2015 Sunset Review of substances on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Consistent with the recommendations from the NOSB, this final rule removes two nonorganic agricultural substances from the National List for use in organic handling, fortified cooking wines—marsala wine and sherry wine. This final rule also removes two listings for synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production on the National List, streptomycin and tetracycline, as their use exemptions expired on October 21, 2014.

DATES:

Effective Date: This final rule is effective on December 14, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Pooler, Standards Division, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2642-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268. Telephone: (202) 720-3252; Fax: (202) 205-7808.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

The National Organic Program (NOP) is authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522). The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) administers the NOP. Final regulations implementing the NOP, also referred to as the USDA organic regulations, were published December 21, 2000 (65 FR 80548), and became effective on October 21, 2002. Through these regulations, the AMS oversees national standards for the production, handling, and labeling of organically produced agricultural products. Since becoming effective, the USDA organic regulations have been frequently amended, mostly for changes to the National List in 7 CFR 205.601-205.606.

This National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the nonsynthetic substances that may not be used in organic production. The National List also identifies synthetic, nonsynthetic nonagricultural, and nonorganic agricultural substances that may be used in organic handling. The OFPA and the USDA organic regulations, as indicated in § 205.105, specifically prohibit the use of any synthetic substance in organic production and handling unless the synthetic substance is on the National List. Section 205.105 also requires that any nonorganic agricultural substance and any nonsynthetic nonagricultural substance used in organic handling appear on the National List.

As stipulated by the OFPA, recommendations to propose amendment of the National List are developed by the NOSB, operating under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 2 et seq.), to assist in the evaluation of substances to be used or not used in organic production and handling, and to advise the Secretary on the USDA organic regulations. The OFPA also requires a sunset review of all substances included on the National List within five years of their addition to or renewal on the list. If a listed substance is not reviewed by the NOSB and renewed by the USDA within the five year period, its allowance or prohibition on the National List is no longer in effect. Under the authority of the OFPA, the Secretary can amend the National List through rulemaking based upon proposed amendments as recommended by the NOSB.

The NOSB's recommendations to continue existing exemptions and prohibitions include consideration of public comments and applicable supporting evidence that express a continued need for the use or prohibition of the substance(s) as required by the OFPA. Recommendations to either continue or discontinue an authorized exempted synthetic substance (7 U.S.C. 6517(c)(1)) are determined by the NOSB's evaluation of technical information, public comments, and supporting evidence that demonstrate that the substance is: (a) Harmful to human health or the environment; (b) no longer necessary for organic production due to the availability of alternative wholly nonsynthetic substitute products or practices; or (c) inconsistent with organic farming and handling practices.

This rule removes the expired listings of two substances, streptomycin and tetracycline, as their National List exemptions expired on October 21, 2014. After this expiration date, the use of streptomycin and tetracycline in organic production is prohibited. While USDA accredited certifying agents are enforcing the prohibition of streptomycin and tetracycline, delisting of these substances from the National List reduces the likelihood of noncompliant use by organic producers.

Following their October 2014 public meeting, the NOSB submitted their 2015 Sunset Review recommendations to the Secretary. This rule amends the National List to implement two NOSB recommendations to remove the substances, marsala wine and sherry wine, allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” in § 205.606. The National List exemptions of these substances for use in organic production and handling that were considered by the NOSB during the 2015 Sunset Review process were evaluated according to the evaluation criteria specified on the OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6517-6518).

II. Overview of Amendments

The following provides an overview of the amendments made to designated sections of the National List regulations:

§ 205.601 Synthetic Substances Allowed for Use in Organic Crop Production

This final rule amends § 205.601 of the National List regulations by removing (1) the expired substance exemption for streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014, in § 205.601(i)(11), and (2) the expired substance exemption for tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014, in § 205.601(i)(12).

Streptomycin

This rule amends § 206.601 of the National List by removing the expired exemption for streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014. In 1995, streptomycin was recommended by the NOSB for addition as a plant disease control to the National List. The NOSB recommendation was accepted by the Secretary and streptomycin was included, as a plant disease control, in the initial final rule establishing the NOP that was published on December 21, 2000 (65 FR 80548). The listing for streptomycin was amended, as recommended by the NOSB, on June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33290) to add an expiration date to the streptomycin annotation: Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014. This rule removes the listing for streptomycin that expired on October 21, 2014 from § 205.601. Since the prohibition against the use of streptomycin has been effective since October 21, 2014, removal of this exempted substance from the National List has no new regulatory effect.

Tetracycline

This rule amends § 206.601 of the National List by removing the expired exemption for tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014. Tetracycline was considered by the NOSB at their October 31-November 4, 1995, meeting. The NOSB recommendation was accepted by the Secretary and tetracycline was included, as a plant disease control, in the initial final rule establishing the NOP that was published on December 21, 2000 (65 FR 80548). Subsequently, as recommended by the NOSB, the listing for tetracycline was amended on August 2, 2012 (77 FR 45903) to add an expiration date to the tetracycline annotation: Tetracycline, for fire blight control in apples and pears only until October 21, 2014. This rule removes the exempted listing for tetracycline from § 205.601 that expired on October 21, 2014. Since the prohibition against the use of tetracycline has been effective since October 21, 2014, the removal of this exempted substance from the National List has no new regulatory effect.

Sec. 205.606 Nonorganically Produced Agricultural Products Allowed as Ingredients In or On Processed Products Labeled as “Organic”

This final rule amends § 205.606 of the National List by removing two substance exemptions listed in § 205.606(g): Fortified cooking wines, (1) marsala, (2) sherry.

This rule implements two NOSB recommendations from their 2015 Sunset review that were submitted to the Secretary on October 30, 2014. During their 2015 Sunset Review, the NOSB determined that two substance exemptions for marsala wine and sherry wine included on § 205.606 of the National List are no longer necessary for organic handling.

Marsala Wine

The USDA organic regulations have included an exemption on the National List for fortified cooking wines as an ingredient for use in organic processed products at § 205.606(g) as follows: Fortified cooking wines, (1) Marsala. In 2007, marsala wine was petitioned for addition to § 205.606 because it was considered a key flavor ingredient that was not commercially available in organic form and quantity. As required by the OFPA, the exemption for marsala wine was considered during the NOSB's 2015 sunset review. During their sunset review deliberation, the NOSB received no public comments supporting the continued need for the use of nonorganic marsala wine in organic processed products. In addition, the NOSB considered evidence that only a few operations use marsala wine as an ingredient in organic processed products. Based upon this information, the NOSB determined that the exemption for marsala wine on § 205.606 is no longer necessary or essential for organic processed products and voted for the removal of marsala wine from the National List, effective on December 14, 2015.

Sherry Wine

The USDA organic regulations have included an exemption on the National List for fortified cooking wine, sherry wine, as an ingredient for use in organic processed products at § 205.606(g) as follows: Fortified cooking wines, (2) Sherry. In 2007, sherry wine was petitioned for addition to § 205.606 because it was considered a key flavor ingredient that was not commercially available in organic form or quantity. As required by the OFPA, the exemption for sherry wine was considered during the NOSB's 2015 sunset review. During their sunset review deliberation, the NOSB received no public comments supporting the continued need for the use of nonorganic sherry wine in organic processed products. In addition, the NOSB considered evidence that only a few operations use sherry wine as an ingredient in organic processed products. Based upon this information, the NOSB determined that the exemption for sherry wine as listed on § 205.606 is no longer necessary or essential for organic processed products and voted for the removal of sherry wine from the National List, effective on December 14, 2015.

This rule amends § 205.606 by redesignating paragraphs (h) through (z) as (g) through (y), respectively.

III. Related Documents

Two notices of public meeting with request for comments were published in Federal Register on March 10, 2014 (79 FR 13272) and on September 8, 2014 (79 FR 53162) to notify the public that the 2015 sunset review listings discussed in this proposed rule would expire on December 14, 2015, if not reviewed by the NOSB and renewed by the Secretary. The listing for both streptomycin and tetracycline was added to the National List by the final rule (65 FR 80548) published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2000. Subsequently, an expiration date of October 21, 2014 was added to the streptomycin and tetracycline annotations on June 6, 2012 (77 FR 33290) and on August 2, 2012 (77 FR 45903). The proposal to address the substances in this final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2015 (80 FR 45499).

IV. Statutory and Regulatory Authority

OFPA, as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522), authorizes the Secretary to make amendments to the National List based on proposed recommendations developed by the NOSB. Sections 6518(k)(2) and 6518(n) of OFPA authorize the NOSB to develop proposed amendments to the National List for submission to the Secretary and establish a petition process by which persons may petition the NOSB for the purpose of having substances evaluated for inclusion on or deletion from the National List. The National List petition process is implemented under § 205.607 of the USDA organic regulations. The current petition process was published on January 18, 2007 (72 FR 2167) and can be accessed through the NOP Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. AMS published a revised sunset review process in the Federal Register on September 16, 2013 (78 FR 56811).

A. Executive Order 12866

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

B. Executive Order 12988

Executive Order 12988 instructs each executive agency to adhere to certain requirements in the development of new and revised regulations in order to avoid unduly burdening the court system. This final rule is not intended to have a retroactive effect.

States and local jurisdictions are preempted under OFPA from creating programs of accreditation for private persons or State officials who want to become certifying agents of organic farms or handling operations. A governing State official would have to apply to USDA to be accredited as a certifying agent, as described in section 2115(b) of OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6514(b)). States are also preempted under section 2104 through 2108 of OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6503-6507) from creating certification programs to certify organic farms or handling operations unless the State programs have been submitted to, and approved by, the Secretary as meeting the requirements of OFPA.

Pursuant to section 2108(b)(2) of OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6507(b)(2)), a State organic certification program may contain additional requirements for the production and handling of organically produced agricultural products that are produced in the State and for the certification of organic farm and handling operations located within the State under certain circumstances. Such additional requirements must: (a) Further the purposes of OFPA, (b) not be inconsistent with OFPA, (c) not be discriminatory toward agricultural commodities organically produced in other States, and (d) not be effective until approved by the Secretary.

Pursuant to section 2120(f) of OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6519(f)), this rule would not alter the authority of the Secretary under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601-624), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451-471), or the Egg Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 1031-1056), concerning meat, poultry, and egg products, nor any of the authorities of the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301-399), nor the authority of the Administrator of EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136-136(y)).

Section 2121 of OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6520) provides for the Secretary to establish an expedited administrative appeals procedure under which persons may appeal an action of the Secretary, the applicable governing State official, or a certifying agent under this title that adversely affects such person or is inconsistent with the organic certification program established under this title. OFPA also provides that the U.S. District Court for the district in which a person is located has jurisdiction to review the Secretary's decision.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires agencies to consider the economic impact of each rule on small entities and evaluate alternatives that would accomplish the objectives of the rule without unduly burdening small entities or erecting barriers that would restrict their ability to compete in the market. The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to the action. Section 605 of the RFA allows an agency to certify a rule, in lieu of preparing an analysis, if the rulemaking is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Pursuant to the requirements set forth in the RFA, AMS performed an economic impact analysis on small entities in the final rule published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2000 (65 FR 80548). AMS has also considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. The impact on entities affected by this rule would not be significant. The effect of this rule would be to prohibit the use of two nonorganic agricultural products that may be available in organic form for use in organic processed products. AMS concludes that the economic impact of removing the nonorganic agricultural products, marsala wine and sherry wine, would be minimal to small agricultural firms since organic form of these agricultural products or organic forms of alternative agricultural products may be commercially available and, as such, their nonorganic forms are proposed to be removed from the National List under this rule. Accordingly, AMS certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Small agricultural service firms, which include producers, handlers, and accredited certifying agents, have been defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,000,000 and small agricultural producers are defined as those having annual receipts of less than $750,000.

According to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), certified organic acreage exceeded 3.5 million acres in 2011.1 According to NOP's Accreditation and International Activities Division, the number of certified U.S. organic crop and livestock operations totaled over 19,470 in 2014. The list of certified operations is available on the NOP Web site at http://apps.ams.usda.gov/nop/. AMS believes that most of these entities would be considered small entities under the criteria established by the SBA. U.S. sales of organic food and non-food have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $39.1 billion in 2014, an 11.3 percent growth over 2013 sales.2 In addition, the USDA has 80 accredited certifying agents who provide certification services to producers and handlers. A complete list of names and addresses of accredited certifying agents may be found on the AMS NOP Web site, at http://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certification/certifying-agents. AMS believes that most of these accredited certifying agents would be considered small entities under the criteria established by the SBA. Certifying agents reported 27,810 certified operations worldwide in 2014.

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. October 2012. 2011 Certified Organic Productions Survey.

2 Organic Trade Association. 2014. Organic Industry Survey. www.ota.com.

D. Paperwork Reduction Act

No additional collection or recordkeeping requirements are imposed on the public by this rule. Accordingly, OMB clearance is not required by section 350(h) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501, Chapter 35, or OMB's implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1320.

E. Executive Order 13175

This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications.

F. Comments Received on Proposed Rule AMS-NOP-15-0015; NOP-15-07

AMS received two comments on proposed rule AMS-NOP-15-0015. Only one comment from a consumer addressed the 2015 Sunset review amendments to remove marsala and sherry wines from the National List. The second comment was from a California apple producer and it addressed removing the expired listings, streptomycin and tetracycline, from the National List.

The consumer who commented on removing marsala and sherry wines from the National List agreed with the proposed amendment to prohibit the use of these nonorganic ingredients in foods labeled as organic. During their sunset review of marsala and sherry, the NOSB did not receive comments supporting the continued use of these wines as nonorganic ingredients in organic products. Additionally, since no comments were received opposing the removal of marsala and sherry wines from the National List, AMS is finalizing these amendments as proposed through this final rule.

Additionally, the consumer who supported the removal of marsala and sherry wines also added that nonorganic ingredients should not be used in organic foods. AMS has considered this comment. The USDA organic regulations, in § 205.301(b), requires that a raw or processed agricultural product sold, labeled, or represented as “organic” must contain not less than 95 percent organically produced raw or processed agricultural products. Any remaining product ingredients must be organically produced, unless not commercially available in organic form, or must be nonagricultural substances as listed in § 205.605, or nonorganic agricultural products as listed in § 205.606 on the National List. In essence, the USDA organic regulations requires organic producers or organic handlers to maximize organic ingredients before using nonorganic nonagricultural or nonorganic agricultural that are included on the National List.

Changes Requested But Not Made

The commenter on the proposed removal of expired listings for streptomycin and tetracycline did not agree with this action and did not agree with the prohibition against the use of these antibiotics to control fire blight infestation in apple production. This commenter stated that the prohibition of streptomycin and tetracycline for use in apple production has had a significant impact on organic apple growers in California's central valley. According to this commenter, the alternatives to the use of streptomycin and tetracycline researched in the Pacific Northwest are ineffective in controlling fire blight in California's central valley. The commenter claims the amendment to prohibit the use of these antibiotics to control fire blight created a significant economic advantage for apple growers in the Pacific Northwest. The removal of the expired listings for streptomycin and tetracycline in the proposed rule is essentially a notice of a technical correction since the prohibition on the use of these two substances in organic crop production is already in effect.

The final rule that established the effective date of streptomycin's expiration date as listed in § 205.601(i)(11) was published in the Federal Register (77 FR 33290) on June 6, 2012. This final rule addressed comments received on the proposed rule to list streptomycin with an expiration date, including comments in support of or in opposition to the expiration date. AMS also addressed comments on commercially viable alternatives, including the efficacy of these alternatives, and addressed additional factors considered by the NOSB during their determination. Since the prohibition against the use of streptomycin has been in effect since October 22, 2014, AMS is finalizing this correction as noted in the proposed rule. Organic producers who have determined that there are no commercially available alternatives to streptomycin in controlling fire blight in apples or pear production for their region can submit a petition (http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/national-list/filing-petition) to add streptomycin back onto the National List.

The final rule that established the effective date of tetracycline's expiration date as listed in § 205.601(i)(12) was published in the Federal Register (77 FR 45903) on August 2, 2012. This final rule addressed comments received on the proposed rule to list tetracycline with an expiration date, including comments in support of or in opposition to the expiration date. AMS also addressed comments on commercially viable alternatives, including the efficacy of these alternatives, and addressed additional factors considered by the NOSB during their determination. Since the prohibition against the use of tetracycline has been in effect since October 22, 20014, AMS is finalizing this correction as noted in the proposed rule. Organic producers who have determined that there are no commercially available alternatives to tetracycline in controlling fire blight in apples or pear production for their region can submit a petition (http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/national-list/filing-petition) to add tetracycline back onto the National List.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 205

Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Imports, Labeling, Livestock, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Soil conservation.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 205 is amended as follows:

PART 205—NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 205 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 6501-6522.

§ 205.601 [Amended]
2. Section 205.601 is amended by removing paragraphs (i)(11) and (12).
§ 205.606 [Amended]
3. Section 205.606 is amended by removing paragraph (g) and redesignating paragraphs (h) through (z) as (g) through (y). Dated: December 8, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-31413 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3321; Airspace Docket No. 15-ANM-17] Establishment of Class E Airspace, Neah Bay, WA AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action establishes Class E airspace at U. S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, Neah Bay, WA, to accommodate a new Standard Instrument Approach Procedure developed at the heliport. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the heliport.

DATES:

Effective 0901 UTC, February 4, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

ADDRESSES:

FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and ATC Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it establishes controlled airspace at Neah Bay, WA.

History

On September 29, 2015, the FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, Neah Bay, WA (80 FR 58364). Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal to the FAA. No comments were received.

Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005, of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

The Rule

This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 establishes Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, Neah Bay, WA. Establishment of a GPS approach has made this action necessary for the safety and management of IFR operations at the heliport. Class E airspace is established within a 1-mile radius of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, with a segment extending from the 1-mile radius to 2.5 miles northeast of the heliport.

Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. 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. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Environmental Review

The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 311a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

Adoption of the Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for Part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

§ 71.1 [Amended]
2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ANM WA E5 U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, Neah Bay, WA [New] U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, WA (Lat. 48°22′14″ N., long. 124°35′53″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 1-mile radius of U.S. Coast Guard Station Neah Bay Heliport, and within 1 mile each side of the 055° bearing from the heliport extending from the 1-mile radius to 2.5 miles northeast of the heliport.

Issued in Seattle, Washington, on December 7, 2015. Tracey Johnson, Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
[FR Doc. 2015-31274 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD 29 CFR Part 102 Amendments to Rules and Regulations AGENCY:

National Labor Relations Board.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is issuing a final rule amending its Rules and Regulations to reflect the closure of the Atlanta, Georgia office of the Division of Judges.

DATES:

The effective date is January 4, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gary Shinners, Executive Secretary, 1015 Half Street SE., Washington, DC 20570. Telephone: (202) 273-1067.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The NLRB's Division of Judges (DOJ) currently has 34 administrative law judges, including the chief judge, deputy chief judge, and three associate chief judges, who hear, decide, and settle unfair labor practice cases nationwide. The judges are formally assigned to one of four offices in Washington, DC, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, and Atlanta, GA, and receive their case assignments through those offices.

The NLRB has decided to close the Atlanta DOJ office and reassign the administrative law judges and clerical staff to other offices. It is doing so for several reasons. First, the office's longtime head, Associate Chief Judge William N. Cates, will be retiring at the end of the year. Second, of the four DOJ offices, the Atlanta office has the smallest number of nonsupervisory judges (four) and clerical employees (two). Third, although assigned to the Atlanta DOJ office, the four judges do not physically work out of that office. Like most NLRB administrative law judges, they telework and travel to the designated hearing sites from their states of residence (Virgina, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida). Fourth, closing the Atlanta DOJ office will save the NLRB the cost of renting that facility.

The four Atlanta DOJ administrative law judges will be reassigned to the Washington, DC DOJ office. They will continue to telework and perform their duties as before, but will receive their case assignments from the Chief Judge or Deputy Chief Judge, and be assisted by the clerical staff, in that office. One of the two administrative professional employees in the Atlanta DOJ office will be reassigned to assist the NLRB's nearby Regional Office in Atlanta. The other administrative professional employee will be relocated to the NLRB Atlanta Regional Office and will continue to provide assistance to the Division of Judges.

Accordingly, consistent with the foregoing, the NLRB is revising §§ 102.24, 102.25, 102.30(c), 102.34, 102.35(b), 102.36, 102.42, and 102.149 of its rules and regulations, and appendix A thereto, to delete the references to the Atlanta DOJ office and to reflect the current structure of the Agency's field organization. Appendix A to part 102 of the Board's Rules and Regulations, which includes a complete listing of the official office hours of the NLRB Headquarters, the Division of Judges, and the Regional and Subregional Offices, was last published in full at 57 FR 4158 (February 4, 1992). Since that time, the Board has published numerous individual amendments to its Statement of Organization and Functions, including 65 FR 53228, 65 FR 64723, 69 FR 31143, 69 FR 74541, 77 FR 72886, 78 FR 44602, 79 FR 69136, and 79 FR 72707. Accordingly, the Board is now publishing Appendix A to Part 102—NLRB Official Office Hours in its entirety because of the number of changes made to the field offices and the age of the last publication.

This action is not subject to the advance notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), or the requirements of Executive Order 12866, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), or the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801). As indicated above, the action relates solely to agency organization, management, or personnel matters. It will have no adverse impact on the ability of the NLRB Judges Division to cover the trial docket in the southern region of the country or elsewhere. Nor will it impose any additional paperwork, reporting, or other costs, burdens, or responsibilities on parties, practitioners, or others who participate in hearings before the NLRB's administrative law judges.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 102

Administrative practice and procedure, Labor management relations.

For the reasons set forth above, the NLRB amends part 102 as follows:

PART 102—RULES AND REGULATIONS, SERIES 8 1. The authority citation for part 102 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Sections 1, 6, National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 151, 156). Section 102.117 also issued under section 552(a)(4)(A) of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)), and Section 102.117a also issued under section 552a(j) and (k) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a(j) and (k)). Sections 102.143 through 102.155 also issued under section 504(c)(1) of the Equal Access to Justice Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 504(c)(1)).

2. Amend § 102.24 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 102.24 Motions; where to file; contents; service on other parties; promptness in filing and response; default judgment procedures; summary judgment procedures.

(a) All motions under §§ 102.22 and 102.29 made prior to the hearing shall be filed in writing with the Regional Director issuing the complaint. All motions for default judgment, summary judgment, or dismissal made prior to the hearing shall be filed in writing with the Board pursuant to the provisions of § 102.50. All other motions made prior to the hearing, including motions to reschedule the hearing under circumstances other than those set forth in § 102.16(a), shall be filed in writing with the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, with the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or with the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be. All motions made at the hearing shall be made in writing to the administrative law judge or stated orally on the record. All motions filed subsequent to the hearing, but before the transfer of the case to the Board pursuant to § 102.45, shall be filed with the administrative law judge, care of the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, the associate chief judge in San Francisco, or the associate chief judge in New York, as the case may be. Motions shall briefly state the order or relief applied for and the grounds therefor. All motions filed with a Regional Director or an administrative law judge as set forth in this paragraph shall be filed therewith by transmitting three copies thereof together with an affidavit of service on the parties. All motions filed with the Board, including motions for default judgment, summary judgment, or dismissal, shall be filed with the Executive Secretary of the Board in Washington, DC, by transmitting eight copies thereof together with an affidavit of service on the parties. Unless otherwise provided in this part, motions and responses thereto shall be filed promptly and within such time as not to delay the proceeding.

3. Revise § 102.25 to read as follows:
§ 102.25 Ruling on motions.

An administrative law judge designated by the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, by the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or by the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be, shall rule on all prehearing motions (except as provided in §§ 102.16, 102.22, 102.29, and 102.50), and all such rulings and orders shall be issued in writing and a copy served on each of the parties. The administrative law judge designated to conduct the hearing shall rule on all motions after opening of the hearing (except as provided in § 102.47), and any orders in connection therewith, if announced at the hearing, shall be stated orally on the record; in all other cases the administrative law judge shall issue such rulings and orders in writing and shall cause a copy of the same to be served on each of the parties, or shall make his ruling in his decision. Whenever the administrative law judge has reserved his ruling on any motion, and the proceeding is thereafter transferred to and continued before the Board pursuant to § 102.50, the Board shall rule on such motion. (49 Stat. 449; 29 U.S.C. 151-166, as amended by (61 Stat. 136; 29 U.S.C. Sup. 151-167), (65 Stat. 601; 29 U.S.C. 158, 159, 168), (73 Stat. 519; 29 U.S.C. 141-168), (88 Stat. 395-397; 29 U.S.C. 152, 158, 169, 183))

4. Amend § 102.30 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
§ 102.30 Examination of witnesses; deposition.

(c) At the time and place specified in said order the officer designated to take such deposition shall permit the witness to be examined and cross-examined under oath by all the parties appearing, and his testimony shall be reduced to type-writing by the officer or under his direction. All objections to questions or evidence shall be deemed waived unless made at the examination. The officer shall not have power to rule upon any objections but he shall note them upon the deposition. The testimony shall be subscribed by the witness in the presence of the officer who shall attach his certificate stating that the witness was duly sworn by him, that the deposition is a true record of the testimony and exhibits given by the witness, and that said officer is not of counsel or attorney to any of the parties nor interested in the event of the proceeding or investigation. If the deposition is not signed by the witness because he is ill, dead, cannot be found, or refuses to sign it, such fact shall be included in the certificate of the officer and the deposition may then be used as fully as though signed. The officer shall immediately deliver an original and two copies of said transcript, together with his certificate, in person or by registered or certified mail to the Regional Director or the administrative law judge, care of the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be.

5. Revise § 102.34 to read as follows:
§ 102.34 Who shall conduct; to be public unless otherwise ordered.

The hearing for the purpose of taking evidence upon a complaint shall be conducted by an administrative law judge designated by the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, by the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or by the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be, unless the Board or any Member thereof presides. At any time an administrative law judge may be designated to take the place of the administrative law judge previously designated to conduct the hearing. Such hearings shall be public unless otherwise ordered by the Board or the administrative law judge. (49 Stat. 449; 29 U.S.C. 151-166, as amended by (61 Stat. 136; 29 U.S.C. Sup. 151-167), (65 Stat. 601; 29 U.S.C. 158, 159, 168), (73 Stat. 519; 29 U.S.C. 141-168), (88 Stat. 395-397; 29 U.S.C. 152, 158, 169, 183))

6. Amend § 102.35 by revising paragraph (b) introductory text to read as follows:
§ 102.35 Duties and powers of administrative law judges; stipulations of cases to administrative law judges or to the Board; assignment and powers of settlement judges.

(b) Upon the request of any party or the judge assigned to hear a case, or on his or her own motion, the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or the associate chief judge in New York, New York may assign a judge who shall be other than the trial judge to conduct settlement negotiations. In exercising his or her discretion, the chief judge or associate chief judge making the assignment will consider, among other factors, whether there is reason to believe that resolution of the dispute is likely, the request for assignment of a settlement judge is made in good faith, and the assignment is otherwise feasible. Provided, however, that no such assignment shall be made absent the agreement of all parties to the use of this procedure.

7. Revise § 102.36 to read as follows:
§ 102.36 Unavailability of administrative law judges.

In the event the administrative law judge designated to conduct the hearing becomes unavailable to the Board after the hearing has been opened, the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be, may designate another administrative law judge for the purpose of further hearing or other appropriate action. (49 Stat. 449; 29 U.S.C. 151-166, as amended by (61 Stat. 136; 29 U.S.C. Sup. 151-167), (65 Stat. 601; 29 U.S.C. 158, 159, 168), (73 Stat. 519; 29 U.S.C. 141-168), (88 Stat. 395-397; 29 U.S.C. 152, 158, 169, 183))

8. Revise § 102.42 to read as follows:
§ 102.42 Filings of briefs and proposed findings with the administrative law judge and oral argument at the hearing.

Any party shall be entitled, upon request, to a reasonable period at the close of the hearing for oral argument, which may include presentation of proposed findings and conclusions, and shall be included in the stenographic report of the hearing. In the discretion of the administrative law judge, any party may, upon request made before the close of the hearing, file a brief or proposed findings and conclusions, or both, with the administrative law judge, who may fix a reasonable time for such filing, but not in excess of 35 days from the close of the hearing. Requests for further extensions of time shall be made to the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, to the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or to the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be. Notice of the request for any extension shall be immediately served on all other parties, and proof of service shall be furnished. Three copies of the brief or proposed findings and conclusions shall be filed with the administrative law judge, and copies shall be served on the other parties, and a statement of such service shall be furnished. In any case in which the administrative law judge believes that written briefs or proposed findings of fact and conclusions may not be necessary, he or she shall notify the parties at the opening of the hearing or as soon thereafter as practicable that he or she may wish to hear oral argument in lieu of briefs.

9. Amend § 102.149 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
§ 102.149 Filing of documents; service of documents; motions for extension of time.

(b) Motions for extensions of time to file motions, documents, or pleadings permitted by § 102.150 or by § 102.152 shall be filed with the chief administrative law judge in Washington, DC, the associate chief judge in San Francisco, California, or the associate chief judge in New York, New York, as the case may be, not later than 3 days before the due date of the document. Notice of the request shall be immediately served on all other parties and proof of service furnished.

10. Revise appendix A to part 102 to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 102—NLRB Official Office Hours

(Official Office Hours of the Regional and Subregional Offices are listed in numerical order except that Subregions appear directly under their respective Regions. Official office hours of the field offices also can be found on the NLRB Web site at https://www.nlrb.gov/who-we-are/regional-offices.)

NLRB Headquarters, Business Hours (Local Time): Washington, DC 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Division of Judges, Business Hours (Local Time): Washington, DC 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. San Francisco 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. New York 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Regional Office Business Hours (Local Time): 1—Boston 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Hartford 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 2—New York 8:45 a.m.-5:15 p.m. 3—Buffalo 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Albany 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 4—Philadelphia 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 5—Baltimore 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Washington, DC 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 6—Pittsburgh 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 7—Detroit 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m Grand Rapids 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 8—Cleveland 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 9—Cincinnati 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 10—Atlanta 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Winston-Salem 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Birmingham 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nashville 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 12—Tampa 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Miami 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 13—Chicago 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 14—St. Louis 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Kansas City 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Tulsa 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 15—New Orleans 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Memphis 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Little Rock 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 16—Fort Worth 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Houston 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. San Antonio 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 18—Minneapolis 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Milwaukee 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 19—Seattle 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Portland 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Anchorage 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. 20—San Francisco 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Honolulu 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 21—Los Angeles 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. San Diego 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 22—Newark 8:45 a.m.-5:15 p.m. 25—Indianapolis 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Peoria 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 27—Denver 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 28—Phoenix 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Albuquerque 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Las Vegas 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 29—Brooklyn 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 31—Los Angeles 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 32—Oakland 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dated: December 2, 2015.

By direction of the Board.

William B. Cowen, Solicitor, National Labor Relations Board.
[FR Doc. 2015-31339 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7545-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 31 CFR Part 34 RIN 1505-AC44 Department of the Treasury Regulations for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund AGENCY:

Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Treasury.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of the Treasury is issuing final regulations concerning the investment and use of amounts deposited in the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established in the Treasury of the United States by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).

DATES:

Effective date: February 12, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Please send questions by electronic mail to [email protected], or contact Janet Vail at the Office of Gulf Coast Restoration at 202-622-6873.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

The RESTORE Act makes funds available for the restoration and protection of the Gulf Coast Region, and certain programs with respect to the Gulf of Mexico, through a trust fund in the Treasury of the United States, known as the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. The trust fund will contain 80 percent of the administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012 under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Amounts in the trust fund will be invested and made available through five components of the RESTORE Act.

The Direct Component, administered by Treasury, sets aside 35 percent of the penalties paid into the trust fund for eligible activities proposed by the State of Alabama, the State of Mississippi, the State of Texas, the State of Louisiana and 20 Louisiana parishes, and 23 Florida counties. The Comprehensive Plan Component sets aside 30 percent of the penalties, plus half of all interest earned on trust fund investments, to be managed by a new independent Federal entity called the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The Council includes members from six Federal agencies or departments and the five Gulf Coast States. One of the Federal members, the Secretary of Commerce, at this time serves as Chairperson of the Council. The Council will direct those funds to projects and programs for the restoration of the Gulf Coast Region, pursuant to a comprehensive plan that is being developed by the Council. Under the Spill Impact Component, entities representing the Gulf Coast States use an additional 30 percent of penalties in the trust fund for eligible activities pursuant to State Expenditure Plans approved by the Council. The remaining five percent of penalties, plus one-half of all interest earned on trust fund investments, will be divided equally between the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an operating unit of the Department of Commerce, and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program, administered by Treasury.

On August 15, 2014, Treasury published a comprehensive interim final rule containing procedures for implementing the RESTORE Act. Among its provisions, the procedures allocated amounts to the five components, described the activities that could be funded and the entities entitled to apply for funds, and set forth compliance requirements. Treasury accepted public comment on the comprehensive interim final rule for thirty days. Treasury published a second interim final rule on October 10, 2014, which allocated amounts to Louisiana parishes under one RESTORE Act component, called the Direct Component. Both interim final rules took effect on October 14, 2014.

II. Public Comments and Summary of Changes From the Interim Final Rules

Treasury received 21 unique comment letters on the comprehensive interim final rule, and no comments on the interim final rule that allocated funds to the Louisiana parishes. Several commenters repeated suggestions made on the proposed rule issued in September 2013, and opined on matters discussed in the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, such as the application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to RESTORE Act grant programs.

One commenter, a state, acknowledged the benefits of providing funds through grants, but encouraged Treasury to consider using a revenue sharing arrangement. The commenter raised a concern that grant processes are an inefficient means of disbursing funds to meet the goals of the RESTORE Act. Treasury addressed this comment when it published the comprehensive interim final rule. The RESTORE Act imposes conditions on how states use funds provided under the Act, requires Federal oversight, and authorizes Treasury to stop the flow of funds when there is noncompliance. These controls are characteristic of Federal grant programs. The controls required by Treasury's regulations and Federal laws and policies on grants hold recipients accountable to use the funds as required by the RESTORE Act. The public comments Treasury received on the proposed rule and comprehensive interim final rule overwhelmingly support the distribution of RESTORE Act funds through Federal grants. Accordingly, no change has been made in the final rule to address this comment.

Several commenters, particularly public interest groups, requested that Treasury exercise more authority over the selection of projects funded under the RESTORE Act. Some commenters asked Treasury to establish substantive criteria for evaluating project proposals, such as performance goals and preferences for certain kinds of activities. Other commenters proposed that Treasury adopt procedures, such as independent expert reviews, for evaluating synergies and potential conflicts between projects proposed under different components, or to address project proposals that may be controversial.

Treasury considered similar comments during its review of comments on the proposed rule. The Act does not impose uniform criteria for the selection of projects under the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component, or require the coordination of projects across components. Each component has different eligibility criteria, different processes for selecting activities, and different entities responsible for selecting the activities to be funded. The final rule acknowledges these differences, while still requiring compliance with the Act and Federal laws and policies applying to grants. Under these policies, Federal awards will include an indication of the timing and scope of performance, and may include specific performance goals, indicators, milestones, and expected outcomes. The appropriate vehicle for addressing these project specific requirements is the Federal award agreement.

Beyond what the Act stipulates, Treasury cannot require the Council, NOAA, states, counties, or parishes to coordinate their selection of projects across components in order to achieve particular economic or environmental goals. Treasury encourages voluntary efforts to coordinate work, and intends to facilitate these efforts by publishing Direct Component Multiyear Implementation Plans and other information related to the grant programs it administers.

Several public interest groups also asked Treasury to reconsider its views regarding the application of NEPA to Treasury's activities under the Direct Component and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. In the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, we stated that “Treasury does not anticipate that its review of Multiyear Implementation Plans or the issuance of individual grants will require a NEPA review. Other Federal actions connected with activities funded through a RESTORE Act grant, such as issuance of a permit, may require NEPA review by the agency issuing the permit.” 79 FR 48039, 48051 (Aug. 15, 2014).

Treasury's view is based on its limited statutory role for the administration of Direct Component grants and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. The Act gives Treasury no role in project selection or design for the Direct Component. The Act specifies the activities or disciplines that are eligible for funding, and does not explicitly authorize Treasury to reject an activity or discipline, or to require funding of an alternative design, when the activity otherwise complies with the Act and other Federal law. Also, Treasury neither approves nor disapproves Multiyear Implementation Plans. Accordingly, Treasury will review Multiyear Implementation Plans and grant applications to determine whether they satisfy financial and administrative requirements in the Act and these regulations, and apply requirements in the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (OMB's Uniform Guidance), 2 CFR part 200, in its review of grant applications.

Because Treasury has a limited role in reviewing Multiyear Implementation Plans and issuing grants, Treasury does not anticipate that its actions will require an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA. NEPA is designed to help federal agencies consider environmental consequences in their decision-making process. When an agency action is non-discretionary under a statute, the information that a NEPA review provides would not assist the agency's decision-makers. Several commenters urged Treasury to reconsider the application of NEPA to its RESTORE Act grant programs, but no commenter offered an analysis of the RESTORE Act or its legislative history showing where Treasury has the discretion to consider environmental consequences and project alternatives when making grants.

Treasury's limited role does not mean that NEPA will never apply to activities undertaken with funds provided through the Direct Component and Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. As Treasury stated in the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, other Federal actions, such as the issuance of permits, may trigger NEPA review by the Federal regulatory agency. In addition, it is Treasury policy under Treasury Directive 75-02 to fully evaluate its actions to ensure compliance with NEPA requirements and regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality, where applicable. As necessary, Treasury will consider NEPA environmental documentation in the context of individual grant applications, if it is determined that Treasury has sufficient discretion to consider environmental consequences and project alternatives.

The final rule contains several technical edits, some of which were suggested by commenters. Substantive comments and changes to the comprehensive interim final rule are described below.

Section-by-Section Analysis Section 34.2 (Definitions)

Treasury received several comments requesting a more clear definition of administrative costs. The final rule continues to define administrative costs as indirect costs for administration incurred by the Gulf Coast States, coastal political subdivisions, and coastal zone parishes that are allocable to activities authorized under the Act. Administrative costs do not include indirect costs that are identified specifically with, or readily assignable to, facilities. The final rule references the definition of facilities in OMB's Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR 200.414(a). To avoid confusion, Treasury has removed the list of activities that may result in administrative costs from the final rule.

The definition of administrative costs in the comprehensive interim final rule also included a statement that certain costs are direct costs. This statement was imprecise and Treasury has deleted it from the final rule. Grant applicants should look to OMB's Uniform Guidance for general information about direct and indirect costs. Questions about whether particular costs are direct or indirect costs should be addressed to the relevant Federal awarding agency.

One commenter asked Treasury to clarify the definition of Gulf Coast Region. The commenter contends that the geographic scope of watersheds in paragraph three of the definition is ambiguous. Treasury's comprehensive interim final rule defines the Gulf Coast Region to comprise four geographic areas:

(1) In the Gulf Coast States, the coastal zones defined under section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 that border the Gulf of Mexico;

(2) Land within the coastal zones described in paragraph (1) that is held in trust by, or the use of which is by law subject solely to the discretion of, the Federal Government or officers or agents of the Federal Government;

(3) Any adjacent land, water, and watersheds, that are within 25 miles of the coastal zone described in paragraphs (1) and (2); and

(4) All Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under paragraph 3, the Gulf Coast Region includes those parts of adjacent watersheds that extend up to, but no further than, 25 miles from the coastal zones. An activity is carried out in the Gulf Coast Region when, in the reasonable judgment of the entity applying for a grant, each severable part of the activity is primarily designed to restore or protect that geographic area. See 31 CFR 34.201-203.

Section 34.104 (Expenditures)

In the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, Treasury stated that it was deleting a sentence requiring grant recipients to minimize the time between receipt of funds and disbursement, because this requirement is addressed more completely in OMB's Uniform Guidance. A commenter noted that the sentence was not deleted from the rule. Treasury has corrected this inadvertent error in the final rule. Grant recipients with questions about the application of OMB's Uniform Guidance should direct them to the relevant Federal awarding agency.

Section 34.200 (General)

This section provides that a Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, and coastal zone parish may use amounts available under the Direct Component and Spill Impact Component to satisfy the non-Federal cost-share of an activity that is eligible under §§ 34.201 and 34.203 and authorized by Federal law. Commenters questioned why a similar opportunity is not available for funds made available under the Comprehensive Plan Component and the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. The Act does not allow Comprehensive Plan Component funds or Centers of Excellence Research Grant funds to be used for satisfying the non-Federal cost-share. Those allocations are subject to the general rule in OMB's Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR 200.306, which states that a non-Federal cost share cannot be met with funds paid by the Federal government under a Federal award.

Another commenter noted a provision in the Act stating that the use of trust fund amounts to satisfy the non-Federal share of an eligible activity “shall not affect the priority in which other Federal funds are allocated or awarded.” 33 U.S.C. 1331(t)(1)(N)(ii). The commenter requested that Treasury include this provision in its regulations. Treasury currently sees no need to elaborate on this statutory provision, which does not need a regulation to be effective. If a grant recipient believes that a Federal agency has allocated or awarded funds in violation of this provision, it should raise that concern with the agency providing assistance.

Section 34.201 (Eligible Activities for the Direct Component)

Treasury received several comments about whether particular activities are reimbursable under the Direct Component, such as costs for grant management staff and certain pre-award and planning activity costs. Grant applicants will find detailed information about allowable costs in OMB's Uniform Guidance. In addition, grant applicants can consult information posted on Treasury's RESTORE Act Web page, or contact Treasury's Office of Gulf Coast Restoration for information about particular costs at [email protected] Other than a clarifying change to the description of planning assistance, there are no changes to this section.

Section 34.203 (Eligible Activities for the Spill Impact Component)

One commenter asserted that activities funded under the Spill Impact Component should focus primarily on ecosystem restoration. Treasury's rule closely tracks the statute. The Act clearly provides that funds are available under the Spill Impact Component “for projects, programs, and activities that will improve the ecosystems or economy of the Gulf Coast region,” subject to certain criteria that are included in Treasury's rule. Because Treasury's rule is consistent with the Act, no change is necessary.

Section 34.204 (Limitations on Administrative Costs and Administrative Expenses)

One commenter, a member of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, requested clarification on how state members of the Council can access amounts set aside for the Council's administrative expenses. Treasury's rule does not address this issue. The Council determines how it allocates funds for administrative expenses. Questions about how the Council allocates its funds should be directed to the Council.

In a separate notice of proposed rulemaking, Treasury plans to propose an amendment to this section to change when the 3% limitation is applied to the Council. Under the Act, the Council cannot spend more than three percent of amounts it receives from the Trust Fund on administrative expenses. The current regulation states that the three percent limit is applied to the total amount of funds received by the Council under the Comprehensive Plan Component, beginning with the first fiscal year the Council receives funds through the end of the fourth, or most recent fiscal year, whichever is later. This approach limits the amounts available for administrative expenses to a percentage of amounts drawn down from the Trust Fund in a particular year, which may vary considerably. Because the Council requires more regular and predictable funding for its administrative expenses, Treasury will propose to cap the Council's administrative expenses at three percent of amounts the Council receives under the Comprehensive Plan Component before termination of the Trust Fund. The notice of proposed rulemaking will include a forty-five day comment period. The current rule will remain in effect pending review of the public comments.

Section 34.302 (Allocation of Funds—Direct Component)

Treasury amended this section to add the allocations for Louisiana parishes that Treasury published as an interim final rule at 79 FR 61236 (Oct. 10, 2014). The allocations did not change.

Section 34.303 (Application Procedure—Direct Component)

A commenter requested clarification about Treasury's application and disbursement process. Treasury published detailed guidance and application processes and posted materials on Treasury's RESTORE Act Web page, available at http://www.treasury.gov/services/restore-act/Pages/default.aspx. Treasury also provided on-site training to the Gulf Coast States, eligible Florida counties, and eligible Louisiana parishes. Applicants with questions about these matters should contact Treasury's Office of Gulf Coast Restoration at [email protected]

One commenter, a state, requested clarification about the public review and comment process required in 31 CFR 34.303(b)(8). The commenter stated that it can provide adequate opportunities for public review and comment, but cannot guarantee that the public will fully participate in this process. Treasury's rule does not require a state to ensure full participation in the public comment process. The rule is clear that a state must make its Multiyear Implementation Plan available for public review and comment “in a manner calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations. . . .” Treasury cannot describe in detail the steps that will satisfy this requirement in every case, as the steps may vary for each state, county, or parish. For example, if a large segment of the affected population does not have Internet access, or does not speak English, a state may need to employ other methods to notify the affected population of its plans and the opportunity to provide comment, such as providing reasonable access to public meetings and presentations in language other than English.

One commenter requested guidance about whether modifications to a Multiyear Implementation Plan require a public review and comment period for Multiyear Implementation Plans. In response to this comment, the final rule now requires the same public review and comment period for material changes as for an accepted Multiyear Implementation Plan. Material modifications can only be adopted after consideration of meaningful public comment. Applicants with questions about which modifications are material should contact Treasury's Office of Gulf Coast Restoration.

Section 34.305 (Use of Funds—Direct Component)

One commenter requested that Treasury add a sentence to § 34.305, as well as other parts of the rule, requiring a written justification for all sole source procurements and preferences given to individuals and companies. The commenter also asked that Treasury incorporate preferences for small and minority owned businesses. OMB's Uniform Guidance has an extensive discussion on the procurement requirements applying to Federal grants, including requirements for competition and language requiring affirmative steps to benefit small and minority owned businesses. 2 CFR 200.319-200.321. The procurement requirements in OMB's Uniform Guidance apply to RESTORE Act grants. Therefore, the final rule has not been amended to address this comment.

Some commenters discussed the need for activities that improve the resiliency of communities, such as funds for workforce development and job creation. While the Act does not require states, counties, or parishes to fund these activities, workforce development and job creation are eligible activities for funding under the Direct Component and the Spill Impact Component. The Act's legislative history explains that workforce development “is intended to include non-profit, university, and community college-based workforce, career and technical training programs. This would also include the identification of projects, research, programs and partnerships with federal, state and local workforce agencies, industry and local stakeholders from economically and socially disadvantaged communities.” S. Rep. No. 112-100, at 8 (2011). This list of activities, while not exclusive, describes the kinds of activities that are eligible for funding. Commenters with suggestions for specific projects should contact the states, counties, and parishes that are developing Multiyear Implementation Plans and Spill Impact State Expenditure Plans.

During implementation of the comprehensive interim final rule, Treasury received questions about the availability of funds for county and local parks. One eligible activity under the Direct Component and Spill Impact Component is “Improvements to or on State parks located in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.” 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(1)(B)(i)(V). Treasury does not interpret this provision to apply to county and local parks. However, improvements to county and local parks, such as activities that restore and protect natural resources under 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(1)(B)(i)(I), may fall under other eligible activities.

Section 34.404 (Comprehensive Plan Component)

Treasury has made a clarifying change to this section to indicate that assignees must submit reports as prescribed by the Council or Treasury, and the Council must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.

Section 34.405 (Recordkeeping—Comprehensive Plan Component)

Treasury has made a clarifying change to this section to add that the Council must make its records concerning the activities of assignees available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General. This provision will assist Treasury in gathering the information it needs to carry out its supplemental compliance functions under 31 CFR 34.804.

Section 34.503 (State Expenditure Plans—Spill Impact Component)

A commenter requested clarification about the public review and comment processes for State Expenditure Plans described in § 34.503(g). The commenter, who submitted a similar comment on § 34.303, is concerned that a state cannot ensure that the public will fully participate in the public review and comment process. As described above, states are not expected to guarantee full public participation in the public review and comment process. Treasury's rule is clear that states must use methods “calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations.” Treasury cannot describe in detail the methods that will satisfy this requirement in every case, as they may depend on the state and the impacted region or population.

Another commenter asked Treasury to clarify the public review and comment requirements that apply to modifications of a State Expenditure Plan. The final rule now states that material modifications are subject to the same public review and comment requirements, as well as other requirements, that apply to the original plan. States with questions about which modifications are material should contact the Council for guidance.

Section 34.506 (Reports—Spill Impact Component)

Treasury has made a clarifying change to this section to indicate that the Council must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury, in order to assist Treasury in fulfilling its supplemental compliance functions under 31 CFR 34.804.

Section 34.507 (Recordkeeping—Spill Impact Component)

Consistent with changes made to section 34.405, Treasury has amended this section to add that the Council must make available its records concerning the activities of recipients to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General.

Section 34.703 (Application Procedure—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program)

One state commenter asked Treasury to clarify that each state will receive its full allocation provided by the Act. Treasury's regulations are already clear that each state will receive an equal share of amounts made available under the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. To receive its share, each state will apply to Treasury for a grant and specify how the funds will be used, a standard requirement for all Federal grants. Requiring states to identify how they will use Federal funds is necessary to assist the Federal awarding agency in performing oversight, one of the grant management responsibilities described in OMB's Uniform Guidance.

During implementation of the comprehensive interim final rule, Treasury received questions about the public notice requirements applying to the rules and policies for the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. Treasury's regulation requires each state to describe the rules and policies for grants it will issue to subrecipients. Each state also must demonstrate the rules and policies that became effective after publication of the comprehensive interim final rule were available for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days. Many states have longstanding rules and policies that generally apply to grant programs, including competitive project selection and conflict of interest policies. Treasury's regulation does not require states to seek public comment on rules and policies that were effective prior to publication of the comprehensive interim final rule.

Section 34.802—(Certifications)

One commenter, a state, noted that the certification in § 34.802(c) appears to require that each activity be selected after consideration of comments from a diverse cross-section of the public. The commenter stated that it can provide opportunities for public review and comment, but it cannot guarantee that all segments of the public will participate. Treasury agrees with this comment, and has amended the certification to be consistent with requirements in §§ 34.303(b)(8) and 34.503(g). The amended certification requires grant recipients to certify that each activity is part of a plan that was made available for public review and comment in a manner calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations, and that the activity was selected after consideration of meaningful input from the public, as described in the recipient's grant application.

Treasury has also amended the certification at § 34.803(a) to conform more closely to the language of the statute, and to make clear that the certification can apply to planning activities as well as activities that carry out the restoration or protection of the Gulf Coast Region.

Section 34.803 (Conditions)

In the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, Treasury stated that grants must conform to the requirements in OMB's Uniform Guidance and other Federal laws and policies on grants. These requirements include reports on how grants funds were used. To avoid any inconsistency between these requirements and the reporting requirements in § 34.803(e), Treasury is deleting certain details that were listed in the comprehensive interim final rule.

Section 34.804 (Noncompliance)

Two commenters suggested that Treasury impose penalties on Council members that violate the Act or Treasury regulations. Because the Act does not authorize Treasury to impose penalties, the final rule does not adopt this suggestion.

III. Procedural Requirements A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) generally requires agencies to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In the preamble to the comprehensive interim final rule, Treasury certified that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities will incur costs to develop the plans and projects described in the rule, but these costs arise from requirements in the RESTORE Act and not Treasury regulations. Treasury did not receive any comments in response to the comprehensive interim rule on the impact to small entities and there are no changes in the final rule that warrant a change in this certification. Accordingly, Treasury certifies that the final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, and no regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

The collections of information contained in the comprehensive interim final rule were submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), and approved under control number 1505-0250. The final rule does not contain any new collections of information. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number.

C. Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

The rule affects those entities in the five Gulf Coast States that are eligible to receive funding under the RESTORE Act, and is focused on the environmental restoration and economic recovery of the Gulf Coast Region in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The amounts made available from the trust fund will continue efforts that provide for the long-term health of the ecosystems and economy of this region. In accordance with Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, OMB has reviewed this regulation. This rule finalizes without significant change a comprehensive interim final rule published on August 15, 2014 that was designated as economically significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Department adopts without revision the regulatory impact assessment published with the comprehensive interim final rule at 79 FR 48052 because this final rule does not adopt changes that require updates in the analysis. In accordance with Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, this rule is designated as significant and OMB has reviewed this regulation.

D. Congressional Review Act

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., 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. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2) and will become effective 60 days after publication.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires federal agencies to assess the effects of their 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. Treasury believes that the regulatory impact assessment referenced in this preamble provides the analysis required by the Unfunded Mandates Act.

List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 34

Coastal zone, Fisheries, Grant programs, Grants administration, Intergovernmental relations, Marine resources, Natural resources, Oil pollution, Research, Science and technology, Trusts and trustees, Wildlife.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Department of the Treasury amends 31 CFR subtitle A by revising part 34 to read as follows:

PART 34—RESOURCES AND ECOSYSTEMS SUSTAINABILITY, TOURIST OPPORTUNITIES, AND REVIVED ECONOMIES OF THE GULF COAST STATES Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 34.1 Purpose. 34.2 Definitions. Subpart B—Trust Fund 34.100 The Trust Fund. 34.101 Investments. 34.102 Interest earned. 34.103 Allocation of funds. 34.104 Expenditures. 34.105 Waiver. Subpart C—Eligible Activities for the Section 311(t) Gulf RESTORE Program Components 34.200 General. 34.201 Eligible activities for the Direct Component. 34.202 Eligible activities for the Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.203 Eligible activities for the Spill Impact Component. 34.204 Limitations on administrative costs and administrative expenses. 34.205 Council's audited financial statements and audits. Subpart D—Gulf RESTORE Program—Direct Component 34.300 General. 34.301 Responsibility for administration—Direct Component. 34.302 Allocation of funds—Direct Component. 34.303 Application procedure—Direct Component. 34.304 Grant award process—Direct Component. 34.305 Use of funds—Direct Component. 34.306 Reports—Direct Component. 34.307 Recordkeeping—Direct Component. 34.308 Audits—Direct Component. Subpart E—Gulf RESTORE Program—Comprehensive Plan Component 34.400 General. 34.401 Responsibility for administration—Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.402 Grant administration—Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.403 Use of funds—Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.404 Reports—Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.405 Recordkeeping—Comprehensive Plan Component. 34.406 Audits—Comprehensive Plan Component. Subpart F—Gulf RESTORE Program—Spill Impact Component 34.500 General. 34.501 Responsibility for administration—Spill Impact Component. 34.502 Allocation of funds—Spill Impact Component. 34.503 State Expenditure Plans—Spill Impact Component. 34.504 Grant administration—Spill Impact Component. 34.505 Use of funds—Spill Impact Component. 34.506 Reports—Spill Impact Component. 34.507 Recordkeeping—Spill Impact Component. 34.508 Audits—Spill Impact Component. Subpart G—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program 34.600 General. 34.601 Responsibility for administration—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.602 Use of funds and eligible activities—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.603 Limitations on activities—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.604 Limitations on administrative expenses—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.605 Reports—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.606 Recordkeeping—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. 34.607 Audits—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. Subpart H—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program 34.700 General. 34.701 Responsibility for administration—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.702 Allocation of funds—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.703 Application procedure—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.704 Use of funds and eligible activities—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.705 Ineligible activities—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.706 Reports—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.707 Recordkeeping—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. 34.708 Audits—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. Subpart I—Agreements 34.800 General. 34.801 Grant agreements. 34.802 Certifications. 34.803 Conditions. 34.804 Noncompliance. 34.805 Treasury Inspector General. Authority:

31 U.S.C. 301; 31 U.S.C. 321; 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.

Subpart A—General Provisions
§ 34.1 Purpose.

This part describes policies and procedures applicable to the following programs authorized under the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).

(a) The Gulf RESTORE Program is authorized under section 311(t) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321(t)), as amended by the RESTORE Act, and includes the following components:

(1) Direct Component (subpart D of this part), administered by the Department of the Treasury.

(2) Comprehensive Plan Component (subpart E of this part), administered by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

(3) Spill Impact Component (subpart F of this part), administered by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

(b) NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program (subpart G of this part) is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and authorized by the RESTORE Act, section 1604, 33 U.S.C. 1321 note.

(c) Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program (subpart H of this part) is administered by the Department of the Treasury, and authorized by the RESTORE Act, section 1605, 33 U.S.C. 1321 note.

§ 34.2 Definitions.

As used in this part:

Act or RESTORE Act means the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012.

Activity means an activity, project, or program, including research and monitoring, eligible for funding under the Act.

Administrative costs means those indirect costs for administration incurred by the Gulf Coast States, coastal political subdivisions, and coastal zone parishes that are allocable to activities authorized under the Act. Administrative costs do not include indirect costs that are identified specifically with, or readily assignable to, facilities as defined in 2 CFR 200.414.

Administrative expenses means those expenses incurred for administration by the Council or NOAA, including expenses for general management functions, general ledger accounting, budgeting, human resource services, general procurement services, and general legal services. Administrative expenses do not include expenses that are identified specifically with, or readily assignable to:

(1) Facilities;

(2) Eligible projects, programs, or planning activities;

(3) Activities related to grant applications, awards, audit requirements, or post-award management, including payments and collections;

(4) The Council's development, publication, and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan and any subsequent amendments;

(5) The Council's development and publication of regulations and procedures for implementing the Spill Impact Component, and the review of State Expenditure Plans submitted under the Spill Impact Component;

(6) Preparation of reports required by the Act;

(7) Establishment and operation of advisory committees; or

(8) Collection and consideration of scientific and other research associated with restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.

Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council means the entity identified in section 311(t)(1)(F)(i) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the RESTORE Act.

Assignee means a member of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council who has been assigned primary authority and responsibility for a project or program included in the Comprehensive Plan through a grant or interagency agreement.

Best available science means science that maximizes the quality, objectivity, and integrity of information, including statistical information; uses peer-reviewed and publicly available data; and clearly documents and communicates risks and uncertainties in the scientific basis for such projects.

Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program means the program authorized by section 1605 of the Act.

Coastal political subdivision means any local political jurisdiction that is immediately below the state level of government, including a county, parish, or borough, with a coastline that is contiguous with any portion of the United States Gulf of Mexico. The term includes any of the disproportionately affected counties and nondisproportionately impacted counties in Florida, as defined below.

Coastal zone parishes means the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Vermilion in the State of Louisiana.

Comprehensive Plan Component means the component of the Gulf RESTORE Program authorized by section 311(t)(2) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which funds are provided through the Council, in accordance with a plan developed by the Council, to entities to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Council means the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, an independent entity in the Federal Government whose members are the Governors of the Gulf Coast States; the Secretaries of Agriculture, the Army, Commerce, and the Interior; the head of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (or their designees at the level of Assistant Secretary or the equivalent).

Deepwater Horizon oil spill means the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulting hydrocarbon releases into the environment.

Direct Component means the component of the Gulf RESTORE Program authorized by section 311(t)(1) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which Gulf Coast States, coastal zone parishes, disproportionately affected counties, and nondisproportionately impacted counties are provided funds directly by Treasury through grants to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Disproportionately affected counties means the counties of Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, and Walton in the State of Florida.

Federal Water Pollution Control Act means 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.

Gulf Coast Region means:

(1) In the Gulf Coast States, the coastal zones defined under section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 that border the Gulf of Mexico;

(2) Land within the coastal zones described in paragraph (1) of this definition that is held in trust by, or the use of which is by law subject solely to the discretion of, the Federal Government or officers or agents of the Federal Government;

(3) Any adjacent land, water, and watersheds, that are within 25 miles of the coastal zone described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this definition; and

(4) All Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Coast State means any of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Gulf Coast State entity means a party that carries out the duties of a state for the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program under § 34.702.

Infrastructure means the public facilities or systems needed to support commerce and economic development. These installations and facilities span a wide range, including highways, airports, roads, buildings, transit systems, port facilities, railways, telecommunications, water and sewer systems, public electric and gas utilities, levees, seawalls, breakwaters, major pumping stations, and flood gates. Infrastructure encompasses new construction, upgrades and repairs to existing facilities or systems, and associated land acquisition and planning.

Multiyear Implementation Plan means the plan submitted by entities eligible for funding directly from Treasury under the Direct Component, and described at § 34.303.

NOAA means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program means the program authorized by section 1604 of the Act.

Nondisproportionately impacted counties means the counties of Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Taylor in the State of Florida.

Pass-through entity means a non-Federal entity that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a program under the Act.

Planning assistance means data gathering, studies, modeling, analysis and other tasks required to prepare plans for eligible activities under § 34.201(a) through (i), including environmental review and compliance tasks and architectural and engineering studies. Planning assistance also means one-time preparations that will allow the recipient to establish systems and processes needed to review grant applications, award grants, monitor grants after award, and audit compliance with respect to eligible activities under § 34.201 in a Multiyear Implementation Plan or State Expenditure Plan.

Recipient means a non-Federal entity that receives a Federal award directly from a Federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under the Act. As used in these regulations, a recipient also includes a pass-through entity. The term recipient does not include subrecipients.

Spill Impact Component means the component of the Gulf RESTORE Program authorized by section 311(t)(3) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as added by section 1603 of the Act, in which Gulf Coast States are provided funds by the Council according to a formula that the Council establishes by regulation, using criteria listed in the Act.

State Expenditure Plan means the plan that each Gulf Coast State must submit to the Council for the expenditure of amounts disbursed under the Spill Impact Component, and described at § 34.503.

Subrecipient means a non-Federal entity that receives a subaward from a recipient to carry out an activity under the Act.

Treasury means the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury, or his/her designee.

Trust Fund means the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.

Subpart B—Trust Fund
§ 34.100 The Trust Fund.

Treasury will deposit into the Trust Fund an amount equal to 80 percent of all administrative and civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012 by responsible parties in connection with the explosion on, and sinking of, the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon pursuant to a court order, negotiated settlement, or other instrument under section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. After these administrative and civil penalties have been deposited into the Trust Fund, the Trust Fund will terminate on the date all amounts owed to the Trust Fund have been returned to the Trust Fund, and all amounts in the Trust Fund have been expended.

§ 34.101 Investments.

The Secretary of the Treasury will invest such amounts in the Trust Fund that are not, in the judgment of the Secretary, required to meet needs for current withdrawals. The Secretary may invest in interest-bearing obligations of the United States, having maturities suitable to the needs of the Trust Fund as determined by the Secretary. These obligations will bear interest at rates described in 31 U.S.C. 9702, unless the Secretary determines that such rates are unavailable for obligations with suitable maturities. In that event, the Secretary will select obligations of the United States bearing interest at rates determined by the Secretary, taking into consideration current market yields on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States of comparable maturities.

§ 34.102 Interest earned.

Interest earned on Trust Fund investments will be available as described in § 34.103(b).

§ 34.103 Allocation of funds.

The amounts in the Trust Fund are allocated among the programs in § 34.1.

(a) Available funds in the Trust Fund, other than interest, are allocated as follows:

(1) Thirty-five percent in equal shares for the Gulf Coast States to be used for the Direct Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. Section 34.302 describes the allocation for each Gulf Coast State.

(2) Thirty percent for the Council to be used for the Comprehensive Plan Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.

(3) Thirty percent for formula distribution to Gulf Coast States to be used for the Spill Impact Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.

(4) Two and one-half percent to be used for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

(5) Two and one-half percent in equal shares for the Gulf Coast States to be used for the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

(b) Within ten days of the close of a Federal fiscal year, available funds equal to the interest earned on the Trust Fund investments will be allocated, as follows:

(1) Twenty-five percent to be used for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

(2) Twenty-five percent for the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

(3) Fifty percent for the Comprehensive Plan Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program.

§ 34.104 Expenditures.

Subject to limitations in the Act and these regulations, amounts in the Trust Fund will be available for the direct and indirect expenses of eligible activities without fiscal year limitation.

§ 34.105 Waiver.

To the extent not inconsistent with applicable law, Treasury may waive or modify a requirement in the regulations in this part in a single case or class of cases if the Secretary determines, in his or her sole discretion, that the requirement is not necessary for the deposit of amounts into, or the expenditure of amounts from, the Trust Fund. Treasury will provide public notice of any waivers or modifications granted that materially change a regulatory requirement.

Subpart C—Eligible Activities for the Section 311(t) Gulf RESTORE Program Components
§ 34.200 General.

This subpart describes policies and procedures regarding eligible activities applicable to the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. Subparts D, E, F, and I of this part describe additional requirements that must be met before an activity can receive funding.

(a) Trust Fund amounts may be used to carry out an activity in whole or in part only if the following requirements are met:

(1) Costs must comply with administrative requirements and cost principles in applicable Federal laws and policies on grants.

(2) The activity must meet the eligibility requirements of the Gulf RESTORE Program as defined in § 34.201, § 34.202, or § 34.203, according to component.

(3) Activities funded through the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component must not be included in any claim for compensation presented after July 6, 2012, to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund authorized by 26 U.S.C. 9509.

(b) A Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, and coastal zone parish may use funds available under the Direct Component or Spill Impact Component to satisfy the non-Federal cost-share of an activity that is eligible under §§ 34.201 and 34.203 and authorized by Federal law.

§ 34.201 Eligible activities for the Direct Component.

The following activities are eligible for funding under the Direct Component. Activities in paragraphs (a) through (g) of this section are eligible for funding to the extent they are carried out in the Gulf Coast Region. Direct Component activities are carried out in the Gulf Coast Region when, in the reasonable judgment of the entity applying to Treasury for a grant, each severable part of the activity is primarily designed to restore or protect that geographic area. Applicants must demonstrate that the activity will be carried out in the Gulf Coast Region when they apply for a grant. Activities designed to protect or restore natural resources must be based on the best available science. All Direct Component activities must be included in and conform to the description in the Multiyear Implementation Plan required by § 34.303.

(a) Restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast Region.

(b) Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, and natural resources.

(c) Implementation of a Federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan, including fisheries monitoring.

(d) Workforce development and job creation.

(e) Improvements to or on state parks located in coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

(f) Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological resources, including port infrastructure.

(g) Coastal flood protection and related infrastructure.

(h) Promotion of tourism in the Gulf Coast Region, including promotion of recreational fishing.

(i) Promotion of the consumption of seafood harvested from the Gulf Coast Region.

(j) Planning assistance. Eligible entities under § 34.302 may apply for planning assistance grants to fund preparation and amendment of the Multiyear Implementation Plan.

(k) Administrative costs.

§ 34.202 Eligible activities for the Comprehensive Plan Component.

The Council may expend funds that are available under the Comprehensive Plan Component for eligible activities under 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(2) and (3), including the following:

(a) The Council may expend funds to carry out activities in the Gulf Coast Region that are included in the Comprehensive Plan, as described in 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(2). An activity selected by the Council is carried out in the Gulf Coast Region when, in the reasonable judgment of the Council, each severable part of the activity is primarily designed to restore or protect that geographic area. The Council must document the basis for its judgment when it selects the activity.

(b) The Council may expend funds to develop and publish the proposed and initial Comprehensive Plans, and to implement, amend, and update the Comprehensive Plan as required by the Act or as necessary.

(c) The Council may expend funds to prepare annual reports to Congress, and other reports and audits required by the Act, these regulations, and other Federal law.

(d) The Council may expend funds to establish and operate one or more advisory committees as may be necessary to assist the Council.

(e) The Council may expend funds to collect and consider scientific and other research associated with restoration of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, including research, observation, and monitoring.

(f) Administrative expenses.

§ 34.203 Eligible activities for the Spill Impact Component.

Activities eligible for funding under the Spill Impact Component must meet the eligibility criteria in § 34.201(a) through (k), as well as the following:

(a) The activities must be included in and conform to the description in a State Expenditure Plan required in § 34.503 and approved by the Council. State entities may apply for a grant from the total amount allocated to that state under the Spill Impact Component before the Council has approved the State Expenditure Plan to fund eligible activities that are necessary to develop and submit that plan.

(b) The activities included in the State Expenditure Plan must contribute to the overall economic and ecological recovery of the Gulf Coast.

(c) Activities listed in § 34.201(a) through (g) are eligible for funding from the Spill Impact Component to the extent they are carried out in the Gulf Coast Region. For purposes of this component, an activity is carried out in the Gulf Coast Region when, in the reasonable judgment of the entity developing the State Expenditure Plan under § 34.503, each severable part of the activity is primarily designed to restore or protect that geographic area. State Expenditure Plans must include a demonstration that activities in the plan will be carried out in the Gulf Coast Region.

§ 34.204 Limitations on administrative costs and administrative expenses.

(a) Of the amounts received by a Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, or coastal zone parish in a grant from Treasury under the Direct Component, or in a grant from the Council under the Comprehensive Plan Component or Spill Impact Component, not more than three percent may be used for administrative costs. The three percent limit is applied to the total amount of funds received by a recipient under each grant. The three percent limit does not apply to the administrative costs of subrecipients. All subrecipient costs are subject to the cost principles in Federal laws and policies on grants.

(b) Of the amounts received by the Council under the Comprehensive Plan Component, not more than three percent may be used for administrative expenses. The three percent limit is applied to the total amount of funds received by the Council, beginning with the first fiscal year the Council receives funds through the end of the fourth, or most recent fiscal year, whichever is later.

§ 34.205 Council's audited financial statements and audits.

(a) Not later than December 1, 2014, and each year thereafter, the Council must prepare and submit to the Secretary of the Treasury an audited financial statement for the preceding Federal fiscal year, covering all accounts and associated activities of the Council.

(b) Each audited financial statement under this section must reflect:

(1) The overall financial position of the accounts and activities covered by the statement, including assets and liabilities thereof.

(2) Results of operations of the Council.

(c) The financial statements must be prepared in accordance with the form and content of the financial statements prescribed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget for executive agencies pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3515, consistent with applicable accounting and financial reporting principles, standards, and requirements.

(d) The Treasury Inspector General may conduct audits and reviews of the Council's accounts and activities as the Inspector General deems appropriate.

Subpart D—Gulf RESTORE Program—Direct Component
§ 34.300 General.

This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to the Direct Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. The funds made available under this subpart will be in the form of a grant.

§ 34.301 Responsibility for administration—Direct Component.

Treasury is responsible for awarding and administering grants and grant agreements under this subpart. Treasury will develop and apply policies and procedures consistent with the Act and Federal laws and policies on grants. Treasury also will establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements.

§ 34.302 Allocation of funds—Direct Component.

The amounts made available in any fiscal year from the Trust Fund and allocated to this component will be available in equal shares for the Gulf Coast States for expenditure on eligible activities. The following entities are eligible to receive Direct Component grants.

(a) The amounts available to Alabama will be provided directly to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, or such administrative agent as it may designate. All administrative duties of the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council must be performed by public officials and employees that are subject to the ethics laws of the State of Alabama.

(b) Of the amounts available to Florida, 75 percent of funding will be provided directly to the eight disproportionately affected counties. Each disproportionately affected county's share is as follows: Bay County, 15.101453044%; Escambia County, 25.334760043%; Franklin County, 8.441253238%; Gulf County, 6.743202296%; Okaloosa County, 15.226456794%; Santa Rosa County, 10.497314919%; Wakulla County, 4.943148294%; and Walton County, 13.712411372%.

(c) Of the amounts available to Florida, 25 percent of funding will be provided directly to the nondisproportionately impacted counties. Each nondisproportionately impacted county's share is as follows: Charlotte County, 5.162%; Citrus County, 4.692%; Collier County, 7.019%; Dixie County, 3.484%; Hernando County, 4.982%; Hillsborough County, 13.339%; Jefferson County, 3.834%; Lee County, 8.776%; Levy County, 3.894%; Manatee County, 6.809%; Monroe County, 8.297%; Pasco County, 7.079%; Pinellas County, 11.002%; Sarasota County, 7.248%; and Taylor County, 4.383%.

(d) Of the amounts available to Louisiana, 70 percent will be provided directly to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board of Louisiana, through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.

(e) Of the amounts available to Louisiana, 30 percent will be provided directly to the coastal zone parishes. Each coastal zone parish's share is as follows: Ascension, 2.42612%; Assumption, 0.93028%; Calcasieu, 5.07063%; Cameron, 2.10096%; Iberia, 2.55018%; Jefferson, 11.95309%; Lafourche, 7.86746%; Livingston, 3.32725%; Orleans, 7.12875%; Plaquemines, 17.99998%; St. Bernard, 9.66743%; St. Charles, 1.35717%; St. James, 0.75600%; St. John the Baptist, 1.11915%; St. Martin, 2.06890%; St. Mary, 1.80223%; St. Tammany, 5.53058%; Tangipahoa, 3.40337%; Terrebonne, 9.91281%; and Vermilion, 3.02766%.

(f) No parish will receive funds until the parish chief executive has certified to the Governor of Louisiana, in a form satisfactory to the Governor or the Governor's designee, that the parish has completed a comprehensive land use plan that is consistent with, or complementary to, the most recent version of the state's Coastal Master Plan approved by the Louisiana legislature.

(g) The amounts available to Mississippi will be provided directly to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

(h) The amounts available to Texas will be provided directly to the Office of the Governor or to an appointee of the Office of the Governor.

§ 34.303 Application procedure—Direct Component.

The entities identified in § 34.302 are eligible to apply for their allocation as a grant. Treasury has developed an application process for grants available under this subpart that is consistent with the Act and Federal laws and policies on grants. The application process includes the following requirements:

(a) Before an eligible entity may receive a Direct Component activity grant, the grant applicant must submit a Multiyear Implementation Plan describing each activity for which it seeks funding under the Direct Component. Applications to fund preparation and amendment of the Multiyear Implementation Plan are exempt from this requirement.

(b) For each activity, the Multiyear Implementation Plan must include a narrative description demonstrating:

(1) The need for, purpose, and objectives of the activity;

(2) How the activity is eligible for funding and meets all requirements;

(3) Location of the activity;

(4) Budget for the activity;

(5) Milestones for the activity;

(6) Projected completion dates for the activity;

(7) Criteria the applicant will use to evaluate the success of each activity in helping to restore and protect the Gulf Coast Region impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;

(8) The plan was made available for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days in a manner calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations; and

(9) Each activity in the plan was approved after consideration of meaningful input from the public. Treasury may require a standard format and additional information in the plans. Plans can be phased and incremental and may be modified later by the applicant. If the applicant has requested or anticipates requesting funding for any part of the activity from other sources, including other components in the Act, the applicant must identify the source, state the amount of funding, and provide the current status of the request. For the State of Louisiana parishes, the applicant must submit information demonstrating compliance with § 34.302(f).

(c) Material modifications to a Multiyear Implementation Plan are subject to all applicable requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) The applicant must include supporting information in each grant application that:

(1) Proposed activities meet the statutory requirements for eligibility; and

(2) Each activity designed to protect or restore natural resources is based on best available science.

(e) An applicant may satisfy some or all of the requirements in this section and § 34.802(a) through (e) if it can demonstrate in its application to Treasury that before July 6, 2012:

(1) The applicant established conditions to carry out activities that are substantively the same as the requirements in this section and § 34.802(a) through (e).

(2) The applicable activity qualified as one or more of the eligible activities in § 34.201.

§ 34.304 Grant award process—Direct Component.

Upon determining that the Multiyear Implementation Plan and the grant application meet the requirements of these regulations and the Act, Treasury will execute a grant agreement with the recipient that complies with subpart I of this part, the Act, and other Federal laws and policies on grants.

§ 34.305 Use of funds—Direct Component.

(a) An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable requirements of subparts C and D of this part are met.

(b) When awarding contracts to carry out an activity under the Direct Component, a Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, or coastal zone parish may give preference to individuals and companies that reside in, are headquartered in, or are principally engaged in business in the state of project execution consistent with Federal laws and policies on grants.

(c) A Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, or coastal zone parish may propose to issue subawards for eligible activities. Recipients that propose to issue subawards must demonstrate their ability to conduct subrecipient monitoring and management, as required by Federal laws and policies on grants.

§ 34.306 Reports—Direct Component.

Recipients must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.

§ 34.307 Recordkeeping—Direct Component.

Recipients must maintain records as prescribed by Treasury, and make the records available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General.

§ 34.308 Audits—Direct Component.

Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct audits and reviews of recipient's accounts and activities relating to the Act as deemed appropriate by Treasury.

Subpart E—Gulf RESTORE Program—Comprehensive Plan Component
§ 34.400 General.

This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to the Comprehensive Plan Component. The Comprehensive Plan is developed by the Council in accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(2) and will include activities the Council intends to carry out, subject to available funding. When selecting activities to carry out in the first three years, except for certain projects and programs that were authorized prior to July 6, 2012, the Council will give highest priority to projects meeting one or more of the criteria in 33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(2)(D)(iii).

§ 34.401 Responsibility for administration—Comprehensive Plan Component.

(a) After selecting Comprehensive Plan projects and programs to be funded, the Council must assign primary authority and responsibility for overseeing and implementing projects and programs to a Gulf Coast State or Federal agency represented on the Council, which are called assignees in these regulations. In assigning responsibility, the Council must enter into a grant agreement with the Gulf Coast State or an interagency agreement with the Federal agency. Any grant agreement must be consistent with applicable Federal laws and policies on grants. The Council must specify whether any part of an assignee's responsibility may be further assigned to another entity and under what terms.

(b) When an assignee's grant or subaward to, or cooperative agreement with, a nongovernmental entity would equal or exceed ten percent of the total amount provided to the assignee for that activity, the Council must publish in the Federal Register and deliver to the following Congressional Committees at least 30 days prior to the assignee entering into an agreement the name of the recipient or subrecipient; a brief description of the activity, including its purpose; and the amount of the award.

(1) House of Representatives committees: Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; Committee on Natural Resources; Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Committee on Appropriations.

(2) Senate committees: Committee on Environment and Public Works; Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Committee on Appropriations.

(c) The Council must establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements and interagency agreements.

§ 34.402 Grant administration—Comprehensive Plan Component.

The Council must publish policies and procedures for administration of Comprehensive Plan Component grants that are consistent with applicable Federal laws and policies on grants. These grant policies and procedures must include uniform guidelines for assignees to use when selecting subrecipients, awarding grants and subawards, and monitoring compliance. The Council must also establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements.

§ 34.403 Use of funds—Comprehensive Plan Component.

An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable requirements of subparts C and E of this part are met.

§ 34.404 Reports—Comprehensive Plan Component.

Assignees must submit reports as prescribed by the Council or Treasury. In addition, the Council must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.

§ 34.405 Recordkeeping—Comprehensive Plan Component.

Assignees must maintain records as prescribed by the Council and Treasury, and make the records available to the Council and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General. In addition, the Council must make its records concerning the activities of assignees available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General.

§ 34.406 Audits—Comprehensive Plan Component.

The Council and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct audits and reviews of assignee's accounts and activities relating to the Act as any of them deems appropriate.

Subpart F—Gulf RESTORE Program—Spill Impact Component
§ 34.500 General.

This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to the Spill Impact Component of the Gulf RESTORE Program. The funds made available under this subpart will be in the form of grants.

§ 34.501 Responsibility for administration—Spill Impact Component.

The Council is responsible for awarding and administering grants under this subpart.

§ 34.502 Allocation of funds—Spill Impact Component.

The Council will allocate amounts to the Gulf Coast States based on the Act and regulations promulgated by the Council. The Council will make allocated funds available through grants for activities described in a State Expenditure Plan approved by the Council.

§ 34.503 State Expenditure Plans—Spill Impact Component.

Each Gulf Coast State, through its Governor or the Governor's designee, must submit a State Expenditure Plan to the Council for its approval that describes each activity for which the state seeks funding. The Council must develop requirements for these plans, including the requirements below.

(a) The State Expenditure Plan must be developed by:

(1) In Alabama, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council.

(2) In Florida, a consortium of local political subdivisions that includes, at a minimum, one representative of each county affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

(3) In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, as approved by the Board.

(4) In Mississippi, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the Office of the Governor.

(5) In Texas, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the Office of the Governor.

(b) The State Expenditure Plan must describe how it takes into consideration the Comprehensive Plan and is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan. In addition, the State Expenditure Plan must describe the processes used:

(1) To evaluate and select activities included in the plan;

(2) To assess the capability of third party entities that will implement activities in the plan;

(3) To prevent conflicts of interest in the development and implementation of the plan;

(4) To obtain public review and comment in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section; and

(5) To verify compliance with the requirements of § 34.203 and this subpart.

(c) For each activity in the State Expenditure Plan, the plan must include a narrative description demonstrating:

(1) The need for, purpose, and objectives of the activity;

(2) How the activity is eligible for funding and meets all requirements of § 34.203 and this subpart;

(3) Location of the activity;

(4) Budget for the activity;

(5) Milestones for the activity;

(6) Projected completion dates for the activity; and

(7) Criteria the applicant will use to evaluate the success of each activity in helping to restore and protect the Gulf Coast Region. Plans can be phased or incremental and may be modified with the Council's approval. If funding has been requested from other sources, including other components of the Act, the plan must identify the source, state how much funding was requested, and provide the current status of the request.

(d) The State Expenditure Plan must demonstrate how the activities in the plan will contribute to the overall economic and ecological recovery of the Gulf Coast, and how each activity that would restore and protect natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands or the economy of the Gulf Coast is based on the best available science.

(e) The State Expenditure Plan must demonstrate that activities described in § 34.201(a) through (g) will be carried out in the Gulf Coast Region, as described in § 34.203(c).

(f) No more than 25 percent of funding under the Spill Impact Component is available to a Gulf Coast State under this subpart to pay for infrastructure, unless the Governor or the Governor's representative on the Council certifies that:

(1) The ecosystem restoration needs in the state will be addressed by the activities in the proposed plan; and

(2) Additional investment in infrastructure is required to mitigate the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to the ecosystem or economy.

(g) Before being submitted to the Council for approval, a State Expenditure Plan must be available for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days, in a manner calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations.

(h) If the Council disapproves a State Expenditure Plan, the Council must notify the impacted state in writing and consult with the state to address any identified deficiencies with the plan. If the Council fails to approve or take action within 60 days after the date on which the Council receives the plan, the state may obtain expedited judicial review within 90 days in a United States district court located in the state seeking the review.

(i) The Council must publish guidelines explaining when modifications to a State Expenditure Plan require the Council's approval. Material modifications to a State Expenditure Plan are subject to the requirements of paragraphs (b) through (g) of this section.

§ 34.504 Grant administration—Spill Impact Component.

The Council must publish policies and procedures for administration of the Spill Impact Component grants that are consistent with applicable Federal laws and policies on grants. The Council must also establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with its grant agreements.

§ 34.505 Use of funds—Spill Impact Component.

An activity may be funded in whole or in part if the applicable requirements of subparts C and F of this part are met.

§ 34.506 Reports—Spill Impact Component.

Recipients must submit reports as prescribed by the Council or Treasury. In addition, the Council must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.

§ 34.507 Recordkeeping—Spill Impact Component.

Recipients must maintain records as prescribed by the Council and make the records available to the Council, and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General. In addition, the Council must make its records concerning the activities of recipients available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General.

§ 34.508 Audits—Spill Impact Component.

The Council and Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct audits and reviews of a recipient's accounts and activities relating to the Act as any of them deem appropriate.

Subpart G—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program
§ 34.600 General.

This subpart describes policies and procedures applicable to the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. The program's purpose is to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support, to the maximum extent practicable, the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico.

§ 34.601 Responsibility for administration—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

NOAA is responsible for establishing and administering this program, in consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. NOAA must develop, publish, and apply policies and procedures for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program consistent with the Act, this subpart, and Federal laws and policies on grants. NOAA must monitor compliance with its grant agreements, cooperative agreements, contracts, and agreements funded through the Trust Fund. NOAA and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service will consult with the Regional Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission in carrying out the program.

§ 34.602 Use of funds and eligible activities—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

(a) Amounts made available to NOAA may be expended to carry out a program comprised of activities described in section 1604 of the Act. These activities include coordination of science and technology programs and stakeholder engagement, in accordance with section 1604(f) of the Act, as well as the following activities with respect to the Gulf of Mexico:

(1) Marine and estuarine research.

(2) Marine and estuarine ecosystem monitoring and ocean observation.

(3) Data collection and stock assessments.

(4) Pilot programs for fishery independent data and reduction of exploitation of spawning aggregations.

(5) Cooperative research.

(b) NOAA may also expend amounts made available from the Trust Fund for administrative expenses connected with the program. All funds must be expended in compliance with the Act, these regulations, and other applicable law.

§ 34.603 Limitations on activities—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

None of the Trust Fund amounts may be used for the following activities:

(a) For any existing or planned research led by NOAA, unless agreed to in writing by the grant recipient.

(b) To implement existing regulations or initiate new regulations promulgated or proposed by NOAA.

(c) To develop or approve a new limited access privilege program (as that term is used in section 303A of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act [16 U.S.C. 1853(a)]) for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, New England, or Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils.

§ 34.604 Limitations on administrative expenses—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

(a) Of the amounts received by NOAA under the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, not more than three percent may be used for administrative expenses.

(b) The three percent limit is applied to the total amount of funds received by NOAA, beginning with the first fiscal year it receives funds through the end of the fourth, or most recent fiscal year, whichever is later.

(c) NOAA may seek reimbursement of administrative expenses incurred after the first deposit into the Trust Fund, to the extent permitted by Federal law. Administrative expenses incurred prior to the first deposit into the Trust Fund are not reimbursable.

§ 34.605 Reports—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

NOAA must submit reports as prescribed by Treasury.

§ 34.606 Recordkeeping—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

Recipients and other entities receiving funds under the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program must maintain records as prescribed by NOAA and make the records available to NOAA.

§ 34.607 Audits—NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

NOAA and the Treasury Inspector General may conduct audits and reviews of recipient's accounts and activities relating to the Act as either of them deems appropriate.

Subpart H—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program
§ 34.700 General.

This subpart describes the policies and procedures applicable to the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. The program's purpose is to establish centers of excellence to conduct research only on the Gulf Coast Region. The funds made available to the Gulf Coast States under this subpart will be in the form of a grant.

§ 34.701 Responsibility for administration—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Treasury is responsible for awarding grants to the Gulf Coast States, which will use the amounts made available to award grants to nongovernmental entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast Region for the establishment of Centers of Excellence. Treasury will develop and apply policies and procedures consistent with this Act and Federal laws and policies on grants. Each Gulf Coast State entity issuing grants must establish and implement a program to monitor compliance with its subaward agreements.

§ 34.702 Allocation of funds—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

An equal share of funds will be available to each Gulf Coast State to carry out eligible activities. The duties of a Gulf Coast State will be carried out by the following entities:

(a) In Alabama, the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, or such administrative agent as it may designate.

(b) In Florida, the Florida Institute of Oceanography.

(c) In Louisiana, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board of Louisiana, through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.

(d) In Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

(e) In Texas, the Office of the Governor or an appointee of the Office of the Governor.

§ 34.703 Application procedure—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Treasury has developed an application process for grants available to the Gulf Coast States under this subpart that is consistent with the Act and Federal laws and policies on grants. The process includes the following requirements:

(a) Each Gulf Coast State must describe the competitive process that the state will use to select one or more Centers of Excellence. The competitive process must allow nongovernmental entities and consortia in the Gulf Coast Region, including public and private institutions of higher education, to compete. The process must give priority to entities and consortia that demonstrate the ability to establish the broadest cross-section of participants in the grant with interest and expertise in science, technology, and monitoring in the discipline(s) on which the proposal is focused. The process must also guard against conflicts of interest.

(b) Each Gulf Coast State must describe in its application the state rules and policies applying to subawards it will issue under this subpart. At a minimum, these state rules and policies must include the competitive selection process and measures to guard against conflicts of interest.

(c) Each Gulf Coast State must demonstrate in its application that the state rules and policies applying to subawards it will issue under this subpart were published and available for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days, and that they were approved after consideration of meaningful input from the public, including broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations. These requirements do not apply to state statutes and regulations, or to policies that were in effect prior to August 15, 2014.

(d) Each application must state the amount of funding requested and the purposes for which the funds will be used.

§ 34.704 Use of funds and eligible activities—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

(a) A Gulf Coast State receiving funds under this subpart must establish a grant program that complies with the Act and Federal laws and policies on grants.

(b) Gulf Coast States may use funds available under this subpart to award competitive subawards for the establishment of Centers of Excellence that focus on science, technology, and monitoring in at least one of the following disciplines:

(1) Coastal and deltaic sustainability, restoration, and protection, including solutions and technology that allow citizens to live in a safe and sustainable manner in a coastal delta in the Gulf Coast Region.

(2) Coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region.

(3) Offshore energy development, including research and technology to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

(4) Sustainable and resilient growth and economic and commercial development in the Gulf Coast Region.

(5) Comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico.

§ 34.705 Ineligible activities—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Any activity that is not authorized under the provisions of § 34.704 is ineligible for funding under this subpart.

§ 34.706 Reports—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Each Gulf Coast State entity must submit the following reports:

(a) An annual report to the Council in a form prescribed by the Council that includes information on subrecipients, subaward amounts, disciplines addressed, and any other information required by the Council. When the subrecipient is a consortium, the annual report must also identify the consortium members. This information will be included in the Council's annual report to Congress.

(b) Reports as prescribed by Treasury.

§ 34.707 Recordkeeping—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Recipients must maintain records as prescribed by Treasury and make the records available to Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General.

§ 34.708 Audits—Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program.

Treasury, including the Treasury Inspector General, may conduct audits and reviews of each recipient's accounts and activities relating to the Act as deemed appropriate by Treasury.

Subpart I—Agreements
§ 34.800 General.

This subpart describes procedures applicable to grant agreements used by Treasury, the Council (including Federal agencies carrying out responsibilities for the Council), NOAA, Gulf Coast States, coastal political subdivisions, and coastal zone parishes in making awards under subparts D, E, F, G, and H of this part. It also describes Treasury's authority to inspect records and the Treasury Inspector General's authority under the Act.

§ 34.801 Grant agreements.

The grant agreements used must conform to the Act and Federal laws and policies on grants, including audit requirements.

§ 34.802 Certifications.

At a minimum, grant applications and agreements for the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, and Spill Impact Component must contain the following certifications. The certification must be signed by an authorized senior official of the entity receiving grant funds who can legally bind the organization or entity, and who has oversight for the administration and use of the funds in question. The certification in paragraph (c) of this section does not apply to planning assistance funds for the preparation and amendment of the Multiyear Implementation Plan.

(a) I certify that each activity funded under this Agreement has been designed to plan for or undertake activities to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, or economy of the Gulf Coast Region.

(b) I certify that each activity funded under this Agreement is designed to carry out one or more of the eligible activities for this component.

(c) I certify that each activity funded under this Agreement was part of a plan made available for public review and comment in a manner calculated to obtain broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations, and that the activity was selected after consideration of meaningful input from the public, as described in the grant application.

(d) I certify that each activity funded under this Agreement that protects or restores natural resources is based on the best available science, as that term is defined in 31 CFR part 34.

(e) I certify that this recipient has procedures in place for procuring property and services under this award that are consistent with the procurement standards applying to Federal grants. This recipient agrees that it will not request funds under this award for any contract unless this certification remains true and accurate.

(f) I certify that a conflict of interest policy is in effect and covering each activity funded under this Agreement.

(g) I make each of these certifications based on my personal knowledge and belief after reasonable and diligent inquiry, and I affirm that this recipient maintains written documentation sufficient to support each certification made above, and that this recipient's compliance with each of these certifications is a condition of this recipient's initial and continuing receipt and use of the funds provided under this Agreement.

§ 34.803 Conditions.

At a minimum, each grant agreement under subparts D, E, F, G, and H of this part must contain the following conditions:

(a) The recipient must immediately report any indication of fraud, waste, abuse, or potentially criminal activity pertaining to grant funds to Treasury and the Treasury Inspector General.

(b) The recipient must maintain detailed records sufficient to account for the receipt, obligation, and expenditure of grant funds. The recipient must track program income.

(c) Prior to disbursing funds to a subrecipient, the recipient must execute a legally binding written agreement with the entity receiving the subaward. The written agreement will extend all the applicable program requirements to the subrecipient.

(d) The recipient must use the funds only for the purposes identified in the agreement.

(e) The recipient must report at the conclusion of the grant period, or other period specified by the Federal agency administering the grant, on the use of funds pursuant to the agreement.

(f) Trust Fund amounts may only be used to acquire land or interests in land by purchase, exchange, or donation from a willing seller.

(g) None of the Trust Fund amounts may be used to acquire land in fee title by the Federal Government unless the land is acquired by exchange or donation or the acquisition is necessary for the restoration and protection of the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast Region and has the concurrence of the Governor of the state in which the acquisition will take place.

§ 34.804 Noncompliance.

(a) If Treasury determines that a Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, or coastal zone parish has expended funds received under the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, or Spill Impact Component on an ineligible activity, Treasury will make no additional funds available to that recipient from any part of the Trust Fund until the recipient has deposited in the Trust Fund an amount equal to the amount expended for an ineligible activity, or Treasury has authorized the recipient to expend an equal amount from the recipient's own funds for an activity that meets the requirements of the Act.

(b) If Treasury determines that a Gulf Coast State, coastal political subdivision, or coastal zone parish has materially violated a grant agreement under the Direct Component, Comprehensive Plan Component, or Spill Impact Component, Treasury will make no additional funds available to that recipient from any part of the Trust Fund until the recipient corrects the violation.

(c) As a condition of receiving funds, recipients and subrecipients shall make available their records and personnel to Treasury in order to carry out the purposes of this section.

§ 34.805 Treasury Inspector General.

In addition to other authorities available under the Act, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury is authorized to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations of activities funded through grants under the Act.

David A. Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-31431 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-25-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-1066] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Hoquiam River, Hoquiam, WA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of temporary deviation from drawbridge regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Simpson Avenue Bridge across the Hoquiam River, mile 0.5, at Hoquiam, WA. The deviation is necessary to accommodate Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) extensive maintenance and restoration efforts on this bridge. This deviation allows WSDOT to open one leaf of the double leaf bascule bridge when at least two hours of notice is given. The vertical clearance will be reduced to approximately 25 feet at mean high tide, and the horizontal clearance will be reduced to 52 feet.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 6 a.m. on December 11, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-1066] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email the Bridge Administrator, Coast Guard Thirteenth District; telephone 206-220-7282 email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

WSDOT has requested a temporary deviation from the operating schedule for the Simpson Avenue Bridge crossing the Hoquiam River, mile 0.5, at Hoquiam, WA. WSDOT requested to only open one leaf of the double leaf bascule bridge when at least two hours of notice is given. WSDOT also requested to reduce the vertical clearance from 35 feet to approximately 25 feet at mean high tide, and reduce the horizontal navigation clearance from 125 feet to 52 feet while operating single leaf.

The normal operating schedule for the Simpson Avenue Bridge operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.1047, which states the bridge shall open on signal if at least one hour notice is given. Simpson Avenue Bridge is a double leaf bascule bridge and provides 35 feet of vertical clearance above mean high water elevation while in the closed-to-navigation position.

This deviation allows the Simpson Avenue Bridge at mile 0.5 crossing the Hoquiam River, to operate in single leaf, half of the span, to maritime traffic from 6 a.m. on December 11, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2015. The bridge shall operate in accordance to 33 CFR 117.1047 at all other times.

Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position may do so at anytime. Scaffolding will be erected below the bridge for personnel to work from reducing the vertical clearance to approximately 25 feet while the bridge is in the closed-to-navigation position. The bridge will not be able to open for vessels engaged in emergency response operations during this closure period without a two hour notice.

Waterway usage on this part of the Hoquiam River ranges from tug and barge to small pleasure craft. WSDOT has examined bridge opening logs, and contacted all waterway users that have requested bridge openings throughout the last year. The input WSDOT received from waterway users indicated that this deviation will have no impact on the known users. No immediate alternate route for vessels to pass is available on this part of the river. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

Dated: December 8, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-31388 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2012-0205; FRL-9940-03-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; El Paso Particulate Matter Contingency Measures AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving under the Federal Clean Air Act (the Act) State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Texas. These revisions pertain to contingency measures for particulate matter in the City of El Paso. The affected contingency measures are the paving of alleys and sweeping of streets.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on January 13, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2012-0205. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffrey Riley, 214-665-8542, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Throughout this document wherever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean the EPA.

I. Background

The background for today's action is discussed in detail in our August 19, 2015 proposal (80 FR 50248). In that notice, we proposed to approve revisions to the Texas SIP pertaining to contingency measures for controlling particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to a nominal ten micrometers (PM10) in the City of El Paso. We did not receive any comments regarding our proposal.

II. Final Action

We are approving revisions to the Texas SIP pertaining to PM10 dust control contingency measures in the City of El Paso. The State's revisions submitted on March 7, 2012 amend rule 30 TAC section 111.147(1)(E) by removing the requirement to pave alleys at the rate of 15 miles/year, and replace it with the following requirements:

(1) All new alleys must be paved;

(2) Unpaved alleys may not be used for residential garbage and recycling collection; and

(3) The use of recycled asphalt product as defined in section 111.145 and section 111.147(1) may be used as an alternate means of particulate matter control for alleys.

We are also approving revisions to 30 TAC section 111.147(1) that define reclaimed asphalt pavement, and 30 TAC section 111.147(2) that changes the sweeping frequency requirement from four to three times per year in the city limits and from six to four times per week in the El Paso central business district. This action is being taken under section 110 of the Act.

III. Incorporation by Reference

In this rule, we are finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with the requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, we are finalizing the incorporation by reference of the revisions to the Texas regulations as described in the Final Action section above. We have made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the EPA Region 6 office.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 12, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposed of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Dated: November 19, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

Subpart SS—Texas 2. In § 52.2270: a. In paragraph (c), the table titled “EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP” is amended by revising the entry for Section 111.147. b. In paragraph (e), the second table titled “EPA-Approved Nonregulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the Texas SIP” is amended by adding an entry at the end for “Revision to El Paso PM10 Attainment Demonstration SIP”.

The revision and addition read as follows:

§ 52.2270 Identification of plan.

(c) * * *

EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP State citation Title/subject State approval/
  • submittal date
  • EPA approval date Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 111 (Reg 1)—Control of Air Pollution From Visible Emissions and Particulate Matter Subchapter A: Visible Emissions and Particulate Matter *         *         *         *         *         *         * Division 4: Materials Handling, Construction, Roads, Streets, Alleys, and Parking Lots *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 111.147 Roads, Streets, and Alleys 1/25/2012 12/14/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *

    (e) * * *

    EPA Approved Nonregulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the Texas SIP Name of SIP provision Applicable geographic or
  • nonattainment area
  • State
  • submittal/
  • effective
  • date
  • EPA approval date Comments
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Revision to El Paso PM10 Attainment Demonstration SIP (dust control contingency measures) El Paso, TX 3/7/2012 12/14/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation]
    [FR Doc. 2015-31310 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0769; FRL-9937-22] Naphthalene Acetates; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes a tolerance for residues of the naphthalene acetate group in or on pomegranate. Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) requested the tolerance under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective December 14, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before February 12, 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-2014-0769, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

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

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

    C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0769 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 February 12, 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-2014-0769, by one of the following methods:

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

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

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

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

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of February 11, 2015 (80 FR 7559) (FRL-9921-94), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP 4E8310) by IR-4, IR-4 Project Headquarters, 500 College Road East, Suite 201 W, Princeton, NJ. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.155 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of a family of plant growth regulators, the naphthalene acetates, in or on pomegranate at 0.05 parts per million (ppm). That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by AMVAC Chemical Corporation, the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. There were no comments received in response to the notice of filing.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

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

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for the naphthalene acetates including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with the naphthalene acetates follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered their validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children.

    In this regulatory action, 1-naphthaleneacetic acid is a species of chemical that includes several similar compounds: Naphthaleneacetamide (NAA acetamide), naphthaleneacetic acid, potassium naphthaleneacetate (NAA potassium salt), ammonium naphthaleneacetate (ammonium NAA), sodium naphthaleneacetate (NAA sodium salt), and ethyl naphthaleneacetate (NAA ethyl ester). These chemicals are assessed as a single group and are collectively referred to as the naphthalene acetates (NAA). Hereafter, NAA will be used to refer to the entire naphthalene acetate group. These chemical compounds are structurally related, metabolized to the acid form (by both plants and animals), and are eliminated from the body as glycine and glucuronic acid conjugates within 36 to 48 hours after exposure. EPA has concluded that toxicity testing on any of these compounds should serve for all members of this group of chemicals.

    In general, NAA sodium salt was the most toxic form in sub-chronic and chronic studies. Repeated exposure in oral toxicity studies resulted in decreased body weights and body weight gains accompanied by decreased food consumption. The major target organs of sub-chronic and chronic oral exposure were the liver, stomach, and lung. Others symptoms of toxicity from oral exposure included decreased hematocrit and hemoglobin, reduced red blood cell (RBC) count in rats and dogs, and hypocellularity of the bone marrow in dogs. In contrast to oral exposures, NAA ethyl ester was the most toxic chemical species when administered dermally, inducing epidermal hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis, sebaceous gland hyperplasia, and dermal inflammation. The NAA sodium salt required a 10-fold higher dose to elicit similar dermal effects and no dermal effects were noted in the NAA acetamide exposure. Systemic toxicity was not a consequence of dermal exposure to any of the tested naphthalene acetates.

    Developmental and offspring toxicity was linked to NAA sodium salt exposure but was not a common observation for the entire naphthalene acetate group. Developing rats exhibited decreased fetal weight and minor skeletal changes and were more susceptible to NAA sodium salt toxicity than the maternal rats. Skeletal defects and variants were observed in rabbit fetuses after exposure to NAA sodium salt in the developmental rabbit study; however these effects only occurred at doses that also compromised maternal health. Offspring toxicity from NAA sodium salt manifested as reduced litter survival and pup weight throughout lactation in two generations. These effects coincided with reduced body weight in both parental generations indicating the adults and their young were equally susceptible to NAA sodium salt.

    Carcinogenicity studies of NAA acetamide in mice and NAA sodium salt in rats and mice are considered adequate for the evaluation of the oncogenicity of the NAA group. In these three studies the tested NAA compounds were not carcinogenic in mice or rats.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by NAA as well as the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document, “Naphthalene Acetate. Human Health Risk Assessment for a Proposed New Use on Pomegranate” at pp. 31 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0769.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which the NOAEL and the LOAEL are identified. Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect expected in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/assessing-human-health-risk-pesticides.

    A summary of the toxicological endpoints for NAA used for human risk assessment is shown in Table 1 of this unit.

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for NAA for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment Exposure/scenario Point of departure and
  • uncertainty/safety factors
  • RfD, PAD, LOC for
  • risk assessment
  • Study and toxicological effects
    Acute dietary (General population including infants and children) An acute RfD for the general population or any population subgroups was not selected because no effect attributable to a single exposure was observed in animal studies. Chronic dietary (All populations) NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.25 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.25 mg/kg/day
  • Co-critical Dog Studies with NAA Na salt: Subchronic Toxicity.
  • Chronic Toxicity.
  • Subchronic.1
  • LOAEL = 150 mg/kg/day based on GI tract lesions and hypocellularity of the bone marrow.
  • Subchronic NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day.
  • Chronic LOAEL = 75 mg/kg/day based on stomach lesions in 75% of the males and slight sinusoidal histiocytosis in the liver of 50% of the males. Adult Oral Short-term (1-30 Days) NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • LOC = 100 Co-critical Dog Studies with NAA Na salt: Subchronic Toxicity.
  • Chronic Toxicity.
  • Subchronic LOAEL = 150 mg/kg/day based on GI tract lesions and hypocellularity of the bone marrow.
  • Subchronic NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day.
  • Chronic LOAEL = 75 mg/kg/day based on stomach lesions in 75% of the males and slight sinusoidal histiocytosis in the liver of 50% of the males. Chronic NOAEL = 15 mg/kg/day. Inhalation Short-Term (1-30 days) NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day 2
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 10x 3
  • LOC = 1000 Co-critical Dog Studies with NAA Na salt:
  • Subchronic Toxicity.
  • Chronic Toxicity.
  • Subchronic LOAEL = 150 mg/kg/day based on GI tract lesions and hypocellularity of the bone marrow.
  • Subchronic NOAEL = 25 mg/kg/day. Chronic LOAEL = 75 mg/kg/day based on stomach lesions in 75% of the males and slight sinusoidal histiocytosis in the liver of 50% of the males. Chronic NOAEL = 15 mg/kg/day. Cancer Not carcinogenic based on rats and mice bioassays. Not mutagenic. LOC = level of concern. Point of Departure (POD) = A data point or an estimated point that is derived from observed dose-response data and used to mark the beginning of extrapolation to determine risk associated with lower environmentally relevant human exposures. Mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. NOAEL = no observed adverse effect level. LOAEL = lowest observed adverse effect level. UF = uncertainty factor. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies). FQPA SF = Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor. PAD = population adjusted dose (c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. 1 The NOAEL/LOAEL used to set endpoints for the co-critical dog studies are in bold. 2 Inhalation absorption is assumed to be equivalent to oral absorption. 3 FQPA SF for inhalation accounts for the lack of an inhalation study.
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to NAA, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerance as well as all existing NAA tolerances in 40 CFR 180.155. EPA assessed dietary exposure to NAA in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure. No such effects were identified in the toxicological studies for NAA; therefore, a quantitative acute dietary exposure assessment is unnecessary.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the Dietary Exposure Evaluation Model software with the Food Commodity Intake Database (DEEM-FCID), Version 3.16, which incorporates 2003-2008 food consumption data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America, (NHANES/WWEIA). DEEM default processing factors were used to modify the tolerance values. As to NAA residues levels in food, tolerance-level residues and 100 percent crop treated (PCT) assumptions were applied for all affected crops.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that NAA does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.

    iv. Anticipated residue and percent crop treated (PCT) information. EPA did not use anticipated residue and/or PCT information in the dietary assessment for NAA. Tolerance level residues and 100 PCT were assumed for all food commodities.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening-level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for NAA in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of NAA. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/about-water-exposure-models-used-pesticide.

    Tier 1 (Rice Model) Estimated Drinking Water Concentrations (EDWCs) in surface and groundwater for NAA were used in the dietary exposure assessment. The EDWCs were calculated using the Tier 1 surface water aquatic model First Index Reservoir Screening tool (FIRST) and the Tier I/II groundwater model Pesticide Root Zone Model Ground Water (PRZM GW), in Tier I mode. Accordingly, the EDWCs of NAA for chronic exposures for non-cancer assessments are estimated to be 65.1 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and 646 ppb for ground water.

    Modeled estimates of drinking water concentrations were directly entered into the dietary exposure model. For chronic dietary risk assessment, the water concentration value of 646 ppb was used to assess the contribution to drinking water.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets).

    NAA is currently registered for root dip and sprout inhibition applications to ornamentals, which could result in residential exposures. There is a potential for short-term oral and inhalation exposures to residential handlers, resulting from loading and applying NAA. Though there is potential for dermal exposures for residential handlers, no dermal endpoint was selected due to the lack of systemic toxicity up to the limit dose (1,000 milligram/kilogram/day (mg/kg/day)). There are no residential uses for NAA that result in incidental dermal or oral exposure to children. The rooting compounds are applied by holding the plant and dipping the roots into solution. Very little exposure is expected from this use. Sprout inhibitors are applied by spray or paint brush/roller after pruning trees, or by spraying near the base of the tree after pruning root suckers. There is very little potential for post-application exposure to NAA for adults or children based on the residential use pattern; therefore, residential post-application exposure is not expected, nor is intermediate- or long-term exposure based on the intermittent nature of applications by homeowners.

    Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/standard-operating-procedures-residential-pesticide.

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

    EPA has not found NAA to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and NAA does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that NAA 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://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/culmative-assessment-risk-pesticides.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

    1. In general. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold (10X) margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the database on toxicity and exposure unless EPA determines based on reliable data that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. This additional margin of safety is commonly referred to as the Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor (FQPA SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. There is low concern and no residual uncertainty for pre- and/or postnatal toxicity resulting from exposure to the naphthalene acetates. Clear NOAELs and LOAELs were established for the developmental and offspring effects and the points of departure selected for all exposure scenarios are protective of these effects.

    3. Conclusion. EPA has determined that reliable data show the safety of infants and children would be adequately protected if the FQPA SF were reduced to 1X for the oral and dermal routes of exposure but retained a 10X for the inhalation route of exposure. That decision is based on the following findings:

    i. The toxicity database for NAA is complete, except for a subchronic inhalation toxicity study. EPA is retaining a 10X FQPA SF for the inhalation route of exposure however, as discussed in Unit III.C.3, the EPA only expects short-term inhalation exposures to residential handlers, resulting from loading and applying NAA. Therefore, there is no concern for increased susceptibility in infants and children via the inhalation route. EPA waived the requirements for the acute and subchronic neurotoxicity studies.

    ii. There is no indication that NAA is a neurotoxic chemical based on the available studies in the database, and EPA determined that there is no need for acute and subchronic developmental neurotoxicity studies or additional UFs to account for neurotoxicity.

    iii. The endpoints selected from the co-critical dog studies are protective of the effects observed in the rat developmental, rabbit developmental, and rat reproduction studies. Therefore, the potential for increased susceptibility in infants and children is low.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. The chronic dietary food exposure assessment was performed based on 100 PCT and tolerance-level residues. EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in the ground and surface water modeling used to assess exposure to NAA in drinking water. Based on the discussion in Unit III.C.3., regarding limited residential use patterns, exposure to residential handlers is very low and EPA does not anticipate post-application exposure to children or incidental dermal or oral exposures to toddlers resulting from use of NAA in residential settings. These assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by NAA.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    EPA determines whether acute and chronic dietary pesticide exposures are safe by comparing aggregate exposure estimates to the acute PAD (aPAD) and chronic PAD (cPAD). For linear cancer risks, EPA calculates the lifetime probability of acquiring cancer given the estimated aggregate exposure. Short-, intermediate-, and chronic-term risks are evaluated by comparing the estimated aggregate food, water, and residential exposure to the appropriate PODs to ensure that an adequate MOE exists.

    1. Acute risk. An acute aggregate risk assessment takes into account acute exposure estimates from dietary consumption of food and drinking water. No adverse effect resulting from a single oral exposure was identified and no acute dietary endpoint was selected. Therefore, NAA is not expected to pose an acute risk.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to NAA from food and water will utilize 15% of the cPAD for infants <1 year old the population group receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of NAA is not expected.

    3. Short-term risk. Short-term aggregate exposure takes into account short-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level). Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, short-term aggregate risk was estimated for combined oral and inhalation exposure in adults applying naphthalene acetate products with a paint-airless sprayer. This is considered the worst case scenario for the aggregate risk assessment. Endpoints selected for the short-term adult oral exposure and inhalation exposure were based on common effects and could therefore be combined in the aggregate assessment.

    The EPA calculated an aggregated risk indices (ARI) to combine inhalation and oral exposures to adults. This resulted in an ARI greater than 1. An ARI value greater than 1 is not of concern to EPA, therefore, aggregate exposure to residential handlers is acceptable.

    4. Intermediate-term risk. Intermediate-term aggregate exposure takes into account intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level). Because no intermediate-term adverse effect was identified, NAA is not expected to pose an intermediate-term risk.

    5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in two adequate rodent carcinogenicity studies, NAA is not expected to pose a cancer risk to humans.

    6. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to NAA residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology, a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method using fluorescence detection (Method NAA-AM-001) and a similar method (Method NAA-AM-002), is available to enforce the tolerance expression for NAA in plant commodities.

    The method may be requested from: Chief, Analytical Chemistry Branch, Environmental Science Center, 701 Mapes Rd., Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350; telephone number: (410) 305-2905; email address: [email protected]

    B. International Residue Limits

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

    There is no established Codex MRL for NAA use on pomegranate.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, a tolerance is established for residues of NAA in or on pomegranate at 0.05 ppm.

    VI. 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).

    VII. Congressional Review Act

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: December 3, 2015. Susan Lewis, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. In § 180.155, add to the table in alphabetical order an entry for “pomegranate” to read as follows:
    § 180.155 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid; tolerance for residues.

    (a) * * *

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • *    *    *    *    * Pomegranate 0.05 *    *    *    *    *
    [FR Doc. 2015-31309 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0451; FRL-9939-28] Polyamide Ester Polymers; 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 several polyamide ester polymers as listed in this final rule. Spring Trading Co. on behalf of Croda, Inc. 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 the listed chemicals on food or feed commodities.

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective December 14, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before February 12, 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-2015-0451, 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-2015-0451 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 February 12, 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-2015-0451, 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 Wednesday, August 26, 2015 (80 FR 51763) (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-10834) filed by Spring Trading Co., 203 Dogwood Trl., Magnolia, TX 77354 (on behalf of Croda, Inc., 315 Cherry Ln., New Castle, DE 19720). The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.960 be amended by establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of the following polyamide ester polymers: Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol (CAS Reg. No. 363162-42-9); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol (CAS Reg. No. 678991-29-2); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol (CAS Reg. No. 951153-32-5); Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-19-3); Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol., neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-23-9); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-24-0); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-25-1); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-28-4); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-29-5); fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol (CAS Reg. No. 1699751-31-9) and fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol (CAS Reg. No. 1685271-04-8).

    That document included a summary of the petition prepared by the petitioner and solicited comments on the petitioner's request. No comments were received by the Agency in response to the notice of filing.

    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).

    The polyamide ester polymers listed in this final rule conform 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).

    Thus, polyamide ester polymers listed in this final rule (i.e., fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol., neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol; and fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol) meet the criteria for a polymer to be considered low risk under 40 CFR 723.250. Based on their conformance to the criteria in this unit, no mammalian toxicity is anticipated from dietary, inhalation or dermal exposure to these polymers.

    IV. Aggregate Exposures

    For the purposes of assessing potential exposure under this exemption, EPA considered that these polymers could be present in all raw and processed agricultural commodities and drinking water, and that non-occupational non-dietary exposure was possible. The minimum number average MW (in amu) of each of these polymers is 1,400 daltons. Generally, a polymer of this size would be poorly absorbed through the intact gastrointestinal tract or through intact human skin. Since these polymers 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 these polymers to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and these polymers does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that these polymers 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 these polymers, 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 fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol, neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol; and fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol.

    VIII. Other Considerations A. Existing Exemptions From a Tolerance

    Not applicable.

    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 fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol, neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol; or fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol.

    IX. Conclusion

    Accordingly, EPA finds that exempting residues of fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol, neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine; fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol; and fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol 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 30, 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, alphabetically add the following polymers to the table to read as follows:
    § 180.960 Polymers; exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance. Polymer CAS No. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 363162-42-9 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine, neopentyl glycol and stearyl alcohol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 678991-29-2 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with ethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 951153-32-5 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and ethylenediamine, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-19-3 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with cetyl alcohol, neopentyl glycol and trimethylenediamine, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-23-9 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with hexamethylenediamine and stearyl alcohol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-24-0 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with cetyl alcohol and ethylenediamine, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-25-1 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with neopentyl glycol, stearyl alcohol and trimethylenediamine, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-28-4 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol and trimethylenediamine, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-29-5 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with 1-docosanol, hexamethylenediamine and neopentyl glycol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1699751-31-9 Fatty acids, C18-unsatd., dimers, polymers with docosanoic acid, 1,3-propanediol and sorbitol, minimum number average molecular weight (in amu) 1,400 1685271-04-8 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-30924 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150121066-5717-02] RIN 0648-XE327 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; inseason General category bluefin tuna quota transfer and retention limit adjustment.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is transferring 24.3 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the General category December 2016 subquota period to the January 2016 subquota period (from January 1 through March 31, 2016, or until the available subquota for this period is reached, whichever comes first). NMFS also is adjusting the Atlantic tunas General category BFT daily retention limit for the January 2016 subquota period to three large medium or giant BFT from the default retention limit of one. This action is based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and applies to Atlantic tunas General category (commercial) permitted vessels and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT.

    DATES:

    The quota transfer is effective January 1, 2016. The General category retention limit adjustment is effective January 1, 2016, through March 31, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-281-9260.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (2006 Consolidated HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006), as amended by Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (Amendment 7) (79 FR 71510, December 2, 2014). NMFS is required under ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide U.S. fishing vessels with a reasonable opportunity to harvest the ICCAT-recommended quota.

    Inseason Transfer to the General Category

    Earlier this year, NMFS implemented a final rule that increased the U.S. BFT quota and subquotas per ICCAT Recommendation 14-05 (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015). The base quota for the General category is 466.7 mt. See § 635.27(a). Each of the General category time periods (January, June through August, September, October through November, and December) is allocated a portion of the annual General category quota. Although it is called the “January” subquota, the regulations allow the General category fishery under this quota to continue until the subquota is reached or March 31, whichever comes first. Based on the General category base quota of 466.7 mt, the subquotas for each time period are as follows: 24.7 mt for January; 233.3 mt for June through August; 123.7 mt for September; 60.7 mt for October through November; and 24.3 mt for December. Any unused General category quota rolls forward within the fishing year, which coincides with the calendar year, from one time period to the next, and is available for use in subsequent time periods.

    Quota Transfer

    Under § 635.27(a)(9), NMFS has the authority to transfer quota among fishing categories or subcategories, after considering determination criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8), including five new criteria recently added in Amendment 7. The determination criteria are: The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock; the catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year; the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan; variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT; effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the category's quota; review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds; optimizing fishing opportunity; accounting for dead discards, facilitating quota monitoring, supporting other fishing monitoring programs through quota allocations and/or generation of revenue; and support of research through quota allocations and/or generation of revenue.

    NMFS has considered the determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and their applicability to the General category fishery for the January 2016 subquota period, including, but not limited to, the following: Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock, biological samples collected from BFT landed by General category fishermen and provided by tuna dealers continue to provide NMFS with valuable parts and data for ongoing scientific studies of BFT age and growth, migration, and reproductive status. Additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data for these studies and for stock monitoring purposes.

    NMFS also considered the catches of the General category quota to date (including during the winter fishery in the last several years), and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year; and the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded. General category landings in the winter BFT fishery are highly variable and depend on availability. Commercial-sized BFT tuna are typically available in January and may continue to be through March.

    Without a quota transfer from December 2016 to January 2016 for the General category at this time, the quota available for the January through March 2016 period would be 24.7 mt (5.3 percent of the General category quota), and participants would have to stop BFT fishing activities once that amount is met, while commercial-sized BFT may remain available in the areas where General category permitted vessels operate. Transferring the 24.3-mt quota available for December 2016 (5.2 percent of the General category quota) would result in 49 mt (10.5 percent of the General category quota) being available for the January subquota period. This quota transfer would provide additional opportunities to harvest the U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it, while preserving the opportunity for General category fishermen to participate in the winter BFT fishery.

    Another principal consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and Amendment 7, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations. This transfer would be consistent with the quotas recently established and analyzed in the BFT quota final rule (80 FR 52198, August 28, 2015), and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents.

    NMFS also anticipates that some underharvest of the 2015 adjusted U.S. BFT quota will be carried forward to 2016 to the Reserve category, in accordance with the regulations implementing Amendment 7. This, in addition to the fact that any unused General category quota will roll forward to the next subperiod within the calendar year, makes it possible that General category quota will remain available through the end of 2016 for December fishery participants, even with the quota transfer. NMFS also may choose to transfer unused quota from the Reserve or other categories, inseason, based on consideration of the determination criteria, as NMFS did for late 2015 (80 FR 68265, November 4, 2015; 80 FR 74997, December 1, 2015). Therefore, NMFS anticipates that General category participants in all areas and time periods will have opportunities to harvest the General category quota. Thus, this quota transfer would allow fishermen to take advantage of the availability of fish on the fishing grounds, consider the expected increases in available 2016 quota later in the year, and provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the full U.S. BFT quota.

    Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 24.3 mt of General category quota allocated for the December 2016 period to the January 2016 period, resulting in a subquota of 49 mt for the January 2016 period and a subquota of 0 mt for the December period. NMFS will close the General category January fishery when the adjusted January period subquota of 49 mt has been reached, or it will close automatically on March 31, 2016, whichever comes first, and it will remain closed until the General category fishery reopens on June 1, 2016.

    Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limit

    Unless changed, the General category daily retention limit starting on January 1 would be the default retention limit of one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or greater) per vessel per day/trip (§ 635.23(a)(2)). This default retention limit would apply to General category permitted vessels and to HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels when fishing commercially for BFT. For the 2015 fishing year, NMFS adjusted the daily retention limit from the default level of one large medium or giant BFT to three large medium or giant BFT for the January subquota period (79 FR 77943, December 29, 2014), which closed March 31, 2015; four large medium or giant BFT for the June through August period (80 FR 27863, May 15, 2015) as well as September 1 through November 27, 2015 (80 FR 51959, August 27, 2015); and three large medium or giant BFT for November 28 through December 31, 2015, or until the available General category quota is reached, whichever comes first (80 FR 74997, December 1, 2015).

    Under § 635.23(a)(4), NMFS may increase or decrease the daily retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range of zero to a maximum of five per vessel based on consideration of the relevant criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8), and listed above. NMFS has considered the relevant criteria and their applicability to the General category BFT retention limit for the January 2016 subquota period. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:

    As described above with regard to the quota transfer, additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data for the biological studies and for stock monitoring purposes. Regarding the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock, additional opportunity to land BFT would support the collection of a broad range of data for the biological studies and for stock monitoring purposes. Regarding the effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing and the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan, as this action would be taken consistent with the previously implemented and analyzed quotas, and it is not expected to negatively impact stock health or otherwise affect the stock in ways not previously analyzed. It is also supported by the Environmental Analysis for the 2011 final rule regarding General and Harpoon category management measures, which increased the General category maximum daily retention limit from three to five fish (76 FR 74003, November 30, 2011).

    Regarding the catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made, in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the available January subquota (23.1 mt) was reached on January 22, February 15, and March 21, respectively, under a limit of two large medium or giant BFT, and in each of these years the General category did not reach its available quota by the end of the year. For 2015, the adjusted January subquota of 45.7 (reflecting the first of the inseason actions described above as well as implementation of the final BFT quota rule) was not met under a daily retention limit of three large medium or giant BFT.

    As noted above, commercial-sized BFT are typically available in January and may continue to be through March. Considering this information and the transfer of the December 2016 subquota to the quota for the January 2016 time period (for an adjusted total of 49 mt), the default one-fish limit likely would be overly restrictive. Increasing the daily retention limit from the default may mitigate rolling an excessive amount of unused quota from one time-period subquota to the next and thus help maintain an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities. Although NMFS has the authority to set the daily retention limit to up to five fish, the rate of harvest of the January subquota could be accelerated under a high limit (and higher fish availability), and result in a relatively short fishing season. A short fishing season may preclude or reduce fishing opportunities for some individuals or geographic areas because of the migratory nature and seasonal distribution of BFT.

    Based on these considerations, NMFS has determined that a three-fish General category retention limit is warranted for the January 2016 subquota. It would provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. quota of BFT without exceeding it, while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities, help optimize the ability of the General category to harvest its full quota, allow collection of a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes, and be consistent with the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments. Therefore, NMFS increases the General category retention limit from the default limit (one) to three large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip, effective January 1, 2016, through March 31, 2016, or until the 49-mt January subquota is harvested, whichever comes first.

    Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. For example, during the January 2016 subquota period, whether a vessel fishing under the General category limit takes a two-day trip or makes two trips in one day, the day/trip limit of three fish applies and may not be exceeded upon landing. This General category retention limit is effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT, and applies to those vessels permitted in the General category, as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels fishing commercially for BFT.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. General, HMS Charter/Headboat, Harpoon, and Angling category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead, within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional adjustment or closure is necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281-9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons:

    The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the quota transfer and daily retention limit for the January 2016 subquota time period is impracticable. NMFS could not have proposed these actions earlier, as it needed to consider and respond to updated data and information from the 2015 General category fishery, including during late 2015, in deciding to transfer the December 2016 quota to the January 2016 subquota period and selecting the appropriate retention limit for the January 2016 subquota period. If NMFS was to offer a public comment period now, after having appropriately considered that data, it would preclude fishermen from harvesting BFT that are legally available consistent with all of the regulatory criteria, and/or could result in selection of a retention limit inappropriately high for the amount of quota available for the period.

    Delays in increasing the daily retention limit would adversely affect those General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Limited opportunities to harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that depend upon catching the available quota within the designated time periods. Adjustment of the retention limit needs to be effective January 1, 2016, or as soon as possible thereafter, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns, to allow the impacted sectors to benefit from the adjustment, and to provide fishing opportunities for fishermen in geographic areas with access to the fishery only during this time period. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For these reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.

    This action is being taken under §§ 635.23(a)(4) and 635.27(a)(9), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31384 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 140703553-5999-02] RIN 0648-BE29 Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan; Trawl Rationalization Program; Midwater Trawl Requirements AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule clarifies the regulatory requirements for vessels using midwater trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota Program. This action is needed to eliminate inconsistencies and reduce confusion in the current regulations. For vessels targeting Pacific whiting, the action clarifies that the retention of prohibited and protected species is allowed until landing. The disposition of prohibited and protected species is specified consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (groundfish FMP), the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (salmon FMP), and other applicable law.

    DATES:

    Effective January 13, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    NMFS prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), which is summarized in the Classification section of this final rule. NMFS also prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for the proposed rule (Published in the Federal Register on August 27, 2015; 80 FR 52015). Copies of the IRFA, FRFA and the Small Entity Compliance Guide are available from William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070; or by phone at 206-526-6150. Copies of the Small Entity Compliance Guide are available on the West Coast Region's Web site at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Becky Renko, 206-526-6110; (fax) 206-526-6736; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This action amends the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery regulations to eliminate redundancies and inconsistencies relating to the use of midwater trawl gear in the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota Program (Shorebased IFQ Program). The action is consistent with policy decisions that the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) made during the implementation of a trawl catch share program under Amendment 20 to the groundfish FMP.

    Midwater trawl gear has primarily been used to target Pacific whiting, but can also be used to target other groundfish species. Since implementation of the Shorebased IFQ Program in 2011, midwater trawl gear has been increasingly used to target non-whiting groundfish north of 40°10′ north latitude. South of 40°10′ north latitude midwater trawling has been allowed year round in waters deeper than 150 fathoms (fm) for all target species.

    In anticipation of the trawl catch share program, groundfish regulations were restructured on October 1, 2010 (75 FR 60868). When the Shorebased IFQ Program was implemented, the midwater Pacific whiting shorebased fishery and the bottom trawl fishery were merged to create a single Shorebased IFQ fishery. Many of the pre-IFQ fishery management measures relating to time and area management were retained in the regulations for use in the Shorebased IFQ Program. However, integrating pre-IFQ regulations with new regulations for the Shorebased IFQ Program resulted in inconsistencies and numerous unclear and confusing management restrictions relating to the use of midwater trawl gear.

    This final rule revises groundfish regulations to clarify that midwater trawl gear is required for vessels targeting Pacific whiting during the primary season north of 40°10′ north latitude, and that midwater trawl gear is allowed for vessels targeting non-whiting species during the Pacific whiting Shorebased IFQ Program primary season. Restrictions that allow midwater trawl to only be used by vessels participating in the Pacific whiting Shorebased IFQ fishery are removed. The regulations are revised to clarify that vessels using midwater trawl gear, regardless of the target species, are exempt from the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) restrictions in the area north of 40°10′ north latitude during the dates of the Pacific whiting primary season. These changes allow vessels using midwater trawl gear north of 40°10′ north latitude to declare either “limited entry midwater trawl, non-whiting shorebased IFQ” or “limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ” consistent with the target strategy. This action is expected to add clarity to the regulations.

    This action also revises the definition of “Pacific whiting IFQ trip” consistent with Appendix E of the groundfish FMP, which details the Final Preferred Alternative adopted under Amendment 20, and which is consistent with the Environmental Impact Statement analysis conducted in support of Amendment 20. Appendix E defines non-whiting landings as those with less than 50 percent Pacific whiting by weight.

    Groundfish management includes restrictions on the retention of certain non-groundfish species, including prohibited and protected species. Prohibited species include all salmonids, Pacific halibut, and Dungeness crab off Oregon and Washington. Protected species include marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and species such as green sturgeon and eulachon, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Generally, prohibited species must be returned to the sea as soon as practicable with a minimum of injury. An exception to the retention restrictions is made for tagged fish, or when retention is authorized by other applicable law. Pacific halibut may be retained until landing by vessels in the Pacific whiting fishery that do not sort the catch at sea only pursuant to NMFS donation regulations. Amendment 10 to the groundfish FMP and Amendment 12 to the salmon FMP were revised to allow salmon bycatch to be retained until landing in cases where the Council determines it is beneficial to the management of the groundfish and salmon resources. Under a program approved by the Council and NMFS, salmon remain a prohibited species; and, at a minimum, the requirements must allow for accurate monitoring of the retained salmon and must not provide incentives for fishers to increase salmon bycatch or allow salmon to reach commercial markets.

    With implementation of the Shorebased IFQ Program, a maximized retention provision was added to the groundfish regulations for vessels in the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery. However, the provision did not address the retention of prohibited species other than Pacific halibut, nor did it establish handling and disposition requirements for prohibited species. For consistency with the salmon FMP and Pacific halibut regulations, provisions for the retention and disposition of prohibited species are added by this final rule. In addition, general definitions at 50 CFR 660.11 are revised to add a definition for protected species, and handling and disposition requirements are established in the regulations.

    Minor changes, as detailed in the preamble of the proposed rule, are made throughout the regulations. These minor changes are being made for consistency between the different subparts of groundfish regulations, for clarity, and to remove redundant regulatory text.

    Response to Comments

    NMFS received one comment letter on the proposed rule (80 FR 52015, August 27, 2015) from a business representing fishermen engaged in the whiting and non-whiting midwater trawl fisheries. The comment is addressed here:

    Comment 1: The commenter indicated that the scope of action was too narrow and should be expanded to allow the use of midwater trawl gear to harvest non-whiting species within the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) south of 40°10′ north latitude. Target species for midwater trawling (widow and yellowtail rockfish) are found in the area south of 40°10′ north latitude. The commenter indicated that the current prohibition on non-whiting midwater trawling within or shoreward of the RCA south of 40°10′ north latitude is an artifact of old management regulations and is no longer necessary.

    Response: Regulatory provisions to allow non-whiting midwater trawl gear south of 40°10′ north latitude were implemented in 2005. The intent of the allowance was to provide for a chilipepper rockfish fishery without impacting bocaccio, an overfished species. At its September 2015 meeting, the Council considered updating the gear regulations for the Shorebased IFQ program, including allowing non-whiting midwater trawl gear south of 40°10′ north latitude. Further consideration of gear changes is scheduled for the Council's March 2016 meeting. Because this action revises regulations consistent with policy decisions made during the implementation of the trawl catch share program under Amendment 20 to the groundfish FMP, revisions to update gear provisions are not within the scope considered and are therefore inappropriate for this action and best addressed through future Council action.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There are no changes to the regulatory text from the proposed rule.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the MSA, NMFS has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Groundfish FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.

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

    Pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), NMFS has prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) in support of this action. The FRFA incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, NMFS' response to those comments, relevant analysis contained in the action and its EA, and a summary of the analyses in this rule. A copy of the analyses and the EA are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA was published in the proposed rule for this action and is not repeated here. A description of why this action was considered, the objectives of, and the legal basis for this rule is contained in the preamble to the proposed rule and this final rule and is not repeated here.

    The rule modifies midwater trawl restrictions for vessels participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program under the authority of the groundfish FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The rule would amend the regulations to remove redundancies and inconsistencies relative to the use of midwater trawl gear, and would add provisions to fully implement “maximized retention” allowances for vessels targeting Pacific whiting. Maximized retention encourages full retention of all catch while recognizing that minor discard events may occur. Only one comment was received on the proposed rule (See Response to Comments section above.) That comment did not raise any issues or concerns related to the IRFA or economic issues more generally. No changes were made to this final rule as a result of the comment.

    Two alternatives, each with sub-options, were considered.

    Alternative 1—No Action

    • North of 40°10′ north latitude midwater trawl gear may be used by vessels with a “Limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ” declaration after the start of the primary season. Vessels may use midwater trawl gear to target Pacific whiting and non-whiting if the vessel also fishes in the Pacific whiting fishery.

    • There is no requirement to target or land Pacific whiting on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip.

    • Vessels with a “Limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ” declaration may fish within the RCAs after the start of the primary season.

    • Other than Pacific Halibut, prohibited species and protected species retention until landing is prohibited.

    • Vessels North of 40°10′ north latitude may carry multiple types of midwater gear and both whiting and non-whiting target strategies are allowed on the same trip, however the vessel must have a valid “Limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ” declaration.

    Alternative 2 (Preferred)—Eliminate Redundancies and Inconsistencies in Regulations Regarding the Use of Midwater Trawl Gear

    • Midwater trawl gear will be allowed for all target species with a valid declaration for either “limited entry midwater trawl, non-whiting shorebased IFQ” or “limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ.” Non-whiting vessels would not be obligated to also target Pacific whiting.

    • A Pacific whiting IFQ trip must be 50 percent or more whiting by weight at landing.

    • Midwater trawl gear will be allowed within the trawl RCAs and EFH conservation areas for all target species.

    • For vessels targeting Pacific whiting on “maximized retention” trips, prohibited and protected species must be retained until landing.

    • The disposition of salmon would be specified such that it is consistent with salmon FMP.

    • The disposition of Pacific halibut and Dungeness crab would be specified so they are consistent with Pacific halibut regulations and state regulations.

    • The disposition of protected species would be consistent with the current biological opinions.

    • North of 40°10′ north latitude, vessels will be allowed to carry multiple types of midwater gear, but:

    Alternative 2 Sub-option A (preferred): Allow only one target strategy (whiting or non-whiting) on a trip.

    Alternative 2 Sub-option B: Allow both whiting and non-whiting target strategies on the same trip. However, “maximized retention” would not be allowed if the landed catch was greater than 50 percent non-whiting species.

    Under No Action, it is unclear whether vessels using midwater trawl north of 40°10′ north latitude must submit a declaration for “limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ” even if they intend to target non-whiting species. Alternative 2 results in a low positive impact over No Action as it removes the prohibition that restricts midwater trawl to the Pacific whiting fishery north of 40°10′ north latitude and allows for the use of either midwater trawl declaration. Alternative 2 would improve tracking of activity relative to time/area restrictions and the specific target strategy. Aligning the declaration with the activity could allow for a more surgical management response that can be clearly understood by harvesters.

    Under No Action, Pacific whiting trips would not be defined. Alternative 2 defines Pacific whiting trips as trips with landings that are 50 percent or more Pacific whiting by weight. Alternative 2 is not expected to have a measureable effect on the vast majority of midwater trawl trips targeting Pacific whiting. Only a small number of vessels may have reduced flexibility under Alternative 2 sub-option A (one target strategy per trip) because a vessel operator cannot change the target fishing strategy after they leave port. However, sub-option A is most similar to how harvesters currently operate. Either sub-option provides clarity and eliminates inconsistencies, making the regulations less complicated for harvesters and easier to enforce. Revising the groundfish regulations for clarity under Alternative 2 is expected to provide more equitable opportunity for non-whiting vessels north of 40°10′ north latitude as it is clear they do not need to also fish for Pacific whiting.

    Time/Area restrictions under No Action include Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs), Klamath River conservation zone, Columbia River conservation zone, Ocean Salmon Conservation Zones (OSCZs), Bycatch Reduction Areas (BRAs), the Eureka area 100 fm restriction, prohibition on night fishing south of 42°00′ north latitude, and the Pacific whiting primary seasons. These restrictions were initially implemented to reduce incidental catch of Chinook salmon in the Pacific whiting fisheries. The Klamath River conservation zone, Columbia River conservation zone, OSCZs, and the prohibition on night fishing are specific to the targeting of Pacific whiting and would remain linked to the targeting of whiting under both No Action and Alternative 2. The impacts of No Action on the closed areas are neutral as no changes would be made to reduce the confusion by fishermen or enforcement about prohibited or allowed activities. Because widow rockfish were historically targeted at night with low bycatch, Alternative 2 revisions would clearly state that the prohibition on night fishing does not apply to non-whiting targeting. BRAs have evolved since their initial implementation in 2007 when they applied specifically to the targeting of whiting. Since 2013, the BRAs have been considered a tool for use in the Pacific whiting sectors (all midwater trawl). Alternative 2 revisions would clearly state that the BRAs and RCA exemptions apply to all midwater trawl. Providing clarification on how time/area restrictions relate to specific target fishing activity under Alternative 2 is expected to reduce regulatory complexity and eliminate contradictory regulations. Changes under Alternative 2 are expected to be beneficial to the harvesters, managers, and enforcement.

    Maximized retention is allowed under No Action. However, supporting regulations would not be added to reduce confusion regarding the landing of maximized retention catch for non-whiting target strategies. Provisions would not be added to allow the retention of prohibited species under No Action. The socio-economic impacts of managing under No Action are neutral, providing that restrictions on the retention of prohibited species continue to be unenforced. Alternative 2 would revise the regulations to clearly state that maximized retention would only be allowed for trips targeting Pacific whiting, consistent with the provisions of Amendment 20. Because of relatively low bycatch by vessels targeting Pacific whiting, maximized retention allows sorting to be delayed until landing. Because whiting flesh deteriorates rapidly once the fish are caught, whiting must be minimally handled and immediately chilled to maintain the flesh quality. Allowing Pacific whiting shoreside vessels to retain unsorted catch benefits harvesters by enabling whiting quality to be maintained. Under Alternative 2, provisions would be added to allow Pacific whiting vessels to retain otherwise prohibited species until landing. Non-whiting vessels would have to continue to sort prohibited and protected species at sea. Some non-whiting landings under maximized retention have had a greater variety in bycatch than is typically seen in Pacific whiting landings and have been landed at first receivers with only one catch monitor. Long offloads associated with sorting and weighing non-whiting maximized retention catch has resulted in offload time exceeding the catch monitor's allowed work hours in a 24 hour period. Alternative 2 would also provide clarification on the disposition of protected species for maximized retention landings. Revisions to the maximized retention requirements under Alternative 2 are expected to reduce regulatory complexity and eliminate contradictory regulations, benefiting harvesters.

    Under No Action, Pacific whiting trips would continue to be undefined and no protocols for handling or disposing of prohibited or protected species would be defined. The impacts of No Action are neutral, as first receivers would use current methods to identify maximized retention deliveries and determine how to handle and dispose of prohibited and protected species. Defining Pacific whiting trips under Alternative 2 should make it easier for first receivers/processors to identify which trips are classified as “maximized retention” such that it would be more clear which groundfish regulations apply. Alternative 2 specifies handling and disposition of prohibited and protected species. Clear protocols for the disposition of prohibited catch should reduce complexity and confusion for first receivers/processors. Currently, provisions that affect the disposition of prohibited or protected species exist in various federal regulations, non-groundfish FMPs, and ESA biological opinions. Clarifying these provisions in the groundfish regulations will reduce complexity in the requirements for disposition and handling of maximized retention catch and result in a low positive benefit to first receivers/processors. First receivers are currently taking salmon and grinding and processing the fish into fish meal and/or providing edible fish to food pantries, soup kitchens, or other non-profit organizations. In some states, state agencies have assisted in the transfer of fish to food banks, but this assistance is being withdrawn. However, NMFS concludes that these new regulations do not impose any significant burden on first receivers as they are consistent with current first receiver practices and with prior practices established under the 2007-2010 whiting EFPs.

    This action will clarify the regulatory requirements for vessels using midwater trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Shorebased Individual Fishery Quota Program. This action is needed to eliminate inconsistencies and confusion in the current regulations. For vessels targeting Pacific whiting, the action would clarify that the retention of prohibited and protected species is allowed until landing. The disposition of prohibited and protected species would be specified consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable law.

    The NMFS Guidelines for Economic Analysis of Fishery Management Actions suggest two criteria to consider in determining the significance of regulatory impacts, namely, disproportionality and profitability. As this final rule is intended to clarify the regulations, available information does not indicate that there will be a significant impact in terms of disproportionality and profitability when comparing small versus large businesses. Copies of the Small Entity Compliance Guide prepared for this final rule are available on the West Coast Region's Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/.

    This final rule contains a new collection of information requirement subject to review under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) which was approved by OMB under collection 0648-0619. The public reporting burden for first receivers to retain records showing the disposition of prohibited and protected species is estimated to average 1 minute per response.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to 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.

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this action is consistent with policy decisions that the Council made during the implementation of Amendment 20 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, which was developed after meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials from the area covered by the groundfish FMP. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council must be a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized fishing rights from the area of the Council's jurisdiction. The proposed regulations do not have a direct effect on the tribes. This rule eliminates redundancies and inconsistencies with state law relative to the use of midwater trawl gear and does not have a direct effect on tribes.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries.

    Dated: December 7, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows:

    PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

    2. In § 660.11: a. Add in alphabetical order a definition for “Protected species”; b. Remove the definition of “Trawl fishery”; and c. Add in alphabetical order a definition for “Trawl fishery or Limited entry trawl fishery”.

    The additions read as follows:

    § 660.11 General definitions.

    Protected species means those species, other than prohibited species, that are protected under Federal law, including species listed under the Endangered Species Act, marine mammals protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Species that are both protected and prohibited are considered prohibited species for purposes of this part.

    Trawl fishery or Limited entry trawl fishery means the groundfish limited entry trawl fishery referred to in subparts C and D, which is composed of vessels registered to a limited entry permit with a trawl endorsement and vessels registered to an MS permit. The trawl fishery is comprised of the following sectors: Catcher/Processor, Mothership, and Shorebased IFQ. The trawl fishery does not include the non-groundfish trawl fisheries, which are all within the open access fishery.

    3. In § 660.12, revise paragraphs (a)(1), (10), and (11) to read as follows:
    § 660.12 General groundfish prohibitions.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Retain any prohibited or protected species caught by means of fishing gear authorized under this subpart, unless otherwise authorized. Except as otherwise authorized, prohibited and protected species must be returned to the sea as soon as practicable with a minimum of injury when caught and brought on board.

    (10) Transfer fish to another vessel at sea unless the vessel transferring fish is participating in the MS Coop or C/P Coop Programs.

    (11) Fail to remove all fish from the vessel at landing (defined in § 660.11) and prior to beginning a new fishing trip, except for processing vessels participating in the MS Coop or C/P Coop Programs.

    4. In § 660.55, revise paragraphs (c)(1)(i)(A) through (C) to read as follows:
    § 660.55 Allocations.

    (c) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) Darkblotched rockfish. Allocate 9 percent or 25 mt, whichever is greater, of the total trawl allocation of darkblotched rockfish to the Pacific whiting fishery (MS sector, C/P sector, and Shorebased IFQ sectors). The distribution of allocation of darkblotched to each of these sectors will be done pro rata relative to the sector's allocation of the commercial harvest guideline for Pacific whiting. After deducting allocations for the Pacific whiting fishery, the remaining trawl allocation is allocated to the Shorebased IFQ sector.

    (B) Pacific Ocean Perch (POP). Allocate 17 percent or 30 mt, whichever is greater, of the total trawl allocation of POP to the Pacific whiting fishery (MS sector, C/P sector, and Shorebased IFQ sector). The distribution of POP to each sector will be done pro rata relative to the sector's allocation of the commercial harvest guideline for Pacific whiting. After deducting allocations for the Pacific whiting fishery, the remaining trawl allocation is allocated to Shorebased IFQ sector.

    (C) Widow rockfish. Allocate 52 percent of the total trawl allocation of widow rockfish to the Pacific whiting fishery if the stock is under rebuilding, or 10 percent of the total trawl allocation or 500 mt of the trawl allocation, whichever is greater, if the stock is rebuilt. The distribution of the trawl allocation of widow to each sector will be done pro rata relative to the sector's allocation of the commercial harvest guideline for Pacific whiting. After deducting allocations for the Pacific whiting sectors, the remaining trawl allocation is allocated to Shorebased IFQ sector.

    5. In § 660.60, revise paragraphs (c)(3)(i) and (d) and remove and reserve paragraph (e).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 660.60 Specifications and management measures.

    (c) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (i) Depth-based management measures. Depth-based management measures, particularly closed areas known as Groundfish Conservation Areas, may be implemented in any fishery sector that takes groundfish directly or incidentally. Depth-based management measures are set using specific boundary lines that approximate depth contours with latitude/longitude waypoints found at §§ 660.70 through 660.74. Depth-based management measures and closed areas may be used for the following conservation objectives: To protect and rebuild overfished stocks; to prevent the overfishing of any groundfish species by minimizing the direct or incidental catch of that species; or to minimize the incidental harvest of any protected or prohibited species taken in the groundfish fishery. Depth-based management measures and closed areas may be used for the following economic objectives: To extend the fishing season; for the commercial fisheries, to minimize disruption of traditional fishing and marketing patterns; for the recreational fisheries, to spread the available catch over a large number of anglers; to discourage target fishing while allowing small incidental catches to be landed; and to allow small fisheries to operate outside the normal season. BRAs may be implemented as an automatic action in the Pacific whiting fishery consistent with paragraph (d)(1) of this section. BRAs may be implemented as a routine action for vessels using midwater groundfish trawl gear consistent with the purposes for implementing depth-based management and the setting of closed areas as described in this paragraph.

    (d) Automatic actions. Automatic management actions may be initiated by the NMFS Regional Administrator or designee without prior public notice, opportunity to comment, or a Council meeting. These actions are nondiscretionary, and the impacts must have been taken into account prior to the action. Unless otherwise stated, a single notice will be published in the Federal Register making the action effective if good cause exists under the APA to waive notice and comment.

    (1) Automatic actions are used to:

    (i) Close the MS or C/P sector when that sector's Pacific whiting allocation is reached, or is projected to be reached. The MS sector non-coop fishery may be closed by automatic action when the Pacific whiting or non-whiting allocation to the non-coop fishery has been reached or is projected to be reached.

    (ii) Close one or both MS and C/P sectors when a non-whiting groundfish species with allocations is reached or projected to be reached.

    (iii) Reapportion unused allocations of non-whiting groundfish species between the MS and C/P sectors.

    (iv) Reapportion the unused portion of the tribal allocation of Pacific whiting to the MS sector, C/P sector, and Shorebased IFQ sector.

    (v) Implement the Ocean Salmon Conservation Zone, described at § 660.131, when NMFS projects the Pacific whiting fishery and the tribal whiting fishery combined will take in excess of 11,000 Chinook within a calendar year.

    (vi) Implement BRAs, described at § 660.131, when NMFS projects a sector-specific allocation will be reached before the sector's whiting allocation.

    (2) Automatic actions are effective when actual notice is sent by NMFS identifying the effective time and date. Actual notice to fishers and processors will be by email, Internet www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/fishery_management/groundfish/public_notices/recent_public_notices.html), phone, letter, or press release. Allocation reapportionments will be followed by publication in the Federal Register, in which public comment will be sought for a reasonable period of time thereafter.

    6. In § 660.100, revise the first sentence to read as follows:
    § 660.100 Purpose and scope.

    This subpart applies to the Pacific coast groundfish limited entry trawl fishery. * * *

    7. In § 660.111: a. Remove the definition for “Catcher/Processor Coop Program or C/P Coop Program”; b. Add definition for “Catcher/Processor Coop Program or C/P Coop sector”; c. Add in alphabetical order a definition for “Maximized retention”; d. Revise the definition for “Mothership Coop Program or MS Coop Program”; e. Add a definition for “Mothership Coop Program or MS Coop sector”; f. Add in alphabetical order a definition for “Pacific whiting fishery”; and g. Revise the definitions for “Pacific whiting IFQ fishery,” “Pacific whiting IFQ trip,” and “Shorebased IFQ Program”.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 660.111 Trawl fishery—definitions.

    Catcher/Processor (C/P) Coop Program or C/P sector, refers to the fishery described at § 660.160, subpart D. The C/P Coop Program is composed of vessels registered to a limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement and a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector.

    Maximized retention means a vessel retains all catch from a trip until landing, subject to the specifications of this subpart.

    Mothership (MS) Coop Program or MS sector refers to the fishery described at § 660.150, subpart D, and includes both the coop and non-coop fisheries. The MS Coop Program is composed of motherships with MS permits and catcher vessels registered to a limited entry permit with an MS/CV endorsement and a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector. The MS Coop Program also includes vessels registered to a limited entry permit without an MS/CV endorsement if the vessel is authorized to harvest the MS sector's allocation and has a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector.

    Pacific whiting fishery refers to the Pacific whiting primary season fisheries described at § 660.131. The Pacific whiting fishery is composed of vessels participating in the C/P Coop Program, the MS Coop Program, or the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery.

    Pacific whiting IFQ fishery is composed of vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips.

    Pacific whiting IFQ trip means a trip in which a vessel uses midwater groundfish trawl gear during the dates of the Pacific whiting primary season to target Pacific whiting, and Pacific whiting constitutes 50 percent or more of the catch by weight at landing as reported on the state landing receipt. Vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips must have a valid declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ.

    Shorebased IFQ Program or Shorebased IFQ sector, refers to the fishery described at § 660.140, subpart D, and includes all vessels on IFQ trips.

    8. In § 660.112, revise paragraphs (a)(2), (b)(1)(viii) through (x), and (b)(2)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 660.112 Trawl fishery—prohibitions.

    (a) * * *

    (2) Sorting, retention, and disposition. (i) Fail to sort, retain, discard, or dispose of catch consistent with the requirements specified at §§ 660.130(d), 660.140 (b)(2)(iii) and (viii), 660.140(g), and 660.140(j)(2).

    (ii) Fail to sort, retain, discard, or dispose of prohibited and protected species from maximized retention landings consistent with the requirements specified at § 660.140(g)(3).

    (iii) Retain for personal use or allow to reach commercial markets any part of any prohibited or protected species.

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (viii) Fish on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip with a gear other than midwater groundfish trawl gear.

    (ix) Fish on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip without a valid declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ.

    (x) Use midwater groundfish trawl gear Pacific whiting IFQ fishery primary season dates as specified at § 660.131(b).

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Fail to sort or dispose of catch received from an IFQ trip in accordance with the requirements of §§ 660.130(d) and 660.140(g)(3).

    9. In § 660.130: a. Revise paragraphs (a), (c)(3), and (c)(4)(i)(A) through (E); b. Remove paragraph (c)(4)(i)(F); c. Revise paragraphs (d)(2)(i), (d)(3), (e) introductory text, and (e)(4)(i) and (ii); and d. Add paragraphs (e)(6) and (7).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 660.130 Trawl fishery—management measures.

    (a) General. This section applies to the limited entry trawl fishery. Most species taken in the limited entry trawl fishery will be managed with quotas (see § 660.140), allocations or set-asides (see § 660.150 or § 660.160), or cumulative trip limits (see trip limits in Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of this subpart), size limits (see § 660.60 (h)(5), subpart C), seasons (see Pacific whiting at § 660.131(b), subpart D), gear restrictions (see paragraph (b) of this section) and closed areas (see paragraph (e) of this section and §§ 660.70 through 660.79, subpart C). The limited entry trawl fishery has gear requirements and harvest limits that differ by the type of groundfish trawl gear on board and the area fished. Groundfish vessels operating south of Point Conception must adhere to CCA restrictions (see paragraph (e)(1) of this section and § 660.70, subpart C). The trip limits in Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of this subpart applies to vessels participating in the limited entry trawl fishery and may not be exceeded. Federal commercial groundfish regulations are not intended to supersede any more restrictive state commercial groundfish regulations relating to federally-managed groundfish.

    (c) * * *

    (3) Fishing with midwater groundfish trawl gear. (i) North of 40°10′ N. lat., midwater groundfish trawl gear is required for Pacific whiting fishery vessels; midwater groundfish trawl gear is allowed for vessels targeting non-whiting species during the Pacific whiting primary season for the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery. Also see restrictions on the use of midwater groundfish trawl gear within the RCAs north of 40°10′ N. lat. at § 660.130(e)(4)(i).

    (ii) South of 40°10′ N. lat., midwater groundfish trawl gear is prohibited shoreward of the RCA boundaries and permitted seaward of the RCA boundaries.

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) A vessel may not have both groundfish trawl gear and non-groundfish trawl gear onboard simultaneously. A vessel may not have both bottom groundfish trawl gear and midwater groundfish trawl gear onboard simultaneously. A vessel may have more than one type of limited entry bottom trawl gear on board, either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period. A vessel may have more than one type of midwater groundfish trawl gear on board, either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period.

    (B) If a vessel fishes exclusively with large or small footrope trawl gear during an entire cumulative limit period, the vessel is subject to the small or large footrope trawl gear cumulative limits and that vessel must fish seaward of the RCA boundaries during that limit period.

    (C) If a vessel fishes exclusively with selective flatfish trawl gear during an entire cumulative limit period, then the vessel is subject to the selective flatfish trawl gear-cumulative limits during that limit period, regardless of whether the vessel is fishing shoreward or seaward of the RCA boundaries.

    (D) If more than one type of bottom groundfish trawl gear (selective flatfish, large footrope, or small footrope) is on board, either simultaneously or successively, at any time during a cumulative limit period, then the most restrictive cumulative limit associated with the bottom groundfish trawl gear on board during that cumulative limit period applies for the entire cumulative limit period, regardless of whether the vessel is fishing shoreward or seaward of the RCA.

    (E) If a vessel fishes both north and south of 40°10′ N. lat. with any type of small footrope gear onboard the vessel at any time during the cumulative limit period, the most restrictive trip limit associated with the gear on board applies for that trip and will count toward the cumulative trip limit for that gear (See crossover provisions at § 660.120.)

    (d) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) First receivers. Fish landed at IFQ first receivers (including shoreside processing facilities and buying stations that intend to transport catch for processing elsewhere) must be sorted, prior to first weighing after offloading from the vessel and prior to transport away from the point of landing, with the following exception: Catch from a Pacific whiting IFQ trip may be sorted after weighing as specified at § 660.140(j)(2).

    (3) Sorting requirements for the MS Coop and the C/P Coop Programs. (i) Processing vessels in the MS and C/P Coop Programs may use a bulk weighing scale in compliance with the equipment requirement at § 660.15(b) to derive an accurate total catch weight prior to sorting. Immediately following weighing of the total catch, the catch must be sorted to the species groups specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section and all catch of-groundfish and non-groundfish species must be accurately accounted for and the weight of all catch other than a single predominant species deducted from the total catch weight to derive the weight of a single predominant species.

    (ii) If sorting occurs on a catcher vessel in the MS Coop Program, the catch must not be discarded from the vessel and the vessel must not mix catch from hauls until the observer has sampled the catch.

    (e) Groundfish conservation areas (GCAs) applicable to trawl vessels. A GCA, a type of closed area, is a geographic area defined by coordinates expressed in degrees of latitude and longitude. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the GCA boundaries are specified at §§ 660.70 through 660.74. A vessel that is fishing within a GCA listed in this paragraph (e) with trawl gear authorized for use within a GCA may not have any other type of trawl gear on board the vessel. The following GCAs apply to vessels participating in the limited entry trawl fishery. Additional closed areas that specifically apply to vessels using midwater groundfish trawl gear are described at § 660.131(c).

    (4) * * *

    (i) Operating a vessel with groundfish trawl gear onboard within a trawl RCA is prohibited, except for the purpose of continuous transit, or under the following conditions when the vessel has a valid declaration for the allowed fishing:

    (A) Midwater groundfish trawl gear may be used within the RCAs north of 40°10′ N. lat. by vessels targeting Pacific whiting or non-whiting during the applicable Pacific whiting primary season.

    (B) Vessels fishing with demersal seine gear between 38° N. lat. and 36° N. lat. shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour as defined at § 660.73, subpart C, may have groundfish trawl gear onboard.

    (ii) Trawl vessels may transit through an applicable GCA, with or without groundfish on board, provided all groundfish trawl gear is stowed either: Below deck; or if the gear cannot readily be moved, in a secured and covered manner, detached from all towing lines, so that it is rendered unusable for fishing; or remaining on deck uncovered if the trawl doors are hung from their stanchions and the net is disconnected from the doors. These restrictions do not apply to vessels allowed to fish within the trawl RCA under paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section.

    (6) Bycatch reduction areas (BRAs). Vessels using midwater groundfish trawl gear during the applicable Pacific whiting primary season may be prohibited from fishing shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 75 fm (137 m), 100 fm (183 m) or 150 fm (274 m) depth contours.

    (7) Eureka management area midwater trawl trip limits. No more than 10,000-lb (4,536 kg) of whiting may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished with midwater groundfish trawl gear in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour in the Eureka management area.

    10. In § 660.131, revise paragraphs (a), (b)(1), (b)(2) introductory text, (b)(2)(i) and (ii), (b)(2)(iii) introductory text, (b)(3) introductory text, (b)(3)(ii), (c) introductory text, (c)(4), (d), and (h)(2) to read as follows:
    § 660.131 Pacific whiting fishery management measures.

    (a) General. This section applies to the MS sector, the C/P sector, the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, and Shorebased IFQ vessels targeting Pacific whiting under trip limits outside the Pacific whiting primary season.

    (b) Pacific whiting primary seasons and Pacific whiting trip limits—(1) Pacific whiting fishery primary seasons. (i) For the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, the primary season is the period(s) of the large-scale Pacific whiting target fishery conducted after the primary season start date.

    (ii) For the C/P sector, the primary season is the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing are allowed (after the season closes, at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue).

    (iii) For vessels delivering to motherships, the primary season is the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing is allowed for the MS sector (after the season closes, at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue).

    (2) Different primary season start dates. North of 40°30′ N. lat., different primary season starting dates may be established for the C/P Coop Program, the MS Coop Program, and the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery for vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers north of 42° N. lat. and vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers between 42° and 40°30′ N. lat.

    (i) Procedures. The Pacific whiting primary seasons north of 40°30′ N. lat. generally will be established according to the procedures of the PCGFMP for developing and implementing harvest specifications and apportionments. The season opening dates remain in effect unless changed.

    (ii) Criteria. The start of a Pacific whiting primary season may be changed based on a recommendation from the Council and consideration of the following factors, if applicable: Size of the harvest guidelines for whiting and bycatch species; age/size structure of the whiting population; expected harvest of bycatch and prohibited species; availability and stock status of prohibited species; expected participation by catchers and processors; the period between when catcher vessels make annual processor obligations and the start of the fishery; environmental conditions; timing of alternate or competing fisheries; industry agreement; fishing or processing rates; and other relevant information.

    (iii) Primary whiting season start dates and duration. After the start of a primary season for a sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, the primary season remains open for that sector until the sector allocation of whiting or non-whiting groundfish (with allocations) is reached or projected to be reached and the primary season for that sector is closed by NMFS. The starting dates for the primary seasons are as follows:

    (3) Pacific whiting trip limits. For Shorebased IFQ Program vessels targeting Pacific whiting outside the primary season, the “per trip” limit for whiting is announced in Table 1 of this subpart. The per-trip limit is a routine management measure under § 660.60(c). This trip limit includes any whiting caught shoreward of 100 fm (183 m) in the Eureka management-area. The per-trip limit for other groundfish species are announced in Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart and apply as follows:

    (ii) If a vessel on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip harvests a groundfish species other than whiting for which there is a midwater trip limit, then that vessel may also harvest up to another footrope-specific limit for that species during any cumulative limit period that overlaps the start or close of the primary season.

    (c) Closed areas. Vessels fishing during the Pacific whiting primary seasons shall not target Pacific whiting with midwater groundfish trawl gear in the following portions of the fishery management area:

    (4) Bycatch reduction areas (BRAs). Bycatch reduction area closures specified at § 660.130(e) may be implemented inseason through automatic action when NMFS projects that a Pacific whiting sector will exceed an allocation for a non-whiting groundfish species specified for that sector before the sector's whiting allocation is projected to be reached.

    (d) Eureka management area trip limits. Trip landing or frequency limits may be established, modified, or removed under § 660.60 or this paragraph, specifying the amount of Pacific whiting that may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fathom (183 m) contour in the Eureka management area. Unless otherwise specified, no more than 10,000-lb (4,536 kg) of whiting may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fm (183 m) contour in the Eureka management area.

    (h) * * *

    (2) The reapportionment of surplus whiting will be made by actual notice under the automatic action authority provided at § 660.60(d)(1).

    11. In § 660.140, revise paragraph (a) introductory text, (b)(2)(i) through (iii), (g), and (j)(2)(viii) to read as follows:
    § 660.140 Shorebased IFQ Program.

    (a) General. The regulations in this section apply to the Shorebased IFQ Program. The Shorebased IFQ Program includes a system of transferable QS for most groundfish species or species groups, IBQ for Pacific halibut, and trip limits or set-asides for the remaining groundfish species or species groups. NMFS will issue a QS permit to eligible participants and will establish a QS account for each QS permit owner to track the amount of QS or IBQ and QP or IBQ pounds owned by that owner. QS permit owners may own QS or IBQ for IFQ species, expressed as a percent of the allocation to the Shorebased IFQ Program for that species. NMFS will issue QP or IBQ pounds to QS permit owners, expressed in pounds, on an annual basis, to be deposited in the corresponding QS account. NMFS will establish a vessel account for each eligible vessel owner participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program, which is independent of the QS permit and QS account. In order to use QP or IBQ pounds, a QS permit owner must transfer the QP or IBQ pounds from the QS account into the vessel account for the vessel to which the QP or IBQ pounds is to be assigned. Harvests of IFQ species may only be delivered to an IFQ first receiver with a first receiver site license. In addition to the requirements of this section, the Shorebased IFQ Program is subject to the following groundfish regulations of subparts C and D:

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) Ensure that all catch removed from a vessel making an IFQ delivery is weighed on a scale or scales meeting the requirements described in § 660.15(c).

    (ii) Ensure that all catch is landed, sorted, and weighed in accordance with a valid catch monitoring plan as described in § 660.140(f)(3)(iii).

    (iii) Ensure that all catch is sorted, prior to first weighing, as specified at § 660.130(d) and consistent with § 660.140(j)(2)(viii).

    (g) Retention and disposition requirements—(1) General. Shorebased IFQ Program vessels may discard IFQ species/species groups, provided such discards are accounted for and deducted from QP in the vessel account. With the exception of vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips engaged in maximized retention, prohibited and protected species must be discarded at sea; Pacific halibut must be discarded as soon as practicable and the discard mortality must be accounted for and deducted from IBQ pounds in the vessel account. Non-IFQ species and non-groundfish species may be discarded at sea. The sorting of catch, the weighing and discarding of any IBQ and IFQ species, and the retention of IFQ species must be monitored by the observer.

    (2) Maximized retention for Pacific whiting IFQ trips. Vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips may engage in maximized retention. Maximized retention allows for the discard minor operational amounts of catch at sea if the observer has accounted for the discard. Vessels engaged in maximized retention must retain prohibited species until landing. Protected species may be retained until landing except as provided under paragraph (g)(3) of this section. Pacific halibut must be accounted for and deducted from IBQ pounds in the vessel account.

    (3) Disposition of prohibited species and protected species in maximized retention landings—(i) Prohibited species handling and disposition. To ensure compliance with fishery regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subparts E and F, and part 600, subpart H; with the Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan; and with the Pacific Halibut Catch Share Plan; the handling and disposition of all prohibited species in maximized retention landings are the responsibility of the first receiver and must be consistent with the following requirements:

    (A) Any prohibited species landed at first receivers must not be transferred, processed, or mixed with another landing until the catch monitor has: recorded the number and weight of salmon by species; inspected all prohibited species for tags or marks; and, collected biological data, specimens, and genetic samples.

    (B) No part of any prohibited species may be retained for personal use by a vessel owner or crew member, or by a first receiver or processing crew member. No part of any prohibited species may be allowed to reach commercial markets.

    (C) Prohibited species suitable for human consumption at landing must be handled and stored to preserve the quality. Priority in disposition must be given to the donation to surplus food collection and distribution system operated and established to assist in bringing donated food to nonprofit charitable organizations and individuals for the purpose of reducing hunger and meeting nutritional needs.

    (D) The first receiver must report all prohibited species landings on the electronic fish ticket and is responsible for maintaining records verifying the disposition of prohibited species. Records on catch disposition may include, but are not limited to: Receipts from charitable organizations that include the organization's name and amount of catch donated; cargo manifests setting forth the origin, weight, and destination of all prohibited species; or disposal receipts identifying the recipient organization and amount disposed. Any such records must be maintained for a period not less than three years after the date of disposal and such records must be provided to OLE upon request.

    (ii) Protected Species handling and disposition. All protected species must be abandoned to NMFS or the US Fish and Wildlife Service or disposed of consistent with paragraphs (g)(3)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section. No part of any protected species may be retained for personal use by a vessel owner or crew member, or by a first receiver or processing crew member. No part of any protected species may be allowed to reach commercial markets.

    (A) Eulachon and green sturgeon. Must be sorted and reported by species on electronic fish tickets and state landing receipts and may not be reported in unspecified categories. Whole body specimens of green sturgeon must be retained, frozen, stored separately by delivery, and labeled with the vessel name, electronic fish ticket number, and date of landing. Arrangements for transferring the specimens must be made by contacting NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center at 831-420-3903 within 72 hours after the completion of the offload.

    (B) Seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. Albatross must reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 541-867-4558 extension 237 or 503-231-6179) as soon as possible and directions for surrendering must be followed. Marine mammals and sea turtles must be reported to NMFS as soon as possible (206-526-6550) and directions for surrendering or disposal must be followed. Whole body specimens must labeled with the vessel name, electronic fish ticket number, and date of landing. Whole body specimens must be kept frozen or on ice until arrangements for surrendering or disposing are completed. Unless directed otherwise, after reporting is completed, seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles may be disposed by incinerating, rendering, composting, or returning the carcasses to sea.

    (j) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (viii) Pacific whiting IFQ trips. Immediately following weighing of the total catch and prior to processing or transport away from the point of landing, the catch must be sorted to the species groups specified at § 660.130(d) and all catch other than the target species (groundfish and non groundfish species) must be accurately weighed and the weight of non-target species deducted from the total catch weight to derive the weight of a single predominant species. Catch from a Pacific whiting IFQ trip may be sorted after weighing and the weight of a single predominant species determined by deducting the weight of all other species from the total weight of the landing, provided that:

    (A) The unsorted catch is weighed on a bulk weighing scale in compliance with equipment requirements at § 660.15(c);

    (B) All catch (groundfish and non-groundfish species) in the landing other than the single predominant species is reweighed on a scale in compliance with equipment requirements at § 660.15(c) and the reweighed catch is deducted from the total weight of the landing;

    (C) The catch is sorted to the species groups specified at § 660.130(d) prior to processing or transport away from the point of landing; and

    (D) Prohibited species are sorted by species, counted, and weighed.

    12. In § 660.405, revise paragraph (a) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 660.405 Prohibitions.

    (a) In addition to the general prohibitions specified in § 600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to do any of the following, except as otherwise authorized under this part:

    [FR Doc. 2015-31363 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791-4999-02] RIN 0648-XE354 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pacific Cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; reallocation.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amount of Pacific cod from catcher vessels using trawl gear to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska management area (GOA). This action is necessary to allow the 2015 total allowable catch of Pacific cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA to be harvested.

    DATES:

    Effective December 10, 2015, through 2400 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the Gulf of Alaska exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (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. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680.

    The 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) specified for catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 18,933 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015). The Administrator, Alaska Region (Regional Administrator) has determined that catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will not be able to harvest 2,000 mt of the 2015 Pacific cod TAC allocated to those vessels under § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(B).

    In accordance with § 679.20(a)(12)(ii)(B), the Regional Administrator has also determined that vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA currently have the capacity to harvest this excess allocation and reallocates 2,000 mt to vessels using pot gear.

    The harvest specifications for Pacific cod in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA included in the final 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2014) are revised as follows: 16,933 mt for catcher vessels using trawl gear and 14,660 mt for vessels using pot gear.

    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 reallocation of Pacific cod specified from catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. Since the fishery is currently ongoing, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 8, 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: December 9, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31386 Filed 12-9-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 239 Monday, December 14, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 983 [Doc. No. AMS-FV-15-0038; FV15-983-1 PR] Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico; Increased Assessment Rate AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2015-16 and subsequent production years from $0.0005 to $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios handled under the marketing order for pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Committee locally administers the order and is comprised of producers and handlers of pistachios operating within the area of production. Assessments upon pistachio handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The production year begins on September 1 and ends August 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by December 29, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposed 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 docket 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 proposed 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:

    Peter Sommers, Marketing Specialist, or Martin Engeler, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, 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 proposed rule is issued under Marketing Agreement and Order No. 983, as amended (7 CFR part 983), regulating the handling of pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico, 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 proposed rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175.

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachio handlers are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as proposed herein would be applicable to all assessable pistachios beginning on September 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 proposed rule would increase the assessment rate for the 2015-16 and subsequent production years from $0.0005 to $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios.

    The California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachio 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 California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachios. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with the costs of 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 2011-12 and subsequent production years, the Committee recommended, and the USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from production year to production year unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.

    The Committee met on July 9, 2015 and October 20, 2015 and unanimously recommended 2015-16 production year expenditures of $1,056,402 and an assessment rate of $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios handled to fund Committee expenses. This represents an increase over the prior year's budget and assessment rate. In comparison, last year's budgeted expenditures were $1,001,400. The assessment rate of $0.0035 is $0.0030 higher than the rate currently in effect. The Committee's recommended 2015-16 expenditures are $55,002 higher than last year's budgeted expenditures. The reasons for the proposed increase include a significant increase in budgeted expenses in 2015 over actual expenses in 2014, a significantly smaller crop estimate in 2015, and allocation of funds for Sterile Insect Technology/Navel Orange Worm (SIT/NOW) research. When applied to the Committee's crop estimate for the 2015-16 production year of 265 million pounds, the current assessment rate of $0.0005 would not generate sufficient income to cover anticipated expenses. The proposed assessment rate of $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios would generate assessment income of $927,500. Anticipated assessment income combined with financial reserves and other income would provide sufficient revenue for the Committee to meet its budgeted expenses while maintaining its financial reserve within the limit authorized under the order.

    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015-16 production year include $560,000 for SIT/NOW research, $92,402 for administrative expenses, $314,000 for salary and related employee expenses, $10,000 for compliance expenses, and $80,000 for a contingency fund. Budgeted expenses in 2014-15 were $360,000 for Technical Assistance Specialty Crop (TASC) Program research, $125,000 for other research, $117,400 for administrative expenses, $314,000 for salary and related employee expenses, $10,000 for compliance expenses, and $75,000 for a contingency fund. Actual expenses in 2014-15 were significantly lower, at $547,199, as the TASC research was not funded.

    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by considering anticipated expenses and production levels of California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachios, and other pertinent factors. As mentioned earlier, pistachio production levels are estimated at 265 million pounds, which should generate $927,500 in assessment income. Anticipated assessment income derived from handler assessments, along with other income and financial reserves would provide sufficient revenue for the Committee to meet its budgeted expenses while maintaining its financial reserve within the limit authorized under the order. The significant increase in the assessment rate is due to a significant increase in budgeted expenses in 2015 over actual expenses in 2014, and also a significantly smaller crop estimate in 2015. The financial reserve is estimated to be $239,994 at the end of the 2015-16 production year.

    The proposed assessment rate would continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon a recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information.

    Although this assessment rate would be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee would continue to meet prior to or during each production year 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 would evaluate the Committee's recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking would be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2015-16 budget and those for subsequent production years would 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 proposed 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 1,152 producers of pistachios in the production area and approximately 19 handlers subject to regulation under the marketing order. Small agricultural producers are defined by the Small Business Administration as those having annual receipts of 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).

    Based on Committee data, it is estimated that about 47 percent of the handlers annually ship less than $7,000,000 worth of pistachios, and it is also estimated that 68 percent of the producers have annual receipts less than $750,000. Thus, the majority of handlers in the production area may be classified as large entities, and the majority of producers may be classified as small entities.

    This proposal would increase the assessment rate collected from handlers for the 2015-16 and subsequent production years from $0.0005 to $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios. The Committee unanimously recommended 2015-16 expenditures of $1,056,402 and an assessment rate of $0.0035 per pound of assessed weight pistachios. The proposed assessment rate of $0.0035 is $0.0030 higher than the 2014-15 rate. The quantity of assessable pistachios for the 2015-16 production year is estimated at 265 million pounds. Thus, the $0.0035 rate should provide $927,500 in assessment income. Anticipated assessment income derived from handler assessments, along with other income and financial reserves would provide sufficient revenue for the Committee to meet its budgeted expenses while maintaining its financial reserve authorized under the order which is approximately two production years' budgeted expenses.

    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2015-16 production year include $560,000 for SIT/NOW research, $92,401 for administrative expenses, $314,000 for salary and related employee expenses, $10,000 for compliance expenses, and $80,000 for a contingency fund. Budgeted expenses in 2014-15 were $360,000 for TASC Program research, $125,000 for other research, $117,400 for administrative expenses, $314,000 for salary and related employee expenses, $10,000 for compliance expenses, and $75,000 for a contingency fund. The reasons for the proposed increase include a significant increase in budgeted expenses in 2015 over actual expenses in 2014, a significantly smaller crop estimate in 2015, and allocation of funds for Sterile Insect Technology/Navel Orange Worm (SIT/NOW) research.

    Prior to arriving at this budget and assessment rate, the Committee considered alternative expenditure levels but ultimately determined that 2015-16 expenditures of $1,056,402 were appropriate and that the current assessment rate would generate insufficient revenue to meet its expenses.

    According to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the season average producer price was $3.48 per pound of assessed weight pistachios in 2013 and $3.10 per pound in 2014. A review of historical information and preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming production year indicates that the producer price for the 2015-16 production year could range between $3.48 and $3.10 per pound of assessed weight pistachios. Therefore, the estimated assessment revenue for the 2015-16 production year as a percentage of total producer revenue could range between 0.10 and 0.11 percent.

    This action would increase the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. These costs would be offset by the benefits derived from the operation of the marketing order. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachio industry, and all interested persons were invited to attend and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the July 9, 2015, and October 20, 2015, meetings were public and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed 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. 0581-0215. 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 proposed rule would impose no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachio 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 action.

    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/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Jeffrey Smutny at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    A 15-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposed rule. Fifteen days is deemed appropriate because: (1) The 2015-16 production year began on September 1, 2015, and the marketing order requires that the rate of assessment for each production year apply to all assessable pistachios handled during such production year; (2) the Committee needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses, which are incurred on a continuous basis; and (3) handlers are aware of this action, which was unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 983

    Marketing agreements, Pistachios, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 983 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 983—PISTACHIOS GROWN IN CALIFORNIA, ARIZONA, AND NEW MEXICO 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 983 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    2. Revise § 983.253(a) to read as follows:
    § 983.253 Assessment rate.

    (a) On and after September 1, 2015, an assessment rate of $0.0035 per pound is established for California, Arizona, and New Mexico pistachios.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31371 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-6550; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-162-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 90-11-05 for certain Airbus Model A300 series airplanes and Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes. AD 90-11-05 currently requires repetitive detailed inspections for cracking in the aft hinge brackets of the outer shroud box that is located in the outer wing box, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. Since we issued AD 90-11-05, we have determined that a change to certain compliance times is needed. This proposed AD would continue to require doing repetitive detailed inspections for cracking in the hinge brackets of the forward and aft outer shroud boxes that are located in the outer wing box, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary; and would add airplanes to the applicability. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the aft hinge brackets of the outer shroud box; such cracking could affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by January 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    • Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-6550; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-6550; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-162-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    On May 4, 1990, we issued AD 90-11-05, Amendment 39-6603 (55 FR 20129, May 15, 1990). AD 90-11-05 requires actions intended to address an unsafe condition on certain Airbus Model A300 series airplanes and Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes.

    Since we issued AD 90-11-05, Amendment 39-6603 (55 FR 20129, May 15, 1990), we have determined that a change to certain compliance times is needed.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0818R1, dated August 20, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Model A300 series airplanes and Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    In the past, aft hinge brackets of the outer wing box were found cracked. Fracture of a bracket would allow vertical movement of the inner shroud box structure, which could result in damage to the top skin of the inboard flap. In addition, the loads carried by the brackets will be transferred to the remaining supports, which may also crack and cause extensive structural damage.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, DGAC [Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile] France issued AD 1998-449-265(B) (later revised) to require repetitive inspections of the hinge bracket of the outer box and, depending on findings, corrective action(s).

    Since that [DGAC] AD was issued, a fleet survey and updated Fatigue and Damage Tolerance analysis were performed in order to substantiate the A300 Extended Service Goal (ESG) and A300-600 Extended Service Goal (ESG2) exercise.

    The results of these analyses led to a change in the inspection thresholds and intervals in Flight Cycles (FC) and the introduction of Flight Hours (FH) limits.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD retains the requirements of DGAC France AD 1998-449-265(B)R1, which is superseded, but requires those actions within the new thresholds and intervals given by Airbus Service Bulletin (SB) A300-57-0142 Revision 04 or A300-57-6010 Revision 05, as applicable to aeroplane model.

    Revision 1 of this [EASA] AD is issued to add model A300B4-203 aeroplanes to the applicability and compliance time tables. This model is covered by Airbus SB A300-57-0142, but was mistakenly omitted from the original [EASA] AD issue.

    The corrective action for a hinge bracket that is cracked or fractured is replacing the damaged hinge bracket with a new bracket.

    For airplanes on which a crack is found in one half bracket or both half brackets, related investigative actions include a general visual inspection for secondary damage (e.g., cracks, wear damage, pitting, and gouging) in the following areas:

    • The inner shroud-box forward attachments and the attachment brackets at the inboard end.

    • The inner and outer shroud-box structure, adjacent to the fractured bracket.

    • The top skin of the inboard flap.

    The corrective action for damage findings during the related investigative action is repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

    The compliance time for related investigative actions and corrective actions is before further flight.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-6550.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed the following service information.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0142, Revision 04, dated March 30, 2011, which describes procedures for doing an inspection of the forward and aft hinge brackets on the outer shroud box.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 05, dated February 21, 2011, which describes procedures for doing an inspection of the forward and aft hinge brackets on the outer shroud box.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6011, Revision 2, dated July 10, 1989, which describes procedures for replacing the aft aluminum alloy brackets on the outer shroud box with new steel brackets.

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

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

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

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the MCAI or Service Information

    Although the MCAI or service information allows further flight after cracks are found during compliance with the required action, paragraph (g) of this proposed AD would require replacement of any cracked hinge bracket of the outer shroud box before further flight. This replacement before further flight is due to the safety implications and consequences of such cracking.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 3 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Inspection 8 work-hours × $85 per hour = $680 per inspection cycle $0 $680 per inspection cycle $2,040 per inspection cycle.

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Replacement 27 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,295 $25,650 $27,945

    We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition related investigative and corrective actions specified in this proposed AD.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 90-11-05, Amendment 39-6603 (55 FR 20129, May 15, 1990), and adding the following new AD: Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2015-6550; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-162-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by January 28, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 90-11-05, Amendment 39-6603 (55 FR 20129, May 15, 1990).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2K-3C, B2-203, B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes; Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes; and Model A300 B4-605R airplanes; certificated in any category; except airplanes on which Airbus Modification Number 6661 has been embodied during production.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57, Wings.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracks in the aft hinge brackets of the outer shroud box that is located in the outer wing box, which were found during routine maintenance checks, and our subsequent determination that a change in inspection compliance times is needed. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the aft hinge brackets of the outer shroud box; such cracking could affect the structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Repetitive Inspections

    At the applicable compliance time specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD: Do a detailed inspection for cracks and fractures of the hinge brackets of the forward and aft outer shroud boxes, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0142, Revision 04, dated March 30, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 05, dated February 21, 2011; as applicable. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the applicable interval specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(2), or (g)(3) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0142, Revision 04, dated March 30, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 05, dated February 21, 2011; as applicable. Doing the replacement specified in paragraph (j) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspections required by this paragraph.

    (1) For Model A300B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B4-622, B4-2C, and B4-203 airplanes: Do the inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1)(i) and (g)(1)(ii) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,000 flight cycles or 2,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

    (i) Before the accumulation of 5,000 flight cycles or 10,400 flight hours since first flight, whichever occurs first.

    (ii) Within 100 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) For Model A300B2-1C, B2-203, and B2K-3C airplanes: Do the inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(2)(i) and (g)(2)(ii) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,000 flight cycles or 1,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

    (i) Before the accumulation of 5,000 flight cycles or 5,400 flight hours since first flight, whichever occurs first.

    (ii) Within 100 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.

    (3) For Model A300B4-103 airplanes: Do the inspection the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(3)(i) and (g)(3)(ii) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 1,000 flight cycles or 1,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

    (i) Before the accumulation of 5,000 flight cycles or 6,600 flight hours since first flight, whichever occurs first.

    (ii) Within 100 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.

    (h) Corrective Action

    If any crack or fracture is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the damaged hinge bracket with a new bracket, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, Revision 2, dated July 10, 1989 (for Model A300 series airplanes); or A300-57-6011, Revision 2, dated July 10, 1989 (for Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes); as applicable.

    (i) Related Investigative and Corrective Actions

    If any crack or fracture is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD: Before further flight, do a general visual inspection for secondary damage (e.g., cracks, wear damage, pitting, and gouging) in the areas specified in paragraphs (i)(1), (i)(2), and (i)(3) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0142, Revision 04, dated March 30, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 05, dated February 21, 2011; as applicable. If any damage is found, before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

    (1) The inner shroud-box forward attachments and the attachment brackets at the inboard end.

    (2) The inner and outer shroud-box structure, adjacent to the fractured bracket.

    (3) The top skin of the inboard flap.

    (j) Optional Terminating Action for Inspection Requirements of Paragraph (g) of this AD

    (1) Replacement of the hinge bracket, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, Revision 2, dated July 10, 1989 (for Model A300 series airplanes); or A300-57-6011, Revision 2, dated July 10, 1989 (for Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes); as applicable, terminates the inspection requirements of paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (2) Replacement of a hinge bracket before the effective date of this AD, as described in the applicable service information listed in paragraphs (j)(2)(i) through (j)(2)(iv) of this AD, terminates the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD, provided that after the hinge bracket replacement, but before further flight after the effective date of this AD, a one-time detailed inspection of the forward and aft outer shroud box has been done with no cracking found, in accordance with paragraph (g) of this AD. The following service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, dated December 17, 1986.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, Revision 1, dated March 19, 1987.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6011, dated December 17, 1986.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6011, Revision 1, dated March 19, 1987.

    (k) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph provides credit for inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using any of the applicable service information listed in paragraphs (k)(1)(i) through (k)(1)(viii) of this AD, which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-142, dated December 17, 1986.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-142, Revision 1, dated April 9, 1990.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-142, Revision 2, dated January 16, 1991.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-0142, Revision 03, dated February 22, 1999.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 1, dated December 14, 1990.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 02, dated March 30, 1998.

    (vii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 03, dated September 16, 1998.

    (viii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6010, Revision 04, dated February 22, 1999.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for replacement of the hinge bracket as specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD, if the replacement was performed before the effective date of this AD, using any of the applicable service information listed in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) through (k)(2)(iv) of this AD, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, dated December 17, 1986.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-143, Revision 1, dated March 19, 1987.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6011, dated December 17, 1986.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-57-6011, Revision 1, dated March 19, 1987.

    (l) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

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

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

    (m) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0181R1, dated August 20, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-6550.

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 4, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31306 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3773; Airspace Docket No. 15-ANM-22] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Deer Lodge, MT AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to modify Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Deer Lodge-City-County Airport, Deer Lodge, MT. After a review, the FAA found it necessary to amend the airspace area for the safety and management of standard instrument approach procedures for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; telephone (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2015-3773; Airspace Docket No. 15-ANM-22, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and ATC Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend Class E airspace at Deer Lodge-City-County Airport, Deer Lodge, MT.

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2015-3773; Airspace Docket No. 15-ANM-22.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for the address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Northwest Mountain Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, for a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

    This document would amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 71 by modifying Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Deer Lodge-City-County Airport, Deer Lodge, MT. After a review of the airspace, the FAA found modification necessary for the safety and management of standard instrument approach procedures for IFR operations at the airport. Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface would be decreased to within a 6-mile radius of Deer Lodge-City-County Airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005, of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015 and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class D and Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    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, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. 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. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward from 700 feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ANM MT E5 Deer Lodge, MT [Modified] Deer Lodge-City-County Airport, MT (Lat. 46°23′16″ N., long. 112°45′54″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6-mile radius of Deer Lodge-City-County Airport; that airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface bounded by a line beginning at lat. 46°41′00″ N., long. 114°08′00″ W.; to lat. 47°03′00″ N., long. 113°33′00″ W.; to lat. 46°28′00″ N., long. 112°15′00″ W.; to lat. 45°41′00″ N., long. 112°13′00″ W.; to lat. 45°44′00″ N., long. 113°03′00″ W.; thence to the point of origin.

    Issued in Seattle, Washington, on December 7, 2015. Tracey Johnson, Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31273 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 7 and 9 [EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0031, FRL-9933-69-OA] RIN 2090-AA39 Nondiscrimination in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to amend its regulations with regard to compliance information, post-award compliance reviews, and complaint investigations. This proposed rule will improve the EPA's ability to ensure that recipients of federal financial assistance comply with their affirmative obligation under the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and other nondiscrimination statutes not to discriminate, while also ensuring that the EPA has sufficient flexibility and discretion to carry out its nondiscrimination compliance work.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0031, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeryl Covington or Helena Wooden-Aguilar, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Civil Rights, (Mail Code 1201A), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, D,C. 20460, telephone (202) 564-7272, (202) 564-7713 or (202) 564-0792.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Information

    The EPA is proposing to amend its regulations implementing title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”), section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”), section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Pub. L. 92-500), and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (“Age Discrimination Act”) in order to enable it to create a model civil rights program which can nimbly and effectively enforce civil rights statutes in the environmental context. Together, these statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, (including discrimination based on language ability or limited English proficiency), disability, sex, and age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. This rulemaking proposes to amend subpart D (Requirements for Applicants and Recipients) and subpart E (Agency Compliance Procedures) provisions regarding compliance information, post-award compliance reviews, and complaint investigations. This rulemaking also proposes to make a technical correction to subpart D to remove citations to expired Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control numbers and to place the current OMB control number for information collection requests under 40 CFR part 7 in the consolidated list of OMB approvals under the Paperwork Reduction Act in 40 CFR part 9.

    Applicants for and recipients of EPA assistance already are obligated to comply with Title VI and other nondiscrimination statutes as a condition of receiving EPA assistance. This proposed rule is consistent with the broad discretion that, as recognized by the Supreme Court, has been afforded all federal agencies with regard to the enforcement of federal nondiscrimination obligations,1 and is part of a package of efforts intended to improve EPA's civil rights program. One effort, for example, is the draft External Compliance and Complaints Program Strategic Plan, which was published for comment on September 10, 2015 (http://www.epa.gov/ocr/external-compliance-title-vi-new-developments). This package, as a whole, will increase transparency and accountability and move EPA closer to its goal of establishing a model civil rights program. This proposed rule—another part of the package—will assist the EPA in continuing to be more proactive in monitoring and enforcing recipients' compliance with Title VI and other nondiscrimination statutes.

    1See Alexander v. Choate, 469 U.S. 287, 293-294 (1985); FCC v. Pottsville Broadcasting Co., 309 U.S. 134 (1940).

    The EPA has sought to improve its External Compliance and Complaints Program. In 2009, EPA made a commitment to strengthen and revitalize EPA's civil rights program. In addition to increasing staff, securing additional training and improving processes, as part of that effort, in 2010, EPA funded an independent in-depth evaluation of its civil rights program by the firm Deloitte Consulting LLP. Following receipt of the evaluation, the Administrator established an internal Civil Rights Executive Committee to review Deloitte's evaluation, and other sources of information, and make recommendations for building a model civil rights program for EPA. The Executive Committee posted its draft report for public review in February 2012, and the Administrator approved the final report and recommendations on April 13, 2012.

    One of the Executive Committee's recommendations was for the EPA to be more proactive in terms of achieving compliance with Title VI and other nondiscrimination obligations by, in part, analyzing data and information obtained from recipients and developing consistent processes. Accordingly, as part of its efforts to create a robust pre- and post- award compliance program (as identified in the EPA Draft EJ 2014 Plan Supplement dated April 12, 2012), the EPA began the process of reevaluating its regulations to identify what data and information it currently obtains from recipients. The EPA first looked to other federal agencies for their best practices in terms of an External Compliance and Complaints Program. Specifically, the EPA evaluated its External Compliance and Complaints Program by comparing its Title VI and other nondiscrimination regulations to those of over twenty other federal agencies. The EPA found that the other agencies' regulations were the same or extremely similar, while the EPA's regulations were different. Many of these other agencies have successful external compliance programs because, in part, their regulations provide for a robust compliance program, (including routine access to recipient data through compliance reports and compliance reviews), and explicitly affirm the agency's discretion to appropriately tailor complaint resolution paths based on the nature and complexity of the allegations presented. While some aspects of EPA's External Compliance and Complaints Program will continue to have unique characteristics that are tailored to EPA's needs, the EPA, recipients, complainants, and industry will benefit from the predictability, consistency and familiarity arising from this effort to conform these aspects of the EPA's regulations with regulations promulgated by other federal agencies with a record of proven success and with the Department of Justice's Coordination Regulations at 28 CFR part 42, subpart F. Thus, this proposed rule will give the EPA a similar level of flexibility and discretion as is afforded to other federal agencies when collecting compliance information, conducting post-award compliance reviews, and investigating complaints.

    Finally, these amendments recognize that the EPA's current, self-imposed regulatory deadlines are impracticable given the inherent scientific complexity associated with determining which and how populations are impacted by environmental pollutants; the number of discrimination allegations and theories that may be asserted in any one complaint under Title VI or the other nondiscrimination statutes; and the volume of the complaints received. Indeed, there are several examples of the analytical and logistical complexity of discrimination complaints historically filed with the EPA on its Web site. For instance, in one case alleging disparate health impacts, the EPA developed a pesticide exposure analysis to predict daily air concentrations of a specific pesticide at different distances from an application site, based on information concerning the amount of the pesticide applied during a seven-year period. In order to conduct such an analysis, the EPA had to gather and enter the available raw data into a database and then have the appropriate scientific models created that took into account several factors including, time of day, location, wind speed, proximity and temperature. Next, this analysis was peer reviewed before the EPA was ultimately able to resolve the complaint. The EPA recognizes that not every administrative complaint will require this same level of scientific analysis to determine who is potentially exposed to a particular pollutant. Also, the EPA recognizes that there may be several potential resolution paths, including informal resolution and Alternative Dispute Resolution, even for those cases raising disparate health claims, which the EPA will pursue, when appropriate. By eliminating arbitrary deadlines, the EPA will be better positioned to strategically manage its administrative complaint docket by identifying the specific aspects of individual complaints, such as complaints that present the potential for high-impact resolution. Further, the EPA will be able to explore the best resolution option for those complaints, including tailored goals and benchmarks for specific phases of the individual case, rather than a cookie-cutter approach that assumes all cases should follow the same approach, resolution strategy, and timeframes. Tailoring the appropriate resolution path to each complaint based on the unique factual pattern and legal issues presented, will further allow the EPA to dedicate the appropriate amount of time and resources to resolve each individual complaint.

    It is important to note that even with the elimination of the arbitrary deadlines, the EPA must promptly process and investigate complaints. Removal of deadlines will not allow the EPA to unreasonably delay its resolution of complaints because, in part, the definition of a prompt investigation and resolution turns on the factual context of the complaint. Indeed, the language in the proposed rule is subject to judicial review and is consistent with judicial precedent that recognizes that any investigatory timeframe may be affected by the breadth and complexity of the issues in the complaint.

    Thus, based on the entire proposed regulatory amendments that will conform the EPA's regulations to those of more than twenty other federal agencies, the EPA will take another step in its journey to continue to create a model Civil Rights Program. In light of the flexibility, discretion, and accountability for individual cases affirmed by this proposed rule, the EPA will be better able to strategically implement its external civil rights enforcement program to ensure prompt, effective and efficient complaint docket management and to enhance its proactive compliance program.

    The EPA is subject to the Department of Justice's Coordination Regulations describing specific implementation, compliance, and enforcement obligations of federal funding agencies under Title VI and similar provisions in federal grant statutes. See 28 CFR 42.401 through 42.415. In accordance with 28 CFR 42.403, the EPA submitted this proposed rule to the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, and received her approval. The final rule will be submitted to the Attorney General through the Assistant Attorney General for final approval pursuant to 28 CFR 42.403(c)(3).

    II. Overview of This Proposed Rulemaking A. Sub-Part D: Compliance Information Requirements for Recipients of EPA Financial Assistance

    The EPA proposes to amend § 7.85(b) by deleting the following text describing when additional information will be sought from recipients—“where there is reason to believe that discrimination may exist in a program or activity receiving EPA assistance.” In this same regulatory section, the EPA also proposes deleting “and shall be accompanied by a written statement summarizing the complaint or setting forth the basis for the belief that discrimination may exist.” These changes reaffirm the agency's existing authority to use compliance reviews to identify and resolve compliance concerns with recipients of EPA financial assistance to prevent costly investigations and litigation. Compliance reviews are an important part of the implementation of all EPA programs and essential to the functioning of comprehensive compliance and enforcement efforts. EPA will work with states and other recipients of financial assistance to ensure that compliance reviews are focused on a review of data and information that is relevant to determining compliance. EPA solicits comments on how to schedule and conduct compliance reviews in ways that minimize unnecessary burdens to both EPA and the recipients.

    Further, the revised language is consistent with the regulatory provisions of more than twenty other federal agencies with regard to the routine collection of data and information from recipients. Several of those federal agencies have successful compliance review programs that have been well-established for many years, so the concept of conducting compliance reviews is something with which EPA's external stakeholders should already have a great deal of familiarity based on engagement with those other federal agencies. In other words, this proposed rule is not a significant change, as it affords the EPA the same discretion and flexibility granted to those agencies in their compliance reviews. Such routine collection is also considered a best practice for Title VI programs as reflected in the Department of Justice's Coordination Regulations, which require federal agencies to “provide for the collection of data and information from applicants for and recipients of federal assistance sufficient to permit effective enforcement of Title VI,” 28 CFR 42.406(a). Thus, this proposed rule is intended to clarify the EPA's ability to access such information under the current regulations, while providing the flexibility to establish a successful compliance review program and improve the EPA's External Compliance and Complaints Program. The EPA is requesting comment on EPA's proposed modifications to its compliance review regulations; especially its proposed phased-approach to conducting compliance reviews that is discussed in the accompanying cost analysis.

    Additionally, this proposed rule gives the EPA discretion to require recipients to submit compliance reports. This proposed rule would, as demonstrated by the successful compliance report programs of sister agencies, be an invaluable tool in prioritizing complaint investigations, selecting recipients for compliance reviews, and conducting targeted outreach to provide technical assistance. Currently, § 7.85 of the regulation imposes an obligation “to collect, maintain, and on request . . . provide” specific information to the EPA. Similarly, § 7.115 notifies recipients that the EPA may request “data and information” pertaining to any recipient's programs or activities receiving EPA assistance. Consistent with § 7.35, recipients of EPA assistance are also responsible for collecting such reports from any entity through which a recipient operates the program and activity receiving EPA financial assistance, including sub-recipients, licensees, or contractors. In other words, recipients already have a regulatory obligation to collect and maintain relevant information. With this proposed rule, recipients may be asked to submit a report containing the relevant and current information. Adding this proposed rule allows the EPA to more proactively enforce Title VI and other nondiscrimination obligations. This proposed modification makes clear that compliance reports would be required at such times and in such form and containing such information as the EPA may determine to be necessary to enable the EPA to ascertain whether the recipient has complied or is complying with 40 CFR part 7. The proposed regulation, however, does not identify or prescribe the exact content of such reports. The EPA is requesting written comment on the content, frequency and prioritization of which recipients will be expected to submit compliance reports. During the notice and comment period, the EPA will also engage stakeholders through listening sessions in order to explore the compliance reports process and their content. At this time, the EPA's estimate of the potential burden associated with compliance with this proposed regulation is based on assumptions about what type of information a recipient will be required to include in such a report—from involving the compilation or gathering of pre-existing information, including information specifically identified in the current regulations and Standard Form 4700-4, to including information related to public involvement, limited English proficiency, or data and information demonstrating that the program or activity receiving the EPA assistance complies with its nondiscrimination obligations.

    The EPA understands that stakeholders may have questions about what specific information should be contained in such reports. Accordingly, the EPA may continue to request compliance reports related to information gathering in the context of compliance reviews and complaint investigations conducted under §§ 7.110, 7.115, and 7.120. However, the EPA does not intend to request compliance reports, unrelated to compliance reviews and complaint investigations, from recipients any sooner than 90 days after it has drafted guidance about such reports, sought stakeholder input on the guidance, put the guidance out for notice and comment, and finalized the guidance. This process will allow the EPA, recipients, and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to improve the EPA's External Compliance and Complaints Program.

    B. Sub-Part E: Agency Compliance Procedures 1. Post-Award Compliance

    Under the current regulations, on-site reviews for post-award compliance may occur when the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) “has reason to believe that discrimination may be occurring in such programs or activities.” For the reasons set forth above, the EPA proposes amending 40 CFR 7.110(a) and 7.115(a), to affirm the OCR's flexibility and discretion to structure how it conducts pre-award and post-award compliance reviews. This modification is consistent with the Title VI regulations of more than twenty other federal agencies.

    Additionally, the EPA proposes to remove the provision to provide post-review notice to a recipient within 180 calendar days from the start of a compliance review or complaint investigation pursuant to 40 CFR 7.115(c)(1). Instead of this calendar deadline, the EPA proposes to conform to the regulations of over twenty other federal agencies that state that complaints will be “promptly” investigated. The EPA proposes to adopt this language because it has found that this self-imposed, inflexible deadline is impracticable given the inherent scientific complexity associated with determining which and how populations are impacted by environmental pollutants; the number of discrimination allegations and theories that may be asserted in any one complaint under Title VI or the other nondiscrimination statutes; and the volume of the complaints received. Without the burden of an unrealistic, self-imposed deadline, the EPA will be in a better position to improve the entire External Compliance and Complaints Program, including the compliance review and reports efforts discussed above. Even without this deadline, the EPA still must promptly investigate complaints.

    2. Complaint Investigations

    This proposed rule removes the introductory text of 40 CFR 7.120 concerning the investigation of “all complaints” and to adopt language, substantially similar to the regulations of other federal agencies, requiring investigation of complaints that “indicate a possible failure to comply.” This change will allow the EPA to prioritize and dedicate resources to complaints that—after an initial review—reveal a possible failure to comply. Yet, the proposed rule does not alter the reasons for rejecting or closing a complaint upon which the EPA and other agencies have relied. Instead, the proposed regulatory language clarifies the agency's discretion to pursue a path to resolution in light of the particular facts of each case. The EPA seeks to conform to the regulatory text of its sister agencies in order to affirm that it will not seek to impose a one-size fits all approach to resolution. In other words, the proposed rule is intended to reflect that a path to resolution must be tailored to the specific facts of the case and such a path may not be identical for every complaint. Not every complaint, for example, will require the completion of a costly and time-consuming investigation in order to resolve it.

    This proposed rule also removes the deadline for notifying complainants and recipients of receipt of a complaint against the recipient and for reviewing a complaint for acceptance, rejection, or referral to the appropriate federal agency. Currently, the EPA's notification regulation requires the EPA to notify the complainant and the recipient of receipt of a complaint within five calendar days under 40 CFR 7.120(c). The current regulations also require the EPA to initiate complaint processing procedures by conducting a jurisdictional review to determine whether to accept, reject, or refer a complaint within twenty calendar days of acknowledgement of the complaint.

    The current regulatory provisions imposing a deadline on complaint notification and jurisdictional review are unique to the EPA. This proposed rule removes these deadlines and, as with complaint investigations, it proposes that the EPA will “promptly” acknowledge receipt of a complaint and issue a decision on whether a complaint is accepted, rejected, or referred. The substitution of “promptly” for specific deadlines ensures EPA has the flexibility to improve its External Compliance and Complaints Program. The EPA believes this removal is not only reasonable, but will provide EPA with the flexibility and time necessary to complete a comprehensive and thorough initial review to identify the most appropriate path to resolve the complaint. Although, as reflected in the regulations of more than twenty other federal agencies, it is not common practice to include specific deadlines, the EPA is fully committed to processing complaints and compliance reviews expeditiously. In fact, the EPA intends, like other federal agencies, to create internal procedures and policies to provide guidance to staff, including the expectation that a determination of what constitutes reasonably prompt action varies based on the stage of administrative processing. For instance, a purely administrative task, (such as, issuing an acknowledgment of a correspondence), will take significantly less time than the more complex and nuance evaluation associated with conducting jurisdictional reviews, investigations and compliance reviews. Nonetheless, as discussed above with complaint investigations, because of the volume and complexity of the complaints that the EPA receives, these self-imposed regulatory deadlines have proven to be impracticable, even at these early stages.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act Technical Correction

    The EPA proposes to remove the reference to expired OMB control number 2000-0006 which currently appears after the text of 40 CFR 7.80 and 7.85. The OMB control number for the collection of information under the EPA's 40 CFR part 7 regulations is OMB control number 2030-0020. Because no person is required to respond to an information collection request regulated by the Paperwork Reduction Act unless a valid control number assigned by OMB is displayed in 40 CFR part 9, another part of the Code of Federal Regulations, a valid Federal Register notice, or by any other appropriate means, the EPA proposes to add the citation for the OMB control no. 2030-0020 and the provisions in 40 CFR part 7 under which the OCR collects information from applicants and recipients to the table located in 40 CFR part 9. These technical corrections will provide clarity to applicants and recipients of EPA assistance regarding which Information Collection Request control number applies to the EPA's requests for information under 40 CFR part 7.

    III. Statutory and Executive Orders Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The EPA prepared an analysis of the potential costs and benefits associated with this action. A copy of the analysis is available in the docket for this action.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden. This proposed rule will allow the EPA to enforce civil rights laws. It therefore falls under the exemption to the Paperwork Reduction Act found at 44 U.S.C. 3518(e) that exempts agencies from Paperwork Reduction Act requirements when they are exercising their substantive enforcement authority regarding civil rights laws. Even though this action is covered by the section 3518(e) exemption, this action is covered by an Information Collection Request that was approved by the Office of Management and Budget in June 2015. The information collection request contained in the existing regulations at 40 CFR part 7 was assigned OMB control number 2030-0020. The OMB control numbers for the EPA's regulations in 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR part 9.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small entities subject to the rule. The deadline and technical amendments being proposed are not expected to have a direct impact on any grant recipients. The direct cost to any particular entity under a compliance review will not increase because they already are potentially subject to compliance reviews under the existing regulations. The impact of the proposed amendments related to compliance report requirements for any particular entity would only be the cost of assembling data and information that it already must collect and maintain under the existing regulations. We have therefore concluded that this action will have no net regulatory burden for all directly regulated small entities.

    Although this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, the EPA nonetheless has tried to reduce the impact of this proposed rule on small entities. (See Economic Analysis in the docket for this rulemaking for more detailed information on potential impacts.)

    We continue to be interested in the potential impacts of this proposed rule on small entities and welcome comments on issues relating to such impacts.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This action does not contain any mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531 through 1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Because this proposed rule enforces statutory rights that prohibit discrimination as described in the exception at 2 U.S.C. 1503(2), it is not subject to the requirements of section 202 or 205 of the UMRA.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This proposed rule does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    In the spirit of Executive Order 13132, and consistent with the EPA policy to promote communications between the EPA and state and local governments, the EPA specifically solicits comment on this proposed rule from state and local officials.

    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This proposed rule does not directly impose any new obligations on the federally recognized tribes that receive or apply for EPA financial assistance. Moreover, the proposed rule would not impose compliance costs on tribes or preempt tribal law. Therefore, consultation under Executive Order 13175 is not required.

    However, EPA welcomes the views of tribes and is interested in considering any comments that tribes may offer on the proposed rule.

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

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

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

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This proposed rule does not involve technical standards.

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

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

    The EPA believes that improving its External Compliance and Complaints Program will have a positive impact on the agency's efforts to advance environmental justice. More precisely, by bringing the EPA's regulations into alignment with the regulations of more than twenty other agencies, the EPA will have the regulatory tools necessary to exercise its discretion to make the complex determination of what sorts of disparate impacts upon communities constitute “sufficiently significant social problems,” and are “readily enough remediable, to warrant altering the practices of the federal grantees that had produced those impacts.” Alexander v. Choate 469 U.S. 287, 293-294 (1985). Such regulatory tools also will improve the EPA's External Compliance and Complaints Program by forging an appropriate path to resolution tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of each matter. However, the EPA welcomes comments from minority, low-income or indigenous populations about these proposed regulatory modifications.

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 7

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Age discrimination, Civil rights, Equal employment opportunity, Individuals with disabilities, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sex discrimination.

    40 CFR Part 9

    Environmental protection, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 1, 2015. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the EPA proposes to amend title 40, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 7—NONDISCRIMINATION IN PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 1. The Authority citation for part 7 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 2000d to 200d-7 and 6101 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. 794; 33 U.S.C. 1251nt.

    Subpart D—Requirements for Applicants and Recipients
    § 7.80 [Amended]
    2. Section 7.80 is amended by removing the parenthetical citation “(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2000-0006)” following paragraph (c)(3). 3. Section 7.85 is amended by: a. Revising paragraph (b); b. Redesignating paragraphs (f) and (g) as paragraphs (g) and (h) respectively, and adding a new paragraph (f); and c. Removing the parenthetical citation “(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2000-0006)” following the newly redesignated paragraph (h).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 7.85 Recipients.

    (b) Additional compliance information. If necessary, the OCR may require recipients to submit data and information specific to certain programs or activities to determine compliance or to investigate a complaint alleging discrimination in a program or activity receiving EPA assistance. Requests shall be limited to data and information which is relevant to determining compliance.

    (f) Compliance reports. Each recipient shall keep such records and submit to the OCR timely, complete, and accurate compliance reports at such times, and in such form and containing such information, as the OCR may determine to be necessary to enable the OCR to ascertain whether the recipient has complied or is complying with this subpart. In general, recipients should have available for the Agency the racial composition of affected neighborhoods. In the case in which a primary recipient extends federal financial assistance to any other recipient or subcontracts with any other person or group, such other recipient shall also submit such compliance reports to the primary recipient as may be necessary to enable the primary recipient to carry out its obligations under this Subpart.

    Subpart E—Agency Compliance Procedures
    § 7.110 [Amended]
    4. Section 7.110 paragraph (a), fourth sentence is amended by removing “only when it has reason to believe that discrimination may be occurring in a program or activity which is the subject of the application”.
    § 7.115 Postaward compliance.
    5. Amend § 7.115 by revising paragraphs (a) and (c)(1) to read as follows:

    (a) Periodic review. The OCR may periodically conduct compliance reviews of any recipient's programs or activities receiving EPA assistance, including the request of data and information, and may conduct on-site reviews.

    (c) * * * (1) The OCR will notify the recipient in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, of:

    6. Amend § 7.120 by revising the introductory text and paragraphs (c) and (d)(1)(i) to read as follows:
    § 7.120 Complaint investigations.

    The OCR will make a prompt investigation whenever a complaint indicates a possible failure to comply.

    (c) Notification. The OCR will notify the complainant and the recipient of the agency's receipt of the complaint.

    (d) * * *

    (1) * * * (i) After the acknowledgment, the OCR will promptly review the complaint for acceptance, rejection, or referral to the appropriate Federal agency.

    PART 9—OMB APPROVALS UNDER THE PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT 7. The Authority citation for part 9 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 135 et seq., 136-136y; 15 U.S.C. 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2601-2671; 21 U.S.C. 331j, 346a, 348; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., 1311, 1313d, 1314, 1318, 1321, 1326, 1330, 1342, 1344, 1345 (d) and (e), 1361; E.O. 11735, 38 FR 21243, 3 CFR 1971-1975 Comp. p. 973; 42 U.S.C. 241, 242b, 243, 246, 300f, 300g, 300g-1, 300g-2, 300g-3, 300g-4, 300g-5, 300g-6, 300j-1, 300j-2, 300j-3, 300j-4, 300j-9, 1857 et seq., 6901-6992k, 7401-7671q, 7542, 9601-9657, 11023, 11048.

    8. In § 9.1, the table is amended by adding the heading titled “Nondiscrimination in Programs or Activities Receiving EPA Assistance” and entries 7.80, 7.85, 7.110, and 7.115 above the heading “Protection of Human Subjects” to read as follows:
    § 9.1 OMB approvals under the Paperwork Reduction Act. 40 CFR citation OMB control No. *    *    *    *    * Nondiscrimination in Programs or Activities Receiving EPA Assistance 7.80 2030-0020 7.85 2030-0020 7.110 2030-0020 7.115 2030-0020 *    *    *    *    *
    [FR Doc. 2015-31050 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 10 and 11 [PS Docket No. 15-91; FCC 15-154] Improving Wireless Emergency Alerts and Community-Initiated Alerting AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document proposes revisions to Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) rules designed to improve the clarity of WEA messages, ensure that WEA alerts reach only those individuals to whom a WEA alert is relevant, and establish a WEA testing program that will improve the effectiveness of the system for public safety officials and the public. This document also seeks comment on issues necessary to ensure that WEA keeps pace with evolving technologies and thus empowers communities to initiate these life-saving alerts. By this action, the Commission affords interested parties an opportunity to submit comments on these proposed rule changes. Through this action, the Commission hopes to empower state and local alert originators to participate more fully in WEA, and to enhance the utility of WEA as an alerting tool.

    DATES:

    Comments are due on or before January 13, 2016 and reply comments are due on or before February 12, 2016. Written Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) comments on the proposed information collection requirements contained herein must be submitted by the public, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other interested parties on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by PS Docket No. 15-91, by any of the following methods:

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

    Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any PRA comments on the proposed information collection requirements contained herein should be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission via email to [email protected] and to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to [email protected] or via fax at 202-395-5167.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa Fowlkes, Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-7452, or by email at [email protected] For additional information concerning the information collection requirements contained in this document, send an email to [email protected] or contact Nicole Ongele, Office of Managing Director, Performance Evaluation and Records Management, 202-418-2991, or by email to [email protected] To view or obtain a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to this OMB/GSA Web page: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, and (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR as shown in the Supplementary Information section below (or its title if there is no OMB control number) and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 15-91, FCC 15-154, released on November 19, 2015. The document is available for download at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db1119/FCC-15-154A1.pdf. The complete text of this document is also available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    This document contains proposed new and modified information collection requirements. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13, 109 Stat 163 (1995). The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and OMB to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the PRA. Public and agency comments on the PRA proposed information collection requirements are due February 12, 2016. Comments should address: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1126.

    Title: Testing and Logging Requirements for Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

    Form Number: Not applicable.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 146 Respondents; 1,752 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.000694 hours (2.5 seconds).

    Frequency of Response: Monthly and on occasion recordkeeping requirements and reporting requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C.s 151, 154(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403 and 606 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, as well as by sections 602(a), (b), (c), (f), 603, 604 and 606 of the WARN Act.

    Total Annual Burden: 1.22 hours (rounded to 2 hours).

    Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which alert logs should be made accessible to entities other than the Participating CMS Provider that generates the log, and on whether to treat test reports as presumptively confidential.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities by the policies and rules proposed in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the Notice provided in Section IV of the Notice. The Commission will send a copy of the Notice, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition, the Notice and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.

    A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    2. With this Notice, the Commission takes another step towards strengthening Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) by proposing revisions to the WEA rules to empower alert originators to participate more fully in WEA, and by enhancing the utility of WEA as an alerting tool. The Commission's proposals fall into three categories, improving WEA messaging, geo-targeting, and testing and proficiency training. With respect to WEA messaging, in this Notice, the Commission proposes to expand the maximum character length of WEA messages from 90 to a maximum of 360 characters; create a new class of WEA alerts for Emergency Government Information; and remove the prohibition on embedded references to allow the provision of phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts. The Commission also seeks comment on technically feasible approaches to supplement WEA alerts with multimedia, and with the capability to offer alerts in languages other than English. With respect to geo-targeting the Commission proposes to require Participating Commercial Mobile Service (CMS) Providers to distribute WEA messages to a geographic area that more accurately matches the target area provided by the alert originator. With respect to WEA testing, the Commission proposes to establish requirements and procedures for state and local WEA testing, and on alert logging requirements for Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways, and seeks comment on test reporting requirements based, in part, upon the data produced by this logging function. The Commission seeks comment on methods of increasing participation in WEA by both consumers and CMS Providers. The Commission proposes to amend the WEA rules to allow use of the emergency alerting attention signal for Public Service Announcements (PSAs) designed to raise public awareness about Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The Commission seeks comment on whether it should begin to test the broadcast back-up to the C-interface. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on whether it should amend the Commission's WEA prioritization rules such that WEA alerts take priority over all mobile device functions except certain voice and data sessions.

    3. This Notice represents another step towards achieving one of the Commission's highest priorities—“to ensure that all Americans have the capability to receive timely and accurate alerts, warnings and critical information regarding disasters and other emergencies.” This Notice also is consistent with the Commission's obligation under Executive Order 13407 to “adopt rules to ensure that communications systems have the capacity to transmit alerts and warnings to the public as part of the public alert and warning system,” and the Commission's mandate under the Communications Act to promote the safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communication. The Commission takes these steps as part of an overarching strategy to advance the nation's alerting capability, which includes both WEA and the Emergency Alert System (EAS), to keep pace with evolving technologies and to empower communities to initiate life-saving alerts.

    B. Legal Basis

    4. Authority for the actions proposed in the Notice may be found in sections 1, 4(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 606, as well as sections 602(a), (b), (c), (f), 603, 604 and 606 of the WARN Act.

    C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rules Will Apply

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

    6. Nationwide, there are a total of approximately 28.2 million small businesses, according to the SBA. In addition, a “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.” Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small organizations. Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. The Commission estimates that, of this total, as many as 88,761 entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, the Commission estimates that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    7. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). As noted, the SBA has developed a small business size standard for small businesses in the category “Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite).” Under that SBA category, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Since 2007, the SBA has recognized wireless firms within this new, broad, economic census category. This category is the best fit to describe common-carrier paging providers and cellular radiotelephone services subject to the Commission's rules. For the category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), census data for 2007 shows that there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 15 had employment of 1000 employees or more. Since all firms with fewer than 1,500 employees are considered small, given the total employment in the sector, the Commission estimates that the vast majority of wireless firms are small.

    8. Broadband Personal Communications Service. The broadband personal communications services (PCS) spectrum is divided into six frequency blocks designated A through F, and the Commission has held auctions for each block. The Commission initially defined a “small business” for C- and F-Block licenses as an entity that has average gross revenues of $40 million or less in the three previous calendar years. For F-Block licenses, an additional small business size standard for “very small business” was added and is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates, has average gross revenues of not more than $15 million for the preceding three calendar years. These small business size standards, in the context of broadband PCS auctions, have been approved by the SBA. No small businesses within the SBA-approved small business size standards bid successfully for licenses in Blocks A and B. There were 90 winning bidders that claimed small business status in the first two C-Block auctions. A total of 93 bidders that claimed small business status won approximately 40 percent of the 1,479 licenses in the first auction for the D, E, and F Blocks. On April 15, 1999, the Commission completed the reauction of 347 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block licenses in Auction No. 22. Of the 57 winning bidders in that auction, 48 claimed small business status and won 277 licenses.

    9. On January 26, 2001, the Commission completed the auction of 422 C and F Block Broadband PCS licenses in Auction No. 35. Of the 35 winning bidders in that auction, 29 claimed small business status. Subsequent events concerning Auction 35, including judicial and agency determinations, resulted in a total of 163 C and F Block licenses being available for grant. On February 15, 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 242 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block licenses in Auction No. 58. Of the 24 winning bidders in that auction, 16 claimed small business status and won 156 licenses. On May 21, 2007, the Commission completed an auction of 33 licenses in the A, C, and F Blocks in Auction No. 71. Of the 12 winning bidders in that auction, five claimed small business status and won 18 licenses. On August 20, 2008, the Commission completed the auction of 20 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block Broadband PCS licenses in Auction No. 78. Of the eight winning bidders for Broadband PCS licenses in that auction, six claimed small business status and won 14 licenses.

    10. Narrowband Personal Communications Service. To date, two auctions of narrowband personal communications services (PCS) licenses have been conducted. For purposes of the two auctions that have already been held, “small businesses” were entities with average gross revenues for the prior three calendar years of $40 million or less. Through these auctions, the Commission has awarded a total of 41 licenses, out of which 11 were obtained by small businesses. To ensure meaningful participation of small business entities in future auctions, the Commission has adopted a two-tiered small business size standard in the Narrowband PCS Second Report and Order. A “small business” is an entity that, together with affiliates and controlling interests, has average gross revenues for the three preceding years of not more than $40 million. A “very small business” is an entity that, together with affiliates and controlling interests, has average gross revenues for the three preceding years of not more than $15 million. The SBA has approved these small business size standards.

    11. Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for fixed, mobile, radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite uses. The Commission defined “small business” for the wireless communications services (WCS) auction as an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million for each of the three preceding years, and a “very small business” as an entity with average gross revenues of $15 million for each of the three preceding years. The SBA has approved these definitions.

    12. 700 MHz Guard Band Licensees. In 2000, in the 700 MHz Guard Band Order, the Commission adopted size standards for “small businesses” and “very small businesses” for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments. A small business in this service is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. Additionally, a very small business is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years. SBA approval of these definitions is not required. An auction of 52 Major Economic Area licenses commenced on September 6, 2000, and closed on September 21, 2000. Of the 104 licenses auctioned, 96 licenses were sold to nine bidders. Five of these bidders were small businesses that won a total of 26 licenses. A second auction of 700 MHz Guard Band licenses commenced on February 13, 2001, and closed on February 21, 2001. All eight of the licenses auctioned were sold to three bidders. One of these bidders was a small business that won a total of two licenses.

    13. Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted criteria for defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits. The Commission defined a “small business” as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. A “very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years. Additionally, the lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small business status for Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) licenses—“entrepreneur”—which is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $3 million for the preceding three years. The SBA approved these small size standards. An auction of 740 licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license in each of the six Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) commenced on August 27, 2002, and closed on September 18, 2002. Of the 740 licenses available for auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of the winning bidders claimed small business, very small business or entrepreneur status and won a total of 329 licenses. A second auction commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, and included 256 licenses: 5 EAG licenses and 476 Cellular Market Area licenses. Seventeen winning bidders claimed small or very small business status and won 60 licenses, and nine winning bidders claimed entrepreneur status and won 154 licenses. On July 26, 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5 licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band (Auction No. 60). There were three winning bidders for five licenses. All three winning bidders claimed small business status.

    14. In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 MHz band in the 700 MHz Second Report and Order. An auction of 700 MHz licenses commenced January 24, 2008 and closed on March 18, 2008, which included, 176 Economic Area licenses in the A Block, 734 Cellular Market Area licenses in the B Block, and 176 EA licenses in the E Block. Twenty winning bidders, claiming small business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years) won 49 licenses. Thirty three winning bidders claiming very small business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years) won 325 licenses.

    15. Upper 700 MHz Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Commission revised its rules regarding Upper 700 MHz licenses. On January 24, 2008, the Commission commenced Auction 73 in which several licenses in the Upper 700 MHz band were available for licensing: 12 Regional Economic Area Grouping licenses in the C Block, and one nationwide license in the D Block. The auction concluded on March 18, 2008, with 3 winning bidders claiming very small business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years) and winning five licenses.

    16. Advanced Wireless Services. AWS Services (1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands (AWS-1); 1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz bands (AWS-2); 2155-2175 MHz band (AWS-3)). For the AWS-1 bands, the Commission has defined a “small business” as an entity with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a “very small business” as an entity with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15 million. For AWS-2 and AWS-3, although the Commission does not know for certain which entities are likely to apply for these frequencies, it notes that the AWS-1 bands are comparable to those used for cellular service and personal communications service. The Commission has not yet adopted size standards for the AWS-2 or AWS-3 bands but proposes to treat both AWS-2 and AWS-3 similarly to broadband PCS service and AWS-1 service due to the comparable capital requirements and other factors, such as issues involved in relocating incumbents and developing markets, technologies, and services.

    17. Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service. Broadband Radio Service systems, previously referred to as Multipoint Distribution Service (MDS) and Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) systems, and “wireless cable,” transmit video programming to subscribers and provide two-way high speed data operations using the microwave frequencies of the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) (previously referred to as the Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS)). In connection with the 1996 BRS auction, the Commission established a small business size standard as an entity that had annual average gross revenues of no more than $40 million in the previous three calendar years. The BRS auctions resulted in 67 successful bidders obtaining licensing opportunities for 493 Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). Of the 67 auction winners, 61 met the definition of a small business. BRS also includes licensees of stations authorized prior to the auction. At this time, the Commission estimates that of the 61 small business BRS auction winners, 48 remain small business licensees. In addition to the 48 small businesses that hold BTA authorizations, there are approximately 392 incumbent BRS licensees that are considered small entities. After adding the number of small business auction licensees to the number of incumbent licensees not already counted, the Commission finds that there are currently approximately 440 BRS licensees that are defined as small businesses under either the SBA or the Commission's rules.

    18. In 2009, the Commission conducted Auction 86, the sale of 78 licenses in the BRS areas. The Commission offered three levels of bidding credits: (i) A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years (small business) received a 15 percent discount on its winning bid; (ii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $3 million and do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years (very small business) received a 25 percent discount on its winning bid; and (iii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years (entrepreneur) received a 35 percent discount on its winning bid. Auction 86 concluded in 2009 with the sale of 61 licenses. Of the ten winning bidders, two bidders that claimed small business status won 4 licenses; one bidder that claimed very small business status won three licenses; and two bidders that claimed entrepreneur status won six licenses.

    19. In addition, the SBA's Cable Television Distribution Services small business size standard is applicable to EBS. There are presently 2,436 EBS licensees. All but 100 of these licenses are held by educational institutions. Educational institutions are included in this analysis as small entities. Thus, the Commission estimates that at least 2,336 licensees are small businesses. Since 2007, Cable Television Distribution Services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers; that category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees. To gauge small business prevalence for these cable services the Commission must, however, use the most current census data that are based on the previous category of Cable and Other Program Distribution and its associated size standard; that size standard was: All such firms having $13.5 million or less in annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 996 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 948 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 48 firms had receipts of $10 million or more but less than $25 million. Thus, the majority of these firms can be considered small. In the Paging Third Report and Order, the Commission developed a small business size standard for “small businesses” and “very small businesses” for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments. A “small business” is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years. Additionally, a “very small business” is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $3 million for the preceding three years. The SBA has approved these small business size standards. An auction of Metropolitan Economic Area licenses commenced on February 24, 2000, and closed on March 2, 2000. Of the 985 licenses auctioned, 440 were sold. Fifty-seven companies claiming small business status won. Also, according to Commission data, 365 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of paging and messaging services. Of those, the Commission estimates that 360 are small, under the SBA-approved small business size standard.

    20. Wireless Communications Service. This service can be used for fixed, mobile, radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite uses. The Commission established small business size standards for the wireless communications services (WCS) auction. A “small business” is an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million for each of the three preceding years, and a “very small business” is an entity with average gross revenues of $15 million for each of the three preceding years. The SBA has approved these small business size standards. The Commission auctioned geographic area licenses in the WCS service. In the auction, there were seven winning bidders that qualified as “very small business” entities, and one that qualified as a “small business” entity.

    21. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: transmitting and receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for firms in this category, which is: All such firms having 750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2010, there were a total of 810 establishments in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 787 had employment of fewer than 500, and an additional 23 had employment of 500 to 999. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

    22. Software Publishers. Since 2007 these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Custom Computer Programming Services; that category is defined as establishments primarily engaged in writing, modifying, testing, and supporting software to meet the needs of a particular customer. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is annual gross receipts of $25 million or less. According to data from the 2007 U.S. Census, there were 41,571 establishments engaged in this business in 2007. Of these, 40,149 had annual gross receipts of less than $10,000,000. Another 1,422 establishments had gross receipts of $10,000,000 or more. Based on this data, the Commission concludes that the majority of the businesses engaged in this industry are small.

    23. NCE and Public Broadcast Stations. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with sound. These establishments operate television broadcasting studios and facilities for the programming and transmission of programs to the public.” The SBA has created a small business size standard for Television Broadcasting entities, which is: such firms having $13 million or less in annual receipts. According to Commission staff review of the BIA Publications, Inc., Master Access Television Analyzer Database as of May 16, 2003, about 814 of the 1,220 commercial television stations in the United States had revenues of $12 (twelve) million or less. The Commission notes, however, that in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above definition, business (control) affiliations must be included. The Commission's estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by the Commission's action, because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies.

    24. In addition, an element of the definition of “small business” is that the entity not be dominant in its field of operation. The Commission is unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply do not exclude any television station from the definition of a small business on this basis and are therefore over-inclusive to that extent. Also as noted, an additional element of the definition of “small business” is that the entity must be independently owned and operated. The Commission notes that it is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities and the Commission's estimates of small businesses to which they apply may be over-inclusive to this extent. There are also 2,117 low power television stations (LPTV). Given the nature of this service, the Commission will presume that all LPTV licensees qualify as small entities under the above SBA small business size standard.

    25. The Commission has, under SBA regulations, estimated the number of licensed NCE television stations to be 380. The Commission notes, however, that, in assessing whether a business concern qualifies as small under the above definition, business (control) affiliations must be included. The Commission's estimate, therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by the Commission's action, because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. The Commission does not compile and otherwise does not have access to information on the revenue of NCE stations that would permit it to determine how many such stations would qualify as small entities.

    D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    26. This Notice proposes new or modified reporting or recordkeeping requirements. Any changes to the Part 10 WEA technical rules, including message and geo-targeting requirements, may result in modified reporting and recordkeeping requirements necessary to satisfy the statutory requirements of the WARN Act (1) that Commission receive notice of election by all CMS providers concerning whether they will participate in the WEA; (2) CMS providers electing not to transmit, in part or in whole, in the WEA must provide clear and conspicuous notice, which takes into account the needs of persons with disabilities, to new subscribers of its non-election or partial election at the point of sale; and (3) CMS providers electing not to transmit WEA Alert messages, in part or in whole, must also provide clear and conspicuous notice, which takes into account the needs of persons with disabilities, to existing subscribers of its non-election or partial election by means of an announcement amending the existing subscriber's service agreement. Although the Notice does not propose revising the existing election procedures, the Commission notes that the CSRIC IV recommends that the Commission modify the current election procedures and provide Participating CMS Providers an opportunity to revise previous WEA election to comply only with the WEA rules that existed at the time of their initial election, and not those adopted subsequently. Moreover, amending the Commission's rules to require Participating CMS Providers to log the receipt of alerts and report the results of State/Local WEA Tests to the Commission may result in increasing the reporting and recordkeeping costs and burdens approved under OMB Control No. 3060-1113, ICR Reference No. 201404-3060-021. Test reporting and alert logging requirements may require small businesses to contract with engineers in order to make modifications to Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways and mobile devices.

    27. Additionally, any changes to the existing WEA testing regime to require Participating CMS Providers to support State and Local testing will entail some form of recordkeeping that will be used by the Commission to satisfy the statutory requirement of the WARN Act that the Commission “shall require by regulation technical testing for commercial mobile service providers that elect to transmit emergency alerts and for the devices and equipment used by such providers for transmitting such alerts.” Specifically, amending the Commission's rules to require Participating CMS Providers to participate in State/Local WEA testing as well as maintaining a log of RMT results and generating reports will require a modification to the cost and hours burdens approved by OMB under OMB Control Number 3060-1126, ICR Reference No. 201502-3060-020. The proposals set forth in the Notice are intended to advance the Commission's public safety mission and establish an effective WEA in a manner that imposes minimal regulatory burdens on affected entities.

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

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

    29. As noted in paragraph 1 above, this Notice initiates a rulemaking to update the rules governing the WEA system by which Participating CMS providers may elect to transmit emergency alerts to the public, a goal mandated by the WARN Act and consistent with the Commission's obligation to protect the lives and property of the public. Primarily, this Notice seeks comment on three general categories of proposed rule changes: messaging, geo-targeting and testing.

    30. With regard to WEA messaging and geo-targeting, this Notice seeks comment on a number of options to minimize the economic impact on small entities. First, the Notice proposes to expand the maximum character length of WEA messages from 90 to 360 characters and also seeks comment on alternatives such as rendering 140 character WEA alerts. The Notice also seeks comment on the extent Participating CMS Providers can leverage existing technology and best practices to minimize costs. Additionally, the Notice seeks comment on whether existing software is capable of rendering 360-character WEA alerts. Further, the Notice seeks comment on developing an appropriate timeframe for Participating CMS Providers to begin rendering longer WEA alerts in order to mitigate costs.

    31. Second, the Notice proposes to create a new class of WEA alerts for Emergency Government Information. In that connection, the Notice seeks comment on measures to mitigate costs, including the utility of providing alert originators training and guidelines to minimize burdens. Further, the Notice seeks comment on developing an appropriate timeframe for Participating CMS Providers to begin rendering Emergency Government Information alerts in order to mitigate costs.

    32. Third, the Notice proposes to allow the provision of phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts. The Notice seeks comment, in the alternative, on whether embedded references should be allowed only in AMBER Alerts. The Notice seeks comment on developing an appropriate timeframe for Participating CMS Providers to begin rendering embedded phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts in order to mitigate costs. Additionally, the Notice seeks comment on leveraging existing technology to supplement WEA alerts with multimedia.

    33. Fourth, the Notice proposes to require Participating CMS Providers to geo-target WEA messages more precisely. The Notice seeks comment on leveraging existing technology and best practices, including network-side enhancement already voluntarily undertaken by Participating CMS Providers, to more precisely geo-target WEA alerts. The Notice also seeks comment on alternatives such as allowing Participating CMS Providers to render geo-targeted WEA alerts to the area that approximates the alert target area. The Notice also seeks comment on the extent “device-assisted” geo-targeting solutions already exist and can be implemented to “filter” WEA alerts based on coordinates as well as the extent that third party developers might create applications to improve geo-targeting. Further, the Notice seeks comment on developing an appropriate timeframe for Participating CMS Providers to begin geo-targeting WEA alerts in order to mitigate costs.

    34. With respect to WEA testing and proficiency training, this Notice proposes to establish requirements and procedures governing Participating CMS Provider support for state and local WEA testing, and seeks comment on alert logging requirements for Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways and test reporting requirements based, in part, upon the data produced by this logging function. First, in order to minimize the costs associated with supporting state and local testing, the Notice seeks comment on (1) leveraging the existing RMT testing protocol and (2) the use of best practices and standards developed through a public/private partnership including geo-targeting tests to localized areas and providing an opportunity for volunteers to participate in WEA tests. Second, the Notice seeks comment on how to minimize the costs associated with testing reporting requirements for state and local tests, including leveraging existing logging functionality and best practices, as well as relying on an informal approach to reporting test results and the extent that third-party developers may automate the proposed test filing procedures. The Notice seeks comment on the appropriate timeframe within which Participating CMS Providers should comply with the proposed testing requirements.

    35. In commenting on these questions, commenters are invited to propose steps that the Commission may take to minimize any significant economic impact on small entities. For example, the Notice seeks comment on whether the benefits of extending liability protection to these proposals sufficiently outweigh the costs to Participating CMS Providers for participating in WEA. The Notice also seeks comment on the feasibility of its messaging, geo-targeting and testing proposals as well as an appropriate transition period from the current technical and testing requirements to the proposed rule changes contained in the Notice. When considering proposals made by other parties, commenters are invited to propose significant alternatives that serve the goals of these proposals.

    F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rules

    36. None

    Synopsis of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking II. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A. WEA Messaging 1. Increasing Maximum WEA Character Length

    1. Under the Commission's rules, WEA messages are currently limited to a maximum length of 90 characters. In the First Report and Order the Commission concluded that adopting a 90-character text message protocol would serve the public interest because it would allow Participating CMS Providers to transmit WEA messages without requiring technical changes to their underlying infrastructure, and because 90-character messages were considered to be of sufficient length to get the consumer's attention, so they could then seek out other media for confirmation of the alert and for further information. Importantly, the Commission envisioned that Participating CMS Providers would eventually deploy technologies capable of messages longer than 90 characters.

    2. In its recent report CSRIC IV finds that the majority of commercial mobile wireless networks and network technologies, such as GSM, UMTS, and LTE, can support messages with a larger number of characters. Moreover, CSRIC IV recommends that the Commission expand the character limit for WEA messages sent using 4G LTE-based infrastructure and devices to a maximum of 280 characters, pending confirmation by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) (jointly, ATIS/TIA) that such an increase of the character length is feasible. CSRIC IV recommends that the necessary modifications to industry standards supporting the coexistence of 90- and 280-character alerts can be completed within one year of the issuance of an appropriate report and order. Subsequent to CSRIC IV's recommendations, ATIS/TIA released its Feasibility Study for LTE WEA Message Length in October 2015, and confirms that extending WEA message character length is feasible. The Feasibility Study for LTE WEA Message Length recommends a maximum WEA message length of 360 characters, where a minimum of 280 and a maximum of 372 characters can be included in two transmission segments. The study also notes, however, that additional WEA enhancements, such as improved geo-targeting and support for multimedia and multilingual alerts, may decrease their maximum recommended character length, pending further study.

    3. Consistent with the CSRIC IV recommendations and the recent ATIS/TIA study, the Commission propose to amend section 10.430 of its rules to expand the maximum permissible length of WEA messages from 90 to 360 characters of alphanumeric text. Specifically, the Commission proposes to extend the character limit for those networks and devices for which it is technically feasible to deliver and process 360-character messages, as discussed in greater detail below, while continuing to allow the delivery of 90-character messages on 2G and 3G networks and devices. In this regard, the Commission seeks to balance the capabilities of 4G LTE networks with the limitations of legacy networks. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, and the extent to which it would serve the needs of state and local governments to provide more detailed alert information to the public sufficient to motivate appropriate and swift action to save lives and protect property.

    4. Expanding the maximum character length for WEA messages to 360 characters could address alert originators' concerns that they are unable to motivate the public to take appropriate protective action using messages limited to 90 characters. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), “[i]t can be extremely difficult to fit sufficient descriptive information within a 90-character limit in a meaningful and understandable manner that doesn't confuse the public.” The National Weather Service (NWS) states that increasing the maximum WEA message length “would improve the ability of NWS and non-weather alerting authorities to convey critical life-saving information over WEA, such as spelling out key terms which are not abbreviated and may not be well understood.” CSRIC IV and START concur that longer alert messages make it easier for the public to understand the nature of an emergency and the responsive action alert originators advise them to take. For example, according to the START Report, longer alert messages improve message interpretation, reduce “milling” by personalizing alert messages, and hasten a protective response. FEMA also strongly supports increasing the character length of WEA messages. The Commission seeks comment on whether expanding WEA messages to 360 characters would be likely to promote public understanding and swifter action in response to an emergency. The Commission also seeks comment on how an increase in the length of WEA messages would affect the accessibility of such messages by individuals with disabilities, senior citizens, and persons with limited English proficiency. The Commission seeks comment on how to quantify the potential life-saving benefits of increasing the maximum character length of WEA messages, as well as of the rules the Commission proposes today.

    5. If the Commission expands the maximum character length for WEA messages, it seeks comment on whether 360 characters is the optimal maximum. The Commission seeks comment on the number of characters necessary to provide the public with sufficiently detailed information about the emergency situations that WEA is designed to address, and to encourage swift and effective public action in response to such emergencies. For example, the START Report's finding that longer alerts improve public response was based on 1,380 character messages. Is such a message length technically feasible? Would a 1,380 character message would better serve the public interest? The START Report also found that some alert originators expressed a preference for 140-character messages, based on their view that the public may be unlikely to read longer messages. In this regard, the Commission observes that the social media service Twitter uses messages limited to 140 characters in order to disseminate information about socially relevant phenomena, including emergency alerts and warnings. What can the Commission learn about the way that people use Twitter and other social media platforms that can inform the Commission's policymaking with respect to the length of WEA messages?

    6. The Commission seeks comment on the technical feasibility of supporting WEA messages longer than 90 characters. As confirmed by ATIS/TIA, CSRIC IV states that 4G LTE networks and devices are capable of delivering 360-character alerts, and the Commission anticipate that future network iterations will continue to support messages with a maximum character length of at least 360 characters. The Commission observes that the nation's four largest CMS Providers have all but completed their transition to 4G technologies. In addition to the nation's largest CMS Providers, smaller Participating CMS Providers are also transitioning to 4G technologies; for example, more than 93 percent of U.S. Cellular's customers have access to 4G LTE, and Sprint and NetAmerica Alliance have partnered with the Competitive Carriers Association to accelerate smaller Participating CMS Providers deployment of 4G LTE across rural America. The Commission also seeks comment regarding how the incorporation of the additional WEA enhancements the Commission proposes below (such as support for multimedia and multilingual alerts) may affect the implementation of WEA messages with a maximum length of 360 displayable characters. For instance, would the metadata associated with the inclusion of a URL compete with the maximum text limitation for WEA messages?

    7. CSRIC IV concludes that the existing 90-character limit should remain for legacy networks and devices due to these networks' limitations and its expectation that the overwhelming majority of CMS Provider infrastructure and mobile devices will soon achieve 4G LTE capability. We seek comment on this view. The Commission seeks comment on whether the coexistence of 90- and 360-character alerts might cause public confusion. The Commission also seeks comment on the extent to which it would be feasible for alert originators and Participating CMS Providers to support the coexistence of both 90- and 360-character alerts.

    8. CSRIC IV considered multiple approaches that would accommodate the existing base of legacy networks and mobile devices, while accounting for 4G technology's ability to deliver and receive longer messages. For example, one approach would be for the alert originator to “create two WEA [a]lert [m]essages, the first adhering to the 90 displayable character maximum and the second to support the longer displayable character length.” Alternatively, one WEA message could be generated, the first 90 characters could be delivered to legacy devices, “and the full longer displayable characters [could be] delivered to future enhanced WEA LTE mobile devices.” A third alternative would be the transmission of a longer message in four parts over legacy networks (and in a single message over 4G networks, where feasible). The Commission seeks comment on the feasibility of these alternatives and any other approaches for implementing an expanded WEA message. FEMA states that standards applicable to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) would need to be updated in order for IPAWS to accept longer messages, and that a software update would likely be necessary to enable alert origination software to initiate longer messages. NWS states that it could provide a longer WEA message in addition to the 90-character message, if necessary. Is commercially available alert origination software capable of automatically generating 90- and 360-character alerts from one message? Are there additional technological solutions, not considered by CSRIC IV, which would more effectively enable the transmission of longer alerts across all technologies, including legacy networks and devices? The Commission also seeks comment on the extent to which existing standards would need to be modified to accommodate the coexistence of 90- and 360-character maximum messages.

    9. The Commission proposes that Participating CMS Providers should be required to come into compliance with its proposed WEA messaging rules within one year of the adoption of final rules. With respect to the Commission's proposal to allow the continued delivery of 90-character messages to legacy networks and devices, would it be preferable to adopt a date certain by which all Participating CMS Providers must be able to deliver 360-character WEA messages, rather than allowing the co-existence of 90- and 360-character WEA messages? If so, in what timeframe should the Commission sunset the 90-character WEA message length? Should the date of any sunset be contingent upon the satisfaction of a particular condition, such as the achievement of a particular milestone (e.g., the completion of a 4G network deployment milestone or the completion of any necessary standards work by ATIS/TIA or other standards bodies)?

    10. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on the costs associated with changing the maximum character length for WEA messages. To what extent can Participating CMS Providers leverage existing resources and infrastructure deployed for commercial purposes to satisfy the requirement the Commission proposes today? What additional network resources, if any, are necessary to comply with the Commission's proposed rule? If the delivery of expanded WEA messages can be accomplished through a software upgrade, would such upgrades fall within the scope of Participating CMS Providers' fixed-maintenance contracts, thus resulting in a cost of near zero? The Commission also seeks comment on mitigating factors that could offset potential costs, including those for small and rural Participating CMS Providers. The Commission seeks comment on any burden associated with allowing Participating CMS Providers to continue delivering shorter WEA messages using legacy devices and networks, while simultaneously delivering the expanded WEA messages on their 4G networks. The Commission also seeks comment on the costs and benefits of any potential alternative approaches. Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the extent of cost savings expected to result from expanding the maximum character length to 360, as opposed to requiring that longer messages be issued as sequential 90-character alerts.

    2. Classifying Emergency Government Information

    11. The WEA rules currently provide for three classifications of WEA message: Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threat Alerts, and AMBER Alerts. For an alert to be issued through WEA, it must fall within one of these three categories. In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted these three categories in the public interest because they aligned with the Commission's interpretation of “emergency” alerts under the WARN Act, and because additional alert categories could cause the public to disregard WEA alerts or cause the delivery of alerts to be delayed. In this regard, the Commission's conclusion was consistent with the CMSAAC's finding that supporting these three alert classes achieves the best balance between warning of imminent threats to life and property and the limitations of Participating CMS Provider networks at that time. However, FEMA suggests that communities need the ability to share information beyond the nature of an emergency and how to respond to that emergency; they need the ability to provide additional instructions and information that may contribute to saving lives.

    12. The Commission proposes to amend the WEA rules to create an additional class of WEA message, “Emergency Government Information.” The Commission proposes to define an Emergency Government Information message as an essential public safety advisory that prescribes one or more actions likely to save lives and/or safeguard property during an emergency. According to CSRIC IV, examples of Emergency Government Information messages include “boil water” advisories, and messages indicating shelter locations in the event of long-term or severe flooding, hurricanes, or tornados. The Commission seeks comment on its proposed definition of Emergency Government Information, and on whether enabling the delivery of Emergency Government Information messages would expand the alerting toolkit available to government entities in a meaningful way, complementing existing WEA classes and allowing the provision of more detailed information about how to protect life and property.

    13. The Commission seeks comment on how it can ensure that Emergency Government Information messages are used appropriately and in circumstances where they would be most effective at precipitating protective action. According to CSRIC IV, “[a]n Emergency Government Information message should only be used to provide information to assist citizens regarding actions to take resulting from an imminent threat to life and property.” Would Emergency Government Information be most effective if defined as a standalone message, the issuance of which is predicated upon the fulfillment of certain necessary conditions? Or, on the other hand, should Emergency Government Information messages be used only to supplement Imminent Threat Alerts? What guidelines and parameters would ensure that Emergency Government Information messages are used in an appropriate manner? CSRIC IV recommends that only “appropriate agencies” become authorized to issue Emergency Government Information messages. The Commission seeks comment on whether it should adopt that approach. If the Commission does, are there particular entities which would be particularly appropriate sources of Emergency Government Information?

    14. The Commission seeks comment on the benefits and costs of creating this additional class of WEA alert. Would such messages help to save lives and protect property? What costs, if any, would be imposed on Participating CMS Providers, alert originators, and consumers? Are there any measures that could be taken to mitigate these costs? Is alert origination software currently capable of issuing Emergency Government Information messages using predefined CAP fields and free-form text, or would a software update be required? Would creating an additional category of alerts desensitize the public to other types of alerts? The Commission believes that Participating CMS Providers could use the same hardware to deliver an Emergency Government Information WEA message as they would to deliver another classification of WEA message and seek comment on this view.

    15. As required by the WARN Act, the Commission proposes to amend Section 10.280 of the Commission's rules to allow Participating CMS Providers to enable consumers to opt out of receiving Emergency Government Information messages. CSRIC IV recommends that subscribers should be allowed to opt out of receiving Emergency Government Information, and states that this option need not imply a new device setting, but rather, should be combined with existing settings on the device. The CSRIC IV's report states that the subscriber opt-out capability recommended to be offered for Emergency Government Information would need to be “defined and specified in the Joint ATIS/TIA mobile Device Behavior Specification” in order to ensure that the option to opt out is provided consistently and uniformly across devices, operating systems and software versions. Is this the case? What, if any, other standards or specifications would need to be modified in order to support the provision of Emergency Government Information? Alternatively, would it be preferable for Emergency Government Information to be presented to consumers on an opt-in basis? Would providing such an opt-in option be consistent with the WARN Act?

    16. The Commission also seeks comment on whether there are other classes of alerts that should be added to WEA. FEMA, for example, asserts that the Commission should revisit the manner in which WEA messages are classified, and recommends that the Commission amend the Commission's rules to create the following classes: Federal Alerts (authorized by the President), AMBER Alerts, Severe Weather Alerts, and Local Threat Alerts, each of which would have its own unique attention signal and vibration cadence. As recommended by FEMA, Local Threat Alerts are alerts that may not meet each of the criteria for an imminent threat alert (certainty, urgency and immediacy) but nonetheless may be appropriate for a WEA alert. The Commission seeks comment on this approach. Are additional alert types, such as those currently offered by private mass notifications systems on an opt-in basis, appropriate for WEA? Such additional alert notifications would include weather-related closings, severe traffic incidents, and road closures due to special events. Would such additional classifications help adequately capture the variety of events that merit an alert or warning, and help provide clear instructions to alert originators on the kinds of events where use of the WEA system is appropriate? In addition, could additional alert types provide consumers with a more nuanced range of opt-out choices, in terms of the types of alerts they choose to receive, that could encourage consumer participation in WEA? Parties suggesting additional classes should explain how their proposed classes substantively differ from any of the current classes, or the proposed Emergency Government Information class, and the benefits of their proposed class, including why an additional or alternative alert classification is necessary to help save lives and protect property.

    3. Content in WEA Alerts

    17. The WEA rules currently prohibit the inclusion of embedded references, including telephone numbers and URLs, in all WEA messages except the Presidential Alert. In the First Report and Order, the Commission found that allowing URLs or telephone numbers to be included in WEA messages could exacerbate wireless network congestion in the wake of an emergency when wireless networks are already burdened by calls for help from police, fire, and rescue personnel, as well as to family and friends. In this regard, the Commission's conclusion was consistent with the CMSAAC's recommendation that including telephone numbers and URLs in WEA messages would encourage mass usage and potential congestion of wireless networks.

    18. The WEA rules currently provide minimum standards for text-based alerts only. The Commission did not adopt technical requirements for WEA alerts with multimedia capability in the First Report and Order because, at that time, the Commission believed “it would be premature and not consistent with our obligations under section 602(a) of the WARN Act to adopt standards and requirements for technologies that are still under development.” In this regard, the Commission's conclusion was consistent with the CMSAAC's recommendation that support for text should be the minimum requirement for Participating CMS Providers.

    19. Given the advancement of time and technology since the adoption of the WEA rules, the Commission believes that it would serve the public interest to reconsider the prohibition on the inclusion of telephone numbers and URLs in WEA messages. The Commission propose to remove Section 10.440 from its Part 10 WEA rules, in order to allow embedded phone numbers and URLs to be included in WEA messages. In doing so, the Commission seeks to ensure that Americans may be provided with an immediately accessible method of contacting public safety officials or finding additional information about emergency situations by leveraging the existing capabilities of Participating CMS Provider networks and devices. The Commission believes this approach furthers its goal of using the system to advance public safety. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal and on the Commission's rationale.

    20. The Commission believes that allowing embedded references in WEA messages will improve alert quality and accessibility by offering additional, specific information, and could reduce the risk of network congestion by focusing consumer response, thereby minimizing “milling” behavior. The Commission seeks comment on this analysis. To what extent do individuals currently respond to the receipt of a WEA message by using the Internet to confirm the existence of the emergency condition in their area or to search for additional information? Could a synchronized push of link content to device cache reduce non-alert congestion? CSRIC IV, START and FEMA agree that “consideration should be given to including a URL” in WEA messages, but recommend further study on whether the inclusion of URLs in WEA messages could cause network congestion when many people access a link within seconds of alert receipt. The Commission seek comment on whether such further studies would be helpful, given existing network management technologies that could be deployed to mitigate any potential alert congestion.

    21. The Commission believes the potential benefits of allowing embedded phone numbers and URLs in WEA messages may be particularly applicable where AMBER Alerts are concerned. NCMEC states that the ability to provide a URL directing recipients to a Web site specifically used for AMBER Alerts would be the most important possible enhancement to WEA that the Commission can require at this time. FEMA recommends that a phone number be included in AMBER Alerts, noting that the ATIS/TIA specification for the interface between IPAWS and participating wireless carrier gateways already contains provisions for including a phone number. Every type of missing child advisory issued by NCMEC (e.g., bulletin, notice or poster) includes a phone number to contact with potentially helpful information, except WEA AMBER Alerts. According to the Boston Globe, “[i]n cases in which an abducted child is murdered, 75% of the killings happen within the first three hours.” The Commission believes that providing WEA AMBER Alert recipients with URLs linking to images of missing children, their suspected abductors, and potentially the abduction vehicle could make it easier for the public to assist alert originators in locating missing children, and that providing a phone number to call could hasten the provision of such information during a critical period when every second may count. The Commission seeks comment on this analysis, and on other potential benefits of allowing alert originators to include embedded references in AMBER Alerts and in WEA messages more generally.

    22. The Commission seeks comment regarding the potential costs that may be associated with incorporating embedded references in WEA messages, including any costs associated with the potential for increased call volume or network congestion. If alerts were more narrowly geo-targeted, would these potential burdens be mitigated? What network management techniques could be deployed to counter any potential network congestion? The Commission also seeks comment on any technical considerations that the Commission should take into account with regard to Participating CMS Providers' ability to support embedded references in WEA messages. According to CSRIC IV, adding URLs to WEA messages would necessitate the revision of standards for displaying content generated by the URL. The Commission seeks comment on CSRIC IV's assertion. What technical challenges would need to be addressed to support the synchronized push of content to be stored in cache for all URL links used in WEA CAP messages? Would it be possible to include interactive links in WEA messages, such that an alert recipient could provide real-time feedback to alert originators that would improve emergency responders' situational awareness and help ensure that adequate and appropriate resources are deployed to the scene of the emergency? For example, a WEA message warning about a developing fire in a multi-story building could ask alert recipients whether they see smoke by responding “yes” or “no,” helping emergency responders make decisions about building ventilation that could help to prevent the fire from further spreading. The Commission observes that the CMSAAC Report recommended guidelines for translating embedded references from CAP into a format suitable for communication with mobile devices. The Commission also observes, however, that a data connection may be required in order to access content made available through URLs, and that appropriate protocols and cybersecurity protections may need to be developed in order to protect these functions from malicious intrusion. How should these concerns be addressed? Finally, the Commission seeks comment on how much, if any, additional data would be necessary to transmit embedded references, along with text, in WEA messages, and on the impact, if any, that transmitting this additional data would have on message delivery latency and mobile device battery life. The Commission also seeks comment on the extent of any end-to-end latency in the delivery of WEA messages today, and whether there are ways to employ new technologies to reduce latency for WEA's current functionalities. The Commission seeks comment on these and other technical issues that could affect the implementation of this proposal. The Commission observes that AT&T suggests that the use of phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts should be limited to WEA AMBER Alerts. The Commission seeks comment on this alternative.

    23. The Commission also seeks comment on the efficacy of using embedded URLs to enhance accessibility of WEA for people with disabilities, senior citizens and persons with limited English proficiency, in addition to the general public. Wireless RERC conducted field trials and focus groups regarding disability access to WEA messages and found that users with sensory disabilities prefer to have access to additional information beyond that supplied by the 90-character alert via URLs. The Commission seeks comment on this conclusion, and on how the inclusion of URLs and phone numbers may facilitate access to information. For example, could a URL provide non-English speakers with access to emergency information in their preferred language?

    24. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on whether it would serve the public interest to adopt rules governing the provision of multimedia-based alerts, including alerts that contain high-information maps that demonstrate the location of the alert recipient relative to an area affected by an imminent threat, and images of children, suspected abductors and vehicles in AMBER Alerts. The Commission believes that providing multimedia-based alerts could significantly enhance the usefulness of the system, thereby advancing public safety goals. For example, NWS strongly supports the incorporation of graphical content in WEA messages, stating that this improvement would provide greater clarity in WEA messaging. The Commission recognizes that CSRIC IV concludes that it is impractical for current cell broadcast technology, including 4G LTE, to support sending multimedia, such as images and maps, as part of WEA messages without “significant impacts” to Participating CMS Provider infrastructure. However, the Commission observes that mobile alerting technology vendors and Participating CMS Providers agree that other technologies may be able to support multimedia functionality. How much additional data would be associated with the transmission of multimedia content in WEA messages, and what impact, if any, would transmitting this additional data have on message delivery latency and mobile device battery life? The Commission seeks comment on these issues, as well as any technical solutions that may serve to enhance the usefulness of WEA alerts for the general public.

    4. Providing Multilingual WEA Messages

    25. The WARN Act allows Participating CMS Providers to transmit alerts in languages other than English, if technically feasible. The Commission determined in the First Report and Order that it was not technically feasible for CMS Providers to deliver commercial mobile alerts in languages in addition to English and that further study was necessary to ensure that system capacity and message latency were not adversely affected. The Commission's conclusion in this regard is consistent with the CMSAAC's observation that rendering multilingual alerts would require additional character sets that would limit the amount of text that could be transmitted in WEA messages and that more precise geo-targeting increases the number of non-English languages that will be encountered. Accordingly, the Commission found it premature to require that Participating CMS Providers transmit alerts in languages other than English, but encouraged WEA stakeholders to develop multilingual alerting capabilities.

    26. The Commission seeks comment on whether the fundamental technical problems that limited the ability of Participating CMS Providers in 2008 to provide alerts in languages other than English remain barriers to implementing Congress' vision. To the extent these problems remain, are they device-based, network-based, or both? FEMA recommends that WEA should be enhanced to support delivery of alert messages in languages other than English if the alert is made available by the originator in other languages. FEMA observes that “[t]he IPAWS system as currently deployed and based upon the Common Alerting Protocol standards is capable of supporting multiple languages beyond English if the originator of the alert message provides the alert in additional languages.” Alert originators state that they want to “[u]se language in the WEA Alert Message that best conveys who is at risk given message length constraints.” That could reasonably include a language, other than English, that best serves a particular community. Accordingly, the Commission seeks comment on the benefits of supporting multilingual WEA alerts in order to advance the Commission's goals for promoting community participation.

    27. In raising the issue of multilingual alerts, the Commission notes that the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) has highlighted the importance of providing information about emergencies in languages other than English on numerous occasions. The Commission agrees with MMTC that all Americans, regardless of the language they speak, should have access to emergency information. In this Notice, the Commission seeks comment on the technical implications and potential costs of supporting multilingual WEA alerts. The Commission also seeks comment on the impact of requiring WEA alerts in languages other than English on the ability of Participating CMS Providers to comply with the rules the Commission propose today. For example, the Commission seeks comment on whether Participating CMS Provider networks continue to experience technical limitations that restrict their ability to offer WEA alerts in languages other than English. How much additional data, if any, would be necessary to support additional languages and/or character sets in WEA messages, and how would the transmission of this additional data affect mobile device battery life and message delivery latency? The Commission seeks comment on whether there are other factors that should be considered in determining whether to support multilingual alerts, and on how states and local alert originators can best determine which languages are appropriate for their communities.

    B. WEA Geo-Targeting

    28. In the First Report and Order, the Commission adopted a geo-targeting requirement for WEA messages in order to ensure that WEA messages would only be received by those individuals affected by a specific emergency. Under Section 10.450 of the WEA rules, Participating CMS Providers may not transmit WEA messages to areas greater than the county (or county equivalent) that approximates the geocode, circle, or polygon specified by the WEA alert. The Commission anticipated that as more refined and cost effective geo-targeting capabilities became available to Participating CMS Providers they would voluntarily elect to target alerts more granularly. Similarly, the CMSAAC recommended county-based geo-targeting, but acknowledged that it would be desirable to allow for “more flexible geo-targeting to alert areas [to] evolve as technology advances,” and recommended that the geo-targeting to alert areas smaller than a county “should be reviewed as part of the biennial review process.”

    29. Since the Commission adopted its WEA geo-targeting rules in 2008, there has been considerable interest among alert originators in developing more finely targeted WEA messages. Additionally, research scientists at Carnegie Mellon have developed several polygon compression techniques that enable efficient transmission of polygons representing geographical targets. These techniques are intended to enable compressed polygon vertices to be embedded in emergency alert messages that have strict length restrictions, such as WEA messages.

    30. Further, CSRIC IV and START observe that the effectiveness of WEA alert messages may remain suppressed until they can be distributed to finer geospatial areas, so that messages only reach the people who are at risk. “[O]therwise, people who receive WEA Alert Messages may be trained to think they don't apply to them.” As CSRIC IV notes, some Participating CMS Providers have made voluntary enhancements to geo-targeting that exceed the Commission's current county-level geo-targeting rules. The enhancements include using an algorithm to geo-target the WEA broadcast to transmission sites capable of best approximating the polygon-based alert area provided by the alert originator, and, in LTE networks, using cell sectorization, a technique whereby a WEA alert is broadcast to only certain sectors within a transmission site. CSRIC IV thus recommends that the Commission amend Section 10.450 of its WEA rules to state “that a Participating CMS Provider may voluntarily transmit any Alert Message that is specified by the Alert Originator using a geocode, circle, or polygon, to an area that best approximates the geocode, circle, or polygon given the constraints of CMS Provider infrastructure topology, propagation area, and other radio and network characteristics.” CSRIC IV further recommends that, at a minimum, the Commission should adopt a geo-targeting standard constituting an area no larger than the coverage area of a single transmission site.

    31. The Commission proposes to revise the Commission's rules to require that Participating CMS Providers must transmit any alert message that is specified by a geocode, circle, or polygon to a target area not larger than the specified geocode, circle, or polygon. If, however, the Participating CMS Provider cannot broadcast the alert to an area that accurately matches the target area, the Commission proposes that a Participating CMS Provider may transmit an Alert Message to an area that closely approximates the target area, but in any case not exceeding the propagation area of a single transmission site. In this regard, as a backstop, Participating CMS Providers would be permitted to geo-target WEA alerts with the same level of granularity currently allowed by the Commission's WEA rules. CSRIC IV recommends that CMS Providers be allowed to transmit alert messages, on a voluntary basis, to an area that best approximates the target area, “given the constraints of Participating CMS Provider infrastructure topology, propagation area, and other radio and network characteristics.” Would this approach weaken the Commission's current requirement that WEA alerts be geo-targeted to at least the county level, and would potentially allow Participating CMS Providers to geo-target alerts to any area, so long as it could be justified by reference to network constraints. The Commission seeks comment on the Commission's proposal and on this rationale.

    32. The Commission seeks comment on the technical feasibility of complying with these more granular geo-targeting proposals. Both the WARN Act and the Commission envisioned that WEA technology would evolve to encompass more precisely geo-targeted alerts. In light of the advances in network technology observed by CSRIC IV, specifically network-based solutions already deployed by Participating CMS Providers, is it technically feasible for Participating CMS Providers, utilizing currently available technology, to more accurately geo-target WEA alerts? The Commission specifically seeks comment on the state of network-based enhancements needed to implement this process. CSRIC IV states that “the algorithms for mapping the intended alert area to the relevant cell sites/sectors in the CMSP network are considered proprietary and there is no standard method to perform this mapping.” How can the Commission ensure that all Participating CMS Providers have access to any relevant techniques that are necessary to implement more granular geo-targeting?

    33. Further, the Commission seeks comment on other approaches to improve geo-targeting, including device-based geo-targeting solutions. CSRIC IV recommends that ATIS/TIA conduct feasibility studies of the ability of Participating CMS Providers to more narrowly geo-target WEA using network-based, device-based, and third-party-assisted solutions. Network-based geo-targeting solutions include cell sectorization and algorithm-based transmission site selection. A device-based solution entails an alert originator transmitting geographic coordinates for the target area along with the WEA message, and an end-user device using the device's location-based technology to display only those WEA messages that are relevant to the geographic area in which the device is located. CSRIC IV recommends that ATIS/TIA evaluate the extent to which device-based solutions could be optimized by minimizing the amount of data necessary to transmit alert area coordinates, either by compressing the data, circularizing the polygon, or embedding the geographic data in the alert message itself. A third-party-assisted solution (i.e., a service provided by a party other than the mobile device and the Participating CMS Provider) would utilize an external source of geo-location to determine whether the WEA message should be displayed, without relying on the device's own location services.

    34. Could a device-based solution improve WEA geo-targeting without burdening Participating CMS Provider infrastructure? Could device-based solutions complement network-based solutions to facilitate the delivery of even more granular WEA messages? Would the provision of alert area coordinates in a WEA message potentially reduce the amount of data available for other message elements, such as text and multimedia, and if so, what measures could mitigate this possibility? Carnegie Mellon University has “developed a technique which significantly reduces the amount of data required to convey the location, size, and shape of an NWS alert polygon,” suggesting that only a small amount of data may be necessary to transmit alert coordinates to a mobile device. To what extent can the amount of data needed to transmit geographic coordinates be reduced through such optimization methods? Are such methods feasible or advisable? Are there other techniques for efficiently sending alert area coordinates to a device that should be examined? The Commission also seeks comment on whether the use of device-based solutions might implicate privacy issues and on the protective measures that might be necessary to implement before a device's location-based services are used for the provisioning of WEA alerts. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on the extent to which third-party developers are in the process of developing services to improve WEA geo-targeting.

    35. The Commission seeks comment on the potential benefits that more accurate geo-targeting may provide. By proposing measures to ensure that WEA messages are more finely targeted and delivered only to recipients who are likely to be affected by the emergency event, the Commission intends to minimize over-alerting and reduce alert fatigue. Do alerts sent to too wide an area result in significant problems? Does or could inaccurate geo-targeting lead to alert fatigue, and, if so, would it cause many individuals to disregard or opt-out of receiving all but the Presidential message? CSRIC IV and START conclude that finer geo-spatial targeting is necessary to ensure WEA Alert Messages only reach those people at risk, and that the “effectiveness of WEA Alert Messages may remain suppressed until they can be distributed to finer geospatial targeted populations so that messages only reach the people who are at risk.” The Commission seeks comment on these findings and encourage commenters to offer statistical evidence of the anticipated benefits resulting from tightening the Commission's geo-targeting requirements. Further, the Commission seeks comment on whether improved geo-targeting technology will increase opportunities for wireless providers to offer beneficial services to the companies currently providing mass notification products to localities, employers, and school systems. Specifically, will improved geo-targeting capabilities expand opportunities for wireless carriers and other parties to contract for services outside of WEA that are beneficial to the alert-originating community? The Commission seeks comment on whether there are other potential public/private partnerships that could further leverage WEA capabilities and bring additional innovative alerting services to communities.

    36. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on the potential costs that would result from implementing the more granular geo-targeting requirements the Commission propose today, including through the implementation of network-based, device-based, or third-party-assisted solutions. Would the cost of compliance with the Commission's proposed rules through the use of network-based enhancements likely be minimal because Participating CMS Providers are already engaging in such practices voluntarily? What costs would be entailed for Participating CMS Providers that are not currently using geo-targeting best practices? Would the implementation of device-based improvements to geo-targeting likely entail a software update to mobile devices? If a software update would be needed, could it be bundled into software updates that Participating CMS Providers would issue for their mobile devices in the regular course of business? What costs might be associated with the delivery of such software updates? Lastly, what costs might be associated with the implementation of a third-party-assisted solution?

    C. WEA Testing and Proficiency Training

    37. Section 602(f) of the WARN Act provides that “[t]he Commission shall require by regulation technical testing for commercial mobile radio service providers that elect to transmit emergency alerts and for devices and equipment used by such providers for transmitting alerts”. Under the current WEA rules, the Commission requires Participating CMS Providers to support Required Monthly Testing (RMT) initiated by FEMA, and testing of the C-Interface. The Commission adopted these testing requirements in the Second Report and Order to satisfy the WARN Act's testing requirement in a manner that would ensure the reliability and performance of the new WEA system and the availability and viability of both of its gateway functions. The Commission further noted that the CMSAAC proposed that, in order to ensure the reliability and performance of this new system, certain procedures for logging alerts at the Alert Gateway and for testing the system at the Alert Gateway and on an end-to-end basis should be implemented. Since the deployment of WEA in 2012, the system has grown, technology has changed, and new community-based alert initiators have begun to use WEA to address the safety needs of their communities. In the course of analyzing the Commission's proposals below, commenters should address whether the proposal is consistent with the Commission's statutory authority under the WARN Act or the Communications Act.

    1. Promoting State and Local Testing and Proficiency Training

    38. GAO and alert originators have raised concerns about the lack of a state/local WEA testing regime. In response, the Commission tasked CSRIC IV with making recommendations on how the Commission could address these concerns. In its report, CSRIC IV observes that, according to state and local alert originators, training and proficiency-building exercises constitute a “fundamental component” of emergency management programs. Additionally, according to CSRIC IV, WEA testing would provide state and local alert originators with opportunities to evaluate their preparedness for responding to life-threatening events, to ensure the software used to generate and the infrastructure used to disseminate WEA messages are operating correctly, and to test for downstream issues.

    39. Readiness Testing. CSRIC IV considered three potential models for WEA testing: (1) Allowing alert originators to utilize the current RMT process; (2) allowing alert originators to conduct WEA tests that could be received by wireless customers that opt in to receive alerts; and (3) allowing alert originators to conduct WEA tests that would be received by all wireless customers, unless they opt out of receiving the test. FEMA currently issues nationwide RMTs that are held up to 24 hours before they are delivered to (but not displayed on) WEA-enabled devices. CSRIC IV concluded that a localized test to opt-in participants' WEA-enabled devices would achieve alert originators' goals of providing system verification, as well as opportunities for alert originator proficiency training, and enhancing public awareness of the WEA service.

    40. Pursuant to CSRIC IV's recommended opt-in testing model, an alert originator would submit its test message to FEMA/IPAWS, which would then send the test message to Participating CMS Providers that have coverage within the described alert area. Participating CMS Providers would then receive and process the test message, distributing it to devices configured to opt-in to receiving state and local WEA tests.

    41. The Commission proposes to add a new section 10.350(c) to the WEA rules to require Participating CMS Providers to ensure their systems support the receipt of “State/Local WEA Tests” from the Federal Alert Gateway Administrator, and to distribute such tests to the desired test area in a manner consistent with section 10.450 of the rules. In order to allow State/Local WEA Tests to mirror an actual event, as recommended by the CSRIC, the Commission proposes that the 24-hour delivery window that currently applies to RMTs under section 10.350(a)(2) would not apply to State/Local WEA Tests conducted under proposed section 10.350(c). The Commission believes that the local, geographically focused nature of these tests would allow Participating CMS Providers to distribute the State/Local WEA Tests within their networks upon receipt in a manner consistent with necessary traffic load management and network maintenance. The Commission seeks comment on this analysis. In this regard, the Commission also seeks comment on whether there still remains a justification for the 24-hour window for RMTs. Does the 24-hour window allow for efficient testing that provides adequate data about any weaknesses in the system, including potential message delivery latencies? Do Participating CMS Providers still require a 24-hour window “to manage traffic loads and to accommodate maintenance windows,” as indicated by section 10.350(a)(2)? The Commission further proposes that section 10.350(c), consistent with section 10.350(a), should specify that a Participating CMS Provider may forgo accepting or delivering a State/Local WEA Test if the test message is preempted by actual alert traffic, or if an unforeseen condition in the Participating CMS Provider infrastructure precludes distribution of the State/Local WEA Test. In the event that a Participating CMS Provider cannot accept or deliver a test under these circumstances, the Commission proposes to require that Participating CMS Providers shall indicate such an unforeseen condition by sending a response code to the Federal Alert Gateway. Finally, the Commission proposes that Section 10.350(c) state that Participating CMS Providers may provide their subscribers with the option to opt-in to receiving State/Local WEA Tests. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals. The Commission also seeks comment on whether the Commission should require State/Local WEA Test messages to be clearly identified as test messages to prevent confusion.

    42. The Commission seeks comment on whether any new or revised technical standards or processes would be necessary to facilitate state and local testing, and if so, whether such standards would be best developed through industry standards bodies or best practices. The Commission seek further comment on whether alert originators at the federal, state and local levels would be best positioned to coordinate with Participating CMS Providers and determine the proper method of outreach to testing participants. Accordingly, would the goal of promoting alert origination proficiency be best achieved by affording alert originators flexibility to develop a WEA testing model that best fits the needs of their individual communities? Similarly, would industry organizations such as ATIS/TIA be best positioned to create the device and network specifications that may be necessary to support state and local WEA testing? The Commission seeks comment on whether any additional requirements would be necessary to realize the specific opt-in testing regime recommended by CSRIC IV. Should the Commission revise section 10.500 of the WEA rules, which specifies general requirements for WEA mobile device functionality (including monitoring for alert messages and presenting alert content) to include the ability to monitor for State/Local WEA Tests and to be able to receive and display State/Local WEA Test messages?

    43. The Commission also seeks comment on the periodicity with which state and local alert originators would likely want to engage in readiness testing, and on the maximum readiness testing periodicity Participating CMS Providers are able to support. With what frequency should State/Local WEA Tests be conducted, in order to optimize and ensure system readiness, without introducing alert fatigue or otherwise imposing undue burdens on Participating CMS Providers?

    44. The Commission seeks comment on the public safety benefits likely to result from requiring Participating CMS Providers to support State/Local WEA Testing. According to FEMA, a localized, opt-in, end-to-end approach to testing, as described above, offers the public safety benefits that alert originators state that they need. Specifically, FEMA asserts that requiring Participating CMS Provider support for local testing would improve WEA by (1) demonstrating to the public that their handsets are (or are not) capable of receiving a WEA message; (2) demonstrating WEA capability in coordinated public warning exercises and tests such as those required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for local emergency preparedness programs; and (3) providing the public with reassurance that local emergency management is capable of alerting them in times of disaster. The Commission seeks comment on FEMA's analysis.

    45. Alternatively, would another approach to state and local WEA testing address alert originators' needs more efficiently? As mentioned above, CSRIC IV considered two alternatives to localized, end-to-end, opt-in WEA testing, including local testing on an opt-out basis, and using the current RMT process. The Commission seeks comment on these alternative testing regimes. While CSRIC IV concludes that opt-out testing would afford substantial benefits in terms of system verification, alert originator proficiency, and public awareness, it also finds that opt-out testing is unnecessarily broad, and that large-scale public response may unduly stress emergency call centers. The Commission seeks comment on CSRIC IV's analysis. With respect to utilizing the current RMT process, CSRIC IV finds that this testing model poses little to no network reliability risk for Participating CMS Providers, but also offers little, if any, benefit in the areas of system verification, alert originator proficiency and public awareness because the test alert would not be displayed on end-user devices. The Commission seek comment on CSRIC IV's findings.

    46. The Commission also seeks comment on any potential costs that may be imposed by its proposed testing requirements. Because the proposed testing regime is largely based on the current RMT model, with test recipients likely comprised of a limited number of voluntary, opt-in participants, the Commission anticipates that the proposed testing regime would likely not lead to network congestion. The Commission seeks comment on this observation, as well as the extent to which Participating CMS Providers would incur costs, including costs related to the development of any technical standards or necessary modifications to end user devices. Are there any measures the Commission could take to minimize any attendant costs while still achieving the Commission's public safety goals?

    47. Liability Protection for State/Local WEA Testing. Finally, CSRIC IV recommends that the Commission confirm that liability protection provided under the WARN Act extends to Participating CMS Providers for their engagement in State/Local WEA Testing. Based on the plain language of the WARN Act, the Commission believes that liability protection would reasonably extend to Participating CMS Provider engagement in State/Local WEA Testing as proposed in this Notice, provided that the Participating CMS Provider otherwise satisfies its obligations under the WARN Act and complies with the Commission's testing requirements. The Commission notes that section 602(f) provides that “[t]he Commission shall require by regulation technical testing for commercial mobile radio service providers that elect to transmit emergency alerts and for devices and equipment used by such providers for transmitting alerts. Further, section 602(e)(1)(A) states that “[a]ny commercial mobile service provider [. . .] that transmits emergency alerts and meets its obligations under this title shall not be liable to any subscriber, or user of, such person's service or equipment for—(A) any act or omission related to or any harm resulting from the transmission of, or failure to transmit, an emergency alert.” The Commission seeks comment on its analysis.

    48. Proficiency Training. The Commission observes that it may be helpful for state and local alert originators to send WEA test messages in the context of proficiency training exercises. The Commission envision that proficiency training exercises would help develop the preparedness of state and local emergency response, ensuring that emergency managers are able to respond swiftly and efficiently to emergencies through the use of WEA. The Commission seeks comment on whether it should provide alert originators with the option of delivering such proficiency training messages to a single, dedicated end-user device, such as the mobile device of an emergency management official, rather than to a larger set of wireless customers, in order to provide alert originators with an opportunity to develop alert originator proficiency through regular exercises without involving the general public. Further, in order to minimize any potential burden on Participating CMS Providers, the Commission propose that proficiency training exercises would not be subject to the same reporting requirements that the Commission discuss below. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, and any other approaches the Commission could adopt that would achieve its public safety objectives.

    2. Requiring Alert Logging and Test Reporting

    49. Section 10.350 of the WEA rules requires Participating CMS Providers to keep an automated log of RMT messages received by the Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateway from the FEMA Alert Gateway. The Commission adopted this requirement in the Second Report and Order based on the CMSAAC's recommendation that alert logs should be kept and preserved as an integral part of the Trust Model for maintaining WEA system integrity, for protecting system security, and for testing and troubleshooting purposes. The Commission declined to adopt more specific test reporting requirements at that time because the WEA system was still in a nascent stage. According to CSRIC IV, there is no established procedure for Participating CMS Providers to inform alert originators or government entities of the success or failure of WEA tests under the current WEA testing model (i.e., RMT and C-Interface Testing), and thus no available method to analyze these results in the interest of public safety. The Commission seeks comment on CSRIC IV's conclusions.

    50. The Commission proposes to require Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways to provide the logging functionality recommended by the CMSAAC Report. Specifically, the Commission proposes to adopt a new section 10.320(g) that would require Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways to:

    • Provide a mechanism to log messages with time stamps that verify when messages are received, and when the messages are acknowledged or rejected by the Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateway, and if an alert is rejected, to provide the specific error code generated by the rejection;

    • Maintain an online log of active and cancelled alert messages for 90 days, and maintain archived logs for at least 36 months that should be accessible by Participating CMS Providers for testing and troubleshooting purposes; and

    • Generate monthly system and performance statistics reports based on category of alert, alert originator, alert area, and other alerting attributes.

    The Commission observes that these logging requirements were recommended by the CMSAAC after extensive efforts to arrive at a consensus among CMS Providers, vendors, public safety entities, organizations representing broadcast stations, and organizations representing people with disabilities and the elderly. Are Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateways currently capable of performing the logging functions specified by the CMSAAC? If not, how difficult would it be to add this functionality? Would alert logging allow Participating CMS Providers to monitor whether the WEA system is working as intended? In order to develop a full view of how the WEA system is working, from alert initiation all the way through to receipt of the message by the mobile device, should CMS Providers also log when the alert is received by a representative, dedicated, end-user device (such as a mobile device controlled by and in the possession of the Participating CMS Provider)? Aside from the Commission, should alert logs be accessible only by Participating CMS Providers? The Commission seeks comment on whether other federal or state governmental entities, such as FEMA, may have a legitimate need for access to alert logs. The Commission seeks comment any confidentiality protections that would be required to protect Participating CMS Provider alert logs. The CMSAAC described message logging as part of the Trust Model necessary to ensure WEA system security and reliability because it allows all WEA messages to be attributed reliably to an individual, sender, and to identify when the sender is not properly credentialed. The Commission also seeks comment on whether implementing these CMSAAC-recommended procedures, along with the test reporting requirements described below, would be beneficial in harmonizing the Commission's proposed WEA test reporting and logging procedures with the Commission's EAS rules.

    51. The Commission notes that CSRIC IV recommends that industry and government stakeholders “develop a best practices ATIS/TIA standard for defining and reporting on significant problems.” The Commission seeks comment on CSRIC IV's recommendation. Should the Commission formalize a reporting process for alert originators? If the Commission does formalize a test reporting procedure, what form should that reporting take, and what specific information should be reported? The Commission also seeks comment on the extent to which reporting procedures could provide alert originators with useful feedback on alert delivery latency, accuracy of geo-targeting, and quality of public response that otherwise would be unavailable. Could feedback on the quality of public response be leveraged to improve alert originators' alert origination proficiency? The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which reported data would be useful to empower alert originators with the ability to ensure the WEA system will work as designed and when needed. What, if any, characteristics of alert dissemination, beyond geo-targeting and latency, would state and local alert originators seek to evaluate through State/Local WEA Testing and thus require reports on? How can a test reporting system be optimized to protect potentially confidential information?

    52. Should the Commission also require Participating CMS Providers to report WEA test data? The Commission notes that the Commission has required that EAS Participants file nationwide EAS test result data with the Commission on a confidential basis through an Electronic Test Reporting System (ETRS). Should the Commission require Participating CMS Providers to use this system as a model for the reporting of WEA test data to the Commission? If the Commission were to require reporting of WEA test data, the Commission seeks comment regarding the frequency with which such reporting should take place. For example, should Participating CMS Providers file test data on an annual basis, based on test data collected from the RMT process? The Commission also seeks comment regarding the elements of the test data that should be provided in any such report. For example, should the report include data regarding the time of the receipt of the alert from the FEMA Alert Gateway, and the time of alert transmission? Should Participating CMS Providers include data regarding when an alert is received by a representative mobile device, as discussed above with respect to logging requirements? The Commission also seeks comment on whether such information should be considered presumptively confidential, to be shared with federal, state and local alert originators that have confidentiality protection at least equal to that provided by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), consistent with the Commission's data-protection practices in the EAS context. Alternatively, are there differences in the type of data that the Commission might collect from CMS Providers versus EAS Participants that would suggest WEA test data should be treated differently? Should access to WEA test data be limited, and if so, to whom? The Commission seeks comment on the optimal method of filing test result data with the Commission in a manner that fulfills the primary goal of WEA testing to provide alert originators with verification that the system works as designed, and provides the Commission with an opportunity to analyze the performance of the WEA system in order to bring to light any potential weaknesses in the WEA system that the Commission may be able to address through rulemaking, public-private partnerships, or both.

    53. The Commission also seeks comment on three alternative test reporting mechanisms: Third-party software using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), informal communication among alert originators, and use of the Public Safety Help Center. The Commission anticipates that these alternatives could minimize the filing burden on Participating CMS Providers, but could also present significant drawbacks. First, the Commission seeks comment on whether Participating CMS Providers could allow third-party application developers to create software and APIs to satisfy their test reporting requirements. Could third-party software be designed to automate the process of filing test result data with the Commission by sending such data from the consumer's mobile device directly to a Commission-operated server or account using a the cell broadcast network, a data connection, or WiFi? Second, the Commission seeks comment on whether it would be preferable to leave test reporting to person-to-person interaction without the adoption of formal rules. Could the goals of test reporting be achieved through informal communication between alert originators and their associates? Finally, the Commission seeks comment on the use of the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) section of the Public Safety Help Center to satisfy the need for feedback on State/Local WEA Tests. Would a consumer-complaint based reporting mechanism adequately capture shortcomings in State/Local WEA Tests?

    54. The Commission also seeks comment on the potential costs that Participating CMS Providers would be likely to incur if the Commission were to adopt rules for alert logging and test reporting. What costs, if any, would logging alerts at the Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateway cause Participating CMS Providers to incur? What costs would reporting test data to the Commission impose? How could the Commission optimize the WEA test reporting process to minimize the filing burden on Participating CMS Providers, and to protect confidential information? How, if at all, could a best-practice-based test reporting system be leveraged to provide comparable benefits at a lower cost?

    D. Participating CMS Providers and Subscribers

    55. The Commission seeks comment on whether there are additional measures the Commission can take to promote participation in WEA, both by consumers and by CMS Providers. Section 602(b)(2)(E) of the WARN Act provides that “any commercial mobile service licensee electing to transmit emergency alerts may offer subscribers the capability of preventing the subscriber's device from receiving such alerts, or classes of such alerts, other than an alert issued by the President.” In the Third Report and Order, the Commission addressed this section of the WARN Act by adopting section 10.280 of the WEA rules, which states that Participating CMS Providers “may provide their subscribers with the option to opt out of both, or either, the `Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alert' and `Imminent Threat Alert' classes of Alert Messages,” and that Participating CMS Providers “shall provide their subscribers with a clear indication of what each option means, and provide examples of the types of messages the customer may not receive as a result of opting out.” The Commission also allowed Participating CMS Providers the flexibility to provide opt-out choices consistent with their own infrastructure in order to accommodate variations among Participating CMS Provider networks and devices. The Commission reasoned that this approach would allow consumers the flexibility to choose what type of messages they wish to receive, while also ensuring that customers would be apprised of the most severe threats as communicated by Presidential Alert messages. Further, the Commission reasoned that this approach would accommodate “differences in how CMS providers and device manufacturers provision menus and user interfaces.” The Commission's approach was consistent with the CMSAAC recommendation that a simple opt-out program should allow consumers the choice to opt out of Imminent Threat Alerts and AMBER Alerts.

    56. Section 602(b)(2)(E) of the WARN Act required the Commission to send a report to Congress making recommendations on whether Participating CMS Providers should continue to be permitted to offer their subscribers the ability to opt out of receiving Imminent Threat and AMBER Alerts. As required by the WARN Act, the Commission filed the report on August 5, 2010, but initial deployment of WEA was not scheduled until April 2012. Accordingly, although the Commission adopted opt-out rules in 2008, at the time the Commission submitted its report to Congress there was no WEA service from which customers could opt-out, so the Commission made no recommendations regarding subscriber opt-out capability.

    57. Now that WEA has been deployed for over three years, the Commission seek comment on the opt-out provisions currently used by Participating CMS Providers. Further, the Commission seeks comment on specific factors that lead consumers to opt out of receiving WEA messages. For example, do consumers regularly opt out of receiving WEA messages because they receive alerts that are not relevant to their geographic location? If so, would the new geo-targeting rules the Commission proposes today reduce consumer opt-out? Has message length, particularly the 90-character limit, been a factor in consumer decisions to opt out? Would the provision of further details about the nature of life-threatening situations and instructions on how to respond make it more or less likely that consumers would choose to opt out of receiving WEA messages? Similarly, would the availability of WEA messages in languages other than English, Emergency Government Information, embedded URLs, embedded phone numbers or multimedia content have an impact on consumer opt out, and if so, then to what extent?

    58. The Commission notes that many Participating CMS Providers supply, display, or refer the customer to instructions on how to opt out of receiving WEA messages on Participating CMS Provider Web sites. Does the manner in which Participating CMS Providers offer their customers information regarding consumer choice have an impact on whether consumers opt out of receiving WEA messages? Would the goals of the statute be better served by requiring a more neutral approach? If so, should the Commission prescribe a consistent, transparent and uniform opt-out procedure for WEA messages, or are there other regulatory responses that would effectively prevent such favoritism while providing Participating CMS Providers with more flexibility in how they inform consumers of the options?

    59. The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which Participating CMS Providers can provide consumers with a greater number of opt-out choices that might facilitate consumer participation in WEA. For example, could Participating CMS Providers offer users the option to receive AMBER Alerts only during certain times, such as during the day, so they will not be disturbed during the evening or at night? Are consumers currently able to silence some or all WEA alerts by using “silent mode” or “do not disturb” functions on their mobile devices? Are there other ways to personalize alert receipt options that would help optimize the balance between encouraging WEA participation and providing consumers with sufficient information to make an informed opt out decision? Should the Commission require Participating CMS Providers to offer any of these types of personalized alert receipt options, and, if so, what costs, if any, would such a requirement impose on the Provider? What benefits would be associated with such a requirement? For example, would a greater number of consumers decide not to disassociate completely from WEA if they had a more nuanced range of choices in how they could receive alerts, such as having the option to cache certain types of alerts received during the evening or night for later delivery during a more convenient time, or to limit the types of weather alerts they would receive, for example, to tornadoes but not thunderstorms?

    60. The Commission seeks comment on the extent that public perception of WEA contributes to consumer opt-out and to CMS Provider election to participate in WEA. To the extent that the rules the Commission proposes today will heighten public awareness and improve public perception of the value of WEA, to what extent is this expected to affect consumer opt out and CMS Provider participation?

    61. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on what potential barriers may exist that prevent full participation in WEA by all wireless providers, particularly any barriers confronting smaller providers. What measures could lower any barriers to participation for CMS Providers? Are there particular actions the Commission or other stakeholders could take to facilitate the voluntary participation of non-participating CMS providers, particularly smaller providers, in WEA? For instance, do smaller providers encounter issues obtaining WEA-capable devices?

    E. WEA Attention Signals and Public Service Announcements

    62. Section 11.45 of the EAS rules provides, in pertinent part, that “[n]o person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS.” While the Commission's WEA rules do not include a comparable bar against the use of the WEA Attention Signal, because the WEA and EAS Attention Signals use identical frequencies, absent a waiver of the Commission's rules, the broadcast or transmission of the WEA Attention Signal may violate Section 11.45 of the Commission's rules, particularly insofar as the respective signals may be indistinguishable to the listener.

    63. FEMA, in collaboration with Ready.gov and the Ad Council, has developed a public education campaign consisting of PSAs, which it has distributed to strategic local markets and state and local IPAWS partners. In November 2015, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau), on delegated authority, temporarily waived sections 11.45 and 10.520 of the Commission's rules, in order to allow FEMA to raise public awareness about WEA and its attention signal through a PSA campaign. The waiver, which will expire on May 19, 2017, permits the PSAs to play the WEA Attention Signal to familiarize the public with the sounds that they may hear from their mobile device when they receive a WEA Alert. The Bureau, however, conditioned the waiver upon the WEA PSA making clear that the WEA Attention Signal was being used “in the context of the PSA and for the purpose of educating the viewing or listening public about the functions of their WEA-capable mobile devices and the WEA program.”

    64. The Commission proposes to amend its rules to allow broadcast or transmission of the WEA Attention Signal as part of government-developed PSAs in order to address alert originators' need to raise public awareness about WEA. Specifically, the Commission proposes to amend sections 11.45 and 10.520 to allow federal, state and local governments to use the attention signal common to EAS and WEA to raise public awareness about WEA, provided the relevant entity makes it clear that the WEA Attention Signal is being used in the context of the PSA, “and for the purpose of educating the viewing or listening public about the functions of their WEA-capable mobile devices and the WEA program,” including by explicitly stating that the WEA attention signal is being used in the context of a PSA for the purpose of educating the public about WEA. The Commission also seek comment on whether the Commission should further amend section 10.520 to bar the use of the WEA Attention Signal in a manner parallel to the bar on use of the EAS Attention Signal in Section 11.45 of the Commission's rules. In the context of increasing the maximum WEA character limit, FEMA notes that it will “need to . . . conduct additional public information efforts to inform people of the new format of WEA messages they may receive on their cellular phones.” Would PSAs be useful for this purpose? If the Commission were to amend the Commission's rules to allow the broadcast or transmission of the WEA Attention Signal in PSAs intended to educate the public about WEA, should the Commission limit this exception to PSAs that are developed by FEMA, or should the Commission extend this exception to PSAs created by any alerting authority recognized by FEMA? If the Commission were to extend the exception in this manner, should any such PSAs be subject to prior review or approval by FEMA as a condition of being considered compliant under the Commission's amended rules?

    F. Non-Commercial Educational and Public Broadcast Television Station Testing

    65. The WARN Act and the Commission's rules require Non-commercial Educational (NCE) and public broadcast television station licensees and permittees “to install necessary equipment and technologies on, or as part of, any broadcast television digital signal transmitter to enable the distribution of geographically targeted alerts by commercial mobile service providers that have elected to transmit emergency alerts” as a back-up to the C-Interface.

    66. In a companion Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice) to the Second Report and Order, 73 FR 47552, the Commission sought comment on whether it should adopt rules that require NCE and public broadcast television station licensees and permittees to test the installed equipment. In the Further Notice, the Commission noted that NCE and public broadcast television station licensees and permittees will, in essence, provide a redundant path by which Participating CMS Providers will be able to receive geo-targeted alerts. The Commission also noted that it adopted rules to implement 602(f) of the WARN Act to require technical testing of this back-up path for Participating CMS Providers.

    67. Against that background, the Commission sought comment on whether NCE/public broadcast television stations should participate in WEA testing, and if so, how this testing should be implemented. The Commission asked whether it should implement similar requirements as those it adopted for Participating CMS Providers. Additionally, the Commission sought comment on whether a different testing regime should be implemented given the unique circumstances of NCE/public broadcast television stations and digital television technology. Only two parties commented in response, both of which noted that, although they supported testing of the NCE/public television portion of the system, there were inherent limits in what such testing would show.

    68. Given the passage of time, and the advances in WEA technology that have occurred during that time, the Commission asks that interested parties refresh and update the record on whether and how testing of the broadcast-based WEA infrastructure should be implemented. The Commission also seeks comment on whether NCE/public broadcast television stations have the capability to test and analyze the transport of messages, and if not, would they be required to purchase testing equipment? Would special procedures and test signals need to be developed to NCE/public broadcast television stations to effectively test message transmission and diagnose delivery problems? Additionally, how would NCE/public broadcast television stations report problems? As an alternative, would it be sufficient to require NCE/public broadcast television stations to simply receive tests originated by the Federal Alert Gateway and re-transmit them to the CMS Provider Alert Gateway?

    69. Additionally, the Commission asks commenters to specify the benefits and costs of adopting NCE/public broadcast television station testing requirements. For example, would the public benefits associated with ensuring the reliability of a redundant, back-up system outweigh the costs to NCE and public broadcast station licensees and permittees in testing equipment? Would an extended implementation timeframe mitigate such costs?

    G. WEA Prioritization

    70. Section 10.410 of the Commission's WEA rules requires Participating CMS Providers' Alert Gateways to process alerts on a first in-first out (FIFO) basis, except for Presidential Alerts, which must be processed before all non-Presidential alerts. Section 10.320 reiterates this requirement, and further requires Participating CMS Provider's Alert Gateways to support “a mechanism to manage congestion within the CMS provider's infrastructure.” Further, in the First Report and Order, the Commission concluded that “it would be contrary to the public interest if alert messages were to preempt certain active voice or data sessions,” observing that it would not be in the public interest if urgent calls for help during crises were preempted by alert traffic. This conclusion was consistent with the recommendations of the CMSAAC, which stated that “the presentation of the received [ ] alert message should take priority over other mobile device functions except for the preemption of an active voice or data session.”

    71. Given the passage of time, and the advances in WEA technology that have occurred during that time, the Commission seeks comment on whether it should amend section 10.320 of the Commission's rules to address prioritization at the Alert Gateway, in transit, and on the mobile device. Specifically, with respect to prioritization at the Alert Gateway, the Commission seeks comment on whether WEA alerts should continue to be processed on a FIFO basis, with the exception of the Presidential Alert? Should Imminent Threat Alerts attaining a certain threshold level of urgency, severity and certainty be processed before other, less extreme Imminent Threats potentially affecting the same geographic area? In the event commenters believe a particular type of alert should be prioritized over another, the Commission seeks comment on the order of prioritization and basis for such prioritization. With respect to the prioritization of WEA alerts in transit, should the Commission require that WEA alert data have priority over all other data in transit? Would this have any unintended practical consequences, given that all traffic is increasingly data?

    H. Participating CMS Provider Election Process

    72. The Commission's WEA rules allow Participating CMS Providers to elect to transmit WEA alert messages “in a manner consistent with the technical standards, protocols, procedures, and other technical requirements implemented by the Commission.” The WEA rules also allow Participating CMS Providers to withdraw their election to participate in WEA “without regulatory penalty or forfeiture.” The Commission adopted these rules based on the WARN Act's requirements that CMS providers that elect to transmit emergency alerts must agree to follow the technical rules adopted by the Commission, and the WARN Act's provision that Participating CMS Providers may withdraw their election to transmit emergency alerts at any time without penalty upon written notification to subscribers. CSRIC IV recommends that the Commission modify these election procedures to provide CMS Providers with multiple election options. Under CSRIC IV's recommendations, a CMS Provider could elect to continue to participate in WEA under the new rules adopted by the Commission, or “under the rules in place at the time of the original election.” CSRIC IV recommends that CMS Providers should be required to electronically file with the Commission, within 180 days following the adoption of changes or enhancements to WEA rules, a letter attesting to the CMS Provider's election as recommended above.

    73. The Commission believes that Participating CMS Providers should continue to provide WEA service in a manner consistent with the Commission's WEA rules, including any amendments the Commission might adopt as a result of this proceeding. Under the WARN Act, CMS Provider election to participate in WEA is voluntary, but once a CMS provider elects to participate in WEA, participation must be consistent with the Commission's rules. The WARN Act plainly states that a CMS Provider that elects to transmit alerts under the WARN Act must do so “in a manner consistent with the technical standards, protocols, procedures, and other technical requirements implemented by the Commission.” There is nothing in the WARN Act that gives a Participating CMS Provider the authority to select which technical standards, protocols, procedures and other requirements with which it will comply. The Commission observes that to allow each Participating CMS Provider to support a substantively or technically different WEA service could introduce confusion and potentially impede interoperability, unnecessarily complicating the task of alert originators at the very instant when lives may depend on getting an accurate and timely alert to the community. Moreover, if the Commission were to adopt CSRIC IV's recommended revisions to the Commission's election procedures, it would threaten to eliminate or severely inhibit the Commission's ability to implement the WARN Act's vision that the WEA service should evolve, consistent with advancements in the underlying technology.

    74. The Commission believes that the record and stakeholder practice support the Commission's position that the Commission should revisit its technical rules for WEA as technology evolves in order to ensure that WEA remains an effective, life-saving service. It was the common understanding among all the CMSAAC stakeholders that WEA would evolve with technology. Indeed, many of the proposals in this Notice are based upon the CMSAAC recommendations that were not adopted by the Commission in previous reports and orders because of technological limitations present at the time of their adoption. When the Commission adopted the WEA rules, it retained the “discretion and flexibility” to evaluate the CMSAAC's recommendations in order to advance the policy goal underlying the WARN Act, i.e., “the creation of a [WEA system] in which CMS Providers will elect to participate, and which will effectively deliver alerts and warnings to the public.” The Commission believes this is consistent with the intent of Congress.

    75. In light of the rapid deployment of smart handsets and 4G technology as discussed above, the Commission believes that the statutory provisions giving rise to WEA authorize the Commission to continue to take a leadership role, in cooperation with other federal entities, states, localities and Participating CMS Providers, to promote the continued effectiveness of WEA as a technologically current element of the nation's overall alerting strategy. The Commission also believes that competitive forces provide Participating CMS Providers with strong incentives to continue to transmit emergency alerts to consumer mobile devices and that these market incentives, along with the public safety benefits the Commission expects to result from these proposed rules, provide a strong argument for continued participation in WEA. The Commission seeks comment on this analysis, as well as on CSRIC IV's recommendation to allow Participating CMS Providers to offer WEA pursuant to different requirements.

    I. Implementation Timeframe

    76. As discussed below, the Commission proposes that Participating CMS Providers must comply with the Commission's WEA messaging rules within one year of their effective date, and with the Commission's WEA geo-targeting and testing rules within sixty days of their effective date. While all of the Commission's proposed rules are intended to leverage commercially available technologies to improve public safety at minimal cost to Participating CMS Providers, the Commission recognizes that compliance with the Commission's WEA messaging rules, unlike the Commission's WEA testing and geo-targeting rules, would likely require modifications to existing network and device standards in order to ensure that Participating CMS Providers are able to comply with these proposed rules in a uniform manner.

    77. CSRIC IV recommends that “within 180 days of the FCC adoption of rules for WEA enhancements, the FCC, Participating CMS [P]roviders, FEMA, and Alert Originators jointly identify the timelines for enhanced WEA development, testing and deployment,” taking into consideration ATIS/TIA feasibility studies scheduled to be completed within one year. In response to this CSRIC IV recommendation, and for ease of reference and comment, the Commission provides the table below to set forth the timeframes for those instances where the Commission proposes specific implementation deadlines.

    Figure 3—Proposed Implementation Timeframes Proposed Rule Amendment Proposed implementation timeframe Increasing Maximum WEA Character Length Within 1 year of the rules' effective date. Classifying Emergency Government Information Within 1 year of the rules' effective date. Embedding Telephone Numbers and URLs Within 1 year of the rules' effective date. Multimedia Alerting The Commission seeks comment on a reasonable timeline for Participating CMS Providers to support multimedia in WEA messages. Multilingual Alerting The Commission seeks comment on a reasonable timeline for Participating CMS Providers to support multilingual WEA messages. WEA Geo-targeting Within 60 days of the rules' effective date. Adopting State and Local WEA Testing and Proficiency Training Within 60 days of the rules' effective date. Requiring Alert Logging Test Reporting Within 60 days of the adoption of final State/Local WEA Testing and proficiency training rules, or within 60 days of the launch of ETRS, whichever is later. WEA Attention Signals and Public Service Announcements Within 60 days of the rules' effective date. Non-commercial Educational and Public Broadcast Television Station Testing The Commission seeks comment on a reasonable timeline for testing of the broadcast-based WEA infrastructure to commence.

    78. Proposed WEA Messaging Rules. The Commission proposes that all Participating CMS Providers should comply with the Commission's proposed WEA messaging rules—specifically, the Commission's proposed requirements to extend the maximum WEA message length to 360 characters, provide Emergency Government Information alert messages, and be capable of including phone numbers and URLs in WEA alerts—one year from the adoption of final rules. While the Commission believes these proposed requirements leverage commercially available technologies, the Commission recognizes that implementation of these requirements would necessitate standards modifications. In particular, according to CSRIC IV, the standards revision process associated with increasing the maximum WEA character length would take one year to complete. The Commission seeks comment on this timeframe. Commenters are encouraged to specify an alternative timeline if compliance within one year is considered infeasible, or if compliance can be met earlier, including by specifying whether compliance with the Commission's proposed rules should be completed in stages. The Commission also seeks comment on benefits and costs relating to the Commission's analysis and transition period.

    79. Proposed Geo-targeting, Testing, Logging, and Reporting Rules. The Commission proposes that all Participating CMS Providers should be required to comply with the Commission's WEA testing and geo-targeting rules within sixty days of their effective date. Given that some Participating CMS Providers are already utilizing a variety of techniques discussed above to voluntarily deliver more finely geo-targeted WEA messages, and that CSRIC IV recommends that the Commission establish a waiver process to the extent necessary to allow State/Local WEA Testing during the pendency of this rulemaking, the Commission believes that Participating CMS Providers are already capable of complying with the Commission's proposed geo-targeting and testing rules, and that it would serve the public interest to implement these requirements in a swift manner. The Commission seeks comment on this timeframe and on the Commission's rationale.

    80. The Commission further proposes that Participating CMS Providers should comply with WEA alert logging and test reporting requirements within sixty days of the adoption of final State/Local WEA Testing and proficiency training rules, or within sixty days of the launch of ETRS, whichever is later. The Commission notes that the Commission required EAS Participants to file test report data in ETRS within sixty days of the effective date of the ETRS rules, or within sixty days of the launch of the ETRS, whichever was later. The Commission anticipates that filing test result data in ETRS will present Participating CMS Providers with obligations similar to those of EAS Participants. If ETRS is not operational within sixty days of the adoption of final State/Local WEA Testing rules, the Commission proposes to encourage state and local alert originators who engage in State/Local WEA Testing to file self-recorded test results in PS Docket No. 15-91 using the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) until ETRS becomes operational. In this manner, any meaningful data from initial State/Local WEA Tests would be captured and recorded, and could be leveraged to help improve WEA. Finally, the Commission proposes that any amendments to the Commission's WEA rules to allow the use of the WEA tones in government-produced PSAs would be effective sixty days from their effective date.

    81. Providing Multilingual and Multimedia Alerts. The Commission seeks comment on timeframes within which it would be reasonable to expect Participating CMS Providers to support WEA messages in languages other than English, and messages that contain multimedia. In responding to the Commission's requests for comment on the form that rules regarding these issues should take, commenters are encouraged to provide timetables along which the Commission should reasonably expect Participating CMS Providers to comply with such requirements, including any interim milestones that the Commission might expect Participating CMS Providers to reach along the way to fulfilling the Commission's ultimate objectives.

    82. NCE and Public Broadcast Television Station Testing. The Commission asks commenters to propose a specific implementation timeframe to enable NCE and public broadcast television station licensees and permittees to test the installed equipment. For example, if the Commission were to require NCE/public broadcast television station testing of equipment, should such a requirement be phased in over a specific period of time? Under a phased-in approach, what would be appropriate milestones to guide implementation of such testing requirements? What would be the costs and benefits of a phased in approach?

    III. Procedural Matters A. Ex Parte Rules

    83. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must: (1) List all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made; and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda, or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

    B. Comment Filing Procedures

    84. Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments in response to this Notice on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

    Paper Filers: Parties that choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.

    Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    1. All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    2. Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    3. U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    C. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    85. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, see 5 U.S.C. 604, the Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. The IRFA is set forth in Appendix B. Written public comments are requested in the IRFA. These comments must be filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines as comments filed in response to this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as set forth on the first page of this document, and have a separate and distinct heading designating them as responses to the IRFA.

    D. Initial Paperwork Reduction Analysis

    86. This document contains proposed new and modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    E. Further Information

    1. For further information regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contact James Wiley, Attorney Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at (202) 418-1678 or [email protected] or John A. Evanoff, Attorney-Advisor, Policy and Licensing Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-0848 or [email protected]

    IV. Ordering Clauses

    2. Accordingly, it is ordered that pursuant to Sections 1, 4(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 606, as well as by sections 602(a), (b), (c), (f), 603, 604 and 606 of the WARN Act, this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Is hereby adopted.

    3. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects 47 CFR Part 10

    Communications common carriers, Radio, Emergency alerting.

    47 CFR Part 11

    Radio, Television, Emergency alerting.

    Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 10 and 47 CFR part 11 to read as follows:

    PART 10—WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS 1. The authority citation for part 10 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i) and (o), 201, 303(r), 403, and 606, as well as sections 602(a), (b), (c), (f), 603, 604 and 606 of the WARN Act.

    2. Amend § 10.280 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 10.280 Subscribers' right to opt out of WEA notifications.

    (a) CMS providers may provide their subscribers with the option to opt out of the “Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alert,” “Imminent Threat Alert” and/or “Emergency Government Information” classes of Alert Messages.

    3. Add paragraph (g) to § 10.320 to read as follows:
    § 10.320 Provider alert gateway requirements

    (g) Alert Logging. The CMS provider gateway must perform the following functions:

    (1) Provide a mechanism to log messages with time stamps that verify when messages are received, and when the messages are acknowledged or rejected by the Participating CMS Provider Alert Gateway, and if an alert is rejected, to provide the specific error code generated by the rejection;

    (2) Maintain an online log of active and cancelled alert messages for 90 days, and maintain archived logs for at least 36 months that should be accessible by Participating CMS Providers for testing and troubleshooting purposes; and

    (3) Generate monthly system and performance statistics reports based on category of alert, alert originator, alert area, and other alerting attributes?

    4. Amend § 10.350 by revising the section heading and adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 10.350 WEA testing and proficiency training requirements.

    (c) State/Local WEA Testing. A Participating CMS Provider must ensure that their systems support State/Local WEA Testing and proficiency training.

    (1) A Participating CMS Provider's Gateway shall support the ability to receive a State/Local WEA Test message initiated by the Federal Alert Gateway Administrator.

    (2) A Participating CMS Provider shall distribute a State/Local WEA Test to the geographic area specified by the alert originator pursuant to the geographic targeting standard established by § 10.450 of this chapter.

    (3) A Participating CMS Provider may forego a State/Local WEA Test if the State/Local WEA Test is pre-empted by actual alert traffic or if an unforeseen condition in the CMS Provider infrastructure precludes distribution of the State/Local WEA Test. A Participating CMS Provider Gateway shall indicate such an unforeseen condition by a response code to the Federal Alert Gateway.

    (4) CMS Providers may provide their subscribers with the option to opt in to receive State/Local WEA Tests.

    5. Revise the introductory text and add paragraph (d) to § 10.400 to read as follows:
    § 10.400 Classification.

    A Participating CMS Provider is required to receive and transmit four classes of Alert Messages: Presidential Alert; Imminent Threat Alert; Child Abduction Emergency/AMBER Alert; and Emergency Government Information.

    (d) Emergency Government Information. An Emergency Government Information message is an essential public safety advisory that prescribes one or more actions likely to save lives and/or safeguard property during an emergency.

    6. Revise § 10.430 to read as follows:
    § 10.430 Character limit.

    A Participating CMS Provider must support WEA Alert Messages containing at least 90 characters of alphanumeric text. If, however, it is technically feasible for a Participating CMS Provider to support a WEA Alert Message of up to 360 characters of alphanumeric text, a Participating CMS Provider must transmit such an Alert Message.

    § 10.440 [Removed]
    7. Remove § 10.440. 8. Revise § 10.450 to read as follows:
    § 10.450 Geographic targeting.

    This section establishes minimum requirements for the geographic targeting of Alert Messages. A Participating CMS Provider will determine which of its network facilities, elements, and locations will be used to geographically target Alert Messages. A Participating CMS Provider must transmit any alert message that is specified by a geocode, circle, or polygon to a target area not larger than the specified geocode, circle, or polygon. If, however, the Participating CMS Provider cannot broadcast the alert to an area that accurately matches the target area, a Participating CMS Provider may transmit an Alert Message to an area that closely approximates the target area, but in any case not exceeding the propagation area of a single transmission site.

    9. Amend § 10.520 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 10.520 Common audio attention signal.

    (d) The audio attention signal must be restricted to use for Alert Messages under part 10, except as used for federal Public Service Announcements (PSAs) designed to raise public awareness about emergency alerting, provided that the federal agency presents the PSA in a non-misleading manner, including by explicitly stating that the emergency alerting attention signal is being used in the context of a PSA for the purpose of educating the viewing or listening public about emergency alerting.

    PART 11—EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM 10. The authority citation for part 11 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 154 (i) and (o), 303(r), 544(g) and 606.

    11. Revise § 11.45 to read as follows:
    § 11.45 Prohibition of false or deceptive EAS transmissions.

    No person may transmit or cause to transmit the EAS codes or Attention Signal, or a recording or simulation thereof, in any circumstance other than in an actual National, State or Local Area emergency or authorized test of the EAS, or as specified in § 10.520(d).

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31234 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board 49 CFR Chapter X [Docket No. EP 729] Offers of Financial Assistance AGENCY:

    Surface Transportation Board, DOT.

    ACTION:

    Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Surface Transportation Board seeks comment on whether and how it should update its rules pertaining to offers of financial assistance in order to improve that process and protect it against abuse.

    DATES:

    Comments are due by February 12, 2016. Reply comments are due by March 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and replies may be submitted either via the Board's e-filing format or in paper format. Any person using e-filing should attach a document and otherwise comply with the instructions found on the Board's Web site at “www.stb.dot.gov” at the “E-FILING” link. Any person submitting a filing in paper format should send an original and 10 paper copies of the filing (and also an electronic version) to: Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001. Copies of written comments and replies will be available for viewing and self-copying at the Board's Public Docket Room, Room 131, and will be posted to the Board's Web site.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jonathon Binet, (202) 245-0368. [Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the ICC Termination Act of 1995, Public Law 104-88, 109 Stat. 803 (1995) (ICCTA), Congress revised the process for filing offers of financial assistance (OFAs) for continued rail service, codified at 49 U.S.C. 10904. Under the OFA process, as further implemented in the Board's regulations at 49 CFR 1152.27, financially responsible parties may offer to temporarily subsidize continued rail service over a line on which a carrier seeks to abandon or discontinue service, or offer to purchase a line and provide continued rail service on a line that a carrier seeks to abandon.

    Upon request, the abandoning or discontinuing carrier must provide certain information required under 49 U.S.C. 10904(b) and 49 CFR 1152.27(a) to a party that is considering making an OFA. A party that decides to make an OFA (the offeror) must submit the OFA to the Board, including the information specified in 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(1)(ii). If the Board determines that the OFA is made by a financially responsible offeror, the abandonment or discontinuance authority is postponed to allow the parties to negotiate a sale or subsidy arrangement. 49 U.S.C. 10904(d)(2); 49 CFR 1152.27(e). If the parties cannot agree to the terms of a sale or subsidy, they may request that the Board set binding terms under 49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(1). After the Board has set the terms, the offeror can accept the terms or withdraw the OFA. When the operation of a line is subsidized to prevent abandonment or discontinuance of service, it may only be subsidized for up to one year, unless the parties mutually agree otherwise. 49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(b). When a line is purchased pursuant to an OFA, the buyer must provide common carrier service over the line for a minimum of two years and may not resell the line for five years after the purchase. 49 U.S.C. 10904(f)(4)(A); 49 CFR 1152.27(i)(2).

    Since the changes to the OFA process in ICCTA were enacted, the Board's experiences have shown that there are areas where clarifications and revisions could enhance the OFA process and protect it against abuse. Therefore, the Board seeks public comments on whether and how to improve any aspect of the OFA process, including enhancing its transparency and ensuring that it is invoked only to further its statutory purpose of preserving lines for rail service. Although we invite public comment on ways to improve any aspect of the OFA process, we also specifically seek comments on the following possible changes to the Board's OFA regulations.

    Financial Responsibility

    The Board's regulations require that a potential offeror demonstrate that it is “financially responsible,” but those regulations do not fully define this concept or what facts or evidence a party must provide to demonstrate financial responsibility. The Board has made various rulings on this question in specific proceedings, but those rulings are not codified in our regulations, which has led to disputes in some proceedings. See, e.g., Consol. Rail Corp—Aban. Exemption—in Phila. Pa., AB 55 (Sub-No. 710X) et al., slip op. at 4 (STB served Oct. 26, 2012) (“[T]he Offerors assert that they were and are still unsure exactly what documents they were required to produce to be considered financially responsible. . .”). See also Ind. Sw. Ry.—Aban. Exemption—in Posey & Vanderburgh Ctys., Ind., AB 1065X, slip op. at 4-5 (STB served April 8, 2011) (detailing information required from an offeror to establish financial responsibility, in detail beyond that contained in 49 CFR 1152.27(c)(1)(ii)(B)). Accordingly, we ask parties to comment on how the Board should modify its regulations so that the definition of financial responsibility is more transparent and understandable. We also ask parties to comment on methods of ensuring that an offeror is in fact financially responsible, including the following:

    • What documentation should a potential offeror be required to submit to show financial responsibility?

    • Should the Board require that potential offerors file notices of intent to file an OFA in abandonment and discontinuance proceedings by a date certain?

    • Should the Board require potential offerors to make a financial responsibility showing before requiring carriers to provide financial information to those offerors?

    • Should the definition of financial responsibility include the ability, based on the price reflected in an offer of financial assistance, to purchase and operate for at least two years a line being abandoned or to subsidize for one year service being abandoned or discontinued?

    • Should the Board alter the process for carriers to provide required financial information to potential offerors, and if so, how?

    • Should the Board require potential offerors to make an “earnest money” payment or escrow payment, or to obtain a bond? Key considerations include: Whether the payment or bond amount would be a fixed figure or established on a case by case basis; what method would be used in calculating or fixing the amount; when in the process an offeror would need to make a payment or obtain a bond; and whether (and under what circumstances) a waiver of such a requirement would be appropriate.

    • Should the Board prohibit OFA filings by individuals or entities that have abused the Board's processes or engaged in other deceitful or abusive behavior before the Board, and if so, what standards should the Board establish in making a prohibition determination?

    Continuation of Rail Service

    The Board has also adjudicated cases in which there has been controversy as to whether a party seeking to subsidize or acquire a line through the OFA process is doing so based on a genuine interest in and ability to preserve the line for rail service. See, e.g., Consol. Rail Corp.—Aban. Exemption—in Hudson Cty., N.J., AB 167 (Sub-No. 1190X), slip op. at 5 (STB served May 17, 2010) (exempting line from OFA process despite OFA filing because offerors failed to show cause that there was a continued need for rail service outweighing other concerns); Roaring Fork R.R. Holding Auth.—Aban. Exemption—in Garfield, Eagle, & Pitkin Ctys., Colo., AB 547X (STB served May 21, 1999) (dismissing OFA because the record did not provide “some assurance that shippers are likely to make use of the line if continued service is made available, and that there is sufficient traffic to enable the operator to fulfill its commitment to provide that service”). The Board's regulations do not currently address these situations; therefore, we ask parties for ideas on how the regulations could be modified to do so. In particular, we ask parties to comment on the following:

    • Should the Board require that an offeror address whether there is a commercial need for rail service as demonstrated by support from shippers or receivers on the line or through other evidence of immediate and significant commercial need; whether there is community support for rail service; and whether rail service is operationally feasible?

    • Should the Board establish criteria and deadlines for carriers that want to file requests for exemptions from the OFA process?

    Identity of the Offeror

    Another issue the Board has encountered in OFA proceedings is confusion over the identity of the potential offeror. See CSX Transp. Inc.—Aban. Exemption—in Allegany Cty., Md., AB 55 (Sub-No. 659X), slip op. at 1 n.2 (STB served April 24, 2008) (describing confusion over proper name and existence of entity that filed OFA in 2005 but may not have been a legal entity until 2007 or the correct legal entity to receive deed for rail line). In order to avoid such confusion in future proceedings, we ask the parties to comment on the following:

    • Should the Board require multiple parties intending to submit a joint OFA to do so through a single legal entity, such as a corporation or partnership, to facilitate the financial responsibility determination and to clarify the party acquiring the common carrier obligation?

    • Should the Board require an individual filing an OFA to provide his or her personal address?

    • Should the Board require a private legal entity filing an OFA to provide the offeror's exact legal name, the state under whose laws it is organized, and the address of its principal place of business?

    Because this is an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Board may not act on each item listed above, but we seek the public's comment on these ideas, including how they could best be implemented, if appropriate. Parties are encouraged to be specific in commenting on these possible changes and in presenting ideas for other possible changes to the OFA process.

    The requirements of section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, (RFA) do not apply to this action because, at this stage, it is an ANPRM and not a “rule” as defined in section 601 of the RFA. Under the RFA, however, the Board must consider whether a proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. “Small entities” include small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations under 50,000. If adoption of any rule likely to result from this ANPRM could have a significant economic impact on a small entity within the meaning of the RFA, commenters should submit as part of their comments an explanation of how the business or organization falls within the definition of a small entity, and how and to what extent the commenter's business or organization could be affected. Following review of the comments received in response to this ANPRM, if the Board promulgates a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding this matter, it will conduct the requisite analysis under the RFA.

    It is ordered:

    1. Initial comments are due by February 12, 2016.

    2. Reply comments are due by March 14, 2016.

    3. This decision is effective on its date of service.

    By the Board, Chairman Elliott, Vice Chairman Begeman, and Commissioner Miller.

    Kenyatta Clay, Clearance Clerk.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31347 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 151204999-5999-01] RIN 0648-BF45 Control Date for the Blueline Tilefish Fishery in Waters North of the Virginia/North Carolina Border AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    This document announces a control date that may limit or restrict access to the blueline tilefish fishery in Federal waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. This action is necessary to inform fishery participants that we are considering future action. We intend for this document to promote awareness of possible future rulemaking, and discourage speculative entry into and/or investment in the Mid-Atlantic blueline tilefish fishery.

    DATES:

    December 14, 2015, is established as the “control date” for the blueline tilefish fishery, and may be used as a reference date for future management measures related to the blueline tilefish fishery in Federal waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina border, consistent with applicable Federal laws and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's recommendations. Written comments must be received on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0139 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0139, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on Blueline Tilefish Control Date.”

    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered. We may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. We will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, NMFS, 978-281-9341, or Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 302-526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The fishery for blueline tilefish (Caulolatilus microps), also known as grey tilefish, in Federal waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina border has, until earlier this year, been unregulated, and historically had very low landings. Landings have increased in recent years. The fishery south of this line is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council as part of the Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

    In 2014, new restrictions on harvest in the South Atlantic led to a rapid, 20-fold increase in unregulated landings of blueline tilefish caught north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. This spike in landings prompted the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to request that we take emergency action to prevent long-term harm to the stock. On June 4, 2015, we published an emergency rule (80 FR 31864) to temporarily restrict harvest of this species in the Mid-Atlantic. Subsequently, the Mid-Atlantic Council initiated an amendment to the Golden Tilefish FMP to establish management measures for blueline tilefish within its jurisdiction with the intention of having new management measures in place before NMFS's emergency rule authority would expire. This would avoid a return to an unregulated fishery.

    Due to the limited time to implement new management measures, the Mid-Atlantic Council is not considering a limited access program in the current FMP amendment under development. However, the Mid-Atlantic Council has expressed interest in potentially developing such a program in a future action. At its October 2015 meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Council voted to request that we publish a control date in the Federal Register that may be used to affect future participation in all sectors of the blueline tilefish fishery in Federal waters. The Council's discussions clarified that it is the Council's intent that this control date apply to all forms of fishing that have caught and landed blueline tilefish, including: Commercial fishing vessels; party/charter vessels that take recreational anglers for hire; as well as private recreational vessels. However, NMFS has no current information that could be used to distinguish private angler participation in this fishery before and after a control date. Therefore, such a control date would not provide meaningful notification or guidance to private recreational anglers.

    Therefore, this notification establishes December 14, 2015, as a control date for potential use in determining historical or traditional participation for the commercial and for-hire recreational sectors of the blueline tilefish fishery. Establishing a control date does not commit us or the Council to develop any particular management program or criteria for participation in this fishery. We may choose a different control date or may choose a management program that does not make use of such a date. We may also choose to take no further action to control entry or access to the blueline tilefish fishery. Any future action we take will be pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, will be discussed at Council meetings, and will have additional Federal rulemaking, including opportunity for public comment.

    This notification gives the public notice that interested commercial and for-hire blueline tilefish fishery participants should locate and preserve records that substantiate and verify their participation in the fishery, such as: Dealer purchase slips for commercial fishing trips; Fishing Vessel Trip Reports for both commercial and party/charter vessels; or any other relevant documents. There is no precedent in the Greater Atlantic Region for a limited access program that applies to party/charter or private recreational vessels. In light of the novelty of this aspect of the Council's control date request, we encourage the public to comment on whether limited access for party/charter and private recreational anglers is needed in the blueline tilefish fishery, and, if so, what sort of qualification criteria might be considered by the Council. This notification and control date do not impose any legal obligations, requirements, or expectation.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31364 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 239 Monday, December 14, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Guarantee Fee Rates for Guaranteed Loans for Fiscal Year 2016; Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for Fiscal Year 2016; Annual Renewal Fee for Fiscal Year 2016 AGENCY:

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice helps to improve applicants' awareness of the Guarantee Fee Rates for Guaranteed Loans for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016; Maximum Portion of Guarantee Authority Available for FY 2016; Annual Renewal Fee for FY 2016 when applying for guaranteed loans under the Business and Industry (B&I) program.

    The Agency was authorized by the 2012 Appropriations Bill, and subsequent Appropriations Acts, to charge a maximum of 3 percent for its guarantee fee for FY 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The guarantee fee for FY 2016 will be 3 percent.

    The Agency has established that not more than 12 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned B&I guarantee authority will be reserved for loan requests with a reduced fee, and not more than 15 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned guarantee authority will be reserved for guaranteed loan requests with a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent. Once the respective quarterly limits are reached, all additional loans for that quarter will be at the standard fee and guarantee limits.

    The Agency is establishing the renewal fee rate at one-half of 1 percent for the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program. This rate will apply to all loans obligated in FY 2016 that are made under the B&I program.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nichelle Daniels, USDA, Rural Development, Business Programs, Business and Industry Division, STOP 3224, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-3224, telephone (202) 720-0786, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As set forth in 7 CFR 4279.107, the Agency has the authority to charge an initial guarantee fee and an annual renewal fee for loans made under the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program. Pursuant to that authority, the Agency is establishing the renewal fee rate at one-half of 1 percent for the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program. This rate will apply to all loans obligated in FY 2016 that are made under the B&I program. As established in 7 CFR 4279.107(b)(1), the amount of the fee on each guaranteed loan will be determined by multiplying the fee rate by the outstanding principal loan balance as of December 31, multiplied by the percent of guarantee.

    The Agency was authorized by the 2012 Appropriations Bill, and subsequent Appropriation Acts, to charge a maximum of 3 percent for its guarantee fee for FY 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is the Agency's expectation that the 2016 Appropriations Act will contain a provision to charge a maximum of 3 percent for its guarantee fee for FY 2016. As such, the guarantee fee for FY 2016 will be 3 percent.

    As set forth in 7 CFR 4279.107(a) and 4279.119(b)(4), each fiscal year, the Agency shall establish a limit on the maximum portion of B&I guarantee authority available for that FY that may be used to guarantee loans with a reduced guarantee fee or guaranteed loans with a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent.

    Allowing a reduced guarantee fee or exceeding the 80 percent guarantee on certain B&I guaranteed loans that meet the conditions set forth in 7 CFR 4279.107 and 4279.119 will increase the Agency's ability to focus guarantee assistance on projects that the Agency has found particularly meritorious. For reduced guarantee fees, the borrower's business must support value-added agriculture and result in farmers benefiting financially or must be a high impact business development investment as defined in 7 CFR 4279.155(b)(5) and be located in rural communities that experience long-term population decline and job deterioration, remain persistently poor, are experiencing trauma as a result of natural disaster, or are experiencing fundamental structural changes in its economic base.

    The Agency has established that not more than 12 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned B&I guarantee authority will be reserved for loan requests with a reduced fee, and not more than 15 percent of the Agency's quarterly apportioned guarantee authority will be reserved for guaranteed loan requests with a guarantee percentage exceeding 80 percent. Once the respective quarterly limits are reached, all additional loans for that quarter will be at the standard fee and guarantee limits.

    This action has been reviewed and determined not to be a rule or regulation as defined in Executive Order 12866, as amended by Executive Order 13258.

    Dated: December 1, 2015. Samuel H. Rikkers, Acting Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31300 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Amendment to Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program AGENCY:

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) published a notice in the Federal Register of October 6, 2015 (80 FR 60349), announcing the acceptance of applications for funds available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The 2014 Farm Bill provides funding for the program for FY 2016. This notice provides an amendment to Section V. Application Review Information, subsection A. Evaluation Criteria, to allow points to be awarded if any of the criteria are met and to maintain consistency with other Rural Development programs on how poverty areas are defined.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about this Notice, please contact Kelley Oehler, USDA Rural Development, Energy Division, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Stop 3225, Room 6870, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 720-6819. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The October 6, 2015, Notice identified on page 60353, in the third column toward the bottom of the page, under Section V. Application Review Information, subsection A. Evaluation Criteria, paragraph (1)(a) indicates an “and” between the words “unserved” and “under-served populations”, and an “and” between subparagraphs (i) and (ii), as well as between subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of paragraph (1)(b), which is on page 60354 on the top of the first column. The “and” is being replaced with “or” in each of these locations to indicate the State Director and Administrator can award points if only one of the criterion is met.

    Further, on page 60354 of the Notice, under paragraph (1)(b)(i), which is on the top of the first column, the following language is inserted after the phrase “living in poverty.” The period is replaced with a comma and the phrase is being added “a project is located in a community (village, town, city, or Census Designated Place) with median household income of 60 percent or less of the state's non-metropolitan median household income.”

    The changes are being made to ensure REAP maintains consistency with other Agency programs on how poverty areas are defined for State Director and Administrator points and to not restrict points from being awarded if only one criteria is met.

    The following Summary of Changes apply to the October 6, 2015, Notice.

    Summary of Changes

    1. In the third column on page 60353, Section V. Application Review Information, subsection A. Evaluation Criteria, paragraph (1)(a), the sentence is revised to read as follows:

    With regard to 7 CFR 4280.120(g)(3), which addresses applicants who are members of unserved or under-served populations, a project that is:

    2. In the third column on page 60353, Section V. Application Review Information, subsection A. Evaluation Criteria, paragraph (1)(a)(i), the last sentence is revised to read as follows:

    In order to receive points, applicants must provide a statement in their applications to indicate that owners of the project have veteran status; or

    3. In the first column on page 60354, paragraph (1)(b)(i)is revised to read as follows:

    (i) Located in rural areas with the lowest incomes where, according to the most recent 5-year American Community Survey data by the U.S. Census Bureau, tracts show that at least 20 percent of the population is living in poverty or a project is located in a community (village, town, city, or Census Designated Place) with a median household income of 60 percent or less of the State's non-metropolitan median household income. This will support the Secretary of Agriculture's priority of providing 20 percent of its funding by 2016 to these areas of need; or

    Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, religion, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or complete the form at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442, or email at [email protected]

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an Equal Employment Opportunity or program complaint, please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

    Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us directly by mail or email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Samuel H. Rikkers, Acting Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31325 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P
    ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD Meetings AGENCY:

    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) plans to hold its regular committee and Board meetings in Washington, DC, Tuesday and Wednesday, January 12-13, 2016 at the times and location listed below.

    DATES:

    The schedule of events is as follows:

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:30-11:30 p.m. Technical Programs Committee 11:30-Noon Planning and Evaluation Committee 1:30-2:00 p.m. Ad Hoc Committee on Design Guidance 2:00-2:30 Budget Committee 2:30-4:00 Ad Hoc Committee on Information and Communication Technology (Closed) Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:30-11:00 a.m. Ad Hoc Committee on Frontier Issues 11:00-Noon Architectural Barriers Act Compliance Program 1:30-3:00 Board Meeting ADDRESSES:

    Meetings will be held at the Access Board Conference Room, 1331 F Street NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information regarding the meetings, please contact David Capozzi, Executive Director, (202) 272-0010 (voice); (202) 272-0054 (TTY).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    At the Board meeting scheduled on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 13, 2016, the Access Board will consider the following agenda items:

    • Approval of the draft November 10, 2015 meeting minutes (vote) • Ad Hoc Committee Reports: Design Guidance; Frontier Issues; and Information and Communication Technology • Budget Committee • Technical Programs Committee • Planning and Evaluation Committee • Election Assistance Commission Report • Executive Director's Report • Public Comment (final 15 minutes of the meeting)

    Members of the public can provide comments either in-person or over the telephone during the final 15 minutes of the Board meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Any individual interested in providing comment is asked to pre-register by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Access Board meeting—Public Comment” with your name, organization, state, and topic of comment included in the body of your email. All emails to register for public comment must be received by Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Commenters will be called on in the order by which they pre-registered. Due to time constraints, each commenter is limited to two minutes. Commenters on the telephone will be in a listen-only capacity until they are called on. Use the following call-in number: (877) 701-1628; passcode: 4900 0109 and dial in 5 minutes before the meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.

    All meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities. An assistive listening system, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), and sign language interpreters will be available at the Board meeting and committee meetings.

    Persons attending Board meetings are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of other participants (see www.access-board.gov/the-board/policies/fragrance-free-environment for more information).

    You may view the Wednesday, January 13, 2016 meeting through a live webcast from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at: www.access-board.gov/webcast.

    David M. Capozzi, Executive Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31403 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8150-01-P
    BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS Government in the Sunshine Act Meeting Notice DATE AND TIME:

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 9:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. EST.

    PLACE:

    Cohen Building, Room 3321, 330 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20237.

    SUBJECT:

    Notice of Meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

    SUMMARY:

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors (Board) will be meeting at the time and location listed above. The Board will vote on a consent agenda consisting of the minutes of its Oct. 8, 2015 meeting, a resolution honoring the 55th anniversary of Voice of America's (VOA) French-to-Africa Service, a resolution honoring the 55th anniversary of VOA's Spanish Service, a resolution honoring first anniversary of Current Time—the joint production of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and a resolution honoring Carlos Garcia-Perez. The Board will receive a report from the Chief Executive Officer and Director of BBG. The Board will also receive a review of Radio Free Asia.

    This meeting will be available for public observation via streamed webcast, both live and on-demand, on the agency's public Web site at www.bbg.gov. Information regarding this meeting, including any updates or adjustments to its starting time, can also be found on the agency's public Web site.

    The public may also attend this meeting in person at the address listed above as seating capacity permits. Members of the public seeking to attend the meeting in person must register at http://bbgboardmeetingdecember2015.eventbrite.com by 12:00 p.m. (EST) on December 15. For more information, please contact BBG Public Affairs at (202) 203-4400 or by email at [email protected]

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Persons interested in obtaining more information should contact Oanh Tran at (202) 203-4545.

    Oanh Tran, Director of Board Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31498 Filed 12-10-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 8610-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-520-804] Certain Steel Nails From the United Arab Emirates: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Final Determination and Amended Final Determination of the Less Than Fair Value Investigation AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 3, 2015, the United States Court of International Trade (Court) sustained the Department of Commerce's (the Department) Final Remand Redetermination pertaining to the less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation of certain steel nails from the United Arab Emirates.1 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 Court's final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Final Determination, and that the Department is amending the Final Determination with respect to Dubai Wire FZE (Dubai Wire), and Precision Fasteners LLC (Precision Fasteners).2 The period of investigation (POI) is January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2010.

    1See Mid Continent Nail Corp. v. United States, CIT Consol. Court No. 12-00133, Slip Op. 15-122 (November 3, 2015); Final Results of Redetermination Pursuant to Court Remand, Court No. 12-00133, dated September 30, 2014 (Final Remand Redetermination); Mid Continent Nail Corp. v. United States, 999 F. Supp. 2d 1307 (CIT 2014) (Remand Order).

    2See Certain Steel Nails from the United Arab Emirates: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 77 FR 17029 (March 23, 2012) as amended by Certain Steel Nails from the United Arab Emirates: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order, 77 FR 27421 (May 10, 2012), (collectively, Final Determination).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 13, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael A. Romani or Minoo Hatten, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-0198 or (202) 482-1690, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On June 26, 2014, the Court issued the Remand Order, upholding most aspects of the Final Determination, but remanding for the Department to apply a regulation the Court held had been improperly withdrawn.3 On remand, the Department applied the withdrawn regulation, under protest, and as a result, the estimated weighted-average dumping margins for Dubai Wire and Precision Fasteners changed. On November 3, 2015, the Court upheld the Final Remand Redetermination in full, and affirmed several other appealed issues which it had deferred ruling on pending the Department's remand findings.4

    3See Mid Continent, 999 F. Supp. 2d at 1323.

    4See Mid Continent, Court No. 12-00133, Slip Op. 15-122 at *22.

    Timken Notice

    In its decision in Timken, as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (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 November 3, 2015, final judgment affirming the Final Remand Redetermination constitutes a final decision of that court which is not in harmony with the Final Determination. This notice is published in fulfillment of the publication requirements of Timken.

    Amended Final Determination

    Because there is now a final court decision, the Department is amending the Final Determination with respect to both Dubai Wire and Precision Fasteners.

    Producer or exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Dubai Wire FZE 2.86 Precision Fasteners LLC 0.00
    Partial Exclusion From Antidumping Duty Order and Partial Discontinuation of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review

    Pursuant to sections 735(c)(2) of the Act, “the investigation shall be terminated upon publication of that negative determination” and the Department shall “terminate the suspension of liquidation” and “release any bond or other security, and refund any cash deposit.” See Sections 735(c)(2)(A) and (B) of the Act. As a result of this amended final determination, in which the Department calculated a weighted-average dumping margin of 0.00 percent for Precision Fasteners, the Department is hereby excluding merchandise from the following producer/exporter chain from the antidumping duty order:

    Producer: Precision Fasteners LLC

    Exporter: Precision Fasteners LLC

    Accordingly, the Department will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release any bonds or other security and refund cash deposits. This exclusion does not apply to merchandise produced by Precision Fasteners and exported by any other company. Therefore, resellers of merchandise produced, or produced and exported by Precision Fasteners are not entitled to the exclusion. Similarly, the exclusion does not apply to merchandise produced by any other company and exported by Precision Fasteners.

    We note, however, that pursuant to Timken the suspension of liquidation must continue during the pendency of the appeals process. Thus, at this time we will instruct CBP to continue the suspension of liquidation at a cash deposit rate of 0.0 percent for entries produced and exported by Precision Fasteners until otherwise instructed and to release any bond or other security that Precision Fasteners made pursuant to the Final Determination. If the CIT's ruling is not appealed, or if appealed and upheld, the Department will instruct CBP to terminate the suspension of liquidation and to liquidate entries produced and exported by Precision Fasteners without regard to antidumping duties. As a result of the exclusion, the Department is discontinuing the ongoing administrative review for Precision Fasteners, in part 5 and will not initiate any new administrative reviews of the antidumping duty order with respect to merchandise produced and exported by Precision Fasteners.

    5See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 37588 (July 1, 2015). The review will continue with regard to merchandise produced by Precision Fasteners and exported by another company or produced by any other company and exported by Precision Fasteners.

    Lastly, we note that at this time, the Department remains enjoined by Court order from liquidating entries produced and/or exported by Precision Fasteners during the period 11/03/2011 through 4/30/2013 with the exception of the gap period 05/02/2012 through 05/07/2012. These entries will remain enjoined pursuant to the terms of the injunction during the pendency of any appeals process.

    Dubai Wire was a mandatory respondent in completed administrative reviews subsequent to the LTFV investigation and therefore the Dubai Wire LTFV redetermination weighted-average dumping margin is superseded by the cash deposit rate currently in effect for Dubai Wire.6

    6See Certain Steel Nails From the United Arab Emirates: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014, 80 FR 32527, 32528 (June 9, 2015).

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e)(1), 751(a)(1), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: December 4, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31429 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC) will hold a meeting on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at the U.S. Department of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public and interested parties are requested to contact the U.S. Department of Commerce in advance of the meeting.

    DATES:

    February 2, 2016, from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Members of the public wishing to participate must notify Victoria Gunderson at the contact information below by 5:00 p.m. DST on Friday, January 29, 2016, in order to pre-register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

    Victoria Gunderson, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries (OEEI), International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce at (202) 482-7890; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The Secretary of Commerce established the RE&EEAC pursuant to his discretionary authority and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) on July 14, 2010. The RE&EEAC was re-chartered on June 12, 2014. The RE&EEAC provides the Secretary of Commerce with consensus advice from the private sector on the development and administration of programs and policies to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

    During the February 2nd meeting of the RE&EEAC, committee members will discuss priority issues identified in advance by the Committee Chair and Sub-Committee leadership, hear from Department of Commerce officials and interagency partners on major issues impacting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, and submit recommendations to the Department of Commerce intended to address these issues.

    A limited amount of time before the close of the meeting will be available for pertinent oral comments from members of the public attending the meeting. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the time for public comments will be limited to two to five minutes per person (depending on number of public participants). Individuals wishing to reserve additional speaking time during the meeting must contact Ms. Gunderson and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the comments, as well as the name and address of the proposed participant by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 22, 2016. If the number of registrants requesting to make statements is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the meeting, the International Trade Administration may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers. Speakers are requested to submit a copy of their oral comments by email to Ms. Gunderson for distribution to the participants in advance of the meeting.

    Any member of the public may submit pertinent written comments concerning the RE&EEAC's affairs at any time before or after the meeting. Comments may be submitted to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, c/o: Victoria Gunderson, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce; 1401 Constitution Avenue NW.; Mail Stop: 4053; Washington, DC 20230. To be considered during the meeting, written comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. DST on Friday, January 22, 2016, to ensure transmission to the Committee prior to the meeting. Comments received after that date will be distributed to the members but may not be considered at the meeting.

    Copies of RE&EEAC meeting minutes will be available within 30 days following the meeting.

    Dated: December 4, 2015. Edward A. O'Malley, Director, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31365 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-938] Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) has completed its administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on citric acid and certain citrate sales from the People's Republic of China (PRC) for the period January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013. On June 8, 2015, the Department published in the Federal Register the Preliminary Results of this administrative review.1 We completed the Post-Preliminary Results in this administrative review on June 26, 2015.2

    1See Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts: Preliminary Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013, 80 FR 32346 (June 8, 2015) (Preliminary Results).

    2See Memorandum to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Melissa G. Skinner, Director, Office II, entitled, “Post-Preliminary Results Decision Memorandum in the 2013 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China,” dated June 26, 2015 (Post-Preliminary Results).

    We gave interested parties an opportunity to comment on the Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Results. Our analysis of the comments received resulted in a change to the net subsidy rate for Laiwu Taihe Biochemistry Co. Ltd. (Taihe). The final net subsidy rate is listed below in the section entitled, “Final Results of the Review.”

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth Eastwood, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-3874.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On June 8, 2015, the Department published in the Federal Register the Preliminary Results of the 2013 administrative review of the CVD order on citric acid and certain citrate salts from the PRC. We completed the Post-Preliminary Results in this administrative review on June 26, 2015. We invited parties to comment on the Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Results.

    On July 22, 2015, we received case briefs from the Government of China (GOC) and Taihe. On July 27, 2015, we received a rebuttal brief from the petitioners.3

    3 The petitioners are Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill Incorporated, and Tate & Lyle Ingredients America LLC.

    On August 13, 2015, we postponed the final results by 60 days, until December 7, 2015.4

    4See memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Shannon Morrison, International Trade Compliance Analyst, entitled, “Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China: Extension of Deadline for Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review,” dated August 13, 2015.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is citric acid and certain citrate salts. The product is currently classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers 2918.14.0000, 2918.15.1000, 2918.15.5000, 3824.90.9290, and 3824.90.9290. Although the HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written product description remains dispositive.

    A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, entitled, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts; 2013” (Issues and Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case briefs are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. A list of the issues raised is attached to this notice as an Appendix. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we determine that there is a subsidy (i.e., a financial contribution from an “authority” that confers a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific).5 See the Issues and Decision Memorandum for a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions.

    5See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

    In making our findings, we relied, in part, on the facts otherwise available. Further, because the GOC did not act to the best of its ability to respond to the Department's requests for information, we drew an adverse inference in selecting from among the facts available, pursuant to sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act. See the Issues and Decision Memorandum in the section entitled, “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences,” for further information.

    Final Results of the Review

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5), we determine a net countervailable subsidy rate of 30.93 percent ad valorem for Taihe.

    Assessment Rates

    The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 15 days after the date of publication of these final results, to liquidate shipments of subject merchandise by Taihe entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013.

    Cash Deposit Instructions

    The Department also intends to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties in the amount shown above on shipments of subject merchandise by Taihe entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this review. For all non-reviewed companies, we will instruct CBP to continue to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties at the most recent company-specific or country-wide rate applicable to the company. Accordingly, the cash deposit rates that will be applied to companies covered by this order, but not examined in this review, are those established in the most recently-completed segment of the proceeding for each company. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: December 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences V. Subsidies Valuation Information VI. Benchmarks and Discount Rates VII. Analysis of Programs VIII. Analysis of Comments 1. Whether To Find Input for the Less-Than-Adequate-Remuneration (LTAR) Programs Not Specific A. Sulfuric Acid B. Steam Coal C. Calcium Carbonate D. Caustic Soda 2. Whether the Department Should Apply Adverse Facts Available in its Market Distortion Analysis of the Sulfuric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, and Caustic Soda Industries 3. Whether To Reverse the Department's “Authorities” Determination for Certain Input Suppliers 4. Including Ocean Freight and Import Duties in the International Freight Benchmark for Input for LTAR Programs 5. The Selection of Ports in the International Freight Benchmark for Input for LTAR Programs 6. Whether To Use Freight Rates for Flat Rack Containers in the International Freight Benchmark for the Calcium Carbonate for LTAR Program 7. Whether To Include the Costs for Hazardous Shipping Charges in the International Freight Benchmark for the Sulfuric Acid and Caustic Soda for LTAR Programs IX. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-31419 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Request for Public Input on Sectoral Dialogues To Inform Work on Standards Cooperation Under the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    With this notice, the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC), on behalf of the Administration, is seeking public input to identify priority sectors in which the United States and India will pursue cooperative dialogues under the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) to address standards-related trade barriers. The aim of the cooperative dialogues is for the private sector to produce concrete recommendations for the U.S. and Indian governments on breaking down barriers related to standards, regulatory, and conformity assessment practices to increase bilateral trade. Stakeholder input will be used by the USDOC, in consultation with its interagency partners, to identify those sectors where cooperative work will yield the most benefits for bilateral trade from a U.S. perspective. The USDOC will also use stakeholder input to seek agreement from its Indian government counterparts on the sectors in which to begin cooperative work.

    Criteria for selection include: The nature of the existing standards-related barriers in the sector (medical devices, ICT products, oil and gas, etc.), including whether the standards related measures that are affecting bilateral trade are subject to regulatory discretion or have limited potential for adjustment due to legislated mandates; the relative estimated trade impact of eliminating the standards-related barriers in the sector; and whether private sector representatives from the sector—both U.S. and Indian—are committed to leading a cooperative dialogue to produce concrete recommendations for the U.S. and Indian governments on breaking down barriers in the sector. Selection will also take into account the willingness of U.S. and Indian regulators to become involved in this targeted work, as well as if another bilateral forum relevant to the suggested issue already exists.

    In order for a sector to be considered, stakeholder input must identify private-sector leaders from the United States and India that have mutually agreed to coordinate and lead a cooperative dialogue among stakeholders in the sector from both the United States and India to develop recommendations for the U.S. and Indian governments on breaking down standards-related barriers in their sector. Confirmation of such agreement is encouraged. See additional requirements for submissions in the contents below.

    The private sector cooperative dialogue leaders from the selected priority sectors are expected to begin work as early as possible in 2016 and to report their preliminary recommendations to the U.S. and Indian governments at the next meeting of the U.S.-India S&CD, expected to take place in India in mid-2016. At the discretion of the U.S. and Indian private sector cooperative dialogue leads, U.S. and Indian government officials will be available to provide information to facilitate the development of private sector recommendations. Selection of future priority sectors will be evaluated on the basis of the performance of the cooperative dialogues in the initially selected priority sectors.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Boyles, Manager, Emerging Issues, Office of Standards and Investment Policy, International Trade Administration, by telephone at (202) 482-1935 (this is not a toll-free number) or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In January 2015, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi decided to elevate the bilateral commercial and economic partnership by establishing the first-ever U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) which was held in Washington, DC on September 22, 2015. The S&CD is the signature, annual forum for policy discussions between the United States Government and the Government of India. The United States and Indian Governments are using this vehicle to advance their shared priorities of generating economic growth, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker co-chaired the dialogue with their Indian counterparts, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

    Below are highlights of work agreed to on standards cooperation at the September 22, 2015 S&CD:

    Standards Cooperation: The United States and India are working together to participate in the development of international standards and technical regulations to boost trade and help reduce administrative and logistical burdens, which disproportionately affect small and medium sized enterprises. The United States and India will engage their respective industries to identify up to two sectors where standards and conformity assessment-focused cooperative dialogues could lead to mutual benefit and increased trade. To support the removal of barriers that impact the global supply chain, the United States and India will exchange best practices for the operation of national Enquiry Points under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and will explore opportunities for more cooperation on reference standards between India's National Physical Laboratories (NPL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The United States and India announced a private sector-led collaboration to update a bilateral standards portal, which facilitates the sharing of information to improve industry understanding of market access requirements in both countries.

    Request For Public Input: Submissions relevant to this request for public input should be submitted no later than 60 days after the date of this notice and can be submitted online or in writing.

    Written submissions should be directed to Michael Boyles, Office of Standards and Investment Policy, Industry and Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 22025, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    Online submissions should be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov.

    In order to ensure the timely receipt and consideration of comments, ITA strongly encourages commenters to make online submissions using http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should be submitted under ITA-2015-0005. To find this docket, enter the docket number in the “Enter Keyword or ID” Window at the http://www.regulations.gov home page and click “Search.” The site will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated with the docket number. Find a reference to this notice by selecting “Notice” under “Document Type” on the search-results page, and click on the link entitled “Comment now!” The http://www.regulations.gov Web site provides the option of making submissions by filling in a comments field, or by attaching a document. ITA prefers submissions to be provided in an attached document. (For further information on using http://www.regulations.gov, please consult the resources provided on the Web site by clicking on the “Help” tab.)

    All comments and recommendations submitted in response to this notice will be made available to the public so should not include any privileged or confidential business information. The file name should begin with the character “P” (signifying that the comments contain no privileged or confidential business information and can be posted publicly), followed by the name of the person or entity submitting the comments. Written submissions should include an original and five (5) copies.

    Please do not attach separate cover letters to electronic submissions; rather, include any information that might appear in a cover letter in the comments themselves. Similarly, to the extent possible, please include any exhibits, annexes, or other attachments in the same file as the submission itself, not as separate files.

    Required Content for Submissions: USDOC seeks public input on the sectors that would benefit most from focused engagement by U.S. and Indian private-sector leaders and government representatives under the S&CD to address trade barriers related to standards, regulatory, and conformity assessment practices to increase bilateral trade. Criteria for selection include: The nature of the existing standards-related barriers in the sector (medical devices, ICT products, oil and gas, etc.), including whether the standards related measures that are affecting bilateral trade are subject to regulatory discretion or have limited potential for adjustment due to legislated mandates; the relative estimated trade impact of eliminating the standards-related barriers in the sector; and whether private sector representatives from the sector—both U.S. and Indian—are committed to leading a cooperative dialogue to produce concrete recommendations for the U.S. and Indian governments on breaking down the barriers in the sector. Selection will also take into account the willingness of U.S. and Indian regulators to become involved in this targeted work.

    Submissions should include: A description of the main standards-related barrier(s) affecting U.S.-India trade in the sector (e.g., lack of transparency by U.S. and/or Indian officials in developing standards and/or regulations affecting the sector; U.S. and Indian officials applying different standards or technical regulations to products or services in the sector; testing or other requirements that are difficult to meet; and/or requirements being applied by U.S. and/or Indian officials only when products or services in the sector are imported from the other's market), including whether the areas involved are subject to regulatory discretion or have limited potential for adjustment due to legislated mandates; the relative estimated trade impact of eliminating the standards-related barriers in the sector; and data on bilateral trade in the sector for at least three years to help evaluate trade trends.

    Submissions must identify private-sector leaders from the United States and India that have mutually agreed to coordinate and lead a cooperative dialogue among stakeholders in the sector from both the United States and India to develop recommendations for the U.S. and Indian governments on breaking down standards-related barriers in their sector. Confirmation of such agreement is encouraged. No U.S. Government funding will be provided for these activities.

    Additionally, submissions should provide information on current and previous efforts to address standards-related barriers to bilateral trade in the sector, including under other government-to-government initiatives, to help evaluate the potential for liberalization of barriers identified. Submissions should also provide information, if known, about the U.S. and Indian government authorities, in particular regulators, whose actions impact the sector, and who would need to be involved in implementing the recommendations that the private sector leads will develop under a U.S.-India cooperative dialogue on the subject sector. Before finalizing priority sector selection, U.S. and Indian government S&CD leads will confirm that their respective relevant regulators support targeted work in the sector. Additional information also is welcome that would help USDOC and its interagency partners evaluate prospects for growth in bilateral trade in the sector, if this work is undertaken.

    Dated: December 4, 2015. Chris Rosettie, Director, Office of Standards and Investment Policy, International Trade Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31430 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-890] Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) is conducting the tenth administrative review (“AR”) of the antidumping duty order on wooden bedroom furniture (“WBF”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”). The period of review (“POR”) is January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014. We invite interested parties to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Patrick O'Connor or Jeffrey Pedersen, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0989, and (202) 482-2769, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scope of the Order

    The product covered by the order is wooden bedroom furniture, subject to certain exceptions.1 Imports of subject merchandise are classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) subheadings: 9403.50.9042, 9403.50.9045, 9403.50.9080, 9403.50.9042, 9403.50.9045, 9403.60.8081, 7009.92.1000 or 7009.92.5000. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written product description in the Order remains dispositive.2

    1See Notice of Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order: Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China, 70 FR 329 (January 4, 2005) (“Order”).

    2 For a complete description of the Scope of the Order, please seeDecision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China,” from Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations (“Preliminary Decision Memorandum”), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”) and 19 CFR 351.213. For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, which is hereby adopted with this notice. A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is provided as Appendix I to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    PRC-Wide Entity

    The Department selected Shanghai Jian Pu Import & Export Co., Ltd. (“Jian Pu”) as the sole mandatory respondent.3 The Department preliminarily determines that Jian Pu did not establish its eligibility for a separate rate for the reasons explained in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. Accordingly, we are preliminarily treating Jian Pu as part of the PRC-wide entity.

    3See Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    In addition, six other companies for which a review was requested failed to provide separate rate applications or certifications necessary to establish their eligibility for a separate rate.4 The Department preliminarily determines that these seven companies, including Shanghai Jian Pu, are part of the PRC-wide entity. The PRC-wide entity rate is 216.01 percent. For additional information regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    4 Those six companies, other than Shanghai Jian Pu, not establishing their eligibility for a separate rate are: (1) Baigou Crafts Factory of Fengkai; (2) Dongguan Hung Sheng Artware Products Co., Ltd., Coronal Enterprise Co., Ltd.; (3) Hualing Furniture (China) Co., Ltd., Tony House Manufacture (China) Co., Ltd., Buysell Investments Ltd., Tony House Industries Co., Ltd.; (4) Orient International Holding Shanghai Foreign Trade Co., Ltd.; (5) Prime Wood International Co., Ltd, Prime Best International Co., Ltd., Prime Best Factory, Liang Huang (Jiaxing) Enterprise Co., Ltd.; and (6) Woodworth Wooden Industries (Dong Guan) Co., Ltd. Although Woodworth Wooden Industries (Dong Guan) Co., Ltd. claimed to have no shipments of subject merchandise during the POR, the Department found evidence that contradicted this claim. See Memorandum from Patrick O'Connor, International Trade Compliance Analyst, Office IV, to Abdelali Elouaradia Director, Office IV, AD/CVD Operations, regarding the “Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China: Analysis of No Exports, Sales, or Entries by Certain Companies,” dated concurrently with this memorandum.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    Based on an analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) information, and comments provided by a number of companies, the Department preliminarily determines that 11 of the companies for which an AR was requested and that claimed no shipments during this POR did not have any reviewable transactions during the POR.5 For additional information regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.6 Consistent with an announced refinement to its assessment practice in NME cases, the Department is not rescinding this AR, in part, but intends to complete the review with respect to the companies for which it has preliminarily found no shipments and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review.7

    5 Those 11 companies with no shipments during the POR are: (1) Clearwise Co., Ltd.; (2) Dongguan Chengcheng Furniture Co., Ltd.; (3) Dongguan Singways Furniture Co., Ltd.; (4) Eurosa (Kunshan) Co., Ltd., Eurosa Furniture Co., (Pte) Ltd.; (5) Golden Well International (HK) Ltd.; (6) Hangzhou Cadman Trading Co., Ltd.; (7) Rizhao Sanmu Woodworking Co., Ltd.; (8) Shenyang Shining Dongxing Furniture Co., Ltd.; (9) Wuxi Yushea Furniture Co., Ltd.; (10) Yeh Brothers World Trade Inc.; and (11) Zhejiang Tianyi Scientific & Educational Equipment Co., Ltd.

    6See Memorandum from Patrick O'Connor, International Trade Compliance Analyst, Office IV, to Abdelali Elouaradia Director, Office IV, AD/CVD Operations, regarding the “Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China: Analysis of No Exports, Sales, or Entries by Certain Companies,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    7See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694, 65694-95 (October 24, 2011) and the “Assessment Rates” section, below.

    Public Comment

    Interested parties are invited to comment on the preliminary results and may submit case briefs and/or written comments, filed electronically using ACCESS, within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii). Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, will be due five days after the due date for case briefs, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(d). Parties who submit case or rebuttal briefs in this review are requested to submit with each argument a statement of the issue, a summary of the argument not to exceed five pages, and a table of statutes, regulations, and cases cited, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2).

    Any interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of publication of this notice.8 Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date for the hearing to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.9

    8See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    9See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    The Department will issue the final results of this AR, which will include the results of its analysis of issues raised in any briefs received, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuing the final results of these reviews, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.10 The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review.

    10See 19 CFR 351.212(b).

    For each individually examined respondent in this review whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis (i.e., 0.5 percent) in the final results of this review, the Department will calculate importer-specific assessment rates on the basis of the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for the importer's examined sales to the total entered value of those sales, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).11 Where an importer- (or customer-) specific ad valorem rate is greater than de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to collect the appropriate duties at the time of liquidation.12 Where either a respondent's weighted average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer- (or customer-) specific ad valorem dumping margin is zero or de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.13 We intend to instruct CBP to liquidate entries of subject merchandise exported by the PRC-wide entity at the PRC-wide rate.

    11 In these preliminary results, the Department applied the assessment rate calculation method adopted in Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

    12See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    13See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    The Department announced a refinement to its assessment practice in NME cases. Pursuant to this refinement in practice, for entries that were not reported in the U.S. sales database submitted by companies individually examined during the AR, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the PRC-wide rate. Additionally, if the Department determines that an exporter had no shipments of subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate.14

    14 For a full discussion of this practice, see Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of these reviews for 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 all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate for the PRC-wide entity, which is 216.01 percent; and (2) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter.

    These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary 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 review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213.

    Dated: December 2, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum (1) Summary (2) Background (3) Scope of the Order (4) Respondent Selection (5) DISCUSSION OF THE METHODOLOGY a. Preliminary Determination of No Shipments b. Duty Absorption c. NME Country Status d. Separate Rates (6) Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-31426 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee Public Meeting AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, DOC.

    ACTION:

    Notice of federal advisory committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a meeting of the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC).

    DATES:

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in Room 48019 at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Herbert Clark Hoover Building, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Amy Kreps, Office of Energy & Environmental Industries (OEEI), International Trade Administration, Room 4053, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (Phone: 202-482-3835; Fax: 202-482-5665; email: [email protected]) This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to OEEI at (202) 482-5225 no less than one week prior to the meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. The general meeting is open to the public and time will be permitted for public comment from 3:00-3:30 p.m. EST. Those interested in attending must provide notification by Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. EST, via the contact information provided above. Written comments concerning ETTAC affairs are welcome any time before or after the meeting. Minutes will be available within 30 days of this meeting.

    Topics to be considered:

    The agenda for this meeting will include discussion of priorities and objectives for the committee, trade promotion programs within the International Trade Administration, and subcommittee working meetings.

    Background: The ETTAC is mandated by Public Law 103-392. It was created to advise the U.S. government on environmental trade policies and programs, and to help it to focus its resources on increasing the exports of the U.S. environmental industry. ETTAC operates as an advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce and the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC). ETTAC was originally chartered in May of 1994. It was most recently re-chartered until August 2016.

    Dated: December 7, 2015. Edward A. O'Malley, Office Director, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31428 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-937] Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On June 8, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) published the preliminary results of the fifth administrative review (“AR”) of the antidumping duty order on citric acid and certain citrate salts (“citric acid”) 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 On October 27, 2015, the Department issued Post-Preliminary Results 2 in this AR. The period of review (“POR”) for the AR is May 1, 2013, through April 30, 2014. The review covers three companies, RZBC Import & Export Co., Ltd. (“RZBC I&E”),3 Laiwu Taihe Biochemistry Co., Ltd. (“Taihe”), and Yixing Union Biochemical Ltd. (“Yixing Union”). Based on our analysis of the comments received, we made certain changes to our Post-Preliminary Results. The final dumping margins for this review are listed in the “Final Results” section below.

    1See Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014, 80 FR 32353 (June 8, 2015) (“Preliminary Results”).

    2See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, regarding “Decision Memorandum for the Post-Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China; 2013-14,” dated October 27, 2015 (“Post-Preliminary Results”).

    3 The Department initiated the fifth administrative review on RZBC Co., Ltd., RZBC I&E, and RZBC (Juxian) Co., Ltd. (collectively “RZBC”). Only RZBC I&E exported subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Krisha Hill, Maisha Cryor, or Aleksandras Nakutis, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4037, (202) 482-5831, or (202) 482-3147, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    For a full history of the events that have taken place since the publication of the Preliminary Results and the Post-Preliminary Results, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.4 The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file in the Central Records Unit (“CRU”), Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building, as well as electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov and it is available to all parties in the CRU. In addition, parties can directly access a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum on the internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    4See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, regarding “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China,” issued concurrently with this notice (“Issues and Decision Memorandum”).

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by this order is citric acid and certain citrate salts from the PRC. The product is currently classified under subheadings 2918.14.0000, 2918.15.1000, 2918.15.5000, and 3824.90.9290 of the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of merchandise subject to the scope is dispositive. For a full description of the scope of the order, see Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in parties' case and rebuttal briefs are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. In an Appendix to this notice, we have provided a list of the issues raised by parties.

    Changes Since the Post-Preliminary Results

    Based on our review of the record and comments received from interested parties regarding our Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Results, we have made certain revisions to the margin calculations for RZBC I&E and Taihe. Further, the Final Surrogate Value Memorandum contains descriptions of our changes to the surrogate values.5

    5See Memorandum from Krisha Hill and Maisha Cryor to Robert Bolling regarding, “Final Results of the Fifth Administrative Review of Citric Acid and Certain Citrate Salts from the People's Republic of China: Surrogate Value Memorandum,” issued concurrently with this memorandum (“Final Surrogate Value Memorandum”).

    • We deducted letter of credit costs from brokerage and handling expense for both respondents.

    • We made adjustments to labor and limestone consumption in Taihe's co-product calculations.

    • We made adjustments to the export subsidy calculation for RZBC I&E.

    Final Determination of No Shipments

    In the Preliminary Results, the Department preliminarily determined that Yixing Union did not have any reviewable transactions during the POR. We have not received any information to contradict this determination. Therefore, the Department determines that Yixing Union did not have any reviewable entries of subject merchandise during the POR, and will issue appropriate instructions that are consistent with our “automatic assessment” clarification, for these final results.6

    6See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 4, 2011) (“Assessment Practice Refinement”).

    Final Results

    We determine that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist for the POR:

    Exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • RZBC Import & Export Co., Ltd 0.00 Laiwu Taihe Biochemistry Co., Ltd 6.61
    Assessment Rates

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.212(b), the Department has determined, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of these final results of this review. In accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), we are calculating importer- (or customer-) specific assessment rates for the merchandise subject to this review. For any individually examined respondent whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis (i.e., 0.50 percent), the Department will calculate importer- (or customer)-specific assessment rates for merchandise subject to this review. Where appropriate, we calculated an ad valorem rate for each importer (or customer) by dividing the total dumping margins for reviewed sales to that party by the total entered values associated with those transactions. For duty-assessment rates calculated on this basis, we will direct CBP to assess the resulting ad valorem rate against the entered customs values for the subject merchandise. Where appropriate, we calculated a per-unit rate for each importer (or customer) by dividing the total dumping margins for reviewed sales to that party by the total sales quantity associated with those transactions. For duty-assessment rates calculated on this basis, we will direct CBP to assess the resulting per-unit rate against the entered quantity of the subject merchandise.7 We will instruct CBP to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review when the importer-specific assessment rate is above de minimis. Where either the respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer-specific assessment rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.

    7See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101, 8103 (February 14, 2012).

    Pursuant to a refinement in the Department's non-market economy (“NME”) practice, for entries that were not reported in the U.S. sales databases submitted by companies individually examined during this review, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the PRC-wide rate (i.e., 156.87 percent). In addition, if the Department determines that an exporter under review had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate.8

    8 For a full discussion of this practice, see Assessment Practice Refinement, 76 FR at 65694.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For Yixing Union, which claimed no shipments, the cash deposit will remain unchanged from the rate assigned to Yixing Union in the most recently completed review of the company; (2) for the exporters listed above, the cash deposit rate will be the rate listed for each exporter in the table in the “Final Results” section of this notice; (3) for previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the existing exporter-specific rate; (4) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that for the PRC-wide entity established in the final determination of the less than fair value investigation (i.e., 156.87 percent); and (5) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Disclosure

    We intend to disclose the calculations performed within five days of the date of publication of this notice to parties in this proceeding in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Notification to Importers Regarding the Reimbursement of Duties

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(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 double antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    We are issuing and publishing these final results of administrative review and notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: December 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Issues and Decision Memorandum Summary List of Issues Background Scope of the Order Discussion of the Issues Issues Comment 1: Whether the Department Should Select Indonesia as the Primary Surrogate Country Comment 2: Whether the Department's Approach to the Surrogate Country Selection Process Is Counter to its Policy, Practice, and Statutory Obligations Comment 3: Whether the Department Should Rely on the Aditya Birla Financial Statements to Calculate the Financial Ratios Comment 4: Whether the Surrogate Financial Ratios Should be Based on PT Budi's Segment Financial Information Comment 5: Whether the Department Should Assign Surrogate Values to Respondents' Energy Factors of Production Values Comment 6: The Weight Denominator for Brokerage & Handling and Inland Freight Comment 7: Whether to Deduct Letter of Credit Cost from the Brokerage and Handling Surrogate Value Calculation Comment 8: Whether the Department Should Value Corn Using Indonesian Import Prices or, Alternatively, Recalculate the Thai Import Prices to Exclude Aberrational Data Comment 9: Distance to Calculate Inland Freight Comment 10: Whether the Department Should Make Certain Revisions to its Surrogate Value for Sludge Comment 11: Whether to Value RZBC's High Protein Scrap as a Co-Product Comment 12: Whether the Department Used Incorrect Rates to Calculate RZBC I&E's Export Subsidy Adjustment Comment 13: Whether the Department Should Treat Taihe's Corn Feed as a By-Product Comment 14: Whether the Department Should Make Certain Revisions to Taihe's Co-Product Calculation Comment 15: Whether the Application of Differential Pricing Methodology to Taihe's Sales is Contrary to Law and Otherwise Unsupported by Substantial Evidence on the Record Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-31427 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-968] Aluminum Extrusions From the People's Republic of China: Final Results, and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) completed its administrative review of the countervailing duty order 1 (CVD) on aluminum extrusions from the People's Republic of China (PRC) for the January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013 period of review (POR). We determined that the Guang Ya Group 2 and the Jangho Companies 3 (mandatory respondents) received countervailable subsidies during the POR. The final net subsidy rates are listed below in “Final Results of Administrative Review.”

    1See Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Countervailing Duty Order, 76 FR 30653 (May 26, 2011) (Order).

    2 For purposes of this administrative review, the Guang Ya Group includes Guang Ya Aluminium Industries Co. Ltd.; Foshan Guangcheng Aluminium Co., Ltd.; and Yonghi Guanghai Aluminium Industry Co., Ltd. Also, these companies submitted responses on the record of this review clarifying the usage of “Aluminium” in its name, rather than “Aluminum,” the form on which we both received a request for review and/or on which we initiated this review.

    3 For purposes of this administrative review, the Jangho companies includes Guangzhou Jangho Curtain Wall System Engineering Co., Ltd., (Guangzhou Jangho); Jangho Group Co., Ltd. (Jangho Group Co.); Beijing Jiangheyuan Holding Co., Ltd (Beijing Jiangheyuan); Beijing Jangho Curtain Wall System Engineering Co., Ltd. (Beijing Jangho); and Shanghai Jangho Curtain Wall System Engineering Co., Ltd., (Shanghai Jangho).

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Davina Friedmann, Tyler Weinhold or Robert James, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0698, (202) 482-1121 or (202) 482-0649, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On June 9, 2015, the Department published the Preliminary Results of this administrative review.4 On October 7, 2015, the Department extended the final results of this administrative review until December 7, 2015. On October 27, 2015, the Department issued its post-preliminary results of review.5 The Department invited interested parties to comment on both the Preliminary Results and Post-Preliminary Analysis and received case and rebuttal briefs from several parties.6 There were no requests from interested parties to conduct a hearing.

    4See Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results, Preliminary Intent To Rescind, in Part, and Partial Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2013, 80 FR 32528, dated June 9, 2015 (Preliminary Results).

    5See Memorandum from Scot Fullerton through Christian Marsh to Paul Piquado re: “Post-Preliminary Analysis Memorandum in the 2013 Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China,” dated October 27, 2015 (Post-Preliminary Analysis).

    6 For additional case history for this administrative review, see accompanying Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China, dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by the Order is aluminum extrusions which are shapes and forms, produced by an extrusion process, made from aluminum alloys having metallic elements corresponding to the alloy series designations published by The Aluminum Association commencing with the numbers 1, 3, and 6 (or proprietary equivalents or other certifying body equivalents).7

    7See Issues and Decision Memorandum for a complete description of the scope of the Order.

    Imports of the subject merchandise are provided for under the following categories of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS): 7610.10.00, 7610.90.00, 7615.10.30, 7615.10.71, 7615.10.91, 7615.19.10, 7615.19.30, 7615.19.50, 7615.19.70, 7615.19.90, 7615.20.00, 7616.99.10, 7616.99.50, 8479.89.98, 8479.90.94, 8513.90.20, 9403.10.00, 9403.20.00, 7604.21.00.00, 7604.29.10.00, 7604.29.30.10, 7604.29.30.50, 7604.29.50.30, 7604.29.50.60, 7608.20.00.30, 7608.20.00.90, 8302.10.30.00, 8302.10.60.30, 8302.10.60.60, 8302.10.60.90, 8302.20.00.00, 8302.30.30.10, 8302.30.30.60, 8302.41.30.00, 8302.41.60.15, 8302.41.60.45, 8302.41.60.50, 8302.41.60.80, 8302.42.30.10, 8302.42.30.15, 8302.42.30.65, 8302.49.60.35, 8302.49.60.45, 8302.49.60.55, 8302.49.60.85, 8302.50.00.00, 8302.60.90.00, 8305.10.00.50, 8306.30.00.00, 8418.99.80.05, 8418.99.80.50, 8418.99.80.60, 8419.90.10.00, 8422.90.06.40, 8479.90.85.00, 8486.90.00.00, 8487.90.00.80, 8503.00.95.20, 8515.90.20.00, 8516.90.50.00, 8516.90.80.50, 8708.80.65.90, 9401.90.50.81, 9403.90.10.40, 9403.90.10.50, 9403.90.10.85, 9403.90.25.40, 9403.90.25.80, 9403.90.40.05, 9403.90.40.10, 9403.90.40.60, 9403.90.50.05, 9403.90.50.10, 9403.90.50.80, 9403.90.60.05, 9403.90.60.10, 9403.90.60.80, 9403.90.70.05, 9403.90.70.10, 9403.90.70.80, 9403.90.80.10, 9403.90.80.15, 9403.90.80.20, 9403.90.80.30, 9403.90.80.41, 9403.90.80.51, 9403.90.80.61, 9506.51.40.00, 9506.51.60.00, 9506.59.40.40, 9506.70.20.90, 9506.91.00.10, 9506.91.00.20, 9506.91.00.30, 9506.99.05.10, 9506.99.05.20, 9506.99.05.30, 9506.99.15.00, 9506.99.20.00, 9506.99.25.80, 9506.99.28.00, 9506.99.55.00, 9506.99.60.80, 9507.30.20.00, 9507.30.40.00, 9507.30.60.00, 9507.90.60.00, and 9603.90.80.50.

    The subject merchandise entered as parts of other aluminum products may be classifiable under the following additional Chapter 76 subheadings: 7610.10, 7610.90, 7615.19, 7615.20, and 7616.99 as well as under other HTSUS chapters. In addition, fin evaporator coils may be classifiable under HTSUS numbers: 8418.99.80.50 and 8418.99.80.60. While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this Order is dispositive.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the parties' briefs are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, dated concurrently with this notice, and which is hereby adopted by this notice. A list of the issues raised is attached to this notice at Appendix I.8 The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov; the Issues and Decision Memorandum is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit (CRU), Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed and electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    8See Memoradum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations to Paul Piquado Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance regarding: “Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review: Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China, 2013 (Third Review),” December 7, 2015 (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we find that there is a subsidy, i.e., a government-provided financial contribution that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient, and that the subsidy is specific.9 For a full description of the methodology underlying all of the Department's conclusions, including our reliance, in part, on adverse facts available pursuant to sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    9See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

    Partial Rescission of Review

    For those companies named in the Initiation Notice10 for which all review requests have been timely withdrawn, we are rescinding this administrative review in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1). These companies are listed at Appendix II to this notice. For these companies, countervailing duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the rates of the cash deposits for estimated countervailing duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, during the POR, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(2).

    10See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 79 FR 36462 (June 27, 2014) (Initiation Notice).

    Also, between August 1, 2014 and September 5, 2014, the Department received timely no-shipment certifications from certain companies. The Department confirmed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that these companies did not ship merchandise to the United States during this review period.11 However, these no-shipment companies were also included in the Petitioner's timely withdrawal request, and because no party other than the Petitioner requested a review of the no-shipment companies, the Department is rescinding the administrative review of these companies pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1).

    11 On August 27, 2015, the Department issued the requisite “no-shipments” message to CBP inquiring whether certain companies shipped merchandise to the United States during the instant review period, which was subsequently confirmed by CBP. See public message number 5239314.

    Rate for Non-Selected Companies Under Review

    There are 38 companies for which a review was requested and not rescinded, but were not selected as mandatory respondents. For these companies, we calculated the non-selected rate using a methodology of weight-averaging the rates of the Guang Ya Group and Jangho Group based on their publicly-ranged sales data for the POR because basing a weighted-average on their proprietary sales data for the POR risks disclosure of proprietary information. For further information on the calculation of the non-selected rate, refer to the section in the Issues and Decision Memorandum entitled, “Final Ad Valorem Rate for Non-Selected Companies Under Review.”

    For those companies that failed to respond to the Department's quantity and value questionnaire, we have relied on facts available, determined that those companies are non-cooperative and, on that basis, found that the application of adverse facts available is warranted in determining the net countervailable subsidy rate for those companies. For further discussion of this determination, refer to the section in the Issues and Decision Memorandum entitled, “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences.”

    Final Results of Administrative Review

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(b)(5), we determine the following final net subsidy rates for the 2013 administrative review:

    Company 2013
  • Ad valorem rate
  • (percent)
  • Guang Ya Group 12 3.59 Jangho Companies 13 64.14 Dynamic Technologies China Ltd 222.82 Foreign Trade Co. of Suzhou New & High Tech Industrial Development Zone 222.82 Foshan Shunde Aoneng Electrical Appliances Co., Ltd 222.82 Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group 222.82 WTI Building Products, Ltd 222.82 Zhaoqing Asia Aluminum Factory Company Ltd 222.82 Allied Maker Limited 61.36 Alnan Aluminum Co. Ltd 61.36 Barcalente Metal Producers (Suzhou) Co. Ltd 61.36 Changzhou Changzheng Evaporator Co., Ltd 61.36 Classic & Contemporary Inc 61.36 Danfoss Micro Channel Heat Exchanger (Jia Xing) Co. Ltd 61.36 Dongguan Golden Tiger Hardware Industrial Co., Ltd 61.36 Ever Extend Ent. Ltd 61.36 Fenghua Metal Product Factory 61.36 Guandong JMA Aluminum Profile (Group) Co., Ltd 61.36 Guangdong Whirlpool Electrical Appliances Co. Ltd 61.36 Guangdong Zhongya Aluminum Company Limited 61.36 Hanyung Alcobis Co., Ltd 61.36 Hangyung Metal (Suzhou) Co., Ltd 61.36 Henan New Kelong Electrical Appliances, Co., Ltd 61.36 IDEX Dinglee Technology (Tianjin) Co., Ltd 61.36 IDEX Technology Suzhou Co., Ltd 61.36 Jiangsu Susun Group (HK) Co., Ltd 61.36 Justhere Co., Ltd 61.36 Kromet International Inc 61.36 Metaltek Group Co. Ltd 61.36 North Fenghua Aluminum Limited 61.36 Nidec Sankyo Singapore Pte. Ltd 61.36 Nanhai Textiles Import & Export Co., Ltd 61.36 Permasteelisa Hong Kong Ltd 61.36 Permasteelisa South China Factory 61.36 Sapa Profiles (Shanghai) Co., Ltd 61.36 Shanghai Tongtai Precise Aluminum Alloy Manufacturing Co., Ltd 61.36 Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering Co., Ltd 61.36 Taishan City Kam Kiu Aluminum Extrusion Co., Ltd 61.36 Taizhou United Imp & Exp Co Ltd 61.36 tenKsolar (Shanghai) Co., Ltd 61.36 Union Industry (Asia) Co., Limited 61.36 Whirlpool Microwave Products Development Ltd 61.36 Zhejiang Dongfeng Refrigeration Components Co. Ltd 61.36 Zhongya Shaped Aluminum (HK) Holding Limited 61.36 Zhongshan Daya Hardware Co., Ltd 61.36 Zhaoqing New Zhongya Aluminum Co., Ltd 61.36
    Assessment Rates

    12See Footnote 2.

    13See Footnote 3.

    The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions directly to CBP 15 days after publication of these final results of review, to liquidate shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, at the ad valorem rates listed above.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The Department also intends to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties in the amounts indicated above for each company listed on shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of the final results of this administrative review. For all non-reviewed firms, we will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated countervailing duties at the most recent company-specific or all-others rate applicable to the company, as appropriate. Accordingly, the cash deposit requirements that will be applied to companies covered by this order, but not examined in this administrative review, are those established in the most recently completed segment of the proceeding for each company. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: December 7, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Final Decision Memorandum Summary List of Comments Scope of the Order Partial Rescission of Review Subsidies Valuation Information Loan Benchmark Rates Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences Analysis of Programs Programs Determined Not to Confer Measurable Benefit or Not Used Ad Valorem Rate for Non-Selected Companies Under Review Ad Valorem Rate for Non-Cooperative Companies Under Review Analysis of Comments Comment 1: Whether the Jangho Companies' Products are Subject to the Scope of the Order Comment 2: Whether the Department Should Instruct CBP to Lift Suspension and Not Assess Duties Prior to the Date of Initiation of the Relevant Scope Ruling on Curtain Wall Units Comment 3: Whether the GOC Provided Policy Loans to the Jangho Companies and GYG Comment 4: Whether the Department's Benchmark Interest Rates are Arbitrary, Unsupported by Record Evidence, or Unlawful Comment 5: Whether Preferential Tax Policies for High or New Technology Enterprises (HTNEs) Program is Specific Comment 6: Whether Tax Offsets for Research and Development (R&D) Program is Specific Comment 7: Alleged Ministerial Error in the Jangho Companies' Overall and Additional Subsidy Margin Calculations Comment 8: Whether The Department May Countervail Provision of Glass for LTAR; Whether Glass is, Properly, an Input of the Subject Merchandise Comment 9: Whether The Department May Countervail Provision of Aluminum Extrusions for LTAR; Whether Aluminum Extrusions are, Properly, Inputs of the Subject Merchandise Comment 10: Whether the Department Should Include the Subsidy Rates for Glass and Aluminum Extrusions for LTAR Programs in the Rates for Non-Selected Companies Comment 11: Whether the Jangho Companies' Glass and Aluminum Extrusions Producers and Suppliers and GYG's Primary Aluminum Producers and Suppliers are “Authorities” Comment 12: Whether Specificity Exists for Primary Aluminum for LTAR, Glass for LTAR and Aluminum Extrusions for LTAR Comment 13: Whether the Department may use a “tier two” Benchmark for Primary Aluminum for LTAR, Aluminum Extrusions for LTAR, and Glass for LTAR Comment 14: Whether the Department Made a Ministerial Error in the Calculation of Benefits for the Aluminum Extrusions for LTAR and Glass for LTAR Programs. Comment 15: Whether the Department Should Calculate Subsidies on Two Programs for Which It Sought Additional Information After Issuance of the Preliminary Results Comment 16: Whether the Department Made a Ministerial Error in the Policy Lending Calculation for GYG Comment 17: Whether the Department Should Allocate Benefits from GYG's Famous Brands Program over 2013 Sales Comment 18: Whether the Department Should Countervail Non-Recurring Subsidies Received Prior to January 1, 2005 Comment 19: Whether TenKSolar Shanghai Should Receive the Cooperative Rate for Non-Selected Respondents Comment 20: Whether the Department Should Use Aluminum Billet Purchases by Guang Ya in the Benchmark Calculation of Primary Aluminum for LTAR Comment 21: Whether the Department Erred in Calculating the Benchmark for Primary Aluminum Conclusion Appendix II List of Companies on Which We Are Rescinding This Administrative Review 14

    14 One company on which the review was initiated, tenKsolar Inc., provided a certified submission of its role as a U.S. importer located within the United States. See Letter from tenKSolar (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. regarding, “Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China—Quantity and Value Questionnaire Response,” dated September 4, 2014. Because tenKsolar is a U.S. importer, we are rescinding the review of this entity.

    1. Acro Import and Export Co. 2. Activa International Inc. 3. Aluminicaste Fundicion de Mexico 4. Changshu Changshen Aluminum Products Co., Ltd. 5. Changzhou Tenglong Auto Parts Co., Ltd. 6. China Zhongwang Holdings, Ltd. 7. Chiping One Stop Industrial & Trade Co., Ltd. 8. Clear Sky Inc. 9. Cosco (J.M.) Aluminum Co., Ltd. 10. Dongguan Aoda Aluminum Co., Ltd.15

    15 Petitioner requested a review of Dongguang Aoda Aluminum Co., Ltd. See Letter from the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee regarding, “Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Request for Administrative Review,” dated June 2, 2014. However, in the Department's initiation notice, this company's name was spelled Dongguan Aoda Aluminum Co., Ltd. Accordingly, this notice serves as a correction to the spelling of this company's name.

    11. Dragonluxe Limited 12. Dynabright International Group (HK) Limited 13. First Union Property Limited 14. Foshan City Nanhai Hongjia Aluminum alloy Co., Ltd. 15. Foshan Jinlan Aluminum Co. Ltd. 16. Foshan JMA Aluminum Company Limited 17. Foshan Shanshui Fenglu Aluminum Co., Ltd. 18. Foshan Yong Li Jian Alu. Ltd. 19. Fujian Sanchuan Aluminum Co., Ltd. 20. Global PMX Dongguan Co., Ltd. 21. Global Point Technology (Far East) Limited 22. Gold Mountain International Development, Ltd. 23. Gran Cabrio Capital Pte. Ltd. 24. Gree Electric Appliances 25. GT88 Capital Pte. Ltd. 26. Guangdong Hao Mei Aluminum Co., Ltd. 27. Guangdong Jianmei Aluminum Profile Company Limited 28. Guangdong Nanhai Foodstuffs Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd. 29. Guangdong Weiye Aluminum Factory Co., Ltd. 30. Guangdong Xingfa Aluminum Co., Ltd. 31. Guangdong Xin Wei Aluminum Products Co., Ltd. 32. Guangdong Yonglijian Aluminum Co., Ltd 33. Hangzhou Xingyi Metal Products Co., Ltd. 34. Hanwood Enterprises Limited 35. Hao Mei Aluminum Co., Ltd. 36. Hao Mei Aluminum International Co., Ltd. 37. Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Limited 38. Honsense Development Company 39. Hui Mei Gao Aluminum Foshan Co., Ltd. 40. Idex Health 41. Innovative Aluminum (Hong Kong) Limited 44. iSource Asia 45. Jiangmen Qunxing Hardware Diecasting Co., Ltd. 46. Jiangsu Changfa Refrigeration Co., Ltd. 47. Jiangyin Trust International Inc 48. Jiangyin Xinhong Doors and Windows Co., Ltd. 49. Jiaxing Jackson Travel Products Co., Ltd. 50. Jiaxing Taixin Metal Products Co., Ltd. 51. Jiuyan Co., Ltd. 52. JMA (HK) Company Limited 53. Kam Kiu Aluminum Products Sdn Bhd 54. Kanal Precision Aluminum Product Co., Ltd. 55. Karlton Aluminum Company Ltd. 56. Kunshan Giant Light Metal Technology Co., Ltd. 57. Liaoning Zhongwang Group Co., Ltd. 58. Liaoyang Zhongwang Aluminum Profiled Co. Ltd. 59. Longkou Donghai Trade Co., Ltd. 60. Massoud & Bros. Co., Ltd. 61. Metaltek Metal Industry Co., Ltd. 62. Midea Air Conditioning Equipment Co., Ltd. 63. Midea International Trading Co., Ltd./Midea International Trading Co., Ltd. 64. Miland Luck Limited 65. New Asia Aluminum & Stainless Steel Product Co., Ltd. 66. Nidec Sankyo (Zhejiang) Corporation 67. Ningbo Coaster International Co., Ltd. 68. Ningbo Hi Tech Reliable Manufacturing Company 69. Ningbo Lakeside Machiery Factory 16

    16 Homax Group Inc. (Homax) requested a review of Ningbo Lakeside Machinery Factory. See Letter from the Homax regarding, “Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Request for Third Administrative Review of Countervailing Duty Order,” dated May 30, 2014. However, in the Department's initiation notice, this company's name was spelled Ningbo Lakeside Machiery Factory. Accordingly, this notice serves as a correction to the spelling of this company's name.

    70. Ningbo Minmetals & Machinery Imp. & Exp. Corp. 71. Ningbo Yili Import and Export Co., Ltd. 72. North China Aluminum Co., Ltd. 73. Northern States Metals 74. PanAsia Aluminum (China) Limited 75. Pengcheng Aluminum Enterprise Inc. 76. Pingguo Aluminum Company Limited 77. Pingguo Asia Aluminum Co., Ltd. 78. Popular Plastics Company Limited 79. Press Metal International Ltd 80. Samuel, Son & Co., Ltd. 81. Sanchuan Aluminum Co., Ltd. 82. Shangdong Huasheng Pesticide Machinery Co. 83. Shangdong Nanshan Aluminum Co., Ltd. 84. Shanghai Automobile Air Conditioner Accessories Ltd. 85. Shanghai Canghai Aluminum Tube Packaging Co., Ltd 86. Shanghai Dongsheng Metal 87. Shanghai Shen Hang Imp & Exp Co., Ltd. 88. Shenzhen Hudson Technology Development Co., Ltd. 89. Shenzhen Jiuyuan Co., Ltd. 90. Sihui Shi Guo Yao Aluminum Co., Ltd. 91. Sincere Profit Limited 92. Skyline Exhibit Systems (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. 93. Suzhou JRP Import & Export Co., Ltd. 94. Suzhou New Hongji Precesion Part Co 95. Tai-Ao Aluminum (Taishan) Co. Ltd. 96. Taizhou Lifeng Manufacturing Corporation 97. tenKsolar, Inc. 98. Taogoasei America Inc./Toagoasei America Inc. 99. Tianjin Ganglv Nonferrous Metal Materials Co., Ltd. 100. Tianjin Jinmao Import & Export Corp., Ltd. 101. Tianjin Ruxin Electric Heat Transmission Technology Co., Ltd. 102. Tianjin Xiandai Plastic & Aluminum Products Co., Ltd. 103. Tiazhou Lifeng Manufacturing Corporation/Taizhou Lifeng Manufacturing Corporation, Ltd. 104. Top-Wok Metal Co., Ltd. 105. Traffic Brick Network, LLC 106. USA Worldwide Door Components (Pinghu) Co., Ltd. 107. Wenzhou Shengbo Decoration & Hardware 108. Whirlpool (Guangdong) 109. Xin Wei Aluminum Company Limited 110. Xinya Aluminum & Stainless Steel Product Co., Ltd. 111. Zhejiang Anji Xinxiang Aluminum Co., Ltd. 112. Zhejiang Yongkang Listar Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd. 113. Zhejiang Zhengte Group Co., Ltd. 114. Zhenjiang Xinlong Group Co., Ltd. 115. Zhongshan Gold Mountain Aluminum Factory Ltd. 116. Zhuhai Runxingtai Electrical Equipment Co., Ltd.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31425 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings TIME AND DATE:

    10:30 a.m. EST, Wednesday, December 16, 2015.

    PLACE:

    CFTC Headquarters Lobby-Level Hearing Room, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC.

    STATUS:

    Open.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    The Commission will hold this meeting to consider rulemaking matters, including two proposed rules and a final rule. The agenda for this meeting is available to the public and posted on the Commission's Web site at http://www.cftc.gov. In the event that the time, date, or place of this meeting changes, an announcement of the change, along with the new time, date, or place of the meeting, will be posted on the Commission's Web site.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Christopher J. Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission, 202-418-5964.

    Christopher J. Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31479 Filed 12-10-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No: CFPB-2015-0056] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) is requesting to renew the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for an existing information collection titled, “Generic Information Collection Plan for Development and/or Testing of Model Forms, Disclosures, Tools, and Other Similar Related Materials.”

    DATES:

    Written comments are encouraged and must be received on or before January 13, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection, OMB Control Number (see below), and docket number (see above), by any of the following methods:

    Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    OMB: Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503 or fax to (202) 395-5806. Mailed or faxed comments to OMB should be to the attention of the OMB Desk Officer for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Please note that comments submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. In general, all comments received will become public records, including any personal information provided. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Documentation prepared in support of this information collection request is available at www.reginfo.gov (this link active on the day following publication of this notice). Select “Information Collection Review,” under “Currently under review, use the dropdown menu “Select Agency” and select “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” (recent submissions to OMB will be at the top of the list). The same documentation is also available at http://www.regulations.gov. Requests for additional information should be directed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, (202) 435-9575, or email: [email protected] Please do not submit comments to this email box.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of Collection: Generic Information Collection Plan for Development and/or Testing of Model Forms, Disclosures, Tools, and Other Similar Related Materials.

    OMB Control Number: 3170-0022.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 21,000.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 8,925.

    Abstract: This generic information collection plan allows for qualitative testing of disclosures and related materials relating to the features of consumer financial products and services. The research results in recommendations for the development of and revisions to such disclosures and related materials. The research activities may be conducted by the Bureau or external parties such as, for example, contractors retained by the Bureau, and will employ cognitive psychological testing methods. This approach has been demonstrated to be feasible and valuable by the Bureau and other agencies in developing disclosures and related materials. The planned research activities will be conducted with the goal of creating effective disclosures and related materials that will help consumers understand the features of consumer financial products and services.

    Request for Comments: The Bureau issued a 60-day Federal Register notice on September 25, 2015, (80 FR 57793). Comments were solicited and continue to be invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Bureau, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the Bureau's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methods and the assumptions used; (c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Darrin A. King, Paperwork Reduction Act Officer, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31420 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army [Docket ID: USA-2015-HQ-0048] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Army proposes to alter a system of records notice AAFES 1609.03, entitled “AAFES Catalog System” is used to locate order information; to reply to customer inquiries and complaints; to create labels for shipment to the proper location; to refund customer remittances or to collect monies due; to provide claim and postal authorities with confirmation/certification of shipment for customer claims for damage or lost shipments.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before January 13, 2016. This proposed action will be effective on the date 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. Tracy Rogers, Department of the Army, Privacy Office, U.S. Army Records Management and Declassification Agency, 7701 Telegraph Road, Casey Building, Suite 144, Alexandria, VA 22325-3905 or by calling (703) 428-6185.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of the Army's 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 systems reports, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, as amended, were submitted on October 23, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and 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: December 8, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. AAFES 1609.03 System name:

    AAFES Catalog System (August 9, 1996, 61 FR 41572).

    Changes: System location:

    Delete entry and replace with “Headquarters, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Customer name, Social Security Number (SSN), mailing address, email address, telephone number, method of payment, partial credit card number, name and address of recipient of order, description and price of item ordered, method of shipment, amount of order/refund, claim data for returns/damages to shipments, and freight entry assigned to shipment.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “10 U.S.C. 3013, Secretary of the Army; and 8013, Secretary of the Air Force; Department of Defense Instruction 1015.15, Establishment, Management, and Control of Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities and Financial Management of Supporting Resources; Army Regulation 215-8/Air Force Instruction 34-211(I), Army and Air Force Service Operations; and E.O. 9397 (SSN), as amended.”

    Purpose:

    Delete entry and replace with “The system is used to locate order information; to reply to customer inquiries and complaints; to create labels for shipment to the proper location; to refund customer remittances or to collect monies due; to provide claim and postal authorities with confirmation/certification of shipment for customer claims for damage or lost shipments.”

    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 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:

    To the on-line ordering fulfillment contractor to allow for the confirmation by email of orders received, fulfilled and closed.

    To Exchange vendor representative organizations for the purpose of direct shipment from the supplier to the customer.

    Disclosures pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12) may be made from this system to “consumer reporting agencies” as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)) or the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 (31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3)). The purpose of this disclosure is to aid in the collection of outstanding debts owed to the Federal government, typically to provide an incentive for debtors to repay delinquent Federal government debts by making these debts part of their credit records. The disclosure is limited to information necessary to establish the identity of the individual, including name address, and SSN.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Army's compilation of system 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:

    Delete entry and replace with “Electronic storage media and paper records.”

    Retrievability:

    Delete entry and replace with “By order number, purchase order number, customer's name, name of recipient, phone number, SSN, or freight entry assigned to shipment.”

    Retention and disposal:

    Delete entry and replace with “Information on shipments is maintained in computer files for 180 days following completion of shipment and destroyed after 6 years or until obsolete or superseded.

    Purchase orders are retained for 2 years; transaction records are retained for 2 years; refund vouchers are retained for 6 years; returned merchandise slips are retained for 6 years; repair/replacement order slips are held 2 years. All records are destroyed by shredding. All electronic records are destroyed by erasing/reformatting the media.

    Customer records are kept continuously until obsolete or superseded, at which point paper records are shredded, and electronic records are destroyed by erasing/reformatting the media.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.

    Individual should provide name, current address and telephone number, and sufficient details to permit locating pertinent records.

    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:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Attention: FOIA/Privacy Manager, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.

    Individual should provide name, current address and telephone number, and sufficient details to permit locating pertinent records.

    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).' ”

    [FR Doc. 2015-31352 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army [Docket ID: USA-2015-HQ-0047] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Army proposes to alter a system of records notice AAFES 0404.01, entitled “Incentive Awards Case Files,” to consider and select employees for incentive awards and other honors.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before January 13, 2016. This proposed action will be effective on the date 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. Tracy Rogers, Department of the Army, Privacy Office, U.S. Army Records Management and Declassification Agency, 7701 Telegraph Road, Casey Building, Suite 144, Alexandria, VA 22325-3827 or by calling (703) 428-7499.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of the Army's 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 systems reports, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, as amended, were submitted on October 23, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and 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: December 8, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. AAFES 0404.01 System name:

    Incentive Awards Case Files (August 9, 1996, 61 FR 41572).

    Changes: System location:

    Delete entry and replace with “Headquarters, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.”

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Nonappropriated Funds Instrumentalities (NAFI) employees of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service who are recipients of awards.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Name, Social Security Number (SSN), telephone number, current address, grade/step, position title, award nominated for and justification, accomplishments, requirements of position held, organization in which employed.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “10 U.S.C. 3013, Secretary of the Army; 10 U.S.C. 8013, Secretary of the Air Force; Army Regulation 215-8/Air Force Instruction 34-211(I), Army and Air Force Exchange Service Operations; and E.O. 9397 (SSN), as amended.”

    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 under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, these 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:

    Information may be disclosed to public and private organizations, including news media, which grant or publicize employee awards or honors.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Army's compilation of system 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:

    Delete entry and replace with “Paper records and electronic storage media.”

    Retrievability:

    Delete entry and replace with “By individual's full name and SSN.”

    Safeguards:

    Delete entry and replace with “Records are maintained in a controlled facility. Physical entry is restricted by the use of locks, guards, and is accessible only to authorized personnel. Access to records is limited to person(s) with an official “need to know” who are responsible for servicing the record in performance of their official duties. Persons are properly screened and cleared for access. Access to computerized data is role-based and further restricted by passwords, which are changed periodically. In addition, the integrity of automated data is ensured by internal audit procedures, data base access accounting reports, and controls to preclude unauthorized disclosure.”

    Retention and disposal:

    Delete entry and replace with “Records are retained for 2 years, following which paper records are destroyed by shredding, and electronic media is destroyed by deleting/erasing.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.

    Individual should provide full name, SSN, current address and telephone number, and sufficient details to assist in locating the record.

    In addition, the requestor 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:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system should address written inquiries to the Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Attention: FOIA/Privacy Manager, 3911 S. Walton Walker Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75236-1598.

    Individual should provide full name, SSN, current address and telephone number, and sufficient details to assist in locating the record.

    In addition, the requestor 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 record procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “The Army's rules for accessing records and for contesting the contents of the records and appealing the initial agency determinations are contained in Army Regulation 340-21; 32 CFR part 505; or may be obtained from the system manager.”

    [FR Doc. 2015-31350 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License: Lockmasters Incorporated Correction

    In notice document 2015-30491 appearing on page 75075 in the issue of Tuesday, December 1, 2015, make the following correction:

    1. On page 75075, in the first column, in the DATES section, “[INSERT DATE 15 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION FIRST APPEARS IN Federal Register]” should read “December 16, 2015”.

    [FR Doc. C1-2015-30491 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2015-ICCD-0119] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Student Assistance General Provisions—Annual Fire Safety Report AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 13, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2015-ICCD-0119. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, 202-377-4018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Student Assistance General Provisions—Annual Fire Safety Report.

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0097.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Private Sector, State, Local and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 7,964.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 7,964.

    Abstract: The Department of Education regulations at 34 CFR 668.49 require institutions to collect statistics on fires occurring in on-campus student housing facilities, including the number and cause of each fire, the number of injuries related to each fire that required treatment at a medical facility, the number of deaths related to each fire, and the value of property damage caused by each fire. Institutions must also publish an annual fire safety report containing the institution's policies regarding fire safety and the fire statistics information. Further institutions are required to maintain a fire log that records the date, time, nature, and general location of each fire in on-campus student housing facilities.

    This request is to extend the current approval of reporting requirements contained in the regulations. The collection requirements in the regulations are necessary to meet institutional information reporting to students and staff as well as for reporting to Congress through the Secretary.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31346 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-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: EC16-47-000.

    Applicants: American Transmission Company LLC, Duke-American Transmission Company, LLC, ATC Management Inc.

    Description: Application for Authorization for Corporate Reorganization and Request for Confidential Treatment and Certain Waivers pursuant to Section 203 of the Federal Power Act of American Transmission Company LLC Transmission Company LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5186.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-98-000.

    Applicants: Union Power Partners, L.P., Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C., Entergy Texas, Inc.

    Description: Response to November 24 and 25, 2015 Deficiency Letters of Entergy Services, Inc. on behalf of Union Power Partners, L.P., et. al.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5261.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/6/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG16-29-000.

    Applicants: Avalon Solar Partners II LLC.

    Description: Self-Certification of EWG of Avalon Solar Partners II LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1714-007.

    Applicants: LG&E Energy Marketing Inc.

    Description: Supplement to June 30, 2015 Triennial Market Power Update for Central Region of LG&E Energy Marketing Inc.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1922-000.

    Applicants: Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C., Entergy Louisiana, LLC, Entergy New Orleans, Inc.

    Description: Response to November 5, 2015 Deficiency Letter of Entergy Services, Inc. on behalf of the participating Entergy Operating Companies.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5260.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2741-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: Report Filing: Refund Report to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5185.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-237-001.

    Applicants: South Jersey Energy ISO9, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Supplement to Market-Based Rate Application and Tariff Amendment to be effective 11/3/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5206.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-238-001.

    Applicants: South Jersey Energy ISO10, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Supplement to Market-Based Rate Application and Tariff Amendment to be effective 11/3/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5207.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-475-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Original Interconnection Service Agreement No. 4303, Queue No. Z2-046/AA1-066 to be effective 11/6/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5200.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-476-000.

    Applicants: AEP Texas Central Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: TCC-Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative IA to be effective 11/17/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5056.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-477-000.

    Applicants: AEP Texas North Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: TNC-Oncor Electric Delivery Company First Amd & Restated IA LLC to be effective 11/10/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5057.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-478-000.

    Applicants: Wheelabrator Saugus Inc.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Power Sales Contract of Wheelabrator Saugus Inc.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-479-000.

    Applicants: Avalon Solar Partners II LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for MBR to be effective 12/10/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5091.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-480-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: PacifiCorp Energy Carbon Decommissioning Construction Agmt Rev 2 to be effective 2/7/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5094.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-481-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: Notice of Termination of GSFA and GIA for Los Medanos Energy Center, LLC, Service Agreement No. 8 under PG&E FERC Electric Tariff Volume No. 5 of Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5123.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-482-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Florida, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: City of Williston NITSA Amendment OATT SA No. 146 to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/8/15.

    Accession Number: 20151208-5168.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric reliability filings:

    Docket Numbers: RD16-3-000.

    Applicants: North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

    Description: Petition of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation for Approval of Revised Definitions of Terms Used in Reliability Standards.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5262.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric reliability filings:

    Docket Numbers: RR16-2-000.

    Applicants: North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

    Description: Petition of North American Electric Reliability Corporation for Approval of Proposed Rules of Procedure Revisions.

    Filed Date: 12/7/15.

    Accession Number: 20151207-5226.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    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: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31391 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-468-000] FTS Master Tenant 1, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding FTS Master Tenant 1, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 28, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31394 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-474-000] Central Antelope Dry Ranch C LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding Central Antelope Dry Ranch C LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 28, 2015.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31395 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2290-109] Southern California Edison Co; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Application Type: Non-Capacity Amendment of License.

    b. Project No: P-2290-109.

    c. Date Filed: June 4, 2015.

    d. Applicant: Southern California Edison Company (SCE).

    e. Name of Project: Kern River 3.

    f. Location: The project is located on the Kern River, in Kern and Tulare counties, California.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Applicant Contact: David Moore, Southern California Edison, 1515 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, CA 91771, (626) 302-9494.

    i. FERC Contact: Mary Karwoski, (202) 502-6543, [email protected]

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, and protests: January 7, 2016.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, protests, comments, or recommendations 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-2290-109.

    The Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure require all intervenors filing documents with the Commission to serve a copy of that document on each person whose name appears on the official service list for the project. Further, if an intervenor files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency.

    k. Description of Request: SCE requests to amend the project license as follows: (1) Replace the existing final U.S. Forest Service Section 4(e) Condition 6(f) with the amended final Section 4(e) Condition 6(f) filed with the Commission by the U.S. Forest Service on March 3, 2015; and (2) revise Article 422 so that the language is consistent with the amended final Section 4(e) Condition 6(f). The proposed changes are administrative and necessary to resolve inconsistencies between U.S. Forest Service 4(e) Condition 6(f), license Article 422, and language contained in a 2002 settlement agreement regarding whitewater flows below the Fairview Dam. The filing includes background information providing context, a description of the proposed amendment, reasons the amendment is necessary, and documentation of consultation. On February 25, 2014, the Commission issued public notice in this proceeding. All previous intervenors remain a party to the proceeding.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214, respectively. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person commenting, protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis. Any filing made by an intervenor must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 385.2010.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31396 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-91-000] East Tennessee Natural Gas, LLC; Revised Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Loudon Expansion Project

    This notice identifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) staff's revised schedule for the completion of the environmental assessment (EA) for East Tennessee Natural Gas, LLC's Loudon Expansion Project. The previous notice of schedule, issued on October 28, 2015, identified December 21, 2015 as the EA issuance date. Staff has revised the schedule for issuance of the EA.

    Schedule for Environmental Review Issuance of EA—December 28, 2015 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline—March 27, 2016

    If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the project's progress.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the EA and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31392 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16-13-000] Emera Maine; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date

    On December 7, 2015, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. EL16-13-000, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e (2012), instituting an investigation into the justness and reasonableness of Emera Maine's proposed revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff for Maine Public District. Emera Maine, 153 FERC ¶ 61,283 (2015).

    The refund effective date in Docket No. EL16-13-000, established pursuant to section 206(b) of the FPA, will be the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31393 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0779; FRL-9940-06-Region 9] Official Release of EMFAC2014 Motor Vehicle Emission Factor Model for Use in the State of California AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving and announcing the availability of the latest version of the California EMFAC (short for EMission FACtor) model for use in state implementation plan (SIP) development and transportation conformity in California. EMFAC2014 is the latest update to the EMFAC model for use by California state and local governments to meet Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. The new model, which is based on new and improved data, calculates air pollution emissions factors for passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and buses. Today's notice also sets the date after which EMFAC2014, rather than EMFAC2011, must be used to satisfy the requirement that conformity determinations be based on the latest emissions model available. This requirement can be met by using the most current version of the motor vehicle emissions model approved by the EPA. Since the EMFAC model is used only in California, the EPA's approval and the announcement of the availability of the model does not affect the applicability of the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model for users in other states.

    DATES:

    The EPA's approval of the EMFAC2014 emissions model for SIP and conformity purposes is effective December 14, 2015. EMFAC2014 must be used as described in this Notice for all new regional emissions analyses and carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) hot-spot analyses for transportation conformity purposes that are started on or after December 14, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karina O'Connor, [email protected], (775) 434-8176, Air Planning Office (AIR-2), Air Division, U.S. EPA, Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Copies of the official version of the EMFAC2014 model, including technical support documents, are available on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Web site: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/categories.htm#onroad_motor_vehicles. Throughout this document, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to EPA.

    I. Background A. What is the EMFAC model?

    The EMFAC model is a computer model that can estimate emission rates for on-road mobile sources (“motor vehicles”) for calendar years from 2000 to 2050 operating in California. Pollutant emissions for hydrocarbons (HC), CO, nitrogen oxides (NOX), PM10, PM2.5, lead, carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur oxides are output from the model. Emissions are calculated for fifty-one different vehicle classes composed of passenger cars, various types of trucks and buses, motorcycles, and motor homes.

    EMFAC is used to calculate current and future inventories of motor vehicle emissions at the state, air district, air basin, county, or project level. EMFAC contains default vehicle activity data, and the option of modifying that data, so it can be used to estimate a motor vehicle emissions inventory in tons/day for a specific year, month, or season, and as a function of ambient temperature, relative humidity, vehicle population, mileage accrual, miles of travel and speeds. Thus the model can be used to make decisions about air pollution policies and programs at the local or state level.

    Inventories based on EMFAC are also used to meet the federal CAA's SIP and transportation conformity requirements. Transportation conformity is required under CAA section 176(c) to ensure that federally supported transportation plans, transportation improvement programs (TIPs), and highway and transit projects are consistent with (“conform to”) the purpose of the SIP. Conformity to a SIP means that a transportation activity will not cause or contribute to new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) or interim milestones. The EPA's transportation conformity regulations (40 CFR parts 51.390 and 93) describe how federally funded and approved highway and transit projects meet these statutory requirements. EMFAC is used statewide in all regional emissions analyses and CO, PM10 and PM2.5 hot-spot analyses for transportation conformity determinations in California.

    B. What versions of EMFAC are currently in use in California?

    Most SIPs in California were developed using EMFAC2011 (released by CARB in September 2011) or EMFAC2007 (released by CARB in October 2007). The EPA approved and announced the availability of EMFAC2011 on March 16, 2013 (78 FR 14533) and approved and announced the availability of EMFAC2007 on January 18, 2008 (73 FR 3464) for all nonattainment and maintenance areas in California.

    EMFAC2011 was considered a major update to previous versions of EMFAC and most SIPs in California were updated with EMFAC2011 in the 2012-2014 timeframe. EMFAC2011 included a new model structure, new data and methodologies regarding calculation of motor vehicle emissions, and revisions to implementation data for control measures.

    C. Why is the EPA announcing its approval of the EMFAC model?

    CAA section 172(c)(3) and 40 CFR 51.114(a) require that SIP inventories be based on the most current, accurate, and applicable models that are available at the time the SIP is developed. CAA section 176(c)(1) and 40 CFR 93.111(a) require that the latest emissions estimates be used in conformity analyses. The EPA approves models that fulfill these requirements.

    Under 40 CFR 93.111(a), the EPA must approve new versions of EMFAC for SIP purposes before they can be used in transportation conformity analyses. In a May 21, 2015 letter, CARB requested that the EPA approve EMFAC2014 for use in developing SIPs and in determining conformity in California.1 EMFAC2014 is a significant change from previous EMFAC models with a new model user interface and is capable of calculating motor vehicle emissions for all California areas. EMFAC2014 is being approved as the latest emissions model for statewide use in SIP development and emissions analyses for conformity purposes. Since the EMFAC model is only used in California, the EPA's statewide approval of the model does not affect the applicability of the MOVES emissions factor model for users in other states.

    1 The EMFAC2014 model and supporting information is available for downloading at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/categories.htm#onroad_motor_vehicles. Technical documentation explaining the changes to the model and the technical foundations for the model is available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/downloads/emfac2014/emfac2014-vol3-technical-documentation-052015.pdf .

    II. EPA Action A. What version of EMFAC is the EPA approving?

    In this notice, the EPA is approving and announcing that EMFAC2014 is available to use in statewide California SIP development and for regional emissions analyses and CO, PM10 and PM2.5 hot-spot analyses for transportation conformity. EMFAC2014 was developed by CARB and transmitted for approval to the EPA on May 21, 2015.

    The EMFAC2014 model has been rewritten using Python and MySQL software into a new structure that will facilitate future model updates, and allow CARB to incorporate updated regulations and emissions data into the model and provide for a more simplified user experience. The four major modules of EMFAC2011: EMFAC-LDV, EMFAC-HD, EMFAC-SG and EMFAC-PL have been integrated into EMFAC2014, under one interface. The model is now operated in either the Emissions Mode or the Emissions Rate Mode for regional emissions analyses to access emission databases and vehicle activity data for the appropriate geographic subarea. EMFAC2014 Project-Level Assessment (EMFAC2014-PL) is triggered when EMFAC2014 is run under the Emissions Rate Mode. Using EMFAC2014-PL, emissions rates are estimated based on user-specified, project-specific conditions. A handbook for using EMFAC2014 at the project level is available from CARB at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/downloads/emfac2014/emfac2014-vol2-pl-handbook-052015.pdf. EMFAC2014 allows users to run one model for SIP inventories, regional emissions analyses and project analyses.

    B. What analyses can EMFAC2014 be used for?

    The EPA is approving the model to estimate regional emissions of HC, CO, NOX, PM10, PM2.5, lead, and sulfur oxides.2 However, EMFAC2014 will only be used in transportation conformity for pollutants and precursors that are transportation-related emissions, e.g., HC, CO, NOX, PM10 and PM2.5.

    2 The EPA notes that EMFAC2014 can be used for CO2 emissions analyses as well, but there are no SIP or transportation conformity requirements for greenhouse gases (GHGs). In addition, although SO2 is listed as a potential precursor for PM2.5 formation in 40 CFR 93.102(b)(2)(v), this precursor has not been considered significant for the on-road mobile sources covered by transportation conformity in California to date.

    The EPA is also approving EMFAC2014 to estimate CO, PM10 and PM2.5 emissions for conformity hot-spot analyses involving individual transportation projects. A hot-spot analysis is defined in 40 CFR 93.101 as an estimation of likely future localized pollutant concentrations and a comparison of those concentrations to the relevant NAAQS. This analysis is conducted on a smaller scale than a nonattainment or maintenance area, e.g., for a congested roadway intersection.

    The EPA also notes that this approval action does not impact what methodology is required for calculating re-entrained road dust for regional PM10 and PM2.5 SIPs and transportation conformity analyses. EMFAC2014's PM10 and PM2.5 estimates do not include such emissions. When applicable, PM10 and PM2.5 nonattainment and maintenance areas are required to use the EPA's AP-42 road dust method for calculating road dust emissions, unless a local method is approved in advance by the EPA.3 In addition, EMFAC2014 does not estimate ammonia emissions. Air quality and transportation agencies should contact the EPA Regional Office if ammonia emissions estimates are needed for SIPs or regional conformity emissions analyses.

    3 For further information, see the EPA's February 4, 2011 Notice of Availability for the January 2011 AP-42 Method for Estimating Re-entrained Road Dust from Paved Roads (76 FR 6328). Also, for using AP-42 for unpaved roads, see the EPA's August 2, 2007 memorandum, “Policy Guidance on the Use of the November 1, 2006, Update to AP-42 for Re-entrained Road Dust for SIP Development and Transportation Conformity.”

    C. Why does the EPA consider EMFAC2014 to be a major update to EMFAC?

    EMFAC2014 includes significant changes to its model interface, new data and methodologies regarding calculation of motor vehicle emissions and revisions to implementation data for control measures. EMFAC2014 includes updated data on car and truck activities, and emissions reductions associated with CARB's Advanced Clean Cars regulations,4 supporting new estimates of emissions from heavy-heavy duty diesel trucks and buses. Motor vehicle fleet age, vehicle types and vehicle population have also been updated based on 2000-2012 California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) data. Each of these changes impact emission factors for each area in California. The new model interface for EMFAC2014 will allow users to update the default VMT data and speed profiles by vehicle class for different future scenarios. CARB's Web site describes these and other model changes at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/categories.htm#onroad_motor_vehicles.

    4 For further information, see EPA's January 9, 2013 waiver of preemption for the Advanced Clean Cars regulations at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01-09/pdf/2013-00181.pdf.

    D. How were stakeholders and the public involved in the EMFAC development process?

    Since 2013, CARB has held a series of public workshops to discuss emissions inventory updates and EMFAC updates and to receive comments on the resulting changes in the emissions inventory and models.5 CARB also conducted beta testing of interim versions of the model with air districts and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Stakeholders and other members of the public had the opportunity to request briefings with CARB staff and provide them with comments and suggestions to improve the model. The EPA was included in those discussions and our suggestions were incorporated into the material available on the CARB EMFAC public Web site. CARB also developed and posted training modules for EMFAC2014 and supports a mobile source emissions inventory email listserv to announce updates and changes to the EMFAC supporting material.6

    5 See http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/workshop-meetings.htm.

    6 To subscribe to CARB's listserv for Mobile Source Emission Inventory development, see “Join our MSEI listserv” at www.arb.ca.gov/msei/msei.htm.

    CARB also made available to the public a series of technical memos that describe each update to the model and public presentations that summarize the changes from earlier versions of the model. The technical memos are available on CARB's Web site at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/downloads/emfac2014/emfac2014-vol4-comp-table-of-emfac-topics-052015.xlsx and at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/categories.htm#onroad_motor_vehicles. Specific changes incorporated into the EMFAC2014 model are also discussed in http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/downloads/emfac2014/emfac2014-vol3-technical-documentation-052015.pdf. All presentations from the public workshops are available on the CARB Web site at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msei/workshop-meetings.htm.

    E. Does this Notice establish a transportation conformity grace period for the use of this model?

    Yes. The transportation conformity rule (40 CFR 93.111) requires that conformity determinations be based on the latest motor vehicle emissions model approved by the EPA for SIP purposes for a state or area. Section 176(c)(1) of the CAA states that

    . . . [t]he determination of conformity shall be based on the most recent estimates of emissions, and such estimates shall be determined from the most recent population, employment, travel, and congestion estimates. . . .

    When the EPA approves and announces the availability of a new emissions model such as EMFAC2014, the EPA will consult with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a grace period before the model is required for conformity analyses (40 CFR 93.111(b)). The conformity rule provides for a grace period for new emissions models of between 3 and 24 months after notice of availability is published in the Federal Register (40 CFR 93.111(b)(1)).

    The EPA articulated its intentions for establishing the length of a conformity grace period in the preamble to the 1993 transportation conformity rule (November 24, 1993, 58 FR 62211):

    EPA and DOT [the Department of Transportation] will consider extending the grace period if the effects of the new emissions model are so significant that previous SIP demonstrations of what emission levels are consistent with attainment would be substantially affected. In such cases, States should have an opportunity to revise their SIPs before MPOs must use the model's new emissions factors.

    In consultation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the EPA considers “the degree of change in the model and the scope of re-planning likely to be necessary by MPOs in order to assure conformity” in establishing the length of the grace period (40 CFR 93.111(b)(2)).

    Upon consideration of these factors, the EPA is establishing a two-year grace period before EMFAC2014 is required for the following conformity analyses:

    • All new HC, NOX, PM10, PM2.5 and CO regional emissions analyses (e.g., supporting transportation plan and TIP conformity determinations); and

    • All new CO, PM10 and PM2.5 hot-spot analyses supporting project-level conformity determinations.

    The grace period begins on December 14, 2015 and ends on December 14, 2017. Areas have the option of using the new model prior to the end of the grace period.

    As discussed earlier in the notice, EMFAC2014 incorporates significant changes to the model interface and procedures used to estimate both emissions for regional emissions analysis and hot-spot analyses for CO and PM. In addition to incorporating the new EMFAC2014 procedures, state and local agencies also need to consider how the model affects regional conformity analysis results and whether SIP and/or transportation plan/TIP changes are necessary to assure future conformity determinations. As stated earlier in the notice, the changes to EMFAC impact emission factors for each area in California. CARB has requested an 18-month grace period to allow them to update SIPs previously developed using EMFAC2007 or EMFAC2011 with the updated emissions from EMFAC2014 during 2016. Therefore, additional time is necessary for CARB to revise previously approved SIPs with EMFAC2014 and complete the SIP revision process, so that MPOs can incorporate revised SIP budgets into the transportation conformity process.

    For application of EMFAC2014 at the project level, while EMFAC2014 was originally released by CARB in October of 2014, project sponsors developing future project-level analysis may need some time to familiarize themselves with this model.

    Therefore, it is appropriate to set a two-year grace period to allow all areas in California to incorporate EMFAC2014 in conformity hot-spot analyses and apply the changes to the model structure and updated planning assumptions incorporated in EMFAC2014 in a timely manner. In the interim, new PM and CO hot-spot analyses that are started prior to the end of the EMFAC2014 grace period can be based on EMFAC2011 and the EPA's existing PM hot-spot guidance 7 (40 CFR 93.111(c)).

    7See Web page http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/projectlevel-hotspot.htm#pm-hotspot for latest guidance documents and information.

    When the grace period ends on December 14, 2017, EMFAC2014 will become the only approved motor vehicle emissions model for all new regional and hot-spot transportation conformity analyses across California, as a means of meeting the requirement to use the latest emissions information in conformity analyses (40 CFR 93.111). In general, this means that all new HC, NOX, PM10, PM2.5, and CO regional conformity analyses and CO, PM10 and PM2.5 hot-spot analyses started after the end of the two-year grace period must be based on EMFAC2014, even if the SIP is based on an earlier version of the EMFAC model. The EPA is considering what project-level guidance is necessary for EMFAC2014 and will make information available on the EPA's Web site: www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/projectlevel-hotspot.htm.

    In addition, in most cases, if an area revises previously approved EMFAC2011-based SIP budgets using EMFAC2014, the revised EMFAC2014 budgets would be used for conformity purposes once the EPA approves the SIP revision. In general, the EPA will not make adequacy findings for these SIPs because submitted SIPs cannot supersede approved budgets until they are approved. However, 40 CFR 93.118(e)(1) allows an approved budget to be replaced by an adequate budget if the EPA's approval of the initial budgets specifies that the budgets being approved may be replaced in the future by new adequate budgets. This flexibility has been used in limited situations in the past, such as during the transition from EMFAC7F and EMFAC7G to EMFAC2002. See 67 FR 46618 (July 16, 2002); 67 FR 69139 (November 15, 2002); and 68 FR 15720 (April 1, 2003). In such cases, the EMFAC2014-based budgets would be used for conformity purposes once they have been found adequate. States should consult with the EPA as needed to determine if this flexibility applies to their situation.

    F. Can areas use EMFAC2011 during the grace period?

    Yes, the conformity rule provides some flexibility for regional emissions analyses that are started before the end of the grace period. Analyses that begin before or during the grace period may continue to rely on EMFAC2011. The interagency consultation process should be used if it is unclear if an EMFAC2011-based analysis was begun before the end of the grace period. When the grace period ends, EMFAC2014 will become the EPA-approved motor vehicle emissions model for regional emissions analyses for transportation conformity in California.

    CO, PM10 and PM2.5 hot-spot analyses for project-level conformity determinations can be based on EMFAC2011 if the analysis was begun before the end of the grace period, and if the final environmental document for the project is issued no more than three years after the issuance of the draft environmental document (see 40 CFR 93.111(c)). Therefore quantitative analysis already underway that were started before the end of the grace period using EMFAC2011 can be completed as long as 40 CFR 93.111(c) is satisfied. The interagency consultation process should be used if it is unclear whether an EMFAC2011-based analysis is covered by the circumstances described in the conformity rule.

    G. Future Updates to EMFAC

    On January 31, 2006, CARB submitted a letter to the EPA and to the California Division of the FHWA indicating the State's intention to make future revisions to update EMFAC. These EMFAC updates would reflect, among other new information, updated vehicle fleet data every three years. In California, MPOs and Air Districts have not been able to update vehicle fleet data embedded into EMFAC. The EPA's July 2004 final rule (69 FR 40004) states that new vehicle registration data must be used when it is available prior to the start of new conformity analyses and that states and MPOs are strongly encouraged to update the data at least every five years as described in EPA/USDOT December 2008 guidance.8 The next update to the planning assumptions in EMFAC is expected in 2017.

    8 For more information on qualitative PM hot-spot analyses, see the EPA and the FHWA's joint “Guidance for The Use of Latest Planning Assumptions in Transportation Conformity Determinations” (EPA420-B-08-901, December 2008).

    III. Summary of EPA Actions

    As described in this notice, the EPA is approving and announcing the availability of EMFAC2014 as submitted by CARB on May 21, 2015 with the following limitations and conditions:

    (1) The approval is limited to California.

    (2) The approval is Statewide and applies to estimation of emissions of HC, CO, NOx, PM10, PM2.5, lead, and sulfur oxides. In addition, EMFAC2014 will be used in transportation conformity regional emissions analyses for pollutants and precursors that are applicable in a given nonattainment or maintenance area. The EPA is approving the emission factor elements of EMFAC2014, but not the associated default travel activity (e.g. Vehicle Miles Traveled). The EPA is also approving EMFAC2014's Emission Rate Mode that allows the model to estimate project-level emissions for CO, PM10 and PM2.5 conformity hot-spot analyses.

    (3) A 24-month statewide transportation conformity grace period will be established beginning December 14, 2015 and ending December 14, 2017 for the transportation conformity uses described in (2) above.

    Dated: December 2, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31307 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0600] Information Collection Requirement Being Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Emergency Review and Approval 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 invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before January 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email [email protected]; and to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected] Include in the comments the Title as shown in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission is requesting emergency OMB processing of the information collection requirement(s) contained in this notice and has requested OMB approval no later than 26 days after the collection is received at OMB. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, and (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the Title of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0600.

    Title: Application to Participate in an FCC Auction, FCC Form 175.

    Form Number: FCC Form 175.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities, not-for-profit institutions, and state, local or tribal governments.

    Estimated Number of Respondents and Responses: 500 respondents and 500 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 90 minutes.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for the currently approved information collection is contained in sections 154(i) and 309(j)(5) of the Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C.s 4(i), 309(j)(5), and sections 1.2105, 1.2110, 1.2112 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.2105, 1.2110, 1.2112. Statutory authority for the revised information collection is contained in sections 154(i) and 309(j)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 4(i), 309(j)(5), and sections 1.2105, 1.2110, 1.2112 of the Commission's rules, as amended, 47 CFR 1.2105, 1.2110, 1.2112.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 750 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: None.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Information collected on FCC Form 175 is made available for public inspection, and the Commission is not requesting that respondents submit confidential information on FCC Form 175. Respondents seeking to have information collected on FCC Form 175 withheld from public inspection may request confidential treatment of such information pursuant to section 0.459 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 0.459.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is submitting this revised information collection to OMB under its emergency processing procedures. The Commission is seeking emergency OMB approval no later than 26 days after the collection is received at OMB. On February 22, 2012, the President signed the Spectrum Act, which, among other things, authorized the Commission to conduct incentive auctions, and directed that the Commission use this innovative tool for an incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum to help meet the Nation's growing spectrum needs. See Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96, sections 6402, 6403, 125 Stat. 156 (2012) (Spectrum Act). The Commission's broadcast incentive auction (BIA) will have three main components: (1) A reverse auction in which broadcast television licensees will submit bids to voluntarily relinquish their spectrum usage rights in exchange for defined shares of proceeds from the forward auction; (2) a repacking of the broadcast television bands; and (3) a forward auction of initial licenses for flexible use of the newly available spectrum.

    The Commission is revising the currently approved information collection on FCC Form 175 to implement new collection requirements that are the result of (1) various Commission actions in which the Commission adopted general rules and procedures to govern the BIA, including rules applicable to applicants seeking to participate in the forward auction component of the BIA and, (2) the Commission's adoption of new and modified competitive bidding rules and requirements in the Updating Part 1 Report and Order, which will apply to applicants seeking to participate in a Commission auction, including the forward auction component of the BIA.

    The Commission's auction rules and related requirements are designed to ensure that the competitive bidding process is limited to serious qualified applicants, deter possible abuse of the bidding and licensing process, and enhance the use of competitive bidding to assign Commission licenses in furtherance of the public interest. The information collected on FCC Form 175 is used by the Commission to determine if an applicant is legally, technically, and financially qualified to participate in a Commission auction. Additionally, if an applicant applies for status as a particular type of auction participant pursuant to Commission rules, the Commission uses information collected on FCC Form 175 to determine whether the applicant is eligible for the status requested. Commission staff reviews the information collected on FCC Form 175 for a particular auction as part of the pre-auction process, prior to the auction being held. Staff determines whether each applicant satisfies the Commission's requirements to participate in the auction and, if applicable, is eligible for the status as a particular type of auction participant it requested. Without the information collected on FCC Form 175, the Commission will not be able to determine if an applicant is legally, technically, and financially qualified to participate in a Commission auction, including the forward auction component of the BIA, and has complied with the various applicable regulatory and statutory auction requirements for such participation. The Commission plans to continue to use the FCC Form 175 for all upcoming, non-reverse spectrum auctions, including those required or authorized to be conducted pursuant to the Spectrum Act, collecting only the information necessary for each particular auction.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31318 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment Request (3064-0046, 3064-0113, & 3064-0178) AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The FDIC, 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 the renewal of existing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Currently, the FDIC is soliciting comment on the renewal of the information collections described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the FDIC by any of the following methods:

    http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/.

    Email: [email protected] Include the name and number of the collection in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Gary A. Kuiper (202-898-3877), Counsel, MB-3016 or Manuel E. Cabeza (202-898-3767), Counsel MB-3105, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 17th Street Building (located on F Street), on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    All comments should refer to the relevant OMB control number. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the FDIC: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary A. Kuiper or Manuel E. Cabeza, at the FDIC address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposal to renew the following currently-approved collections of information:

    1. Title: Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

    OMB Number: 3064-0046.

    Affected Public: Insured state nonmember banks.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,575.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 1,091,614.

    Estimated Time per Response: 5 minutes.

    Total Annual Burden: 90,967 hours.

    General Description: To permit the FDIC to detect discrimination in residential mortgage lending, certain insured state nonmember banks are required by FDIC Regulation 12 CFR 338 to maintain various data on home loan applicants.

    2. Title: External Audits.

    OMB Number: 3064-0113.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Frequency of Response: Annually.

    Affected Public: All insured financial institutions with total assets of $500 million or more and other insured financial institutions with total assets of less than $500 million that voluntarily choose to comply.

    General Description: FDIC's regulations at 12 CFR 363 establish annual independent audit and reporting requirements for financial institutions with total assets of $500 million or more. The requirements include the submission of an annual report on their financial statements, recordkeeping about management deliberations regarding external auditing and reports about changes in auditors. The information collected is used to facilitate early identification of problems in financial management at financial institutions.

    Explanation of burden estimates: The estimates of annual burden are based on the estimated burden hours for FDIC-supervised institutions within each asset classification ($1 billion or more, $500 million or more but less than $1 billion, and less than $500 million) to comply with the requirements of Part 363 regarding the annual report, audit committee, other reports, and the notice of change in accountants. The number of respondents reflects the number of FDIC-supervised institutions in each asset classification. The number of annual responses reflects the estimated number of submissions for each asset classification. The annual burden hours reflects the estimated number of hours for FDIC-supervised institutions within each asset classification to comply with the requirements of Part 363.

    a. FDIC-Supervised Institutions with Assets of $1 Billion or More.

    Number of Respondents: 351.

    Annual Responses: 1,141.

    Estimated Time per Response: 69.84 hours.

    Annual Burden Hours: 79,688 hours.

    b. FDIC-Supervised Institutions with Assets of $500 Million or More but Less than $1 Billion.

    Number of Respondents: 401.

    Annual Responses: 1,303.

    Estimated Time per Response: 8.42 hours.

    Annual Burden Hours: 10,977 hours.

    c. FDIC-Supervised Institutions with Assets Less than $500 Million.

    Number of Respondents: 3,291.

    Annual Responses: 9,873.

    Estimated Time per Response: 15 minutes.

    Annual Burden Hours: 2,468 hours.

    Total Number of Respondents: 4,043.

    Total Annual Responses: 12,317.

    Total Annual Burden Hours: 84,026 hours.

    3. Title: Market Risk Capital Requirements.

    OMB Number: 3064-0178.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Frequency of Response: Occasionally.

    Affected Public: Insured state nonmember banks and state savings associations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 1.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,964 hours.

    General Description: The FDIC's market risk capital rules (12 CFR part 324, subpart F) enhance risk sensitivity, increase transparency through enhanced disclosures and include requirements for the public disclosure of certain qualitative and quantitative information about the market risk of state nonmember banks and state savings associations (FDIC-supervised institutions). The market risk rule applies only if a bank holding company or bank has aggregated trading assets and trading liabilities equal to 10 percent or more of quarter-end total assets or $1 billion or more. Currently, only one FDIC-regulated entity meets the criteria. The information collection requirements are located at 12 CFR 324.203 through 324.212. The collection of information is necessary to ensure capital adequacy appropriate for the level of market risk.

    Section 324.203(a)(1) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to have clearly defined policies and procedures for determining which trading assets and trading liabilities are trading positions and specifies the factors a FDIC-supervised institutions must take into account in drafting those policies and procedures. Section 324.203(a)(2) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to have clearly defined trading and hedging strategies for trading positions that are approved by senior management and specifies what the strategies must articulate. Section 324.203(b)(1) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to have clearly defined policies and procedures for actively managing all covered positions and specifies the minimum requirements for those policies and procedures. Sections 324.203(c)(4) through 324.203(c)(10) require the annual review of internal models and specify certain requirements for those models. Section 324.203(d) requires the internal audit group of a FDIC-supervised institution to prepare an annual report to the board of directors on the effectiveness of controls supporting the market risk measurement systems.

    Section 324.204(b) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to conduct quarterly backtesting. Section 324.205(a)(5) requires institutions to demonstrate to the FDIC the appropriateness of proxies used to capture risks within value-at-risk models. Section 324.205(c) requires institutions to develop, retain, and make available to the FDIC value-at-risk and profit and loss information on sub-portfolios for two years. Section 324.206(b)(3) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to have policies and procedures that describe how they determine the period of significant financial stress used to calculate the institution's stressed value-at-risk models and to obtain prior FDIC approval for any material changes to these policies and procedures.

    Section 324.207(b)(1) details requirements applicable to a FDIC-supervised institution when the FDIC-supervised institution uses internal models to measure the specific risk of certain covered positions. Section 324.208 requires FDIC-supervised institutions to obtain prior written FDIC approval for incremental risk modeling. Section 324.209(a) requires prior FDIC approval for the use of a comprehensive risk measure. Section 324.209(c)(2) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to retain and report the results of supervisory stress testing. Section 324.210(f)(2)(i) requires FDIC-supervised institutions to document an internal analysis of the risk characteristics of each securitization position in order to demonstrate an understanding of the position. Section 324.212 requires quarterly quantitative disclosures, annual qualitative disclosures, and a formal disclosure policy approved by the board of directors that addresses the approach for determining the market risk disclosures it makes.

    Request for Comment

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the FDIC's functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 9th day of December 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31389 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Sunshine Act Meeting

    Pursuant to the provisions of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b), notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Board of Directors will meet in open session at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, to consider the following matters:

    Summary Agenda: No substantive discussion of the following items is anticipated. These matters will be resolved with a single vote unless a member of the Board of Directors requests that an item be moved to the discussion agenda.

    Disposition of minutes of previous Board of Directors' Meetings.

    Memorandum and resolution: Review of Regulations Transferred from the Former Office of Thrift Supervision: Part 390, Subpart V—Management Official Interlocks.

    Memorandum and resolution re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Proposed Revisions to Part 341 of the FDIC's Rules and Regulations Requiring the Registration of Securities Transfer Agents.

    Memorandum and resolution re: Fourth Joint Federal Register Notice Addressing FDIC Regulations in Accordance with the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (“EGRPRA”).

    Summary reports, status reports, reports of the Office of Inspector General, and reports of actions taken pursuant to authority delegated by the Board of Directors.

    Discussion Agenda: Memorandum and resolution re: Proposed 2016 FDIC Operating Budget.

    The meeting will be held in the Board Room located on the sixth floor of the FDIC Building located at 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC.

    This Board meeting will be Webcast live via the Internet and subsequently made available on-demand approximately one week after the event. Visit https://fdic.primetime.mediaplatform.com/#!/channel/1232003497484/Board+Meetings to view the event. If you need any technical assistance, please visit our Video Help page at: http://www.fdic.gov/video.html.

    The FDIC will provide attendees with auxiliary aids (e.g., sign language interpretation) required for this meeting. Those attendees needing such assistance should call 703-562-2404 (Voice) or 703-649-4354 (Video Phone) to make necessary arrangements.

    Requests for further information concerning the meeting may be directed to Mr. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary of the Corporation, at 202-898-7043.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31481 Filed 12-10-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10326, Legacy Bank, Scottsdale, Arizona

    Notice is hereby given that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for Legacy Bank, Scottsdale, Arizona (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of Legacy Bank on January 7, 2010. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the Receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this Notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this Notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 32.1, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31390 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission

    DATE AND TIME:

    Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC (ninth floor)

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be open to the public.

    ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED:

    Correction and Approval of Minutes for October 29, 2015 Remarks by Chair Ravel Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-13: Senator Harry Reid Draft Advisory Opinion 2015-14: Hillary for America Rulemaking Petition: Independent Spending by Corporations, Labor Organizations, Foreign Nationals, and Certain Political Committees (Citizens United) Rulemaking Priorities and Proposals: Regulatory Relief for Political Parties; REG 2014-10 Outline of Draft NPRM Implementing Party Segregated Accounts; REG 2013-01 Draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Technical Modernization; Coordination Rulemaking Proposal Commission Documents/Public Disclosure Policies Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Reporting Multistate Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications in Presidential Primary Elections Legislative Recommendations 2016 Meeting Dates Election of Officers Management and Administrative Matters

    Individuals who plan to attend and require special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk, at (202) 694-1040, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Judith Ingram, Press Officer, Telephone: (202) 694-1220.

    Shawn Woodhead Werth, Secretary and Clerk of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31544 Filed 12-10-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMB AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

    SUMMARY:

    On June 15, 1984, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delegated to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) its approval authority under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), to approve of and assign OMB numbers to collection of information requests and requirements conducted or sponsored by the Board. Board-approved collections of information are incorporated into the official OMB inventory of currently approved collections of information. Copies of the PRA Submission, supporting statements and approved collection of information instruments are placed into OMB's public docket files. The Federal Reserve may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB number.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Federal Reserve Board Clearance Officer—Nuha Elmaghrabi—Office of the Chief Data Officer, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551 (202) 452-3829. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) users may contact (202) 263-4869, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551.

    OMB Desk Officer—Shagufta Ahmed—Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Final approval under OMB delegated authority of the extension for three years, with revision, of the following information collection:

    Report title: The Banking Organization Systemic Risk Report.

    Agency form number: FR Y-15.

    OMB control number: 7100-0352.

    Frequency: Quarterly.

    Respondents: U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs) and savings and loan holding companies (SLHCs) with $50 billion or more of total consolidated assets and any U.S.-based organizations designated as global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) that do not otherwise meet the consolidated assets threshold for BHCs.

    Estimated annual reporting hours: One-time implementation: Savings and loan holding companies—1,000 hours; ongoing—54,536 hours.

    Estimated average hours per response: One-time implementation: Savings and loan holding companies—1,000 hours; ongoing—401 hours.

    Number of respondents: 34.

    General description of report: This information collection is mandatory and is authorized by the Dodd-Frank Act (sections 163, 165, and 604), the International Banking Act, the Bank Holding Company Act, and the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1467a, 1844, 3106, and 3108).

    Abstract: The FR Y-15 report collects systemic risk data from U.S. BHCs and SLHCs with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, and any U.S.-based organization identified as a global systemically important bank (G-SIB) based on their most recent method 1 score calculation 1 that does not otherwise meet the consolidated assets threshold for BHCs. The Federal Reserve uses the FR Y-15 data primarily to monitor, on an ongoing basis, the systemic risk profile of the institutions which are subject to enhanced prudential standards under section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA).2

    1 See 12 CFR 217.402. For the current list of G-SIBs, see 2015 update of list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs), 3 November 2015, available at www.financialstabilityboard.org/2015/11/2015-update-of-list-of-global-systemically-important-banks-g-sibs/.

    2 12 U.S.C. 5365.

    Current Actions: On July 9, 2015, the Federal Reserve published a notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 39433) requesting public comment for 60 days on the extension, with revision, of the FR Y-15. On August 20, 2015, the Federal Reserve published an additional notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 50623) requesting public comment on amendments to Schedule G that would align the definition of short-term wholesale funding with the definition in the final G-SIB surcharge rule. The comment period for both notices expired on October 19, 2015.

    The Board received four comment letters on the proposed revisions to the FR Y-15: Three from trade associations and one from a banking organization. In general, comments focused on the implementation of the proposed changes, the confidentiality of liquidity-related items, the move from annual to quarterly reporting, and the scope of application. Commenters requested delayed implementation of the new definitions, confidential treatment of certain liquidity data and quarterly reports, a phase-in of the quarterly reporting requirement, and an increased reporting threshold. The comments and responses are discussed in detail below.

    Detailed Discussion of Public Comments A. Implementation of the Proposed Changes

    Commenters expressed concern about the December 31, 2015, implementation date for the proposed changes. One commenter argued that respondents need six-to-nine months after a final notice is published to revise and validate their reporting systems, and that changes to items which measure total activity over the reporting period are particularly difficult to implement mid-year. Two of the commenters requested that the implementation date be delayed by six months (to June 30, 2016), with initial submissions being semiannual and on a reasonable estimates basis, while the other two commenters requested that the implementation date be delayed by a full year (to December 31, 2016). One commenter suggested that delaying the implementation date would better allow respondents to incorporate the changes into their capital planning processes.

    In response to the comment that respondents need six or more months to revise and validate their reporting systems, the vast majority of the proposed changes either align definitions with other existing regulatory requirements, such as the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) and the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR), or provide instructional clarifications that better ensure uniform reporting. The harmonization of definitions across different regulatory requirements should facilitate implementation as firms already are working with the definitions and not pose the implementation challenges associated with reporting new data items. For example, firms subject to the SLR have been publicly disclosing total leverage exposures quarterly since March 31, 2015. Thus, these firms should already have the basic systems in place for calculating the revised Schedule A, which captures the subcomponents of the total exposures value. Furthermore, all of the data captured on the proposed new Schedule G is an aggregation of information that respondents will already be collecting in connection with the LCR 3 or on the Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies (FR Y-9C; OMB No. 7100-0128).

    3 See 80 FR 71795 (November 17, 2015).

    Delaying the implementation date of the proposed changes would cause data collected in the United States to be inconsistent with the global data used for G-SIB identification and calculation of the G-SIB surcharge.4 Using the revised indicators in the U.S. implementation of the G-SIB surcharge, including, for example, the adoption of the SLR definition in Schedule A, is essential for consistent G-SIB identification. Using indicator values under the old definitions would undermine the G-SIB assessment, which relies on uniform reporting in order to measure each institution's activity on a relative basis.

    4 The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published in January a list of indicator changes that will take effect starting with the end-2015 G-SIB assessment. See Appendix 6 of Instructions for the end-2014 G-SIB assessment exercise, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, January 2015, available at www.bis.org/bcbs/gsib/instr_end14_gsib.pdf.

    Considering the number and type of changes being made, along with the need to remain consistent with the international standard, the Board is maintaining an effective date of December 31, 2015, as proposed. However, to allow extra time to implement and validate the revised calculations, the Board is extending the submission date for the end-2015 report from 65 calendar days to 90 calendar days after the December 31, 2015, as-of date. The submission date for subsequent year-end reports is 65 days from the December 31 as-of date.

    According to the proposal, the new schedule designed to capture short-term wholesale funding (Schedule G) would be reported starting with the June 30, 2016, as-of date. This date was chosen in coordination with the proposed July 1, 2015, implementation of the Complex Institution Liquidity Monitoring Report (FR 2052a; OMB No. 7100-0361), as Schedule G relies on observations made in this report over the previous four quarters. In the proposal, the Board noted that “the effective date for banking organizations to report Schedule G may be delayed pending the implementation of the requirement for such organizations to report data on the FR 2052a”.5 With the liquidity reports now being implemented in December 2015,6 the effective date of Schedule G needs to be adjusted accordingly. To reflect the final implementation date of the FR 2052a, the Board is extending forward the effective date of Schedule G (from June 30, 2016) to December 31, 2016.

    5 See 80 FR 39435 (July 9, 2015).

    6 See 80 FR 71795 (November 17, 2015).

    According to the proposal, respondents with total assets of $700 billion or more or with $10 trillion or more in assets under custody would be required to report average values on Schedule G using daily data, with all other respondents reporting averages using monthly data. The proposal further stated that respondents with $250 billion or more in on-balance sheet assets or $10 billion or more in foreign exposures would begin reporting average values using daily data starting with the end-June 2017 as-of date. These dates were chosen to correspond with the proposed submission frequency of the FR 2052a, so that respondents would be reporting averages commensurate with the availability of the underlying data.

    The finalized FR 2052a reporting requirement no longer includes a transition from monthly to daily data for firms with $250 billion or more in on-balance sheet assets or $10 billion or more in foreign exposures.7 Moreover, foreign banking organizations (FBOs) identified as LISCC firms are required to provide FR 2052a data daily.8 To align the reporting requirement for Schedule G with the availability of the FR 2052a data, the Board is requiring respondents that have reported the FR 2052a data daily for the twelve months up to and including the as-of date, to report average short-term wholesale funding values using daily data, rather than monthly data. All other respondents would report average values using monthly data. Importantly, this approach would ensure that the Schedule G reporting criteria matches data availability even when a firm changes their FR 2052a reporting frequency.

    7 Ibid.

    8 A list of the LISCC firms can be found at www.federalreserve.gov/bankinforeg/large-institution-supervision.htm.

    Several commenters requested that the first submission after the effective date be made on a reasonable-estimates basis. It would be inappropriate to allow respondents that have previously submitted data used in the G-SIB score calculations (i.e., method 1 and method 2 of the U.S. G-SIB rule) 9 to instead submit estimates for these items, unless such estimates are explicitly permitted in the reporting instructions. However, the Board does recognize the challenges inherent in updating the definitions of items which measure total activity over the reporting period in the middle of the observation window. As known overestimates are already permitted for the payments activity items (see instructions for Schedule C, item 1), the revised FR Y-15 instructions temporarily extend this treatment to the underwriting data. Accordingly, the Board is allowing firms to include known overestimates when precise totals are unavailable for Schedule C, items 4 and 5, for the December 31, 2015, as-of date.

    9 See 80 FR 49082 (August 14, 2015).

    The revised FR Y-15 allows the newly added memorandum items to be submitted on a reasonable-estimates basis, as they do not currently influence the G-SIB score calculation. Specifically, reasonable estimates are allowed for Schedule B, item M.1, and Schedule C, items M.1, M.2, and M.3, for the December 31, 2015, as-of date.

    Under the proposal, the exposures data in Schedule A would have been calculated using average values over the reporting period. This was done to align the FR Y-15 reporting requirements with the SLR, as advanced approached institutions are already required to calculate the related exposures metric using averages.10 One commenter noted that BHCs not subject to the SLR requirement would only be calculating the SLR data for the purposes of the FR Y-15.

    10 See 12 CFR 217.10.

    The shift from point-in-time measures to quarterly averages would represent a notable increase in the reporting burden for these institutions. To mitigate the burden associated with the total exposures calculation, the revised FR Y-15 provides respondents not subject to the advanced approaches capital framework the option to continue submitting Schedule A using point-in-time data. To allow data users to easily distinguish whether the provided information represents point-in-time or average data, the revised FR Y-15 adds a new “Yes/No” item to Schedule A (item 6) that asks whether or not the holding company has reported the subcomponents of item 5 using average values over the reporting period.

    One commenter argued that it would be difficult to calculate securities received as collateral in securities lending (item M.1) as an average of daily data, and suggested that quarter-end values may be sufficiently informative for monitoring systemic risk. To mitigate the burden associated with the memoranda items, the revised FR Y-15 requires respondents to provide Schedule A, items M.1, M.2, and M.3 as point-in-time values rather than averages.

    IHC Reporting

    On February 18, 2014, the Board adopted a final rule implementing enhanced prudential standards for foreign banking organizations (FBOs),11 which, among other things, requires an FBO with U.S. non-branch assets of greater than $50 billion to establish a U.S. intermediate holding company (IHC) by July 1, 2016, to which it must transfer its entire ownership interest in all U.S. BHCs, U.S. insured depository institutions, and U.S. subsidiaries.12 Currently, the Board has not proposed reporting requirements for IHCs, which, as noted in the preamble to the final rule implementing enhanced prudential standards for FBOs, would be addressed at a later date.13 Nonetheless, two commenters argued that additional consideration should be given to an FBO that is required to establish an IHC, but which will not be designating an existing U.S. BHC subsidiary as its IHC. They noted that U.S. non-bank subsidiaries of FBOs not currently subject to the FR Y-15 reporting requirements will need to be integrated into the consolidated figures once the IHC is formed. The commenters requested that the implementation date for these IHCs be delayed until June 30, 2017, with initial submissions being semiannual and on a reasonable estimates basis.

    11 See 79 FR 17239 (March 27, 2014).

    12 See 12 CFR 252.153.

    13 Under the current FR Y-15 reporting requirements, IHCs with a U.S. bank subsidiary and $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets would be required to file the FR Y-15 starting with the first as of date after the IHC is established.

    At such time that the Board proposes reporting requirements for IHCs, it would invite comment through the Federal Register notice and comment process, and would evaluate the particular circumstances and challenges surrounding IHC formation vis-à-vis the full spectrum of Board regulatory reporting requirements.

    B. Confidentiality

    Two commenters argued that Schedule G, which would collect data related to a firm's use of short-term wholesale funding, contains sensitive liquidity information. All of the commenters noted that certain information in the schedule is expected to be added in the future to a different regulatory reporting form, the FR 2052a, which is a confidential report. The commenters requested that Schedule G be kept confidential, arguing that the confidentiality of similar data elements should match across different regulatory reports. Alternatively, one commenter suggested using a materiality threshold to determine when the data in Schedule G would be publically disclosed. Two commenters requested that Schedule D, items 7 and 8 also be kept confidential, as these items, under their revised definitions, would likewise be sourced from the FR 2052a.

    In contrast to the FR 2052a, which collects raw, daily liquidity and funding data that are reported with a two-day delay, Schedule G collects aggregate funding data that are averaged over a twelve-month period and reported with a 50-day delay for quarterly submissions and a 65-day delays for annual submissions. For these reasons, the data reported in Schedule G is fundamentally different from the related items that are reported in the FR 2052a. Disclosing the data in Schedule G therefore does not present the same confidentiality concerns as would disclosing the data in the FR 2052a, because the data in Schedule G are aggregate rather than granular data, averaged over a 12-month period rather than not averaged, and reported with a 50-day or 65-day delay rather than with a two-day delay.

    Moreover, releasing the data reported in the FR Y-15, including the information captured in Schedule G, serves the important policy goal of providing valuable insight into the domestic systemic risk landscape. This data could be used by the U.S. financial markets to evaluate the systemic footprint of individual firms. In particular, disclosing the short-term wholesale funding data in Schedule G provides public insight into how the Board is evaluating the systemic footprint of organizations subject to section 165 of DFA, including how enhanced prudential standards are applied to these organizations in accordance with their relative systemic importance. In addition to increasing transparency, providing this type of data to the public encourages market discipline regarding incremental changes in systemic risk.

    To better align the timing of the disclosure of LCR-related liquidity data in the FR Y-15, the revised FR Y-15 maintains the confidentiality of certain data items (and delays the public release of certain data items) until related LCR disclosure requirements are in place. In particular, the revised FR Y-15 delays disclosing the more granular short-term funding data (Schedule G, items 1 through 4) until the first reporting date after the LCR disclosure standard has been implemented.14 However, for the reasons stated above, items 5 through 8 in Schedule G, which represent highly aggregated data, will be publicly available starting with the December 31, 2016 reporting date.

    14 Under this approach, should the standard be implemented in 2016, all data in Schedule G would be made available to the public starting with the December 31, 2016 as-of date.

    The items in Schedule D related to the LCR are essential components of the trading and available-for-sale (AFS) securities indicator that are already disclosed publicly as part of the FR Y-15. The proposed revisions to the FR Y-15 would have harmonized certain definitions in Schedule D with the definitions used in the U.S. LCR to reduce reporting burden and enhance regulatory consistency.15 Such harmonization should not significantly alter the sensitivity of the information being collected. The data under the revised definitions are similar in nature to the data captured currently, and the current data are already being publically disclosed. Moreover, the submission deadlines allow for a 65-day and a 50-day reporting lag from the observation date for annual and quarterly reporting, respectively. Thus, any potential insight into the liquidity position of the respondent is generally very stale by the time the information is released to the public, and the information therefore does not appear to represent a trade secret or confidential business information at the time that it is made public. With these considerations, items 7 and 8 of Schedule D in the revised FR Y-15 will continue to be made available to the public.

    15 As noted in the initial Federal Register notice, “[w]hile this revision aligns level 1 and level 2 liquid assets with the definition of high-quality liquid assets in the U.S. LCR rule, this could, in turn, result in a more stringent measure of the trading and AFS securities indicator relative to the international standard” (80 FR 39433, July 9, 2015). This is due to the more narrow scope of the U.S. LCR definitions.

    C. Reporting Frequency

    Under the proposal, the reporting frequency of the FR Y-15 would have been modified from annual to quarterly starting with the reporting period ending March 31, 2016. Two commenters argued that the increased frequency is unnecessary because the systemic footprint of a BHC is unlikely to change significantly on a quarterly basis and that other supervisory mechanisms exist that could be leveraged to assess the systemic risk profile of BHCs. One commenter further suggested that a large merger is the most likely source of a major short-term change to the systemic risk profile of a non-G-SIB and that such changes will receive separate scrutiny regarding systemic risk. The commenters requested that the annual reporting frequency be maintained. To further alleviate reporting burden, one of the commenters suggested staggering the due dates of the various schedules so that the report is collected in stages throughout the year.

    An institution's systemic profile is not necessarily static throughout the year, especially to the extent that a firm takes active steps to reduce their systemic footprint. Large year-over-year changes have been observed in the past and may continue to be observed in the future as firms react to the implementation of the G-SIB framework. Under the current reporting regime, any large changes in systemic footprint are only observed at year-end.

    The supervisory mechanisms suggested by commenters such as the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), the Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests (DFAST), and resolution planning, are not adequate substitutes for the FR Y-15 as they were not designed to capture the systemic footprint of an institution. The FR Y-15 report provides consistent and comparable measures of systemic risk that, unless otherwise noted, are unavailable from other sources.16 Furthermore, the Board's review of risks to financial stability for proposed mergers and acquisitions relies, in part, on the data provided in the FR Y-15 report.

    16 Items on the FR Y-15 that are available on other reports submitted to the Federal Reserve are populated automatically (see General Instructions, Section H).

    Staggering the due dates of the schedules would increase the collection frequency without increasing the number of observations made in a single year. Thus, this approach would not allow for the monitoring of changes in an institution's systemic footprint throughout the year.

    Finally, the year-end values currently being reported may not be indicative of an institution's systemic footprint throughout the year. Quarterly reporting would allow for a more robust assessment of a firm's overall systemic footprint. For all these reasons, the revised FR Y-15 requires quarterly reporting, as proposed.

    A number of commenters requested that non-year-end data be kept confidential. One commenter noted that other jurisdictions do not require quarterly disclosures of the G-SIB data and argued that releasing the quarterly information could put U.S. BHCs at a competitive disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors who disclose the data on a less frequent basis.

    Releasing the data reported on the FR Y-15 helps promote important policy goals, such as transparency and market discipline. As previously stated, the FR Y-15 currently provides valuable information about the domestic systemic risk landscape that can be used by the market to evaluate the systemic importance of individual institutions on a national level.17 An increased disclosure frequency would provide the public with the ability to better monitor how firm actions affect the systemic footprint of an institution throughout the year. Moreover, firms would be better positioned to evaluate how changes in their systemic activities compare with those of other respondents. This comparison is important as the G-SIB determination process relies on a relative methodology.18 Furthermore, there are numerous examples where U.S. disclosure requirements have extended beyond the requirements of other countries. U.S. institutions have remained very competitive in international markets despite the more comprehensive disclosure regime. Consistent with the current treatment of the annual data and considering the public purposes that would be served by additional disclosure, the revised FR Y-15 requires that the quarterly reports be made publicly available.

    17 See 78 FR 77128 (December 20, 2013).

    18 See 80 FR 49082 (August 14, 2015).

    One commenter noted that the technical challenges associated with switching to a more frequent data collection are compounded by the number of additional reporting requirements that will be implemented in the coming year (e.g., the FR 2052a). Two commenters requested that the quarterly reporting requirement be phased in, with semi-annual reporting in 2016 and quarterly reporting beginning in 2017.

    In light of the technical challenges associated with the shift to more frequent reporting, including implementing and testing quarterly reporting systems, the revised FR Y-15 delays implementation of the quarterly reporting requirement for three months, to June 30, 2016.

    Two commenters requested that the submission deadline for quarterly reports be extended to 65 calendar days after the quarter-end to avoid overlap with other reports that contain source data for the FR Y-15. One commenter noted that such an extension would align the quarter-end and year-end filing requirements.

    Staff supports the use of staggered submission dates, where feasible, in order to ease potential resource constraints. The proposed 50-day submission deadline was chosen after considering the due dates of other major quarterly reports, including those which contain source data for the FR Y-15.19 Extending the submission date an additional 15 days would make the deadline substantially later than the deadline for other quarterly reports. To ensure the timely availability of systemic risk data, the revised FR Y-15 maintains the proposed submission deadline of 50 calendar days after the quarter-end.

    19 Certain items on the FR Y-15 are populated based on data reported on the FR Y-9C and the Country Exposure Report (FFIEC 009; OMB No. 7100-0035). The FR Y-9C must be submitted within 40 calendar days after quarter-end and the FFIEC 009 must be filed 45 days after quarter-end.

    There may be instances in the future where data is sourced from another report that is not yet due to be submitted at the time the FR Y-15 is due.20 In these cases, the Board will allow respondents to submit the FR Y-15 with the data items from the other report left blank. Respondents will then need to resubmit the report after the source form has been filed so that the missing data is automatically populated.

    20 For example, should the leverage exposures data become available on a revised version of the Risk-Based Capital Reporting for Institutions Subject to the Advanced Capital Adequacy Framework (FFIEC 101; OMB No. 7100-0319), the quarterly data would not be available until 60 days after the quarter-end for institutions in parallel run.

    D. Reporting Criteria

    The FR Y-15 is collected from BHCs with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more. One commenter argued that this threshold may not be appropriate as it scopes in many BHCs that do not materially engage in the activities covered in the report. The commenter further noted that these BHCs are not subject to the G-SIB capital rule, which relies on the data captured in the FR Y-15 to inform G-SIB designation. The commenter requested that the respondent panel be limited to only those institutions covered by the G-SIB rule (i.e., advanced approaches banking organizations that are not subsidiaries of FBOs) or that smaller institutions be permitted to only submit annually based on information already available in other regulatory reports.

    A second commenter argued that it may not be appropriate to include regional banking organizations in the reporting panel as they have systemic scores that are significantly smaller than those of the G-SIBs. To alleviate the reporting burden on smaller institutions, the commenter suggested raising the reporting threshold to $300 billion so that only G-SIBs are subject to the reporting requirement. A third commenter questioned the necessity of collecting Schedule G data from BHC subsidiaries of FBOs, as these institutions are not subject to the U.S. G-SIB rule.

    While the data on the FR Y-15 is indeed used to inform G-SIB designation,21 the information being captured has a broader purpose. The report was primarily designed to monitor, on an ongoing basis, the systemic risk profile of institutions subject to enhanced prudential standards under section 165 of DFA.22 This monitoring includes BHC subsidiaries of FBOs, which can have substantial systemic footprints within the United States. The information is also used to analyze the systemic risk implications of proposed mergers and acquisitions, and to identify depository institutions that present potential systemic risks.

    21 See 80 FR 49082 (August 14, 2015).

    22 See 78 FR 77128 (December 20, 2013).

    To maintain an informed view of the macroprudential risks associated with banking organizations, it is important to look beyond the footprints of the eight U.S. G-SIBs. This principal applies, for example, in the G-SIB designation process, where all U.S. top-tier bank holding companies that are advanced approaches institutions must calculate a measure of systemic importance.23 To identify institutions that may pose systemic risks at the domestic level, it is essential to look at an even wider group.

    23 80 FR 49082 (August 14, 2015).

    Institutions not subject to the G-SIB capital rule can have material systemic footprints. While systemic risk can arise due to the solitary actions of a very large firm, it may also arise due to the interactions between firms. Through their interconnectedness, complexity, and facilitation of critical banking activities, institutions which have not been designated as G-SIBs may still play a systemically-important role in the U.S. banking system.

    Moreover, reducing the reporting scope to only those institutions subject to the G-SIB rule would dramatically limit the number of respondents. Adopting a more restricted reporting requirement could incentivize non-respondents to pursue additional systemic activities, especially those which would not affect their reporting status. Any increases in systemic footprint that result may then go unobserved.

    For the reasons outlined above, the revised FR Y-15 applies to all bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, which is consistent with the asset threshold in section 165 of DFA. Moreover, as short-term wholesale funding is a critical component of the systemic risk profile that the FR Y-15 was designed to assess, Schedule G applies to all respondents, including subsidiaries of FBOs.

    E. Specific Data Items General Instructions

    The FR Y-15 instructions direct respondents to provide a brief explanation of any unusual changes from the previous report. One commenter noted that unusual changes is not explicitly defined. The commenter also suggested that it would reduce administrative burden if explanations were submitted electronically.

    The revised FR Y-15 instructions state that unusual changes are differences that are not attributable to general organic growth and/or standard fluctuations in the business cycle. The FR Y-15 is not the only report with the unusual changes provision (e.g., the FR Y-9C also contains this concept).

    One commenter requested that mapping information be made available for data elements derived from other sources, such as a mapping between Schedule A and the SLR disclosures, and a mapping between Schedule G and the FR 2052a.

    Mapping information for data items automatically retrieved from other reports is already provided in Section H of the General Instructions of the FR Y-15. Should additional items become available in other regulatory reports, the instructions would be updated such that these items are automatically retrieved and no additional reporting is required. To ease reporting burden and ensure data comparability, the revised FR Y-15 includes additional information in the reporting instructions regarding the connection between the items in Schedule A and the SLR disclosure tables. The Board will provide information regarding the connection between Schedule G and the FR 2052a prior to the Schedule G effective date.

    Schedule A

    Two commenters noted that the SLR rule permits the netting of certain on-balance sheet securities financing transactions (SFTs), but that SFT items in the FR Y-15 require gross reporting. They requested that SFTs be reported on a net basis throughout the report where the underlying transaction meets the netting criteria specified in the SLR.

    Schedule A, item 2(a) is intended to mirror the requirements under the SLR and the revised reporting instructions clarify this point. However, Schedule F, item 6 and 7 are not intended to mirror the requirements under the SLR. Therefore, the revised FR Y-15 maintains the current reporting definitions for the SFT items in Schedule F, as they mirror the international standard and thus promote comparability.

    Under the proposal, regulatory adjustments (Schedule A, item 3(b)) would be reported as a quarterly average of daily data. One commenter argued that this treatment diverges from the method used for the purposes of the SLR and that the calculation would be challenging to implement. The commenter requested that respondents be permitted to report regulatory adjustments as point-in-time data. In response, the revised FR Y-15 collects regulatory adjustments using point-in-time data, consistent with the requirement in the SLR.

    Schedule B

    One commenter noted that the instructions for Schedule B, item 3(f) appear to exclude the short legs of derivatives used to hedge the equity securities reported in Schedule B, item 3(e). The commenter requested that the instructions be amended to explicitly include these derivatives, as doing so would be consistent with the international standard. In response, the instructions to the FR Y-15 have been revised to include these derivatives.

    Two commenters noted that the proposed revisions appear to expand the scope of items capturing over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives to also include exchange-traded derivatives. The commenters expressed concern that the derivative items under an expanded scope would be inconsistent with the international standard.

    The revisions in question were not intended to alter the scope of the OTC derivatives items. In response, the revised FR Y-15 reverts to the original line names for the OTC derivative items throughout the report to make it clear that exchange-traded derivatives should not be reported.

    One commenter argued that including in Schedule B special purpose entities (SPEs) that are a part of a consolidated financial institution would be very difficult to operationalize, as the consolidation status of such entities is not generally public information. Considering this operational challenges, the revised FR Y-15 removes this requirement. The Board may revisit reporting requirements for SPEs in the future.

    Schedule D

    One commenter noted that Level 3 trading assets are being counted both in the trading and AFS securities indicator and in the Level 3 assets indicator. The commenter expressed concern that this results in counting the same assets twice within a single indicator.

    The trading and AFS securities indicator is a separate and distinct indicator from the one capturing Level 3 assets. Thus, Level 3 trading assets are not being double counted within the same indicator. Accordingly, the revised FR Y-15 maintains the current treatment of Level 3 assets in the trading and AFS securities indicator.

    Technical Clarifications

    Commenters asked for a number of technical clarifications regarding specific data items on the FR Y-15 form. The revised FR Y-15 instructions address these questions and others that have been received.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 9, 2015. Robert deV. Frierson, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31356 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [60Day-16-16GK; Docket No. CDC-2015-0111] Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations AGENCY:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice with comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of its continuing efforts to reduce public burden and maximize the utility of government information, 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. This notice invites comment on a proposed information collection request entitled “Ingress/Egress and Work Boot Outsole Wear Investigation at Surface Mining Facilities”. The goal of this work is to investigate how ingress/egress systems on mobile equipment and personal protective footwear (work boots) used by miners may lead to slips, trips and falls by interviewing and surveying mine workers and examining work boot outsole characteristics.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2015-0111 by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulation.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Leroy A. Richardson, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to Regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to Regulations.gov.

    Please note:

    All public comment should be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal (Regulations.gov) or by U.S. mail to the address listed above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, contact the Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; phone: 404-639-7570; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. In addition, the PRA also requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each new proposed collection, each proposed extension of existing collection of information, and each reinstatement of previously approved information collection before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, we are publishing this notice of a proposed data collection as described below.

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

    Proposed Project

    Ingress/Egress and Work Boot Outsole Wear Investigation at Surface Mines—New—National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    The mission of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is to promote safety & health at work for all people through research and prevention. NIOSH, under PL 91-173 as amended by PL 95-164 (Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977) has the responsibility to conduct research to improve working conditions and to prevent accidents and occupational diseases in the U.S. mining sector. The goal of the proposed project is to investigate how ingress/egress systems on mobile equipment, and personal protective footwear (boots) used by miners may lead to slips, trips and falls at stone, sand and gravel surface mining facilities. NIOSH is requesting a 3-year approval for this data collection.

    The project objective will be achieved through two studies. The first study aims to: Identify elements of ingress/egress systems on haulage trucks and front end loaders that pose a risk of slips, trips and falls (STFs) and could lead to STF related injuries; to determine worker behavior associated with STF incidents; and to learn how purchasing/maintenance decisions are made for ingress/egress systems. In the surface mining industry, it is still unclear which component of the ingress/egress system poses the greatest risk for STF. Hence there is a need to understand where, how and why STF incidents occur during ingress/egress on mobile equipment.

    NIOSH will conduct semi-structured interviews and focus groups with mobile equipment operators, and interviews with mine management to explore the issues identified above. Focus groups will be conducted in a private setting with 4-6 participants using a predefined list of questions to help guide the discussion. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted either in person or over the telephone. Two separate interview guides will be used for mobile equipment operators and mine management to guide the discussion.

    For the focus groups and semi-structured interviews, NIOSH will collect basic demographic information including years of mining experience, years of experience with haul trucks/front end loaders, and models of haul trucks/front end loaders operated most often in the past year. The semi-structured interviews and focus groups will be audio recorded for further analysis of the discussion. The semi-structured interviews will last no longer than 60 minutes and the focus groups will last no longer than 90 minutes.

    The second study aims to identify changes in tread (wear) on the work boot outsoles and other outsole characteristics that will be used in further analysis to develop guidelines for work boot replacement based on measureable features of boot outsoles. This information will also be used in further analysis to determine desirable and undesirable features of work boots based on mine characteristics or job activities. Most mining companies replace footwear at a pre-determined interval or based on appearance and comfort (Chiou, Bhattacharya, & Succop, 1996) with little knowledge of the actual condition of the boot outsole and its influence on the likelihood of a STF incident. Although there have been attempts to quantify shoe outsole wear in industrial work when the shoe was ready for disposal (Chiou et al., 1996), there is a lack of knowledge in the mining industry on how quickly the outsoles of work boots wear, what sorts of wear occur, and how wear patterns influence the likelihood of a STF.

    For the longitudinal study, NIOSH will provide participants with a pair of new work boots of their choice, in accordance with mine requirements and policies. Afterwards, participants will complete a preliminary survey and provide basic demographic information, details of their current work boots, and details of STF incidents in the past 3 months. Participants will be requested to wear the supplied boots at work and treat the boots as they would any pair of boots they would wear at work.

    NIOSH researchers will scan the boot outsoles longitudinally, at 2 to 3 month intervals for the length of the study. To better understand wear patterns and risks, participants will complete an on-going survey that records hours worked, locations commonly visited, and tasks performed along with details of any near miss or STF event. These self-reports will be collected via survey on a bi-weekly basis. Participants will be offered multiple modalities to respond to the survey (in-person, on paper, over the telephone, via email or using an online survey) to increase response rates. When a participant feels their boots need to be replaced (or when the end of the two-year tracking period has been reached), they will complete a final survey assessing why the boots were at the end of their life and will return their boots to NIOSH researchers for further analysis.

    For the cross-sectional study, participants' current work boots will be scanned and participants will complete the preliminary survey that includes basic demographic information, details of current work boots, and details of STF events in the past three months.

    The results of these research studies will have very different applications, but one goal: Reducing the risks of STF accidents at surface mining facilities. The results of the ingress/egress study will help identify features of the ingress/egress system that may lead to STF accidents so that they can be made safer by the manufacturers and to allow mining companies to make better purchasing decisions and encourage the acquisition of systems with better slip and fall protection. The results of the boot outsole wear study will be used to inform mine policy and practices by providing miners and mine managers with the knowledge to determine when to replace footwear based on measurable features of the boot outsoles.

    The total estimated burden hours are 643. There is no cost to the respondents other than their time.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondents Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hours)
  • Total burden
  • (in hours)
  • Mobile equipment Operators Mobile equipment operators focus group guide 25 1 1.25 31 Mobile equipment operators Mobile equipment operator interview guide 10 1 45/60 8 Mine Management Mine Management Interview Guide 15 1 45/60 11 Mine Worker Screening Questionnaire 50 1 6/60 5 Mine Worker Informed consent form (Longitudinal boot outsole study) 50 1 12/60 10 Mine Worker Preliminary survey 150 1 15/60 38 Mine Worker On-going survey 50 52 12/60 520 Mine Worker Final Survey 50 1 6/60 5 Mine Worker Talent and consent waiver 150 1 6/60 15 Total 643
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31344 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Docket No. CDC-2015-0112] Proposed 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain AGENCY:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice with comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the opening of a docket to obtain public comment on the draft CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (Guideline). The Guideline provides recommendations regarding initiation or continuation of opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessment of risk and addressing harms of opioid use. The Guideline is intended to be used by primary care providers (e.g., family physicians or internists) who are treating patients with chronic pain (i.e., pain lasting longer than 3 months or past the time of normal tissue healing) in outpatient settings. The draft Guideline is intended to apply to patients aged 18 years of age or older with chronic pain outside of palliative and end-of-life care. The Guideline is not intended to apply to patients in treatment for active cancer. The Guideline is not a federal regulation; adherence to the Guideline will be voluntary.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before January 13, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2015-0112 by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE., Mailstop F-63, Atlanta, GA 30341, Attn: Docket CDC-2015-0112.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Arlene I. Greenspan, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE., Mailstop F-63, Atlanta, GA 30341; Telephone: 770-488-4696.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    CDC developed the draft Guideline to provide recommendations about opioid prescribing for primary care providers who are treating adult patients with chronic pain in outpatient settings, outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. The draft Guideline summarizes scientific knowledge about the effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy, and provides recommendations for when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain; opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation; and assessing risk and addressing harms of opioid use. The draft Guideline identifies important gaps in the literature where further research is needed.

    To develop the recommendations, CDC conducted a systematic review on benefits and harms of opioids and developed the draft Guideline using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) framework. CDC drafted recommendations and consulted with experts on the evidence to inform the recommendations. CDC hosted webinars in September 2015 and also provided opportunities for stakeholder and peer review of the draft Guideline. The Guideline is not a federal regulation; adherence to the Guideline will be voluntary. For additional information on prescription drug overdose, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline.html.

    Supporting and Related Material in the Docket

    The docket contains the following supporting and related materials to help inform public comment: The Guideline; the Clinical Evidence Review Appendix; the Contextual Evidence Review Appendix; and three documents that comprise the Comment Summaries and CDC Responses (Constituent Comment Summary, Peer Review Summary, and Stakeholder Review Group Summary). The Clinical Evidence Review Appendix and the Contextual Evidence Review Appendix include primary evidence, studies, and data tables that were used by CDC to develop the recommendations in the Guideline. The Constituent Comment Summary reflects input obtained in response to webinars hosted on September 16 and September 17, 2015, during which CDC shared an overview of the development process and draft recommendation statements. The Stakeholder Review Group Summary also reflects input obtained from stakeholders (comprised of professional and community organizations) following their review of a prior draft of the Guideline. Finally, the Peer Review Summary reflects input obtained from three scientific peer reviewers following their review of a draft of the full Guideline, along with a summary of comments received and CDC responses.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Veronica Kennedy, Acting Executive Secretary, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31375 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, (BSC, NCIPC)

    In accordance with Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces, the following meeting of the aforementioned committee:

    Time and Date: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., January 7, 2016 (OPEN).

    Place: Teleconference Dial-In Number: 1-888-395-7561, Participant Code: 3954121.

    Status: The meeting as designated above will be open to the public.

    Purpose: The Board will: (1) Conduct, encourage, cooperate with, and assist other appropriate public health authorities, scientific institutions, and scientists in the conduct of research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases, and other impairments; (2) assist States and their political subdivisions in preventing and suppressing communicable and non-communicable diseases and other preventable conditions and in promoting health and well-being; and (3) conduct and assist in research and control activities related to injury.

    The Board of Scientific Counselors makes recommendations regarding policies, strategies, objectives, and priorities; and reviews progress toward injury prevention goals and provides evidence in injury prevention-related research and programs. The Board also provides advice on the appropriate balance of intramural and extramural research, the structure, progress and performance of intramural programs. The Board is designed to provide guidance on extramural scientific program matters, including the: (1) Review of extramural research concepts for funding opportunity announcements; (2) conduct of Secondary Peer Review of extramural research grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts applications received in response to the funding opportunity announcements as it relates to the Center's programmatic balance and mission; (3) submission of secondary review recommendations to the Center Director of applications to be considered for funding support; (4) review of research portfolios, and (5) review of program proposals.

    Matters for Discussion: The Board of Scientific Counselors will discuss the background for development of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (Guideline) and the formation of the Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain Workgroup (Opioid Guideline Workgroup). We will be accepting public comments only related to the formation of the Opioid Guideline Workgroup. There will be 30 minutes allotted for public comments at the end of the session. All public comments will be limited to two-minutes per speaker.

    CDC is also publishing a related notice in today's Federal Register announcing the opening of a public comment period on the Guideline itself. Individuals are given 30 days to provide comments on the Guideline. Please see instructions in that notice about providing comment.

    Agenda items are subject to change as priorities dictate.

    Contact Person for More Information: Arlene Greenspan, Dr. P.H, M.P.H., P.T., Associate Director for Science, NCIPC, CDC, 4770 Buford Highway NE., Mailstop F-63, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, Telephone (770) 488-4696.

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31367 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifiers: CMS-R-282 and CMS-10597] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information (including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information) and to allow 60 days for public comment on the proposed action. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding our burden estimates or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be submitted in any one of the following ways:

    1. Electronically. You may send your comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options” to find the information collection document(s) that are accepting comments.

    2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address: CMS, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Regulations Development, Attention: Document Identifier/OMB Control Number ___, Room C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected].

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Contents

    This notice sets out a summary of the use and burden associated with the following information collections. More detailed information can be found in each collection's supporting statement and associated materials (see ADDRESSES).

    CMS-R-282 Medicare Advantage Appeals and Grievance Data Disclosure Requirements and Supporting Regulations (42 CFR 422.111) CMS-10597 CMS Healthcare.gov Site Wide Online Survey

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA requires federal agencies to publish a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice.

    Information Collection

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension without change of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Medicare Advantage Appeals and Grievance Data Disclosure Requirements (42 CFR 422.111); Use: Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and demonstrations are required to collect and disclose information pertaining to the number of disputes, and their disposition in the aggregate, with the categories of grievances and appeals to any individual eligible to elect an MA organization who requests this information. The CMS continues to need the same format and form for reporting. Form Number: CMS-R-282 (OMB control number: 0938-0778); Frequency: Annually and semi-annually; Affected Public: Private Sector (Business or other for-profit and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 53,730; Total Annual Responses: 54,460; Total Annual Hours: 5,700. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Stephanie Simons at 206-615-2420.)

    2. Type of Information Collection Request: New collection (Request for a new OMB control number; Title of Information Collection: CMS Healthcare.gov Site Wide Online Survey; Use: The purpose of the survey is to gain an understanding of user experience, comprehension, and satisfaction with using the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace Web site established by the Affordable Care Act. The Marketplace provides coverage to uninsured Americans, as well as those already enrolled in Marketplace health insurance. One of the ways to purchase Marketplace insurance is through the online tools on HealthCare.gov. We have developed a survey to be administered to consumers while they are using the Web site. This survey is part of a continuing data collection program mandated by the ACA. It is designed to support the program goal to provide tools and information to help consumers to successfully find health insurance that they may not otherwise qualify for or find. Monitoring usability and the user experience through this ongoing survey provides the Web site developers with valuable information for use in continuous improvement of the Web site. The Web site survey is part of a larger research program to inform the development and enhancement of web tools for CMS programs such as the Health Insurance Marketplace. Form Number: CMS-10597 (OMB control number: 0938—New); Frequency: Weekly, Monthly, Occasionally; Affected Public: Individuals or Households; Number of Respondents: 14,000; Total Annual Responses: 14,000; Total Annual Hours: 933. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Frank Funderburk at 410-786-1820.)

    Dated: December 9, 2015. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31399 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifiers: CMS-10555] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by January 13, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806 or Email: [email protected]

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected]

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: New collection (Request for a new OMB control number); Title of Information Collection: Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Effective Date and Termination Notice Requirements; Use: The CMS is requiring for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, the SHOP must ensure that a QHP issuer notifies qualified employees, enrollees, and new enrollees in a QHP through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) of the effective date of coverage. As required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameter for 2016 (CMS-9944-F), which went on display on February 20, 2015, if any enrollee's coverage through the SHOP is terminated due to non-payment of premiums or a loss of the enrollee's or employer group's eligibility to participate in the SHOP, the SHOP must notify the enrollee or the qualified employer of the termination of such coverage. In the termination of coverage, the SHOP must include the termination date and reason for termination to the enrollee or qualified employer.

    To aid in understanding levels of awareness and customer services needs associated with the SHOP associated with the Exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, CMS will engage in collecting primary qualitative and quantitative research from Exchange target audiences. These surveys are part of a broader data collection effort designed to support the program goal to improve customer satisfaction for people and small businesses that are eligible for coverage through the SHOP. The CMS has designed three surveys to target different audiences, specifically agents and brokers, employers, and employees. Form Number: CMS-10555 (OMB Control Number: 0938-New); Frequency: Annually; biannually; Affected Public: Federal Government, State Governments, Private Sector (Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 2,885; Total Annual Responses: 5,770; Total Annual Hours: 50,425. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Christelle Jang at (410) 786-8438.)

    Dated: December 9, 2015. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31398 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: Administration for Native Americans Annual Data Collection (Annual Data Report).

    OMB No.: New collection.

    Description: Content and formatting changes are being made to the Objective Progress Report (OPR). Content changes are being made to the OPR, now known as the Annual Data Report (ADR) previously approved under information collection OMB No. 0980-0204. ANA has determined that the requirement for ANA grantees to submit information about the project activities on quarterly basis creates undue burden for Grantees. Therefore, ANA has reformatted the OPR to require Grantees submit an annual report instead of quarterly report when reporting on partnerships, youth and elder engagement, impact indicators, community involvement etc. This will reduce the administrative burden on Grantees, especially the smaller organizations. The majority of content being requested from the grantees essentially remain same except for the frequency of reporting. The other sections of the document with reference to “quarterly” information will be changed to reflect the shift from four-times a year reporting requirement to once per year and once at the end of the project period.

    Respondents: Tribal Government, Native non-profit organizations, Tribal Colleges & Universities receiving ANA funding.

    Annual Burden Estimates

    The following is the hour of burden estimate for this information collection:

    Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours per response
  • Total burden hours
    ADR 275 2 2 275

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 275.

    Additional Information

    Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address: [email protected]

    OMB Comment

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: [email protected], Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31314 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0001] Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of a public advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The meeting will be open to the public.

    Name of Committee: Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee.

    General Function of the Committee: To provide advice and recommendations to the Agency on FDA's regulatory issues.

    Date and Time: The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Location: Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg, Salons A, B, C, and D, 620 Perry Pkwy., Gaithersburg, MD 20877. The hotel telephone number is 301-977-8900.

    Contact Person: Dimitrus Culbreath, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 1535, Silver Spring, MD, 20993, [email protected], 301-796-6872, or FDA Advisory Committee Information Line, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area). A notice in the Federal Register about last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always check the Agency's Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm and scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link, or call the advisory committee information line to learn about possible modifications before coming to the meeting.

    Agenda: The Committee will discuss and make recommendations on clinical trial, postapproval study design, and physician training requirements for leadless cardiac pacemaker device technology. Specifically, the Committee will be asked to make recommendations on the acceptability of adverse event rates in acute and chronic timeframes as well as indications for use for this device type, given availability of other technologies with different adverse event profiles; required training and acceptability of observed learning curves for the new device type and necessary elements for postapproval study collection.

    FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its Web site prior to the meeting, the background material will be made publicly available at the location of the advisory committee meeting, and the background material will be posted on FDA's Web site after the meeting. Background material is available at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/default.htm. Scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link.

    Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before February 11, 2016. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Those individuals interested in making formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before February 3, 2016. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open public hearing session. The contact person will notify interested persons regarding their request to speak by February 4, 2016.

    Persons attending FDA's advisory committee meetings are advised that the Agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

    FDA welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with disabilities. If you require accommodations due to a disability, please contact Artair Mallett at 301-796-9638, at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

    FDA is committed to the orderly conduct of its advisory committee meetings. Please visit our Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm111462.htm for procedures on public conduct during advisory committee meetings.

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Jill Hartzler Warner, Associate Commissioner for Special Medical Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31372 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary [Document Identifier: HHS-OS-0990-New-30D] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment Request AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of the Secretary (OS), Department of Health and Human Services, has submitted an Information Collection Request (ICR), described below, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The ICR is for a new collection. Comments submitted during the first public review of this ICR will be provided to OMB. OMB will accept further comments from the public on this ICR during the review and approval period.

    DATES:

    Comments on the ICR must be received on or before January 13, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments to [email protected] or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Information Collection Clearance staff, [email protected] or (202) 690-6162.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    When submitting comments or requesting information, please include the Information Collection Request Title and document identifier HHS-OS-0990-New-30D for reference.

    Information Collection Request Title: Privacy and Security Capacity Assessment of the Title X Network

    Abstract: The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Office of Population Affairs, (OPA) is requesting an approval by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a new information collection (Privacy and Security Capacity Assessment) which seeks to collect feedback from the Title X network regarding Title X grantees' and service sites' current privacy and security capabilities for health information exchange. This voluntary form will be administered at most annually and enable the Title X network to share important information to critically inform OPA's development of Family Planning Annual Report (FPAR 2.0), as well as identify any training assistance and inform guidance that OPA may offer in the future. OPA will solicit feedback from Title X agencies to advise our work on privacy and security, and proposes to make this data collection form available for up to 3 years so that OPA can accept feedback from the network regarding any changes or trends that might alter our approach to privacy and security as we proceed through the design and build process for the planned FPAR 2.0 data repository.

    Likely Respondents: Title X Grantees, Subrecipients, and Service Sites.

    Total Estimated Annualized Burden—Hours Type of respondent Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average annualized burden per
  • response
  • (hours)
  • Annualized total burden
  • (hours)
  • Grantees Sustainability Assessment—Grantees 92 Grantees 1 40 minutes (0.66 hours) 60.72 Service Sites Sustainability Assessment—Sites 4,168 1 40 minutes (0.66 hours) 2,750.88 Totals 4,260 2811.60
    Terry S. Clark, Asst. Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31355 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Customs Brokers User Fee Payment for 2016 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    General notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This document provides notice to customs brokers that the annual user fee of $138 that is assessed for each permit held by a broker, whether it may be an individual, partnership, association, or corporation, is due by February 26, 2016.

    DATES:

    Payment of the 2016 Customs Broker User Fee is due by February 26, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julia Peterson, Broker Management Branch, Office of International Trade, (202) 863-6601.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to section 111.96 of title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR 111.96(c)), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assesses an annual user fee of $138 for each customs broker district and national permit held by an individual, partnership, association, or corporation. CBP regulations provide that this fee is payable for each calendar year in each broker district where the broker was issued a permit to do business by the due date. See 19 CFR 24.22(h) and (i)(9). Broker districts are defined in the General Notice entitled, “Geographic Boundaries of Customs Brokerage, Cartage and Lighterage Districts,” published in the Federal Register on March 15, 2000 (65 FR 14011), and corrected, with minor changes, on March 23, 2000 (65 FR 15686) and on April 6, 2000 (65 FR 18151).

    As required by 19 CFR 111.96, CBP must provide notice in the Federal Register no later than 60 days before the date that the payment is due for each broker permit. This document notifies customs brokers that for calendar year 2016, the due date for payment of the user fee is February 26, 2016. It is anticipated that for subsequent years, the annual user fee for customs brokers will be due on the last business day of February of each year.

    Dated: December 9, 2015. Brenda B. Smith, Assistant Commissioner, Office of International Trade.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31370 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001] Final Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Flood hazard determinations, which may include additions or modifications of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, or regulatory floodways on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports have been made final for the communities listed in the table below.

    The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that a community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In addition, the FIRM and FIS report are used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for buildings and the contents of those buildings.

    DATES:

    The effective date of April 5, 2016 which has been established for the FIRM and, where applicable, the supporting FIS report showing the new or modified flood hazard information for each community.

    ADDRESSES:

    The FIRM, and if applicable, the FIS report containing the final flood hazard information for each community is available for inspection at the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables below and will be available online through the FEMA Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov by the effective date indicated above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4064, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final determinations listed below for the new or modified flood hazard information for each community listed. Notification of these changes has been published in newspapers of local circulation and 90 days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

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

    Interested lessees and owners of real property are encouraged to review the new or revised FIRM and FIS report available at the address cited below for each community or online through the FEMA Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov.

    The flood hazard determinations are made final in the watersheds and/or communities listed in the table below.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: November 23, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    I. Watershed-based studies:

    Lower Susquehanna Watershed Community Community map repository address Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (All Jurisdictions) Docket No.: FEMA-B-1419 Borough of Adamstown Borough Office, 3000 North Reading Road, Adamstown, PA 19501. Borough of Akron Borough Hall, 117 South 7th Street, Akron, PA 17501. Borough of Christiana Borough Hall, 10 West Slokom Avenue, Christiana, PA 17509. Borough of Columbia Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA 17512. Borough of Denver Borough Office, 501 Main Street, Denver, PA 17517. Borough of East Petersburg Borough Hall, 6040 Main Street, East Petersburg, PA 17520. Borough of Elizabethtown Borough Office, 600 South Hanover Street, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Borough of Ephrata Borough Hall, 124 South State Street, Ephrata, PA 17522. Borough of Lititz Borough Office, 7 South Broad Street, Lititz, PA 17543. Borough of Manheim Borough Office, 15 East High Street, Manheim, PA 17545. Borough of Marietta Borough Hall, 111 East Market Street, Marietta, PA 17547. Borough of Millersville Borough Office, 100 Municipal Drive, Millersville, PA 17551. Borough of Mount Joy Borough Office, 21 East Main Street, Mount Joy, PA 17552. Borough of Mountville Borough Office, 21 East Main Street, Mountville, PA 17554. Borough of Quarryville Borough Office, 300 Saint Catherine Street, Quarryville, PA 17566. Borough of Strasburg Borough Office, 145 Precision Avenue, Strasburg, PA 17579. City of Lancaster Lancaster City Municipal Building, 120 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17602. Township of Bart Bart Township Office, 46 Quarry Road, Quarryville, PA 17566. Township of Brecknock Brecknock Township Office, 1026 Dry Tavern Road, Denver, PA 17517. Township of Caernarvon Caernarvon Township Office, 2147 Main Street, Narvon, PA 17555. Township of Clay Clay Township Office, 870 Durlach Road, Stevens, PA 17578. Township of Colerain Colerain Township Office, 1803 Kirkwood Pike, Kirkwood, PA 17536. Township of Conestoga Township Municipal Building, 3959 Main Street, Conestoga, PA 17516. Township of Conoy Conoy Township Office, 211 Falmouth Road, Bainbridge, PA 17502. Township of Drumore Township Office, 1675 Furniss Road, Drumore, PA 17518. Township of Earl Earl Township Office, 517 North Railroad Avenue, New Holland, PA 17557. Township of East Cocalico East Cocalico Township Office, 100 Hill Road, Denver, PA 17517. Township of East Donegal East Donegal Township Municipal Building, 190 Rock Point Road, Marietta, PA 17547. Township of East Drumore East Drumore Township Municipal Building, 925 Robert Fulton Highway, Quarryville, PA 17566. Township of East Earl Township Municipal Building, 4610 Division Highway, East Earl, PA 17519. Township of East Hempfield East Hempfield Township Office, 1700 Nissley Road, Landisville, PA 17538. Township of East Lampeter East Lampeter Township Office, 2250 Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster, PA 17602. Township of Eden Eden Township Office, 489 Stony Hill Road, Quarryville, PA 17566. Township of Elizabeth Elizabeth Township Municipal Building, 423 South View Drive, Lititz, PA 17543. Township of Ephrata Township Office, 265 Akron Road, Ephrata, PA 17522. Township of Fulton Fulton Township Municipal Building, 777 Nottingham Road, Peach Bottom, PA 17563. Township of Lancaster Township Municipal Building, 1240 Maple Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603. Township of Leacock Leacock Township Office, 3545 West Newport Road, Intercourse, PA 17534. Township of Little Britain Little Britain Township Municipal Building, 323 Green Lane, Quarryville, PA 17566. Township of Manheim Manheim Township Office, 1840 Municipal Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601. Township of Manor Manor Township Office, 950 West Fairway Drive, Lancaster, PA 17603. Township of Martic Martic Township Municipal Building, 370 Steinman Farm Road, Pequea, PA 17565. Township of Mount Joy Mount Joy Township Municipal Building, 159 Merts Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Township of Paradise Township Office, 2 Township Drive, Paradise, PA 17562. Township of Penn Penn Township Office, 97 North Penryn Road, Manheim, PA 17545. Township of Pequea Pequea Township Office, 1028 Millwood Road, Willow Street, PA 17584. Township of Providence Providence Township Office, 200 Mount Airy Road, New Providence, PA 17560. Township of Rapho Rapho Township Office, 971 North Colebrook Road, Manheim, PA 17545. Township of Sadsbury Sadsbury Township Office, 7182 White Oak Road, Christiana, PA 17509. Township of Salisbury Salisbury Township Office, 5581 Old Philadelphia Pike, Gap, PA 17527. Township of Strasburg Township Municipal Building, 400 Bunker Hill Road, Strasburg, PA 17579. Township of Upper Leacock Upper Leacock Township Office, 36 Hillcrest Avenue, Leola, PA 17540. Township of Warwick Warwick Township Office, 315 Clay Road, Lititz, PA 17543. Township of West Cocalico West Cocalico Township Office, 156B West Main Street, Reinholds, PA 17569. Township of West Donegal West Donegal Township Office, 1 Municipal Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Township of West Earl West Earl Township Office, 157 West Metzler Road, Brownstown, PA 17508. Township of West Hempfield West Hempfield Township Municipal Building, 3401 Marietta Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17601. Township of West Lampeter West Lampeter Township Office, 852 Village Road, Lampeter, PA 17537.

    II. Non-watershed-based studies:

    Community Community map repository address San Diego County, California, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1461 City of Imperial Beach City Hall, 825 Imperial Beach Boulevard, Imperial Beach, CA 91932. City of San Diego Development Services Department, 1222 First Avenue, MS301, San Diego, CA 92101. Unincorporated Areas of San Diego County Department of Public Works, Flood Control, 5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 410, San Diego, CA 92123. Geary County, Kansas, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1463 City of Grandview Plaza City Hall, 402 State Avenue, Grandview Plaza, KS 66441. City of Junction City Municipal Building, 700 North Jefferson Street, Junction City, KS 66441. City of Milford City Hall, 201 12th Street, Milford, KS 66514. Unincorporated Areas of Geary County Geary County Municipal Building, 700 North Jefferson Street, Junction City, KS 66441. Bullitt County, Kentucky, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1427 City of Fox Chase 149 North Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Shepherdsville, KY 40165. City of Hebron Estates 3407 Burkland Boulevard, Shepherdsville, KY 40165. City of Hillview 283 Crestwood Lane, Louisville, KY 40229. City of Lebanon Junction 271 Main Street, Lebanon Junction, KY 40150. City of Mount Washington 275 Snapp Street, Mount Washington, KY 40047. City of Shepherdsville 634 Conestoga Parkway, Shepherdsville, KY 40165. Unincorporated Areas of Bullitt County 149 North Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Shepherdsville, KY 40165. Bowman County, North Dakota, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1462 City of Bowman City Hall, 101 First Street Northeast, Bowman, ND 58623. City of Gascoyne City Hall, 100 West Nordell Avenue, Gascoyne, ND 58653. City of Scranton City Hall, 109 Second Avenue Southwest, Scranton, ND 58653. Unincorporated Areas of Bowman County County Courthouse, 104 First Street Northwest, Bowman, ND 58623. Colfax County, Nebraska, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1463 City of Clarkson City Office, 120 West 2nd Street, Clarkson, NE 68629. City of Schuyler Municipal Building, 1103 B Street, Schuyler, NE 68661. Village of Howells Village Hall, 128 North 3rd Street, Howells, NE 68641. Village of Leigh Village Office, 109 Short Street, Leigh, NE 68643. Village of Richland Colfax County Courthouse, 411 East 11th Street, Schuyler, NE 68661. Village of Rogers Village Clerk's Office, 160 Center Street, Rogers, NE 68659. Unincorporated Areas of Colfax County Colfax County Courthouse, 411 East 11th Street, Schuyler, NE 68661.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31377 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001] Final Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Flood hazard determinations, which may include additions or modifications of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, or regulatory floodways on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports have been made final for the communities listed in the table below.

    The FIRM and FIS report are the basis of the floodplain management measures that a community is required either to adopt or to show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualified for participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In addition, the FIRM and FIS report are used by insurance agents and others to calculate appropriate flood insurance premium rates for buildings and the contents of those buildings.

    DATES:

    The effective date of March 16, 2016, which has been established for the FIRM and, where applicable, the supporting FIS report showing the new or modified flood hazard information for each community.

    ADDRESSES:

    The FIRM, and if applicable, the FIS report containing the final flood hazard information for each community is available for inspection at the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the tables below and will be available online through the FEMA Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov by the effective date indicated above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4064, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final determinations listed below for the new or modified flood hazard information for each community listed. Notification of these changes has been published in newspapers of local circulation and 90 days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

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

    Interested lessees and owners of real property are encouraged to review the new or revised FIRM and FIS report available at the address cited below for each community or online through the FEMA Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov.

    The flood hazard determinations are made final in the watersheds and/or communities listed in the table below.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, “Flood Insurance.”) Dated: November 23, 2015. Roy E. Wright, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    I. Watershed-based studies:

    Community Community map repository address Middle Coosa Watershed Calhoun County, Alabama, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1453 City of Anniston City Hall, 1128 Gurnee Avenue, Anniston, AL 36201. City of Jacksonville City Hall, 320 Church Avenue Southeast, Jacksonville, AL 36265. City of Oxford City Hall, 145 Hamric Drive East, Oxford, AL 36203. City of Piedmont City Hall, 109 North Center Avenue, Piedmont, AL 36272. City of Weaver City Hall, 500 Anniston Street, Weaver, AL 36277. Town of Hobson City Town Hall, 715 Martin Luther King Drive, Hobson City, AL 36201. Town of Ohatchee Town Hall, 7801 Highway 77, Ohatchee, AL 36271. Unincorporated Areas of Calhoun County Calhoun County EMA, 507 Francis Street West, Jacksonville, AL 36265. Cherokee County, Alabama, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1453 City of Centre City Hall, 401 East Main Street, Centre, AL 35960. Unincorporated Areas of Cherokee County County Engineering Department, 1875 East Main Street, Centre, AL 35960. Etowah County, Alabama, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1453 City of Attalla City Hall, 612 North 4th Street, Attalla, AL 35954. City of Gadsden City Hall, 90 Broad Street, Gadsden, AL 35901. City of Glencoe City Hall, 201A West Chastain Boulevard, Glencoe, AL 35905. City of Hokes Bluff City Hall, 3301 Alford Bend Road, Hokes Bluff, AL 35903. City of Rainbow City City Hall, 3700 Rainbow Drive, Rainbow City, AL 35906. City of Southside City Hall, 2255 Highway 77, Southside, AL 35907. Town of Reece City Reece City Town Hall, 1023 Valley Drive, Attalla, AL 35954. Town of Sardis City Town Hall, 1335 Sardis Drive, Sardis City, AL 35956. Unincorporated Areas of Etowah County Etowah County Courthouse, 800 Forrest Avenue, Gadsden, AL 35901. Talladega County, Alabama, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1453 City of Childersburg City Hall, 201 8th Avenue Southwest, Childersburg, AL 35044. City of Lincoln City Hall, 150 Magnolia Street, Lincoln, AL 35096. City of Sylacauga City Hall, 301 North Broadway Avenue, Sylacauga, AL 35150. City of Talladega City Hall, 203 South Street West, Talladega, AL 35161. Unincorporated Areas of Talladega County Talladega County Highway Department Engineering Office, 500 Institute Lane, Talladega, AL 35161.

    II. Non-watershed-based studies:

    Community Community map repository address Marin County, California, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1413 City of Belvedere Building Department, 450 San Rafael Avenue, Belvedere, CA 94920. City of Larkspur Planning Department, 400 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, CA 94939. City of Mill Valley Public Works Department, 26 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941. City of Novato Public Works Department, 922 Machin Avenue, Novato, CA 94945. City of San Rafael Public Works Department, 111 Morphew Street, San Rafael, CA 94901. City of Sausalito Planning Department, 420 Litho Street, Sausalito, CA 94965. Town of Corte Madera Engineering Department, 233 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera, CA 94976. Town of Ross Public Works Department, 31 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Ross, CA 94957. Town San Anselmo Public Works Department, 525 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960. Town of Tiburon Planning Department, 1505 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon, CA 94920. Unincorporated Areas of Marin County Department of Public Works, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 304, San Rafael, CA 94903. Douglas County, Colorado, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1447 City of Lone Tree City of Lone Tree Public Works Department, 9222 Teddy Lane, Lone Tree, CO 80124. Town of Castle Rock Town of Castle Rock Utilities Department, 175 Kellogg Court, Castle Rock, CO 80109. Town of Parker Town of Parker Stormwater Utility, Public Works Department, 20120 East Mainstreet, Parker, CO 80138. Unincorporated Areas of Douglas County Douglas County Public Works, Engineering Department, 100 Third Street, Castle Rock, CO 80104. Lake County, Indiana, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1404 Town of Griffith Town Hall, 111 North Broad Street, Griffith, IN 46319. Town of Highland Town Hall, 3333 Ridge Road, Highland, IN 46322. Town of Munster Town Hall, 1005 Ridge Road, Munster, IN 46321. Town of Schererville Town Hall, 10 East Joliet Street, Schererville, IN 46375. Unincorporated Areas of Lake County County Building, 2293 North Main Street, Crown Point, IN 46307. Bourbon County, Kansas, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1459 City of Fort Scott Memorial Hall, 1 East Third Street, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Unincorporated Areas of Bourbon County GIS Office, 210 South National Avenue, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Suffolk County, Massachusetts (All Jurisdictions) Docket No.: FEMA-B-1356 City of Boston City Hall, One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201. City of Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150. City of Revere City Hall, 281 Broadway, Revere, MA 02151. Town of Winthrop Town Hall, One Metcalf Square, Winthrop, MA 02152. Dakota County, Minnesota, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1436 City of Hastings City Hall, 101 Fourth Street East, Hastings, MN 55033. Lucas County, Ohio, and Incorporated Areas Docket No.: FEMA-B-1436 City of Toledo Department of Inspection, One Government Center, Suite 1600, Toledo, OH 43604. Unincorporated Areas of Lucas County Lucas County Engineer's Office, 1049 South McCord Road, Holland, OH 43528. Village of Ottawa Hills Jean W. Youngen Municipal Building, 2125 Richards Road, Ottawa Hills, OH 43606.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31376 Filed 12-11-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2015-0001; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-B-1554] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice lists communities where the addition or modification of Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, or the regulatory floodway (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations), as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and where applicable, in the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, prepared by the Federa