Federal Register Vol. 80, No.248,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 248 (December 28, 2015)

Page Range80635-81154
FR Document

80_FR_248
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 80686 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment 3PDF
80 FR 80854 - In the Matter of Yayi International, Inc.,; Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
80 FR 80745 - Revised Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 80787 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0061PDF
80 FR 80789 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0108PDF
80 FR 80788 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0038PDF
80 FR 80785 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0003PDF
80 FR 80651 - Safety Zone; New Year's Eve Firework Displays, Chicago River, Chicago, ILPDF
80 FR 80770 - Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Extends Period To File Comments and Reply Comments in Response to a Public Notice on an Appropriate Method for Determining the Protected Contours for Grandfathered 3650-3700 MHz Band LicenseesPDF
80 FR 80746 - Authorization of Production Activity; Foreign-Trade Zone 84; Bauer Manufacturing Inc.; (Stationary Oil/Gas Drilling Rigs) Conroe, TexasPDF
80 FR 80751 - Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty OrdersPDF
80 FR 80749 - Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty DeterminationPDF
80 FR 80746 - Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2013-2014PDF
80 FR 80799 - United States, et al. v. AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., et al.; Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact StatementPDF
80 FR 80881 - Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 80811 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-ASSE International Chapter of IAPMO, LLCPDF
80 FR 80816 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Overpayment Recovery QuestionnairePDF
80 FR 80814 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Institutional Analysis of American Job Centers StudyPDF
80 FR 80812 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and HealthPDF
80 FR 80816 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Job ChalleNGe EvaluationPDF
80 FR 80815 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Employment and Training Administration Financial Reporting, Form ETA-9130PDF
80 FR 80810 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-UHD Alliance, Inc.PDF
80 FR 80813 - Advisory Committee on Veterans' Employment, Training and Employer Outreach (ACVETEO): MeetingPDF
80 FR 80755 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80876 - Agency Request for Emergency Processing of Collection of Information by the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 80877 - R.J. Corman Railroad Company/Carolina Lines, LLC-Modified Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity-Horry County, S.C.PDF
80 FR 80766 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Fund ProgramPDF
80 FR 80768 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Establishing No-Discharge Zones (NDZs) Under Clean Water Act Section 312 (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 80769 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; BEACH Act Grants (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 80767 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Cooling Water Intake Structures New Facility Final Rule (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 80765 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 80767 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Pretreatment Program (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 80794 - Announcement of Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 80643 - Russian Sanctions: Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity ListPDF
80 FR 80710 - Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases, Revision of Supplement No. 1 to Part 766 of the Export Administration RegulationsPDF
80 FR 80772 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80790 - Notice of Proposed Information Collection for Public Comment on the: Evaluation of the Jobs Plus Pilot ProgramPDF
80 FR 80791 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Public Housing Mortgage Program and Section 30PDF
80 FR 80872 - Notice of Surrender of License of Small Business Investment CompanyPDF
80 FR 80709 - Regulatory Improvements for Decommissioning Power ReactorsPDF
80 FR 80793 - Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 80795 - Certain Three-Dimensional Cinema Systems and Components Thereof; Notice of Request for Statements on the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 80811 - Change of Address for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification National OfficePDF
80 FR 80796 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 80754 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request-Safety Standard for Infant SwingsPDF
80 FR 80795 - Notice of Public Meeting, Idaho Falls District Resource Advisory Council MeetingPDF
80 FR 80759 - Agency Information Collection ExtensionPDF
80 FR 80758 - Agency Information Collection ExtensionPDF
80 FR 80875 - Finding Regarding Foreign Social Insurance or Pension System-AustraliaPDF
80 FR 80784 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80872 - Community Advantage Pilot ProgramPDF
80 FR 80741 - International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries CommissionPDF
80 FR 80773 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80857 - Self Storage Group, Inc.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 80834 - Recon Capital Series Trust, et al.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 80695 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revise Maximum Retainable Amounts for Skates in the Gulf of AlaskaPDF
80 FR 80760 - Shelby County Energy Center, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 80762 - Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. v. New York Independent System Operator, Inc.; Notice of Compliance FilingPDF
80 FR 80760 - Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC;PDF
80 FR 80764 - Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 80762 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 80761 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 80763 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 80765 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 80878 - Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority-Construction and Operation Exemption-in Lake County, TNPDF
80 FR 80689 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2016-2018 Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass SpecificationsPDF
80 FR 80783 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80781 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80756 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 80686 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33PDF
80 FR 80811 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Annuity Broker Qualification Declaration FormPDF
80 FR 80818 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Main Fan Operation and Inspection (I-A, II-A, III, and V-A Mines)PDF
80 FR 80778 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80779 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80777 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80792 - Proposed Renewal of Information Collection; Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or WildlifePDF
80 FR 80683 - Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2016PDF
80 FR 80682 - Alcohol and Drug Testing: Determination of Minimum Random Testing Rates for 2016PDF
80 FR 80753 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80754 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80867 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of EDGX Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 80851 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Rule 11.6(n)(1), Routing/Posting Instructions, To Amend the Aggressive InstructionPDF
80 FR 80854 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of EDGA Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 80823 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fee Schedule To Update Certain Fees Assessed Under Section V (Connectivity Fees)PDF
80 FR 80827 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of BATS Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 80832 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for EDGX OptionsPDF
80 FR 80870 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for BZX OptionsPDF
80 FR 80844 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for BZX OptionsPDF
80 FR 80797 - Certain Windshield Wipers and Components Thereof; Commission Determination To Review in Part and, on Review, To Reverse in Part and To Vacate in Part a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337, and To Remand the Investigation in Part to the Administrative Law JudgePDF
80 FR 80820 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 80821 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 80819 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 80859 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Amendment Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6, To List and Trade of Shares of the Guggenheim Total Return Bond ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 80847 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 4758PDF
80 FR 80849 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Fee SchedulePDF
80 FR 80830 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Fee SchedulePDF
80 FR 80865 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Rule 21.8, Order Display and Book ProcessingPDF
80 FR 80825 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Rule 11.6(n)(1), Routing/Posting Instructions, To Amend the Aggressive InstructionPDF
80 FR 80719 - Air Plan Approval; Indiana; Temporary Alternate Opacity Limits for American Electric Power, RockportPDF
80 FR 80758 - Defense Business Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 80798 - Certain Chassis Parts Incorporating Movable Sockets and Components Thereof; Institution of InvestigationPDF
80 FR 80822 - Product Change-First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 80822 - International Product Change-Global Expedited Package Services-Non-Published RatesPDF
80 FR 80822 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 80775 - Determination That KYTRIL (Granisetron Hydrochloride) Tablets, Equivalent 1 Milligram and 2 Milligram Base, Were Not Withdrawn From Sale for Reasons of Safety or EffectivenessPDF
80 FR 80781 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 80781 - National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 80780 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 80753 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 80822 - Product Change-Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 80880 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Tax Forms and Publications Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 80878 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Special Projects CommitteePDF
80 FR 80879 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Toll-Free Phone Line Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 80880 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Assistance Center Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 80879 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Notices and Correspondence Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 80879 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project CommitteePDF
80 FR 80881 - Open Meeting of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint CommitteePDF
80 FR 80650 - Hepatitis C Virus “Lookback” Requirements Based on Review of Historical Testing Records; Technical AmendmentPDF
80 FR 80776 - Externally-Led Patient-Focused Drug Development MeetingsPDF
80 FR 80774 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; KADCYLAPDF
80 FR 80718 - Use of the Term “Natural” in the Labeling of Human Food Products; Request for Information and Comments; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 80771 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80878 - Policy Statement on Implementing Intercity Passenger Train On-Time Performance and Preference Provisions of 49 U.S.C. 24308(c) and (f)PDF
80 FR 80737 - On-Time Performance Under Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008PDF
80 FR 80799 - Meeting of the Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 80879 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Forms 2210 and 2210-FPDF
80 FR 80653 - Pesticides; Revisions to Minimum Risk ExemptionPDF
80 FR 80875 - Request for Public Comments on Review of Employment Impact of the Trans-Pacific PartnershipPDF
80 FR 80819 - Notice of Availability of Partnerships for Commercial Optical Communication SystemsPDF
80 FR 80745 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 80665 - Spinosad; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
80 FR 80635 - Pass-Through Share Insurance for Interest on Lawyers Trust AccountsPDF
80 FR 80672 - Texas: Final Authorization of State-Initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference of State Hazardous Waste Management ProgramPDF
80 FR 80722 - Texas: Final Authorization of State-initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference of State Hazardous Waste Management ProgramPDF
80 FR 80884 - Use of Derivatives by Registered Investment Companies and Business Development CompaniesPDF
80 FR 80722 - Hearing Aid Compatibility StandardsPDF
80 FR 80998 - Regulation of NMS Stock Alternative Trading SystemsPDF

Issue

80 248 Monday, December 28, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Risk Management Agency

Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Changes Under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act: ASSE International Chapter Of IAPMO, LLC, 80811 2015-32627 UHD Alliance, Inc., 80810 2015-32621 Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact Statements: United States, et al. v. AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., et al., 80799-80810 2015-32629 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80771-80772 2015-32435 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80772-80774 2015-32565 2015-32580 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Survey of Refugees, 80772 2015-32604 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 80745-80746 2015-32672 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: New Year's Eve Firework Displays, Chicago River, Chicago, IL, 80651-80653 2015-32642 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80785-80790 2015-32644 2015-32656 2015-32661 2015-32662 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Safety Standard for Infant Swings, 80754 2015-32593 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80755-80756 2015-32603 2015-32619 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Meetings: Defense Business Board Federal Advisory Committee, 80758 2015-32504 Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records, 80756-80758 2015-32557 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Change of Address for the Office of Foreign Labor Certification National Office, 80811-80812 2015-32595 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80758-80760 2015-32587 2015-32588
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Pesticide Tolerances: Spinosad, 80665-80672 2015-32168 Pesticide Tolerances; Exemptions: Minimum Risk Exemption Revisions, 80653-80665 2015-32325 State Hazardous Waste Management Programs: Texas; Final Authorization of State-initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference, 80672-80682 2015-31881 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Indiana; Temporary Alternate Opacity Limits for American Electric Power, Rockport, 80719-80722 2015-32509 State Hazardous Waste Management Programs: Texas; Final Authorization of State-initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference, 80722 2015-31876 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: BEACH Act Grants; Renewal, 80769-80770 2015-32612 Cooling Water Intake Structures New Facility Final Rule; Renewal, 80767 2015-32611 Establishing No-Discharge Zones under Clean Water Act; Renewal, 80768-80769 2015-32613 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program; Renewal, 80765-80766 2015-32610 National Pretreatment Program, 80767-80768 2015-32609 Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Fund Program, 80766 2015-32614 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Hearing Aid Compatibility Standards, 80722-80737 2015-31368 NOTICES Wireless Telecommunications Bureau: Appropriate Method for Determining the Protected Contours for Grandfathered 3650-3700 MHz Band Licensees; Extension of Comment Period, 80770-80771 2015-32638 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, 80764-80765 2015-32571 Combined Filings, 2015-32567 80761-80765 2015-32568 2015-32569 2015-32570 Compliance Filings: Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc., v. New York Independent System Operator, Inc., 80762 2015-32573 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Shelby County Energy Center, LLC, 80760 2015-32574 Request Under Blanket Authorizations: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 80760-80761 2015-32572 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration RULES Alcohol and Drug Testing: Determination of Minimum Random Testing Rates for 2016, 80682-80683 2015-32544 Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2016, 80683-80686 2015-32545 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80876-80877 2015-32617 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife, 80792-80793 2015-32546 Meetings: Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, 80793-80794 2015-32598 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Hepatitis C Virus “Lookback” Requirements Based on Review of Historical Testing Records; Technical Amendment, 80650-80651 2015-32477 PROPOSED RULES Use of the Term “Natural” in the Labeling of Human Food Products, 80718-80719 2015-32471 NOTICES Determinations of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension: KADCYLA, 80774-80775 2015-32475 Determinations That Products Were Not Withdrawn from Sale for Reasons of Safety or Effectiveness: KYTRIL (Granisetron Hydrochloride) Tablets, Equivalent 1 Milligram and 2 Milligram Base, 80775-80776 2015-32496 Meetings: Externally-Led Patient-Focused Drug Development, 80776-80777 2015-32476 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Authorization of Production Activities: Foreign-Trade Zone 84; Bauer Manufacturing Inc. (Stationary Oil/Gas Drilling Rigs) Conroe, TX, 80746 2015-32636 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Meetings: Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee, 80794-80795 2015-32608 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 2015-32550 80778-80779 2015-32551
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80777-80778 2015-32549 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Evaluation of the Jobs Plus Pilot Program, 80790-80791 2015-32602 Public Housing Mortgage Program and Section 30, 80791-80792 2015-32601 Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Russian Sanctions - Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity List, 80643-80650 2015-32607 PROPOSED RULES Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases, 80710-80718 2015-32606 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80879-80880 2015-32356 Meetings: Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Joint Committee, 80881 2015-32478 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Assistance Center Project Committee, 80880-80881 2015-32481 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project Committee, 80879 2015-32479 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Notices and Correspondence Project Committee, 80879 2015-32480 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Special Projects Committee, 80878-80879 2015-32483 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Tax Forms and Publications Project Committee, 80880 2015-32484 Taxpayer Advocacy Panel's Toll-Free Phone Line Project Committee, 80879 2015-32482 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China, 80746-80749 2015-32630 Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes from the Republic of Turkey, 80749-80751 2015-32631 Melamine from the People's Republic of China, 80751-80753 2015-32632 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Laser-Driven Light Sources, Subsystems Containing Laser-Driven Light Sources, and Products Containing Same, 80796-80797 2015-32594 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Three-Dimensional Cinema Systems and Components Thereof, 80795-80796 2015-32597 Chassis Parts Incorporating Movable Sockets and Components Thereof, 80798-80799 2015-32503 Windshield Wipers and Components Thereof, 80797-80798 2015-32533 Joint Joint Board for Enrollment of Actuaries NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Actuarial Examinations, 80799 2015-32369 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annuity Broker Qualification Declaration Form, 80811 2015-32553
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Employment and Training Administration Financial Reporting, 80815-80816 2015-32622 Institutional Analysis of American Job Centers Study, 80814-80815 2015-32625 Main Fan Operation and Inspection (I-A, II-A, III, and V-A Mines), 80818-80819 2015-32552 National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Job ChalleNGe Evaluation, 80816-80818 2015-32623 OSHA Strategic Partnership Program for Worker Safety and Health, 80812-80813 2015-32624 Overpayment Recovery Questionnaire, 80816 2015-32626 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Veterans' Employment, Training and Employer Outreach, 80813-80814 2015-32620
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Idaho Falls District Resource Advisory Council, 80795 2015-32589 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Availability of Partnerships for Commercial Optical Communication Systems, 80819 2015-32292 National Credit National Credit Union Administration RULES Pass-Through Share Insurance for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, 80635-80643 2015-32164 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 80781 2015-32495 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2015-32491 2015-32492 80780-80781 2015-32493 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 80781 2015-32494 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment 3, 80686 C1--2015--31708 Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33, 80686-80689 2015-32555 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Revise Maximum Retainable Amounts for Skates in the Gulf of Alaska, 80695-80708 2015-32577 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2016-2018 Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Specifications, 80689-80695 2015-32562 PROPOSED RULES International Fisheries: Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 80741-80744 2015-32581 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80753-80754 2015-32543 2015-32542 Meetings: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 80753 2015-32490 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Decommissioning Power Reactors, 80709-80710 2015-32599 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 80819-80822 2015-32529 2015-32530 2015-32531 2015-32532 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 80822-80823 2015-32499 Global Expedited Package Services—Non-Published Rates, 80822 2015-32498 Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 80822 2015-32489 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 80822 2015-32497 Risk Risk Management Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80745 2015-32173 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Regulation of NMS Stock Alternative Trading Systems, 80998-81154 2015-29890 Use of Derivatives by Registered Investment Companies and Business Development Companies, 80884-80996 2015-31704 NOTICES Applications: Recon Capital Series Trust, et al., 80834-80843 2015-32578 Self Storage Group, Inc., 80857-80859 2015-32579 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 80827-80830, 80844-80847, 80870-80872 2015-32534 2015-32535 2015-32537 BOX Options Exchange, LLC, 80823-80824 2015-32538 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 2015-32539 80851-80857 2015-32540 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 80825-80827, 80832-80834, 80865-80870 2015-32523 2015-32524 2015-32536 2015-32541 Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, 80830-80832, 80849-80851 2015-32525 2015-32526 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 80847-80849 2015-32527 NYSE Arca, Inc., 80859-80865 2015-32528 Suspension of Trading Orders: Yayi International, Inc., 80854 2015-32704 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Community Advantage Pilot Program, 80872-80875 2015-32583 Surrender of Licenses, 80872 2015-32600 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Findings Regarding Foreign Social Insurance or Pension Systems: Australia, 80875 2015-32586 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 80781-80785 2015-32558 2015-32559 2015-32584 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board PROPOSED RULES On-Time Performance under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, 80737-80741 2015-32411 NOTICES Construction and Operation Exemptions: Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority; Lake County, TN, 80878 2015-32566 Modified Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity: R.J. Corman Railroad Company/Carolina Lines, LLC, Horry County, SC, 80877-80878 2015-32615 Policy Statements: Implementing Intercity Passenger Train On-Time Performance and Preference Provisions, 80878 2015-32412 Trade Representative Trade Representative, Office of United States NOTICES Review of Employment Impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, 80875-80876 2015-32294 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, 80881 2015-32628 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Securities and Exchange Commission, 80884-80996 2015-31704 Part III Securities and Exchange Commission, 80998-81154 2015-29890 Reader Aids

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

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80 248 Monday, December 28, 2015 Rules and Regulations NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 745 RIN 3133-AE49 Pass-Through Share Insurance for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts AGENCY:

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The NCUA Board (Board) is amending its share insurance regulations to implement statutory amendments to the Federal Credit Union Act (FCU Act or the Act) resulting from the recent enactment of the Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act (Insurance Parity Act). The statutory amendments require NCUA to provide enhanced, pass-through share insurance for interest on lawyers trust accounts (IOLTA) and other similar escrow accounts. As its name implies, the Insurance Parity Act ensures that NCUA and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insure IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts in an equivalent manner.

DATES:

This rule is effective January 27, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Frank Kressman, Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, at the above address or telephone (703) 518-6540.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background II. Summary of the April 2015 Proposed Rule III. Public Comments on the April 2015 Proposed Rule IV. Final Rule V. Regulatory Procedures I. Background A. History of IOLTAs

According to the National Association of IOLTA Programs (NAIP),1 IOLTA programs began in Australia and Canada in the late 1960s to generate funds for legal services to the poor.2 In the United States, Congress passed legislation in the 1980s permitting the establishment of certain interest-bearing checking accounts,3 which, among many things, helped to enable the creation of IOLTA accounts throughout the United States. The various states operate IOLTA programs pursuant to their own laws.4

1 The NAIP was established in 1986 to enhance legal services for the poor and for the administration of justice through the growth and development of IOLTA programs. http://www.iolta.org/about-naip.

2http://www.iolta.org/what-is-iolta/iolta-history.

3 The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-221; 94 Stat. 132).

4http://www.americanbar.org/groups/interest_lawyers_trust_accounts/resources/status_of_iolta_programs.html. As determined by each state, an IOLTA program may be mandatory, voluntary, or an attorney may opt out of the program.

Under an IOLTA program, an attorney or law firm may establish an account at one or more financial institutions to hold their clients' funds to pay for legal services or for other purposes. An attorney or a law firm would deposit clients' funds in one or more IOLTAs and hold these funds in trust until needed. Typically, the interest or dividends on IOLTAs are donated to charities or other 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations pursuant to state law. Generally, the donated funds are used to subsidize legal aid services or for other charitable purposes.

B. The Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act of 2014

On December 18, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Insurance Parity Act.5 The Insurance Parity Act amended the share insurance provisions of the FCU Act by requiring enhanced, pass-through share insurance coverage for IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts.6 The Insurance Parity Act specifically defines “pass-through share insurance,” with respect to IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts, as “insurance coverage based on the interest of each person on whose behalf funds are held in such accounts by the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering a similar escrow account, in accordance with regulations issued by [NCUA].” 7

5 Pub. L. 113-252, 128 Stat. 2893 (2014).

6 12 U.S.C. 1787(k).

7 Pub. L. 113-252, 128 Stat. 2893 (2014).

The Insurance Parity Act defines an IOLTA as “a system in which lawyers place certain client funds in interest-bearing or dividend-bearing accounts, with the interest or dividends then used to fund programs such as legal service organizations who provide services to clients in need.” 8 Pursuant to the Insurance Parity Act, IOLTAs are treated as escrow accounts for share insurance purposes. Further, IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts are considered member accounts if the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering the escrow account is a member of the insured credit union in which the funds are held.9

8Id.

9 The Insurance Parity Act also emphasizes that its amendments to the FCU Act do not authorize an insured credit union to accept deposits of an IOLTA or similar escrow account in an amount greater than such credit union is authorized to accept under any other provisions of federal or state law.

C. Comparison of FDIC's and NCUA's Current Insurance Regulations Regarding IOLTAs

The FDIC's deposit insurance regulations 10 do not specifically mention IOLTAs by name. Rather, the FDIC insures an IOLTA as an agent or nominee account. To be insured by the FDIC, an agent or nominee account like an IOLTA must expressly disclose, by way of specific reference, the existence of any fiduciary relationship such as an agent or nominee pursuant to which funds are deposited into a bank account and on which a claim for deposit insurance coverage is based. The FDIC has stated that such an account, including an IOLTA, must disclose that the funds are held by the nominal account holder on the behalf of others.11 To be insurable, the FDIC must be able to ascertain the interests of the other parties in the IOLTA from the records of the insured depository institution or from the records of the lawyer.12 Funds attributable to each client will be insured on a pass-through basis if this recordkeeping requirement is satisfied.13

10 12 CFR part 330.

11 FDIC Opinion Letter No. 98—2 (June 16, 1998) at https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/4000-9940.html.

12Id.

13Id.

Prior to the enactment of the Insurance Parity Act, NCUA's position with respect to the insurability of IOLTAs was very similar to FDIC's, except that NCUA's coverage was limited only to those clients of the attorney who were also members of the insured credit union in which the IOLTA was kept. This was due to the FCU Act's general limitation to insure only member accounts, with some exceptions not applicable to this rulemaking.

Many federally insured credit unions maintained that NCUA's position on this issue placed them at a competitive disadvantage. The Insurance Parity Act removed any such disadvantage, however. Specifically, provided the lawyer administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering a similar escrow account is a member of the insured credit union in which such account is maintained, then the interests of each client or principal, on whose behalf funds are being held in such accounts by the lawyer or escrow agent, will be insured on a pass-through basis in accordance with the limits in part 745 of NCUA's regulations, regardless of the membership status of the client or principal. In an IOLTA and other similar escrow accounts, the true owners of the funds are the clients and principals. The lawyers or law firms and the escrow agents are only agents holding the funds on the clients' and principals' behalf.

II. Summary of the April 2015 Proposed Rule

In April 2015, the Board issued a proposed rule amending its share insurance regulations to implement statutory amendments to the FCU Act resulting from the enactment of the Insurance Parity Act.14 The sections below reiterate the discussion in the proposed rule.

14 80 FR 27109 (May 12, 2015).

A. Why NCUA issued a proposed rule?

The Insurance Parity Act clearly states that NCUA shall provide pass-through share insurance for IOLTAs, and it defines an IOLTA. Accordingly, share insurance coverage for IOLTAs took effect with the enactment of the Insurance Parity Act, even without any regulatory action on NCUA's part. No implementing regulations were required to effect this aspect of the legislation. However, the proposed rule addressed other aspects of the legislation that did require NCUA to take regulatory action.

Additionally, some of the language in the Insurance Parity Act is ambiguous and left certain questions unanswered. For example, these questions included:

• What escrow accounts should be included in the category “other similar escrow accounts” as that phrase is used in the Insurance Parity Act?

• Should prepaid card programs, such as payroll cards, be considered IOLTAs or other similar escrow accounts for share insurance purposes?

• What recordkeeping requirements must be satisfied to receive share insurance on IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts?

• Does the enhanced share insurance coverage provided by the Insurance Parity Act affect the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements for insured credit unions?

• Should nonmember funds kept in a federal credit union as a result of the enhanced share insurance coverage provided by the Insurance Parity Act count towards a federal credit union's limit on the receipt of payments on shares from nonmembers pursuant to § 701.32 of NCUA's regulations?

As discussed below, NCUA analyzed the above questions and proposed how each should be addressed. However, NCUA requested public comment on alternative interpretations of the Insurance Parity Act and alternative regulatory approaches that commenters believe are appropriate and beneficial.

B. Pass-Through Share Insurance for IOLTAs and Other Similar Escrow Accounts

As noted above, the Insurance Parity Act defines “pass-through share insurance,” with respect to IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts, as “insurance coverage based on the interest of each person on whose behalf funds are held in such accounts by the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering a similar escrow account, in accordance with regulations issued by [NCUA].” 15 This definition is clear and accurate, as well as consistent with how NCUA currently defines “pass-through share insurance” in its share insurance regulations relating to coverage of certain employee benefit plans.16 Accordingly, the Board proposed to adopt that statutory definition of “pass-through share insurance” as the regulatory definition of that term in part 745.

15 Pub. L. 113-252, 128 Stat. 2893 (2014).

16 12 U.S.C. 1787(k)(4); 12 CFR 745.9-2.

C. What escrow accounts should be included in the category “other similar escrow accounts” as that phrase is used in the Insurance Parity Act?

The Insurance Parity Act provides that, for share insurance purposes, IOLTAs are treated as escrow accounts. It also provides that pass-through insurance coverage is available for other kinds of escrow accounts that are similar to IOLTAs. However, the Insurance Parity Act does not define or further describe what constitutes an escrow account that is “similar” to an IOLTA.

The Insurance Parity Act defines an IOLTA as “a system in which lawyers place certain client funds in interest-bearing or dividend-bearing accounts, with the interest or dividends then used to fund programs such as legal service organizations who provide services to clients in need.” NCUA is tasked with defining the kinds of escrow accounts that are similar enough to IOLTAs to be eligible for pass-through share insurance as discussed above. In the proposed rule, the Board acknowledged the challenge to describe with precision the circumstances under which such coverage should be provided. There are many different kinds of escrow accounts in use, with varying forms and structures. Also, the Board noted in the proposed rule that “similar” is a relative term that may necessitate NCUA reviewing escrow accounts with varying structures on a case-by-case basis to determine which are similar enough to IOLTAs to receive pass-through insurance coverage.

Despite the amorphous nature of escrow accounts, the Board noted in the proposed rule the importance of providing insured credit unions with as much regulatory clarity and certainty as possible about which escrow accounts are considered similar enough to IOLTAs to receive pass-through insurance coverage. NCUA seeks to avoid, to the greatest extent possible, the need to make case-by-case analyses of escrow accounts, as that process is labor intensive and inefficient and it creates uncertainty for insured credit unions.

There are some escrow accounts whose nature and structure are immediately recognizable as similar to an IOLTA. For example, the Board noted in the proposed rule that typical real estate escrow accounts and prepaid funeral accounts have attributes that, while not identical to IOLTAs, are similar to IOLTAs and should be entitled to pass-through share insurance coverage. One of the signature characteristics common to typical real estate escrow accounts, prepaid funeral accounts, and IOLTAs is that each of these kinds of account has a licensed professional or other individual serving in a fiduciary capacity and holding funds for the benefit of a client as part of some transaction or business relationship.

The Board proposed, at a minimum, to extend pass-through share insurance coverage to escrow accounts with these characteristics, up to the limits provided for in part 745 of NCUA's regulations. However, the Board encouraged commenters to identify and discuss other kinds of escrow accounts, in addition to real estate and prepaid funeral accounts, which also have characteristics similar enough to IOLTAs to warrant pass-through insurance coverage.

Specifically, the Board requested comment on the following: (1) what kinds of escrow accounts should qualify for pass-through share insurance coverage and why; (2) what specific attributes these escrow accounts need to possess to obtain coverage; (3) how NCUA can define these accounts to capture their essence and minimize the need for case-by-case analyses of their characteristics; and (4) any other aspect of this topic. In addition, the Board specifically invited comment on whether it is appropriate to limit the pool of other similar escrow accounts to those where a recognizable fiduciary duty is owed by the escrow agent to the principal.

D. Prepaid Cards

In the proposed rule, the Board welcomed comments on NCUA's proposed treatment of prepaid card programs. To put this issue in context and provide background information about such programs, the Board included the following excerpt on prepaid cards from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's Web site.17

17http://ithandbook.ffiec.gov/it-booklets/retail-payment-systems/payment-instruments,-clearing,-and-settlement/card-based-electronic-payments/prepaid-(stored-value)-cards.aspx

The market for prepaid cards, sometimes called stored-value cards, is one of the fastest-growing segments of the retail financial services industry. While the terms prepaid cards and stored-value cards are frequently used interchangeably, differences exist between the two products.

Prepaid cards are generally issued to persons who deposit funds into an account of the issuer. During the funds deposit process, most issuers establish an account and obtain identifying data from the purchaser (e.g., name, phone number, etc.).

Stored-value cards do not typically involve a deposit of funds as the value is prepaid and stored directly on the cards. Because its business model requires cardholders to pay in advance, it substantially eliminates the nonpayment risk for the issuing financial institution. The functionality of this product is leading to a wide range of card programs that operate in either closed or open-loop systems, and program innovation has resulted in the development of systems that operate in both structures. Closed-loop systems are generally retailer/issuer business models, while general-purpose cards issued by financial institutions tend to operate in open-loop systems. Open-loop system prepaid cards are processed using the same systems as the branded network cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover) and offer the same functionality.

In the past, prepaid cards were mostly issued by nonfinancial businesses in limited deployment environments such as mass transit systems and universities. In recent years, prepaid cards have grown significantly as financial institutions and nonbank organizations target under-banked markets and overseas remittances. Technological innovations in the way information is stored (e.g., magnetic strip or computer chip), the physical form of the payment mechanism, and biometric account access and authentication are converging to create efficiencies, reduce transaction times at the point of sale, and lower transaction costs.

There are several types of prepaid cards, including gift, payroll, travel, and teen cards. Either the consumer or an issuer funds the account for the card. When a consumer uses the card to make a purchase, the merchant deducts the amount of the purchase from the card. Transaction authorization can take place through an existing network, a chip stored on the card, or information coded on the magnetic strip. Once the stored value in the card is exhausted, customers may either replenish the value or acquire a new card.

In addition to cards, stored-value payment devices are emerging in a variety of other physical forms, most notably key fobs. With the recent introduction of contactless payment technologies, use of chips (smart cards), radio frequency identification (RFID), and near-field communication (NFC) payment devices are becoming more innovative. Initiatives are underway to introduce mobile phones with integrated microchips that can initiate a payment when waved over a specially-equipped reader. The integrated chip can store value, authenticate a consumer, or contain consumer preferences and loyalty program information that can be used for marketing purposes.

Prepaid cards may be subject to legal and regulatory risks. For example, the Federal Reserve Board's final rule on Regulation E, issued August 30, 2006, extended its applicability to prepaid cards used for consumers' payroll. The Federal Reserve Board noted that it will monitor the development of other card products and may reconsider Regulation E coverage as these products continue to develop. State laws vary widely with regard to fees. Additionally, financial institutions should ensure that prepaid card product programs comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering guidance.

The proposed rule articulated NCUA's general position that prepaid card programs, including payroll cards, should not be considered escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs for share insurance purposes because the characteristics that define an attorney's relationship with, and the fiduciary duties owed to, the attorney's clients are typically not present in the prepaid card scenario. An IOLTA and a prepaid card program serve very different purposes and typically have significantly different structures. For this and other reasons, a prepaid card program is not sufficiently similar to an IOLTA, for purposes of the Insurance Parity Act, to qualify for pass-through share insurance coverage as an escrow account similar to an IOLTA. However, the Board encouraged comments and requested information about prepaid card programs that commenters thought may be sufficiently similar to IOLTAs for share insurance purposes.

E. Insurance for Prepaid Cards Outside of the Insurance Parity Act Context

The Board explained in the proposed rule that, under certain circumstances, some prepaid card programs currently may be entitled to pass-through share insurance coverage under other aspects of part 745 unrelated to IOLTAs and the Insurance Parity Act. For example, if funds in a prepaid card program deposited in a federally insured credit union qualify as a share account that can be traced back to a specific owner in a specific dollar amount and the owner is a member of the credit union where the funds are kept, then those funds would be entitled to share insurance pursuant to the current terms and limits of part 745.

F. What recordkeeping requirements must be met to receive share insurance on IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts?

As noted in the proposed rule, FDIC's deposit insurance regulations provide that the FDIC will recognize a claim for insurance coverage based on a fiduciary relationship (such as an IOLTA or escrow account) only if the relationship is expressly disclosed, by way of specific references, in the deposit account records of the insured depository institution.18 FDIC's deposit insurance regulations further provide that if the deposit account records of an insured depository institution disclose the existence of a relationship which might provide a basis for additional insurance, then the details of the relationship and the interests of other parties in the account must be ascertainable either from the deposit account records of the insured depository institution or from records maintained, in good faith and in the regular course of business, by the depositor or by some person or entity that has undertaken to maintain such records for the depositor.19

18 12 CFR 330.5(b)(1).

19 12 CFR 330.5(b)(2).

Similarly, NCUA's current share insurance regulations provide that the account records of an insured credit union shall be conclusive as to the existence of any relationship pursuant to which the funds in the account are deposited and on which a claim for insurance coverage is founded. Examples of such relationships include those involving trustees, agents, and custodians.20 These kinds of accounts also include IOLTAs and other escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs. NCUA will not recognize a claim for insurance based on such a relationship in the absence of such disclosure. Further, NCUA's share insurance regulations provide that if the account records of an insured credit union disclose the existence of a relationship which may provide a basis for additional insurance, then the details of the relationship and the interests of other parties in the account must be ascertainable either from the records of the credit union or the records of the member maintained in good faith and in the regular course of business.21

20 12 CFR 745.2(c)(1).

21 12 CFR 745.2(c)(2).

IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts exemplify the kinds of accounts in which a relationship exists upon which a claim for insurance coverage could be founded. They are among the kinds of accounts that NCUA's regulations are intended to cover. Accordingly, based on NCUA's current share insurance regulations, for IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts to receive the share insurance coverage to which they are entitled, the recordkeeping provisions of NCUA's share insurance regulations must be satisfied. No additional recordkeeping requirements are imposed by the Insurance Parity Act. Therefore, the Board did not propose any regulatory changes or additions in this regard, but nonetheless welcomed comments on this topic.

G. Does the enhanced share insurance coverage provided by the Insurance Parity Act affect the BSA requirements for insured credit unions?

The proposed rule did not intend to discuss in detail an insured credit union's BSA requirements. Rather, NCUA intended it to remind insured credit unions of their continued BSA responsibilities with respect to IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts. This is especially true given that IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts will begin to contain funds for nonmembers which are likely not known by the credit unions in which the accounts are kept. The Board did not propose to make any regulatory changes in this regard, but nonetheless welcomed comments.

F. Do nonmember funds kept in a credit union as a result of the enhanced share insurance coverage provided by the Insurance Parity Act count towards a federal credit union's limit on the receipt of payments on shares from nonmembers pursuant to § 701.32 of NCUA's regulations?

The Insurance Parity Act provides that IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts are considered member accounts if the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering the escrow account is a member of the insured credit union in which the funds are held. In the proposed rule, the Board stated that if an IOLTA or other similar escrow account satisfies the above requirement and, therefore, is treated by the Insurance Parity Act as a member account, then the IOLTA or other similar escrow account also should be considered a member account for purposes of § 701.32 of NCUA's regulations. Therefore, funds in those member accounts do not count towards a federal credit union's limit on the receipt of payments on shares from nonmembers pursuant to § 701.32 of NCUA's regulations.22 Accordingly, the Board did not propose any regulatory changes in this regard, but nonetheless welcomed comments.

22 12 CFR 701.32.

III. Public Comments on the April 2015 Proposed Rule

NCUA received eighteen comment letters on the proposed rule: four from credit unions; three from national trade associations; nine from credit union leagues; one from an attorney; and one from a credit card company. Below is a summary of those comments.

A. General Comments

Generally, all of the commenters supported the proposed rule. However, as explained in more detail below, several commenters offered suggestions for additional types of escrow accounts that they believed should be afforded enhanced pass-through share insurance coverage. In addition, most commenters advocated for pass-through share insurance coverage on prepaid cards but did not provide legal analysis to support such expanded coverage.

B. Definition of “Pass-Through Share Insurance”

All of the commenters that addressed this definition supported the proposed use of the statutory definition of “pass-through share insurance.” Accordingly, this final rule adopts the proposed definition without change.

C. Other Similar Escrow Accounts and Prepaid Cards

As a preface to the following discussion of the commenters' positions on escrow accounts and prepaid cards, a reminder of how NCUA currently insures those accounts and how that might change as a result of the Insurance Parity Act will provide additional clarity. In the written comments received and in other forms of communications NCUA has had with various stakeholders on this topic, there appears to be some degree of misunderstanding.

Accordingly, the Board reiterates and emphasizes that, even in the absence of the Insurance Parity Act, it currently insures certain escrow accounts and prepaid cards under current share insurance provisions. The Insurance Parity Act amends the membership requirements associated with covering those kinds of accounts, but it does not organically create or authorize such coverage as though such authority did not previously exist.

The membership requirements in the Insurance Parity Act shift the focus from the membership status of the principals, the actual owners of the funds, to the membership status of: (1) The attorney administering the IOLTA; (2) the escrow agent administering the escrow account; and (3) if prepaid cards are deemed “other similar escrow accounts,” then the party associated with a prepaid card that is acting in a similar capacity as the attorney or escrow agent. As discussed more fully below, in many instances, the shift in whose membership status matters will make it logistically easier for certain kinds of accounts to obtain enhanced pass-through coverage, for example IOLTAs. However, for some kinds of accounts including certain prepaid cards if they are determined to qualify, this shift in focus could actually make it significantly more difficult to obtain enhanced pass-through coverage.

Further, any increase in an insured credit union's total amount of insured shares as a result of the enhanced coverage provided by the Insurance Parity Act will require that credit union to increase proportionally the 1% deposit it is required to maintain with the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) pursuant to the Act.23 Finally, the Board notes that the shift in membership focus in the Insurance Parity Act represents a rare departure from the Act's general requirement that share insurance coverage be provided only to credit union members. Accordingly, this final rule respects the major implications of such an exception in interpreting congressional intent.

23 12 U.S.C. 1782(c)(1).

1. Escrow Accounts

Several commenters suggested other types of accounts that they believed satisfies the definition of “other similar escrow accounts” and, therefore, should be afforded pass-through share insurance coverage in the same manner as an IOLTA, specifically meaning that the membership status of the principal, the owner of the funds, is irrelevant provided the escrow agent is a member of the credit union in which the founds are held. Those suggestions included: (1) Agent-trust fiduciary accounts such as vacation rental security accounts and cemetery trust accounts; (2) any escrow account used to facilitate a purchase transaction such as the purchase of boats, commercial vessels, and planes; (3) any account established by a licensed or registered escrow agent; (4) landlord/tenant accounts; and (5) public adjuster accounts and education disbursement accounts.

As indicated in the proposed rule, there are many escrow accounts currently in use that are similar to IOLTAs and entitled to the enhanced pass-through insurance contemplated by the Insurance Parity Act. The Board supports providing enhanced insurance coverage for those accounts. In the proposal, the Board requested that commenters specifically identify the attributes of those accounts they believe should receive enhanced pass-through coverage and to define the essence of those accounts. Such a detailed description would help NCUA identify certain accounts as similar to IOLTAs without the need for a case-by-case analysis of escrow accounts. Unfortunately, while commenters identified broad and general categories of escrow accounts, they did not provide specifics in a way that allows NCUA to eliminate the need for case-by-case review. This is not surprising as there is a lack of universally accepted titles to describe certain kinds of escrow accounts. Further, there are many kinds of escrow accounts that are similar to each other but which are not structurally or functionally identical which further hampers precise labeling.

It is this lack of uniformity in language, function, and organizational structure that makes it difficult for NCUA to promulgate regulations that identify by name the escrow accounts eligible for enhanced share insurance coverage. Despite this obstacle, NCUA will provide enhanced share insurance coverage to certain escrow accounts, in addition to real estate escrow accounts and prepaid funeral accounts as proposed, on a case-by-case basis, provided such escrow accounts satisfy the definition of “other similar escrow account” as defined in both the proposed rule and this final rule.24 Specifically, “other similar escrow account” means an account where a licensed professional or other individual serving in a fiduciary capacity holds funds for the benefit of a client as part of a transaction or business relationship, such as real estate escrow accounts and prepaid funeral accounts.

24 80 FR 27109, 27114 (May 12, 2015). In the proposed rule, NCUA used the term “realtor” account to describe what is being called in this final rule a “real estate escrow” account. NCUA is changing terminology in this final rule at the suggestion of two commenters, who have indicated that the term “realtor” is a federally registered collective membership mark. NCUA agrees it is better to use the more generic term, but confirms that there is no substantive change being made from the proposed rule to the final.

Two commenters advocated a less restrictive definition of “other similar escrow account” that would consider the existence of a fiduciary relationship as an indicia of evidence of an “other similar escrow account,” but would not make it a determinative factor. These commenters stated that a less restrictive definition would allow for inclusion of accounts that, while not rising to the level of a fiduciary relationship, exhibit trust and confidence and involve the holding of funds on behalf of another. The commenters offered landlord/tenant accounts as examples of accounts that would fall into that broader definition. However, several other commenters disagreed with having a broader definition of “other similar escrow account.” Instead, these commenters preferred NCUA's proposed requirement that an actual fiduciary relationship exist. The Board agrees with those commenters supporting the proposed definition that makes a fiduciary relationship a required component for enhanced share insurance. Congress made it clear that only escrow accounts that are similar to IOLTAs are to be provided with enhanced pass-through coverage. The lawyer-client relationship is largely characterized by the fiduciary duty lawyers owe their clients. Accordingly, requiring the fiduciary component to be present with respect to providing enhanced pass-through insurance coverage for “other similar escrow accounts” comports with congressional intent.

Two commenters stated that NCUA should clarify that real estate escrow accounts and prepaid funeral accounts qualify as “other similar escrow accounts” that are eligible for enhanced insurance coverage, but that the universe of “other similar escrow accounts” is not limited to those two named accounts. The Board made this clear in the proposed rule, but, as discussed above, the Board reiterates it here nonetheless.

One commenter argued that enhanced pass-through coverage should be expanded to include accounts held and administered by entities, such as law firms, real estate agencies, and funeral homes. This commenter stated that, as written, the proposed rule could be read as only permitting pass-through share insurance for accounts opened and held by individuals such as a lawyer or real estate agent, but not by their firms or brokerages. The Board agrees with the commenter that coverage should not be limited to accounts held and administered only by individual professionals but not their firms, and confirms the proposed rule did not have that effect. However, accounts opened by a law firm instead of an individual attorney, for example, will still need to satisfy the fiduciary relationship requirement. Accordingly, law firms and other entities administering the accounts must comply with all relevant law to maintain that relationship, which may or may not require an individual lawyer or escrow agent to also be named on the account.

Further, the Insurance Parity Act did not eliminate the membership requirement to obtain share insurance. Rather, it shifted the membership requirement from the owner of funds to the administrator of the IOLTA or escrow account. That means, for example, that a law firm that wishes to open an escrow account at a credit union must meet the credit union's field of membership criteria. NCUA recognizes, however, that a law firm, as an entity, may have difficulty meeting the membership criteria of the credit union of its choosing. Accordingly, if the firm itself does not qualify for membership in a particular credit union, but one of its lawyers does, then the firm may maintain an IOLTA in that credit union if the eligible lawyer joins the credit union. This is consistent with congressional intent to place credit unions on a more level playing field with banks with respect to IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts. It is the responsibility of the law firm or other entity wishing to establish an escrow account, however, to first determine if state and other applicable law and rules of professional conduct allow for such an arrangement. This final rule does not authorize any parties to create an illegal or unethical account relationship.

2. Prepaid Cards

Generally, all of the commenters that addressed prepaid cards believed NCUA should include them as “other similar escrow accounts.” However, the commenters did not provide sufficient legal analysis to support their positon. Rather, these commenters generally suggested that NCUA should offer the same insurance coverage as FDIC on prepaid cards and that failure to do so would place credit unions at a competitive disadvantage. In this regard, no commenters acknowledged that NCUA currently insures some prepaid cards held by members and that, except for the membership requirement, NCUA's analysis for calculating this coverage is essentially the same as the FDIC's analysis.

One commenter provided a detailed analysis of the prepaid card industry and suggested ways in which NCUA could offer pass-through share insurance coverage on these accounts. This commenter divided prepaid cards into two categories: general-purpose reloadable cards (GPRs) and cards that allow for the disbursement of funds. The commenter stated that GPRs function like checking or share draft accounts, without checks or drafts, and allow a member to add or load additional funds onto the card. Cards for the disbursement of funds are used by employers and governments to distribute salaries and other benefits. The commenter did not specifically explain why these mechanisms for accessing funds are escrow accounts or how the distributors of such products would obtain the required credit union membership under the Insurance Parity Act.

This commenter went on to state that prepaid account funds are typically, but not always, deposited in omnibus accounts in a bank or a credit union in a master account held in the name of the prepaid card program for the benefit of the individual accountholders in the program. Individual cardholder funds are typically, but not always, tracked on a subaccount basis and recorded by the prepaid card issuer, processor, or prepaid program manager. The commenter acknowledged that while an attorney-client fiduciary relationship is not present, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act 25 imposes the same or similar type of fiduciary obligations on the issuer with respect to disbursing and safeguarding funds in accordance with the instructions of the account holder. The commenter argued that, as a result, NCUA should provide pass-through share insurance on prepaid cards even where the cardholder is not a member of the credit union where the funds are held. The Board notes that Regulation E, which implements portions of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, views escrow accounts and certain prepaid cards such as payroll cards as quite different for regulatory purposes, which further highlights the dissimilarities between certain prepaid cards and escrow accounts.

25 15 U.S.C. 1693 et seq.

One commenter stated that pass-through coverage should be provided on cards where the owners of those cards are members of the credit union where the funds are held. As noted above, NCUA currently does this under appropriate circumstances.

Several commenters argued that NCUA currently, and irrespective of the Insurance Parity Act, has the authority to permit prepaid cards to be considered member accounts. These commenters stated that the FCU Act provides the Board with broad latitude in defining a member account and that NCUA regulations and legal opinions have created a precedent for allowing insurance coverage to nonmembers in certain instances. We agree that these statements are true but only in certain instances as discussed above.

These commenters further reasoned that any account opened at a credit union is a “member account,” thereby allowing the Board to authorize insurance coverage for payroll cards or other accounts established by credit union members that hold nonmember accounts. The Board does not agree that this statement is legally accurate.

One commenter stated that NCUA should provide pass-through share insurance coverage on prepaid cards where a fiduciary relationship can be clearly established and the fiduciary is a member of the credit union. Another commenter stated that NCUA should provide pass-through share insurance coverage only on those prepaid card accounts that have the characteristics of “other similar escrow accounts.” This commenter suggested that NCUA could stipulate that a qualifying prepaid card account must meet the proposed record keeping requirements for escrow accounts, thereby eliminating those prepaid card accounts that lack the characteristics of escrow accounts because the record keeping requirements are not part of the business model of these types of products. Conversely, the commenter reasoned that prepaid card accounts that meet the record keeping requirements would present similar characteristics of escrow accounts. Because “other similar escrow accounts,” as that term is defined in this rule, are entitled to enhanced pass-through insurance under the Insurance Parity Act, a prepaid card satisfying that definition would be entitled to such treatment. However, prepaid cards currently do not satisfy that definition.

Two other commenters also advocated pass-through share insurance on prepaid card accounts that establish a similar relationship as escrow accounts and have similar characteristics, including payroll cards and prepaid gift cards. These commenters, however, did not elaborate on how to assess those characteristics or the level of similarity.

Finally, one commenter suggested that NCUA should simply stipulate that credit unions can exercise the same powers authorized for banks under 12 CFR part 300 or allow credit unions to request to have all of the same trust powers that are exercised by banks. This would exceed NCUA's authority under the FCU Act and the Insurance Parity Act.

For many years, the credit union industry has requested that NCUA and Congress enable the NCUSIF to insure IOLTAs on a pass-through basis without regard to the membership status of the lawyer's clients. The essential purpose of the Insurance Parity Act is to provide that relief with respect to IOLTAs. Further, the Insurance Parity Act granted additional enhanced coverage for escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs, which is relief the credit union industry historically has not requested.

The Insurance Parity Act limits enhanced coverage to a narrow universe of accounts. The Insurance Parity Act is not intended to eliminate every distinction between banks and credit unions or alter how every kind of credit union account may be created, structured, and insured. The fact that credit unions, generally speaking, must only serve their members is a critical distinction between banks and credit unions. While there are some statutory exemptions from the membership requirements applicable to accounts the NCUSIF may insure, the general principle of share insurance coverage is that coverage is member-based. Accordingly, in interpreting whether prepaid cards are to be considered “other similar escrow accounts” for purposes of the Insurance Parity Act, NCUA must respect the statutory limitations in place and interpret the Insurance Parity Act in a responsible, justifiable, and not overly broad manner.

NCUA's research on prepaid cards has yielded results similar to those of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and the FDIC, although those two entities may use different terminology to discuss prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are an ever expanding vehicle in the financial services marketplace, and they seem to be constantly evolving into new shapes and forms. They come in many varieties and are structured in many different ways. This variety and continuous evolution makes it difficult to devise a single, universal, and useful definition that applies to all prepaid cards.

In its General Counsel's Opinion No. 8, the FDIC discussed prepaid products, in relevant part as follows:

Stored value products, or “prepaid products,” may be divided into two broad categories: (1) Merchant products; and (2) bank products.

A merchant card (also referred to as a “closed-loop” card) enables the cardholder to collect goods or services from a specific merchant or cluster of merchants. Generally, the cards are sold to the public by the merchant in the same manner as gift certificates. Examples are single-purpose cards such as cards sold by book stores or coffee shops. Another example is a prepaid telephone card.

Merchant cards do not provide access to money at a depository institution. When a cardholder uses the card, the merchant is not paid through a depository institution. On the contrary, the merchant has been prepaid through the sale of the card. In the absence of money at a depository institution, no insured “deposit” will exist under section 3(l) of the FDI Act. See FDIC v. Philadelphia Gear Corporation, 476 U.S. 426 (1986).

Bank cards are different. Bank cards (also referred to as “open-loop” cards) provide access to money at a depository institution. In some cases, the cards are distributed to the public by the depository institution itself. In many cases, the cards are distributed to the public by a third party. For example, in the case of “payroll cards,” the cards often are distributed by an employer to employees. In the case of multi-purpose “general spending cards” or “gift cards,” the cards may be sold by retail stores to customers.

A bank card usually enables the cardholder to effect transfers of funds to merchants through point-of-sale terminals. A bank card also may enable the cardholder to make withdrawals through automated teller machines (“ATM's”). In other words, a bank card provides access to money at a depository institution. The money is placed at the depository institution by the card distributor (or other company in association with the card distributor), but is transferred or withdrawn by the cardholders. In some cases, the card is “reloadable” in that additional funds may be placed at the depository institution for the use of the cardholder.

This General Counsel's opinion does not address merchant cards because such cards do not involve the placement of funds at insured depository institutions. The applicability of this General Counsel's opinion is limited to bank cards and other nontraditional access mechanisms, such as computers, that provide access to funds at insured depository institutions.26

26 FDIC General Counsel's Opinion No. 8—Insurability of Funds Underlying Stored Value Cards and Other Nontraditional Access Mechanisms; 74 FR 67155 (November 13, 2008).

Merchant cards, as discussed above, do not involve a deposit of funds at a financial institution by the card holder as the value is prepaid and stored directly on the cards. Accordingly, this kind of vehicle is clearly not insurable under the Insurance Parity Act as there is no account held at a federally insured credit union.

Because open loop cards, which FDIC refers to as bank cards, provide access to money at an insured depository institution such as a federally insured credit union, NCUA has examined these instruments carefully to determine if they should be insured as escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs. The Board noted in the proposed rule that open loop cards are currently insured by the NCUSIF under certain circumstances, which include the requirement that the cardholder be a member of the federally insured credit union in which the funds are held. The Board also noted in the proposed rule that prepaid card programs, including open loop cards such as payroll cards, should not be considered escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs for share insurance purposes because, among other reasons, the characteristics that define an attorney's relationship with, and the fiduciary duties owed to, the attorney's clients are typically absent in the open loop prepaid card scenario. Commenters argued that there is some element of a trust relationship in the prepaid card scenario but generally acknowledged that it does not rise to the level of an attorney-client relationship. NCUA's ongoing research of prepaid cards supports the position NCUA took in the proposed rule that an IOLTA and a prepaid card program serve very different purposes for the client and card holder and have drastically different structures.

In addition to the structural and functional dissimilarities between open loop cards and IOLTAs, open loop cards are not escrow accounts as that term is commonly understood and contemplated in the Insurance Parity Act. Further, in evaluating prepaid card products, the FDIC has determined that while not all prepaid card programs are structured the same, it generally views companies that sell or distribute general purpose prepaid cards as deposit brokers and the funds they deposit as brokered deposits. While this does not directly address whether open loop cards are escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs, FDIC's position on open loop cards supports NCUA's determination in this regard. More specifically, a deposit broker serves a drastically different purpose than an attorney representing a client, and a brokered deposit placed in a depository institution to obtain a high investment yield also is drastically different from funds a client places in trust with its lawyer as part of their legal relationship. The fact that the characteristics and purposes of an IOLTA and a brokered deposit are so dissimilar supports NCUA's conclusion that open loop cards are not escrow accounts similar to IOLTAs for purposes of the Insurance Parity Act and, therefore, not entitled to pass-through coverage unless the cardholder is a member of the federally insured credit union in which the funds are deposited and satisfies other criteria discussed above.

In conducting this analysis, NCUA paid particular attention to payroll cards as many in the credit union industry seemed particularly interested in those accounts. NCUA's research shows that there are several different kinds of payroll card products, including some that while called a “payroll card” may actually be a debit card product sponsored by a third party vendor that is not the cardholder's employer. NCUA's analysis revealed that many of the same barriers to enhanced pass-through coverage that exists for other types of prepaid cards also apply to payroll cards. More specifically, the structure and characteristics of a payroll card are not that of an escrow account that is similar to an IOLTA. The Board notes, however, that even without the special membership treatment provided by the Insurance Parity Act, the NCUSIF currently insures on a pass-through basis those payroll cards that satisfy NCUA's regular account and membership requirements as discussed above.

In conclusion, NCUA will expand its insurance coverage pursuant to the Insurance Parity Act for IOLTAs and other accounts that satisfy the definition of “other similar escrow account,” as defined herein. NCUA also will continue to insure on a pass-through basis those prepaid card products and escrow accounts that are not similar to IOLTAs as it currently does based on the provisions of part 745, but will not afford those accounts enhanced coverage under the Insurance Parity Act. NCUA will continue to monitor the prepaid card industry and its evolution and may revisit this subject in the future if necessary.

E. Recordkeeping Requirements

Only two commenters addressed this topic. One commenter fully supported the proposed language, while one commenter recommended that specific fields be included on the 5300 Call Report to capture the value of negotiable instruments, IOLTAs, and prepaid cards. This commenter believed that the additional fields would assist in accurate reporting of balances covered by federal insurance. This final rule maintains the recordkeeping requirements as proposed.

IV. Regulatory Procedures Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires NCUA to prepare an analysis to describe any significant economic impact a regulation may have on a substantial number of small entities.27 For purposes of this analysis, NCUA considers small credit unions to be those having under $50 million in assets.28 This rule implements the Insurance Parity Act, which enhances share insurance coverage for IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts. Accordingly, NCUA certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small credit unions.

27 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

28 On September 24, 2015, the Board published Interpretative Ruling and Policy Statement 15-1, which amends the definition of small credit unions for purposes of the RFA to credit unions with assets of less than $100 million. 80 FR 57512 (Sept. 24, 2015). This change, however, does not take effect until November 23, 2015, which is after the date this rule was issued by the Board.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) applies to rulemakings in which an agency by rule creates a new paperwork burden on regulated entities or modifies an existing burden.29 For purposes of the PRA, a paperwork burden may take the form of either a reporting or a record-keeping requirement, both referred to as information collections. This rule, which enhances share insurance coverage for IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts, will not create new paperwork burdens or modify any existing paperwork burdens.

29 44 U.S.C. 3507(d); 5 CFR part 1320.

Executive Order 13132

Executive Order 13132 encourages independent regulatory agencies to consider the impact of their actions on state and local interests. In adherence to fundamental federalism principles, NCUA, an independent regulatory agency as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(5), voluntarily complies with the executive order. This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on the states, on the connection between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. NCUA has determined this rule does not constitute a policy that has federalism implications for purposes of the executive order.

Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

NCUA has determined that this rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999.30

30 Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998).

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 745

Credit, Credit unions, Share insurance.

By the National Credit Union Administration Board on December 17, 2015.

Gerard Poliquin, Secretary of the Board.

For the reasons stated above, NCUA amends 12 CFR part 745 as follows:

PART 745—SHARE INSURANCE AND APPENDIX 1. The authority for part 745 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 1752(5), 1757, 1765, 1766, 1781, 1782, 1787, 1789; title V, Pub. L. 109-351; 120 Stat. 1966.

2. Add § 745.14 to subpart A to read as follows:
§ 745.14 Interest on lawyers trust accounts and other similar escrow accounts.

(a)(1) Pass-through share insurance. The deposits or shares of any interest on lawyers trust account (IOLTA) or other similar escrow account in an insured credit union are insured on a “pass-through” basis, in the amount of up to the SMSIA for each client and principal on whose behalf funds are held in such accounts by either the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering a similar escrow account, in accordance with the other share insurance provisions of this part.

(2) Pass-through coverage will only be available if the recordkeeping requirements of § 745.2(c)(1) of this part and the relationship disclosure requirements of § 745.2(c)(2) of this part are satisfied. In the event those requirements are satisfied, funds attributable to each client and principal will be insured on a pass-through basis in whatever right and capacity the client or principal owns the funds. For example, an IOLTA or other similar escrow account must be titled as such and the underlying account records of the insured credit union must sufficiently indicate the existence of the relationship on which a claim for insurance is founded. The details of the relationship between the attorney or escrow agent and their clients and principals must be ascertainable from the records of the insured credit union or from records maintained, in good faith and in the regular course of business, by the attorney or the escrow agent administering the account. NCUA will determine, in its sole discretion, the sufficiency of these records for an IOLTA or other similar escrow account.

(b) Membership requirements and treatment of IOLTAs. For share insurance purposes, IOLTAs are treated as escrow accounts. IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts are considered member accounts and eligible for pass-through share insurance if the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering the escrow account is a member of the insured credit union in which the funds are held. In this circumstance, the membership status of the clients or the principals is irrelevant.

(c) Definitions. (1) For purposes of this section:

(i) Interest on lawyers trust account and IOLTA mean a system in which lawyers place certain client funds in interest-bearing or dividend-bearing accounts, with the interest or dividends then used to fund programs such as legal service organizations who provide services to clients in need.

(ii) Other similar escrow account means an account where a licensed professional or other individual serving in a fiduciary capacity holds funds for the benefit of a client or principal as part of a transaction or business relationship. Examples of such accounts include, but are not limited to, real estate escrow accounts and prepaid funeral accounts.

(iii) Pass-through share insurance means, with respect to IOLTAs and other similar escrow accounts, insurance coverage based on the interest of each person on whose behalf funds are held in such accounts by the attorney administering the IOLTA or the escrow agent administering a similar escrow account.

(2) The terms “interest on lawyers trust account”, “IOLTA”, and “pass-through share insurance” are given the same meaning in this section as in 12 U.S.C. 1787(k)(5).

[FR Doc. 2015-32164 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7535-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 744 [Docket No. 150825778-5999-01] RIN 0694-AG64 Russian Sanctions: Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity List AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding sixteen persons under seventeen entries to the Entity List. The sixteen persons who are added to the Entity List have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. BIS is taking this action to ensure the efficacy of existing sanctions on the Russian Federation (Russia) for violating international law and fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. These persons will be listed on the Entity List under the destinations of the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Panama, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Lastly, this final rule includes a clarification for how entries that include references to § 746.5 on the Entity List are to be interpreted.

DATES:

This rule is effective December 28, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Chair, End-User Review Committee, Office of the Assistant Secretary, Export Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce, Phone: (202) 482-5991, Fax: (202) 482-3911, Email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the EAR) identifies entities and other persons reasonably believed to be involved in, or that pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in, activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States. The EAR imposes additional licensing requirements on, and limits the availability of most license exceptions for, exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to those persons or entities listed on the Entity List. The license review policy for each listed entity is identified in the License Review Policy column on the Entity List and the impact on the availability of license exceptions is described in the Federal Register notice adding entities or other persons to the Entity List. BIS places entities on the Entity List based on certain sections of part 744 (Control Policy: End-User and End-Use Based) and part 746 (Embargoes and Other Special Controls) of the EAR.

The End-user Review Committee (ERC) is composed of representatives of the Departments of Commerce (Chair), State, Defense, Energy, and where appropriate, the Treasury. The ERC makes decisions to add an entry to the Entity List by majority vote and to remove or modify an entry by unanimous vote. The Departments represented on the ERC have approved these changes to the Entity List.

Entity List Additions Additions to the Entity List

This rule implements the decision of the ERC to add sixteen persons under seventeen entries to the Entity List. These sixteen persons are being added on the basis of § 744.11 (License requirements that apply to entities acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States) of the EAR. The seventeen entries to the Entity List are located in the Crimea region of Ukraine (seven entries), Cyprus (one entry), Luxembourg (one entry), Panama (one entry), Russia (four entries), Switzerland (one entry), and the United Kingdom (two entries). There are seventeen entries for the sixteen persons because one person is listed in two locations, resulting in one additional entry.

Under § 744.11(b) (Criteria for revising the Entity List) of the EAR, persons for whom there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in, activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States and those acting on behalf of such persons may be added to the Entity List. The persons being added to the Entity List in this rule have been determined to be involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Specifically, in this rule, BIS adds persons to the Entity List for violating international law and fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. These additions ensure the efficacy of existing sanctions on Russia. The particular additions to the Entity List and related authorities are as follows:

A. Entity Additions Consistent With Executive Order 13661

Eight entities are added based on activities that are described in Executive Order 13661 (79 FR 15533), Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine, issued by the President on March 16, 2014. This Order expanded the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660, finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine—including the deployment of Russian military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine—undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

Executive Order 13661 includes a directive that all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or thereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: Persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State to have either materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of a senior official of the Russian government or operate in the defense or related materiel sector in Russia. Under Section 8 of the Order, all agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Order.

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, pursuant to Executive Order 13661, on behalf of the Secretary of the Treasury, and in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated the following eight persons: Avia Group Terminal Limited Liability Company, Fentex Properties Ltd., Lerma Trading S.A., LTS Holding Limited, Maples SA, OAO Volgogradneftemash, Transservice LLC, and White Seal Holdings Limited.

In conjunction with those designations, the Department of Commerce adds the eight entities to the Entity List under this rule, and imposes a license requirement for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to these persons. This license requirement implements an appropriate measure within the authority of the EAR to carry out the provisions of Executive Order 13661.

B. Entity Additions Consistent With Executive Order 13685

Eight entities are added based on activities that are described in Executive Order 13685 (79 FR 77357), Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine, issued by the President on December 19, 2014. This Order took additional steps to address the Russian occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014, and expanded in Executive Order 13661 of March 16, 2014 and Executive Order 13662 of March 20, 2014. In particular, Executive Order 13685 prohibited the export, reexport, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by a U.S. person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to the Crimea region of Ukraine. Under Section 10 of the Order, all agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Order.

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, pursuant to Executive Order 13685 on behalf of the Secretary of the Treasury and in consultation with the Secretary of State, has designated the following eight persons as operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine: Aktsionernoe Obschestvo `Yaltinskaya Kinodstudiya,' Crimean Enterprise Azov Distillery Plant, Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Vneshneekonomicheskoe Obedinenie Tekhnopromeksport, Resort Nizhnyaya Oreanda, State Concern National Production and Agricultural Association Massandra, State Enterprise Factory of Sparkling Wine Novy Svet, State Enterprise Magarach of The National Institute of Wine, and State Enterprise Universal-Avia.

In conjunction with that designation, the Department of Commerce adds the eight entities to the Entity List under this rule and imposes a license requirement for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to these persons. This license requirement implements an appropriate measure within the authority of the EAR to carry out the provisions of Executive Order 13685.

For the sixteen persons under seventeen entries added to the Entity List on the basis of activities described in Executive Orders 13661 or 13685, BIS imposes a license requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a license review policy of presumption of denial. The license requirements apply to any transaction in which items are to be exported, reexported, or transferred (in-country) to any of the persons or in which such persons act as purchaser, intermediate consignee, ultimate consignee, or end-user. In addition, no license exceptions are available for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to the persons being added to the Entity List in this rule. The acronyms “a.k.a.” (also known as) and “f.k.a.” (formerly known as) are used in entries on the Entity List to help exporters, reexporters and transferors to better identify listed persons on the Entity List.

This final rule adds the following sixteen persons under seventeen entries to the Entity List:

Crimea Region of Ukraine

(1) Aktsionernoe Obschestvo `Yaltinskaya Kinodstudiya,' a.k.a., the following eight aliases:

—CJSC Yalta-Film; —Film Studio Yalta-Film; —Joint Stock Company Yalta Film Studio; —JSC Yalta Film Studio; —Kinostudiya Yalta-Film; —Oao Yaltinskaya Kinostudiya; —Yalta Film Studio; and —Yalta Film Studios.

Ulitsa Mukhina, Building 3, Yalta, Crimea 298063, Ukraine; and Sevastopolskaya 4, Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine;

(2) Crimean Enterprise Azov Distillery Plant, a.k.a., the following five aliases:

—Azovsky Likerogorilchany Zavod, Krymske Respublikanske Pidpryemstvo; —Azovsky Likerovo-Dochny Zavod; —Crimean Republican Enterprise Azov Distillery; —Crimean Republican Enterprise Azovsky Likerovodochny Zavod; and —Krymske Respublikanske Pidpryemstvo Azovsky Likerogorilchany Zavod.

Bud. 40 vul. Zaliznychna, Smt Azovske, Dzhankoisky R-N, Crimea 96178, Ukraine; and 40 Railway St., Azov, Dzhankoy District 96178, Ukraine; and 40 Zeleznodorozhnaya str., Azov, Jankoysky District 96178, Ukraine;

(3) Resort Nizhnyaya Oreanda (f.k.a., Federalnoe Gosudarstvennoe Byudzhetnoe Uchrezhdenie Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda Upravleniya), a.k.a., the following three aliases:

—Federalnoe Gosudarstvennoe Byudzhetnoe Uchrezhdenie Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda Upravleniya Delami Prezidenta Rossiskoi Fe; —FGBU Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda; and —Sanatorium Nizhnyaya Oreanda.

Pgt Oreanda, Dom 12, Yalta, Crimea 298658, Ukraine; and Resort Nizhnyaya Oreanda, Oreanda, Yalta 08655, Crimea; Oreanda—12, Yalta 298658, Crimea;

(4) State Concern National Production and Agricultural Association Massandra, a.k.a., the following four aliases:

—Massandra National Industrial Agrarian Association of Wine Industry; —Massandra State Concern, National Production and Agrarian Union, OJSC; —Nacionalnoye Proiz-Vodstvenno Agrarnoye Obyedinenye Massandra; and —State Concern National Association of Producers Massandra.

6, str. Mira, Massandra, Yalta 98600, Ukraine; and 6, Mira str., Massandra, Yalta, Crimea 98650, Ukraine; and Mira str, h. 6, Massandra, Yalta, Crimea 98600, Ukraine; and 6, Myra st., Massandra, Crimea 98650, Ukraine;

(5) State Enterprise Factory of Sparkling Wine Novy Svet, a.k.a., the following six aliases:

—Derzhavne Pidpryemstvo Zavod Shampanskykh Vyn Novy Svit; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Zavod Shampanskykh Vin Novy Svet; —Novy Svet Winery; —Novy Svet Winery State Enterprise; —State Enterprise Factory of Sparkling Wines New World; and —Zavod Shampanskykh Vyn Novy Svit, DP.

1 Shaliapin Street, Novy Svet Village, Sudak, Crimea 98032, Ukraine; and Bud. 1 vul. Shalyapina Smt, Novy Svit, Sudak, Crimea 98032, Ukraine; and 1 Shalyapina str. Novy Svet, Sudak 98032, Ukraine;

(6) State Enterprise Magarach of the National Institute of Wine, a.k.a., the following five aliases:

—Agrofirma Magarach Natsionalnogo Instytutu Vynogradu I Vyna Magarach, DP; —Derzhavne Pidpryemstvo Agrofirma Magarach Natsionalnogo Instytutu Vynogradu I Vyna Magarach; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Agro-Firma Magarach Nacionalnogo Instituta Vinograda I Vina Magarach; —Magarach Agricultural Company Of National Institute Of Wine And Grapes Magarach; and —State Enterprise Agricultural Company Magarach National Institute of Vine and Wine Magarach.

Bud. 9 vul. Chapaeva, S.Viline, Bakhchysaraisky R-N, Crimea 98433, Ukraine; and 9 Chapayeva str., Vilino, Bakhchisaray Region, Crimea 98433, and Ukraine; and 9 Chapayeva str., Vilino, Bakhchisarayski district 98433, Ukraine; and 9, Chapaeva Str., Vilino, Bakhchisaray Region, Crimea 98433, Ukraine; and

(7) State Enterprise Universal-Avia, a.k.a., the following six aliases:

—Crimean State Aviation Enterprise Universal-Avia; —Gosudarstvennoe Unitarnoe Predpriyatie Respubliki Krym Universal; —Gosudarstvennoe Unitarnoe Predpriyatie Respubliki Krym Universal-Avia; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Universal-Avia; —Universal-Avia, Crimea State Aviation Enterprise; and —Universal-Avia, Gup RK.

5, Aeroflotskaya Street, Simferopol, Crimea 95024, Ukraine.

Cyprus

(1) White Seal Holdings Limited, 115 Spyrou Kyprianou Avenue, Limassol 3077, Cyprus.

Luxembourg

(1) Maples SA, Boulevard Royal 25/B 2449, Luxembourg.

Panama

(1) Lerma Trading S.A., Calle 53a, Este, Panama.

Russia

(1) Avia Group Terminal Limited Liability Company, a.k.a., the following three aliases:

—AG Terminal OOO; —LLC AG Terminal; and —Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Avia Grupp Terminal, Ter.

Aeroport Sheremetyevo, Khimki, Moscovskaya Oblast 141400, Russia;

(2) OAO Volgogradneftemash (f.k.a. Dochernee Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Otkrytogo Tipa Volgogradneftemash Rossiiskogo Aktsionernogo Obshchestva Gazprom), a.k.a., the following two aliases:

—JSC Volgogradneftemash; and —Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Volgogradneftemash.

45 Ulitsa Elektrolesovskaya, Volgograd, Volgogradskaya Oblast 400011, Russia;

(3) Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Vneshneekonomicheskoe Obedinenie Tekhnopromeksport, a.k.a., the following seven aliases:

—Joint Stock Company Foreign Economic Association Tekhnopromexport; —JSC Tekhnopromexport; —JSC Vo Tekhnopromexport; —OJSC Technopromexport; —Open Joint Stock Company Foreign Economic Association Tekhnopromexport; —VO Tekhnopromeksport, OAO; and —“JSC TPE.”

d. 15 str. 2 ul. Novy Arbat, Moscow 119019, Russia; and

(4) Transservice LLC, a.k.a., the following three aliases:

—Limited Liability Company Transservis; —Obschestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Transservis; and —OOO Transservis.

35 Prospekt Gubkina, Omsk, Omskaya Oblast 664035, Russia.

Switzerland

(1) LTS Holding Limited (f.k.a. IPP-International Petroleum Products Ltd.), Rue du Conseil-General 20, Geneva 1204, Switzerland. (See alternate address under United Kingdom).

United Kingdom

(1) Fentex Properties LTD., Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and

(2) LTS Holding Limited (f.k.a. IPP-International Petroleum Products Ltd.), Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

(See alternate address under Switzerland). C. Clarification of Entity List Entries That Reference § 746.5

This final rule includes a clarification for how entries that include references to § 746.5 on the Entity List are to be interpreted. There are twenty entities on the Entity List that reference § 746.5 (Russian Industry Sector Sanctions). Nineteen of these entries advise an exporter, reexporter or transferor to review § 746.5 to make a determination whether an export, reexport or transfer (in-country) to any of the nineteen entities is destined to one of the three prohibited end uses in Russia specified in § 746.5. The entries further advise that if the contemplated export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) is destined for one of the prohibited end uses, a license is required for all items subject to the EAR. The entries for these nineteen entities specify under the License Requirements column that a license is required “for all items subject to the EAR when used in projects specified in § 746.5 of the EAR.”

The twentieth entry, for Yuzhno-Kirinskoye Field, in the Sea of Okhotsk, also includes a reference to § 746.5, but uses different text to reference § 746.5, which was intentional by BIS. Specifically, this entry uses the parenthetical phrase “(See § 746.5 of the EAR)” in the License Requirements column for this entity. As was noted in the August 7, 2015 final rule (80 FR 47402), exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of all items subject to the EAR to this entity by any person without first obtaining a BIS license has been determined by the U.S. Government to present an unacceptable risk of use in, or diversion to, the activities specified in paragraph (a)(1) of § 746.5, namely exploration for, or production of, oil or gas in Russian deepwater (greater than 500 feet) locations. Therefore, a license requirement for all items subject to the EAR is warranted. This means unlike the other nineteen entries that reference § 746.5 where the license requirement only applies if the item is destined for one of the three prohibited end uses specified in § 746.5, in the case of this one entry, Yuzhno-Kirinskoye Field, in the Sea of Okhotsk, any export, reexport or transfer (in-country) is presumptively within the scope of § 746.5, meaning a license is required for any item subject to the EAR without regard to the item's end use. BIS also intends to include a new Russia FAQ on the BIS Web site to provide additional regulatory guidance on this issue of application, but the agency also determined it is helpful to include regulatory guidance on this issue in the preamble of this Entity List rule to assist the public's understanding of these existing Entity List provisions. The scope of this entry is not changing, thus, this final rule does not make any changes to this entry.

Export Administration Act

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

Rulemaking Requirements

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

2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to nor be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information, subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number. This regulation involves collections previously approved by OMB under control number 0694-0088, Simplified Network Application Processing System, which includes, among other things, license applications and carries a burden estimate of 43.8 minutes for a manual or electronic submission. Total burden hours associated with the PRA and OMB control number 0694-0088 are not expected to increase as a result of this rule. You may send comments regarding the collection of information associated with this rule, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to Jasmeet K. Seehra, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email to [email protected], or by fax to (202) 395-7285.

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

4. The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requiring notice of proposed rulemaking, the opportunity for public comment and a delay in effective date are inapplicable because this regulation involves a military or foreign affairs function of the United States. (See 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). BIS implements this rule to protect U.S. national security or foreign policy interests by preventing items from being exported, reexported, or transferred (in country) to the persons being added to the Entity List. If this rule were delayed to allow for notice and comment and a delay in effective date, then the entities being added to the Entity List by this action would continue to be able to receive items without a license and to conduct activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. In addition, publishing a proposed rule would give these parties notice of the U.S. Government's intention to place them on the Entity List and would create an incentive for these persons to either accelerate receiving items subject to the EAR to conduct activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States, and/or to take steps to set up additional aliases, change addresses, and other measures to try to limit the impact of the listing on the Entity List once a final rule was published. Further, no other law requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment be given for this rule. Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 744

Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Terrorism.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Bureau of Industry and Security amends part 744 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) as follows:

PART 744—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 744 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 12058, 43 FR 20947, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12851, 58 FR 33181, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 608; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; Notice of January 21, 2015, 80 FR 3461 (January 22, 2015); Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 FR 48233 (August 11, 2015); Notice of September 18, 2015, 80 FR 57281 (September 22, 2015); Notice of November 12, 2015, 80 FR 70667, November 13, 2015.

2. Supplement No. 4 to part 744 is amended: a. By adding under Crimea region of Ukraine, in alphabetical order, seven entities; b. By adding under Cyprus, in alphabetical order, one Cypriot entity; c. By adding under Luxembourg, in alphabetical order, one Luxembourgish entity; d. By adding in alphabetical order the destination of Panama under the Country Column, and one Panamanian entity; e. By adding under Russia, in alphabetical order, four Russian entities; f. By adding under Switzerland, in alphabetical order, one Swiss entity; and g. By adding under the United Kingdom, in alphabetical order, two British entities.

The additions read as follows:

Supplement No. 4 to Part 744—Entity List Country Entity License
  • requirement
  • License
  • review policy
  • Federal Register
  • citation
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * CRIMEA REGION OF UKRAINE Aktsionernoe Obschestvo `Yaltinskaya Kinodstudiya,' a.k.a., the following eight aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —CJSC Yalta-Film; —Film Studio Yalta-Film; —Joint Stock Company Yalta Film Studio; —JSC Yalta Film Studio; —Kinostudiya Yalta-Film; —Oao Yaltinskaya Kinostudiya; —Yalta Film Studio; and —Yalta Film Studios. Ulitsa Mukhina, Building 3, Yalta, Crimea 298063, Ukraine; and Sevastopolskaya 4, Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine.       *         *         *         *         *         *          Crimean Enterprise Azov Distillery Plant, a.k.a., the following five aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER; 12/28/2015. —Azovsky Likerogorilchany Zavod, Krymske Respublikanske Pidpryemstvo; —Azovsky Likerovo-Dochny Zavod; —Crimean Republican Enterprise Azov Distillery; —Crimean Republican Enterprise Azovsky Likerovodochny Zavod; and —Krymske Respublikanske Pidpryemstvo Azovsky Likerogorilchany Zavod Bud. 40 vul. Zaliznychna, Smt Azovske, Dzhankoisky R-N, Crimea 96178, Ukraine; and 40 Railway St., Azov, Dzhankoy District 96178, Ukraine; and 40 Zeleznodorozhnaya str., Azov, Jankoysky District 96178, Ukraine.       *         *         *         *         *         *          Resort Nizhnyaya Oreanda (f.k.a., Federalnoe Gosudarstvennoe Byudzhetnoe Uchrezhdenie Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda Upravleniya), a.k.a., the following three aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —Federalnoe Gosudarstvennoe Byudzhetnoe Uchrezhdenie Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda Upravleniya Delami Prezidenta Rossiskoi Fe; —FGBU Sanatori Nizhnyaya Oreanda; and —Sanatorium Nizhnyaya Oreanda Pgt Oreanda, Dom 12, Yalta, Crimea 298658, Ukraine; and Resort Nizhnyaya Oreanda, Oreanda, Yalta 08655, Crimea; Oreanda—12, Yalta 298658, Crimea. State Concern National Production and Agricultural Association Massandra, a.k.a., the following four aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —Massandra National Industrial Agrarian Association of Wine Industry; —Massandra State Concern, National Production and Agrarian Union, OJSC; —Nacionalnoye Proiz-Vodstvenno Agrarnoye Obyedinenye Massandra; and —State Concern National Association of Producers Massandra. 6, str. Mira, Massandra, Yalta 98600, Ukraine; and 6, Mira str., Massandra, Yalta, Crimea 98650, Ukraine; and Mira str, h. 6, Massandra, Yalta, Crimea 98600, Ukraine; and 6, Myra st., Massandra, Crimea 98650, Ukraine.       *         *         *         *         *         *          State Enterprise Factory of Sparkling Wine Novy Svet, a.k.a., the following six aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER];12/28/2015. —Derzhavne Pidpryemstvo Zavod Shampanskykh Vyn Novy Svit; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Zavod Shampanskykh Vin Novy Svet; —Novy Svet Winery; —Novy Svet Winery State Enterprise; —State Enterprise Factory of Sparkling Wines New World; and —Zavod Shampanskykh Vyn Novy Svit, DP. 1 Shaliapin Street, Novy Svet Village, Sudak, Crimea 98032, Ukraine; and Bud. 1 vul. Shalyapina Smt, Novy Svit, Sudak, Crimea 98032, Ukraine; and 1 Shalyapina str. Novy Svet, Sudak 98032, Ukraine.       *         *         *         *         *         *          State Enterprise Magarach of the National Institute of Wine, a.k.a., the following five aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] 12/28/2015. —Agrofirma Magarach Natsionalnogo Instytutu Vynogradu I Vyna Magarach, DP; —Derzhavne Pidpryemstvo Agrofirma Magarach Natsionalnogo Instytutu Vynogradu I Vyna Magarach; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Agro-Firma Magarach Nacionalnogo Instituta Vinograda I Vina Magarach; —Magarach Agricultural Company Of National Institute Of Wine And Grapes Magarach; and —State Enterprise Agricultural Company Magarach National Institute of Vine and Wine Magarach Bud. 9 vul. Chapaeva, S.Viline, Bakhchysaraisky R-N, Crimea 98433, Ukraine; and 9 Chapayeva str., Vilino, Bakhchisaray Region, Crimea 98433, and Ukraine; and 9 Chapayeva str., Vilino, Bakhchisarayski district 98433, Ukraine; and 9, Chapaeva Str., Vilino, Bakhchisaray Region, Crimea 98433, Ukraine.       *         *         *         *         *         *          State Enterprise Universal-Avia, a.k.a., the following six aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —Crimean State Aviation Enterprise Universal-Avia; —Gosudarstvennoe Unitarnoe Predpriyatie Respubliki Krym Universal; —Gosudarstvennoe Unitarnoe Predpriyatie Respubliki Krym Universal-Avia; —Gosudarstvenoye Predpriyatiye Universal-Avia; —Universal-Avia, Crimea State Aviation Enterprise; and —Universal-Avia, Gup RK 5, Aeroflotskaya Street, Simferopol, Crimea 95024, Ukraine. *         *         *         *         *         *         * CYPRUS       *         *         *         *         *         *          White Seal Holdings Limited, 115 Spyrou Kyprianou Avenue, Limassol 3077, Cyprus For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. *         *         *         *         *         *         * LUXEMBOURG Maples SA,
  • Boulevard Royal 25/B 2449, Luxembourg
  • For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015.
          *         *         *         *         *         *          *         *         *         *         *         *         * PANAMA Lerma Trading S.A., Calle 53a, Este, Panama For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. *         *         *         *         *         *         * RUSSIA       *         *         *         *         *         *          Avia Group Terminal Limited Liability Company, a.k.a., the following three aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —AG Terminal OOO; —LLC AG Terminal; and —Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Avia Grupp Terminal, Ter. Aeroport Sheremetyevo, Khimki, Moscovskaya Oblast 141400, Russia.       *         *         *         *         *         *          OAO Volgogradneftemash (f.k.a. Dochernee Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Otkrytogo Tipa Volgogradneftemash Rossiiskogo Aktsionernogo Obshchestva Gazprom), a.k.a., the following two aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. —JSC Volgogradneftemash; and —Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Volgogradneftemash. 45 Ulitsa Elektrolesovskaya, Volgograd, Volgogradskaya Oblast 400011, Russia.       *         *         *         *         *         *          Otkrytoe Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Vneshneekonomicheskoe Obedinenie Tekhnopromeksport, a.k.a., the following seven aliases: For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] 12/28/2015. —Joint Stock Company Foreign Economic Association Tekhnopromexport; —JSC Tekhnopromexport; —JSC Vo Tekhnopromexport; —OJSC Technopromexport; —Open Joint Stock Company Foreign Economic Association Tekhnopromexport; —VO Tekhnopromeksport, OAO; and —“JSC TPE.” d. 15 str. 2 ul. Novy Arbat, Moscow 119019, Russia.       *         *         *         *         *         *          Transservice LLC, a.k.a., the following three aliases:
  • —Limited Liability Company Transservis;
  • For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015.
    —Obschestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Transservis; and —OOO Transservis. 35 Prospekt Gubkina, Omsk, Omskaya Oblast 664035, Russia.       *         *         *         *         *         *          *         *         *         *         *         *         * SWITZERLAND       *         *         *         *         *         *          LTS Holding Limited (f.k.a. IPP-International Petroleum Products Ltd.), Rue du Conseil-General 20, Geneva 1204, Switzerland. (See alternate address under United Kingdom) For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015.       *         *         *         *         *         *          *         *         *         *         *         *         * UNITED KINGDOM       *         *         *         *         *         *          Fentex Properties LTD., Tortola, British Virgin Islands. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015. LTS Holding Limited (f.k.a. IPP-International Petroleum Products Ltd.), Tortola, British Virgin Islands. (See alternate address under Switzerland). For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR) Presumption of denial 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER]; 12/28/2015.       *         *         *         *         *         *         
    Dated: December 22, 2015. Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32607 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Parts 606 and 610 [Docket No. FDA-1999-N-0114 (formerly 1999N-2337)] RIN 0910-AB76 Hepatitis C Virus “Lookback” Requirements Based on Review of Historical Testing Records; Technical Amendment AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; technical amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending the biologics regulations by removing the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) “lookback” requirements regarding review of historical testing records. FDA is taking this action because the HCV “lookback” regulations based on review of historical testing records expired on August 24, 2015, due to the sunset provision provided under the regulation.

    DATES:

    This rule is December 28, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gretchen Opper, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 7301, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Federal Register of August 24, 2007 (72 FR 48766), FDA published a final rule entitled “Current Good Manufacturing Practice for Blood and Blood Components; Notification of Consignees and Transfusion Recipients Receiving Blood and Blood Components at Increased Risk of Transmitting Hepatitis C Virus Infection (‘Lookback’).” Under § 610.48 (21 CFR 610.48) of the final rule, FDA established HCV “lookback” requirements based on review of historical testing records. The requirements under § 610.48 were to remain in effect for 8 years after the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register (§ 610.48(e)). Section 610.48(e) specifically provides that the section expired on August 24, 2015; therefore, FDA is removing this regulation from Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

    FDA is also making conforming changes to other biologics regulations where § 610.48 is referenced.

    FDA is revising the biologics regulations as follows:

    • Removing and reserving § 610.48.

    • Revising § 606.100(b)(19) (21 CFR 606.100(b)(19)) by removing the reference to § 610.48.

    • Revising § 606.160(b)(1)(viii) by removing the reference to § 610.48.

    Publication of this document constitutes final action under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553). FDA has determined that notice and public comments are unnecessary because the amendments to the regulations provide only technical changes to remove and update information and are nonsubstantive.

    List of Subjects 21 CFR Part 606

    Blood, Labeling, Laboratories, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    21 CFR Part 610

    Biologics, Labeling, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act, and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR parts 606 and 610 are amended as follows:

    PART 606—CURRENT GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE FOR BLOOD AND BLOOD COMPONENTS 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 606 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 351, 352, 355, 360, 360j, 371, 374; 42 U.S.C. 216, 262, 263a, 264.

    § 606.100 [Amended]
    2. Amend § 606.100(b)(19) introductory text by removing “§§ 610.46, 610.47, and 610.48” and adding in its place “§§ 610.46 and 610.47”.
    § 606.160 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 606.160(b)(1)(viii) by removing “§§ 610.46, 610.47, and, 610.48” and adding in its place “§§ 610.46 and 610.47”. PART 610—GENERAL BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS STANDARDS 4. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 610 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 351, 352, 353, 355, 360, 360c, 360d, 360h, 360i, 371, 372, 374, 381; 42 U.S.C. 216, 262, 263, 263a, 264.

    § 610.48 [Removed and Reserved]
    5. Remove and reserve § 610.48.
    Dated: December 21, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32477 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-1074] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; New Year's Eve Firework Displays, Chicago River, Chicago, IL AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone that encompasses all waters of the Main Branch of the Chicago River between the Michigan Avenue Highway Bridge and the west entrance to the Chicago Harbor Lock. The safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from a portion of the Main Branch of the Chicago River from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2015 to 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2016. This temporary safety zone is necessary to protect the surrounding public and vessels from the hazards associated with multiple barge based firework displays for Chicago's New Year's Eve Celebration.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2015 to 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2015-1074 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email LT Lindsay Cook, Marine Safety Unit Chicago, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (630) 986-2155, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable. The final details for this event were not known to the Coast Guard until there was insufficient time remaining before the event to publish a NPRM. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for a comment period to run would be impracticable because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect the public and vessels from the hazards associated with multiple barge based firework displays on the Main Branch of the Chicago River.

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

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The legal basis for the rule is the Coast Guard's authority to establish safety zones: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016 Chicago's New Year's Eve firework displays will take place from multiple barge based launch sites on the Main Branch of the Chicago River. The Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan has determined that the firework displays will pose a significant risk to public safety and property. Such hazards include falling debris, flaming debris, and collisions among spectator vessels. The safety zone is necessary to protect spectators from hazards associated with aerial firework displays.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    With the aforementioned hazards in mind, the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan has determined that a temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of the public and the participants during Chicago's New Year's Eve Fireworks Display on the Main Branch of the Chicago River. This safety zone will be effective from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2015 to 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2016. The safety zone will encompass all waters of the Main Branch of the Chicago River between the Michigan Avenue Highway Bridge and west entrance of the Chicago Harbor Lock. Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within the safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan, or a designated on-scene representative. The Captain of the Port or a designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    We conclude that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The safety zone created by this rule will be relatively small and effective for less than a one hour period on December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Under certain conditions, moreover, vessels may still transit through the safety zone when permitted by the Captain of the Port.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered the impact of this temporary rule on small entities. This rule will affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit on a portion of the Main Branch of the Chicago River on December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016.

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

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

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

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

    G. Protest Activities

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

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T09-1074 to read as follows:
    § 165.T09-1074 Safety Zone; New Year's Eve Fireworks Display, Chicago River, Chicago, IL.

    (a) Location. All waters of the the Main Branch of the Chicago River between the Michigan Avenue Highway Bridge and the west entrance of the Chicago Harbor Lock.

    (b) Enforcement Period. This rule will be enforced from 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2015 to 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2016.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan or a designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan or a designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan to act on his or her behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone shall contact the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan or an on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. The Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan or an on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan, or an on-scene representative.

    Dated: December 11, 2015. A.B. Cocanour, Captain, U. S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Lake Michigan.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32642 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 152 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305; FRL-9934-44] RIN 2070-AJ79 Pesticides; Revisions to Minimum Risk Exemption AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    EPA is revising its regulations to more clearly describe the active and inert ingredients that are permitted in products eligible for the minimum risk pesticide exemption. EPA is improving the clarity and transparency of the minimum risk exemption by codifying the inert ingredients list and by adding specific chemical identifiers, where available, for all eligible active and inert ingredients. These specific identifiers will make it easier for manufacturers, the public, and Federal, state, and tribal inspectors to determine the specific chemical substances that are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. EPA is also modifying the labeling requirements in the exemption to require products to list ingredients on the label with a designated label display name and to provide the producer's contact information on the product's label. These changes will provide more consistent information for consumers and clearer regulations for producers, and will simplify compliance determination by states, tribes, and EPA.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective February 26, 2016. The compliance date for the requirements to label ingredients with a label display name and to provide company contact information on the label is February 26, 2019.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305, 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:

    Ryne Yarger, Field and External Affairs Divisions (7506P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 605-1193; fax number: (703) 305-5884; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be affected by this action if you manufacture, distribute, sell, or use minimum risk pesticide products. Minimum risk pesticide products are exempt from registration and other requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and are described in 40 CFR 152.25(f). 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:

    • Manufacturers of these products, which includes pesticide and other agricultural chemical manufacturers (NAICS codes 325320 and 325311), as well as other manufacturers in similar industries such as animal feed (NAICS code 311119), cosmetics (NAICS code 325620), and soap and detergents (NAICS code 325611).

    • Manufacturers who may also be distributors of these products, which includes farm supplies merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 424910), drug and druggists merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 424210), and motor vehicle supplies and new parts merchant wholesalers (NAICS code 423120).

    • Retailers of minimum risk pesticide products (some of which may also be manufacturers), which includes nursery, garden center, and farm supply stores (NAICS code 444220), outdoor power equipment stores (NAICS code 444210), and supermarkets (NAICS code 445110).

    • Users of minimum risk pesticide products, including the public in general, as well as exterminating and pest control services (NAICS code 561710), landscaping services (NAICS code 561730), sports and recreation institutions (NAICS code 611620), and child daycare services (NAICS code 624410). Many of these companies also manufacture minimum risk pesticide products.

    B. What action is the agency taking?

    EPA is revising its regulations to more clearly describe the active and inert ingredients permitted in products eligible for the minimum risk pesticide exemption (40 CFR 152.25(f)). EPA is doing this by codifying the inert ingredients list and reformatting the active and inert ingredients lists, adding specific chemical identifiers, where available, for each eligible active and inert ingredient. These identifiers, through the use of Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CAS Nos.), will make it easier for manufacturers, the public, and Federal, state, and tribal inspectors to determine the specific chemical substances that are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. EPA is also modifying the labeling requirements in the exemption to require the use of a designated label display name for each ingredient in the lists of ingredients on minimum risk pesticide product labels, and to require producers to provide contact information on their products' labels. EPA is finalizing most of the regulatory text that was proposed in the Federal Register of December 31, 2012 (Ref. 1), with changes based on the comments submitted to the Agency.

    C. What is the agency's authority for taking this action?

    This action is issued under the authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. 136 et seq., particularly sections 3 and 25.

    D. What are the incremental costs and benefits of the action?

    EPA has determined that the total cost for industry to comply with the labeling requirements of this rulemaking is approximately $800,000 under a 3-year implementation period as described in the Cost Analysis for this rulemaking (Ref. 2). EPA proposed a 2-year implementation period, but instead determined to use a 3-year implementation period based on public comments since 3 years would be the most sensitive to the smallest firms. The costs for industry to comply with this rulemaking are a result of meeting the new labeling requirements to list ingredients using a designated label display name and to list the company's contact information on the product's label. Since most companies update their labels every 3 years, EPA has determined that a rule implementation period of 3 years will allow most companies to meet the labeling requirements of the rule as part of their normal labeling practices and will therefore keep industry costs to a minimum.

    Benefits of the rule include the improved clarity of the ingredient lists and the improved clarity and transparency of how minimum risk products are labeled. By providing specific chemical identifiers, such as the CAS Nos. for active and inert ingredients, manufacturers and Federal, state, and tribal inspectors will be able to easily determine whether a chemical substance can be used in a minimum risk product, i.e., is eligible for the exemption. These regulatory changes improve compliance and enforcement of the exemption. Requiring ingredients to be listed on the label with common label display names will help inspectors to efficiently determine whether a product is in compliance with the exemption, and will also provide improved clarity and transparency for consumers who want more information about the ingredients used in a product. Additionally, requiring company contact information on labels will provide further transparency and accountability should an adverse event occur while using a product.

    II. Background A. Summary of the Proposed Rule

    EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register of December 31, 2012 (77 FR 76979) (FRL-9339-1) (Ref. 1) proposing to revise the regulations in 40 CFR 152.25(f) that created an exemption from FIFRA requirements for minimum risk pesticide products. The primary goal of the proposed revisions was to clarify the conditions of exemption for minimum risk pesticides by clearly specifying the chemical substances permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. EPA's proposed revisions clarified the specific active and inert ingredients permitted in minimum risk pesticide products, specified how the ingredients should be presented on the label, and provided consumers with the manufacturer's contact information on the product's label. EPA's intent with the proposed revisions was to clarify the terms of the original exemption and to provide additional clarity and transparency concerning the ingredients that are currently used in exempted products. As described in the proposal, no ingredients were intended to be added or removed from the lists.

    B. Public Comment on the Proposed Rule

    EPA evaluated all comments received and developed a Response to Comments document, which is available in the docket at http://www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305 (Ref. 3). Only the key comments within the scope of the proposed rule and the Agency's responses to those comments are summarized here. For detailed responses, please see the Response to Comment document (Ref. 3).

    1. United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Specifications for 19 active ingredients. Several commenters expressed concern that adding a USP specification for 19 active ingredients in the active ingredients table would go beyond the stated purpose of the proposal, which was to clarify the original active and inert ingredient lists. These commenters said that USP standards might ultimately result in the need to reformulate many products since technical grade active ingredients currently eligible would be removed from the exemption because the ingredients would be unlikely to meet the USP standards. These commenters said this change would create a new additional burden on minimum risk pesticide product manufacturers.

    In response, for the final regulation, EPA has removed the USP specification for all of the active ingredients except for castor oil. EPA recognizes that the addition of USP specifications for the active ingredients identified would result in the removal of technical grade active ingredients that are currently eligible for the minimum risk exemption. Since this rulemaking is to clarify the currently eligible active and inert ingredients and not to add or remove substances from the ingredients lists, EPA is not including the USP specification for 18 of the 19 active ingredients in the final regulatory text. EPA, however, has retained the specification for castor oil to say “United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standard or equivalent” since this specification was part of the original active ingredients list.

    2. Brackets in the label display name. One commenter stated that requiring certain label display names to contain bracketed text fails to add additional clarity to consumers and inspectors and could create confusion. The commenter cited several inert ingredients with bracketed information in the label display name, such as vinegar (maximum 8% acetic acid in solution). The commenter recommended that the Agency remove the bracketed text included in the “Label Display Name” column, but continue to leave the bracketed information solely in the “Chemical Name” column since the bracketed text best serves as clarification for manufacturers to meet the requirements of the minimum risk exemption. The commenter suggested that keeping the information in the “Chemical Name” column and providing such information at state registration or upon request enables efficient monitoring of the exempted ingredients in a minimum risk pesticide, and allows for a more consumer-friendly label.

    In response, EPA believes that the bracketed information provides important clarifying and safety information for manufacturers to meet the requirements of the exemption and for those states who review and register minimum risk pesticide products. This information ranges from safety limitations on certain inert ingredients such as vinegar (maximum 8% acetic acid in solution) to chemical formulas for inert ingredients such as calcite (Ca(CO3)). However, after examining the inert ingredients with bracketed information in the label display name, EPA agrees with the commenter that this information is not necessary to include on the label. The information provided within the brackets is more for manufacturers to correctly identify the specific inert ingredients and understand limitations on inert ingredients than it is to improve the clarity of the labels for consumers. EPA agrees that this information could potentially create confusion for consumers and may add more information than what consumers would want or need about an inert ingredient. Therefore, EPA has removed the bracketed information from the “Label Display Name” column in the final regulatory text. EPA, however, will continue to provide the bracketed information for those inert ingredients in the “Chemical Name” column to help manufacturers comply with the minimum risk exemption's requirements.

    3. Missing active ingredients. Two commenters noted that common salt (sodium chloride) was missing from the proposed active ingredients table, while one of the commenters also noted that ground sesame plant was not listed in the active ingredients list.

    In response, the deletion of sodium chloride and ground sesame plant from the exemption were inadvertent omissions in the proposed regulatory text. EPA did not intend for these ingredients to be removed from the exemption. EPA is restoring sodium chloride (CAS No. 7647-14-5) into the table of active ingredients, and is placing “includes ground sesame plant” into the specifications column for “sesame” in the final regulatory text.

    4. Inclusion of “spearmint oil” under the term “mint oil.” Several commenters suggested that spearmint oil (CAS No. 8008-79-5) should be included under the definition of “mint oil” in the active ingredients table. The commenters stated that “mint oil” could include several varietals under the genus Mentha, and that spearmint oil has traditionally been accepted as an eligible active ingredient by the Agency. One commenter suggested that EPA needs to address the other oils that are broadly categorized as mint, while another commenter suggested that EPA should include specific notation or include all CAS numbers whenever multiple CAS numbers may be applicable.

    In response, during the development of the proposal, EPA considered the historical use of the terms “mint” and “mint oil.” “Mint” is a broad term for the genus Mentha, and could represent a number of different mint or mint oils. However, in promulgating the minimum risk exemption, EPA did not intend the term “mint and mint oil” to include all oils from the genus Mentha. Peppermint and peppermint oil (derived from Mentha piperita), for example, was listed separately from “mint and mint oil” in the 1996 active ingredient list. When the minimum risk exemption was promulgated in 1996, “mint and mint oil” was intended to refer only to cornmint and cornmint oil (Mentha arvensis), since spearmint oil (Mentha spicata) at that time was a registered active ingredient. However, “mint and mint oil” was written broadly so that spearmint oil could also be included under this term (Ref. 3).

    EPA agrees with the commenters that spearmint oil has traditionally been accepted under the definition of “mint oil” and has been regarded as a minimum risk active ingredient by the Agency. Therefore, in addition to cornmint oil, EPA is including the CAS No. for spearmint oil (CAS No. 8008-79-5) in the active ingredients list. Additionally, since no other ingredients were intended to be included under “mint and mint oil” when the minimum risk exemption was written, EPA is also revising how cornmint, cornmint oil, spearmint, and spearmint oil are listed in the table. Instead of being identified under the general terms “mint” and “mint oil,” which has caused confusion in the past, these terms are being removed from the active ingredients list and are being replaced with separate listings for “cornmint,” “cornmint oil,” “spearmint,” and “spearmint oil.” EPA believes that this change will improve the clarity and transparency of the listings for these mints and mint oils, while also being more consistent with how the Agency lists these specific substances in other databases.

    Since the purpose of this rulemaking is to clarify those ingredients that were intended to be exempt under the original exemption and not to add or remove ingredients, EPA is not reassessing the appropriateness of whether or not other mints or mint oils should be included under this rulemaking. If stakeholders have information that they believe supports the inclusion of other mints or mint oils, they can provide such information to EPA in a petition for evaluation. EPA will consider and respond to all such petitions.

    5. Use of CAS Nos. to identify eligible ingredients. While several commenters expressed support for using CAS Nos. to identify eligible ingredients when available, one commenter stated that EPA's assumption that CAS Nos. are unique chemical identifiers is not accurate for every ingredient. The commenter noted, for example, that many ingredients have multiple CAS Nos. that could apply, other ingredients have none, and many CAS Nos. are defined as broad general categories.

    The commenter recommended that EPA add the Consumer Specialty Products Association's Consumer Product Ingredients Dictionary (CSPA Dictionary) to the list of reference sources because the CSPA Dictionary Nomenclature Committee addresses the issues identified above. The commenter stated that the CSPA Dictionary contains monographs developed by the Committee to establish consistent nomenclature for consumer product ingredients (including those in antimicrobial and pest management products) submitted for inclusion, and carefully defines each ingredient, including all CAS Nos. and other names the Committee finds for the ingredient, in addition to recommending a CSPA name that is judged to be best for consumer ingredient communication. The commenter suggested that including the CSPA Dictionary as a nomenclature option would further the stated goals of identifying the active ingredients by universally accepted names, since it includes all of the CAS Nos. and names where they are available and considered applicable.

    In response, EPA has consistently provided the chemical names, as determined by the Chemical Abstracts Service, and CAS Nos., when available, for each of the eligible ingredients on the minimum risk inert ingredients list that has been provided on the Agency's Web site. EPA's experience with providing this information on the publicly-available inerts list has not shown to be problematic in the past. CAS Index Names and CAS Nos. are generally recognized as universal identifiers for chemicals, which helps to reduce confusion and improves clarity for the permitted ingredients. In fact, the use of these chemical names and CAS Nos. have benefitted state reviewers and formulators by providing the specific chemical identifiers needed to determine whether an inert ingredient is or is not permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. CAS Nos. are also required on Material Safety Data Sheets, which makes the CAS No. a useful tool for enforcement purposes. EPA believes that continuing this practice for the inert ingredient list and providing similar information in the active ingredients list will provide the specificity needed to help with compliance and enforcement of the exemption while maintaining consistency with Agency practices.

    Regarding the use of the CSPA Dictionary as a reference option, the CSPA Dictionary is not a publicly-available information source, and individuals would have to purchase the dictionary in order to reference the information provided in it. Therefore, EPA believes that referencing the CSPA Dictionary would reduce transparency. While a Web page does offer access to publicly-available indices associated with the CSPA Dictionary, EPA does not believe that these indices alone offer improved transparency and clarity. EPA's intent in proposing the use of a label display name was to provide a chemical name more understandable to many consumers, thus increasing transparency and consistency. Additionally, a standardized label display name provides the opportunity for state inspectors to become familiar with the name, thus decreasing label review timeframes. EPA believes that the CAS approach provides the most consistent and transparent way to provide information since this information is universally recognized and consistent with how the Agency has been identifying chemicals in the past.

    6. Codification of the inert ingredient list and the need for an efficient mechanism for adding or remove ingredients from the lists. Several commenters expressed concerns about the codification of the inert ingredient list. Since the 1996 promulgation of the minimum risk exemption, the list has been held as a reference within 40 CFR 152.25(f)(2), updated periodically, and maintained on EPA's public Web site. The commenters questioned what codification would mean for getting ingredients added or removed from the list. These commenters understood that notice and comment rulemaking would be needed to make changes to the inert ingredients list once codified in 40 CFR 152.25(f). Accordingly, the commenters suggested that the rulemaking process would inadvertently create a barrier to adding new ingredients, as well as potentially slowing the Agency's ability to remove an ingredient should the need arise. The commenters questioned if an efficient mechanism could be developed so that additions or deletions from the list could be easily accomplished.

    In response, for the final regulation, EPA believes that codifying the inert ingredient list in 40 CFR 152.25(f)(2) provides immediate benefits to all parties. An inert ingredient list directly in the regulations offers much needed clarity to Federal, state, and tribal inspectors and manufacturers. Having all of the ingredients codified also improves the efficiency of inspections because inspectors will not have to look through multiple sources to find the information they need.

    EPA understands that stakeholders may want to add or remove ingredients from the ingredient lists for various reasons. EPA has been examining ways to make the process of adding or removing an ingredient from the exemption as streamlined as possible while meeting the requirements of notice and comment rulemaking. For example, EPA is considering developing guidance that would describe the process and types of information EPA may need for a stakeholder to request the addition or removal of an ingredient from the lists. Any guidance that EPA may develop in the future for minimum risk pesticides would be available on EPA's Web site at http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides.

    EPA believes that codifying the inert ingredient list and revising both the active and inert ingredient lists as soon as possible via this final rule, even if the guidance is not yet available, is appropriate to provide the immediate benefits previously described. Companies may at any time petition the Agency to add or remove an ingredient from the active or inert ingredient lists under the Administrative Procedure Act, even in the absence of guidance. EPA cannot predict in advance what the response will be to any particular petition to amend the list of ingredients eligible for the exemption. If the Agency were to grant such a petition, the changes to the ingredient lists would be subject to notice and comment rulemaking.

    7. Proposed timeframe for implementation. Most commenters indicated that the proposed 2-year compliance period was reasonable, although a few commenters supported a 3-year implementation period that would allow the smallest companies more time to complete the changes and sell existing stock at minimal cost.

    In response, EPA has decided to use a 3-year compliance period instead of the proposed 2-year compliance period. EPA's Cost Analysis document (Ref. 2) indicated that the costs to change labels over a 2-year compliance period would cost the average small business $14,634, or 0.5% of their gross revenue. However, a 3-year compliance period would be the most sensitive to the smallest firms, costing the average small business $3,857, or 0.1% of their gross revenue. Based on estimates described in the Cost Analysis, companies typically change labels every 3 years, so costs to comply with the changes made in this rulemaking would be reduced by almost 75% when using a 3-year compliance period instead of a 2-year timeframe.

    8. Tolerance/tolerance exemptions for minimum risk pesticide ingredients. One state commenter indicated that the most challenging issue for their state has been the lack of understanding about when residue tolerances or tolerance exemptions are required for products intended for use on food or feed sites. The commenter stated that they regularly encounter minimum risk products labeled for food/feed uses that do not comply with the tolerance requirements in 40 CFR part 180, and have been challenged over this issue by several registrants. The commenter stated this problem is exacerbated by poor guidance, conflicting messages received by registrants from direct contacts within EPA, and inconsistent regulation among states regarding the issue. The commenter stated that the proposed revisions will do little to alleviate the problems associated with meeting the requirements for residue tolerances or exemptions from the tolerance requirement.

    Another state commenter stated that better clarification is needed regarding allowed ingredients that do not have tolerance exemptions for residues that may end up on food or feed. The commenter stated that the current minimum risk exemption language makes no mention that exemption of a product is conditional on limitations on food use sites for products containing active and/or inert ingredients without tolerance exemptions. With the language provided in the proposed rule, the commenter stated that if EPA's intent is that minimum risk products must restrict labeled use sites based on the status of tolerance or tolerance exemptions of the ingredients, then the Agency should clearly state that as a requirement of the exemption. The commenter did not believe that referring minimum risk pesticide manufacturers to guidance with the suggestion that they consult tolerance information would be sufficient.

    The commenter also stated that even if EPA amended the exemption to add label restrictions for food crop use sites as a condition of the exemption, this still would not be enough. The commenter argued that since these products are exempt from FIFRA, the prohibition in FIFRA on use of pesticides inconsistent with label directions would not apply. The commenter stated that while some states such as theirs are able to enforce minimum risk pesticide labels, EPA and the states cannot require the user to adhere to directions on labels for exempted products. The commenter also stated that the general reference to section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) in the proposal is not sufficient authority for their state to deny registration applications or stop the distribution of a minimum risk exempt product that has food use sites but no tolerance exemption for one or more ingredients, and that the same is true for the guidance referenced in the proposed regulatory text. The commenter indicated that their state does not have the authority to enforce FFDCA. As a result, the commenter encouraged EPA to not include ingredients as allowable active ingredients in minimum risk pesticides exempted from FIFRA if EPA does not have enough information to issue a broad tolerance exemption for use on food crops.

    In response, this rule does not attempt to address when a tolerance or tolerance exemption may be required or to list existing tolerances or exemptions applicable to minimum risk pesticides. EPA understands that there can be confusion regarding whether a minimum risk pesticide ingredient is included in a pesticide tolerance or tolerance exemption, and regarding when a tolerance or tolerance exemption is necessary for use of a minimum risk pesticide product on food or feed. As noted in the NPRM, EPA proposed to address some of these issues by directing manufacturers to 40 CFR part 180 to find information about tolerance requirements. EPA is finalizing this change as proposed.

    On its Web site, at http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides, EPA recently provided additional guidance with clearer descriptions of where tolerance information can be found for those ingredients that are eligible for use on food or food-use sites. EPA believes the additional guidance will help manufacturers find the information they need to comply with pesticide tolerance requirements while alleviating some of the problems experienced by the commenter.

    EPA is not attempting to enforce adherence to the labels of minimum risk pesticides, which as noted cannot be done for pesticides subject to 40 CFR 152.25(f). Rather, the Agency is assisting minimum risk pesticide producers in ensuring that the use directions on the product do not cause the label to be false or misleading. An exemption from FIFRA requirements under section 25(b) of the statute, including the minimum risk exemption at 40 CFR 152.25(f), cannot exempt pesticides from the requirements of a tolerance or tolerance exemption under FFDCA. Under FFDCA, any pesticide chemical residue to be used in or on foods in commerce in the United States must have either an established tolerance or tolerance exemption. When a minimum risk product explicitly states on its label that it can be used in or on food or food-use sites in commerce, but one or more of the ingredients does not have an established tolerance or tolerance exemption, the label is indicating that the product may be used in a way that would violate Federal law. Such a label is therefore false or misleading. One of the requirements for the exemption, contained in § 152.25(f)(3)(iii), is that the product must not include any false and misleading labeling statements. A product bearing a label that is false and misleading would therefore not be eligible for the minimum risk exemption, and sale or distribution of that product would require FIFRA registration, including any needed label changes. If state law requires a pesticide to be compliant with FIFRA, the state can insist that the label not allow a food use without the necessary tolerance or tolerance exemption. This will help ensure that products labeled for food-uses are properly labeled, thus reducing the potential for improper use of the product.

    In the regulatory text of the proposal, EPA stated in § 152.25(f)(1) that “all listed active ingredients may be used in non-food use products,” but products intended to be used “on food and animal feed can only include active ingredients with applicable tolerances or tolerance exemptions in part 180” to comply with FFDCA. During development of the proposal, EPA considered adding tolerance information into the reformatted ingredients tables in 40 CFR 152.25(f) for reference purposes. However, EPA did not include this information because tolerances or tolerance exemptions can change frequently, meaning that any tolerance information in § 152.25(f) would also have to be revised via rulemaking, possibly leading to errors in the regulation.

    To improve the clarity of the information about tolerances in the regulatory text, EPA is revising the explanatory text about tolerances in § 152.25(f)(1) for active ingredients, and is adding similar explanatory text for inert ingredients in § 152.25(f)(2). As specified in the final regulatory text, EPA is using its Web site to provide additional guidance on where tolerance information can be found. As needed, information on the Web site can be easily changed and can direct people where to find the tolerance information they need to comply with FFDCA. EPA believes that these approaches will make it clearer that manufacturers should review the tolerance information in 40 CFR part 180 before labeling their product for food uses to prevent their labels from potentially being false or misleading.

    C. Other Modifications to the Regulatory Text

    While responding to the comments regarding mint oil, EPA realized that additional clarity would be helpful for the descriptions of cedar oil in the active ingredients table. “Cedar oil” is a non-specific term, and the proposal listed three separate CAS Nos. for it. While each CAS No. is associated with a specific type of cedar oil, the type of cedar oil was not indicated in the label display name or the chemical name. EPA is revising the label display names from “Cedar oil” to “Cedarwood oil” to improve clarity and the chemical names to more clearly reflect the differences among the three CAS Nos. for cedarwood oil. These revisions will also improve the clarity and transparency of the eligible ingredients for manufacturers and inspectors. This does not change the list of ingredients eligible for the exemption or impose any additional requirements on producers of minimum risk pesticides containing one of these ingredients. The chemical name changes for the three cedarwood oil ingredients are, as follows:

    • CAS No. 85085-29-6 will have the chemical name, “Cedarwood oil (China).”

    • CAS No. 68990-83-0 will have the chemical name, “Cedarwood oil (Texas).”

    • CAS No. 8000-27-9 will have the chemical name, “Cedarwood oil (Virginia).”

    Additionally, EPA determined to finalize only the first sentence of proposed § 152.25(f)(3)(v). EPA believes that a description of the information available on EPA's Web site is not needed in regulatory text. Since this is not a condition of the exemption, EPA is finalizing the first sentence of proposed § 152.25(f)(3)(v) in a new § 152.25(f)(4) to be entitled “Providing guidance.”

    Because these changes do not modify the list of eligible ingredients for the exemption or otherwise affect the scope of the exemption, EPA has determined that notice and comment are unnecessary in accordance with the good cause exemption contained in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act.

    III. The Final Rule

    With the exception of the modifications discussed in Unit II.B. and II.C., EPA is finalizing the rule in essentially the same form as the proposed rule. The final rule continues to do the following:

    • Redesign the format of the active ingredients list,

    • Codify the list of permitted inert ingredients,

    • Provide specific chemical identifiers, through the use of CAS Nos., for each eligible active and inert ingredient when available,

    • Require that a common “label display name” for each ingredient be used when listing ingredients on a product's label, and

    • Require company name and contact information on product labels.

    EPA recently updated its guidance on minimum risk pesticides online at http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides. This Web site now includes guidance on pesticide tolerances for minimum risk ingredients and provides alternative formats of the active and inert ingredient lists that may be more suitable for some users. Shortly after the effective date of this final rule, EPA intends to include additional guidance, as needed, such as labeling guidance for minimum risk pesticides and how to request additional ingredients to be added or removed from the minimum risk exemption.

    IV. References

    As indicated under ADDRESSES, a docket has been established for this final rule under docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0305. The following is a listing of the documents that are specifically referenced in this action. The docket includes these documents and other information considered by EPA, including documents that are referenced within the documents that are included in the docket, even if the referenced document is not physically located in the docket. For assistance in locating these other documents, please consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    1. U.S. EPA. Pesticides; Revisions to Minimum Risk Exemption; Proposed Rule. Federal Register December 31, 2012 (77 FR 76979) (FRL-9339-1).

    2. U.S. EPA. Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). Cost and Small Business Analysis of Revisions to Minimum Risk Exemption (2014).

    3. U.S. EPA, (OPP). Response to Public Comments on the Proposed Rule: “Pesticides; Revisions to Minimum Risk Exemption.” (2014).

    4. U.S. EPA, (OPP). Decision Memorandum: Mint Oil (2008).

    5. U.S. EPA, (OPP). Supporting Statement for an Information Collection Request (ICR): Labeling Change for Certain Minimum Risk Pesticides under FIFRA Section 25(b). EPA ICR No. 2475.02; OMB Control No. 2070-0187 (2015).

    V. FIFRA Review Requirements

    In accordance with FIFRA sections 21 and 25(a), the Agency submitted a draft of this final rule to the appropriate Congressional Committees, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS waived its review of this rule on June 19, 2015. On June 18, 2015, USDA reviewed this rule, and did not have any comments related to policy. USDA provided a technical comment, which EPA has reviewed and accepted.

    Under FIFRA section 25(d), EPA also submitted a draft of this final rule to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP). The SAP waived its scientific review of the final rule on June 24, 2015, because the final rule does not contain scientific issues that warrant review by the Panel.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order 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 under Executive Orders 12866, October 4, 1993 (58 FR 51735) and 13563, January 21, 2011 (76 FR 3821).

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    The information collection activities in this rule have been submitted to OMB for approval under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The Information Collection Request (ICR), identified by EPA ICR No. 2475.02 (Ref. 5), is available in the docket for this rule, and it is briefly summarized here.

    The information collection activities in this rule consist of changes to existing requirements that involve the one-time relabeling of products currently exempt under 40 CFR 152.25(f) in order to list chemical names in the format required by EPA and to include the producer's contact information. The ICR accounts for the burden for a one time label change which provides important regulatory information for the Federal, state, and tribal authorities that regulate minimum risk pesticide products.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Required to obtain or retain a benefit (40 CFR 152.25(f)).

    Estimated number of respondents: 216.

    Frequency of response: One-time for each product needing a label change.

    Total estimated burden: 2,123 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

    Total estimated cost: $198,811.23 (per year). There are no capital or operation and maintenance costs.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA regulations in 40 CFR are listed in 40 CFR part 9. When OMB approves this ICR, the Agency will announce that approval in the Federal Register and publish a technical amendment to 40 CFR part 9 to display the OMB control number for the approved information collection activities contained in this final rule.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. The small entities subject to the requirements of this action are small businesses who manufacture minimum risk pesticide products. No small governmental jurisdictions or not-for-profit enterprises are known to produce minimum risk pesticide products. The Agency has determined that there are approximately 97 small firms (out of a total of 192), accounting for approximately 51% of the industry. These small firms may experience an impact of 0.1% of gross revenue given a 3-year compliance period. To account for the impacts on very small firms, i.e., those with sales less than $500K, EPA performed a refined analysis that divided each individual firm's relabeling cost by that firm's sales revenue. With a 3-year compliance period, 7 small firms (or approximately 7% of all small firms) are likely to experience an economic impact of 1% or more of gross sales, while no small firms will incur impacts greater than or equal to 3% of gross sales. Details of this analysis are presented in the analysis for this rule (Ref. 2).

    The selection of the 3-year compliance period was based on information obtained in 2009 from a group of small manufacturers of minimum risk insect repellent products, as well as comments received during the public comment period for the proposed rule. EPA initially proposed a 2-year compliance period for companies to relabel their products since the companies indicated they needed at least 2 years in order to avoid significant costs (Ref. 2). This would allow most companies to incorporate the changes into their regularly planned label updates, and sell any products with older labels, thus reducing the cost and burden of the changes to the exemption. During the public comment period for the proposed rule, EPA received comments that expressed support for both the proposed 2-year compliance period and the longer 3-year compliance period. While several commenters felt that the 2-year period would provide sufficient time to comply with the new labeling requirements, some commenters felt that a 3-year compliance period would benefit the smallest companies to incorporate the changes into regularly planned updates and to sell their existing stock, thus minimizing their costs and burden to comply with the new requirements. EPA is aware that most companies make regularly planned label updates every 3 years (Ref. 2). By going with a 3-year compliance period instead of the originally proposed 2-year timeframe, costs on industry would be reduced by almost 75% from the 2-year implementation period, thereby being more sensitive to the smallest of small firms.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain an unfunded mandate of $100 million or more as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. EPA has determined that this action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local, or tribal governments because there are no known instances where such governments currently produce any pesticides such that they would be subject to this rulemaking. In addition, the potential costs for the private sector do not qualify as an unfunded mandate under UMRA.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications, as specified in Executive Order 13132, August 10, 1999 (64 FR 43255). 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.

    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175, November 9, 2000 (65 FR 67249). There are no known instances where a tribal government is the producer of a minimum risk pesticide currently exempt from regulation. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045, April 23, 1997 (62 FR 19885) 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 Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, May 22, 2001 (66 FR 28355) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards that would require the consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to NTTAA section 12(d), 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

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

    This action does not involve special consideration of environmental justice related issues as specified in Executive Order 12898, February 16, 1994 (59 FR 7629). EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, or indigenous populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. To the contrary, this action will increase the level of environmental protection for all affected populations without having disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on any population, including any minority or low-income population. This action only involves minimum risk pesticide products, and may have positive impacts for all communities, since the rule provides increased information for consumers considering the use of pesticides. This action, which will improve clarity on product labels, will enable all users regardless of economic status to become more informed about the pesticide substances they may be interested in using.

    VII. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of Congress and the Comptroller of the United States. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 152

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

    Dated: December 16, 2015. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 152—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 152 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 136-136y; subpart U is also issued under 31 U.S.C. 9701.

    2. Amend § 152.25 by revising paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 152.25 Exemptions for pesticides of a character not requiring FIFRA regulation.

    (f) Minimum risk pesticides—(1) Exempted products. Products containing the following active ingredients, alone or in combination with other substances listed in table 1 of this paragraph, are exempt from the requirements of FIFRA provided that all of the criteria of this section are met. All listed active ingredients may be used in non-food use products. Under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and EPA (FFDCA) implementing regulations at part 180 of this chapter, food and animal feed in commerce can bear pesticide residues only for those ingredients that have tolerances or tolerance exemptions in part 180 of this chapter. Such tolerances or exemptions may be found, for example, in §§ 180.950, 180.1071, 180.1087, 180.1233, and 180.1251 of this chapter.

    Table 1—Active Ingredients Permitted in Exempted Minimum Risk Pesticide Products Label display name Chemical name Specifications CAS No. Castor oil Castor oil United States Pharmacopeia (U.S.P.) or equivalent 8001-79-4 Cedarwood oil Cedarwood oil (China) 85085-29-6 Cedarwood oil Cedarwood oil (Texas) 68990-83-0 Cedarwood oil Cedarwood oil (Virginia) 8000-27-9 Cinnamon Cinnamon N/A Cinnamon oil Cinnamon oil 8015-91-6 Citric acid 2-Hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid 77-92-9 Citronella Citronella N/A Citronella oil Citronella oil 8000-29-1 Cloves Cloves N/A Clove oil Clove oil 8000-34-8 Corn gluten meal Corn gluten meal 66071-96-3 Corn oil Corn oil 8001-30-7 Cornmint Cornmint N/A Cornmint oil Cornmint oil 68917-18-0 Cottonseed oil Cottonseed oil 8001-29-4 Dried blood Dried blood 68991-49-9 Eugenol 4-Allyl-2-methoxyphenol 97-53-0 Garlic Garlic N/A Garlic oil Garlic oil 8000-78-0 Geraniol (2E)-3,7-Dimethylocta-2,6-dien-1-ol 106-24-1 Geranium oil Geranium oil 8000-46-2 Lauryl sulfate Lauryl sulfate 151-41-7 Lemongrass oil Lemongrass oil 8007-02-1 Linseed oil Linseed oil 8001-26-1 Malic acid 2-Hydroxybutanedioic acid 6915-15-7 Peppermint Peppermint N/A Peppermint oil Peppermint oil 8006-90-4 2-Phenylethyl propionate 2-Phenylethyl propionate 122-70-3 Potassium sorbate Potassium (2E,4E)-hexa-2,4-dienoate 24634-61-5 Putrescent whole egg solids Putrescent whole egg solids 51609-52-0 Rosemary Rosemary N/A Rosemary oil Rosemary oil 8000-25-7 Sesame Sesame Includes ground sesame plant N/A Sesame oil Sesame oil 8008-74-0 Sodium chloride Sodium chloride 7647-14-5 Sodium lauryl sulfate Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester, sodium salt 151-21-3 Soybean oil Soybean oil 8001-22-7 Spearmint Spearmint N/A Spearmint oil Spearmint oil 8008-79-5 Thyme Thyme N/A Thyme oil Thyme oil 8007-46-3 White pepper White pepper N/A Zinc Zinc Zinc metal strips (consisting solely of zinc metal and impurities) 7440-66-6

    (2) Permitted inert ingredients. A pesticide product exempt under paragraph (f)(1) of this section may only include the inert ingredients listed in paragraphs (f)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section. All listed inert ingredients may be used in non-food use products. Under FFDCA section 408 and EPA implementing regulations at part 180 of this chapter, food and animal feed in commerce can bear pesticide residues only for those ingredients that have tolerances or tolerance exemptions in part 180 of this chapter. Such tolerances or exemptions may be found, for example, in §§ 180.910, 180.920. 180.930, 180.940, 180.950, and 180.1071 of this chapter.

    (i) Commonly consumed food commodities, as described in § 180.950(a) of this chapter.

    (ii) Animal feed items, as described in § 180.950(b) of this chapter.

    (iii) Edible fats and oils, as described in § 180.950(c) of this chapter.

    (iv) Specific chemical substances, as listed in the following table.

    Table 2—Inert Ingredients Permitted in Minimum Risk Pesticide Products Label display name Chemical name CAS No. Acetyl tributyl citrate Citric acid, 2-(acetyloxy)-, tributyl ester 77-90-7 Agar Agar 9002-18-0 Almond hulls Almond hulls N/A Almond oil Oils, almond 8007-69-0 Almond shells Almond shells N/A alpha-Cyclodextrin alpha-Cyclodextrin 10016-20-3 Aluminatesilicate Aluminatesilicate 1327-36-2 Aluminum magnesium silicate Silicic acid, aluminum magnesium salt 1327-43-1 Aluminum potassium sodium silicate Silicic acid, aluminum potassium sodium salt 12736-96-8 Aluminum silicate Aluminum silicate 1335-30-4 Aluminum sodium silicate Silicic acid, aluminum sodium salt 1344-00-9 Aluminum sodium silicate Silicic acid (H4 SiO4), aluminum sodium salt (1:1:1) 12003-51-9 Ammonium benzoate Benzoic acid, ammonium salt 1863-63-4 Ammonium stearate Octadecanoic acid, ammonium salt 1002-89-7 Amylopectin, acid-hydrolyzed, 1-octenylbutanedioate Amylopectin, acid-hydrolyzed, 1-octenylbutanedioate 113894-85-2 Amylopectin, hydrogen 1-octadecenylbutanedioate Amylopectin, hydrogen 1-octadecenylbutanedioate 125109-81-1 Animal glue Animal glue N/A Ascorbyl palmitate Ascorbyl palmitate 137-66-6 Attapulgite-type clay Attapulgite-type clay 12174-11-7 Beeswax Beeswax 8012-89-3 Bentonite Bentonite 1302-78-9 Bentonite, sodian Bentonite, sodian 85049-30-5 beta-Cyclodextrin beta-Cyclodextrin 7585-39-9 Bone meal Bone meal 68409-75-6 Bran Bran N/A Bread crumbs Bread crumbs N/A (+)-Butyl lactate Lactic acid, n-butyl ester, (S) 34451-19-9 Butyl lactate Lactic acid, n-butyl ester 138-22-7 Butyl stearate Octadecanoic acid, butyl ester 123-95-5 Calcareous shale Calcareous shale N/A Calcite Calcite (Ca(CO3)) 13397-26-7 Calcium acetate Calcium acetate 62-54-4 Calcium acetate monohydrate Acetic acid, calcium salt, monohydrate 5743-26-0 Calcium benzoate Benzoic acid, calcium salt 2090-05-3 Calcium carbonate Calcium carbonate 471-34-1 Calcium citrate Citric acid, calcium salt 7693-13-2 Calcium octanoate Calcium octanoate 6107-56-8 Calcium oxide silicate Calcium oxide silicate (Ca3 O(SiO4)) 12168-85-3 Calcium silicate Silicic acid, calcium salt 1344-95-2 Calcium stearate Octadecanoic acid, calcium salt 1592-23-0 Calcium sulfate Calcium sulfate 7778-18-9 Calcium sulfate dihydrate Calcium sulfate dihydrate 10101-41-4 Calcium sulfate hemihydrate Calcium sulfate hemihydrate 10034-76-1 Canary seed Canary seed N/A Carbon Carbon 7440-44-0 Carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide 124-38-9 Carboxymethyl cellulose Cellulose, carboxymethyl ether 9000-11-7 Cardboard Cardboard N/A Carnauba wax Carnauba wax 8015-86-9 Carob gum Locust bean gum 9000-40-2 Carrageenan Carrageenan 9000-07-1 Caseins Caseins 9000-71-9 Castor oil Castor oil 8001-79-4 Castor oil, hydrogenated Castor oil, hydrogenated 8001-78-3 Cat food Cat food N/A Cellulose Cellulose 9004-34-6 Cellulose acetate Cellulose acetate 9004-35-7 Cellulose, mixture with cellulose carboxymethyl ether, sodium salt Cellulose, mixture with cellulose carboxymethyl ether, sodium salt 51395-75-6 Cellulose, pulp Cellulose, pulp 65996-61-4 Cellulose, regenerated Cellulose, regenerated 68442-85-3 Cheese Cheese N/A Chlorophyll a Chlorophyll a 479-61-8 Chlorophyll b Chlorophyll b 519-62-0 Citric acid Citric acid 77-92-9 Citric acid, monohydrate Citric acid, monohydrate 5949-29-1 Citrus meal Citrus meal N/A Citrus pectin Citrus pectin 9000-69-5 Citrus pulp Citrus pulp 68514-76-1 Clam shells Clam shells N/A Cocoa Cocoa 8002-31-1 Cocoa shell flour Cocoa shell flour N/A Cocoa shells Cocoa shells N/A Cod-liver oil Cod-liver oil 8001-69-2 Coffee grounds Coffee grounds 68916-18-7 Cookies Cookies N/A Cork Cork 61789-98-8 Corn cobs Corn cobs N/A Cotton Cotton N/A Cottonseed meal Cottonseed meal 68424-10-2 Cracked wheat Cracked wheat N/A Decanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol Decanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 26402-22-2 Dextrins Dextrins 9004-53-9 Diglyceryl monooleate 9-Octadecenoic acid, ester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 49553-76-6 Diglyceryl monostearate 9-Octadecanoic acid, monoester with oxybis(propanediol) 12694-22-3 Dilaurin Dodecanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 27638-00-2 Dipalmitin Hexadecanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 26657-95-4 Dipotassium citrate Citric acid, dipotassium salt 3609-96-9 Disodium citrate Citric acid, disodium salt 144-33-2 Disodium sulfate decahydrate Disodium sulfate decahydrate 7727-73-3 Diatomaceous earth Kieselguhr; Diatomite (less than 1% crystalline silica) 61790-53-2 Dodecanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol Dodecanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 27215-38-9 Dolomite Dolomite 16389-88-1 Douglas fir bark Douglas fir bark N/A Egg shells Egg shells N/A Eggs Eggs N/A (+)-Ethyl lactate Lactic acid, ethyl ester, (S) 687-47-8 Ethyl lactate Lactic acid, ethyl ester 97-64-3 Feldspar Feldspar 68476-25-5 Ferric oxide Iron oxide (Fe2O3) 1309-37-1 Ferrous oxide Iron oxide (FeO) 1345-25-1 Fish meal Fish meal N/A Fish oil Fish oil 8016-13-5 Fuller's earth Fuller's earth 8031-18-3 Fumaric acid Fumaric acid 110-17-8 gamma-Cyclodextrin gamma-Cyclodextrin 17465-86-0 Gelatins Gelatins 9000-70-8 Gellan gum Gellan gum 71010-52-1 Glue Glue (as depolymd. animal collagen) 68476-37-9 Glycerin 1,2,3-Propanetriol 56-81-5 Glycerol monooleate 9-Octadecenoic acid (Z)-, 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester 111-03-5 Glyceryl dicaprylate Octanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 36354-80-0 Glyceryl dimyristate Tetradecanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 53563-63-6 Glyceryl dioleate 9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 25637-84-7 Glyceryl distearate Octadecanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 1323-83-7 Glyceryl monomyristate Tetradecanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 27214-38-6 Glyceryl monooctanoate Octanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 26402-26-6 Glyceryl monooleate 9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 25496-72-4 Glyceryl monostearate Octadecanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 31566-31-1 Glyceryl stearate Octadecanoic acid, ester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 11099-07-3 Granite Granite N/A Graphite Graphite 7782-42-5 Guar gum Guar gum 9000-30-0 Gum Arabic Gum arabic 9000-01-5 Gum tragacanth Gum tragacanth 9000-65-1 Gypsum Gypsum 13397-24-5 Hematite Hematite (Fe2O3) 1317-60-8 Humic acid Humic acid 1415-93-6 Hydrogenated cottonseed oil Hydrogenated cottonseed oil 68334-00-9 Hydrogenated rapeseed oil Hydrogenated rapeseed oil 84681-71-0 Hydrogenated soybean oil Hydrogenated soybean oil 8016-70-4 Hydroxyethyl cellulose Cellulose, 2-hydroxyethyl ether 9004-62-0 Hydroxypropyl cellulose Cellulose, 2-hydroxypropyl ether 9004-64-2 Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose Cellulose, 2-hydroxypropyl methyl ether 9004-65-3 Iron magnesium oxide Iron magnesium oxide (Fe2MgO4) 12068-86-9 Iron oxide, hydrate Iron oxide (Fe2O3), hydrate 12259-21-1 Iron oxide Iron oxide (Fe3O4) 1317-61-9 Isopropyl alcohol 2-Propanol 67-63-0 Isopropyl myristate Isopropyl myristate 110-27-0 Kaolin Kaolin 1332-58-7 Lactose Lactose 63-42-3 Lactose monohydrate Lactose monohydrate 64044-51-5 Lanolin Lanolin 8006-54-0 Latex rubber Latex rubber N/A Lauric acid Lauric acid 143-07-7 Lecithins Lecithins 8002-43-5 Licorice extract Licorice extract 68916-91-6 Lime dolomitic Lime (chemical) dolomitic 12001-27-3 Limestone Limestone 1317-65-3 Linseed oil Linseed oil 8001-26-1 Magnesium carbonate Carbonic acid, magnesium salt (1:1) 546-93-0 Magnesium benzoate Magnesium benzoate 553-70-8 Magnesium oxide Magnesium oxide 1309-48-4 Magnesium oxide silicate Magnesium oxide silicate (Mg3O(Si2O5)2), monohydrate 12207-97-5 Magnesium silicate Magnesium silicate 1343-88-0 Magnesium silicate hydrate Magnesium silicate hydrate 1343-90-4 Magnesium silicon oxide Magnesium silicon oxide (Mg2Si3O8) 14987-04-3 Magnesium stearate Octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt 557-04-0 Magnesium sulfate Magnesium sulfate 7487-88-9 Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate 10034-99-8 Malic acid Malic acid 6915-15-7 Malt extract Malt extract 8002-48-0 Malt flavor Malt flavor N/A Maltodextrin Maltodextrin 9050-36-6 Methylcellulose Cellulose, methyl ether 9004-67-5 Mica Mica 12003-38-2 Mica-group minerals Mica-group minerals 12001-26-2 Milk Milk 8049-98-7 Millet seed Millet seed N/A Mineral oil Mineral oil (U.S.P.) 8012-95-1 1-Monolaurin Dodecanoic acid, 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester 142-18-7 1-Monomyristin Tetradecanoic acid, 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester 589-68-4 Monomyristin Decanoic acid, diester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 53998-07-1 Monopalmitin Hexadecanoic acid, monoester with 1,2,3-propanetriol 26657-96-5 Monopotassium citrate Citric acid, monopotassium salt 866-83-1 Monosodium citrate Citric acid, monosodium salt 18996-35-5 Montmorillonite Montmorillonite 1318-93-0 Myristic acid Myristic acid 544-63-8 Nepheline syenite Nepheline syenite 37244-96-5 Nitrogen Nitrogen 7727-37-9 Nutria meat Nutria meat N/A Nylon Nylon N/A Octanoic acid, potassium salt Octanoic acid, potassium salt 764-71-6 Octanoic acid, sodium salt Octanoic acid, sodium salt 1984-06-1 Oleic acid Oleic acid 112-80-1 Oyster shells Oyster shells N/A Palm oil Palm oil 8002-75-3 Palm oil, hydrogenated Palm oil, hydrogenated 68514-74-9 Palmitic acid Hexadecanoic acid 57-10-3 Paper Paper N/A Paraffin wax Paraffin wax 8002-74-2 Peanut butter Peanut butter N/A Peanut shells Peanut shells N/A Peanuts Peanuts N/A Peat moss Peat moss N/A Pectin Pectin 9000-69-5 Perlite Perlite 130885-09-5 Perlite, expanded Perlite, expanded 93763-70-3 Plaster of paris Plaster of paris 26499-65-0 Polyethylene Polyethylene 9002-88-4 Polyglyceryl oleate Polyglyceryl oleate 9007-48-1 Polyglyceryl stearate Polyglyceryl stearate 9009-32-9 Potassium acetate Acetic acid, potassium salt 127-08-2 Potassium aluminum silicate, anhydrous Potassium aluminum silicate, anhydrous 1327-44-2 Potassium benzoate Benzoic acid, potassium salt 582-25-2 Potassium bicarbonate Carbonic acid, monopotassium salt 298-14-6 Potassium chloride Potassium chloride 7447-40-7 Potassium citrate Citric acid, potassium salt 7778-49-6 Potassium humate Humic acids, potassium salts 68514-28-3 Potassium myristate Tetradecanoic acid, potassium salt 13429-27-1 Potassium oleate 9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, potassium salt 143-18-0 Potassium ricinoleate 9-Octadecenoic acid, 12-hydroxy-, monopotassium salt, (9Z, 12R)- 7492-30-0 Potassium sorbate Sorbic acid, potassium salt 24634-61-5 Potassium stearate Octadecanoic acid, potassium salt 593-29-3 Potassium sulfate Potassium sulfate 7778-80-5 Potassium sulfate Sulfuric acid, monopotassium salt 7646-93-7 1,2-Propylene carbonate 1,3-Dioxolan-2-one, 4-methyl- 108-32-7 Pumice Pumice 1332-09-8 Red cabbage color Red cabbage color (expressed from edible red cabbage heads via a pressing process using only acidified water) N/A Red cedar chips Red cedar chips N/A Red dog flour Red dog flour N/A Rubber Rubber 9006-04-6 Sawdust Sawdust N/A Shale Shale N/A Silica, amorphous, fumed Silica, amorphous, fumed (crystalline free) 112945-52-5 Silica, amorphous, precipitate and gel Silica, amorphous, precipitate and gel 7699-41-4 Silica Silica (crystalline free) 7631-86-9 Silica gel Silica gel 63231-67-4 Silica gel, precipitated, crystalline-free Silica gel, precipitated, crystalline-free 112926-00-8 Silica, hydrate Silica, hydrate 10279-57-9 Silica, vitreous Silica, vitreous 60676-86-0 Silicic acid, magnesium salt Silicic acid (H2SiO3), magnesium salt (1:1) 13776-74-4 Soap Soap (The water soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids produced by either the saponification of fats and oils, or the neutralization of fatty acid) N/A Soapbark Quillaja saponin 1393-03-9 Soapstone Soapstone 308076-02-0 Sodium acetate Acetic acid, sodium salt 127-09-3 Sodium alginate Sodium alginate 9005-38-3 Sodium benzoate Benzoic acid, sodium salt 532-32-1 Sodium bicarbonate Sodium bicarbonate 144-55-8 Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose Cellulose, carboxymethyl ether, sodium salt 9004-32-4 Sodium chloride Sodium chloride 7647-14-5 Sodium citrate Sodium citrate 994-36-5 Sodium humate Humic acids, sodium salts 68131-04-4 Sodium oleate Sodium oleate 143-19-1 Sodium ricinoleate 9-Octadecenoic acid, 12-hydroxy-, monosodium salt, (9Z,12R)- 5323-95-5 Sodium stearate Octadecanoic acid, sodium salt 822-16-2 Sodium sulfate Sodium sulfate 7757-82-6 Sorbitol D-glucitol 50-70-4 Soy protein Soy protein N/A Soya lecithins Lecithins, soya 8030-76-0 Soybean hulls Soybean hulls N/A Soybean meal Soybean meal 68308-36-1 Soybean, flour Soybean, flour 68513-95-1 Stearic acid Octadecanoic acid 57-11-4 Sulfur Sulfur 7704-34-9 Syrups, hydrolyzed starch, hydrogenated Syrups, hydrolyzed starch, hydrogenated 68425-17-2 Tetraglyceryl monooleate 9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, monoester with tetraglycerol 71012-10-7 Tricalcium citrate Citric acid, calcium salt (2:3) 813-94-5 Triethyl citrate Citric acid, triethyl ester 77-93-0 Tripotassium citrate Citric acid, tripotassium salt 866-84-2 Tripotassium citrate monohydrate Citric acid, tripotassium salt, monohydrate 6100-05-6 Trisodium citrate Citric acid, trisodium salt 68-04-2 Trisodium citrate dehydrate Citric acid, trisodium salt, dehydrate 6132-04-3 Trisodium citrate pentahydrate Citric acid, trisodium salt, pentahydrate 6858-44-2 Ultramarine blue C.I. Pigment Blue 29 57455-37-5 Urea Urea 57-13-6 Vanillin Benzaldehyde, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy- 121-33-5 Vermiculite Vermiculite 1318-00-9 Vinegar Vinegar (maximum 8% acetic acid in solution) 8028-52-2 Vitamin C L-Ascorbic acid 50-81-7 Vitamin E Vitamin E 1406-18-4 Walnut flour Walnut flour N/A Walnut shells Walnut shells N/A Wheat Wheat N/A Wheat flour Wheat flour N/A Wheat germ oil Wheat germ oil 8006-95-9 Wheat oil Oils, wheat 68917-73-7 Whey Whey 92129-90-3 White mineral oil White mineral oil (petroleum) 8042-47-5 Wintergreen oil Wintergreen oil 68917-75-9 Wollastonite Wollastonite (Ca(SiO3)) 13983-17-0 Wool Wool N/A Xanthan gum Xanthan gum 11138-66-2 Yeast Yeast 68876-77-7 Zeolites Zeolites (excluding erionite (CAS Reg. No. 66733-21-9)) 1318-02-1 Zeolites, NaA Zeolites, NaA 68989-22-0 Zinc iron oxide Zinc iron oxide 12063-19-3 Zinc oxide Zinc oxide (ZnO) 1314-13-2 Zinc stearate Octadecanoic acid, zinc salt 557-05-1

    (3) Other conditions of exemption. All of the following conditions must be met for products to be exempted under this section:

    (i) Each product containing the substance must bear a label identifying the label display name and percentage (by weight) of each active ingredient as listed in table 1 in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. Each product must also list all inert ingredients by the label display name listed in table 2 in paragraph (f)(2)(iv) of this section.

    (ii) The product must not bear claims either to control or mitigate microorganisms that pose a threat to human health, including but not limited to disease transmitting bacteria or viruses, or claims to control insects or rodents carrying specific diseases, including, but not limited to ticks that carry Lyme disease.

    (iii) Company name and contact information.

    (A) The name of the producer or the company for whom the product was produced must appear on the product label. If the company whose name appears on the label in accordance with this paragraph is not the producer, the company name must be qualified by appropriate wording such as “Packed for [insert name],” “Distributed by [insert name], or “Sold by [insert name]” to show that the name is not that of the producer.

    (B) Contact information for the company specified in accordance with paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(A) of this section must appear on the product label including the street address plus ZIP code and the telephone phone number of the location at which the company may be reached.

    (C) The company name and contact information must be displayed prominently on the product label.

    (iv) The product must not include any false and misleading labeling statements, including those listed in 40 CFR 156.10(a)(5)(i) through (viii).

    (4) Providing guidance. Guidance on minimum risk pesticides is available at http://www2.epa.gov/minimum-risk-pesticides or successor Web pages.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32325 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0727; FRL-9933-41] Spinosad; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of spinosad in or on multiple commodities that are identified and discussed later in this document. In addition, this regulation removes a number of existing tolerances for residues of spinosad that are superseded by tolerances being established in this action. Interregional Research Project #4 (IR-4) requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective December 28, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before February 26, 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-2013-0727, 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-2013-0727 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 26, 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-2013-0727, 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 December 30, 2013 (78 FR 79359) (FRL-9903-69), and November 4, 2015 (80 FR 68289) (FRL-9936-13), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing and subsequent filing of an amendment to pesticide petition (PP 3E8204) by IR-4, 500 College Road East, Suite 201W, Princeton, NJ 08540. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.495 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the insecticide spinosad, a fermentation product of Saccharopolyspora spinosa, consisting of two related active ingredients: Spinosyn A (Factor A: CAS Registry No. 131929-60-7) or 2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethylamino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b- tetradecahydro-14-methyl-1H-as-Indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione; and Spinosyn D (Factor D; CAS Registry No. 131929-63-0) or 2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethyl-amino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-4,14-methyl-1H-as-Indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione, in or on the raw agricultural commodities: Coffee, green bean at 0.2 parts per million (ppm); coffee, instant at 0.4 ppm; coffee, roasted bean at 0.4 ppm; cottonseed subgroup 20C at 0.02 ppm; caneberry subgroup 13-07A at 0.7 ppm; bushberry subgroup 13-07B, except lingonberry at 0.25 ppm; fruit, small, vine climbing, except fuzzy kiwifruit subgroup 13-07F at 0.5 ppm; berry, low growing, subgroup 13-07G, except blueberry, lowbush, and cranberry at 1.0 ppm; fruit, pome group 11-10 at 0.2 ppm; vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10 at 0.4 ppm; fruit, citrus, group 10-10 at 0.3 ppm; fruit, stone, group 12-12 at 0.2 ppm; onion, bulb, subgroup 3-07A at 0.1 ppm; onion, green, subgroup 3-07B at 2.0 ppm; and nuts, tree, group 14-12 at 0.1 ppm. In addition, the petitioner proposes based upon establishment of the new tolerances above, to remove the following established tolerances that are superseded by this action: bushberry subgroup 13B at 0.25 ppm; caneberry subgroup 13A at 0.70 ppm; fruit, citrus, group 10 at 0.30 ppm; fruit, pome, group 11 at 0.20 ppm; fruit, stone, group 12 at 0.20 ppm; grape at 0.50 ppm; Juneberry at 0.25 ppm; lingonberry at 0.25 ppm; nut tree, group 14 at 0.10 ppm; okra at 0.40 ppm; onion, green at 2.0 ppm; pistachio at 0.10 ppm; quinoa, grain at 1.0 ppm; salal at 0.25 ppm; strawberry at 1.0 ppm; vegetable, bulb, group 3, except green onion at 0.10 ppm; vegetable, fruiting group 8 at 0.4 ppm; and cotton, undelinted seed at 0.02 ppm. That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by Dow AgroSciences, the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. Comments were received on the notice of filings. EPA's response to these comments is discussed in Unit IV.C.

    Based upon review of the data supporting the petition, EPA has made certain modifications to the petitioned-for tolerances. The reasons for these changes are explained in Unit IV.C.

    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 spinosad including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with spinosad 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.

    Spinosad and spinetoram are considered by EPA to be toxicologically identical for human health risk assessment based on their very similar chemical structures and similarity of the toxicological databases for currently available studies. The primary toxic effect observed from exposure to spinosad or spinetoram was histopathological changes in multiple organs (specific target organs were not identified). Vacuolization of cells and/or macrophages was the most common histopathological finding noted across both toxicological databases with the dog being the most sensitive species. In addition to the numerous organs observed with histopathological changes, anemia was noted in several studies.

    There was no evidence of increased quantitative or qualitative susceptibility from spinosad or spinetoram exposure. In developmental studies, no maternal or developmental effects were seen in rats or rabbits. In the rat reproduction toxicity studies, offspring toxicity was seen in the presence of parental toxicity at approximately the same dose for both chemicals (75-100 mg/kg/day). Parental toxicity was evidenced by increased organ weights, mortality, and histopathological findings in several organs. Offspring effects included decreased litter size, survival, and body weights with spinosad while an increased incidence of late resorptions and post-implantation loss was seen with spinetoram. Dystocia and/or other parturition abnormalities were observed with both chemicals.

    Spinosad and spinetoram are classified as having low acute toxicity via the oral, dermal, and inhalation routes of exposure. Neither chemical is an eye or dermal irritant. Spinetoram was found to be a dermal sensitizer. No hazard was identified for dermal exposure; therefore a quantitative dermal assessment is not needed. In acute and subchronic neurotoxicity studies, there was no evidence of neurotoxicity from exposure to spinosad or spinetoram. In an immunotoxicity study with spinosad, systemic effects (decreased body weights, increased liver weights, and abnormal hematology results) were seen at the highest dose tested (141 mg/kg/day); however, there was no evidence of immunotoxicity.

    Spinosad and spinetoram are classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” based on lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in mice and rats and negative findings in mutagenicity assays.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by spinetoram 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 documents including: (1) “Spinosad and Spinetoram—Human Health Risk Assessment to Support the Section 3 Registration Request for Application to Coffee and for Updates to Several Crop Group/Subgroup Commodity Definitions”, dated March 15, 2015 at page 31, and (2) “Spinosad/Spinetoram. Addendum to Human Health aggregate Risk assessment D415812 (T. Bloem et al., March 10, 2015) to Support a New Use on Quinoa”, dated November 19, 2015 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0727.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

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

    Spinosad and spinetoram should be considered toxicologically identical in the same manner that metabolites are generally considered toxicologically identical to the parent. Although, as stated above, the doses and endpoints for spinosad and spinetoram are similar, they are not identical due to variations in dosing levels used in the spinetoram and spinosad toxicological studies. EPA compared the spinosad and spinetoram doses and endpoints for each exposure scenario and selected the lower of the two doses for use in human risk assessment.

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

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for Spinosad/Spinetoram 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 (All populations) A dose and endpoint of concern attributable to a single dose was not observed. Chronic dietary (All populations) NOAEL= 2.49 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.0249 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.0249 mg/kg/day
  • Chronic Toxicity—Dog Study (with spinetoram)
  • LOAEL = 5.36/5.83 mg/kg/day (males/females) based on arteritis and necrosis of the arterial walls of the epididymides in males and of the thymus, thyroid, larynx, and urinary bladder in females.
  • Incidental oral short-term (1 to 30 days) and intermediate-term (1 to 6 months) NOAEL= 4.9 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE <100 Subchronic Oral Toxicity—Dog Study (with spinosad)
  • LOAEL = 9.73 mg/kg/day based on microscopic changes in multiple organs, clinical signs of toxicity, decreases in body weights and food consumption, and biochemical evidence of anemia and liver damage.
  • Inhalation short-term
  • (1 to 30 days) and Intermediate-Term (1-6 months)
  • Inhalation (or oral) study NOAEL= 4.9 mg/kg/day (inhalation assumed equivalent to oral)
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE <100 Subchronic Oral Toxicity—Dog Study (with spinosad)
  • LOAEL = 9.73 mg/kg/day based on microscopic changes in multiple organs, clinical signs of toxicity, decreases in body weights and food consumption, and biochemical evidence of anemia and liver damage.
  • Cancer (Oral, dermal, inhalation) Classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”. LOAEL = lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level. LOC = level of concern. mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. MOE = margin of exposure. NOAEL = no-observed-adverse-effect-level. PAD = population adjusted dose (a = acute, c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. UF = uncertainty factor. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies).
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to spinosad and spinetoram, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing spinosad tolerances in 40 CFR 180.495 and existing spinetoram tolerances. EPA assessed dietary exposures from spinosad and spinetoram 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 spinosad or spinetoram; therefore, a quantitative acute dietary exposure assessment is unnecessary.

    ii. Chronic exposure. Spinosad is registered for application to all of the same crops as spinetoram, with similar pre-harvest and retreatment intervals, and application rates greater than or equal to spinetoram. Further, both products control the same pest species. For this reason, EPA has concluded it would overstate exposure to assume that residues of both spinosad and spinetoram would appear on the same food. Rather, EPA aggregated exposure by either assuming that all commodities contain spinosad residues (because side-by-side spinetoram and spinosad residue data indicated that spinetoram residues were less than or equal to spinosad residues).

    In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment for spinetoram, EPA used the Dietary Exposure Evaluation Model—Food Consumption Intake Database (DEEM-FCID, ver. 3.16) which incorporates food consumption data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America (NHANES/WWEIA; 2003-2008). The chronic analysis assumed 100 percent crop treated (PCT), average field-trial residues or tolerance-level residues for crop commodities, average residues from the livestock feeding studies, residue estimates for fish/shellfish, experimental processing factors when available, and modeled drinking water estimates.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that spinosad 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 100 percent crop treated (PCT) information were used. Section 408(b)(2)(E) of FFDCA authorizes EPA to use available data and information on the anticipated residue levels of pesticide residues in food and the actual levels of pesticide residues that have been measured in food. If EPA relies on such information, EPA must require pursuant to FFDCA section 408(f)(1) that data be provided 5 years after the tolerance is established, modified, or left in effect, demonstrating that the levels in food are not above the levels anticipated. For the present action, EPA will issue such data call-ins as are required by FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(E) and authorized under FFDCA section 408(f)(1). Data will be required to be submitted no later than 5 years from the date of issuance of these tolerances.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for spinosad and spinetoram in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of spinosad. 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.

    Based on the Surface Water Concentration Calculator (SWCC) and Screening Concentration in Ground Water (SCIGROW) models, the estimated drinking water concentrations (EDWCs) of spinosad for acute exposures are estimated to be 25.0 ppb for surface water and 1.1 ppb for ground water. For chronic exposures for non-cancer assessments, EDWCs of spinosad are estimated to be 21.7 ppb for surface water and 1.1 ppb for ground water. EDWCs of spinetoram for acute exposures are estimated to be 8.6 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and 0.072 ppb for ground water. For chronic exposures for non-cancer assessments, EDWCs of spinetoram are estimated to be 5.9 ppb for surface water and 0.072 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 of value 21.7 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).

    Spinosad and spinetoram are currently registered for uses that could result in residential exposures including lawns, gardens, turfgrass, ornamentals, fire ant mounds, and spot-on pet applications. There is potential for residential handler and post-application exposures to both spinosad and spinetoram. Since spinosad and spinetoram control the same pests, EPA concludes that these products will not be used for the same uses in combination with each other and thus combining spinosad and spinetoram residential exposures would overstate exposure. EPA assessed residential exposure for both spinosad and spinetoram using the most conservative residential exposure scenarios for either chemical.

    EPA assessed residential exposure using the following assumptions: Residential handler (short-term inhalation exposures) and post-application (short-term incidental oral) exposures are expected as a result of the following registered uses: (1) application of spinosad to gardens, turfgrass, ornamentals and fire ant mounds; (2) application of spinetoram to lawns, gardens, and ornamentals; and (3) spot-on application of spinetoram to cats and kittens. The Agency determined the “worst-case” scenarios for handler and post-application exposures as: (1) adult residential handler inhalation exposure from mixing/loading/applying liquid formulations to turf via backpack sprayer, and (2) child (1-<2 years) residential post-application incidental oral (hand-to-mouth) exposure from liquid formulation on turf/home gardens/ornamentals. These worst-case exposure estimates were used in the aggregate assessment of residential exposure to spinosad and spinetoram.

    Aggregating exposure resulting from the turf and pet uses was not conducted as the products control different pests and, therefore, application on the same day is unlikely. Use survey data indicate that concurrent use of separate pesticide products that contain the same active ingredient to treat the same or different pests does not typically occur. Furthermore, a number of issues are considered when combining residential exposure scenarios, including whether aggregating additional uses is appropriate in light of the already conservative assumptions inherent in the assessment. When assessing individual short-term residential postapplication exposure scenarios, EPA assumes exposure occurs to zero-day residues (i.e., day of application residues) day after day. EPA also assumes that an individual performs the same postapplication activities, intended to represent high end exposures as described in the Residential SOPS, day after day for the same amount of time every day (i.e., no day to day variation), although doing intense contact activities on the day of application subsequent to application for multiple chemicals would not be anticipated. Once calculated, these exposure estimates are then compared to points of departure that are typically based on weeks of dosing in test animals. For spinosad/spinetoram, the short-term risk assessment has the additional conservatism of basing the level of concern for short-term exposure (30-days) on a toxicity study involving continuous exposure over 90 days.

    Current EPA policy requires assessment for residential post-application exposures of short- (1 to 30 days), intermediate- (1 to 6 months), and long-term (greater than 6 months) exposures from spot-on products due to the preventative nature of these products and the potential for extended usage in more temperate parts of the country. However, for spinetoram, there is no progression of toxicity with time; therefore, the short-term assessment is protective of intermediate- and long-term exposure.

    Available turf transferable residue (TTR) data on spinosad in support of the turf uses and spinetoram data on dislodgeable residues from petting after topical administration to cats were incorporated into the exposure assessment. Spinosad and spinetoram dislodgeable-foliar residue (DFR) studies are unnecessary at this time as there is no hazard via the dermal route of exposure.

    Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticides-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 spinosad or spinetoram to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and neither spinosad nor spinetoram appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that spinosad and spinetoram do 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/pesticides-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/cumulative-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 FQPA Safety Factor (SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. There was no evidence of increased quantitative or qualitative susceptibility of rat and rabbit fetuses to in-utero exposure to spinetoram or spinosad. In developmental studies, no maternal or developmental effects were seen in rats or rabbits. In the rat reproduction toxicity studies, offspring toxicity was seen in association with parental toxicity at approximately the same dose for both spinetoram and spinosad. Therefore, there is no evidence of increased susceptibility and there are no concerns or residual uncertainties for pre-natal and/or post-natal toxicity.

    3. Conclusion. EPA has determined that reliable data show the safety of infants and children would be adequately protected if the FQPA SF were reduced to 1X. That decision is based on the following findings:

    i. The toxicity database for spinosad and spinetoram is complete. There is no evidence of neurotoxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, mutagenicity, or carcinogenicity from spinetoram or spinosad exposure. Therefore, no additional database uncertainty factor (UF) is needed.

    ii. There is no indication of spinosad or spinetoram neurotoxicity from available acute and subchronic neurotoxicity studies in rats and there is no need for a developmental neurotoxicity study or additional UFs to account for neurotoxicity.

    iii. There is no evidence that spinosad or spinetoram results in increased susceptibility in in utero rats or rabbits in the prenatal developmental studies or in young rats in the 2-generation reproduction study.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the spinosad and spinetoram exposure databases. The dietary exposure assessment is conservative as it assumes 100 PCT and residue estimates are based on field trial data and fish nature of the residue studies. Moreover, EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in the ground and surface water modeling used to assess exposure to spinosad and spinetoram in drinking water. EPA used similarly conservative assumptions to assess post-application exposure of children as well as incidental oral exposure of toddlers. These assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by spinosad and spinetoram.

    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, spinosad and spinetoram are 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 spinosad and spinetoram from food and water will utilize 64% of the cPAD for children 1-2 years 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 spinosad and spinetoram is not expected.

    3. Short- and Intermediate-term risks. 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).

    Spinosad and spinetoram are currently registered for uses that could result in short-term residential exposure, and the Agency has determined that it is appropriate to aggregate chronic exposure through food and water with short-term residential exposures to spinosad and spinetoram.

    Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded the combined short-term food, water, and residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs of 220 for children 1-2 years old and 1,000 for adults 20-49 years old. Because EPA's level of concern for spinosad and spinetoram is a MOE of 100 or below, these MOEs are not of concern.

    EPA has concluded that the combined intermediate-term and long-term food, water, and residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs that will not fall below the short-term aggregate MOEs since there is no progression of spinetoram toxicity with time. Because EPA's level of concern for spinetoram and spinosad is a MOE of 100 or below, these MOEs are not of concern.

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

    5. 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 spinosad residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology (Method RES 94025 (GRM 94.02) is a high-performance liquid chromatography method with ultraviolet detection (HPLC/UV)) is available to enforce the tolerance expression. Additional methods have also been determined to be adequate for tolerance enforcement purposes.

    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.

    Codex maximum residue limits (MRLs) for spinosad are currently established in or on several of the relevant crops or crop groups or subgroups affected by this action. EPA harmonizes with existing Codex MRLs whenever feasible. The recommended fruit, small, vine climbing, except fuzzy kiwifruit, subgroup 13-07F and raisin tolerances and the Codex MRLs are harmonized. But harmonization with the Codex MRLs for the following tolerances is inappropriate as doing so may result in exceedances of the tolerances when the pesticide is applied using the labeled instructions: Fruit, pome, group 11-10; nut, tree, group 14-12; and cottonseed, subgroup 20C. Harmonization with the currently established vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10 Codex MRL is inappropriate as the Codex MRL is too high to allow for enforcement of the labeled instructions.

    C. Response to Comments

    In response to the notice of filing, EPA received two (2) comments on December 4, 2015. One comment was received from a private citizen in support of EPA's regulatory initiatives to control potentially harmful substances in order to protect human health and the environment.

    The other comment was from the Center for Biological Diversity and concerned endangered species, specifically stating that EPA cannot approve these new uses prior to completion of consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“the Services”). This comment is not relevant to the Agency's evaluation of the safety of the spinosad tolerances; section 408 of the FFDCA focuses on potential harms to human health and does not permit consideration of effects on the environment.

    D. Revisions to Petitioned-For Tolerances

    Based on the available field-trial and processing data and the OECD tolerance calculation procedure, EPA: (1) concludes that proposed tolerances in or on coffee processed commodities are unnecessary; (2) made revisions to proposed tolerance values in order to harmonize with Canada and/or Codex MRLs where supporting data allowed; (3) made revisions to the commodity definitions to conform with current Agency practices, and (4) is reducing the requested tolerance for coffee, green bean from 0.2 ppm to 0.04 ppm. Also, although a spinosad tolerance in/on quinoa, grain was requested at 1.0 ppm for the purpose of harmonizing with the Codex cereal grain MRL, EPA is establishing a tolerance at 0.02 ppm. EPA considered the fact that the Codex MRL is based on post-harvest treatment and, therefore, is not reflective of the proposed foliar-only quinoa application scenario. Based on the available wheat grain data and adjusting these data for the proposed application rate, EPA concluded that a 0.02-ppm spinosad tolerance in/on quinoa grain is appropriate.

    In addition, the Agency is updating the tolerance expression for spinosad as follows to reflect current EPA policies: Tolerances are established for residues of the insecticide spinosad, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the commodities in the table below. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only the sum of spinosyn A (Factor A: CAS # 131929-60-7; (2R,3aS,5aR,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bR)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethylamino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione); and spinosyn D (Factor D; CAS # 131929-63-0; (2S,3aR,5aS,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bS)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethyl-amino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-4,14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione), calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of spinosad.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, EPA is establishing tolerances for residues of the insecticide spinosad, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the following commodities. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only the sum of spinosyn A (Factor A: CAS # 131929-60-7; (2R,3aS,5aR,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bR)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethylamino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione; and spinosyn D (Factor D; CAS # 131929-63-0; (2S,3aR,5aS,5bS,9S,13S, 14R,16aS,16bS)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethyl-amino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-2,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-4,14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione, calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of spinosad, in or on berry, low growing, subgroup 13-07G, except cranberry at 0.90 ppm; bushberry, subgroup 13-07B at 0.40 ppm; caneberry subgroup 13-07A at 1.0 ppm; coffee, green bean at 0.04 ppm; cottonseed subgroup 20C at 0.02 ppm; fruit, citrus, group 10-10 at 0.30 ppm; fruit, pome, group 11-10 at 0.20 ppm; fruit, small, vine climbing, subgroup13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit at 0.50 ppm; fruit, stone 12-12 at 0.20 ppm; nut, tree, group 14-12 at 0.10 ppm; onion, bulb, subgroup 3-07A at 0.10 ppm; onion, green, subgroup 3-07B at 4.0 ppm; quinoa, grain at 0.02 ppm; and vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10 at 0.40 ppm. In addition, EPA is removing the following existing spinosad tolerances that are superseded by this action including: Bushberry subgroup 13B at 0.25 ppm; caneberry subgroup 13A at 0.70 ppm; fruit, citrus, group 10 at 0.30 ppm; fruit, pome, group 11 at 0.20 ppm; fruit, stone, group 12 at 0.20 ppm; grape at 0.50 ppm; Juneberry at 0.25 ppm; lingonberry at 0.25 ppm; nut tree, group 14 at 0.10 ppm; okra at 0.40 ppm; onion, green at 2.0 ppm; pistachio at 0.10 ppm; strawberry at 1.0 ppm; vegetable, bulb, group 3, except green onion at 0.10 ppm; vegetable, fruiting group 8 at 0.4 ppm; and cotton, undelinted seed at 0.02 ppm. In addition, EPA is increasing the existing tolerance for grape, raisin to 1.0 ppm.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerances 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 15, 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 § 180.495, paragraph (a): a. Revise the introductory text. b. Remove the entries in the table for “Bushberry subgroup 13B”; “Caneberry subgroup 13A”; “Cotton, undelinted seed”; “Fruit, citrus, group 10”; “Fruit, pome, group 11”; “Fruit, stone, group 12”; “Grape”; “Juneberry”; “Lingonberry”; “Nut tree, group 14”; “Okra”; “Onion, green”; “Pistachio”; “Salal”; “Strawberry”; “Vegetable, bulb, group 3, except green onion”; and “Vegetable, fruiting, group 8”. c. Revise the entry in the table for “Grape, raisin”. d. Add alphabetically entries to the table for “Berry, low growing, subgroup 13-07G, except cranberry”; “Bushberry subgroup 13-07B”; “Caneberry subgroup 13-07A”; “Coffee, green bean”; “Cottonseed subgroup 20C”; “Fruit, citrus, group 10-10”; “Fruit, pome, group 11-10”; “Fruit, small, vine climbing, subgroup13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit”; “Nut, tree, group 14-12”; “Onion, bulb, subgroup 3-07A”; “Onion, green, subgroup 3-07B”; “Quinoa, grain”; and “Vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10”.

    The additions and revision read as follows:

    § 180.495 Spinosad; tolerances for residues.

    (a) General. Tolerances are established for residues of the insecticide spinosad, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the commodities in the table below. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only the sum of spinosyn A (Factor A: CAS # 131929-60-7; (2R,3aS,5aR,5bS,9S,13S,14R,16aS,16bR)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethylamino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione; and spinosyn D (Factor D; CAS # 131929-63-0; (2S,3aR,5aS,5bS,9S,13S, 14R,16aS,16bS)-2-[(6-deoxy-2,3,4-tri-O-methyl-α-L-manno-pyranosyl)oxy]-13-[[5-(dimethyl-amino)-tetrahydro-6-methyl-2H-pyran-2-yl]oxy]-9-ethyl-,3,3a,5a,5b,6,9,10,11,12,13,14,16a,16b-tetradecahydro-4,14-methyl-1H-as-indaceno[3,2-d]oxacyclododecin-7,15-dione, calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of spinosad.

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • *    *    *    *    * Berry, low growing, subgroup 13-07G, except cranberry 0.90 *    *    *    *    * Bushberry subgroup 13-07B 0.40 Caneberry subgroup 13-07A 1.0 *    *    *    *    * Coffee, green bean 0.04 *    *    *    *    * Cottonseed subgroup 20C 0.02 *    *    *    *    * Fruit, citrus, group 10-10 0.30 Fruit, pome, group 11-10 0.20 Fruit, small, vine climbing, subgroup13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit 0.50 Fruit, stone 12-12 0.20 *    *    *    *    * Grape, raisin 1.0 *    *    *    *    * Nut, tree, group 14-12 0.10 *    *    *    *    * Onion, bulb, subgroup 3-07A 0.10 Onion, green, subgroup 3-07B 4.0 *    *    *    *    * Quinoa, grain 0.02 *    *    *    *    * Vegetable, fruiting, group 8-10 0.40 *    *    *    *    *
    [FR Doc. 2015-32168 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 271 and 272 [EPA-R06-RCRA-2015-0110; FRL-9939-51-Region 6] Texas: Final Authorization of State-Initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference of State Hazardous Waste Management Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    During a review of Texas' regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified a variety of State-initiated changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). We have determined that these changes are minor and satisfy all requirements needed to qualify for Final authorization and are authorizing the State-initiated changes through this direct Final action. In addition, this document corrects technical errors made in the September 3, 2014, Federal Register authorization document for Texas.

    The Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended, commonly referred to as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to authorize States to operate their hazardous waste management programs in lieu of the Federal program. The EPA uses the regulations entitled “Approved State Hazardous Waste Management Programs” to provide notice of the authorization status of State programs and to incorporate by reference those provisions of the State statutes and regulations that will be subject to the EPA's inspection and enforcement. The rule codifies in the regulations the prior approval of Texas' hazardous waste management program and incorporates by reference authorized provisions of the State's statutes and regulations.

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective February 26, 2016, unless the EPA receives adverse written comment on this regulation by the close of business January 27, 2016. If the EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of this direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference as of February 26, 2016 in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    2 Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

    3. Mail: Alima Patterson, Region 6, Regional Authorization Coordinator, or Julia Banks, Codification Coordinator, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    4. Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to Alima Patterson, Region 6, Regional Authorization Coordinator, or Julia Banks, Codification Coordinator, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    Instructions: Do not submit information that you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov, or email. The Federal http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. (For additional information about the EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.)

    You can view and copy the documents that form the basis for this authorization and codification and associated publicly available materials from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the following location: EPA, Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, phone number: (214) 665-8533 or (214) 665-8178. Interested persons wanting to examine these documents should make an appointment with the office at least two weeks in advance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alima Patterson, Region 6 Regional Authorization Coordinator, or Julia Banks, Codification Coordinator, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, Phone number: (214) 665-8533 or (214) 665-8178, and Email address: [email protected] or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Authorization of State-Initiated Changes A. Why are revisions to State programs necessary?

    States which have received Final authorization from the EPA under RCRA section 3006(b), 42 U.S.C. 6926(b), must maintain a hazardous waste program that is equivalent to, consistent with, and no less stringent than the Federal hazardous waste program. As the Federal program changes, the States must change their programs and ask the EPA to authorize the changes. Changes to State hazardous waste programs may be necessary when Federal or State statutory or regulatory authority is modified or when certain other changes occur. Most commonly, States must change their programs because of changes to the EPA's regulations in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 124, 260 through 268, 270, 273 and 279. States can also initiate their own changes to their hazardous waste program and these changes must then be authorized.

    B. What decisions have we made in this rule?

    We conclude that Texas' revisions to its authorized program meet all of the statutory and regulatory requirements established by RCRA. We found that the State-initiated changes make Texas' rules more clear or conform more closely to the Federal equivalents, and are so minor in nature that a formal application is unnecessary. Therefore, we grant Texas final authorization to operate its hazardous waste program with the changes described in the table at Section G below. Texas has responsibility for permitting Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) within its borders (except in Indian Country) and for carrying out all authorized aspects of the RCRA program, subject to the limitations of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). New Federal requirements and prohibitions imposed by Federal regulations that EPA promulgates under the authority of HSWA take effect in authorized States before they are authorized for the requirements. Thus, the EPA will implement those requirements and prohibitions in Texas, including issuing permits, until the State is granted authorization to do so.

    C. What is the effect of this authorization decision?

    The effect of this decision is that a facility in Texas, subject to RCRA, will now have to comply with the authorized State requirements, instead of the equivalent Federal requirements, in order to comply with RCRA. Texas has enforcement responsibilities under its State hazardous waste program for violations of such program, but the EPA retains its authority under RCRA sections 3007, 3008, 3013, and 7003, which include, among others, authority to:

    • Do inspections, and require monitoring, tests, analyses, or reports;

    • Enforce RCRA requirements and suspend or revoke permits; and

    • Take enforcement actions, regardless of whether the State has taken its own actions.

    This action does not impose additional requirements on the regulated community because the statutes and regulations for which Texas is being authorized by this direct action are already effective and are not changed by this action.

    D. Why wasn't there a proposed rule before this rule?

    The EPA did not publish a proposal before this rule because we view this as a routine program change and do not expect comments that oppose this approval. We are providing an opportunity for public comment now. In addition to this rule, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are publishing a separate document that proposes to authorize the State program changes.

    E. What happens if EPA receives comments that oppose this action?

    If the EPA receives comments that oppose the authorization of the State-initiated changes in this codification document, we will withdraw this rule by publishing a timely document in the Federal Register before the rule becomes effective. The EPA will base any further decision on the authorization of the State program changes on the proposal mentioned in the previous paragraph. We will then address all public comments in a later final rule. If you want to comment on this authorization, you must do so at this time. If we receive comments that oppose only the authorization of a particular change to the State hazardous waste program, we may withdraw only that part of this rule, but the authorization of the program changes that the comments do not oppose will become effective on the date specified above. The Federal Register withdrawal document will specify which part of the authorization of the State program will become effective and which part is being withdrawn.

    The purpose of this Federal Register document is to codify Texas' base hazardous waste management program and its revisions to that program. The EPA has already provided notices and opportunity for comments on the Agency's decisions to codify the Texas program, and the EPA is not now reopening the decisions, nor requesting comments, on the Texas authorization as published in the Federal Register notices specified in Section I.F. of this document.

    F. For what has Texas previously been authorized?

    Texas initially received final authorization on December 26, 1984 (49 FR 48300), to implement its Base Hazardous Waste Management Program. This authorization was clarified in a notice published March 26, 1985 (50 FR 11858). Texas received authorization for revisions to its program, effective October 4, 1985 (51 FR 3952), February 17, 1987 (51 FR 45320), March 15, 1990 (55 FR 7318), July 23, 1990 (55 FR 21383), October 21, 1991 (56 FR 41626), December 4, 1992 (57 FR 45719), June 27, 1994 (59 FR 16987), June 27, 1994 (59 FR 17273), November 26, 1997 (62 FR 47947), December 3, 1997 (62 FR 49163), October 18, 1999 (64 FR 44836), November 15, 1999 (64 FR 49673), September 11, 2000 (65 FR 43246), June 14, 2005 (70 FR 34371), December 29, 2008, (73 FR 64252), July 13, 2009 (74 FR 22469), May 6, 2011 (76 FR 12283), May 7, 2012 (77 FR 13200), January 9, 2013 (77 FR 71344) and November 3, 2014 (79 FR 52220).

    G. What changes are we authorizing with this action?

    The State has made amendments to the provisions listed in the table which follows. These amendments clarify the State's regulations, and make the State's regulations more internally consistent. The State's laws and regulations, as amended by these provisions, provide authority which remains equivalent to, no less stringent than, and not broader in scope than the Federal laws and regulations. These State-initiated changes satisfy the requirements of 40 CFR 271.21(a). We are granting Texas final authorization to carry out the following provisions of the State's program, in lieu of the Federal program. These provisions are analogous to the indicated RCRA regulations found at 40 CFR, as of July 1, 2010. The Texas provisions are from the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, amended to be effective February 21, 2013 (except as noted below).

    State requirement Analogous federal requirement 30 TAC 305.64(g) 40 CFR 270.40(b). 30 TAC 305.69(d)(2)(A) 40 CFR 270.42(c)(2)(i). 30 TAC 305.69(k), except A.8, A.9, A.10, A.11, B, D.3.g, H.6&7, J.7 & 8, I.6, L.5, L.9, L.10, M, and N 40 CFR 270.42, appendix I, except A.8, B, C7, D.3.g, H, J, I.6, L.5, L.9, L.10, M, and N. 30 TAC 305.176 40 CFR 270.235. 30 TAC 324.2 introductory paragraph 40 CFR 279.1 related. 30 TAC 324.2(3) 40 CFR 279.1 related. 30 TAC 324.2(5) 40 CFR 279.1 related. 30 TAC 324.2(8) 40 CFR 279.1 related. 30 TAC 324.4 40 CFR 279.12. 30 TAC 324.6 40 CFR 279.20 through 279.24 (subpart C). 30 TAC 324.7 40 CFR 279.30 through 279.32 (subpart D). 30 TAC 324.15 40 CFR 279 related. 30 TAC 324.16 40 CFR 279.11 Table 1, Note. 30 TAC 324.22(d)(3) 40 CFR 279 related. 30 TAC 335.1(59) 40 CFR 260.10 “Facility”. 30 TAC 335.1(142) 40 CFR 124.2(a) “Standardized permit”. 30 TAC 335.2(g) 40 CFR 261.4(e) and (f). 30 TAC 335.2(o) (December 31, 2012) 40 CFR 270.255 related. 30 TAC 335.19(b) 40 CFR 260.31(b). 30 TAC 335.69(f)(4)(C) 40 CFR 262.34(d)(4) related. 30 TAC 335.112(a)(14) 40 CFR 265.340-265.352 (subpart O). 30 TAC 335.112(b)(7) 40 CFR 265 related. 30 TAC 335.152(a)(9) 40 CFR 264.220-264.232 (subpart K), except 264.221 & 264.228. 30 TAC 335.152(c)(5) and (c)(6) [December 31, 2012] 40 CFR 264 related. 30 TAC 335.152(c)(7) 40 CFR 264 related. 30 TAC 335.168(c) 40 CFR 264.221(c). 30 TAC 335.170(c) 40 CFR 264.251(c). H. Who handles permits after the authorization takes effect?

    This authorization does not affect the status of State permits and those permits issued by the EPA, because no new substantive requirements are a part of these revisions.

    I. How does this action affect Indian Country (18 U.S.C. 1151) in Texas?

    Texas is not authorized to carry out its Hazardous Waste Program in Indian Country within the State. This authority remains with EPA. Therefore, this action has no effect in Indian Country.

    II. Technical Corrections

    The following technical corrections are made to the September 3, 2014, Texas authorization Federal Register document (79 FR 52220; effective November 3, 2014). There are two types of corrections being made. The first type includes additions or corrections to the list of citations for checklist entries that were actually included in the published Federal Register document. These are presented in order of the entry number and associated checklist, followed by a brief description of the correction being made. The second type of correction is the addition of the checklist entry for the authorization of the 40 CFR part 279 portions of the Corrections to Errors in the Code of Federal Regulations Rule (Checklist 214), a Federal rule which was inadvertently omitted from the original authorization table.

    1. For all the checklist entries, the word “Chapter” is corrected to read “Section”.

    2. For Checklist 203, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The citation “224.1” is corrected to read “324.1”.

    b. The citation “324.3” is corrected to read “334.3 (except 324.3(5))”.

    3. For Checklist 207, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The citation “335.41(f)(2)(iii)” is corrected to read “335.41(f)(2)(A)(iii)”.

    b. The citations “335.69” and 335.67” are removed.

    4. For Checklist 208, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The text “4 as amended” is removed.

    b. The citations “335.152(a)(17)(c)”, “335.152(a)(21)”, “335.152(a)(9)” and “335.152(19)” are removed.

    c. Add citation “335.112(a)(9)” before “335.125(d)”.

    d. Add citation “335.112(a)(19)—(a)(21)” before “335.221(a)(1)”.

    e. Add citation “324.3 (except 324.3(5))” before “324.11”.

    f. The citation “305.172(2)(a)(iii)—(iv)” is corrected to read “305.172(2)(A)(iii)—(iv)”.

    g. The language “amended and effective February 21, 2013” is corrected to read “as amended January 29, 2013 and effective February 21, 2013”.

    5. For Checklist 220, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The language “335.61(i)” and “335.79, 335.61(i)(1)-(2), 335.61(i)(2)” is removed.

    6. For Checklist 222, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The citation “335.11(e)” is removed.

    b. The citations “335.76(a), 335.76(f), 335.76(h)” are removed.

    c. Add citation “335.251(a) and 335.251(c)” after “335.112(a)(1)”.

    d. The citation “335.71(d)” is removed.

    e. The citation “335.112(a)(4)” is corrected to read “335.12”.

    f. Add the following text to the end of the Checklist 222 entry: “Note: While Texas has adopted the Federal changes addressed by this January 8, 2010 final rule, the State has appropriately left the authority with the EPA for the non-delegable export functions and is not being authorized to enforce these requirements in lieu of the EPA.”

    7. For Checklist 223, the following corrections should be made:

    a. The citation “335.1(138(D)(iv)” is corrected to read “335.1(138)(D)(iv) Table 1”.

    b. Add citation “335.71” after “335.69(f)(4)(C)”.

    c. The citation “335.69(f)(4)(C)” is corrected to read “335.69(f)(4)(D)”.

    d. The citations “335.10(a)” and “335.2(o)” are removed.

    e. The citation “324.94” is corrected to read “335.94(a)”.

    f. The citations “335.12(e)” and “335.12(c)” are removed.

    g. The duplicate citation “335.211(b)” after “335.112(a)(3)” is removed.

    h. The citation “335.222(e)(1)(E)” is corrected to read “335.222(c)(1)(E)”.

    8. For Checklist 226, the following correction should be made:

    a. Insert “30” before “Texas Administrative Code”.

    9. Add the following new entry to the Table:

    Description of federal requirement
  • (include checklist #, if relevant)
  • Federal Register date and page (and/or RCRA statutory authority) Analogous state authority
    40 CFR part 279 portions of the Corrections to Errors in the Code of Federal Regulations. (Checklist 214) 71 FR 40254—40280 July 14, 2006 Texas Water Code Annotated Sections 5.103 and 5.105, Texas Health & Safety Code Annotated Section 361.017 and 361.024; 30 Texas Administrative Code, Sections 324.1, 324.3 (except 324.3(5)), 324.11, 324.12, 324.13, and 324.14, as amended January 29, 2013 and effective February 21, 2013.
    III. Incorporation-by-Reference A. What is codification?

    Codification is the process of placing a State's statutes and regulations that comprise the State's authorized hazardous waste management program into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Section 3006(b) of RCRA, as amended, allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to authorize State hazardous waste management programs to operate in lieu of the Federal hazardous waste management regulatory program. The EPA codifies its authorization of State programs in 40 CFR part 272, and incorporates by reference State statutes and regulations that the EPA will enforce under sections 3007 and 3008 of RCRA and any other applicable statutory provisions.

    The incorporation by reference of State authorized programs in the CFR should substantially enhance the public's ability to discern the current status of the authorized State program and State requirements that can be Federally enforced. This effort provides clear notice to the public of the scope of the authorized program in each State.

    B. What is the history of the codification of Texas' hazardous waste management program?

    The EPA incorporated by reference Texas' then authorized hazardous waste program effective December 3, 1997 (62 FR 49163), November 15, 1999 (64 FR 49673), December 29, 2008 (73 FR 64252), May 6, 2011 (76 FR 12283), and January 9, 2013 (77 FR 71344). In this document, EPA is revising Subpart SS of 40 CFR part 272 to include the recent authorization revision actions effective November 3, 2014 (79 FR 52220).

    C. What codification decisions have we made in this rule?

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the Texas rules described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 272 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents available electronically through www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    The purpose of this Federal Register document is to codify Texas' base hazardous waste management program and its revisions to that program. This document incorporates by reference Texas' hazardous waste statutes and regulations, and clarifies which of these provisions are included in the authorized and Federally enforceable program. By codifying Texas' authorized program and by amending the Code of Federal Regulations, the public will be more easily able to discern the status of Federally approved requirements of the Texas hazardous waste management program.

    The EPA is incorporating by reference the Texas authorized hazardous waste program in subpart SS of 40 CFR part 272. Section 272.2201 incorporates by reference Texas' authorized hazardous waste statutes and regulations. Section 272.2201 also references the statutory provisions (including procedural and enforcement provisions), which provide the legal basis for the State's implementation of the hazardous waste management program, the Memorandum of Agreement, the Attorney General's Statements and the Program Description, which are approved as part of the hazardous waste management program under Subtitle C of RCRA.

    D. What is the effect of Texas' codification on enforcement?

    The EPA retains its authority under statutory provisions, including but not limited to, RCRA sections 3007, 3008, 3013, and 7003, and other applicable statutory and regulatory provisions to undertake inspections and enforcement actions, and to issue orders in authorized States. With respect to these actions, the EPA will rely on Federal sanctions, Federal inspection authorities, and Federal procedures, rather than any authorized State analogues to these provisions. Therefore, the EPA is not incorporating by reference such particular, approved Texas procedural and enforcement authorities. Section 272.2201(c)(2) of 40 CFR lists the statutory and regulatory provisions which provide the legal basis for the State's implementation of the hazardous waste management program, as well as, those procedural and enforcement authorities that are part of the States approved program, but these are not incorporated by reference.

    E. What State provisions are not part of the codification?

    The public needs to be aware that some provisions of Texas' hazardous waste management program are not part of the Federally authorized State program. These non-authorized provisions include:

    (1) Provisions that are not part of the RCRA Subtitle C program because they are “broader in scope” than RCRA Subtitle C (see 40 CFR 271.1(i));

    (2) Federal rules for which Texas is not authorized, but which have been incorporated into the State regulations because of the way the State adopted Federal regulations by reference:

    (3) Unauthorized amendments to authorized State provisions;

    (4) New unauthorized State requirements; and

    (5) Federal rules for which Texas is authorized, but which were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir. No. 98-1379 and 98-1379; June 27, 2014).

    State provisions that are “broader in scope” than the Federal program are not part of the RCRA authorized program, and the EPA will not enforce them. Therefore, they are not incorporated by reference in 40 CFR part 272. For reference and clarity, 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(3) lists the Texas regulatory provisions which are “broader in scope” than the Federal program and which are not part of the authorized program being incorporated by reference. “Broader in scope” provisions cannot be enforced by the EPA; the State, however, may enforce such provisions under State law.

    Additionally, Texas' hazardous waste regulations include amendments which have not been authorized by the EPA. Since the EPA cannot enforce a State's requirements which have not been reviewed and authorized in accordance with RCRA section 3006 and 40 CFR part 271, it is important to be precise in delineating the scope of a State's authorized hazardous waste program. Regulatory provisions that have not been authorized by the EPA include amendments to previously authorized State regulations, as well as, certain Federal rules and new State requirements.

    Texas has adopted but is not authorized for the following Federal rules published in the Federal Register on April 12, 1996 (61 FR 16290); December 5, 1997 (62 FR 64504); June 8, 2000 (65 FR 36365); and January 8, 2010 (75 FR 1236). Therefore, these Federal amendments included in Texas' adoption by reference at 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) sections 335.112(a)(1) and (a)(4), 335.152(a)(1) and (a)(4), and 335.431(c)(1) and (c)(3), are not part of the State's authorized program and are not part of the incorporation by reference addressed by this Federal Register document.

    Texas has adopted and was authorized for the following Federal rules, which have since been vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir. No. 98-1379 and 08-1144, respectively, June 27, 2014): (1) the Comparable Fuels Exclusion at 40 CFR 261.4(a)(16) and 261.38 published in the Federal Register on June 19, 1998 (63 FR 33782), as amended on June 15, 2010 (75 FR 33712); and (2) the Gasification Exclusion Rule published on January 2, 2008 (73 FR 57).

    In those instances where Texas has made unauthorized amendments to previously authorized sections of State code, the EPA is identifying in 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(4)(i) any regulations which, while adopted by the State and incorporated by reference, include language not authorized by the EPA. Those unauthorized portions of the State regulations are not Federally enforceable. Thus, notwithstanding the language in Texas hazardous waste regulations incorporated by reference at 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(1), the EPA will only enforce those portions of the State regulations that are actually authorized by the EPA. For the convenience of the regulated community, the actual State regulatory text authorized by the EPA for the citations listed at § 272.2201(c)(4) (i.e. without the unauthorized amendments) is compiled as a separate document, Addendum to the EPA Approved Texas Regulatory Requirements Applicable to the Hazardous Waste Management Program, November 2014. This document is available from EPA Region 6, EPA Region 6 Library, 12th Floor, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, Phone number: (214) 665-6444.

    State regulations that are not incorporated by reference in this rule at 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(1), or that are not listed in 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(2) (“legal basis for the State's implementation of the hazardous waste management program”), 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(3) (“broader in scope”) or 40 CFR 272.2201(c)(4) (“unauthorized State amendments”), are considered new unauthorized State requirements. These requirements are not Federally enforceable.

    With respect to any requirement pursuant to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA) for which the State has not yet been authorized, the EPA will continue to enforce the Federal HSWA standards until the State is authorized for these provisions.

    F. What will be the effect of Federal HSWA requirements on the codification?

    The EPA is not amending 40 CFR part 272 to include HSWA requirements and prohibitions that are implemented by EPA. Section 3006(g) of RCRA provides that any HSWA requirement or prohibition (including implementing regulations) takes effect in authorized and not authorized States at the same time. A HSWA requirement or prohibition supersedes any less stringent or inconsistent State provision which may have been previously authorized by the EPA (50 FR 28702, July 15, 1985). The EPA has the authority to implement HSWA requirements in all States, including authorized States, until the States become authorized for such requirement or prohibition. Authorized States are required to revise their programs to adopt the HSWA requirements and prohibitions, and then to seek authorization for those revisions pursuant to 40 CFR part 271.

    Instead of amending the 40 CFR part 272 every time a new HSWA provision takes effect under the authority of RCRA section 3006(g), the EPA will wait until the State receives authorization for its analog to the new HSWA provision before amending the State's 40 CFR part 272 incorporation by reference. Until then, persons wanting to know whether a HSWA requirement or prohibition is in effect should refer to 40 CFR 271.1(j), as amended, which lists each such provision.

    Some existing State requirements may be similar to the HSWA requirement implemented by the EPA. However, until the EPA authorizes those State requirements, the EPA can only enforce the HSWA requirements and not the State analogs. The EPA will not codify those State requirements until the State receives authorization for those requirements.

    Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this action from the requirements of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), and therefore, this action is not subject to review by OMB. This rule incorporated by reference Texas' authorized hazardous waste management regulations, and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by State law. Accordingly, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this rule merely incorporates by reference certain existing State hazardous waste management program requirements which the EPA already approved under 40 CFR part 271, and with which regulated entities must already comply, it does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4).

    This action will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), because it merely incorporates by reference existing State hazardous waste management program requirements without altering the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established by RCRA. This action also does not have Tribal implications within the meaning of Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 6, 2000).

    This action also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant, and it does not make decisions based on environmental health or safety risks. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply Distribution or Use” (66 FR 28344, May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    The requirements being codified are the result of Texas' voluntary participation in the EPA's State program authorization process under RCRA Subtitle C. As required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996), in issuing this rule, the EPA has taken the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct. The EPA has complied with Executive Order 12630 (53 FR 8859, March 15, 1988), by examining the takings implications of the rule in accordance with the “Attorney General's Supplemental Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risk and Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings” issued under the executive order. This rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The EPA will submit a report containing this document 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 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).

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 271

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Hazardous waste, Hazardous waste transportation, Indian lands, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    40 CFR Part 272

    Hazardous materials transportation, Hazardous waste, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Water pollution control, Water supply.

    Authority:

    This document is issued under the authority of Sections 2002(a), 3006 and 7004(b) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6926, 6974(b).

    Dated: October 1, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, under the authority at 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6926, and 6974(b), the EPA is granting final authorization under part 271 to the State of Texas for revisions to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and is amending 40 CFR part 272 as follows:

    PART 272—APPROVED STATE HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS 1. The authority citation for part 272 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Sections 2002(a), 3006, and 7004(b) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6926, and 6974(b).

    2. Revise § 272.2201 to read as follows:
    § 272.2201 Texas State-administered program: Final authorization.

    (a) Pursuant to section 3006(b) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6926(b), the EPA granted Texas final authorization for the following elements, as submitted to EPA in Texas' Base program application for final authorization which was approved by EPA effective on December 26, 1984. Subsequent program revision applications were approved effective on October 4, 1985, February 17, 1987, March 15, 1990, July 23, 1990, October 21, 1991, December 4, 1992, June 27, 1994, November 26, 1997, December 3, 1997, October 18, 1999, November 15, 1999, September 11, 2000, June 14, 2005, December 29, 2008, July 13, 2009, May 6, 2011 (76 FR 12283), and May 7, 2012 (77 FR 13200), January 9, 2013 (77 FR 71344), November 3, 2014 (79 FR 52220), and February 26, 2016.

    (b) The State of Texas has primary responsibility for enforcing its hazardous waste management program. However, EPA retains the authority to exercise its inspection and enforcement authorities in accordance with sections 3007, 3008, 3013, 7003 of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6927, 6928, 6934, 6973, and any other applicable statutory and regulatory provisions, regardless of whether the State has taken its own actions, as well as in accordance with other statutory and regulatory provisions.

    (c) State statutes and regulations. (1) The Texas statutes and regulations cited in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section are incorporated by reference as part of the hazardous waste management program under Subtitle C of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6921 et seq. This incorporation by reference is approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of the Texas regulations that are incorporated by reference in this paragraph are available from West Group Publishing, 610 Opperman Drive, Eagan, 55123, ATTENTION: Order Entry; Phone: 1-800-328-9352; Web site: http://west.thomson.com. You may inspect a copy at EPA Region 6 Library, 12th Floor, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, Phone number: (214) 665-8533, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    (i) The Binder entitled “EPA-Approved Texas Statutory and Regulatory Requirements Applicable to the Hazardous Waste Management Program”, dated November 2014.

    (ii) [Reserved]

    (2) The following provisions provide the legal basis for the State's implementation of the hazardous waste management program, but they are not being incorporated by reference and do not replace Federal authorities:

    (i) Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) Annotated, (Vernon, 2010, as amended by the 2012 Cumulative Annual Pocket Part, effective September 1, 2011); Chapter 361, The Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, sections 361.002, 361.016, 361.017, 361.018, 361.0215(b)(2) and (b)(3), 361.023, 361.024, 361.029, 361.032, 361.033, 361.035, 361.036, 361.037(a), 361.061, 361.063, 361.0635, 361.064, 361.0641, 361.066(b) and (c), 361.0666, 361.067, 361.068, 361.069, 361.078, 361.079, 361.0791, 361.080, 361.081, 361.082 (except 361.082(a) and (f)), 361.083, 361.0833, 361.084, 361.085, 361.0861(c), 361.0871(b), 361.088, 361.0885, 361.089 (except 361.089(a), (e), and (f)), 361.089(a), (e), and (f) (2012 Cumulative Annual Pocket Part), 361.090, 361.095(b)-(f), 361.096, 361.097, 361.098, 361.099(a), 361.100, 361.101, 361.102 through 361.109, 361.113, 361.114, 361.116, 361.271 (2012 Cumulative Annual Pocket Part), 361.272 through 361.275, 361.278, 361.301, 361.321(a) and (b), 361.321(c) (except the phrase “Except as provided by Section 361.322(a)”), 361.321(d), 361.321(e) (except the phrase “Except as provided by Section 361.322(e)”), 361.451, 361.501 through 361.506, and 361.509(a) introductory paragraph, (a)(11), (b), (c) introductory paragraph, and (c)(2); Chapter 371, Texas Oil Collection, Management, and Recycling Act, sections 371.0025(b) and (c), 371.024(a), (c), and (d), 371.026(a) and (b), and 371.028.

    (ii) Texas Water Code (TWC), Texas Codes Annotated, as amended effective September 1, 2011: Chapter 5, sections 5.102 through 5.105, 5.112, 5.177, 5.351, 5.501 through 5.505, 5.509 through 5.512, 5.515, and 5.551 through 5.557; Chapter 7, sections 7.031, 7.032, 7.051(a), 7.052(a), 7.052(c) and (d), 7.053 through 7.062, 7.064 through 7.069, 7.075, 7.101, 7.102, 7.104, 7.105, 7.107, 7.110, 7.162, 7.163, 7.176, 7.187(a), 7.189, 7.190, 7.252(1), 7.351, 7.353; Chapter 26, sections 26.001(13), 26.011, 26.020 through 26.022, 26.039, and 26.341 through 26.367; and Chapter 27, sections 27.003, 27.017(a), 27.018(a)-(d), and 27.019.

    (iii) Texas Government Code as amended effective September 1, 2011, section 311.027.

    (iv) Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended effective September 1, 2011, Rule 60.

    (v) Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, Environmental Quality, 2013, as amended, effective through December 31, 2012: Chapter 10; Chapter 39, sections 39.5(g) and (h), 39.11, 39.13 (except (10)), 39.103 (except (f) and (h)), 39.105, 39.107, 39.109, 39.403(b)(1), 39.405(f)(1), 39.411 (except (b)(4)(B), (b)(10), (b)(11), and (b)(13)), 39.413 (except (10)), 39.420 (except (c) and (d)), 39.503 (except the reference to 39.405(h) in (d) introductory paragraph and (g)), and 39.801 through 39.810; Chapter 50, sections 50.13, 50.19, 50.39, 50.113 (except (d)), 50.117(f), 50.119, 50.133, and 50.139; Chapter 55, sections 55.25(a) and (b), 55.27 (except (b)), 55.152(a)(3), 55.152(b), 55.154, 55.156 (except (d) through (g)), 55.201 (except as applicable to contested case hearings), and 55.211 (except as applicable to contested case hearings); Chapter 70, section 70.10; Chapter 281, sections 281.1 (except the clause “except as provided by . . . Prioritization Process)”), 281.2 introductory paragraph and (4), 281.3(a) and (b), 281.5 (except the clause “Except as provided by . . . Discharge Permits)”, the phrase “radioactive material”, and the phrase “subsurface area drip dispersal systems”), 281.17(d) (except the references to radioactive material licenses), 281.17(e) and (f), 281.18(a) (except for the sentence “For applications for radioactive . . . within 30 days.”, 281.19(a) (except the last sentence), 281.19(b) (except the phrase “Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section,”), 281.20, 281.21(a) (except the phrase “and the Texas Radiation Control Act . . . Chapter 401.”, the acronym “TRCA”, and the phrase “subsurface area drip dispersal systems”), 281.21(b), 281.21(c) (except the phrase “radioactive materials,” in 281.21(c)(2)), 281.21(d), 281.22(a) (except the phrase “For applications for radioactive . . . to deny the license.”), 281.22(b) (except the phrase “or an injection well,” in the first sentence and the phrase “For underground injection wells . . . the same facility or activity.”), 281.23(a), and 281.24; Chapter 305, sections, 305.29, 305.30, 305.64(d) and (f), 305.66(c), 305.66(e) (except for the last sentence), 305.66(f) through (l), 305.123 (except the phrases “and 401 . . . regulation)” and “and 32”), 305.125(1) and (3), 305.125(20), 305.127(1)(B)(i), 305.127(4)(A) and (C), and (6), 305.401 (except the text “§ 55.21 of this title (relating to Requests for Contested Case Hearings, Public Comment)” at (b), and 305.401(c)); and Chapter 335, sections 335.2(b), 335.43(b), 335.206, 335.391 through 335.393.

    (3) The following statutory and regulatory provisions are broader in scope than the Federal program, are not part of the authorized program, and are not incorporated by reference:

    (i) Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) Annotated, (Vernon, 2010): Chapter 361, The Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, sections 361.131 through 361.140; Chapter 371, Texas Oil Collection, Management, and Recycling Act, sections 371.021, 371.022, 371.024(e), 371.0245, 371.0246, 371.025, and 371.026(c).

    (ii) Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, Environmental Quality, 2013, as amended, effective through December 31, 2012: Chapter 305, sections 305.53, 305.64(b)(4), and 305.69(b)(1)(A) (as it relates to the Application Fee); Chapter 335, sections 335.321 through 335.332, Appendices I and II, and 335.401 through 335.412.

    (4) Unauthorized State amendments and provisions. (i) The following authorized provisions of the Texas regulations include amendments published in the Texas Register that are not approved by EPA. Such unauthorized amendments are not part of the State's authorized program and are, therefore, not Federally enforceable. Thus, notwithstanding the language in the Texas hazardous waste regulations incorporated by reference at paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section, EPA will enforce the State provisions that are actually authorized by EPA. The effective dates of the State's authorized provisions are listed in the table in this paragraph (c)(4)(i). The actual State regulatory text authorized by EPA (i.e., without the unauthorized amendments) is available as a separate document, Addendum to the EPA-Approved Texas Regulatory and Statutory Requirements Applicable to the Hazardous Waste Management Program, November, 2014. Copies of the document can be obtained from U.S. EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75202.

    State provision
  • (December 31, 2012)
  • Effective date of authorized provision Unauthorized State amendments Texas register reference Effective date
    335.6(a) 7/29/92 18 TexReg 2799
  • 22 TexReg 12060
  • 23 TexReg 10878
  • 5/12/93
  • 12/15/97
  • 10/19/98
  • 335.6(c) introductory paragraph 7/29/92 17 TexReg 8010
  • 20 TexReg 2709
  • 20 TexReg 3722
  • 21 TexReg 1425
  • 21 TexReg 2400
  • 22 TexReg 12060
  • 23 TexReg 10878
  • 26 TexReg 9135
  • 11/27/92
  • 4/24/95
  • 5/30/95
  • 3/1/96
  • 3/6/96
  • 12/15/97
  • 10/19/98
  • 11/15/01
  • 335.6(g) 7/29/92 18 TexReg 3814
  • 22 TexReg 12060
  • 23 TexReg 10878
  • 6/28/93
  • 12/15/97
  • 10/19/98
  • 335.24(b) introductory paragraph 3/1/96 21 TexReg 10983
  • 23 TexReg 10878
  • 38 TexReg 970
  • 11/20/96
  • 10/19/98
  • 2/21/13
  • 335.24(c) introductory paragraph 3/1/96 21 TexReg 10983
  • 23 TexReg 10878
  • 38 TexReg 970
  • 11/20/96
  • 10/19/98
  • 2/21/13
  • 335.45(b) 9/1/86 17 TexReg 5017 7/29/92 335.204(a)(1) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91 335.204(b)(1) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91 335.204(b)(6) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91 335.204(c)(1) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91 335.204(d)(1) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91 335.204(e)(6) 5/28/86 16 TexReg 6065 11/7/91

    (ii) Texas has partially or fully adopted, but is not authorized to implement, the Federal rules that are listed in the table in this paragraph (c)(4)(ii). The EPA will continue to implement the Federal HSWA requirements for which Texas is not authorized until the State receives specific authorization for those requirements. The EPA will not enforce the non-HSWA Federal rules although they may be enforceable under State law. For those Federal rules that contain both HSWA and non-HSWA requirements, the EPA will enforce only the HSWA portions of the rules.

    Federal requirement Federal Register reference Publication date Clarification of Standards for Hazardous Waste LDR Treatment Variances (SWA) (Checklist 162) 62 FR 64504 December 5, 1997. Organobromine Production Wastes; Petroleum Refining Wastes; Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste; Land Disposal Restrictions (HSWA) (Checklist 187) 64 FR 36365 June 8, 2000. Zinc Fertilizers Made from Recycled Hazardous Secondary Materials (HSWA and Non-HSWA) (Checklist 200) 67 FR 48393 July 24, 2002.

    (iii) The Federal rules listed in the table in this paragraph (c)(4)(iii) are not delegable to States. Texas has adopted these provisions and left the authority to the EPA for implementation and enforcement.

    Federal requirement Federal Register reference Publication date Imports and Exports of Hazardous Waste: Implementation of OECD Council Decision (HSWA) (Checklist 152) 61 FR 16290 April 12, 1996. OECD Requirements; Export Shipments of Spent Lead-Acid Batteries (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 222) 75 FR 1236 January 8, 2010.

    (iv) Texas has chosen not to adopt, and is not authorized to implement, the following optional Federal rules:

    Federal requirement Federal Register reference Publication date NESHAPS Second Technical Correction, Vacatur (Non-HSWA) (Checklist Rule 188.1) 66 FR 24270 May 14, 2001. Storage, Treatment, Transportation and Disposal of Mixed Waste (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 191) 66 FR 27218 May 16, 2001. Inorganic Chemical Manufacturing Waste Identification and Listing (HSWA/Non-HSWA) (Checklist Rule 195.1) 67 FR 17119 April 9, 2002. Land Disposal Restrictions: National Treatment Variance to Designate New Treatment Subcategories for Radioactively Contaminated Cadmium, Mercury-Containing Batteries and Silver-Containing Batteries (HSWA) (Checklist 201) 67 FR 62618 October 7, 2002. NESHAP: Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 205) 69 FR 22601 April 26, 2004. Revisions to the Definition of Solid Waste (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 219) 73 FR 64668 October 30, 2008. Expansion of RCRA Comparable Fuel Exclusion (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 221) 73 FR 77954 December 19, 2008. Withdrawal of the Emission Comparable Fuel Exclusion (Non-HSWA) (Checklist 224) 73 FR 33712 June 15, 2010. Removal of Saccharin and Its Salts from the Lists of Hazardous Constituents (Non-HSWA) (Checklist Rule 225) 75 FR 78918 December 17, 2010.

    (5) Vacated Federal rules. Texas adopted and was authorized for the following Federal rules which have since been vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir. No. 98-1379 and 08-1144, respectively; June 27, 2014):

    Federal requirement Federal Register reference Publication date Hazardous Waste Combustors; Revised Standards (HSWA) (Checklist 168—40 CFR 261.4(a)(16) and 261.38 only) 63 FR 33782 June 19, 1998. Exclusion of Oil-Bearing Secondary Materials Processed in a Gasification System to Produce Synthesis Gas (Checklist 216—Definition of “Gasification” at 40 CFR 260.10 and amendment to 40 CFR 261.4(a)(12)(i)) 73 FR 57 January 2, 2008. Withdrawal of the Emission Comparable Fuel Exclusion under RCRA (Checklist 224—amendments to 40 CFR 261.4(a)(16) and 261.38) 7 FR 33712 June 15, 2010.

    (6) Memorandum of Agreement. The Memorandum of Agreement between EPA Region VI and the State of Texas, signed by the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on December 20, 2011, and by the EPA Regional Administrator on February 17, 2012, is referenced as part of the authorized hazardous waste management program under subtitle C of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6921 et seq.

    (7) Statement of legal authority. “Attorney General's Statement for Final Authorization”, signed by the Attorney General of Texas on May 22, 1984 and revisions, supplements, and addenda to that Statement dated November 21, 1986, July 21, 1988, December 4, 1989, April 11, 1990, July 31, 1991, February 25, 1992, November 30, 1992, March 8, 1993, January 7, 1994, August 9, 1996, October 16, 1996, as amended February 7, 1997, March 11, 1997, January 5, 1999, November 2, 1999, March 1, 2002, July 16, 2008, December 6, 2011, and February 22, 2013, are referenced as part of the authorized hazardous waste management program under Subtitle C of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6921 et seq.

    (8) Program Description. The Program Description and any other materials submitted as part of the original application or as supplements thereto are referenced as part of the authorized hazardous waste management program under subtitle C of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6921 et seq.

    3. Appendix A to part 272 is amended by revising the listing for “Texas” to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 272—State Requirements Texas

    The statutory provisions include:

    Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) Annotated, (Vernon, 2010): Chapter 361, The Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, sections 361.003 (except (3), (4), (19), (27), (35), and (39)), 361.019(a), 361.0235, 361.066(a), 361.082(a) and (f), 361.086, 361.087, 361.0871(a), 361.094, 361.095(a), 361.099(b), and 361.110; Chapter 371, The Texas Oil Collection, Management, and Recycling Act, sections 371.003, 371.024(b), 371.026(d), and 371.041.

    Copies of the Texas statutes that are incorporated by reference are available from West Group Publishing, 610 Opperman Drive, Eagan, 55123, ATTENTION: Order Entry; Phone: 1-800-328-9352; Web site: http://west.thomson.com.

    The regulatory provisions include:

    Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 30, Environmental Quality, 2013, as amended, effective through December 31, 2012, and where indicated, amendments effective February 21, 2013, as published in the Texas Register on February 15, 2013 (38 TexReg 970; based on the proposed rule published October 5, 2012, 37 TexReg 7871). Please note that for some provisions, the authorized versions are found in the TAC, Title 30, Environmental Quality, as amended effective January 1, 1994, January 1, 1997, December 31, 1999, or December 31, 2001. Texas made subsequent changes to these provisions but these changes have not been authorized by EPA. Where the provisions are taken from regulations other than those dated December 31, 2012, notations are made below.

    Chapter 3, Section 3.2(25) “Person”; Chapter 20, Section 20.15; Chapter 35, Section 35.402(e); Chapter 37, Sections 37.1, 37.11 through 37.81, 37.100 through 37.161, 37.200 through 37.281, 37.301 through 37.381, 37.400 through 37.411, 37.501 through 37.551, 36.601 through 37.671, and 37.6001 through 37.6041; Chapter 281, Section 281.3(c);

    Chapter 305, Subchapter A—General Provisions, Sections 305.1(a) (except the reference to Chapter 401, relative to Radioactive Materials); 305.2 introductory paragraph (except the references to Chapter 401, relative to Radioactive Materials and the reference to TWC 32.002); 305.2(1), (6), (11), (12), (14), (15), (19), (20), (24), (26), (27), (28), (31), and (40)—(42); 305.3;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter C—Application for Permit, Sections 305.41 (except the reference to Chapter 401, relative to Radioactive Materials and the reference to TWC Chapter 32); 305.42(a), (b), (d), and (f); 305.43(b); 305.44 (except (d)); 305.45 (except (a)(7)(I) and (J)); 305.47; 305.50(a) introductory paragraph—(a)(8) (except the last two sentences in 305.50(a)(2)); 305.50(a)(13); 305.50(a)(14) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 305.50(a)(15) and (16); 305.50(b); 305.51;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter D—Amendments, Modifications, Renewals, Transfers, Corrections, Revocations, and Suspension of Permits, Sections 305.61; 305.62(a) (except the phrase in the first sentence “§ 305.70 of this title . . . Solid Waste Class I Modifications” and the phrase in the fifth sentence “If the permittee requests a modification of a municipal solid waste permit . . . § 305.70 of this title.”); 305.62(b); 305.62(c) introductory paragraph (except the phrase “other than . . . subsection (i) of this section”); 305.62(c)(1); 305.62(c)(2) introductory paragraph; 305.62(c)(2)(A) (except the phrase “except for Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permits, ”); 305.62(c)(2)(B) (except the phrase “except for TPDES permits, ”); 305.62(d) (except (d)(6)); 305.62(e)-(h); 305.63(a) (except the last sentence of (a)(3) and (a)(7)); 305.64(a); 305.64(b) (except (b)(4) and (b)(5)); 305.64(c); 305.64(e); 305.64(g) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 305.65; 305.66(a) (except (a)(7)-(a)(9)); 305.66(d); 305.67(a) and (b); 305.69(a); 305.69(b) (except for “Additional Contents of Application for an Injection Well Permit” and “Waste Containing Radioactive Materials; and Application Fee” at (b)(1)(A)); 305.69(c); 305.69(d) (except (d)(2)(A)); 305.69(d)(2)(A) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 305.69(e)-(j); 305.69(k) (except (k) A.8-A.10) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013);

    Chapter 305, Subchapter F—Permit Characteristics and Conditions, Sections 305.121 (except the phrases “radioactive material disposal” and “subsurface area drip dispersal systems”); 305.122(a); 305.122(b)-(d) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 305.124; 305.125 introductory paragraph; 305.125(2) and (4); 305.125(5) (except the last two sentences); 305.125(6)-(8); 305.125(9) (except (9)(C)); 305.125(10) (except the phrase “and 32”); 305.125(11) (except the phrase “as otherwise required by Chapter 336 of this title” relative to Radioactive Substances in (11)(B)); 305.125(12)-(19), and (21); 305.127 introductory paragraph; 305.127(1)(B)(iii); 305.127(1)(E) and (F); 305.127(2); 305.127(3)(A) (except the last two sentences); 305.127(3)(B) and (C); 305.127(4)(B); 305.127(5)(C); 305.128;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter G—Additional Conditions for Hazardous and Industrial Solid Waste Storage, Processing, or Disposal Permits, Sections 305.141 through 305.145; 305.150;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter I—Hazardous Waste Incinerator Permits, Sections 305.171 through 305.175; 305.176 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013);

    Chapter 305, Subchapter J -Permits for Land Treatment Demonstrations Using Field Tests or Laboratory Analyses, Sections 305.181 through 305.184;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter K—Research, Development and Demonstration Permits, Sections 305.191 through 305.194;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter L—Groundwater Compliance Plan, Section 305.401(c);

    Chapter 305, Subchapter Q—Permits for Boilers and Industrial Furnaces Burning Hazardous Waste, Sections 305.571 through 305.573;

    Chapter 305, Subchapter R—Resource Conservation And Recovery Act Standard Permits For Storage And Treatment Units, Sections 305.650 through 305.661;

    Chapter 324—Used Oil, Sections 324.1 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), 324.2(except 324.2(2)) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 324.3 (except 324.3(5)) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 324.4 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 324.6 and 324.7 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 324.11 through 324.16 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 324.21; 324.22(d)(3);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter A—Industrial Solid Waste and Municipal Hazardous Waste in General, Sections 335.1 introductory paragraph; 335.1(1)-(4), (6)-(12), (16)-(18), (22), (23), (25)-(29), (32), (34)-(37); 335.1(39) “Designated facility” (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.1(40)-(46), (47) (except for the phrase “or is used for neutralizing the pH of non-hazardous industrial solid waste”), (48)-(50), (52)-(57), (59) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), (60)-(63), (65), (66), (69)-(78), (80)-(87), (88)-(91) (except the phrase “solid waste or” in each subsection), (92), (93)-(94) (except the phrase “solid waste or” in both subsections); 335.1(95) “Manifest” and (96) “Manifest document number” (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.1(97), (98), (99) (except the phrase “solid waste or”), (100)-(113), (115) (except the phrase “solid waste or”), (116), (117), (121), (122) (except the phrase “solid waste or”), (123)-(126), (128), (130)-(134), (136), (137), (138)(A) introductory paragraph through (138)(A)(iii), (138)(A)(iv) introductory paragraph (except the last sentence) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), (138)(B), (138)(C), (138)(D) (except the phrase “Except for materials described in subparagraph (H) of this paragraph.” at (138)(D) introductory paragraph; and (D)(iv) Table 1), (138)(D)(iv) Table 1 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), (138)(E), (138)(F), and (138)(G) (except the phrase “Except for materials described in subparagraph (H) of this paragraph.” at (138)(G) introductory paragraph), (138)(I) and (J), (139), (141), (142) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), (143), (144)-(151) (except the phrase “solid waste or” at (144), (147) and (149)), (152) (except the phrase “or industrial solid”), (153)-(156) (except the phrase “or industrial solid” at (155) and (156), (158)-(160), (161) (except the phrase “solid waste or”), (162)-(167), (168) (except the phrase “or industrial solid”), (169), (170), and (171) (except the phrase “solid waste or”); 335.2(a) and (c); 335.2(e) and (f); 335.2(g) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.2(i), (j), (l), (m), and (o); 335.4; 335.5 (except (d)); 335.6(a); 335.6(b) (January 1, 1997); 335.6(c); 335.6(d) (except the last sentence) (January 1, 1994); 335.6(e) (January 1, 1994); 335.6(f)-(j); 335.7; 335.8(a)(1) and (2); 335.9(a) (except (a)(2) and (3)); 335.9(a)(2) and (3) (January 1, 1997); 335.9(b) (January 1, 1994); 335.10(a) and (b) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.11(a) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.12(a) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.13(a) (January 1, 1997); 335.13(c) and (d) (January 1, 1994); 335.13(e) and (f) (January 1, 1997); 335.13(g) (January 1, 1994); 335.13(k); 335.14; 335.15 introductory paragraph (January 1, 1994); 335.15(1); 335.15(3); 335.17(a); 335.18(a); 335.19 (except 335.19(d)) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.20 through 335.22; 335.23 (except (2)); 335.23(2) (January 1, 1994); 335.24(a) and (b) introductory paragraph; 335.24(b)(1)-(4) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.24(c) (except (c)(1)(A)); 335.24(c)(1)(A) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.24(d) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.24(e); 335.24(f) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.24(m) and (n); 335.29 through 335.31;

    Chapter 335, Subchapter B—Hazardous Waste Management General Provisions, Sections 335.41(a)-(c); 335.41(d) (except (d)(1) and (d)(5)-(8)); 335.41(d)(1) (December 31, 2001); 335.41(e)-(j); 335.43(a); 335.44; 335.45; 335.47 (except 335.47(b) and the second sentence in (c)(3)); 335.47(b) (December 31, 1999);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter C—Standards Applicable to Generators of Hazardous Waste, Sections 335.61(a) and (b) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.61(c); 335.61(d) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.61(e), (g), and (h); 335.61(i) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.62 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.63; 335.65 through 335.68; 335.69(a) (except “and (n)” in the introductory paragraph; (a)(4)(B) and (a)(4)(C)); 335.69(a)(4)(B) and (C) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.69(b) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.69(c), 335.69(d) and (e) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.69(f) (except (f)(4)(C)); 335.69(f)(4)(C) and (D) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.69(g), (h), and (j)-(l); 335.69(m) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.70; 335.71; 335.73 through 335.75; 335.76(a) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.76(b); 335.76(c) and (d) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.76(e); 335.76(f) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.76(g); 335.77; 335.78(a); 335.78(b) (January 1, 1997); 335.78(c) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.78(d) (except (d)(2)); 335.78(e) introductory paragraph (January 1, 1997); 335.78(e)(1) and (2); 335.78(f) introductory paragraph and (f)(1) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.78(f)(2) (January 1, 1997); 335.78(f)(3) (except 335.78(f)(3)(A)); 335.78(f)(3)(A) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.78(g) (except (g)(2)); 335.78(g)(2) (January 1, 1997); 335.78(h) and (i); 335.78(j) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.79 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter D—Standards Applicable to Transporters of Hazardous Waste, Sections 335.91 (except (e)); 335.92; 335.93 (except (e)); 335.93(e) (December 31, 1999); 335.94 (except the phrase “owned or operated by a registered transporter” in (a) introductory paragraph);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter E—Interim Standards for Owners and Operators of Hazardous Waste Storage, Processing, or Disposal Facilities, Sections 335.111(a) and (b) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013), 335.111(c)-(e); 335.112(a) introductory paragraph; 335.112(a)(1) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.112(a)(2); 335.112(a)(3) and (4) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.112(a)(5)-(12); 335.112(a)(13) and (14) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.112(a)(15) and (16); 335.112(a)(18)-(24); 335.112(b) (except (b)(4)(K) and (b)(7)); 335.112(b)(4)(K) and (b)(7) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.112(c); 335.113; 335.115 through 335.128;

    Chapter 335, Subchapter F—Permitting Standards for Owners and Operators of Hazardous Waste Storage, Processing, or Disposal Facilities, Sections 335.151(a) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.151(b); 335.151(c) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.151(d); 335.151(e) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.151(f); 335.152(a) introductory paragraph; 335.152(a)(1) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(a)(2); 335.152(a)(3) and (4) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(a)(5)-(8); 335.152(a)(9) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(a)(10) and (11); 335.152(a)(12) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(a)(13); 335.152(a)(14) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(a)(15)-(22); 335.152(b); 335.152(c) (except (c)(7)); 335.152(c)(7) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.152(d); 335.153; 335.155 introductory paragraph (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.155(1) and (2); 335.155(3) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.156 through 335.167; 335.168 (except (c)); 335.168(c) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.169; 335.170 (except (c)); 335.170(c) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.171 through 335.179;

    Chapter 335, Subchapter G—Location Standards for Hazardous Waste Storage, Processing, or Disposal, Sections 335.201(a) (except (a)(3)); 335.201(c); 335.202 introductory paragraph; 335.202(2), (4), (9)-(11), (13), (15)-(18); 335.203; 335.204(a) introductory paragraph-(a)(5); 335.204(b)(1)-(6); 335.204(c)(1)-(5); 335.204(d)(1)-(5); 335.204(e) introductory paragraph; 335.204(e)(1) introductory paragraph (except the phrase “Except as . . . (B) of this paragraph,” and the word “event” at the end of the paragraph); 335.204(e)(2)-(7); 335.204(f); 335.205(a) introductory paragraph—(a)(2) and (e);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter H—Standards for the Management of Specific Wastes and Specific Types of Facilities, Sections 335.211; 335.212; 335.213 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.214; 335.221; 335.222(except (c)(1)); 335.222(c)(1) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.223 through 335.225; 335.241(except (b)(4)); 335.251 (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013); 335.261 (except (e)); 335.271; 335.272;

    Chapter 335, Subchapter O—Land Disposal Restrictions, Section 335.431 (except (c)(1)); 335.431(c)(1) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013);

    Chapter 335, Subchapter R—Waste Classification, Sections 335.504 introductory paragraph; 335.504(1)-(3) (38 TexReg 970, effective February 21, 2013);

    Subchapter U, Standards For Owners And Operators Of Hazardous Waste Facilities Operating Under A Standard Permit, Sections 601 and 602.

    Copies of the Texas regulations that are incorporated by reference are available from West Group Publishing, 610 Opperman Drive, Eagan, 55123, ATTENTION: Order Entry; Phone: 1-800-328-9352; Web site: http://west.thomson.com.

    [FR Doc. 2015-31881 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration 49 CFR Part 219 [Docket No. FRA-2001-11213, Notice No. 20] Alcohol and Drug Testing: Determination of Minimum Random Testing Rates for 2016 AGENCY:

    Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of determination.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice of determination provides the FRA Administrator's minimum annual random drug and alcohol testing rates for calendar year 2016.

    DATES:

    This notice of determination is effective December 28, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jerry Powers, FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, W33-310, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, (telephone 202-493-6313); or Sam Noe, FRA Drug and Alcohol Program Specialist, (telephone 615-719-2951).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FRA determines the minimum annual random drug testing rate and minimum random alcohol testing rate for the next calendar year based on railroad industry data available for two previous calendar years (for this Notice, calendar years 2013 and 2014). Railroad industry data submitted to FRA's Management Information System shows the rail industry's random drug testing positive rate remained below 1.0 percent for the applicable two calendar years. FRA's Administrator has therefore determined the minimum annual random drug testing rate for the period January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016, will remain at 25 percent of covered railroad employees under 49 CFR 219.602. In addition, because the industry-wide random alcohol testing violation rate remained below 0.5 percent for the applicable two calendar years, the Administrator has determined the minimum random alcohol testing rate will remain at 10 percent of covered railroad employees for the period January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016 under 49 CFR 219.608. Because these rates represent minimums, railroads may conduct FRA random testing at higher rates.

    Issued in Washington, DC on December 21, 2015. Sarah Feinberg, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32544 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration 49 CFR Part 225 [FRA-2008-0136, Notice No. 8] RIN 2130-ZA13 Monetary Threshold for Reporting Rail Equipment Accidents/Incidents for Calendar Year 2016 AGENCY:

    Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule maintains the rail equipment accident/incident monetary reporting threshold at $10,500 for railroad accidents/incidents involving property damage that occur during calendar year (CY) 2016 that FRA's accident/incident reporting regulations require to be reported to the agency. FRA is maintaining the reporting threshold at the same level it did in CY 2015, and CY 2014, because, in part, the wage and equipment data for the second-quarter of 2015 (i.e., the data used to calculate the threshold) changed only slightly (about 1 percent) from second-quarter 2014 values. In addition, FRA is maintaining the monetary threshold for CY 2016 at the CY 2015 level while it reexamines the method for calculating the monetary threshold.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective January 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kebo Chen, Staff Director, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety Analysis, RRS-22, Mail Stop 25, West Building 3rd Floor, Room W33-314, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6079); or Sara Mahmoud-Davis, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Chief Counsel, RCC-10, Mail Stop 10, West Building 3rd Floor, Room W33-435, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-366-1118).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    A “rail equipment accident/incident” is a collision, derailment, fire, explosion, act of God, or other event involving the operation of railroad on-track equipment (standing or moving) that results in damages to railroad on-track equipment, signals, tracks, track structures, or roadbed, including labor costs and the costs for acquiring new equipment and material, greater than the reporting threshold for the year in which the event occurs. 49 CFR 225.19(c). Each rail equipment accident/incident must be reported to FRA using the Rail Equipment Accident/Incident Report (Form FRA F 6180.54). See 49 CFR 225.19(b), (c) and 225.21(a). Paragraphs (c) and (e) of 49 CFR 225.19 further provide that FRA will adjust the dollar figure that constitutes the reporting threshold for rail equipment accidents/incidents, if necessary, every year under the procedures in appendix B to 49 CFR part 225 (Appendix B) to reflect any cost increases or decreases.

    In this rule, FRA is keeping the monetary threshold for CY 2016, at $10,500, the same as the monetary threshold for CY 2014 and CY 2015. FRA is maintaining the reporting threshold at the same level as CY 2015 because, in part, the wage and equipment data for the second-quarter of 2015 (i.e., the data used to calculate the threshold) changed only slightly (about 1 percent) from second-quarter 2014 values. FRA believes that the wage and equipment data support keeping the reporting threshold the same for CY 2016. Also, FRA anticipates making changes to the methodology for calculating the reporting threshold in the coming year.

    In addition to periodically reviewing and adjusting the annual threshold under Appendix B, FRA periodically amends its method for calculating the threshold. In 49 U.S.C. 20901(b), Congress requires that FRA base the threshold on publicly available information obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), other objective government source, or be subject to notice and comment. In 1996, FRA adopted a new method for calculating the monetary reporting threshold for accidents/incidents. See 61 FR 60632, Nov. 29, 1996. In 2005, FRA again amended its method for calculating the reporting threshold because the BLS ceased collecting and publishing the railroad wage data FRA used in the calculation. Consequently, FRA substituted railroad employee wage data the Surface Transportation Board (STB) collects for the data BLS ceased to collect. See 70 FR 75414, Dec. 20, 2005. In 2016, FRA intends to evaluate and amend, if appropriate, its method for calculating the monetary threshold for accident/incident reporting and, as a result, the formula utilized to calculate the threshold may change. FRA intends to reexamine its method for calculating the reporting threshold because new methodologies for calculating the threshold are available. FRA believes updating its methodology to include these advances will ensure the reporting threshold reflects changes in equipment and labor costs as accurately as possible.

    Maintaining Current Reporting Threshold

    Approximately one year has passed since FRA reviewed the rail equipment accident/incident reporting threshold. See 79 FR 77397, Dec. 24, 2014. Consequently, FRA reviewed the threshold as 49 CFR 225.19(c) requires, and found that costs for labor remained the same and costs for equipment increased only slightly relative to approximately one year ago.

    In reviewing the threshold, FRA gathered wage and equipment data from the STB and BLS respectively. Under the procedure in Appendix B, FRA averaged the wages for Group No. 300 (Maintenance of Way and Structures) and Group No. 400 (Maintenance of Equipment and Stores employees). FRA averaged the monthly equipment indices from the Producer Price Index (PPI) to produce a quarterly average. Consistent with Appendix B, FRA utilized data from the second-quarter of 2014 to the second-quarter of 2015.

    To determine the changes in wages and prices over this time period, FRA calculated the quarter-to-quarter changes (i.e., changes between each consecutive quarter from the second-quarter of 2014 to the second-quarter of 2015). In addition, FRA calculated the quarter-over-quarter change (i.e., the change using only the beginning and ending quarters of the selected time period). The results are illustrated in the table below.

    Considering the wage input to the threshold first, the average quarter-to-quarter change in wages is 0 percent, although individual quarter-to-quarter changes ranged from negative 3 percent to 5 percent. The quarter-over-quarter change in wages is negative 0.1 percent (rounded to 0 percent in the table). Based on no overall change in wages, the reporting threshold would not change for 2016.

    Examining the change in equipment PPI over the same time period shows an average quarter-to-quarter increase of 0.5 percent. The quarter-over-quarter change is about 2 percent. The 2 percent change, when applied to the current $10,500 reporting threshold, would indicate an increase of about $200. However, the formula for calculating the reporting threshold weights the wage input to the formula by 40 percent and the equipment input by 60 percent. The weights in the formula cause the impact of the equipment index to be reduced to 1.2 percent, or about one-half the 2 percent quarter-to-quarter increase. The 1.2 percent change applied to the current threshold would yield a new reporting threshold of $10,600, a relatively small change. Considering that such a change would only affect accidents/incidents with damages near this reporting threshold amount, FRA expects the number of affected accidents/incidents to be small. Only accidents/incidents that occurred in 2015 which were slightly below the current $10,500 reporting threshold may become reportable in 2016.1 Given FRA's intent to reexamine its method for calculating the reporting threshold in 2016, the small changes in wages and equipment during the current analysis period, and the and the resulting minimal effect on the reporting threshold for CY 2016, FRA is maintaining the current reporting threshold of $10,500 for reporting rail equipment accidents/incidents that occur in CY 2016.

    1 For example, if an accident/incident occurred in 2015 that resulted in damages of $10,450, it would not be reportable. Given a potential increase in equipment and wages of 1.2 percent (weighted), reported damages for that same accident if it occurred in 2016 would be $10,575 ($10,450 *1.012 = $10,575). If FRA increased the threshold to $10,600 for 2016, that accident/incident would still not be reportable. However, if FRA keeps the threshold at $10,500, that accident will be reportable in 2016.

    Table—Small Changes in Wages and Equipment Indices Quarter Wage* Percent change Equipment index* Percent change Q2 2014 $29.65 196.6 Q3 2014 28.76 −3 198.0 1 Q4 2014 29.78 0 199.6 1 Q1 2015 30.31 5 200.3 0 Q2 2015 29.60 −2 200.6 0 Average Change Quarter-to-Quarter 0 0.5 Percent Change Quarter-over-Quarter (Q2 2014 to Q2 2015) 0 2 *Source for wage is STB. Source for equipment index is BLS. Notice and Comment Procedures

    In this rule, FRA is maintaining the current monetary reporting threshold for the reasons explained above, and, under the final rule published December 20, 2005. See 70 FR 75414. FRA finds this rule imposes no additional burden on any person, but rather is intended to provide a benefit by permitting the valid comparison of accident data over time. Accordingly, finding that notice and comment procedures are either impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, FRA is proceeding directly to a final rule.

    As appropriate, FRA regularly recalculates the monetary reporting threshold using the formula published in Appendix B near the end of each calendar year. FRA attempts to use the most recent data available to calculate the updated reporting threshold prior to the next calendar year. FRA believes that issuing this rule no later than December of each calendar year and making the rule effective on January 1, of the next year, allows FRA to use the most up-to-date data to calculate the reporting threshold and to compile data that accurately reflects rising wages and equipment costs. As such, FRA finds that it has good cause to make this final rule effective January 1, 2016.

    Regulatory Impact Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    FRA evaluated this rule under existing policies and procedures, and determined it to be non-significant under both Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 in addition to DOT policies and procedures. See 44 FR 11034, Feb. 26, 1979.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires a review of proposed and final rules to assess their impact on small entities, unless the Secretary certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to Section 312 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), FRA issued a final policy statement that formally establishes “small entities” are railroads that meet the line-haulage revenue requirements of a Class III railroad. 49 CFR part 209, app. C. For other entities, the same dollar limit in revenues governs whether a railroad, contractor, or other respondent is a small entity. Id.

    FRA considers about 730 of the approximately 779 railroads in the United States small entities. FRA certifies this final rule will have no significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. To the extent that this rule has any impact on small entities, the impact will be neutral or insignificant. The frequency of rail equipment accidents/incidents and required reporting, is generally proportional to the size of the railroad. A railroad that employs thousands of employees and operates trains millions of miles is exposed to greater risks than one whose operation is substantially smaller. Small railroads may go for months at a time without having a reportable occurrence of any type, and even longer without having a rail equipment accident/incident. For example, current FRA data indicate that railroads reported 1,902 rail equipment accidents/incidents in 2010, with small railroads reporting 303 of them. Data for 2011 show that railroads reported 2,022 rail equipment accidents/incidents, with small railroads reporting 307 of them. In 2012, railroads reported 1,760 rail equipment accidents/incidents, with small railroads reporting 292 of them. In 2013, railroads reported 1,824 rail equipment accidents/incidents, with small railroads reporting 299 of them. In 2014, railroads reported 1,758 rail equipment accidents/incidents, with small railroads reporting 247 of them. On average over those five calendar years, small railroads reported about 16 percent of the total number of rail equipment accidents/incidents, ranging from 14 percent to 16 percent annually. FRA notes that this data is accurate as of the date of issuance of this final rule, and is subject to minor changes due to additional reporting.

    This rulemaking maintains the monetary reporting threshold at the CY 2014 and CY 2015 level of $10,500. Increasing the reporting threshold would have potentially slightly decreased the reporting burden for railroads in 2016. However, only accidents/incidents with reportable damages near the reporting threshold will be affected. In any case, railroads still maintain records of accountable accidents/incidents that are below the reporting threshold, thus minimizing any potential additional burden to report these accidents to FRA caused by keeping the threshold the same in CY 2016. Railroads would potentially incur a small reporting burden, but not the burden to gather this accident/incident information. Also, overall wage rates have not increased, and equipment costs have increased only about 1 percent from the second-quarter of CY 2015 compared to the second-quarter of CY 2014, according to the average PPI Series WPU144 for group transportation equipment and item railroad equipment the BLS published for April, May, and June 2015. Therefore, the overall effect of this rule likely will be neutral or minimal. Any change in recordkeeping burden will not be significant and will affect the large railroads more than the small entities, due to the higher proportion of reportable rail equipment accidents/incidents experienced by large entities.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    There are no new or additional information collection requirements associated with this final rule. FRA's collection of accident/incident reporting and recordkeeping information is currently approved under OMB No. 2130-0500. Therefore, FRA is not required to provide an estimate of a public reporting burden in this document.

    Federalism Implications

    Executive Order 13132, entitled, “Federalism,” signed on August 4, 1999, requires that each agency

    in a separately identified portion of the preamble to the regulation as it is to be issued in the Federal Register, provide[] to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget a federalism summary impact statement, which consists of a description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State and local officials, a summary of the nature of their concerns and the agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a statement of the extent to which the concerns of the State and local officials have been met.

    FRA analyzed this final rule under the principles and criteria in Executive Order 13132. This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and the responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in the Executive Order 13132. Accordingly, FRA determined this rule will not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a federalism assessment. Therefore, FRA did not prepare a federalism assessment.

    Environmental Impact

    FRA evaluated this rule under its “Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts” (FRA's Procedures) (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999) as the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), other environmental statutes, Executive Orders, and related regulations require. FRA determined this regulation is not a major FRA action (requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment) because it is categorically excluded from detailed environmental review under section 4(c)(20) of FRA's Procedures. See 64 FR 28545, 28547, May 26, 1999. Under section 4(c) and (e) of FRA's Procedures, FRA further concluded that no extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to this rule that might trigger the need for a more detailed environmental review. Accordingly, FRA finds this rule is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Under Section 201 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4, 2 U.S.C. 1531), each Federal agency “shall, unless otherwise prohibited by law, assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector (other than to the extent that such regulations incorporate requirements specifically set forth in law).” Section 202 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1532) further requires that “before promulgating any general notice of proposed rulemaking that is likely to result in the promulgation of any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any 1 year, and before promulgating any final rule for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking was published, the agency shall prepare a written statement” detailing the effect on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. When adjusted for inflation using BLS' Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, the equivalent value of $100,000,000 in year 2014 dollars is $155,000,000.2 The final rule will not result in the expenditure, in the aggregate, of $155,000,000 or more in any one year, and thus preparation of such a statement is not required.

    2See U.S. Department of Transportation guidance at, “2015 Threshold of Significant Regulatory Actions Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995,” May 6, 2015 (update), http://www.transportation.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/2015-threshold-significant-regulatory-actions-under-unfunded.

    Energy Impact

    Executive Order 13211 requires Federal agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for any “significant energy action.” 66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001. Under the Executive Order, a “significant energy action” is defined as

    [a]ny action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking: (1)(i) that is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 or any successor order, and (ii) is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy; or (2) that is designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action.

    FRA has evaluated this final rule under Executive Order 13211. FRA has determined that this final rule is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Consequently, FRA has determined that this regulatory action is not a “significant energy action” within the meaning of Executive Order 13211.

    Privacy Act

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 225

    Investigations, Penalties, Railroad safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    The Rule

    In consideration of the foregoing, FRA amends part 225 of chapter II, subtitle B of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 225-[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 225 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 103, 322(a), 20103, 20107, 20901-02, 21301, 21302, 21311; 28 U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 CFR 1.89.

    2. Amend § 225.19 by revising the first sentence of paragraph (c) and revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 225.19 Primary groups of accidents/incidents.

    (c) Group II—Rail equipment. Rail equipment accidents/incidents are collisions, derailments, fires, explosions, acts of God, and other events involving the operation of on-track equipment (standing or moving) that result in damages higher than the current reporting threshold (i.e., $6,700 for calendar years 2002 through 2005, $7,700 for calendar year 2006, $8,200 for calendar year 2007, $8,500 for calendar year 2008, $8,900 for calendar year 2009, $9,200 for calendar year 2010, $9,400 for calendar year 2011, $9,500 for calendar year 2012, $9,900 for calendar year 2013, $10,500 for calendar year 2014, $10,500 for calendar year 2015, and $10,500 for calendar year 2016) to railroad on-track equipment, signals, tracks, track structures, or roadbed, including labor costs and the costs for acquiring new equipment and material. * * *

    (e) The reporting threshold is $6,700 for calendar years 2002 through 2005, $7,700 for calendar year 2006, $8,200 for calendar year 2007, $8,500 for calendar year 2008, $8,900 for calendar year 2009, $9,200 for calendar year 2010, $9,400 for calendar year 2011, $9,500 for calendar year 2012, $9,900 for calendar year 2013, $10,500 for calendar year 2014, $10,500 for calendar year 2015, and $10,500 for calendar year 2016. The procedure for determining the reporting threshold for calendar years 2006 and beyond appears as paragraphs 1-8 of appendix B to part 225.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2015. Sarah Feinberg, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32545 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 15060302-5999-02] RIN 0648-BF14 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Framework Amendment 3 Correction

    In notice document 2015-31708 beginning on page 78670 in the issue of Thursday, December 17, 2015, make the following corrections:

    1. On page 78671, in the third column, in the eleventh line, “February 16, 2015” should read “February 16, 2016”.

    § 622.372 Limited access system for king mackerel gillnet permits applicable in the southern Florida west coast subzone.

    2. On page 78675, in the first column, in the eighth line, “February 16, 2015” should read “February 16, 2016”.

    [FR Doc. C1-2015-31708 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 131108946-5999-02] RIN 0648-BD76 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States and Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region; Amendments 7/33 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States (Dolphin and Wahoo FMP) and Amendment 33 to the FMP for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (Snapper-Grouper FMP) (Amendments 7/33), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule revises the landing fish intact provisions for vessels that lawfully harvest dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper in or from Bahamian waters and return to the U.S exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The U.S. EEZ as described in this final rule refers to the Atlantic EEZ for dolphin and wahoo and the South Atlantic EEZ for snapper-grouper species. The purpose of this final rule is to improve the consistency and enforceability of Federal regulations with regards to landing fish intact provisions for vessels transiting from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ and to increase the social and economic benefits related to the recreational harvest of these species.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of Amendments 7/33, which includes an environmental assessment, regulatory impact review, and Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/s_atl/generic/2015/dw7_sg33/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nikhil Mehta, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The dolphin and wahoo fishery is managed under the Dolphin and Wahoo FMP and the snapper-grouper fishery is managed under the Snapper-Grouper FMP. The FMPs were prepared by the Council and are implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    On September 17, 2015, NMFS published a notice of availability for Amendments 7/33 and requested public comment (80 FR 55819). On October 7, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule for Amendments 7/33 and requested public comment (80 FR 60601). The proposed rule and Amendments 7/33 outline the rationale for the actions contained in this final rule. A summary of the actions implemented by Amendments 7/33 and this final rule is provided below.

    Current Federal regulations require that dolphin or wahoo or snapper-grouper species onboard a vessel traveling through the U.S. EEZ be maintained with the heads and fins intact and not be in fillet form. However, as implemented through Amendment 8 to the Snapper-Grouper FMP, an exemption applies to snapper-grouper species that are lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and are onboard a vessel returning to the U.S. through the U.S. EEZ (63 FR 38298, July 16, 1998). That exemption allows that in the South Atlantic EEZ, snapper-grouper lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel and the vessel remains in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ.

    The Bahamas does not allow for the commercial harvest of dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper by U.S. vessels in Bahamian waters. Therefore, the measures in this final rule only apply to the recreational harvest of these species by vessels returning from The Bahamas to the U.S. EEZ. This final rule will not change potential liability under the Lacey Act, which makes it unlawful to import, export, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase fish that are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any foreign law.

    Management Measures Contained in This Final Rule

    This final rule revises the landing fish intact provisions for vessels that lawfully harvest dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper in Bahamian waters and return to the U.S. EEZ. This final rule allows for dolphin and wahoo fillets to enter the U.S. EEZ after lawful harvest in The Bahamas; specifies the condition of any dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper fillets; describes how the recreational bag limit is determined for any fillets; explicitly prohibits the sale or purchase of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper recreationally harvested in The Bahamas; specifies the required documentation to be onboard any vessels that have these fillets, and specifies transit and stowage provisions for any vessels with fillets.

    Landing Fish Intact

    Currently, all dolphin or wahoo in or from Atlantic EEZ are required to be maintained with head and fins intact. This final rule allows for dolphin or wahoo lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters to be exempt from this provision when returning through the Atlantic EEZ under certain circumstances. Allowing these vessels to be exempt from the landing fish intact regulations increases the social and economic benefits for recreational fishers returning to the U.S. EEZ from Bahamian waters. This final rule also provides increased consistency between the dolphin and wahoo and snapper-grouper regulations for vessels possessing fillets of these species and transiting from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ.

    Snapper-grouper possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ are currently exempt from the landing fish intact requirement under certain conditions if the vessel lawfully harvested the snapper-grouper in The Bahamas. Amendments 7/33 and this final rule retain this exemption and revise it to include additional requirements.

    The Council and NMFS note that this exemption only applies to the landing fish intact provisions for fish in the U.S. EEZ, and does not exempt fishers from any other Federal fishing regulations such as fishing seasons, recreational bag limits, and size limits.

    Condition of Fillets

    To better allow for identification of the species of any fillets in the U.S. EEZ, this final rule requires that the skin be left intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper carcass on a vessel in transit from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ. This requirement is intended to assist law enforcement in identifying fillets to determine whether they are the species lawfully exempted by this final rule.

    Recreational Bag Limits

    Currently, all dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper species harvested or possessed in or from the U.S. EEZ are required to adhere to the U.S. bag and possession limits. This final rule does not revise the bag and possession limits, but specifies how fillets are counted with respect to determining the number of fish onboard a vessel in transit from Bahamian waters through the U.S. EEZ and ensuring compliance with U.S. bag and possession limits. This final rule specifies that for any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and onboard a vessel in the U.S. EEZ in fillet form, two fillets of the respective species of fish, regardless of the length of each fillet, are equivalent to one fish. This measure will assist law enforcement in enforcing the relevant U.S. bag and possession limits.

    Sale and Purchase Restrictions of Recreationally Harvested Dolphin, Wahoo or Snapper-Grouper

    This final rule explicitly prohibits the sale or purchase of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species recreationally harvested in Bahamian waters and returned to the U.S. through the U.S. EEZ. The Council determined that establishing a specific prohibition on the sale or purchase of any of these species from The Bahamas was necessary to ensure consistency with the current Federal regulations that prohibit recreational bag limit sales of these species.

    Required Documentation

    This final rule revises the documentation requirements for snapper-grouper species and implements documentation requirements for dolphin and wahoo harvested in Bahamian waters and onboard a vessel in transit through the U.S. EEZ. For dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper fillets lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and on a vessel transiting through the U.S. EEZ, this final rule requires that valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are onboard and additionally requires that all vessel passengers have valid government passports with current stamps and dates. Requiring valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits on the vessel and requiring each vessel passenger to have a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas increases the likelihood that the vessel and passengers were lawfully fishing in The Bahamas, and thereby increases the likelihood that any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper fillets on the vessel were lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters and not in the U.S. EEZ.

    Transit and Stowage Provisions

    This final rule revises the snapper-grouper transit provisions, applies the transit provisions to vessels operating under the exemption for dolphin and wahoo, and requires fishing gear to be appropriately stowed on a vessel transiting through the U.S. EEZ with fillets of these species. The definition for “fishing gear appropriately stowed” means that “terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.” The Council determined that specifying criteria for transit and fishing gear stowage for vessels returning from The Bahamas with fillets of dolphin, wahoo, or snapper-grouper species would assist with the enforceability of the regulations and increase consistency with the state of Florida's gear stowage regulations.

    Comments and Responses

    A total of three comment submissions were received on Amendments 7/33 and the proposed rule from individuals and a state agency. The state agency stated that it strongly supported the actions in Amendments 7/33 and the proposed rule. Specific comments in the two other comment submissions related to the actions contained in Amendments 7/33 and the proposed rule, and NMFS' respective responses, are summarized below.

    Comment 1: Large-sized dolphin may be filleted into more than two pieces per fish. The average size of dolphin fillets is large, and therefore, these large fillets cannot be transported properly from The Bahamas without destroying the quality of the meat.

    Response: NMFS agrees that dolphin and wahoo can grow to large sizes, that it is possible to fillet a dolphin into more than two pieces per fish, and that cooler space may be limited on small boats. At its March 2014 meeting, the Council's Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel indicated that the quality of dolphin and wahoo caught on trips in The Bahamas and brought through U.S. Federal waters as fillets would be improved, because whole fish would not have to be stored with head and fins intact. In addition, allowing fillets of these species would make it easier for fishers in small boats to transport dolphin and wahoo back through the U.S. EEZ from Bahamian waters. The Council also determined that specifying two fillets as one fish for the purposes of determining the recreational bag and possession limits will assist law enforcement in enforcing these limits when applied to fishers with fillets of dolphin onboard that were harvested in The Bahamas and transiting through U.S. Federal waters.

    Comment 2: Non-compliance with the landing fish intact exemption will be an issue unless different recreational bag limit options are considered, such as setting the bag limit by weight of fillets. For example, a 20 lb (9 kg) per species per person would be a reasonable bag limit well within the Bahamian recreational catch limits.

    Response: NMFS disagrees. In developing Amendments 7/33, the Council considered using weight of fillets for determining the bag limit, but testimony from law enforcement officials and the U.S. Coast Guard established that it is not practical to weigh fish at sea. The Council discussed the issues of fish size and number of fillets obtainable from a dolphin, and, given the overall positive public support for allowing fillets, and balancing the needs for an effective law enforcement program, the Council determined that the most appropriate and enforceable means of determining compliance with recreational bag limits was to count two fillets of dolphin as one fish.

    Comment 3: NMFS is violating the rights of U.S. flagged vessels by not allowing fishing in U.S. Federal waters while in transit from The Bahamas.

    Response: NMFS disagrees. The final rule implementing Amendments 7/33 provides an exemption to the existing requirement that dolphin and wahoo and snapper-grouper species be maintained with the heads and fins intact in the U.S. EEZ and not be in fillet form. If fishers on U.S. flagged vessels transiting through the U.S. EEZ from The Bahamas choose to be exempted from the requirement to maintain those species with heads and fins intact, they must comply with the conditions of that exemption, which include a prohibition on fishing in the U.S. EEZ. The prohibition on fishing in the EEZ being implemented in this final rule for fishers transiting from The Bahamas and in possession of dolphin and wahoo fillets will make the regulations for these species consistent with the existing transit provisions for snapper-grouper species implemented by the final rule for Amendment 8 to the Snapper-Grouper FMP (63 FR 38298, July 16, 1998). Additionally, the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement has stated that it would be difficult to determine if a U.S. flagged vessel with fillets of dolphin and wahoo on board, and then fishing in the U.S. EEZ on return from The Bahamas, caught the fish in The Bahamas.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of South Atlantic snapper-grouper and Atlantic dolphin and wahoo and is consistent with the Amendments 7/33, the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.

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

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification and NMFS has not received any new information that would affect its determination. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Atlantic, Dolphin, Fillets, Fisheries, Fishing, Snapper-Grouper, Wahoo.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows:

    PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 622.186, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 622.186 Landing fish intact.

    (b) In the South Atlantic EEZ, snapper-grouper lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided that the skin remains intact on the entire fillet of any snapper-grouper carcasses, valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel, each person on the vessel has a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas, and the vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ with fishing gear appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ when it is on a direct and continuous course through the South Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ. For the purpose of this paragraph, fishing gear appropriately stowed means that terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately. See § 622.187(a)(3) for the limit of snapper-grouper fillets lawfully harvested from Bahamian waters that may transit through the South Atlantic EEZ.

    3. In § 622.187, add paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 622.187 Bag and possession limits.

    (a) * * *

    (3) In the South Atlantic EEZ, a vessel that lawfully harvests snapper-grouper in Bahamian waters, as per § 622.186 (b), must comply with the bag and possession limits specified in this section. For determining how many snapper-grouper are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of snapper-grouper, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one snapper-grouper. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any snapper-grouper carcass.

    4. In § 622.192, add paragraph (k) to read as follows:
    § 622.192 Restrictions on sale/purchase.

    (k) Snapper-grouper possessed pursuant to the bag and possession limits specified in § 622.187(a)(3) may not be sold or purchased.

    5. Revise § 622.276 to read as follows:
    § 622.276 Landing fish intact.

    (a) Dolphin or wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ must be maintained with head and fins intact, except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Such fish may be eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on that vessel in the EEZ are maintained intact and, if taken from the EEZ, are maintained intact through offloading ashore, as specified in this section.

    (b) In the Atlantic EEZ, dolphin or wahoo lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided that the skin remains intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin or wahoo carcasses, valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel, each person on the vessel has a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas, and the vessel is in transit through the Atlantic EEZ with fishing gear appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is in transit through the Atlantic EEZ when it is on a direct and continuous course through the Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ. For the purpose of this paragraph, fishing gear appropriately stowed means that terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

    6. In § 622.277, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) to read as follows:
    § 622.277 Bag and possession limits.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Dolphin. (i) In the Atlantic EEZ—10, not to exceed 60 per vessel, whichever is less, except on board a headboat, 10 per paying passenger.

    (ii) In the Atlantic EEZ and lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters (as per § 622.276(b))—10, not to exceed 60 per vessel, whichever is less, except on board a headboat, 10 per paying passenger. For the purposes of this paragraph, for determining how many dolphin are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of dolphin, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one dolphin. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin carcass.

    (2) Wahoo. (i) In the Atlantic EEZ—2.

    (ii) In the Atlantic EEZ and lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters (as per § 622.276(b))—2. For the purposes of this paragraph, for determining how many wahoo are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of wahoo, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one wahoo. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any wahoo carcass.

    7. In § 622.279, add paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 622.279 Restrictions on sale/purchase.

    (d) Dolphin or wahoo possessed pursuant to the bag and possession limits specified in § 622.277(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(2)(ii) may not be sold or purchased.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32555 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 150903814-5999-02] RIN 0648-XE171 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fisheries; 2016-2018 Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Specifications AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues final specifications for the 2016-2018 summer flounder and scup fisheries, and the 2016 and 2017 black sea bass fishery. This final rule specifies allowed harvest limits for both commercial and recreational fisheries. This action prohibits federally permitted commercial fishing vessels from landing summer flounder in Delaware in 2016 due to continued quota repayment from previous years' overages. This action also reduces the 2016 black sea bass commercial quota to account for a catch overage in 2014. These actions are necessary to comply with regulations implementing the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan, and to ensure compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The intent of this action is to establish harvest levels and other management measures to ensure that these species are not overfished or subject to overfishing in 2016-2018.

    DATES:

    Effective January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2018.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the specifications document, consisting of an Environmental Assessment (EA), Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and other supporting documents used by the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Monitoring Committees and Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), are available from Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. The specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov. The Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) consists of the IRFA, public comments and responses contained in this final rule, and the summary of impacts and alternatives contained in this final rule. Copies of the small entity compliance guide are available from John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Moira Kelly, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281-9218.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission cooperatively manage the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries under the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Fishery specifications in these fisheries include various catch and landing subdivisions, such as the species-specific acceptable biological catch (ABC), commercial and recreational sector annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and the sector-specific landing limits (i.e., the commercial fishery quota and recreational harvest limit) established for the up to three fishing years at a time. The FMP and its implementing regulations establish the Council's process for establishing specifications. Requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), including the 10 national standards, also apply to specifications.

    The management units specified in the FMP include summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) in U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the southern border of North Carolina northward to the U.S./Canada border, scup (Stenotomus chrysops), and black sea bass (Centropristis striata) in U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean from 35° 13.3′ N. lat. (the latitude of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC) northward to the U.S./Canada border. Detailed background information regarding the status of the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass stocks and the development of the 2016-2018 specifications for these fisheries was provided in the proposed specifications (November 9, 2015; 80 FR 69179) and is not repeated here.

    NMFS will establish the 2016 recreational management measures (i.e., minimum fish size, possession limits, and fishing seasons) for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass by publishing proposed and final rules in the Federal Register at a later date.

    2016-2018 Specifications

    This action establishes the following specifications:

    Table 1—Summary of the 2016-2018 Summer Flounder and Scup Specifications and 2016-2017 Black Sea Bass Specifications Summer flounder 2016 2017 2018 Scup 2016 2017 2018 Black Sea Bass 2016 2017 Overfishing Limit (OFL) million lb
  • mt
  • 18.06
  • 8,194
  • 19.82
  • 8,991
  • 22.40
  • 10,159
  • 35.80
  • 16,238
  • 32.09
  • 14,556
  • 29.68
  • 13,464
  • n/a
  • a
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • ABC million lb
  • mt
  • 16.26
  • 7,375
  • 15.86
  • 7,193
  • 15.68
  • 7,111
  • 31.11
  • 14,110
  • 28.40
  • 12,881
  • 27.05
  • 12,270
  • 6.67
  • 3,024
  • 6.67
  • 3,024
  • Commercial ACL/ACT million lb
  • mt
  • 9.42
  • 4,275
  • 9.19
  • 4,168
  • 9.10
  • 4,127
  • 24.26
  • 11,006
  • 22.15
  • 10,047
  • 21.10
  • 9,571
  • 3.15
  • 1,428
  • 3.15
  • 1,428
  • Recreational ACL/ACT million lb
  • mt
  • 6.83
  • 3,100
  • 6.67
  • 3,025
  • 6.56
  • 2,984
  • 6.84
  • 3,104
  • 6.25
  • 2,834
  • 5.95
  • 2,699
  • 3.52
  • 1,597
  • 3.52
  • 1,597
  • Commercial Quota million lb
  • mt
  • 8.12
  • 3,685
  • 7.91
  • 3,590
  • 7.89
  • 3,581
  • 20.47
  • 9,284
  • 18.38
  • 8,337
  • 17.34
  • 7,866
  • 2.70
  • 1,226
  • 2.71
  • 1,226
  • Recreational Harvest Limit million lb
  • mt
  • 5.42
  • 2,457
  • 5.28
  • 2,393
  • 5.26
  • 2,387
  • 6.09
  • 2,763
  • 5.50
  • 2,495
  • 5.21
  • 2,361
  • 2.82
  • 1,280
  • 2.82
  • 1,280
  • The process describing the calculation of the commercial and recreational ACLs, commercial quotas, and recreational harvest limits was presented in the November 9, 2015, proposed rule, and is not repeated here. The specific discard values projected for each fishery and sector are described in more detail below.

    Summer Flounder

    This rule implements the Council's ABC recommendation and the commercial and recreational catch limits associated with that ABC for fishing years 2016-2018.

    As described in the proposed rule, these specifications are based on a deviation from the Council's normal procedures. Had the standard Risk Policy been followed, the drastic reduction in available catch could have had substantial economic impacts. The 2016 and 2017 ABCs have a higher risk of overfishing than would be allowed under the Council's Risk Policy, but the 2018 ABC has a lower risk of overfishing than the Risk Policy requires. Each of the ABCs established in this rule have a less than 50-percent probability of resulting in overfishing. Further, the projected biomass is the same under either the standard Risk Policy or the deviation from the Risk Policy used in these specifications. Because the OFLs are projected to increase modestly over the next three years, the specifications established in this rule are relatively stable. The SSC has requested a stock assessment update for next summer and intends to evaluate the available information to determine if the 2017 and 2018 ABCs remain appropriate. Fishing under these catch limits for 2016 through 2018 is not expected to compromise the summer flounder stock, nor will fishing at this level present an unacceptably high likelihood of overfishing.

    This action makes no other changes to the Federal commercial summer flounder management measures.

    Table 2—2016-2018 Summer Flounder Specifications and Calculations 2016 million lb mt 2017 million lb mt 2018 million lb mt OFL 18.06 8,194 19.82 8,991 22.4 10,159 ABC 16.26 7,375 15.86 7,193 15.7 7,111 ABC Landings Portion 13.54 6,142 13.19 5,983 13.2 5,968 ABC Discards Portion 2.72 1,233 2.67 1,210 2.52 1,143 Commercial ACL 9.43 4,275 9.19 4,168 9.1 4,127 Commercial ACT 9.43 4,275 9.19 4,168 9.1 4,127 Projected Commercial Discards 1.30 590 1.28 579 1.21 547 Commercial Quota 8.12 3,685 7.91 3,590 7.89 3,581 Recreational ACL 6.84 3,100 6.67 3,025 6.58 2,984 Recreational ACT 6.84 3,100 6.67 3,025 6.58 2,984 Projected Recreational Discards 1.42 643 1.39 631 1.32 596 Recreational Harvest Limit 5.42 2,457 5.28 2,393 5.26 2,387

    Table 3 presents the 2016 summer flounder allocations for each state. Consistent with the quota-setting procedures for the FMP, summer flounder overages are determined based upon landings for the period January-October 2015, plus any previously unaccounted for overages. Table 3 summarizes the commercial summer flounder percent shares as outlined in § 648.102 (c)(1)(i), the resultant 2016 commercial quotas, the quota overages as described above, and the final adjusted 2016 commercial quotas. The 2015 quota overage is determined by comparing landings for January through October 2015, plus any landings in 2014 in excess of the 2014 quota, that were not previously addressed in the 2015 specifications, for each state. For Delaware, this includes continued repayment of overharvest from previous years. Table 4 presents the initial 2017 and 2018 allocations by state. The 2017 and 2018 state quota allocations are preliminary and are subject to change if there are overages of states' quotas carried over from a previous fishing year. Notice of any commercial quota adjustments to account for overages will be published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the respective fishing year.

    Table 3—Final State-by-State Commercial Summer Flounder Allocations for 2016 State FMP Percent share 2016 Initial quota lb kg Overages through October 31, 2015 lb kg Adjusted 2016 quota, less overages lb kg Maine 0.04756 3,864 1,753 0 0 3,864 1,753 New Hampshire 0.00046 37 17 0 0 37 17 Massachusetts 6.82046 554,097 251,334 0 0 554,097 251,334 Rhode Island 15.68298 1,274,091 577,917 0 0 1,274,091 577,918 Connecticut 2.25708 183,366 83,173 0 0 183,366 83,173 New York 7.64699 621,244 281,791 0 0 621,244 281,792 New Jersey 16.72499 1,358,744 616,315 0 0 1,358,744 616,316 Delaware 0.01779 1,445 656 −48,846 −22,156 −47,401 −21,501 Maryland 2.0391 165,657 75,141 0 0 165,657 75,141 Virginia 21.31676 1,731,781 785,522 0 0 1,731,781 785,523 North Carolina 27.44584 2,229,709 1,011,378 0 0 2,229,709 1,011,379 Total 100 8,124,035 3,684,997 0 0 8,122,590 1,753 Notes: Kilograms are as converted from pounds and may not necessarily add due to rounding. Total quota is the sum for all states with an allocation. A state with a negative number has a 2015 allocation of zero (0). Total adjusted 2016 quota, less overages, does not include negative allocations. Table 4—2016-2018 Proposed Initial Summer Flounder State Commercial Quotas State FMP Percent share 2017 Quota lb kg 2018 Quota lb kg Maine 0.04756 3,764 1,707 3,755 1,703 New Hampshire 0.00046 36 17 36 16 Massachusetts 6.82046 539,812 244,854 538,459 244,240 Rhode Island 15.68298 1,241,244 563,019 1,238,133 561,607 Connecticut 2.25708 178,639 81,029 178,191 80,826 New York 7.64699 605,228 274,527 603,711 273,838 New Jersey 16.72499 1,323,715 600,427 1,320,397 598,921 Delaware 0.01779 1,408 639 1,404 637 Maryland 2.0391 161,387 73,204 160,982 73,020 Virginia 21.31676 1,687,135 765,271 1,682,906 763,353 North Carolina 27.44584 2,172,227 985,305 2,166,781 982,835 Total 100 7,914,596 3,589,997 7,894,754 3,580,997 Delaware Summer Flounder Closure

    Table 3 shows that, for Delaware, the amount of overharvest from previous years is greater than the amount of commercial quota allocated to Delaware for 2016. As a result, there is no quota available for 2016 in Delaware. The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal permit holders, as a condition of their permit, must not land summer flounder in any state that the Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has determined no longer has commercial quota available for harvest. Therefore, landings of summer flounder in Delaware by vessels holding commercial Federal summer flounder permits are prohibited for the 2016 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a quota transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Federally permitted dealers are advised that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in Delaware for the 2016 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer, as mentioned above.

    Scup

    This rule implements the Council's ABC recommendation and the commercial and recreational catch limits associated with that ABC for fishing years 2016-2018. The scup management measures specify that the ABC is equal to the sum of the commercial and recreational sector ACLs. As described in the proposed rule, the ACLs and ACTs are set equal to each other for both sectors, sector-specific projected discards are removed, and the specifications for 2016-2018 are as shown in Table 5.

    Table 5—2016-2018 Scup Specifications 2016 million lb mt 2017 million lb mt 2018 million lb mt OFL 35.8 16,238 32.09 14,556 29.7 13,464 ABC 31.11 14,110 28.4 12,881 27.1 12,270 ABC Landings Portion 26.56 12,047 23.88 10,832 22.6 10,227 ABC Discards Portion 4.55 2,063 4.52 2,049 4.5 2,043 Commercial ACL 24.26 11,006 22.15 10,047 21.1 9,571 Commercial ACT 24.26 11,006 22.15 10,047 21.1 9,571 Projected Commercial Discards 3.8 1,721 3.77 1,710 3.76 1,705 Commercial Quota 20.47 9,284 18.38 8,337 17.3 7,866 Recreational ACL 6.84 3,104 6.25 2,834 5.95 2,699 Recreational ACT 6.84 3,104 6.25 2,834 5.95 2,699 Projected Recreational Discards 0.75 342 0.75 339 0.75 338 Recreational Harvest Limit 6.09 2,763 5.5 2,495 5.21 2,361

    If there is a commercial overage applicable to the scup commercial quota, notice will be published prior to the start of the each fishing year. No commercial quota overage is applicable to 2016; therefore, no adjustment to the 2016 quota is necessary.

    The scup commercial quota is divided into three commercial fishery quota periods. The period quotas are detailed in Table 6.

    Table 6—Commercial Scup Quota Allocations for 2016-2018 by Quota Period Quota period Percent share 2016 Quota lb mt 2017 Initial quota lb mt 2018 Initial quota lb mt Winter I 45.11 9,232,987 4,188 8,291,190 3,761 7,822,778 3,548 Summer 38.95 7,972,176 3,616 7,158,986 3,247 6,754,538 3,064 Winter II 15.94 3,262,554 1,480 2,929,762 1,329 2,764,245 1,254 Total 100.0 20,467,716 9,284 18,379,939 8,337 17,341,562 7,866 Note: Metric tons are as converted from pounds and may not necessarily total due to rounding.

    The quota period possession limits are shown in Table 7. The Winter I possession limit will drop to 1,000 lb (454 kg) upon attainment of 80 percent of that period's allocation. If the Winter I quota is not fully harvested, the remaining quota is transferred to Winter II. The Winter II possession limit may be adjusted (in association with a transfer of unused Winter I quota to the Winter II period) via notification in the Federal Register. The regulations specify that the Winter II possession limit increases consistent with the increase in the quota, as described in Table 8.

    Table 7—Commercial Scup Possession Limits by Quota Period Quota period Percent share Federal possession limits (per trip) lb kg Winter I 45.11 50,000 22,680 Summer 38.95 N/A N/A Winter II 15.94 12,000 5,443 Total 100.0 N/A N/A Table 8—Potential Increase in 2016-2018 Winter II Possession Limits Based on the Amount of Unused Scup Rolled Over From Winter I to Winter II Initial Winter II possession limit lb kg Rollover from Winter I to Winter II lb kg Increase in initial Winter II possession limit lb kg Final Winter II possession limit after rollover from Winter I to Winter II lb kg 12,000 5,443 0-499,999 0-226,796 0 0 12,000 5,443 12,000 5,443 500,000-999,999 226,796-453,592 1,500 680 13,500 6,123 12,000 5,443 1,000,000-1,499,999 453,592-680,388 3,000 1,361 15,000 6,804 12,000 5,443 1,500,000-1,999,999 680,389-907,184 4,500 2,041 16,500 7,484 12,000 5,443 2,000,000-2,500,000 907,185-1,133,981 6,000 2,722 18,000 8,165 Black Sea Bass

    This rule implements the Council's revised ABC recommendation and the commercial and recreational catch limits associated with that ABC for fishing years 2016 and 2017. As described in the proposed rule for this action, the Council's SSC revised its recommendation for the 2016 and 2017 black sea bass ABC in September 2015 based on additional analysis that relies more on measures of current abundance than the prior constant catch approach. The Council and the Commission's Black Sea Bass Board have also revised their recommendations for 2016 and 2017, as outlined in the proposed rule to this action. Specifications for 2018 will be made following the completion of a new stock assessment in late 2016.

    A commercial quota overage from fishing year 2014 is applicable to the 2016 black sea bass commercial quota. As a result, the regulations at 684.143(a)(2) require that the exact amount of the overage, in pounds, be deducted from a subsequent single year's commercial quota. The 2016 commercial quota is reduced by 8,896 lb (4,035 kg) from 2,711,686 lb (1,230 mt) to 2,702,867 lb (1,226 mt). The 2016 commercial quota values in Table 9 include this deduction. Should a commercial quota or ACL accountability measure be necessary in 2017, notification will be published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year.

    Table 9—Black Sea Bass 2016-2017 Specifications 2016 million lb mt 2017 million lb mt ABC 6.67 3,024 6.67 3,024 ABC Landings Portion 5.53 2,510 5.53 2,510 ABC Discards Portion 1.13 514 1.13 514 Commercial ACL 3.15 1,428 3.15 1,428 Commercial ACT 3.15 1,428 3.15 1,428 Projected Commercial Discards 0.44 198 0.44 198 Commercial Quota 2.70 1,226 2.71 1,230 Recreational ACL 3.52 1,597 3.52 1,597 Recreational ACT 3.52 1,597 3.52 1,597 Projected Recreational Discards 0.70 317 0.70 317 Recreational Harvest Limit 2.82 1,280 2.82 1,280 Comments and Responses

    On November 9, 2015, NMFS published proposed specifications for Summer Flounder, Scup and Sea Bass for public notice and comment, and four comments were received. Generally, the four comments each stated that the proposed specifications were overly conservative for all three species, particularly for black sea bass and scup. One commenter asserted that the SSC's scup recommendation should not be considered the best available scientific information because it is based on a scientific uncertainty buffer that is double what the Stock Assessment Working Group recommended. Two other commenters noted that the increase in the black sea bass population in southern New England is negatively impacting the lobster fishery and that the quotas should be increased or measures should be set so that the recreational season can last longer into the fall. A recreational fishing group commented that NMFS should set the summer flounder ABC equal to the OFL in each year, despite the SSC's recommendation, because precaution is applied “excessively” throughout the stock assessment and SSC process. The group also stated that there should be no quota reductions for summer flounder until a sex-specific stock assessment can be conducted. This comment also asserted that the scup catch limits are overly conservative, but spoke in support of the revised black sea bass ABC recommendation.

    No changes to the proposed specifications were made as a result of these comments. The specifications are based on the SSC's advice and the best available scientific information. The Council applied its Risk Policy to derive the scup and black sea bass specifications. The summer flounder specifications deviate from that Risk Policy, but are less conservative than the Risk Policy and closer to the commenter's request than had the Council used the Policy. However, as stated previously, the summer flounder specifications will not result in an unacceptably high likelihood of overfishing. For scup, the SSC deliberated on the stock assessment working group's advice, but determined additional scientific uncertainty had not been adequately incorporated, as is their purview. NMFS does not disagree with the SSC's recommendation and we are implementing the specifications as recommended by the Council.

    Classification

    The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay of effectiveness period for this rule, to ensure that the final specifications are in place on January 1, 2016. This action establishes specifications (i.e., annual quotas) for the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries.

    This rule is being issued at the earliest possible date. Preparation of the proposed rule was dependent on the submission of the EA/IRFA in support of the specifications that is developed by the Council. A complete document was received by NMFS in early October 2015. Documentation in support of the Council's recommended specifications is required for NMFS to provide the public with information from the environmental and economic analyses as required in rulemaking. The proposed rule published on November 9, 2015, with a 15-day comment period ending November 24, 2015. Publication of the adjusted summer flounder quota at the start of the fishing year that begins January 1, 2015, is required by the order of Judge Robert Doumar in North Carolina Fisheries Association v. Daley.

    If the 30-day delay in effectiveness is not waived, there will be no quota specifications for the affected fisheries on January 1, 2016, which would significantly confuse the public and substantially complicate the cooperative management regime governing these fisheries. The summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries are all expected, based on historic participation and harvest patterns, to be very active at the start of the fishing season in 2016. Without these specifications in place on January 1, 2016, individual states will be unable to set commercial possession and/or trip limits, which apportion the catch over the entirety of the calendar year. NMFS will be unable to control harvest in any way, as there will be no quotas in place for any of the three species until the regulations are effective. NMFS will be unable to control harvest or close the fishery, should landings exceed the quotas. All of these factors could result in a race for fish, wherein uncontrolled landings could occur. Disproportionately large harvest occurring within the first weeks of 2016 could have distributional effects on other quota periods, and would disadvantage some gear sectors or owners and operators of smaller vessels that typically fish later in the fishing season. There is no historic precedent by which to gauge the magnitude of harvest that might occur, should quotas for these three species not be in place during the first weeks of 2016. It is reasonable to conclude that the commercial fishing fleet possesses sufficient capacity to exceed the established quotas for these three species before the regulations would become effective, should quotas not be in place on January 1, 2016. Should this occur, the fishing mortality objectives for all three species would be compromised, thus undermining the intent of the rule.

    For these reasons, a 30-day delay in effectiveness would be contrary to the public interest, and NMFS is waiving the requirement.

    These specifications are exempt from the procedures of Executive Order 12866.

    This final rule does not duplicate, conflict, or overlap with any existing Federal rules.

    A FRFA was prepared pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 604(a), and incorporates the IRFA, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, NMFS's responses to those comments, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the action. A copy of the EA//IRFA is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES).

    The preamble to the proposed rule included a detailed summary of the analyses contained in the IRFA, and that discussion is not repeated here.

    Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis A Summary of Significant Issues Raised by the Public in Response to the Summary of the Agency's Assessment of Such Issues, and a Statement of Any Changes Made in the Final Rule as a Result

    No changes to the proposed rule were required to be made as a result of public comments. None of the comments received raised specific issues regarding the economic analyses summarized in the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule more generally. A summary of the comments received, and our responses, can be found above in the “Comments and Responses” section of this rule's preamble.

    Description and Estimate of Number of Small Entities to Which the Rule Will Apply

    The Small Business Administration defines a small business in the commercial harvesting sector as a firm with receipts (gross revenues) of up to $5.5 and $20.5 million for shellfish and for finfish business, respectively. A small business in the recreational fishery is a firm with receipts of up to $7.5 million. The categories of small entities likely to be affected by this action include commercial and charter/party vessel owners holding an active Federal permit for summer flounder, scup, or black sea bass, as well as owners of vessels that fish for any of these species in state waters. The Council estimates that the 2016-2018 specifications could affect 952 small entities and 8 large entities, assuming average revenues for the 2012-2014 period.

    Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    No additional reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements are included in this final rule.

    Description of the Steps the Agency Has Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities Consistent With the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes

    Specification of commercial quotas and possession limits is constrained by the conservation objectives set forth in the FMP and implemented at 50 CFR part 648 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Economic impacts of changes in year-to-year quota specifications may be offset by adjustments to such measures as commercial fish sizes, changes to mesh sizes, gear restrictions, or possession and trip limits that may increase efficiency or value of the fishery. The Council recommended no such measures, and so none are implemented in this final rule. Therefore, the economic impact analysis of the action is evaluated on the different levels of quota specified in the alternatives. The ability of NMFS to minimize economic impacts for this action is constrained by quota levels that provide the maximum availability of fish while still ensuring that the required objectives and directives of the FMP, its implementing regulations, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act are met. In particular, the Council's SSC has made recommendations for the 2016-2017 ABC level for all three stocks, and the 2018 ABC level for scup and black sea bass. NMFS considers these recommendations to be consistent with National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which requires that the best available scientific information be used in fishery decision making.

    The economic analysis for the 2016-2018 specifications assessed the impacts for quota alternatives that achieve the aforementioned objectives. The Council analyzed four sets of combined catch limit alternatives for the 2016-2018 summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. Please see the EA and IRFA for a detailed discussion on each alternative.

    Through this final rule, NMFS implements Alternative 1 (the Council's preferred alternative), as modified by the Council's revised recommendation for black sea bass. This alternative consists of the quota levels that pair the lowest economic impacts to small entities and meet the required objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The respective specifications contained in this final rule for all three species were selected because they satisfy NMFS' obligation to implement specifications that are consistent with the goals, objectives, and requirements of the FMP, its implementing regulations, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The fishing mortality rates associated with the catch limits for all three species all have acceptable likelihoods of preventing overfishing in any of the next three years.

    Alternative 3 for each species, contained the most restrictive options (i.e., lowest total landing levels) for each fishery have the highest potential adverse economic impacts on small entities in the form of potential foregone fishing opportunities.. Some of the catch limits associated with Alternatives 3 pre-date the ABC framework, thus the information for these alternatives is presented in terms of landing levels. Alternative 3 was not preferred by the Council of NMFS because the other alternatives considered are expected have lower adverse impacts on small entities while achieving the stated objectives of sustaining the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass stocks, consistent with the FMP and Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Alternative 4 contained the least restrictive catch limits for each fishery and would have the lowest economic impacts on small entities. This alternative is not consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act because it would implement catch limits much higher than the recommendations of the Council's SSC. This could result in overfishing of the resources and substantially compromise the mortality and/or stock rebuilding objectives for each species, contrary to laws and regulations.

    Alternative 2 (status quo), would maintain the current 2015 ABCs for each fishery, and would, in the short-term, have negligible economic impacts on small entities. For summer flounder and scup, this alternative is not consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act because it would leave in place ABCs higher than the recommendations of the Council's SSC. This could result in overfishing of the resources and substantially compromise the mortality and/or stock rebuilding objectives for each species, contrary to laws and regulations. For black sea bass, this alternative is more restrictive than is necessary and would have unnecessary negative economic impacts.

    Likewise, a “true” no action alternative, wherein no quotas are established for the coming fishing year, was excluded from analysis because it is not consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as “small entity compliance guides.” The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, a small entity compliance guide will be sent to all holders of Federal permits issued for the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. In addition, copies of this final rule and guide (i.e., permit holder letter) are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and at the following Web site: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32562 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150126078-5999-02] RIN 0648-BE85 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revise Maximum Retainable Amounts for Skates in the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues regulations to reduce the maximum retainable amount (MRA) of skates using groundfish and halibut as basis species in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) from 20 percent to 5 percent. Reducing skate MRAs is necessary to decrease the incentive for fishermen to target skates and slow the catch rate of skates in these fisheries. This final rule will enhance conservation and management of skates and minimize skate discards in GOA groundfish and halibut fisheries. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP), and other applicable laws.

    DATES:

    Effective January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of the following documents may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov:

    • The Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) prepared for this action (collectively referred to as the “Analysis”);

    • The Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Harvest Specifications EIS);

    • The Harvest Specifications Supplementary Information Report (SIR) prepared for the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications; and

    • The IRFA for the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications for 2015 and 2016 (Harvest Specifications IRFA).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Peggy Murphy, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on July 10, 2015 (80 FR 39734), and public comments were accepted through August 10, 2015. NMFS received two comment letters with 10 unique comments.

    Background

    This final rule amends regulations that specify the MRA for skates in the GOA. This final rule also implements several minor clarifications to MRA regulations applicable to the Central GOA Rockfish Program, makes minor corrections to incorrect cross references, and adds skate species inadvertently removed by a previous rule making. This final rule preamble provides a brief description of skate management in the GOA, the purpose of this rule, the affected fisheries, and the regulations implemented by this rule.

    A detailed review of the management of GOA skates, the affected fisheries, the rationale for these regulations, and the proposed regulations are provided in the preamble to the proposed rule (80 FR 39734, July 10, 2015) and are not repeated here. The proposed rule is available from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (see ADDRESSES).

    Management of Skates in the GOA

    NMFS manages skates (Bathyraja and Raja species) in the exclusive economic zone of the GOA as a groundfish species under the FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing groundfish fishing in the GOA and implementing the FMP are found at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. The Council and NMFS manage big skate (Raja binoculata) and longnose skate (Raja rhina) as single species, and all other skate species (Bathyraja and Raja spp.) are managed together in the “other skates” species group.

    GOA skate catches are managed subject to annual limits on the amounts of each species of skate, or group of skate species, that may be taken. The overfishing limits (OFLs), acceptable biological catch (ABCs), and total allowable catch (TACs) for skates are defined in the FMP and specified through the annual “harvest specification process.” A detailed description of the annual harvest specification process is provided in the Final EIS, the SIR, and the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015). Section 3.2 of the FMP specifies that the ABC is set below the OFL and the TAC must be set lower than or equal to the ABC. NMFS ensures that OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are not exceeded by requiring vessel operators participating in groundfish fisheries in the GOA to comply with a range of restrictions, such as area, time, gear, and operation-specific fishery closures.

    The harvest specification process sets annual skate catch limits in the GOA by area. Big skate and longnose skate have OFLs and ABCs defined for the GOA management area. Section 3.2 of the FMP clarifies that TACs can be apportioned by regulatory area. There are three regulatory areas specified in the GOA management area: Western GOA, Central GOA, and Eastern GOA. Accordingly, the ABCs for big skate and longnose skate are apportioned to each of the regulatory areas in the GOA management area based on the proportion of the biomass estimated in each regulatory area. NMFS specifies TACs for big skate and longnose skate for the Western GOA, Central GOA, and Eastern GOA equal to the ABC for each of these regulatory areas. The other skates species group has an OFL, ABC, and TAC specified for the GOA management area (i.e., NMFS does not establish separate ABCs or TACs for the Western GOA, Central GOA, and Eastern GOA). NMFS does not apportion other skates species ABCs or TACs to specific regulatory areas because harvest of these species is usually broadly dispersed throughout the entire GOA, and they are not generally retained. All retained and discarded catch of skates accrues to the TACs, ABCs, and OFLs specified for the species or species group.

    NMFS, through the annual harvest specification process, implements regulations at § 679.20(d) to establish a directed fishing allowance (DFA) for a species or species group when any fishery allocation or apportionment of that species or species group will be reached and the fishery closed. Once the fishery is closed, these species are referred to as incidental catch species. When establishing a DFA, NMFS must consider the amount of a species or species group closed to directed fishing that will be taken as incidental catch in directed fishing for other species. NMFS accounts for this amount by subtracting the estimated amount of incidental catch of a species or species group taken in directed fishing for other species from the TAC of that species or species group. If an insufficient amount of TAC is available for a directed fishery for that species or species group, NMFS establishes the DFA for that species or species group as zero metric tons (mt) and prohibits directed fishing for that species or species group.

    Directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA is defined at § 679.2 as any fishing activity that results in the retention of an amount of a species or species group onboard a vessel that is greater than the MRA for that species or species group. Therefore, when directed fishing for a species or species group is prohibited, retention of the species or species group is limited to an MRA. NMFS established MRAs to allow vessel operators fishing for species or species groups open to directed fishing to retain a specified amount of incidental catch species.

    An MRA is the maximum amount of a species closed to directed fishing (i.e., skate species) that may be retained onboard a vessel. MRAs are calculated as a percentage of the weight of catch of each species or species group open to directed fishing (basis species) that is retained onboard the vessel. The percentage of a species or species group closed to directed fishing retained in relation to the basis species must not exceed the MRA.

    MRAs assist in limiting catch of a species within its annual TAC. NMFS closes a species to directed fishing before the entire TAC is taken to leave sufficient amounts of the TAC available for incidental catch. The amount of the TAC remaining available for incidental catch is typically managed by a species-specific MRA. An MRA applies at all times and to all areas for the duration of a fishing trip (see § 679.20(e)(3)). Vessel operators may retain incidental catch species while directed fishing for groundfish species up to the MRA percentage of the basis species retained catch until the TAC for the incidental catch species is met.

    Regulations at § 679.20(d)(2) and § 679.21(b) specify that if the TAC for a species is reached, then retention of that species becomes prohibited and all catch of that species must be discarded with a minimum of injury, regardless of its condition, for the remainder of the year. Therefore, when NMFS prohibits retention of an incidental catch species, such as skates, vessel operators must discard all catch of that species. Discards that are required by regulation are known as regulatory discards. The primary purpose of requiring discards is to remove any incentive for vessel operators to increase incidental catch of the species as a portion of other fisheries and to minimize the catch of that species.

    MRAs are a management tool to slow down the rate of harvest and reduce the incentive for targeting a species closed to directed fishing. Although MRAs limit the incentive to target on an incidental catch species, fishermen can “top off” their retained groundfish and halibut catch with incidental catch species up to the maximum permitted under the MRA. Fishermen are top-off fishing when they deliberately target and retain incidental catch species up to the MRA instead of harvesting the species incidentally. Thus, MRAs reflect a balance between NMFS' need to limit the harvest catch rate of skates and minimize regulatory discards of the incidental catch of skates, while providing fishermen an opportunity to harvest the available skate TAC through limited retention.

    NMFS has determined that the TACs specified for all skate species in the GOA are needed to support incidental catch of skates in directed fisheries for other groundfish and halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). As a result, there are insufficient TACs for skate species to support directed skate fisheries, the DFA for skates is set to zero mt, and directed fishing for skates is prohibited at the beginning of the fishing year. When directed fishing for skates is prohibited, the catch of skates is limited by an MRA.

    The skate MRA is specified by basis species in Table 10 and Table 30 to 50 CFR part 679. The skate MRA is not specified by skate species. Instead, the skate MRA is based on the combined round weight of all skate species retained onboard a vessel. A single MRA for all skates was established because it was determined that fishermen and processors could have difficulty identifying skate species and may not be able to easily determine if they have reached an MRA for a specific skate species. Therefore, a separate MRA for each species would be difficult to manage and enforce. Additional detail on the designation of a single skate MRA is provided in Section 1.2 of the Analysis.

    Currently, the skate MRA for all basis species in the GOA is 20 percent of the basis species round weight retained onboard a vessel. This means the maximum amount of skates (i.e., big, longnose, and other skates species) that may be retained onboard a vessel must not exceed 20 percent of the round weight of other groundfish species and halibut retained onboard a vessel. Amounts of a skate species onboard the vessel that are below or equal to the MRA may be retained. Amounts of a skate species in excess of the MRA must be discarded.

    The incidental catch of skates varies by species and by fishing gear. NMFS data show that from 2008 through 2014, skates were caught in the GOA primarily by vessels directed fishing for groundfish with non-pelagic trawl gear and by vessels directed fishing for groundfish and halibut with hook-and-line gear. Very limited amounts of skates were also caught by vessels using pelagic trawl, pot, and jig gear. Big skate catch occurs primarily in the Central GOA. Less than one tenth of the catch comes from the Western GOA or the Eastern GOA. NMFS' catch accounting data show the proportion of big skate catch by vessels using non-pelagic trawl is slightly higher than the proportion caught by vessels using hook-and-line gear. Longnose skate are caught predominantly in the Central GOA, with more limited catch in the Eastern GOA, and the least amount of catch in the Western GOA. NMFS data show that in recent years the proportion of longnose skate catch by vessels using hook-and-line gear is greater than the proportion caught by vessels using non-pelagic trawl gear. Other skates species are caught primarily in the Central GOA. NMFS data show the proportion of other skates species catch by vessels using hook-and-line gear is much greater than the proportion caught by vessels using non-pelagic trawl gear.

    In December 2013, the Council received public testimony that the current MRA for skates in the GOA allows fishermen to deliberately target skates while ostensibly directed fishing for other groundfish or halibut. NMFS observed this top-off fishing behavior based on information from recent years of incidental skate catch of skate species in directed groundfish and halibut fisheries. Some fishermen maximize their retention of skates and retain skates up to the MRA limit of 20 percent of the basis species onboard a vessel early in the year by deliberately targeting them while directed fishing for other species. This top-off fishing pattern has increased the harvest rate of skates. Over a period of years, skate catch has exceeded the TAC in some areas. The estimated catch of big skate exceeded the TAC in the Central GOA in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and the estimated catch of longnose skate exceeded the TAC in the Western GOA in 2009, 2010, and 2013. The catch of other skates species has not exceeded the TACs established for the GOA management area; however, in 2013 and 2014, the catch of other skates species was estimated at 93 percent and 98 percent of the 2013 and 2014 TACs, respectively.

    When fishery managers estimated the big or longnose skate TACs in a regulatory area would be exceeded, NMFS prohibited retention of big or longnose skates in the directed fisheries for groundfish and halibut and required discard of all big or longnose skate catch in the regulatory area for the remainder of the calendar year. The earlier in the year that NMFS prohibits the retention of big or longnose skates in the directed fisheries for groundfish and halibut, the greater the total amount of regulatory discards of skates, because skates are caught in other groundfish and halibut fisheries throughout the entire year.

    Purpose of This Final Rule

    This final rule reduces the MRA for skates in the GOA from 20 percent to 5 percent. By reducing the MRA, this final rule further limits the amount of skates that could be retained while directed fishing for other groundfish and halibut. Under this final rule, the round weight of a retained skate species could be no more than 5 percent of the round weight of the basis species. Reducing the skate MRA decreases the incentive for fishermen to engage in top-off fishing for skates so that the catch rate of skates more accurately reflects the rate of incidental catch of skates in the directed groundfish and halibut fisheries in the GOA. The reduction in the MRA will slow accrual of skate catch against the TAC and enhance NMFS' ability to limit the catch of skates to the skate TACs. This final rule is expected to minimize discards of skates by reducing the likelihood that NMFS would need to prohibit retention of a skate species in a GOA management area during the year to maintain skate catch at or below its TAC. This final rule will help NMFS to ensure that skate catch in the future does not exceed a TAC, ABC, or OFL.

    Regulations Implemented by This Final Rule

    This final rule makes five amendments to regulations. First, this final rule revises skate MRAs in Table 10 to 50 CFR part 679, Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages, and in Table 30 to 50 CFR part 679, Rockfish Program Retainable Percentages. Table 10 establishes the MRAs applicable to vessels fishing groundfish in the GOA, except for vessels fishing under the authority of the Central GOA Rockfish Program. Table 30 establishes MRAs that are applicable to vessels participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program. NMFS reduces the incidental catch species MRAs for skates for each basis species listed in both Tables 10 and 30 from 20 percent to 5 percent. NMFS notes the basis species termed “Aggregated amount of non-groundfish species” includes all legally retained IFQ halibut as explained in footnote 12 to Table 10. The skate MRAs will be set equal to 5 percent in Tables 10 and 30 on the effective date of this final rule (see DATES).

    Second, this final rule corrects two regulatory cross-reference errors. These errors resulted from reorganizing and renumbering the Federal Fisheries Permit requirements in § 679.4(b) and were implemented in a final rule published on October 21, 2014 (79 FR 62885). Current regulations at § 679.7(a)(18) and § 679.28(f)(6)(i) incorrectly refer to the FFP requirements at § 679.4(b)(5)(vi), a paragraph that no longer exists. This final rule corrects those cross references to § 679.4(b).

    Third, this final rule modifies regulatory text to clarify that a vessel fishing under a Rockfish Program cooperative quota (CQ) permit may harvest groundfish species not allocated as CQ up to the MRA for that species as established in Table 30 to 50 CFR part 679. This final rule removes the last sentence in regulations at § 679.20(f)(2), because the sentence makes an incorrect statement. The last sentence in 679.20(f)(2) states that “only primary rockfish species harvested under the Rockfish Program may be used to calculate retainable amounts of other species, as provided in Table 30 to this part.” The heading in the last column in Table 30 correctly states that the MRA for vessels fishing under the Rockfish Program is calculated as “a percentage of total retained rockfish primary species and rockfish secondary species.” NMFS corrects this discrepancy by removing the inaccurate last sentence of § 679.20(f)(2) that refers only to rockfish primary species. The current regulations at § 679.81(h)(4)(i) and (h)(5) use the term “incidental catch species” in the calculation of an MRA to refer to “groundfish species not allocated as cooperative quota (CQ).” This final rule adds the referenced text to § 679.81(h)(4)(i) and (h)(5) to ensure consistent use of terminology in the regulations.

    Fourth, this final rule revises Table 2a to 50 CFR part 679 to add Alaska, Aleutian, and whiteblotched skates, as well as the scientific names for individual skate species. Adding these individual skate species and the scientific names facilitates the reporting of individual skate species taken during groundfish harvest and provides more detailed information regarding skate harvests for stock assessments and fisheries management. This revision supports managing skates as a target species group or as individual target species. These skate species and scientific names were added to Table 2a in final regulations implementing changes to groundfish management in the BSAI and GOA on October 6, 2010 (75 FR 61639). Subsequent regulations published on July 11, 2011 (76 FR 40628), amended Table 2a to 50 CFR part 679 and that revision inadvertently removed the skate species codes implemented on October 6, 2010. The addition of these skate species and scientific names corrects this error. The addition of species codes does not change the management of skates or the other provisions of this final rule.

    Fifth, this final rule makes several clarifications and corrections to Table 10 and Table 30 to part 679. These clarifications are:

    • In Table 10 to part 679, the genus name, common name, and numeric species codes for Alaska skate, Aleutian skate, and whiteblotched skate are added;

    • In Table 10 to part 679, the basis species, pelagic shelf rockfish, is replaced with dusky rockfish to be consistent with the appropriate species designation in regulation;

    • In Table 10 to part 679, the genus name, common name, and species codes in the table and in the notes to the table are updated for consistency;

    • In Note 4 to Table 10 to part 679, the references to “slope rockfish” are removed and replaced with the correct term “other rockfish”; and widow rockfish and yellowtail rockfish are added to the 17 species that form the “other rockfish” group to correctly categorize these species;

    • Note 5 to Table 10 to part 679 is removed because it is no longer applicable, and Notes 6 through 13 are renumbered as Notes 5 through 12, respectively.

    • In Note 6 to Table 10 to part 679, the erroneous regulatory reference to § 679.7(b)(4) is deleted and the regulatory reference, § 679.20(j), is clarified so as to provide for full retention of demersal shelf rockfish by catcher vessels in the Southeast Outside District;

    • In Note 8 to Table 10 to part 679, the regulatory reference, § 679.2, is clarified to exclude the species listed;

    • In Table 30 to part 679, grenadier species is added as an incidental catch species for the fishery category “Rockfish Cooperative vessels fishing under a Rockfish CQ permit for rockfish non-allocated species” and an MRA of 8 percent is added. This change from the proposed rule would correct an oversight from the recently published regulations that implemented an MRA for grenadiers for the groundfish fisheries in the GOA (80 FR 11897, March 5, 2015). That rule added the grenadier MRA of 8 percent to Table 10 to part 679, which does not apply to vessels when fishing in the Central GOA Rockfish Program. However, it is clear from the preamble to the proposed rule (79 FR 27557, May 14, 2014) and the final rule (80 FR 11897, March 5, 2015) that the intent was to apply the MRA to all groundfish fishing in the GOA. Adding a grenadier MRA to Table 30 to part 679 will achieve this intent by applying the grenadier MRA to vessels when fishing in the Central GOA Rockfish Program; and

    • In Table 30 to part 679, a footnote is added to explain that the descriptions of different incidental catch species groups listed in this table can be found in the notes to Table 10 to part 679.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    The proposed rule for this action was published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2015 (80 FR 39734). There are five categories of regulatory changes made from the proposed rule.

    First, this final rule adds a suite of corrections to Table 10 and Table 30 to part 679 in response to comment 10 on the proposed rule (see Comment and Response). These technical corrections are described in the previous section of this preamble as the fifth amendment made to the regulations and in comment 10 and are not repeated here.

    Second, this final rule reorders the listing of the skate species and the corresponding species codes added to Table 2a to part 679 and the listing of skate species and corresponding species codes in Table 10 to part 679 to follow the formatting convention that lists the species description alphabetically. This is not a substantive change.

    Third, this final rule replaces the references to “numerical percentage” with “MRA” in Note 1 and Note 7 to Table 10 to part 679, replaces “retainable percentage” with “MRA” in Note 1 to Table 10 to part 679, and replaces “category” with “species group” in Note 7 to Table 10 to part 679. These changes clarify that the percentages are the MRAs established in Table 10, and that DSR and SR/RE represent separate species groups. This is not a substantive change.

    Fourth, this final rule revises Note 2 to Table 10 to part 679, to add Kamchatka flounder and its species code to the list of species that comprise the deep-water flatfish species group to be consistent with current harvest specifications. This is not a substantive change.

    Fifth, this final rule revises Table 30 to part 679, to clarify that the Rockfish Entry Level Fishery using longline gear, the fishery for opt-out vessels, and the fishery for Rockfish Cooperative Vessels not fishing under a CQ permit referred to in Table 30 to part 679 are to “use” Table 10 to part 679 rather than “see” Table 10 to part 679. This is not a substantive change.

    Comment and Response

    During the public comment period, NMFS received two comment letters generally expressing support for the proposed rule. The letters contain 10 unique comments on the proposed rule. A summary of the comments received and NMFS' responses follow.

    Comment 1: The commenters support a reduction in the skate MRA from 20 percent to 5 percent for the following reasons: (1) The reduced MRA will remove the incentive to target and top off on skates while fishing for other groundfish species; (2) An MRA set at 5 percent will more closely reflect the normal encounter rate of skates during fishing; (3) Reducing the skate MRA could slow skate retention and thus the catch rate of skate species; (4) Reducing the skate MRA will decrease the potential for prohibiting skate species retention, allow retention of skates throughout the year, and minimize regulatory discard of skates.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment and agrees with the commenter's rationale for support.

    Comment 2: The commenter notes that this final rule may avoid triggering prohibition of skate harvest when catches approach a skate ABC or TAC. However, it is still unknown whether the incidental species catch of skates will exceed 5 percent of the catch on an individual haul-by-haul basis for vessels in the trawl fishery. The commenter recommends the adoption of a comprehensive GOA-wide trawl bycatch management program with cooperative target species and prohibited species catch allocations to eliminate the race for fish and reduce regulatory discards.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges that a vessel may have an incidental species catch of skates that exceeds 5 percent of the catch of a given haul, but the 5 percent MRA applies to the sum of all basis species on board the vessel. This is likely to include catch from many different hauls. Therefore, regulatory discard may not be required. The comment recommending the adoption of a comprehensive GOA-wide trawl bycatch management program is outside of the scope of this action. The Council and NMFS are considering measures similar to those recommended by the commenter under a separate action. NMFS has prepared a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that would consider a broad range of alternative management programs for the GOA trawl fisheries, including those suggested by the commenter. The Notice of Intent published on July 14, 2015, and NMFS requested public comment through August 28, 2015 (80 FR 40988, July 14, 2015). NMFS will incorporate written comments from the public to identify the issues of concern and assist the Council in determining the appropriate range of management alternatives for the EIS. Additional information on management actions related to the GOA trawl fisheries is available through the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Comment 3: NMFS should place more emphasis on the assessment of GOA skates. The commenters suggest additional research on population density, migration, natural mortality, and other factors affecting skates would aid in the assessment and management of GOA skate resources. The commenters state their willingness to participate in cooperative research.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment. The stock assessment process used to determine the status of skate biomass is described in Section 3.1.1 of the Analysis. Additional information on the research NMFS has conducted and is undertaking to improve its understanding of GOA skates is available through the Alaska Fishery Science Center's Web site at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/stocks/assessments.htm. NMFS has engaged in cooperative research with the fishing industry to investigate sustainable fisheries management. Specific cooperative research regarding skates would be conducted with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and are outside of the scope of this action.

    Comment 4: Trawl and hook-and-line gear discard mortality rates (DMRs) should be estimated for GOA skates. The current DMR is assumed to be 100 percent and is not accurate. This DMR overestimates the mortality of skate bycatch and impacts the skate biomass estimate for the GOA.

    Response: The 2014 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation for GOA skates states that the highest priority for research is in understanding the focus on direct fishing effects on skate populations. Scientists consider the most important component of this research to be a full evaluation of the catch and discards in all fisheries capturing skates. NMFS will continue to explore the effects of fishing, including DMRs, in future research.

    Comment 5: Improving the species-specific reporting of skate catch delivered to processors would help the stock assessment authors. The commenter suggests some outreach by NMFS to educate processor personnel about skate identification. The commenter notes that NMFS has aided processor personnel in the identification of other species catch, such as GOA rockfish, and a similar approach for skates could improve species identification.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and agrees that outreach and broad distribution of NMFS' skate identification guide (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/er/skateguide.pdf) would improve skate harvest information for stock assessment. NMFS will forward a recommendation for these improvements to the Council plan team responsible for management of groundfish under the FMP, and will coordinate with GOA processors.

    Comment 6: The commenter suggests that text on page 39735 of the preamble to the proposed rule (July 10, 2015; 80 FR 39734) could be clarified. The commenter states that when retention of the incidental catch of a skate species is prohibited (i.e., placed on prohibited species catch (PSC) status), then only the specific skate species or species group (e.g., big skate, longnose skate or other skates species) must be discarded. For example, if the incidental catch of big skates is prohibited, big skates must be discarded but longnose skates and other skates species (in aggregate) may be retained up to the MRA.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and agrees with the commenter's clarification. NMFS intends to manage skates as described in the comment. This is also consistent with the description of management provided in Section 4.10 of the Analysis. No change to the regulatory text is required.

    Comment 7: The commenter suggests that text on page 39735 of the preamble to the proposed rule (July 10, 2015; 80 FR 39734) could be clarified. The commenter states that the reason that other skates species are not managed separately or under area-specific ABCs or TACs is that the management in this aggregate for the GOA management area is adequate to maintain those species at a sustainable level. It should be noted, as it is in the 2014 GOA Skate Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (available at: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/refm/stocks/assessments.htm), that skates are generally difficult for harvesters and processors to identify to the species level, especially the less common skates defined as other skates species.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges and agrees with the commenter's clarification. NMFS recognizes management of skates at the individual species and regulatory area level depends on accurate species-specific harvest information. Section 4.10 of the Analysis states that misidentification of other skates species could cause a serious enforcement issue for differing species-specific MRAs. No change to the regulatory text is required.

    Comment 8: The commenter suggests that text on page 39735 of the preamble to the proposed rule (July 10, 2015; 80 FR 39734) could be clarified. The commenter states that NMFS does not have the authority to issue in-season management measures to close a commercial fishery for individual fishing quota (IFQ) halibut in the GOA should a skate OFL be reached in the GOA. The commenter states that the GOA FMP groundfish species (Table 2a to part 679) does not include halibut. Halibut is included in the FMP only as a prohibited species. Because the halibut is not defined as a groundfish species, NMFS in-season management measures to close a groundfish fishery to prevent overfishing do not include IFQ halibut and apply only to groundfish species managed by NMFS under the FMP. The commenter recommends that this issue should be addressed in the 10-year review of the halibut and sablefish IFQ program which has been initiated by the Council.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and agrees with the commenter's clarification regarding the regulations. Regulations at § 679.21 establish the requirements for closing a groundfish fishery if an OFL will be reached. Extending in-season management authority to the IFQ halibut fishery under § 679.21 is outside of the scope of this action and is not addressed further. The final rule does not change regulations governing the Pacific halibut fisheries implemented by the International Pacific Halibut Commission or NMFS.

    Comment 9: The commenter suggests that text on page 39736 of the preamble to the proposed rule (July 10, 2015; 80 FR 39734) could be clarified. The commenter states that the incidental catch of skates by jig gear, although likely low in volume, are actually unknown because the GOA jig fishery was exempt from observer coverage before 2013.

    Response: Overall, NMFS estimates that jig gear catches a small amount of skates relative to hook-and-line and trawl gear (Section 5.6 of Analysis). NMFS uses data submitted electronically by shoreside or stationary floating processors to estimate the landed catch of any skates delivered by vessels using jig gear. NMFS acknowledges that there is not currently observer coverage on vessels in the jig fisheries to obtain estimates of the amount of at-sea discards of skates. In the future, NMFS could modify deployment of observers on jig vessels through its Annual Deployment Plan (ADP) process. NMFS could modify the ADP and expand coverage to vessels with jig gear if needed for conservation and management. Currently, there is no evidence that catch of skates by vessels using jig gear warrants additional observer coverage.

    Comment 10: The commenter recommends a number of clarifications and corrections to Table 10 to part 679 and Table 30 to part 679 to improve their usefulness to the fishing industry. The commenter states that these tables are difficult to interpret due to inconsistencies with other regulations, revisions over time that have reduced their clarity, or references to outdated regulations that are no longer applicable. The commenter suggests updating and clarifying these tables as follows:

    • In Table 10 to part 679, add the proper genus name, common name, and numeric species codes for Alaska skate, Aleutian skate, and whiteblotched skate;

    • In Table 10 to part 679, replace the basis species, pelagic shelf rockfish, with dusky rockfish to be consistent with the appropriate species designation in regulation:

    • In Table 10 to part 679, consistently use the genus name, common name, and species codes in the table and in the notes to the table;

    • In Note 4 to Table 10 to part 679, remove the reference to slope rockfish and replace it with “rockfish” so that it is clear that this provision applies to all rockfish species except demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) and shortraker/rougheye rockfish (SR/RE); and add widow rockfish and yellowtail rockfish to the 15 species that form the new “rockfish” group;

    • Delete Note 5 to Table 10 to part 679 because it is no longer applicable;

    • In Note 6 to Table 10 to part 679, clarify the regulatory reference;

    • In Note 8 to Table 10 to part 679, replace the reference to § 679.2 and instead refer to the list of species already contained in the notes to the table;

    • In Table 30 to part 679, add grenadier species as an incidental catch species for the fishery category for Rockfish Cooperative vessels fishing under Rockfish CQ permit for rockfish non-allocated species and add an MRA of 8 percent to be consistent with MRAs for grenadiers that are applicable in Table 10; and

    • In Table 30 to part 679, add a footnote to Table 30 to explain that the descriptions of different incidental catch species groups listed in this table can be found in the notes to Table 10 to part 679.

    Response: NMFS agrees with each of the commenter's suggested changes to Tables 10 and 30 with one exception. In Table 10 to part 679, NMFS replaced the references to “slope rockfish” with “other rockfish” instead of “rockfish” as suggested by the commenter. The commenter also suggested NMFS define “these rockfish species as all rockfish species except DSR and SR/RE.” NMFS disagrees with this definition because: (1) “all rockfish species” includes rockfish species besides those in the other rockfish species group; and (2) excluding DSR conflicts with the explanations of the other rockfish species groups in the Western regulatory area, Central regulatory area, and West Yakutat District. NMFS uses “other rockfish” to correctly name this rockfish species group and accurately refers to “other rockfish” by regulatory area consistent with regulations.

    The changes suggested by the commenter are minor clarifications and do not have a substantive effect on the calculation or applicability of MRAs. Each of the comments and the rationale for accepting the comment follows.

    The change to add Alaska, Aleutian, and whiteblotched skate to Table 10 is consistent with NMFS' recommendation in the proposed rule to add these species to Table 2a of CFR part 679.

    The change in Table 10 to part 679, to replace “pelagic shelf rockfish” with “dusky rockfish” is consistent with NMFS' intent in the final rule implementing the Central GOA Rockfish Program that published December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81248). This change corrects the species designation to be consistent with existing regulations.

    The change to consistently use the genus name, common name, and species codes in Table 10 to part 679 is a minor clerical correction.

    The change to Note 4 to Table 10 to part 679, to remove references for “slope rockfish” and replace them with “rockfish”, where rockfish means all rockfish species except DSR and SR/RE, was clarified by NMFS. Specifically, NMFS determined stated that references to “slope rockfish” should be replaced with “other rockfish” because other rockfish in the Western regulatory area, Central regulatory area, and West Yakutat district means other rockfish and DSR. Therefore, explaining the meaning of “other rockfish” by using “rockfish means all rockfish species except DSR and SR/RE”, as recommended by the commenter, would incorrectly include the universe of rockfish species and inaccurately exclude DSR from the Western, Central and West Yakutat areas. The correct reference is “other rockfish.” This change does not modify any of the MRAs that are applicable to the specific species, or otherwise modify management.

    The change to delete Note 5 to Table 10 to part 679 provides consistency with regulations because Note 5 is no longer applicable.

    The change to Note 6 to Table 10 to part 679, clarifies the regulatory reference to § 679.20(j), provides for full retention of demersal shelf rockfish by catcher vessels in the Southeast Outside District.

    The change to Note 8 to Table 10 to part 679, should provide clarity to the reader by explaining the species included and excluded in the species group and listed in the regulatory reference at § 679.2.

    The changes to Table 30 to part 679, to add grenadier species as an incidental catch species for the fishery category for Rockfish Cooperative vessels fishing under a Rockfish CQ permit for rockfish non-allocated species and add an MRA of 8 percent would be consistent with recently implemented regulations that established an MRA for grenadiers (80 FR 11897, March 5, 2015). This change from the proposed rule would correct an oversight in the publication of regulations that established an MRA for grenadiers. Currently, the MRA is only described in Table 10 to part 679. However, it is clear from the preamble to the proposed rule (79 FR 27557, May 14, 2014) and the final rule (80 FR 11897, March 5, 2015) that the intent was to apply the MRA to all groundfish fishing, and not to specifically exclude vessels when fishing under the Central GOA Rockfish Program. This change would correct that oversight to be consistent with MRAs for grenadiers that are applicable in Table 10.

    The last change to Table 30 to part 679 adds a footnote to Table 30 to explain that the descriptions of different incidental catch species groups listed in Table 30 can be found in the notes to Table 10 to part 679. This change provides a clarification to the reader and does not change existing management.

    Classification

    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the GOA groundfish fishery and that it is consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

    Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA), the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as “small entity compliance guides.” The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. The preamble to the proposed rule and this final rule serve as the small entity compliance guide. This action does not require any additional compliance from small entities that is not described in the preambles. Copies of the proposed and final rules are available from NMFS at the following Web site: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Executive Order 12866

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

    Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis.

    Section 604 describes the contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected.

    Need for and Objectives of This Action

    A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule is contained in the preamble to this final rule (see the “Purpose of this Final Rule” section in this preamble) and is not repeated here.

    Summary of Significant Issues Raised During Public Comment

    NMFS published a proposed rule on July 10, 2015 (80 FR 39734). An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared and summarized in the “Classification” section of the preamble to the proposed rule. The comment period closed on August 10, 2015. NMFS received two letters of public comment on the proposed rule containing 10 unique comments. No comments were received on the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule on small entities. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA did not file any comments on the proposed rule.

    Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by This Action

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) establishes the size standards for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including commercial finfish harvesters (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $20.5 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For purposes of this FRFA, the effects of the final rule fall primarily on the distinct segment of the fishery industry characterized as commercial finfish harvesters.

    The entities that can reasonably be expected to be directly regulated by the final rule include all catcher vessels and catcher/processors directed fishing for groundfish and halibut in the GOA that may harvest any species of skate. Based on data from 2013 (the most recent year of complete data), this action is estimated to directly regulate 1,153 small entities: 1,073 small catcher vessels fishing with hook-and-line gear (including jig gear), 116 small catcher vessels fishing with pot gear, and 32 small catcher vessels fishing with trawl gear. The average gross revenues estimates for 2013 are $380,000 for small hook-and-line catcher vessels, $960,000 for small pot catcher vessels, and $2.8 million for small trawl catcher vessels. In addition, this action would directly regulate 2 small catcher/processors fishing with hook-and-line gear, and one small catcher/processor fishing with trawl gear. Specific revenue data for these small catcher/processors are confidential but are less than $20.5 million annually.

    The annual revenue at risk for all catcher vessels and catcher/processors that could be affected by this final rule is estimated at $2.4 million. However, the impact relative to each vessel that retains skates in the GOA is quite small. Reducing the skate MRA primarily affects those vessels whose operators have retained big skate at an amount greater than 5 percent of their basis species in the Central GOA. In general, vessels that catch and retain skates show relatively little dependence on GOA skates for their gross revenues. The actual impact on gross revenue for a specific vessel may vary from year to year depending on the total abundance of skates, total catch of skates, market conditions, and ex-vessel price.

    Description of Significant Alternatives That Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities

    FRFA also requires a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant impact on directly regulated small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative (Alternative 4) adopted in the final rule and why each of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that affect the economic impact on small entities was rejected. NMFS and the Council considered four alternative MRAs to reduce the incentive for fishermen to pursue top-off fishing for skates and slow the catch rate of skates in the GOA groundfish and halibut fisheries. In addition to the status quo of an MRA of 20 percent, the Council and NMFS evaluated alternatives to reduce skate MRAs to 15, 10, and 5 percent.

    The analysis examined the rate of big skate catch relative to groundfish catch by directed fishery before and after big skate retention was prohibited in 2013 and 2014 (Section 4.5.1.1 of the Analysis). Comparison of changes in catch rates after retention was prohibited show the harvest rate for big skate dropped from as much as 8.6 percent of the total groundfish and halibut catch to a harvest rate that ranged from 6.3 percent to 0.1 percent of the total groundfish and halibut catch depending on the year, gear type, and target fishery. These data indicate that participants in various target fisheries could avoid the incidental catch of big skate when there was not an incentive to retain big skates.

    Further analysis used a model to compare the retained skate catch of all skate species, in all areas and by vessels using all gear types under the alternative percentages of the basis species (Section 4.5.1.4 of the Analysis). The model indicates that reducing the skate MRA below 10 percent is expected to reduce the incentive for vessel operators to engage in top-off fishing and overall skate catch as fishermen avoid areas where skates are encountered. The model indicates that a 5 percent MRA best ensures that NMFS will not have to prohibit the retention of skates and that skate TACs will not be exceeded.

    The Analysis did not identify any other alternatives that more effectively meet the RFA criteria to minimize adverse economic impacts on directly regulated small entities.

    This action implements Alternative 4, a 5 percent skate MRA. As discussed in Section 4.7 and 4.8 of the Analysis, the preferred alternative is the only alternative of the alternatives considered that is expected to adequately reduce the incentive for fishermen to target skates that may be retained as incidental catch species. A 5 percent MRA accomplishes the objectives of this final rule to slow the catch rate of skates in the GOA groundfish and halibut fisheries to ensure that the TACs for skate species are not exceeded.

    Reporting, Recordkeeping Requirements, and Other Compliance Requirements

    This action does not impose any additional reporting requirements on the participants of the GOA groundfish and halibut fisheries.

    Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    NMFS has not identified other Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this final rule.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 679 as follows:

    PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 111-281.

    2. In § 679.7, revise paragraph (a)(18) to read as follows:
    § 679.7 Prohibitions.

    (a) * * *

    (18) Pollock, Pacific Cod, and Atka Mackerel Directed Fishing and VMS. Operate a vessel in any Federal reporting area when a vessel is authorized under § 679.4(b) to participate in the Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, or pollock directed fisheries and the vessel's authorized species and gear type is open to directed fishing, unless the vessel carries an operable NMFS-approved Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and complies with the requirements in § 679.28(f).

    3. In § 679.20, revise paragraph (f)(2) to read as follows:
    § 679.20 General limitations.

    (f) * * *

    (2) Retainable amounts. Any groundfish species for which directed fishing is closed may not be used to calculate retainable amounts of other groundfish species. Only fish harvested under the CDQ Program may be used to calculate retainable amounts of other CDQ species.

    4. In § 679.28, revise paragraph (f)(6)(i) to read as follows:
    § 679.28 Equipment and operational requirements.

    (f) * * *

    (6) * * *

    (i) You operate a vessel in any reporting area (see definitions at § 679.2) off Alaska while any fishery requiring VMS, for which the vessel has a species and gear endorsement on its Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b), is open.

    5. In § 679.81, revise paragraphs (h)(4)(i) and (h)(5) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 679.81 Rockfish Program annual harvester privileges.

    (h) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (i) The MRA for groundfish species not allocated as CQ (incidental catch species) for vessels fishing under the authority of a CQ permit is calculated as a proportion of the total allocated rockfish primary species and rockfish secondary species on board the vessel in round weight equivalents using the retainable percentage in Table 30 to this part; except that—

    (5) Maximum retainable amount (MRA) calculation and limits—catcher/processor vessels. The MRA for groundfish species not allocated as CQ (incidental catch species) for vessels fishing under the authority of a CQ permit is calculated as a proportion of the total allocated rockfish primary species and rockfish secondary species on board the vessel in round weight equivalents using the retainable percentage in Table 30 to this part as determined under § 679.20(e)(3)(iv).

    6. Revise Table 2a to part 679 to read as follows: Table 2a to Part 679—Species Codes: FMP Groundfish Species description Code Atka mackerel (greenling) 193 Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without separate codes) 120 FLOUNDER: Alaska plaice 133 Arrowtooth 121 Bering 116 Kamchatka 117 Starry 129 Octopus, North Pacific 870 Pacific cod 110 Pollock 270 ROCKFISH: Aurora (Sebastes aurora) 185 Black (BSAI) (S. melanops) 142 Blackgill (S. melanostomus) 177 Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus) 167 Bocaccio (S. paucispinis) 137 Canary (S. pinniger) 146 Chilipepper (S. goodei) 178 China (S. nebulosus) 149 Copper (S. caurinus) 138 Darkblotched (S. crameri) 159 Dusky (S. variabilis) 172 Greenstriped (S. elongatus) 135 Harlequin (S. variegatus) 176 Northern (S. polyspinis) 136 Pacific Ocean Perch (S. alutus) 141 Pygmy (S. wilsoni) 179 Quillback (S. maliger) 147 Redbanded (S. babcocki) 153 Redstripe (S. proriger) 158 Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus) 150 Rougheye (S. aleutianus) 151 Sharpchin (S. zacentrus) 166 Shortbelly (S. jordani) 181 Shortraker (S. borealis) 152 Silvergray (S. brevispinis) 157 Splitnose (S. diploproa) 182 Stripetail (S. saxicola) 183 Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species) 143 Tiger (S. nigrocinctus) 148 Vermilion (S. miniatus) 184 Widow (S. entomelas) 156 Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus) 145 Yellowmouth (S. reedi) 175 Yellowtail (S. flavidus) 155 Sablefish (blackcod) 710 Sculpins 160 SHARKS: Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper shark—use specific species code) 689 Pacific sleeper 692 Salmon 690 Spiny dogfish 691 SKATES: Alaska (Bathyraja parmifera) 703 Aleutian (B. aleutica) 704 Whiteblotched (B. maculata) 705 Big (Raja binoculata) 702 Longnose (R. rhina) 701 Other (if, Alaska, Aleutian, whiteblotched, big, or longnose skate—use specific species code listed above) 700 SOLE: Butter 126 Dover 124 English 128 Flathead 122 Petrale 131 Rex 125 Rock 123 Sand 132 Yellowfin 127 Squid, majestic 875 Turbot, Greenland 134 7. Revise Table 10 to part 679 to read as follows: ER28DE15.017 ER28DE15.018 ER28DE15.019 BILLING CODE 3510-22-C 8. Revise Table 30 to part 679 to read as follows: Table 30 to Part 679—Rockfish Program Retainable Percentages [In round wt. equivalent] Fishery Incidental catch species 1 Sector MRA as a
  • percentage of
  • total retained rockfish primary species and rockfish secondary species
  • Rockfish Cooperative Vessels fishing under a CQ permit Pacific cod
  • Shortraker/Rougheye aggregate catch
  • Catcher/Processor
  • Catcher Vessel
  • 4.0
  • 2.0
  • See rockfish non-allocated species for “other species” Rockfish non-allocated Species for Rockfish Cooperative vessels fishing under a Rockfish CQ permit Pollock
  • Deep-water flatfish
  • Rex sole
  • Flathead sole
  • Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel
  • Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel
  • Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel
  • Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel
  • 20.0
  • 20.0
  • 20.0
  • 20.0
  • Shallow-water flatfish Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 20.0 Arrowtooth flounder Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 35.0 Other rockfish Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 15.0 Atka mackerel Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 20.0 Aggregated forage fish Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 2.0 Skates Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 5.0 Other species Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 20.0 Grenadiers Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 8.0 Longline gear Rockfish Entry Level Fishery Use Table 10 to this part. Opt-out vessels Use Table 10 to this part. Rockfish Cooperative Vessels not fishing under a CQ permit Use Table 10 to this part. 1 See Notes to Table 10 to Part 679 for descriptions of species groups.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32577 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 248 Monday, December 28, 2015 Proposed Rules NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Parts 26, 50, 52, 73, and 140 [NRC-2015-0070] RIN 3150-AJ59 Regulatory Improvements for Decommissioning Power Reactors AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 19, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requested comments on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on regulatory improvements for decommissioning power reactors. The public comment period was originally scheduled to close on January 4, 2016. The NRC has decided to extend the public comment period to allow more time for members of the public to develop and submit their comments.

    DATES:

    The due date of comments requested in the document published on November 19, 2015, (80 FR 72358) is extended. Comments should be filed no later than March 18, 2016, providing a comment period of 120 days.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject):

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0070. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    Email comments to: [email protected] If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.

    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301-415-1101.

    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.

    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jason B. Carneal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-1451; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0070 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0070.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The ANPR on regulatory improvements for decommissioning power reactors is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15167A010.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2015-0070 in your comment submission.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

    II. Discussion

    On November 19, 2015, the NRC requested comments on an ANPR on regulatory improvements for decommissioning power reactors. The NRC is specifically seeking input from stakeholders for the development of a draft regulatory basis. The draft regulatory basis will explore the NRC's options for addressing various regulatory issues involved with the decommissioning of nuclear power reactors. The ANPR's public comment period was originally scheduled to close on January 4, 2016. In response to several requests to extend the public comment period, the NRC has decided to extend the public comment period on the ANPR to March 18, 2016, providing a comment period of 120 days from the date of publication, in order to allow more time for members of the public to submit their comments. As stated in the November 19, 2015, publication of the ANPR, the NRC does not intend to provide detailed responses to comments on this ANPR.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 18th day of December 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Victor M. McCree, Executive Director for Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32599 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 766 [Docket No. 151204999-5999-01] RIN 0694-AG73 Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases, Revision of Supplement No. 1 to Part 766 of the Export Administration Regulations AGENCY:

    Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would revise Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) guidance regarding administrative enforcement cases based on violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The rule would rewrite Supplement No. 1 to part 766 of the EAR, setting forth the factors BIS considers when setting penalties in settlements of administrative enforcement cases and when deciding whether to pursue administrative charges or settle allegations of EAR violations. This proposed rule would not apply to alleged violations of part 760—Restrictive Trade Practices and Boycotts, which would continue to be subject to Supplement No. 2 to part 766. BIS is proposing these changes to make administrative penalties more predictable to the public and aligned with those promulgated by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    DATES:

    Comments must be received no later than February 26, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The identification number for this rulemaking is BIS-2015-0051.

    By email directly to: [email protected] Include RIN 0694-AG73 in the subject line.

    By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. Refer to RIN 0694-AG73.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Norma Curtis, Assistant Director, Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry and Security. Tel: (202) 482-5036, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The mission of the Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) at BIS is to enforce the provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), secure America's trade, and preserve America's technological advantage by detecting, investigating, preventing, and deterring the unauthorized export and reexport of U.S.-origin items to parties involved with: (1) Weapons of mass destruction programs; (2) threats to national security or regional stability; (3) terrorism; or (4) human rights abuses. Export Enforcement at BIS is the only federal law enforcement agency exclusively dedicated to the enforcement of export control laws and the only agency constituted to do so with both administrative and criminal export enforcement authorities. OEE's criminal investigators and analysts leverage their subject-matter expertise, unique and complementary administrative enforcement tools, and relationships with other federal agencies and industry to protect our national security and promote our foreign policy interests. OEE protects legitimate exporters from being put at a competitive disadvantage by those who do not comply with the law. It works to educate parties to export transactions on how to improve export compliance practices, supporting American companies' efforts to be reliable trading partners and reputable stewards of U.S. national and economic security. BIS also discourages, and in some circumstances prohibits, U.S. companies from furthering or supporting any unsanctioned foreign boycott (including the Arab League boycott of Israel).

    OEE at BIS may refer violators of export control laws to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution, and/or to BIS's Office of Chief Counsel for administrative prosecution. In cases where there has been a willful violation of the EAR, violators may be subject to both criminal fines and administrative penalties. Administrative penalties may also be imposed when there is no willful intent, allowing administrative cases to be brought in a much wider variety of circumstances than criminal cases. BIS has a unique combination of administrative enforcement authorities including both civil penalties and denials of export privileges. BIS may also place individuals and entities on lists that restrict or prohibit their involvement in exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country).

    In this rule, BIS is proposing to amend the EAR to update its Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases (the “Guidelines”) found in Supplement No. 1 to part 766 of the EAR in order to make civil penalty determinations more predictable and transparent to the public and aligned with those promulgated by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC administers most of its sanctions programs under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the same statutory authority by which BIS implements the EAR. OFAC uses the transaction value as the starting point for determining civil penalties pursuant to its Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines. Under IEEPA, criminal penalties can reach 20 years imprisonment and $1 million per violation, and administrative monetary penalties can reach $250,000 or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater. Both agencies coordinate and cooperate on investigations involving violations of export controls that each agency enforces, including programs relating to weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, Iran, Sudan, Specially Designated Nationals and Specially Designated Global Terrorists. This guidance would not apply to civil administrative enforcement cases for violations under part 760 of the EAR—Restrictive Trade Practices and Boycotts. Supplement No. 2 to Part 766 continues to apply to enforcement cases involving part 760 violations.

    The Guidelines would provide factors by which violations could be characterized as either egregious or non-egregious and describe the difference in the base penalty amount likely to apply in an enforcement case. The base penalty would depend on whether the violation is egregious or non-egregious and whether or not the case resulted from a voluntary self-disclosure that satisfies all the requirements of § 764.5 of the EAR. Base penalty amounts would be described in terms of the applicable statutory maximum, the transaction value, or the applicable schedule amount. The terms “transaction value” and “applicable schedule amount” would be defined in the Guidelines. The “statutory maximum” would be the maximum permitted by § 764.3(a)(1) of the EAR (15 CFR 764.3(a)(1)) subject to adjustment under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 2461). Additional information about the changes proposed here and how they differ from the current Guidelines set forth in Supplement No. 1 to Part 766 is described below.

    Once the base penalty amount has been determined, Factors set forth in these Guidelines would be applied to determine whether the base penalty amount should be adjusted downward or, subject to the statutory maximum, upward. Factors set forth in the current Guidelines would be reorganized into the following categories: (1) Aggravating Factors (e.g., willfulness or recklessness); (2) General Factors that could be considered either aggravating or mitigating depending upon the circumstances (e.g., the absence or presence and adequacy of an internal compliance program); (3) Mitigating Factors (e.g., remedial measures taken); and (4) other Relevant Factors on a case-by-case basis (e.g., additional violations or other enforcement actions). Voluntary self-disclosures (VSDs) would no longer be listed as mitigating factors in and of themselves, but credit accorded to VSDs would be built into the determination of the base penalty amount. This credit would no longer be characterized as constituting “great weight” mitigation, but violations disclosed in a complete and timely VSD may be afforded a deduction of 50 percent of the transaction value or, in egregious cases, the statutory maximum in determining the base penalty amount. Mitigating Factors would also be assigned specific percentages off the base penalty amount, as further described below. Mitigating Factors may be combined for a greater reduction in penalty but mitigation will generally not exceed 75 percent of the base penalty.

    Willfulness, recklessness and concealment would be set forth as Aggravating Factor A—Willful or Reckless Violation of Law in the revised Guidelines. The degree to which these actions are present would determine the degree of aggravation factored into the penalty calculation. Aggravating Factor B—Awareness of Conduct at Issue would be listed as a separate factor in the revised Guidelines to address situations where the Respondent knew or had reason to know of the violation(s), and took no action to address them. Currently, knowing violations are subsumed within consideration of the “Degree of Willfulness.” Harm to regulatory program objectives would be listed as Aggravating Factor C—Harm to Regulatory Program Objectives. This factor would take into account all of the following: The destination involved, the end use and end user, and the sensitivity and control level of the item(s) involved in the transaction. Aggravating Factors A-C would be considered key in determining whether a violation was egregious or not, as further discussed below. Other aggravating facts, whether relating to the General Factors or Other Relevant Factors discussed below, may also be pertinent in determining whether a violation was egregious.

    Under this proposed rule, General Factors could either be mitigating or aggravating depending upon the circumstances. Two General Factors would be set forth in the revised Guidelines: General Factor D, involving an assessment of the individual characteristics of a Respondent; and General Factor E, assessing the presence and adequacy of a compliance program. General Factor D—Individual Characteristics—would encompass an evaluation of the Respondent's commercial sophistication, exporting experience, volume and value of transactions, and regulatory history. General Factor E—Compliance Program—would involve a determination of whether or not the Respondent had an effective risk-based BIS compliance program in place at the time of the apparent violation, including an assessment of the extent to which it complied with BIS's Export Management System (EMS) Guidelines. Under General Factor E, if the Respondent's compliance program served to uncover the violation and led to prompt and comprehensive remedial measures taken to ensure against future violations, additional mitigation may be accorded to the Respondent under Mitigating Factor F, Remedial Response. That factor looks at whether the Respondent took corrective action in response to the apparent violation, such as stopping the conduct at issue.

    Mitigating Factor G—Exceptional Cooperation with OEE may result in a 25 percent to 40 percent reduction of the base penalty amount. This level of cooperation goes beyond what would be considered minimally necessary to address a violation and take corrective measures. In cases not involving a VSD, the Respondent must have provided substantial additional information regarding the apparent violation and/or other apparent violations caused by the same course of conduct. Exceptional cooperation in cases involving VSDs may also be considered as a further mitigating factor.

    Transactions that would likely have received a license had one been sought, as set forth in Mitigating Factor H—License Was Likely To Be Approved also may result in up to a 25 percent reduction of the base penalty amount. First offenses, addressed in the context of calculation of the base penalty amount, may also result in a reduction of that amount by up to 25 percent.

    Finally, proposed Factors I-M pertain to factors that may be relevant in certain circumstances and considered on a case-by-case basis. Factor I—Related Violations would address situations in which a single export transaction can give rise to multiple violations. Factor J—Multiple Unrelated Violations would address situations where multiple unrelated violations, as described in this proposed rule, could warrant a stronger enforcement response, including a denial order. Factor K—Other Enforcement Action would provide that corresponding enforcement action taken by federal, state, or local agencies in response to the apparent violation or similar apparent violations may be considered, particularly with regard to global settlements or criminal convictions and/or plea agreements.

    Factor L—Future Compliance/Deterrence Effect would address the impact that the administrative action may have with regard to promoting future compliance and deterring such conduct by other similar parties, particularly in the same industry sector. Factor M—Other Factors That BIS Deems Relevant would serve as a “catch-all” category to retain flexibility to consider factors not already specifically addressed in the Guidelines, whether proposed by the Respondent or BIS.

    Consideration of these Factors would not dictate a particular outcome in any particular case, but rather is intended to identify those Factors most relevant to BIS's decision and to guide the agency's exercise of its discretion. The Guidelines would provide sufficient flexibility to allow for the consideration of the Factors most relevant to a particular case. Penalties for settlements reached after the initiation of an enforcement proceeding and litigation through the filing of a charging letter will usually be higher than those described by these Guidelines.

    In accordance with OEE's existing posture that enhanced maximum civil penalties authorized by the International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act (Enhancement Act) (Pub. L. 110-96, 50 U.S.C. 1701, et seq.) should be reserved for the most serious cases, the Guidelines would formally account for the substantial increase in the maximum penalties for violations of IEEPA and distinguish between egregious and non-egregious civil monetary penalty cases. Egregious cases would be those involving the most serious violations, based on an analysis of all applicable Factors, with substantial weight given to considerations of willfulness or recklessness, awareness of the conduct giving rise to an apparent violation, and harm to the regulatory program objectives, taking into account the individual characteristics of the parties involved. As described below, the Guidelines generally would provide for significantly higher civil penalties for egregious cases. OEE anticipates that the majority of apparent violations investigated by OEE will fall in the non-egregious category. OEE does not expect that adoption of these guidelines will increase the number of cases that are charged administratively rather than closed with a warning letter.

    The Guidelines define the “transaction value” to mean the dollar value of a subject transaction. Where the dollar value cannot be determined with certainty, the Guidelines would provide sufficient flexibility to allow for the determination of an appropriate transaction value in a wide variety of circumstances. The applicable schedule amounts, which would provide for a graduated series of penalties based on the underlying transaction values, reflect appropriate starting points for penalty calculations in non-egregious cases not involving VSDs. The base penalty amount for a non-egregious case involving a VSD would equal one-half of the transaction value, capped at $125,000, for an apparent violation of the EAR. Such calculation would ensure that the base penalty for a VSD case will not be more than one-half of the base penalty for a similar case that is not voluntarily self-disclosed. This difference is intended to serve as an additional incentive for the submission of VSDs. In the interest of providing greater transparency and predictability to BIS administrative enforcement actions, BIS would also allot penalty reductions—all from the base penalty amount—of between 25 and 40 percent for exceptional cooperation, and up to an additional 25 percent for first offenses and for transactions where a license was likely to be approved.

    BIS encourages the submission of VSDs by persons who believe they may have violated the EAR. The purpose of an enforcement action includes raising awareness, increasing compliance, and deterring future violations, not merely punishing past conduct. VSDs are a compelling indicator of a person's present intent and future commitment to comply with U.S. export control requirements. The purpose of mitigating the enforcement response in voluntary self-disclosure cases is to encourage the notification to OEE of apparent violations about which OEE would not otherwise have learned. OEE's longstanding policy of encouraging the submission of VSDs involving apparent violations is reflected by the fact that, over the past several years, on average only three percent of VSDs submitted have resulted in a civil penalty. The majority of cases brought to the attention of OEE through VSDs result in the issuance of warning letters, containing a finding that a violation may have taken place. With respect to VSDs generally, OEE will issue warning letters in cases involving inadvertent violations and cases involving minor or isolated compliance deficiencies, absent the presence of aggravating factors.

    Finally, in appropriate cases in the context of settlement negotiations, BIS may suspend or defer payment of a civil penalty, taking into account whether the Respondent has demonstrated a limited ability to pay, whether the matter is part of a global settlement with other U.S. government agencies, and/or whether the Respondent will apply a portion or all of the funds suspended or deferred for purposes of improving its internal compliance program.

    Cases will continue to be processed in accordance with the enforcement guidelines and precedents currently in existence until the new Guidelines are issued in final form after review of public comments.

    Rulemaking Requirements

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

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

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

    4. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to the notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) or any other statute. Under section 605(b) of the RFA, however, if the head of an agency certifies that a rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, the statute does not require the agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis. Pursuant to section 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Number of Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the term “small entities” encompasses small businesses, small (not for profit) organizations and small governmental jurisdictions. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) does not collect data on the size of entities that apply for and are issued export licenses pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). However, in this instance, no small entities would be impacted by this rule because this rule would not require any person to change its behavior, nor would it alter any rights that any person has pursuant to the EAR. Only BIS would be directly affected by this proposed rule and BIS is not a small entity for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Economic Impact

    This proposed rule would revise Bureau of Industry and Security's guidance regarding administrative enforcement cases based on violations of the EAR. The rule would set forth the factors BIS would consider when setting penalties in the settlement of administrative enforcement cases, when deciding whether to pursue administrative charges or settle allegations of EAR violations, and when deciding what level of penalty to seek in settlements of administrative cases. As with the existing guidelines, consideration of these factors would not dictate the outcome in a particular case. Instead the guidelines are intended to identify those factors most relevant to BIS's decision and to guide BIS in the exercise of its discretion. The guidelines themselves would provide sufficient flexibility for consideration of the factors most relevant in a particular case. Publication of this proposed rule and any resulting final rule is intended to make BIS decisions related to administrative enforcement of the Export Administration Regulations more transparent and predictable to the public. The rule would not require any party other than BIS to alter its behavior, nor would it alter any right that any person (including any small entity) currently has under the Export Administration Regulations. BIS is not a small entity for purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Export Administration Act

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

    List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 766

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Exports, Law Enforcement, Penalties.

    Accordingly, this proposed rule proposes to amend part 766 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) (EAR) as follows:

    PART 766—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 766 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2015, 80 48233 (August 11, 2015).

    2. Supplement No. 1 to Part 766 is revised to read as follows: Supplement No. 1 to Part 766—Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases Introduction

    This Supplement describes how the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) responds to apparent violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and, specifically, how BIS makes penalty determinations in the settlement of civil administrative enforcement cases under part 764 of the EAR. This guidance does not apply to enforcement cases for violations under part 760 of the EAR—Restrictive Trade Practices or Boycotts. Supplement No. 2 to Part 766 continues to apply to civil administrative enforcement cases involving part 760 violations.

    Because many administrative enforcement cases are resolved through settlement, the process of settling such cases is integral to the enforcement program. BIS carefully considers each settlement offer in light of the facts and circumstances of the case, relevant precedent, and BIS's objective to achieve in each case an appropriate penalty and deterrent effect. In settlement negotiations, BIS encourages parties to provide, and will give serious consideration to, information and evidence that parties believe are relevant to the application of this guidance to their cases, to whether a violation has in fact occurred, or to whether they have an affirmative defense to potential charges.

    This guidance does not confer any right or impose any obligation regarding what penalties BIS may seek in litigating a case or what posture BIS may take toward settling a case. Parties do not have a right to a settlement offer or particular settlement terms from BIS, regardless of settlement positions BIS has taken in other cases.

    I. Definitions Note:

    See also: Definitions contained in § 766.2 of the EAR.

    Apparent violation means conduct that constitutes an actual or possible violation of the Export Administration Act of 1979, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the EAR, other statutes administered or enforced by BIS, as well as executive orders, regulations, orders, directives, or licenses issued pursuant thereto.

    Applicable schedule amount means:

    1. $1,000 with respect to a transaction valued at less than $1,000;

    2. $10,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000;

    3. $25,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $10,000 or more but less than $25,000;

    4. $50,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $25,000 or more but less than $50,000;

    5. $100,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $50,000 or more but less than $100,000;

    6. $170,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $100,000 or more but less than $170,000;

    7. $250,000 with respect to a transaction valued at $170,000 or more.

    Transaction value means the U.S. dollar value of a subject transaction, as demonstrated by commercial invoices, bills of lading, signed Customs declarations, or similar documents. Where the transaction value is not otherwise ascertainable, BIS may consider the market value of the items that were the subject of the transaction and/or the economic benefit derived by the Respondent from the transaction, in determining transaction value. In situations involving a lease of U.S.-origin items, the transaction value will generally be the value of the lease. For purposes of these Guidelines, “transaction value” will not necessarily have the same meaning, nor be applied in the same manner, as that term is used for import valuation purposes at 19 CFR 152.103.

    Voluntary self-disclosure means the self-initiated notification to OEE of an apparent violation as described in and satisfying the requirements of § 764.5 of the EAR.

    II. Types of Responses to Apparent Violations

    OEE, among other responsibilities, investigates apparent violations of the EAR, or any order, license or authorization issued thereunder. When it appears that such a violation has occurred, OEE investigations may lead to a warning letter or an administrative enforcement proceeding. A violation may also be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. The type of enforcement action initiated by OEE will depend primarily on the nature of the violation. Depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, an OEE investigation may lead to one or more of the following actions:

    A. No Action. If OEE determines that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that a violation has occurred, determines that a violation did not occur and/or, based on an analysis of the Factors outlined in Section III of these Guidelines, concludes that the conduct does not rise to a level warranting an administrative response, then no action will be taken. In such circumstances, if the investigation was initiated by a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD), OEE will issue a letter in response indicating that the investigation is being closed with no administrative action being taken. OEE may issue a no-action letter in non-voluntarily disclosed cases at its discretion. A no-action determination represents a final determination as to the apparent violation, unless OEE later learns of additional information regarding the same or similar transactions or other relevant facts.

    B. Warning Letter. If OEE determines that a violation may have occurred but a civil penalty is not warranted under the circumstances, and believes that the underlying conduct could lead to a violation in other circumstances and/or that a Respondent does not appear to be exercising due diligence in assuring compliance with the statutes, executive orders, and regulations that OEE enforces, OEE may issue a warning letter. A warning letter may convey OEE's concerns about the underlying conduct and/or the Respondent's compliance policies, practices, and/or procedures. It may also address an apparent violation of a technical nature, where good faith efforts to comply with the law and cooperate with the investigation are present, or where the investigation commenced as a result of a voluntary self-disclosure satisfying the requirements of § 764.5 of the EAR, provided that no aggravating factors exist. In the exercise of its discretion, OEE may determine in certain instances that issuing a warning letter, instead of bringing an administrative enforcement proceeding, will achieve the appropriate enforcement result. A warning letter will describe the apparent violation and urge compliance. A warning letter represents OEE's enforcement response to the apparent violation, unless OEE later learns of additional information concerning the same or similar apparent violations. A warning letter does not constitute a final agency determination as to whether a violation has occurred.

    C. Administrative enforcement case. If BIS determines that a violation has occurred and, based on an analysis of the Factors outlined in Section III of these Guidelines, concludes that the Respondent's conduct warrants a civil monetary penalty or other administrative sanctions, BIS may initiate an administrative enforcement case. The issuance of a charging letter under § 766.3 of the EAR initiates an administrative enforcement proceeding. Charging letters may be issued when there is reason to believe that a violation has occurred. Cases may be settled before or after the issuance of a charging letter. See § 766.18 of the EAR. BIS may prepare a proposed charging letter which could result in a case being settled before issuance of an actual charging letter. See § 766.18(a) of the EAR. If a case does not settle before issuance of a charging letter and the case proceeds to adjudication, the resulting charging letter may include more violations than alleged in the proposed charging letter. Civil monetary penalty amounts for cases settled before the issuance of a charging letter will be determined as discussed in Section IV of these Guidelines. A civil monetary penalty may be assessed for each violation. The maximum amount of such a penalty per violation is stated in § 764.3(a)(1), subject to adjustments under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 2461), which are codified at 15 CFR 6.4. BIS will afford the Respondent an opportunity to respond to a proposed charging letter. Responses to charging letters following the institution of an enforcement proceeding under part 766 of the EAR are governed by § 766.3 of the EAR.

    D. Civil Monetary Penalty. BIS may seek a civil monetary penalty if BIS determines that a violation has occurred and, based on the Factors outlined in Section III of these Guidelines, concludes that the Respondent's conduct warrants a monetary penalty. Section IV of these Guidelines will guide the agency's exercise of its discretion in determining civil monetary penalty amounts.

    E. Criminal Referral. In appropriate circumstances, BIS may refer the matter to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Apparent violations referred for criminal prosecution also may be subject to a civil monetary penalty and/or other administrative sanctions or action by BIS.

    F. Other Administrative Sanctions or Actions. In addition to or in lieu of other administrative actions, BIS may seek sanctions listed in § 764.3 of the EAR. BIS may also take the following administrative actions, among other actions, in response to an apparent violation:

    License Revision, Suspension or Revocation. BIS authorizations to engage in a transaction pursuant to a license or license exception may be revised, suspended or revoked in response to an apparent violation as provided in §§ 740.2(b) and 750.8 of the EAR.

    Denial of Export Privileges. An order denying a Respondent's export privileges may be issued, as described in § 764.3(a)(2) of the EAR. Such a denial may extend to all export privileges, as set out in the standard terms for denial orders in Supplement No. 1 to part 764 of the EAR, or may be narrower in scope (e.g., limited to exports of specified items or to specified destinations or customers). A denial order may also be suspended in whole or in part in accordance with § 766.18(c).

    Exclusion from practice. Under § 764.3(a)(3) of the EAR, any person acting as an attorney, accountant, consultant, freight forwarder or other person who acts in a representative capacity in any matter before BIS may be excluded from practicing before BIS.

    Training and Audit Requirements. In appropriate cases, OEE may require as part of a settlement agreement that the Respondent provide training to employees as part of its compliance program, adopt other compliance measures, and/or be subject to internal or independent audits by a qualified outside person. In those cases, OEE may suspend or defer a portion or all of the penalty amount if the suspended amount is applied to comply with such requirements.

    G. Suspension or Deferral. In appropriate cases, payment of a civil monetary penalty may be suspended or deferred during a probationary period under a settlement agreement and order. If the terms of the settlement agreement or order are not adhered to by the Respondent, then suspension or deferral may be revoked and the full amount of the penalty imposed. See § 764.3(a)(1)(iii) of the EAR. In determining whether suspension or deferral is appropriate, BIS may consider, for example, whether the Respondent has demonstrated a limited ability to pay a penalty that would be appropriate for such violations, so that suspended or deferred payment can be expected to have sufficient deterrent value, and whether, in light of all of the circumstances, such suspension or deferral is necessary to make the impact of the penalty consistent with the impact of penalties on other parties who committed similar violations. BIS may also take into account when determining whether or not to suspend or defer a civil penalty whether the Respondent will apply a portion or all of the funds suspended or deferred to audit, compliance, or training that may be required under a settlement agreement and order, or the matter is part of a “global settlement” as discussed in more detail below.

    III. Factors Affecting Administrative Sanctions

    Many apparent violations are isolated occurrences, the result of a good-faith misinterpretation, or involve no more than simple negligence or carelessness. In such instances, absent the presence of aggravating factors, the matter frequently may be addressed with a warning letter. If the violations are of such a nature and extent that a monetary fine alone represents an insufficient penalty, a denial or exclusion order may also be imposed to prevent future violations of the EAR.

    While some violations of the EAR have a degree of knowledge or intent as an element of the offense, OEE may regard a violation of any provision of the EAR as knowing or willful if the facts and circumstances of the case support that conclusion. For example, evidence that a corporate entity had knowledge at a senior management level may mean that a higher penalty may be appropriate. OEE will also consider, in accordance with Supplement No. 3 to part 732 of the EAR, the presence of any red flags that should have alerted the Respondent that a violation was likely to occur. The aggravating factors identified in the Guidelines do not alter or amend § 764.2(e) or the definition of “knowledge” in § 772.1, or other provisions of parts 764 and 772 of the EAR.

    As a general matter, BIS will consider some or all of the following Factors in determining the appropriate sanctions in administrative cases, including the appropriate amount of a civil monetary penalty where such a penalty is sought and is imposed as part of a settlement agreement and order. These factors describe circumstances that, in BIS's experience, are commonly relevant to penalty determinations in settled cases. Factors that are considered exclusively aggravating, such as willfulness, or exclusively mitigating, such as situations where remedial measures were taken, are set forth below. This guidance also identifies General Factors—which can be either mitigating or aggravating—such as the presence or absence of an internal compliance program at the time the apparent violations occurred. Other relevant Factors may also be considered at the agency's discretion.

    Aggravating Factors

    A. Willful or Reckless Violation of Law: BIS will consider a Respondent's apparent willfulness or recklessness in violating, attempting to violate, conspiring to violate, or causing a violation of the law. Generally, to the extent the conduct at issue appears to be the result of willful conduct—a deliberate intent to violate, attempt to violate, conspire to violate, or cause a violation of the law—the OEE enforcement response will be stronger. Among the factors BIS may consider in evaluating apparent willfulness or recklessness are:

    1. Willfulness. Was the conduct at issue the result of a decision to take action with the knowledge that such action would constitute a violation of U.S. law? Did the Respondent know that the underlying conduct constituted, or likely constituted, a violation of U.S. law at the time of the conduct?

    2. Recklessness/gross negligence. Did the Respondent demonstrate reckless disregard or gross negligence with respect to compliance with U.S. regulatory requirements or otherwise fail to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care in avoiding conduct that led to the apparent violation? Were there warning signs that should have alerted the Respondent that an action or failure to act would lead to an apparent violation?

    3. Concealment. Was there a deliberate effort by the Respondent to hide or purposely obfuscate its conduct in order to mislead BIS, federal, state, or foreign regulators, or other parties involved in the conduct, about an apparent violation?

    Note:

    Failure to voluntarily disclose an apparent violation to OEE does not constitute concealment.

    4. Pattern of Conduct. Did the apparent violation constitute or result from a pattern or practice of conduct or was it relatively isolated and atypical in nature?

    5. Prior Notice. Was the Respondent on notice, or should it reasonably have been on notice, that the conduct at issue, or similar conduct, constituted a violation of U.S. law?

    6. Management Involvement. In cases of entities, at what level within the organization did the willful or reckless conduct occur? Were supervisory or managerial level staff aware, or should they reasonably have been aware, of the willful or reckless conduct?

    B. Awareness of Conduct at Issue: The Respondent's awareness of the conduct giving rise to the apparent violation. Generally, the greater a Respondent's actual knowledge of, or reason to know about, the conduct constituting an apparent violation, the stronger the BIS enforcement response will be. In the case of a corporation, awareness will focus on supervisory or managerial level staff in the business unit at issue, as well as other senior officers and managers. Among the factors OEE may consider in evaluating the Respondent's awareness of the conduct at issue are:

    1. Actual Knowledge. Did the Respondent have actual knowledge that the conduct giving rise to an apparent violation took place, and remain willfully blind to such conduct, and fail to take remedial measures to address it? Was the conduct part of a business process, structure or arrangement that was designed or implemented with the intent to prevent or shield the Respondent from having such actual knowledge, or was the conduct part of a business process, structure or arrangement implemented for other legitimate reasons that consequently made it difficult or impossible for the Respondent to have actual knowledge?

    2. Reason to Know. If the Respondent did not have actual knowledge that the conduct took place, did the Respondent have reason to know, or should the Respondent reasonably have known, based on all readily available information and with the exercise of reasonable due diligence, that the conduct would or might take place?

    3. Management Involvement. In the case of an entity, was the conduct undertaken with the explicit or implicit knowledge of senior management, or was the conduct undertaken by personnel outside the knowledge of senior management? If the apparent violation was undertaken without the knowledge of senior management, was there oversight intended to detect and prevent violations, or did the lack of knowledge by senior management result from disregard for its responsibility to comply with applicable regulations and laws?

    C. Harm to Regulatory Program Objectives: The actual or potential harm to regulatory program objectives caused by the conduct giving rise to the apparent violation. This factor would be present where the conduct in question, in purpose or effect, substantially implicated national security or other essential interests (e.g., foreign policy, nonproliferation) protected by the U.S. export control system, in view of such factors as the reason for controlling the item to the destination in question; the sensitivity of the item; the prohibitions or restrictions against the recipient of the item; and the licensing policy concerning the transaction (such as presumption of approval or denial). BIS, in its discretion, may consult with other U.S. agencies or with licensing and enforcement authorities of other countries in making its determination. Among the factors BIS may consider in evaluating the harm to regulatory program objectives are:

    1. Implications for U.S. National Security: The impact that the apparent violation had or could potentially have on the national security of the United States. For example, if a particular export could undermine U.S. military superiority or endanger U.S. or friendly military forces or be used in a military application contrary to U.S. interests, BIS would consider the implications of the apparent violation to be significant.

    2. Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy: The effect that the apparent violation had or could potentially have on U.S. foreign policy objectives. For example, if a particular export is, or is likely to be, used by a foreign regime to monitor communications of its population in order to suppress free speech and persecute dissidents, BIS would consider the implications of the apparent violation to be significant.

    General Factors

    D. Individual Characteristics: The particular circumstances and characteristics of a Respondent. Among the factors BIS may consider in evaluating individual characteristics are:

    1. Commercial Sophistication: The commercial sophistication and experience of the Respondent. Is the Respondent an individual or an entity? If an individual, was the conduct constituting the apparent violation for personal or business reasons?

    2. Size and Sophistication of Operations: The size of a Respondent's business operations, where such information is available and relevant. At the time of the violation, did the Respondent have any previous export experience and was the Respondent familiar with export practices and requirements? Qualification of the Respondent as a small business or organization for the purposes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, as determined by reference to the applicable standards of the Small Business Administration, may also be considered.

    3. Volume and Value of Transactions: The total volume and value of transactions undertaken by the Respondent on an annual basis, with attention given to the volume and value of the apparent violations as compared with the total volume and value of all transactions. Was the quantity and/or value of the exports high, such that a greater penalty may be necessary to serve as an adequate penalty for the violation or deterrence of future violations, or to make the penalty proportionate to those for otherwise comparable violations involving exports of lower quantity or value?

    4. Regulatory History: The Respondent's regulatory history, including BIS's issuance of prior penalties, warning letters, or other administrative actions (including settlements), other than with respect to antiboycott matters under part 760 of the EAR. BIS will generally only consider a Respondent's regulatory history for the five years preceding the date of the transaction giving rise to the apparent violation. When an acquiring firm takes reasonable steps to uncover, correct, and voluntarily disclose or cause the voluntary self-disclosure to OEE of conduct that gave rise to violations by an acquired business before the acquisition, BIS typically will not take such violations into account in applying these Factors in settling other violations by the acquiring firm.

    5. Other illegal conduct in connection with the export: Was the transaction in support of other illegal conduct, for example the export of firearms as part of a drug smuggling operation, or illegal exports in support of money laundering?

    6. Criminal Convictions: Has the Respondent has been convicted of an export-related criminal violation?

    Note:

    Where necessary to effective enforcement, the prior involvement in export violation(s) of a Respondent's owners, directors, officers, partners, or other related persons may be imputed to a Respondent in determining whether these criteria are satisfied.

    E. Compliance Program: The existence, nature and adequacy of a Respondent's risk-based BIS compliance program at the time of the apparent violation. BIS will take account of the extent to which a Respondent complies with the principles set forth in BIS's Export Management System (EMS) Guidelines. Information about the EMS Guidelines can be accessed through the BIS Web site at www.bis.doc.gov. In this context, BIS will also consider whether a Respondent's export compliance program uncovered a problem, thereby preventing further violations, and whether the Respondent has taken steps to address compliance concerns raised by the violation, including steps to prevent reoccurrence of the violation, that are reasonably calculated to be effective.

    Mitigating Factors

    F. Remedial Response: The Respondent's corrective action taken in response to the apparent violation. Among the factors BIS may consider in evaluating the remedial response are:

    1. The steps taken by the Respondent upon learning of the apparent violation. Did the Respondent immediately stop the conduct at issue?

    2. In the case of an entity, the processes followed to resolve issues related to the apparent violation. Did the Respondent discover necessary information to ascertain the causes and extent of the apparent violation, fully and expeditiously? Was senior management fully informed? If so, when?

    3. In the case of an entity, whether it adopted new and more effective internal controls and procedures to prevent the occurrence of similar apparent violations. If the entity did not have a BIS compliance program in place at the time of the apparent violation, did it implement one upon discovery of the apparent violation? If it did have a BIS compliance program, did it take appropriate steps to enhance the program to prevent the recurrence of similar violations? Did the entity provide the individual(s) and/or managers responsible for the apparent violation with additional training, and/or take other appropriate action, to ensure that similar violations do not occur in the future?

    4. Where applicable, whether the Respondent undertook a thorough review to identify other possible violations.

    G. Exceptional Cooperation with OEE: The nature and extent of the Respondent's cooperation with OEE, beyond those actions set forth in Factor F. Among the factors BIS may consider in evaluating exceptional cooperation are:

    1. Did the Respondent provide OEE with all relevant information regarding the apparent violation at issue in a timely, comprehensive and responsive manner (whether or not voluntarily self-disclosed), including, if applicable, overseas records?

    2. Did the Respondent research and disclose to OEE relevant information regarding any other apparent violations caused by the same course of conduct?

    3. Did the Respondent provide substantial assistance in another OEE investigation of another person who may have violated the EAR?

    4. Did the Respondent enter into a statute of limitations tolling agreement, if requested by OEE (particularly in situations where the apparent violations were not immediately disclosed or discovered by OEE, in particularly complex cases, and in cases in which the Respondent has requested and received additional time to respond to a request for information from OEE)? If so, the Respondent's entering into a tolling agreement will be deemed a mitigating factor.

    Note:

    A Respondent's refusal to enter into a tolling agreement will not be considered by BIS as an aggravating factor in assessing a Respondent's cooperation or otherwise under the Guidelines.

    H. License Was Likely To Be Approved: Would an export license application have likely been approved for the transaction had one been sought? Some license requirements sections in the EAR also set forth a licensing policy (i.e., a statement of the policy under which license applications will be evaluated), such as a general presumption of denial or case by case review. BIS may also consider the licensing history of the specific item to that destination and if the item or end-user has a history of export denials.

    Other Relevant Factors Considered on a Case-by-Case Basis

    I. Related Violations: Frequently, a single export transaction can give rise to multiple violations. For example, an exporter who inadvertently misclassifies an item on the Commerce Control List may, as a result of that error, export the item without the required export license and file Electronic Export Information (EEI) to the Automated Export System (AES) that both misstates the applicable Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) and erroneously identifies the export as qualifying for the designation “NLR” (no license required) or cites a license exception that is not applicable. In so doing, the exporter commits three violations: one violation of § 764.2(a) of the EAR for the unauthorized export and two violations of § 764.2(g) of the EAR for the two false statements on the EEI filing to the AES. It is within the discretion of BIS to charge three separate violations and settle the case for a penalty that is less than would be appropriate for three unrelated violations under otherwise similar circumstances, or to charge fewer than three violations and pursue settlement in accordance with that charging decision.

    J. Multiple Unrelated Violations: In cases involving multiple unrelated violations, BIS is more likely to seek a denial of export privileges and/or a greater monetary penalty than BIS would otherwise typically seek. For example, repeated unauthorized exports could warrant a denial order, even if a single export of the same item to the same destination under similar circumstances might warrant just a civil monetary penalty. BIS takes this approach because multiple violations may indicate serious compliance problems and a resulting greater risk of future violations. BIS may consider whether a Respondent has taken effective steps to address compliance concerns in determining whether multiple violations warrant a denial in a particular case.

    K. Other Enforcement Action: Other enforcement actions taken by federal, state, or local agencies against a Respondent for the apparent violation or similar apparent violations, including whether the settlement of alleged violations of BIS regulations is part of a comprehensive settlement with other federal, state, or local agencies. Where an administrative enforcement matter under the EAR involves conduct giving rise to related criminal or civil charges, OEE may take into account the related violations, and their resolution, in determining what administrative sanctions are appropriate under part 766 of the EAR. A criminal conviction indicates serious, willful misconduct and an accordingly high risk of future violations, absent effective administrative sanctions. However, entry of a guilty plea can be a sign that a Respondent accepts responsibility for complying with the EAR and will take greater care to do so in the future. In appropriate cases where a Respondent is receiving substantial criminal penalties, BIS may find that sufficient deterrence may be achieved by lesser administrative sanctions than would be appropriate in the absence of criminal penalties. Conversely, BIS might seek greater administrative sanctions in an otherwise similar case where a Respondent is not subjected to criminal penalties. The presence of a related criminal or civil disposition may distinguish settlements among civil penalty cases that appear otherwise to be similar. As a result, the factors set forth for consideration in civil penalty settlements will often be applied differently in the context of a “global settlement” of both civil and criminal cases, or multiple civil cases, and may therefore be of limited utility as precedent for future cases, particularly those not involving a global settlement.

    L. Future Compliance/Deterrence Effect: The impact an administrative enforcement action may have on promoting future compliance with the regulations by a Respondent and similar parties, particularly those in the same industry sector.

    M. Other Factors That BIS Deems Relevant: On a case-by-case basis, in determining the appropriate enforcement response and/or the amount of any civil monetary penalty, BIS will consider the totality of the circumstances to ensure that its enforcement response is proportionate to the nature of the violation.

    IV. Civil Penalties A. Determining What Sanctions Are Appropriate in a Settlement

    OEE will review the facts and circumstances surrounding an apparent violation and apply the Factors Affecting Administrative Sanctions in Section III above in determining the appropriate sanction or sanctions in an administrative case, including the appropriate amount of a civil monetary penalty where such a penalty is sought and imposed. Penalties for settlements reached after the initiation of litigation will usually be higher than those described by these guidelines.

    B. Amount of Civil Penalty

    1. Determining Whether a Case is Egregious. In those cases in which a civil monetary penalty is considered appropriate, OEE will make a determination as to whether a case is deemed “egregious” for purposes of the base penalty calculation. This determination will be based on an analysis of the applicable Factors. In making the egregiousness determination, substantial weight will generally be given to Factors A (“willful or reckless violation of law”), B (“awareness of conduct at issue”), C (“harm to regulatory program objectives”), and D (“individual characteristics”), with particular emphasis on Factors A, B, and C. A case will be considered an “egregious case” where the analysis of the applicable Factors, with a focus on Factors A, B, and C indicates that the case represents a particularly serious violation of the law calling for a strong enforcement response. A determination by OEE that a case is “egregious” must have the concurrence of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement.

    2. Monetary Penalties in Egregious Cases and Non-Egregious Cases. The civil monetary penalty amount shall generally be calculated as follows, except that neither the base amount nor the penalty amount will exceed the applicable statutory maximum:

    a. Base Category Calculation and Voluntary Self-Disclosures

    i. In a non-egregious case, if the apparent violation is disclosed through a voluntary self-disclosure, the base amount shall be one-half of the transaction value, capped at a maximum base amount of $125,000 per violation.

    ii. In a non-egregious case, if the apparent violation comes to OEE's attention by means other than a voluntary self-disclosure, the base amount shall be the “applicable schedule amount,” as defined above (capped at a maximum base amount of $250,000 per violation).

    iii. In an egregious case, if the apparent violation is disclosed through a voluntary self-disclosure, the base amount shall be one-half of the statutory maximum penalty applicable to the violation.

    iv. In an egregious case, if the apparent violation comes to OEE's attention by means other than a voluntary self-disclosure, the base amount shall be the statutory maximum penalty applicable to the violation.

    The following matrix represents the base amount of the civil monetary penalty for each category of violation:

    EP28DE15.020 b. Adjustment for Applicable Relevant Factors

    The base amount of the civil monetary penalty may be adjusted to reflect applicable Factors for Administrative Action set forth in Section III of these Guidelines. A Factor may result in a lower or higher penalty amount depending upon whether it is aggravating or mitigating or otherwise relevant to the circumstances at hand. Mitigating factors may be combined for a greater reduction in penalty, but mitigation will generally not exceed 75 percent of the base penalty. Subject to this limitation, as a general matter, in those cases where the following Mitigating Factors are present, BIS will adjust the base penalty amount in the following manner:

    In cases involving exceptional cooperation with OEE as set forth in Mitigating Factor G, but no voluntary self-disclosure as defined in § 764.5 of the EAR, the base penalty amount generally will be reduced between 25 and 40 percent. Exceptional cooperation in cases involving voluntary self-disclosure may also be considered as a further mitigating factor.

    In cases involving a Respondent's first violation, the base penalty amount generally will be reduced by up to 25 percent. An apparent violation generally will be considered a “first violation” if the Respondent has not been convicted of an export-related criminal violation or been subject to a BIS final order in five years, or a warning letter in three years, preceding the date of the transaction giving rise to the apparent violation. A group of substantially similar apparent violations addressed in a single Charging Letter shall be considered as a single violation for purposes of this subsection. In those cases where a prior Charging Letter or warning letter within the preceding five years involved conduct of a substantially different nature from the apparent violation at issue, OEE may consider the apparent violation at issue a “first violation.” In determining the extent of any mitigation for a first violation, OEE may consider any prior enforcement action taken with respect to the Respondent, including any warning letters issued, or any civil monetary settlements entered into with BIS. When an acquiring firm takes reasonable steps to uncover, correct, and disclose or cause to be disclosed to OEE conduct that gave rise to violations by an acquired business before the acquisition, OEE typically will not take such violations into account as an aggravating factor in settling other violations by the acquiring firm.

    iii. In cases involving charges pertaining to transactions where a license would likely have been approved had one been sought as set forth in Mitigating Factor H, the base penalty amount generally will be reduced by up to 25 percent.

    In all cases, the penalty amount will not exceed the applicable statutory maximum. Similarly, while mitigating factors may be combined for a greater reduction in penalty, mitigation will generally not exceed 75 percent of the base penalty.

    C. Settlement Procedures

    The procedures relating to the settlement of administrative enforcement cases are set forth in § 766.18 of the EAR.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. David W. Mills, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32606 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 101 [Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1207] Use of the Term “Natural” in the Labeling of Human Food Products; Request for Information and Comments; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is extending the comment period for a docket to receive information and comments on the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of human food products, including foods that are genetically engineered or contain ingredients produced through the use of genetic engineering. A notice requesting comments on this topic appeared in the Federal Register of November 12, 2015. We initially established February 10, 2016, as the deadline for the submission of comments. We are taking this action in response to requests for an extension to allow interested persons additional time to submit comments.

    DATES:

    FDA is extending the comment period for a docket to receive information and comments on the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of human food products. We established the docket in a notice published on November 12, 2015 (80 FR 69905). Submit either electronic or written comments to the docket by May 10, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1207 for “Use of the Term ‘Natural' in the Labeling of Human Food Products; Request for Information and Comments.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Margaret-Hannah Emerick, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-820), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-2371.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Federal Register of November 12, 2015 (80 FR 69905), we published a notice announcing the establishment of a docket to receive information and comments on the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of human food products, including foods that are genetically engineered or contain ingredients produced through the use of genetic engineering. The notice discussed FDA's position regarding the use of the term “natural”, the events that prompted us to establish a docket to request comment on this issue, and specific questions. We provided a 90-day comment period that was scheduled to end on February 10, 2016.

    We received requests for a 90-day extension of the comment period. The requests conveyed concern that the current 90-day comment period does not allow sufficient time to develop meaningful or thoughtful comments to the questions and issues we presented in the notice.

    FDA has considered the requests and is extending the comment period for 90 days, until May 10, 2016. We believe that a 90-day extension allows adequate time for interested persons to submit comments.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32471 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0074; FRL-9940-58-Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Indiana; Temporary Alternate Opacity Limits for American Electric Power, Rockport AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a revision to the Indiana State Implementation Plan (SIP), authorizing temporary alternate opacity limits (TAOLs) at the American Electric Power, Rockport (AEP Rockport) facility during periods of unit startup and shutdown. This action is consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA policy regarding emissions during periods of startup and shutdown. Indiana has provided an air quality analysis demonstrating that this revision will continue to protect the applicable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Spencer County.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0074, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (312) 692-2490.

    4. Mail: Pamela Blakley, Chief, Control Strategies Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

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

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2015-0074. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional instructions on submitting comments, go to Section I of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Matt Rau, Environmental Engineer, at (312) 886-6524 before visiting the Region 5 office.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Matt Rau, Environmental Engineer, Control Strategies Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-6524, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    I. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA? II. What is the background for this action? III. What is EPA's analysis? IV. What action is EPA taking? V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    When submitting comments, remember to:

    1. Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).

    2. Follow directions—EPA may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.

    3. Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.

    4. Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used.

    5. If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.

    6. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives.

    7. Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.

    8. Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

    II. What is the background for this action?

    On July 16, 2002 (67 FR 46589), EPA approved a revision to Indiana's SIP to include 326 Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) 5-1-3, which provides a mechanism to establish TAOLs. The rule is consistent with the criteria contained in EPA's September 20, 1999, “State Implementation Plans: Policy Regarding Excess Emissions During Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown” memorandum. The criteria requires that: The frequency and duration of operation in startup or shutdown mode must be minimized to the extent possible; and the state must analyze the potential worst-case emissions that could occur during startup and shutdown to ensure that the NAAQS are protected. Indiana initially submitted TAOLs for 22 power plants with coal-fired boilers that use electrostatic precipitators (ESPs).1

    1 These facilities are identified in the attachment to the October 10, 2001, letter from Janet McCabe, IDEM Assistant Commissioner to Stephen Rothblatt, US EPA Region 5 Air Programs Branch Chief. They are: Alcoa Generating, AEP Tanners Creek, Crawfordsville Electric, Hoosier Energy Merom, Hoosier Energy Ratts, IKEC Clifty Creek, IPL Perry “K”, IPL Stout, IPL Pritchard, IPL Petersburg units 1-3, NIPCCO Bailly, NIPSCO Michigan City, NIPSCO Schahfer, PSI Cayuga, PSI Edwardsport, PSI Gallagher, PSI Gibson, PSI Noblesville, PSI Wabash River, Richmond Power & Light, SIGECO Brown unit 1, and SIGECO Culley.

    326 IAC 5-1-3(d) provides for a TAOL, upon EPA approval, if the following criteria are met: (1) The source burns any combination of coal, wood, fuel oil, tire-derived fuel, or petroleum coke, (2) the source demonstrates that the TAOL is needed during periods of startup and shutdown and a demonstration is made that the TAOL will not interfere with the NAAQS, (3) Indiana determines that acceptable operating and maintenance procedures are being used, be based on information provided to the commissioner, (4) the commissioner may require the source to install a continuous opacity monitor (COM), (5) the TAOL shall be reviewed by the commissioner after two years of monitoring, (6) the commissioner may deny a request for a TAOL limit if economically and technically feasible means are available to meet a more stringent opacity limit, and (7) the TAOL must be submitted to and approved by EPA.

    On January 13, 2015, Indiana requested a SIP revision to add 326 IAC 5-1-8, which provides a mechanism to establish site-specific TAOLs. This provision was used to establish AEP Rockport Units #1 and #2 a TAOL during unit startup and shutdown. These two coal-fired boilers are each controlled by an ESP.

    The TAOL for unit startup is only allowed until the exhaust temperature reaches 250 °F at the ESP inlet, up to a maximum of two hours (20 six-minute averaging periods). The TAOL for unit shutdown is only allowed when the exhaust temperature declines below 250 °F at the ESP inlet, up to a maximum of one and one-half (1.5) hours (15 six-minute averaging periods).

    III. What is EPA's analysis?

    To support the SIP revision request, Indiana evaluated COMs data for Units #1 and #2, and air dispersion modeling. Air dispersion modeling was conducted using the AERMOD regulatory dispersion model with five years of meteorological data. The analysis included conservative suppositions for stack temperature and flow rate. Indiana used worst-case emission rates to predict the highest hourly emissions during a cold startup. The modeling results yielded an eighth high 24-hour PM2.5 value of 22.2 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3), well below the 24-hour PM2.5 standard of 35 µg/m3. The air quality in the area will remain protected when Units #1 and #2 are operating with TOALs at the AEP Rockport facility.

    EPA has reviewed the COMs data provided in Indiana's submission on AEP Rockport's startups and shutdowns from 2001 until the first quarter of 2004. The AEP Rockport TAOLs appear to be set at appropriate levels, minimizing the TAOL duration. The startup TAOL for AEP Rockport is limited to two hours. The shutdown TAOL is limited to one hour, 30 minutes. Both are less than the three-hour TAOL periods allowed under 326 IAC 5-1-3(e)(2). Indiana has provided the facility's operation and maintenance procedures for its ESPs, which support the expectation that AEP Rockport will operate in a manner that will minimize emissions with well operating emission control. In addition, because the ESP exhaust must be warm enough for it to be safely operated, it is impractical to require operating the ESPs during startup and shutdown periods.

    Further, EPA reviewed the AEP Rockport COMs data from 2009 to 2013, which shows that it was in compliance with the opacity standards 99.81 percent of the time. This indicates that the facility is generally in compliance with the opacity rule, even during the startup and shutdown periods covered by the TAOLs.

    EPA has determined the AEP Rockport TAOL meets the criteria contained in 326 IAC 5-1-3(d) as follows: (1) The AEP Rockport facility burns coal, (2) AEP Rockport has demonstrated that the TAOL is needed during periods of startup and shutdown, and that the TAOL will not interfere with the maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards, (3) Indiana has determined that acceptable operating and maintenance procedures are being used, based on information AEP Rockport provided, (4) AEP Rockport currently operates a COM for each boiler, (5) Indiana has determined that no economically and technically feasible controls are available to meet a more stringent limit, and (6) the TAOLs were submitted to EPA.2

    2 The requirement in 326 IAC 5-1-3(d)(5) related to Indiana review of monitoring data does not apply in this case because AEP has previously installed COMs and provided the necessary data.

    IV. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is proposing to approve the addition of 326 IAC 5-1-8 to the Indiana SIP. The rule provides AEP Rockport Units #1 and Unit #2 with TAOLs during unit startup and shutdown periods. This action is consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA policy regarding emissions during periods of startup and shutdown. Indiana has provided an air quality analysis demonstrating that this revision will continue to protect the applicable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5 in Spencer County.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference Indiana Regulation 326 IAC 5-1-8 entitled “Site-specific temporary alternative opacity limitations”, effective December 6, 2014. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: December 14, 2015. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32509 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 271 and 272 [EPA-R06-RCRA-2015-0110; FRL-9939-50-Region 6] Texas: Final Authorization of State-initiated Changes and Incorporation by Reference of State Hazardous Waste Management Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    During a review of Texas' regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified a variety of State-initiated changes to Texas' hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended (RCRA), for which the State had not previously sought authorization. The EPA proposes to authorize the State for the program changes. In addition, the EPA proposes to codify in the regulations entitled “Approved State Hazardous Waste Management Programs, “Texas' authorized hazardous waste program”. The EPA will incorporate by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) those provisions of the State regulations that are authorized and that the EPA will enforce under RCRA.

    DATES:

    Send your written comments by January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit any comments identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R06-RCRA-2015-0110 by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Mail: Alima Patterson, Region 6, Regional Authorization Coordinator, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    4. Hand Delivery or Courier. Deliver your comments to Alima Patterson, Region 6, Regional Authorization Coordinator, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    Instructions: Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through regulations.gov, or email. Direct your comment to Docket No. EPA-R06-RCRA-2015-0109. The Federal regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, the EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. You can view and copy Texas' application and associated publicly available materials from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the following location: EPA, Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, phone number (214) 665-8533. Interested persons wanting to examine these documents should make an appointment with the office at least two weeks in advance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alima Patterson at (214) 665-8533 or Julia Banks at (214) 665-8178, State/Tribal Oversight Section (6PD-O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, (214) 665-8533) and Email address [email protected] and [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register, EPA is authorizing the changes by direct final rule. EPA did not make a proposal prior to the direct final rule because we believe this action is not controversial and do not expect comments that oppose it. We have explained the reasons for this authorization in the preamble to the direct final rule. Unless we get written comments which oppose this authorization during the comment period, the direct final rule will become effective 60 days after publication and we will not take further action on this proposal. If we receive comments that oppose this action, we will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. We will then respond to public comments in a later final rule based on this proposal. You may not have another opportunity for comment. If you want to comment on this action, you must do so at this time.

    The purpose of this Federal Register document is to codify Texas' base hazardous waste management program and its revisions to that program through RCRA Cluster XXI (see 79 FR 52220; September 3, 2014). The EPA provided notices and opportunity for comments on the Agency's decisions to authorize the Texas program, and the EPA is not now reopening the decisions, nor requesting comments, on the Texas authorizations as published in FR notices specified in Section I.F of the direct final rule FR document.

    This document incorporates by reference Texas' hazardous waste statutes and regulations and clarifies which of these provisions are included in the authorized and federally enforceable program. By codifying Texas' authorized program and by amending the Code of Federal Regulations, the public will be more easily able to discern the status of federally approved requirements of the Texas hazardous waste management program.

    Dated: October 1, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31876 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 20 and 68 [CG Docket Nos. 12-32 and 13-46 and WT Docket Nos. 07-250 and 10-254; FCC 15-144] Hearing Aid Compatibility Standards AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission proposes to amend its hearing aid compatibility (HAC) rules to enhance equal access to the national telecommunications network by people with hearing loss and implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility. The proposed changes would expand the scope of the wireline HAC rules, add a volume control requirement for wireless handsets, address recently revised technical standards, and streamline the process for enabling industry to use new or revised technical standards for assessing HAC compliance.

    DATES:

    Comments are due February 26, 2016 and Reply Comments are due March 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by CG Docket Nos. 12-32 and 13-46 and WT Docket Nos. 07-250 and 10-254, by any of the following methods:

    • Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), through the Commission's Web site http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Filers should follow the instructions provided on the Web site for submitting comments. For ECFS filers, in completing the transmittal screen, filers should include their full name, U.S. Postal service mailing address, and CG Docket Nos. 12-32 and 13-46 and WT Docket Nos. 07-250 and 10-254.

    • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Aldrich, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Disability Rights Office, at 202-418-0996 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

    • All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    • Commercial Mail sent by overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail should be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    This is a summary of the Commission's document FCC 15-144, Access to Telecommunications Equipment and Services by Persons with Disabilities; Petition for Rulemaking Filed by the Telecommunications Industry Association Regarding Hearing Aid Compatibility Volume Control Requirements; Amendment of the Commission's Rules Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets; and Comment Sought on 2010 Review of Hearing Aid Compatibility Regulations, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, adopted October 23, 2015, and released October 30, 2015, in CG Docket Nos. 12-32 and 13-46 and WT Docket Nos. 07-250 and 10-254. The full text of document FCC 15-144 will be available for public inspection and copying via ECFS, and during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Document FCC 15-144 can also be downloaded in Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) at: https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/disability-rights-office-headlines. This proceeding shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq. 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 47 CFR 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by 47 CFR 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.

    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 and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    Document FCC 15-144 seeks comment on proposed rule amendments that may result in modified information collection requirements. If the Commission adopts any modified information collection requirements, the Commission will publish another notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment on the requirements, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. Public Law 104-13; 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, the Commission seeks comment on how it might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. Public Law 107-198; 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    Synopsis Revised Wireline Volume Control Standard

    1. Pursuant to section 710 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), all wireline telephones manufactured or imported for use in the United States must provide an “internal means for effective use with hearing aids that are designed to be compatible with telephones which meet established technical standards for hearing aid compatibility.” 47 U.S.C. 610(b), (b)(1)(B). In 1996, the Commission amended its regulations to require that wireline telephones also be equipped with volume control to allow improved acoustic coupling, finding that doing so would make telephones more accessible for those wearing hearing aids and others with hearing loss. The volume control rules adopted by the Commission (47 CFR 68.317) incorporate by reference two technical standards: ANSI/EIA-470-A-1987 (Telephone Instruments with Loop Signaling) for analog phones; and ANSI/EIA/TIA-579-1991 (Acoustic-To-Digital and Digital-To-Acoustic Transmission Requirements for ISDN Terminals) for digital phones. In 2012 a revised technical standard for volume control, ANSI/TIA-4965-2012 (2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard), was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) filed a petition requesting that the Commission revise § 68.317 of its rules to incorporate the revised standard by reference, and the Commission sought comment on TIA's petition for rulemaking.

    2. TIA notes that the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard modifies in two ways the manner in which amplification is measured for wireline phones. First, the standard discontinues the use of an IEC-318 coupler, which must form a seal with the telephone handset, as the physical set-up for measuring the amplification of wireline phones. Instead, the standard specifies the Head and Torso Simulator (HATS) method, which uses a mannequin that includes a human pinna (outer ear) simulator and which TIA states is appropriate for all types of handsets. Second, the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard replaces the Receive Objective Loudness Rating (ROLR) method of calibrating amplification, used in previous standards, with a new method called Conversational Gain. Under the ROLR method, gain is determined relative to the normal unamplified, or nominal, sound level for the particular equipment that is being measured, which can vary depending upon the equipment being used. By contrast, TIA explains, under the Conversational Gain method, the starting point—0 decibels (dB) Conversational Gain—is an absolute, not a relative, value, equivalent to 64 dB sound pressure level in each ear, which is the volume of a face-to-face conversation where participants are 1 meter apart.

    3. The Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR 68.317 to incorporate the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard and believes that doing so will make its rules more effective in ensuring that people with hearing loss have “equal access to the national telecommunications network” (Pub. L. 100-394, sec. 2 (1)) and that telephones provide “an internal means for effective use with hearing aids” (47 U.S.C. 610(b)). To ensure that its rules incorporate the most recent Congressional statement of purpose regarding HAC, the Commission also proposes to amend the statement of purpose in 47 CFR 68.1 to replace the previous statement of purpose, which was derived from the language of the 1982 amendment to the Communications Act, with the more recent language of Public Law 100-394.

    4. Based on the TIA petition and the comments filed in response, the Commission's proposal to incorporate the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into its rules is likely to make ordinary telephones more usable for consumers who need telephone amplification. As noted by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and TIA, the new standard's HATS method for testing equipment appears to be “more representative of the user experience” because it reflects the actual manner in which phones are held to the ear, and the new measurement criterion, Conversational Gain, appears to provide “a more realistic metric for measuring speech through a phone” and has the potential to close a “loophole” in the current rule that appears to have resulted in a less than consistent means of measuring speech amplification across manufacturers. The Commission seeks comment on these assumptions and generally on the extent to which the new approaches embodied in the standard will improve the usability of telephones by consumers with hearing loss. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on whether incorporating the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into its rules will improve the ability of the segment of the population that has hearing loss to communicate effectively with emergency services.

    5. TIA research confirms that some vendors of high amplification phones have made claims about the amount of amplification offered that could not be verified when tested against the industry standard. The new ANSI/TIA standard's Conversational Gain method seems to address this problem because, according to ASHA, it will “allow consumers with hearing loss (and audiologists assisting them) to readily compare the sound levels of various digital and hardwire phones to determine which devices best meet their amplification needs.” The Commission notes that in addition to the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard, TIA has developed another voluntary standard employing Conversational Gain, ANSI/TIA-4953, which specifies measurement procedures and performance requirements for specialty high gain telephones. ANSI/TIA-4953 also addresses tone control, acoustic ringer level and tone, noise, distortion, stability, transmit levels, send quality, and volume for such high gain equipment and provides standardized labels to designate an amplified telephone as suitable for consumers with specified levels of hearing loss (HL), as follows: “Mild” (20 dB to 40 dB HL); “Moderate” (40 dB to 70 dB HL); and “Severe” (70 dB to 90 dB HL). The Commission seeks comment on the experience of industry and consumers with implementation of the HATS method and the Conversational Gain method for this purpose and others, and whether Commission incorporation of the new ANSI/TIA wireline volume control standard in its rules will lead to further improvement of a consumer's ability to find devices that meet his or her communication needs, and in particular, a consumer's ability to determine the need for high amplification telephones. The Commission also seeks information concerning the findings of any consumer tests or trials that may have been conducted to determine whether devices having the same conversational gain rating demonstrate comparable amplification as perceived by device users.

    6. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on whether the standard promotes both market certainty and a level playing field for companies that manufacture terminal equipment and whether compliance with the standard poses any impediments for equipment that is marketed internationally. Pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 610(e), the Commission also seeks comment on the costs and benefits of the proposed rule amendment to persons with and without hearing loss. In particular, the Commission seeks comment on the likely impact of implementing the new standard on the cost of a telephone and whether incorporation of the new standard will encourage the use of currently available technology and will not discourage or impair the development of improved technology.

    7. The Commission proposes to require a minimum of 18 dB in amplification gain because, according to TIA, under the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard, 18 dB of Conversational Gain would be equivalent to the current measurement of 12 dB above the normal unamplified level of a traditional telephone. Similarly, because under the new standard 24 dB of gain is the equivalent of a current measurement of 18 dB of gain, TIA recommends revising 47 CFR part 68 to require an automatic reset if Conversational Gain is greater than 24 dB, rather than the gain of 18 dB that currently triggers a reset requirement. The Commission seeks comment on these proposed rule changes and specifically, whether these proposed rules will provide an appropriate degree of assurance that people with hearing loss can make effective use of telephones and that consumers generally will be protected from accidental injury due to increased volume settings. The Commission seeks comment generally on what other changes to the Commission's rules may be necessary or appropriate if the Commission incorporates the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into § 68.317 of its rules.

    8. The Commission proposes to allow a transition period of two years after the effective date of the rules for manufacturers to come into compliance. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal and on whether two years is necessary to allow sufficient time for the design, engineering, and marketing needs of manufacturers that will be subject to the new standard. The Commission also proposes to amend 47 CFR 68.112 to allow the existing inventory and installed base of telephones that comply with the current version of § 68.317 of its rules to remain in place until retired and to clarify that such phones need not be replaced in the future as a result of minor changes to 47 CFR 68.316 or 68.317, and seeks comment on these proposals.

    9. Consistent with the intent of the CVAA to involve consumer representatives more directly in the standards development process, the Commission proposes to adopt a requirement that wireline telephone manufacturers engage in consultation with such consumers and their representative organizations for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of the revised standard. The Commission proposes that an initial consultation should occur one year after the effective date of the revised standard, with follow-up every three years thereafter to assess the impact of technological changes. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal and whether the Commission should define in more detail the specifics of the required consultation. For example, should this consultation be subject to the same parameters that the Commission proposes pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 610(c) regarding consultation with designated consumer representatives? The Commission also seeks comment on whether, as an alternative, the Commission should consult with the consumer stakeholder(s) to be designated pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 610(c) regarding the effectiveness of the revised standard.

    10. The Commission proposes that manufacturers subject to the volume control rule be required to test a sample of products claiming to be compliant with the revised standard, to assess whether these products are providing a uniform and appropriate range of volume to meet the telephone needs of people with hearing loss. The Commission seeks comment on whether these or other steps could provide useful data to ensure effective communication by this population and on the costs of such testing. The Commission agrees with consumer commenters that, to the extent that measurements are referred to in marketing materials and user manuals, it would be helpful to consumers for the materials to explain, for example, that “1 meter apart” is equivalent to “approximately 1 yard” in describing how the standard utilizes a conversation between individuals as a benchmark. The Commission seeks comment on whether manufacturers currently reference such measurements in marketing and informational materials, and if so, whether the Commission has the authority to require conversion to non-metric equivalents and whether the Commission should do so. What are the costs and benefits associated with such a requirement?

    Application of Inductive Coupling and Volume Control Requirements to Wireline VoIP Telephones

    11. The CVAA amended section 710(b) of the Act to provide that the requirement for “customer premises equipment” to “provide internal means for effective use with hearing aids” applies not only to “telephones” used over the public switched telephone network (PSTN) but also to “[a]ll customer premises equipment used with advanced communications services that is designed to provide 2-way voice communication via a built-in speaker intended to be held to the ear in a manner functionally equivalent to a telephone, subject to the regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (e).” 47 U.S.C. 610(b)(1)(C). The Act, as amended by the CVAA, defines “advanced communications services” (ACS) as including interconnected and non-interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. 47 U.S.C. 153(1). According to recent market research, the United States has almost 35.3 million fixed VoIP subscribers, and the number of subscribers is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11.6 percent. The CVAA mandates that people with hearing loss have access to this expanding market of VoIP phones. Public Law 111-260, sec. 716(a).

    12. Accordingly, the Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 68 so that customer premises equipment (CPE) used with interconnected and/or non-interconnected VoIP services (other than secure telephones and mobile handsets used with such services) would be covered by 47 U.S.C. 610(b)(1)(C) if the CPE “is designed to provide 2-way voice communication via a built-in speaker intended to be held to the ear in a manner functionally equivalent to a telephone.” The Commission further proposes that CPE covered by 47 U.S.C. 610(b)(1)(C) be subject to the existing inductive coupling and volume control requirements. 47 CFR 68.4, 68.6. The Commission also proposes that complaint procedures, labeling, and certification requirements shall be applicable to such equipment with respect to HAC compliance, in accordance with the relevant part 68 rules regarding complaint handling, labeling, certifications, and suppliers' declarations of conformity. See, e.g., 47 CFR 68.160-62, 68.201, 68.218-24, 68.300, 68.320-54, 68.414-23. The Commission believes that applying these procedures and requirements to CPE used with VoIP service will promote accountability and compliance with the HAC requirements and thus better serve people with hearing loss.

    13. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, including the costs and benefits and technical impacts of covering customer premises equipment used with a VoIP service under the inductive coupling and volume control requirements of 47 CFR part 68. In particular, the Commission seeks comment on:

    • The appropriate timetables or benchmarks that may be necessary for ensuring that such equipment is hearing aid compatible and provides volume control in accordance with part 68 standards in order to take account of technical feasibility or to ensure the marketability or availability of new technologies to users (see 47 U.S.C. 610(e));

    • Whether volume control parameters for such equipment can be effectively measured under the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard, and if not, how such standard should be modified to permit effective measurement;

    • whether inductive coupling compliance for such telephones can be effectively measured under the currently applicable inductive coupling standard (47 CFR 68.316), and if not, how such standard should be modified to permit effective measurement;

    • whether any different treatment of VoIP CPE is appropriate under the part 68 rules addressing complaint handling, labeling, certifications, and suppliers' declarations of conformity; and

    • whether it would be appropriate to require registration of VoIP CPE in a public database, such as the database of terminal equipment that the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (ACTA) administers (see 47 CFR 68.610).

    Volume Control and Other Acoustic Coupling Issues for Wireless Handsets

    14. While the Commission's HAC requirements for wireless handsets (47 CFR 20.19) currently address inductive coupling capability and the prevention of radio frequency (RF) interference with hearing aids, they do not require the provision of volume control in wireless handsets. The Commission adopted volume control requirements for wireline telephones in 1996, but to date it has not adopted such requirements for wireless handsets. The Commission proposes to adopt a rule requiring wireless handsets to have a specified level of volume control. The Commission further proposes that the volume control rule have the same scope of application as our radio frequency interference reduction and inductive coupling rules for wireless handsets. 47 CFR 20.19(c), (d). The Commission also seeks comment on whether a volume control rule should apply to all wireless handsets or to just a subset of such handsets.

    15. In addition, the Commission seeks further comment on volume control and acoustic coupling issues on which the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) sought comment in 2010 and 2012, including (1) whether volume control rules and standards are necessary to ensure that wireless phones will operate at appropriate volumes to achieve acoustic coupling compatibility, (2) whether there is a need for Commission action to ensure adequate information is available to consumers and hearing aid manufacturers regarding wireless phones' volume settings and sound quality, (3) whether the Commission should take action to ensure that the magnetic fields emitted by wireless handsets are of sufficient strength to activate special acoustic coupling modes in hearing aids that are designed for telephone use, and (4) the relevance and benefits of TIA's new and revised standards relating to volume control for wireline phones (including digital cordless phones) in the wireless context. See Comment Sought on 2010 Review of Hearing Aid Compatibility Regulations, published at 76 FR 2625, 2629-30, January 14, 2011; Updated Information and Comment Sought on Review of Hearing Aid Compatibility Regulations, published at 77 FR 70407, 70408, November 26, 2012. The Commission notes that the original reason given by the Commission in 2010 for deferring action on volume control and acoustic coupling issues—i.e., that an Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions working group was studying this issue—is no longer applicable, given that this group is no longer actively working on this issue.

    16. Surveys conducted by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) indicate that the available volume controls for wireless handsets do not consistently allow sufficient amplification to enable effective acoustic coupling between the handset and a user's hearing aid or cochlear implant. The Commission invites additional comment on the experiences that consumers with hearing loss are having when they attempt to locate wireless handsets with sufficient amplification capability to use with their hearing aids or cochlear implants. In general, the Commission invites parties to update the record of these proceedings with respect to the need for volume control requirements for wireless handsets, including information on facts or circumstances that have changed since the Commission last addressed this issue. What are the costs and benefits of adopting a volume control requirement for wireless handsets—for manufacturers, service providers, and consumers? If there are specific burdens associated with requiring handsets to achieve a specified amplification level for manufacturers and service providers, what are they? If a volume control requirement is adopted, should it apply to all wireless handsets or to a subset of total handset sales or models, as with the current HAC rule? Would such a fragmented implementation approach cause confusion for consumers?

    17. Are there currently any plans for ANSI ASC C63®-EMC to initiate or explore development of such a standard, and if so, what is the likely timeline for the completion of such a standard? Further, in light of the suggestions that hearing aid manufacturers need to participate more fully in addressing HAC issues, would ANSI ASC C63®-EMC be the appropriate forum for the development of a volume control standard, or should all stakeholders form a new working group to address this issue? The Commission invites additional comment on other relevant standards development activities that may be useful in establishing volume control requirements for wireless handsets. Given the absence of a readily available ANSI standard for volume control in wireless handsets, the Commission invites parties to submit other studies and information that may be relevant to the adoption of appropriate standards for volume control in these devices. The Commission seeks comment on the time needed for development and adoption of a volume control standard for wireless handsets. Would 18 months be sufficient for development and adoption of such a standard? If no standards development body begins work on a wireless handset volume control standard, or if no specific time frame for development and adoption of such a standard is specified, the Commission also seeks comment on whether the Commission should adopt a volume control standard for wireless handsets based on the best currently available information, subject to modification based on subsequent development of an ANSI standard, in order to ensure equal telephone access for people with hearing loss. The Commission invites additional comment on the extent to which the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard is adaptable to wireless and the nature of any differences between wireline and wireless handsets that affect the applicability of TIA's new methods and/or its standard. The Commission invites comment on the potential relevance and benefits of the new TIA procedures and metrics in the wireless context, despite such differences.

    18. The Commission also invites comment on the types of information consumers need regarding amplification levels and acoustic coupling capabilities in order to make informed purchasing decisions. For example, the voluntary performance standard for wireline telephones with enhanced amplification, ANSI/TIA-4953, provides for specific, easily understood labels for amplified telephones that are suitable for consumers with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss, respectively. Would such labels be useful in the wireless context as well? Should the Commission encourage or require the use of such labels for wireless handsets, and by what means? The Commission also seeks comment on whether to address, via standards or through other means, factors other than amplification that affect the ability of consumers with hearing loss to hear and understand speech received over wireless handsets, including but not limited to acoustic coupling issues such as frequency response and distortion and magnetic field strength issues.

    Testing and Rating Wireless Handsets Exclusively Under the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard

    19. For testing and rating the HAC performance of wireless handsets, the Commission's rules currently reference the 2007 and 2011 revisions of ANSI technical standard ANSI C63.19 (the 2007 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard and the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard), developed by ANSI ASC C63®-EMC. 47 CFR 20.19(b)(1), (2). A handset is considered hearing aid compatible for preventing RF interference with hearing aids and cochlear implants if it meets a rating of at least M3 under the 2007 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard or 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard. A handset is considered hearing aid compatible for inductive coupling with hearing aids and cochlear implants if it meets a rating of at least T3. The 2011 Wireless HAC Standard, added to the rule in 2012, expanded the range of frequencies over which HAC can be tested to frequencies between 698 MHz and 6 GHz and established a direct method for measuring the RF interference level of wireless devices to hearing aids, thereby enabling testing procedures to be applied to operations over any RF air interface or protocol.

    20. The Commission proposes to require manufacturers to use the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard, subject to modifications, exclusively to certify future handsets as compliant with the RF interference reduction and inductive coupling rules. The 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard is the most recent of the ANSI standards for testing and rating wireless handsets' HAC and provides the most accurate available RF interference reduction and inductive coupling ratings for such handsets. The Commission believes there will be relatively little burden in requiring manufacturers and service providers to use the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard exclusively, and the Commission notes that since July 2013, manufacturers appear to have been using the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard to test the vast majority of their new handsets. The Commission seeks comment on this approach. The Commission asks commenters to include data or other specific information demonstrating whether and how the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard imposes lesser or greater burdens than the 2007 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard, as well as the advantages or disadvantages of using the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard exclusively for testing and rating wireless handsets' compliance with the RF interference reduction and inductive coupling rules.

    21. The Commission further proposes to transition manufacturers and service providers, over a period of six months, to using the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard on an exclusive basis. The Commission seeks comment on whether sufficient time has passed since Commission adoption of this standard to enable it to be used on an exclusive basis, or whether additional transition time is necessary to avoid disruption. If more time is needed, what would be the appropriate timeframe to adopt the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard exclusively? In connection with this implementation timeline, the Commission proposes that handsets already certified under the 2007 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard or any previous standard would be grandfathered, and thus, there would be no need to retest or recertify this equipment. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, its costs and benefits, and its advantages or disadvantages.

    Power-Down Exception for GSM Operations at 1900 MHz

    22. The wireless HAC rule provides an exception to the general requirement that, for purposes of determining HAC, handsets must be tested using their maximum output power. 47 CFR 20.19(e)(1)(ii). This limited power-down exception applies solely to manufacturers and service providers that offer only one or two Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) handset models, but are required, because they employ a certain number of individuals, to meet the HAC standards for one model. The Commission proposes to eliminate the power-down exception for handsets certified on or after the date that the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard becomes the exclusive standard. The Commission requires handsets to be tested at full power to ensure that Americans with hearing loss have equal access to all of the service quality and performance that a given wireless handset provides. 47 CFR 20.19(e)(1)(iii). The Commission believes that eliminating the power-down exception will advance this purpose and will ensure that consumers do not experience the drop-off in function that can otherwise occur with handsets certified under the power-down option. The Commission further proposes to grandfather GSM handsets that operate in the 1900 MHz band and that were previously certified under the exception. Even if the Commission eliminates the exception going forward, the Commission tentatively concludes that there will be no need to recertify these handsets and that the Commission should continue to treat them as certified hearing aid compatible handsets. The Commission seeks comment on this tentative conclusion. When addressing our proposal to eliminate the power-down exception, commenters should discuss the advantages or disadvantages and quantify the costs and benefits of eliminating the exception and of any proposed alternative approaches they recommend.

    Use of Future ANSI Technical Standards

    23. Section 710(c) of the Act requires the Commission “to establish or approve such technical standards as are required to enforce [the HAC provisions].” 47 U.S.C. 610(c). The CVAA retained the mandate for the Commission to establish or approve such technical standards but amended section 710(c) of the Act to provide a mechanism for HAC technical standards to become effective without a Commission rulemaking, subject to Commission approval or rejection of such standards. As amended by the CVAA, section 710(c) of the Act reads as follows:

    The Commission shall establish or approve such technical standards as are required to enforce this section. A telephone or other customer premises equipment that is compliant with relevant technical standards developed through a public participation process and in consultation with interested consumer stakeholders (designated by the Commission for the purposes of this section) will be considered hearing aid compatible for purposes of this section, until such time as the Commission may determine otherwise. The Commission shall consult with the public, including people with hearing loss, in establishing or approving such technical standards. The Commission may delegate this authority to an employee pursuant to section 155(c) of this title. The Commission shall remain the final arbiter as to whether the standards meet the requirements of this section.

    24. The Commission proposes to adopt rules implementing each of the provisions of section 710(c) of the Act added by the CVAA. In particular, the Commission proposes to adopt a streamlined procedure whereby a wireline telephone or other customer premises equipment or a wireless handset may be considered hearing aid compatible if it “is compliant with relevant technical standards developed through a public participation process and in consultation with interested consumer stakeholders . . . until such time as the Commission may determine otherwise.” The Commission further proposes changes to our rules to ensure consultation “with the public, including people with hearing loss, in establishing or approving such technical standards,” and that the Commission “remain[s] the final arbiter as to whether the standards meet the requirements of this section.” The Commission invites comment generally on whether our proposals below are consistent with section 710 of the Act and whether they will effectively advance the Congressional objective to ensure that “to the fullest extent made possible by technology and medical science, [people who are deaf and hard of hearing] should have equal access to the national telecommunications network.” Public Law 100-394, sec. 2(1).

    25. To implement section 710(c) of the Act, the Commission proposes that for compliance purposes, companies be permitted to rely on a HAC standard prior to that standard being adopted through a formal rulemaking process so long as it is developed through a voluntary and consensus-driven public participation process reflecting consultation with interested consumer stakeholders. The Commission notes, however, that it may also, in its discretion, establish or approve HAC standards through traditional rulemaking procedures, including, where appropriate, standards for mobile handsets through existing delegations of rulemaking authority under 47 CFR 20.19(k), independently of the alternative process added by the CVAA. More specifically, the Commission proposes that the standards development process must (1) be open to participation by all relevant stakeholders who have legitimate and meaningful interests in the process, (2) allow all interested parties, including consumers and groups representing them, to comment on a proposed standard prior to adoption and to have their comments considered by the working groups that develop the standards, and (3) provide an appeal mechanism that allows interested parties to seek review of standards-setting decisions.

    26. The Commission believes that the current ANSI process meets such criteria. Accordingly, the Commission proposes that a wireline telephone or other CPE or a wireless handset will be considered hearing aid compatible for purposes of section 710 of the Act, if it complies with a relevant technical standard adopted by ANSI using a process compliant with the requirements of section 710(c) of the Act, and further proposes that this include standards that cover equipment, services, or frequency bands not presently covered by the existing ANSI standards. The Commission seeks comment on whether it would be in the public interest for parties to be permitted to rely on technical standards developed under the ANSI process for purposes of assessing their equipment's compliance with our HAC rules. The Commission also seeks comment on whether and how the ANSI standards development process can achieve Congress's objective to ensure that the views of the public, including people with hearing loss, are considered in the establishment and approval of HAC technical standards. The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which this process is appropriate for consumer groups representing the interests of people with hearing loss to provide input into the development of HAC standards. Before a new standard is adopted, according to ANSI documents, all interested parties have a chance to comment on the revision and to have their comments considered by the working group. Will this process afford such individuals the opportunity to comment on proposed new or revised standards prior to their adoption even if such individuals are not ANSI members? Have consumer groups or individuals representing hearing loss interests participated in such standards-setting efforts in the past, and if so, what has been their experience with this process? What would be the most effective role for consumer groups and individual consumers in the process of setting standards for HAC that are based on complex engineering issues? The process also includes an appeal mechanism. Does ANSI's appeal mechanism adequately protect consumer interests? To what extent do interested parties believe that the ANSI process will be capable of ensuring that revisions to HAC technical standards will meet the needs of all interested stakeholders? The Commission also invites comment on whether there are other relevant standards development organizations following processes that could meet the requirements of section 710(c) of the Act. Commenters who recommend that the Commission recognize a particular alternative standards development organization or process should explain why such an organization or process qualifies as a “public participation process” for purposes of section 710(c) of the Act and why it is an appropriate process for development of a standard for assessing HAC compliance.

    27. Section 710(c) of the Act further requires that standards be developed in consultation with “interested consumer stakeholders” who are “designated by the Commission.” The Commission proposes to direct the Commission's newly formed Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) to provide recommendations on who should be designated as “interested consumer stakeholders” for purposes of section 710(c) of the Act and further proposes that the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) consider such recommendations in making these final designations. Additionally, the Commission proposes that the DAC be directed to consult with nationally recognized consumer organizations, both appointed to and outside of the DAC, that have expertise on HAC and related telecommunications issues. Further, the Commission proposes that, to qualify for designation as “interested consumer stakeholders,” individuals or organizations should have technical expertise in the field of hearing loss and a high level of knowledge about the communication needs of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Commission seeks comment on these proposed criteria and any other applicable criteria for designation of consumer stakeholders. Finally, the Commission proposes that each consumer representative or organization receiving a designation as an “interested consumer stakeholder” maintain such designation for a period of two years, with the process described above being repeated at the end of each two-year period. The Commission believes that taking this approach will provide the expertise and stability needed for effective participation in the standards-setting process. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals, as well as how many consumer stakeholders to designate.

    28. The Commission proposes to define “in consultation with interested consumer stakeholders” as signifying a process in which consumer stakeholders designated by the Commission are allowed to participate from the start and throughout the standards development process. The Commission further proposes that when there is adherence to this process, the resulting standards may become effective for compliance purposes in an accelerated manner pursuant to section 710(c) of the Act as amended by the CVAA. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, and whether designated consumer stakeholders should also be invited to serve as voting members of relevant standards development committees such as TIA's TR-41 committee and ANSI ASC C63®-EMC. Would such voting membership be consistent with existing committee procedures, or would changes in committee procedures or by-laws be needed to accommodate it? Further, regarding possible steps to secure effective participation, the Commission seeks comment on whether, in order to qualify as a consumer consultation process under section 710(c) of the Act, organization membership fees that may ordinarily be required for participation in the ANSI standards setting process should be waived for Commission-designated consumer stakeholders operating under a tax-exempt, non-profit status, and whether reasonable accommodations, such as sign language interpreters and communication access real-time translation (CART), should be provided for the attendance and participation of such designees during committee deliberations, at no cost to individuals needing such accommodations. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals, their costs and benefits, and their advantages or disadvantages in advancing the purposes of section 710 of the Act. Commenters who believe that other types of processes would be more appropriate and sufficient to ensure effective public participation and “consultation with interested consumer stakeholders” as required by section 710(c) of the Act are asked to provide detailed proposals for how such alternatives would achieve the desired objectives.

    29. The Commission emphasizes that section 710(c) of the Act, as amended, does not mandate that any standards-setting organization change its procedures to provide for consultation with interested consumer stakeholders designated by the Commission. In the event that a standards-setting organization were to conclude that consultation with consumer stakeholders, as defined by the rules adopted in this proceeding, is not practicable or is inconsistent with the needs of the organization, the only legal consequence would be that, as is currently the case, standards developed by that organization would need to be formally adopted in a Commission rulemaking before they could be relied upon for hearing aid compatibility compliance purposes. Alternatively, a standard could be developed by another organization through a process that complies with section 710(c) of the Act and the Commission's implementing rules. The Commission invites comment on whether, in the event that ANSI chooses not to incorporate a consumer consultation process into its standards-setting procedures, the Commission should recognize another organization for purposes of section 710(c) of the Act, and invites commenters supporting recognition of another standards-setting body to propose other bodies for consideration.

    30. In order to fully implement section 710(c) of the Act, as amended, it appears necessary to provide for Commission review of HAC standards after they have been developed, while allowing industry to rely on such standards for HAC compliance purposes “until such time as the Commission may determine otherwise.” The Commission proposes that, upon publication by ANSI of a new or revised HAC standard, the relevant Bureaus and Offices shall issue a public notice describing such standard, specifying the effective date set by ANSI and the equipment and services to which the standard applies, and indicating where the standard and related information can be obtained. The Commission proposes that in such public notice, the relevant Bureaus and Offices shall initiate a review of the standard by seeking public comment on (1) whether the public participation and consumer consultation processes specified by section 710(c) of the Act and by the rules adopted in this proceeding were followed in developing the new or revised standard, and (2) whether the use of the standard to determine whether wireline telephones, other customer premises equipment, or wireless handsets are hearing aid compatible meets the substantive requirements of section 710 of the Act. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal generally, its costs and benefits, and the following matters in particular.

    31. The Commission invites comment on whether ANSI should be permitted to seek Commission review of a draft standard that has been approved by a subcommittee before it is formally approved by the parent committee, or before it is adopted through a public review process. Would the benefit of earlier Commission approval that could be gained by initiating review at an intermediate stage justify the potential for administrative waste if a draft standard is subsequently revised prior to its final adoption by the standards-setting organization? What other advantages or disadvantages are there for allowing such intermediate review?

    32. The Commission proposes that the Commission's review be conducted by the relevant Bureau—CGB in the case of wireline standards and WTB in the case of wireless standards—in conjunction with the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET), and that such review be completed, and a determination issued by the relevant bureau approving or disapproving such standards, no later than 180 days after the review period begins. The Commission seeks comment on whether this timetable will be sufficient to ensure that the Commission addresses its responsibilities under section 710(c) of the Act. The Commission also seeks comment on what consequences should ensue in the event that the timetable is not met. Should the standard be deemed approved? Or should the proceeding remain open, so that a decision approving or disapproving the standard could still be made based on the record compiled, despite the expiration of the timetable? The Commission invites commenters to suggest alternative processes, such as, for Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) handsets, modification of the existing delegations of authority under § 20.19(k) of its rules, that they believe will more effectively or appropriately address the Commission's section 710(c) of the Act responsibilities.

    33. The Commission seeks comment on the necessity of, and the appropriate procedure for, amending the Commission's rules to reflect Commission approval of a standard developed by ANSI in accordance with the manner described above. The Commission proposes that, where a technical standard has been approved for HAC compliance purposes pursuant to the Commission review process described above, such approval shall be codified in the Commission's rules. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal. The Commission also seeks comment on the appropriate procedure for phasing out reliance on a standard when it has been superseded by a revised version, i.e., whether and how to terminate industry's ability to rely on a superseded standard.

    34. The Commission seeks comment on whether the various processes set forth above for implementation of section 710(c) of the Act are consistent with section 559 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which states that a “[s]ubsequent statute may not be held to supersede or modify [the APA] . . . except to the extent that it does so expressly.” 5 U.S.C. 559. The District of Columbia Circuit has held that a statute may be found to authorize an administrative agency to adopt rules outside of an APA procedure if “Congress has established procedures so clearly different from those required by the APA that it must have intended to displace the norm.” Asiana Airlines v. FAA, 134 F.3d 393, 397 (D.C. Cir. 1998). Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the extent to which commenters believe that any components of the above processes differ from processes required by the APA, and whether § 710(c) of the Act nevertheless authorizes the Commission to implement such processes.

    Incorporation by Reference

    35. The Office of Federal Register (OFR) recently revised the regulations to require that agencies must discuss in the preamble of a proposed rule ways that the materials the agency proposes to incorporate by reference are reasonably available to interested parties or how it worked to make those materials reasonably available to interested parties. In addition, the preamble of the proposed rule must summarize the material. 1 CFR 51.5(a). In accordance with OFR's requirements, the discussion in this section summarizes the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard. The following document is available from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Sales Department, 11 West 42nd Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10036, (212) 642-4900, or at http://global.ihs.com/search_res.cfm?RID=TIA&INPUT_DOC_NUMBER=ANSI/TIA-4965: “ANSI/TIA-4965-2012, Receive Volume Control Requirements for Digital and Analog Wireline Terminals.” This standard modifies in two ways the manner in which amplification is measured for wireline phones. First, the standard discontinues the use of an IEC-318 coupler and specifies instead the Head and Torso Simulator (HATS) method. Second, the standard replaces the Receive Objective Loudness Rating (ROLR) method of calibrating amplification with a new method called Conversational Gain.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    36. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Commission has prepared this 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 document FCC 15-144. Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the applicable deadline for comments as indicated in the DATES section. The Commission will send a copy of document FCC 15-144, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA). See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    Need For, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    37. The Commission proposes to amend the HAC rules with the goal of ensuring that Americans with hearing loss are able to access wireline and wireless communications services through a wide array of phones, including VoIP telephones.

    38. Regarding wireline equipment, the Commission seeks comment on a Commission proposal to incorporate into the rules a revised industry volume control standard—ANSI/TIA-4965-2012 (2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard)—that appears likely to improve the ability of people with hearing loss to select wireline telephones with sufficient volume control to meet their communication needs and provide greater regulatory certainty for the industry. The revised standard modifies the physical set-up for measuring amplification for wireline phones, by discontinuing the use of an IEC-318 coupler, which must form a seal with the telephone handset, and specifying instead the HATS method, which uses a mannequin with a human pinna (outer ear) simulator. In addition, the new standard replaces the ROLR method of calibrating amplification with a new method called Conversational Gain. According to TIA, the new standard will provide a more consistent experience of amplified gain level, enabling consumers with hearing loss to better assess and compare the merits of various models of terminal equipment. The Commission believes that incorporating the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into the wireline volume control rule will make the rule more effective in ensuring that people with hearing loss have “equal access to the national telecommunications network” (Public Law 100-394, sec. 2(1)) and that telephones provide “an internal means for effective use with hearing aids” (47 U.S.C. 610(b)).

    39. The Commission also proposes to apply the Commission's wireline telephone volume control and other HAC requirements to handsets used with VoIP services. See 47 CFR 68.4, 68.6. This proposal implements the CVAA (Public Law 111-260; Public Law 111-265), which provides that the HAC requirements of the Act apply to all customer premises equipment used with advanced communications services, including VoIP services. The Commission seeks comment on the costs, benefits, and technical impacts of applying the rules to VoIP equipment, whether volume control and inductive coupling parameters for such equipment can be effectively measured under the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard and the currently applicable inductive coupling standard (47 CFR 68.316, 68.317), the appropriate timetables or benchmarks that may be necessary to take account of technical feasibility or to ensure the marketability or availability of new technologies to users, whether any different treatment of VoIP CPE is appropriate under the part 68 rules addressing complaint handling, labeling, certifications, and suppliers' declarations of conformity, and whether it would be appropriate to require registration of VoIP CPE in a public database, such as the database of terminal equipment that ACTA administers.

    40. Regarding wireless equipment, the Commission seeks comment on a Commission proposal to adopt a volume control rule and standard for wireless handsets. In light of the greatly expanded role of wireless voice communications in our society, the Commission believes that adopting a specific volume control requirement for wireless handsets is necessary to achieve effective acoustic coupling and improve communication for people with hearing loss. The Commission seeks comment on the costs and benefits of adopting a volume control requirement for wireless handsets, what specific burdens, if any, are associated with requiring handsets to achieve a specified amplification level, and whether a volume control requirement should apply to all wireless handsets or to a subset of total handset sales or models, as with the current HAC rule. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on the appropriate standard for volume control in wireless phones and on whether to address, via standards or through other means, factors other than amplification that affect the ability of consumers with hearing loss to hear and understand speech received over wireless handsets, such as frequency response and distortion and magnetic field strength issues.

    41. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on its proposals to require manufacturers to use exclusively the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard for certifying future handsets as hearing aid compatible and to eliminate the power-down exception to the existing wireless HAC rule. 47 CFR 20.19(e)(1)(iii). Since July 2013, manufacturers appear to have been using the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard to test the vast majority of their new handsets. In order to facilitate meeting the 2007 version of the standard, certain handsets were allowed to be tested using less than maximum output power, but that exception appears to be unnecessary for purposes of meeting the 2011 standard.

    42. Regarding all equipment subject to HAC requirements, the Commission seeks comment on a proposed streamlined process for allowing manufacturers and service providers to rely on a new or revised technical standard as sufficient for assessing compliance with relevant HAC requirements, without a prior Commission rulemaking, if the standard is developed by an ANSI-accredited standards development organization in accordance with an appropriate public participation process and in consultation with consumer stakeholders designated by the Commission, as required by the CVAA. Public Law 111-260, sec. 102(b); 47 U.S.C. 610(c). In particular, the Commission seeks comment on its proposals to recognize the ANSI process as a “public participation process” for purposes of 47 U.S.C. 610(c), to require that for a standard to qualify for accelerated incorporation into the HAC rule, consumer stakeholders designated by the Commission must be allowed to participate throughout the standards development process, and to provide for streamlined Commission post-effectiveness review of standards to ensure consistency with statutory requirements.

    Legal Basis

    43. The authority for this proposed rulemaking is contained in sections 4(i) and 710 of the Act. 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 610.

    Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities Impacted

    44. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules and policies, if adopted. 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. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies “unless an agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register.” A “small business concern” is one that: (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.

    45. Small Entities. The Commission's actions, over time, may affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. The Commission therefore describes here, at the outset, three comprehensive small entity size standards that encompass entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration. As of 2009, small businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to the SBA. Additionally, 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 1,621,215 small organizations. Independent Sector, “The New Nonprofit Almanac and Desk Reference” (2010). 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 2011 indicate that there were 90,056 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. The Commission estimates that, of this total, as many as 89,327 entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, the Commission estimates that most local governmental jurisdictions are small.

    46. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). For that category a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had employment of fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carrier (except satellite) firms are small.

    47. Satellite Telecommunications. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the category of “Satellite Telecommunications” comprises firms “primarily engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite telecommunications.” The category has a small business size standard of $32.5 million or less in average annual receipts, under SBA rules. For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 512 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 482 firms had annual receipts of less than $25 million. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of satellite telecommunications providers are small entities that might be affected by its action.

    48. All Other Telecommunications. “All Other Telecommunications” is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as follows: “This U.S. industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or VoIP services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for All Other Telecommunications, which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $32.5 million or less. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 2,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of those firms, a total of 2,346 had gross annual receipts of less than $25 million. Thus, a majority of All Other Telecommunications firms potentially affected by the proposed rule can be considered small.

    49. Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category to comprise “establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing wire telephone and data communications equipment.” The Census Bureau further states: “These products may be stand alone or board-level components of a larger system. Examples of products made by these establishments are central office switching equipment, cordless telephones (except cellular), PBX equipment, telephones, telephone answering machines, LAN modems, multi-user modems, and other data communications equipment, such as bridges, routers, and gateways.” In this category the SBA deems a telephone apparatus manufacturing business to be small if it has 1,000 or fewer employees. For this category of manufacturers, census data for 2007 showed that there were 398 such establishments that operated that year. Of those 398 establishments, 393 had fewer than 1,000 employees. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of establishments in this industry can be considered small.

    50. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this industry as comprising “establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless communications equipment. Examples of products made by the 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 established a size standard for this industry that classifies any business in this industry as small if it has 750 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate that in that year 939 such businesses operated. Of that number, 912 businesses operated with less than 500 employees. Based on this data, the Commission concludes that a majority of businesses in this industry are small by the SBA standard.

    51. Electronic Computer Manufacturing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing and/or assembling electronic computers, such as mainframes, personal computers, workstations, laptops, and computer servers. Computers can be analog, digital, or hybrid. Digital computers, the most common type, are devices that do all of the following: (1) Store the processing program or programs and the data immediately necessary for the execution of the program; (2) can be freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user; (3) perform arithmetical computations specified by the user; and (4) execute, without human intervention, a processing program that requires the computer to modify its execution by logical decision during the processing run. Analog computers are capable of simulating mathematical models and contain at least analog, control, and programming elements. The manufacture of computers includes the assembly or integration of processors, coprocessors, memory, storage, and input/output devices into a user-programmable final product.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category of manufacturing; that size standard is 1,000 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 425 establishments in this category that operated that year. Of these, 419 had less 1,000 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of these establishments are small entities that may be affected by its action.

    52. Computer Terminal Manufacturing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing computer terminals. Computer terminals are input/output devices that connect with a central computer for processing.” As of December 2, 2014, the category “Computer Terminal Manufacturing,” North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code 334113, was superseded by a new NAICS Code classification, “Computer Terminal and Other Computer Peripheral Manufacturing,” NAICS Code 334118. However, since this rule making concerns only computer terminal manufacturing, only national data from the 2007 Census has been used to provide information about that industry. The SBA size standard, defining a firm within that industry as small if it has 1,000 or less employees, remained unchanged when NAICS Code 334113 was changed to NAICS Code 334118. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category of manufacturing; that size standard is 1,000 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 43 establishments in this category that operated that year. Of this total, all 43 had less than 500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of these establishments are small entities that may be affected by its action.

    53. Software Publishers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this category “comprises establishments primarily engaged in computer software publishing or publishing and reproduction. This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in computer software publishing or publishing and reproduction. Establishments in this industry carry out operations necessary for producing and distributing computer software, such as designing, providing documentation, assisting in installation, and providing support services to software purchasers. These establishments may design, develop, and publish, or publish only.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for software publishers, which consists of all such firms with gross annual receipts of $38.5 million or less. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 5,313 firms that operated for the entire year. Of those firms, a total of 4,956 had gross annual receipts less than $25 million. Thus, a majority of software publishers potentially affected by the proposed rule can be considered small.

    Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements

    54. Certain rule changes proposed, if adopted by the Commission, would modify rules or add requirements governing reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance obligations.

    55. If the Commission were to incorporate the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into the wireline volume control rules and eliminate the currently applicable standard after a transition period, such action would alter the compliance obligations of wireline telephone apparatus manufacturers, including small entities, by requiring them to use a different method for testing and evaluating compliance with the volume control requirement.

    56. If the Commission were to explicitly apply some or all of the Commission's wireline telephone volume control and other HAC rules, which include related labeling, certification, complaint processing, and registration requirements, to handsets used with VoIP services, such action would impose new compliance obligations and reporting and recordkeeping obligations on some wireline telephone apparatus manufacturers, electronic computer manufacturers, computer terminal manufacturers, and software publishers, including small entities.

    57. If the Commission were to adopt a rule and standard for wireless handsets to address volume control and other acoustic coupling issues, such action would impose new compliance obligations and may impose additional reporting and recordkeeping obligations on wireless telecommunications carriers, satellite telecommunications providers, and wireless communications equipment manufacturers, including small entities.

    58. If the Commission were to modify the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard to achieve more effective coupling between handsets and hearing aids or cochlear implants, such action would alter the compliance obligations of wireless telecommunications carriers, satellite telecommunications providers, and wireless communications equipment manufacturers, including small entities. However, such changes would not result in new regulatory burdens.

    59. If the Commission were to require manufacturers to use exclusively the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard (with any modifications adopted in this rulemaking) to certify future handsets as hearing aid compatible and eliminate the power-down exception to the existing wireless HAC rule, such action would alter the compliance obligations of wireless telecommunications carriers, satellite telecommunications providers, and wireless communications equipment manufacturers, including small entities. However, such changes would not result in new regulatory burdens.

    60. If the Commission were to adopt a rule providing that, pursuant to section 710(c) of the Act, equipment may be considered to be in compliance with HAC rules if it complies with relevant ANSI technical standards, such action could affect the compliance obligations of wireless telecommunications carriers, satellite telecommunications providers, and wireless communications equipment manufacturers, including small entities.

    Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    61. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities. 5 U.S.C. 603(b).

    62. Regarding the Commission's proposal to incorporate the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard into the wireline volume control rules, the Commission notes that 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard is a performance standard, not a design standard, and therefore implements alternative (3) above. Further, to minimize the difficulty of adjusting to the revised standard, the Commission proposes to allow a phase-in period during which manufacturers may comply with either the existing standard or the 2012 ANSI Wireline Volume Control Standard. Finally, to limit any potential burdens regarding the impact of the proposed rule change and future rule changes on previously manufactured telephones, the Commission proposes to amend its rules to allow the existing inventory and installed base of telephones that comply with the existing volume control standard to remain in place until retired and to clarify that future minor changes to the HAC and volume control standards will not result in a requirement to modify existing inventories or installed telephones. Each of these possible approaches, if adopted, could help minimize the impact of the revised standard on small entities. Further, if this revised standard more accurately measures the amplification achievable by wireline telephone products, incorporation of this standard could lighten regulatory burdens by increasing market certainty, promoting a level playing field, and reducing the number of complaints made to manufacturers by consumers of their products.

    63. Regarding the Commission's proposal to amend 47 CFR part 68 to explicitly provide that customer premises equipment used with a VoIP service is subject to the wireline HAC and volume control requirements, the Commission notes that the standards provided in the rules are performance standards, not design standards. Further, the proposed rule amendment could increase regulatory certainty and market fairness regarding the application of the wireline HAC rules. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on the appropriate timetables or benchmarks that may be necessary in order to take account of technical feasibility or to ensure the marketability or availability of new technologies to users. Such timetables or benchmarks could help minimize the impact of the revised standard on small entities.

    64. Regarding the Commission's proposals (1) to adopt a rule and standard for wireless handsets to address volume control, (2) to require manufacturers to use the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard exclusively and (3) to eliminate the power-down exception to the existing wireless HAC rule, the Commission notes that the 2011 ANSI Wireless HAC Standard is a performance standard, not a design standard. In addition, the existing HAC rule limits the number of models that must comply with the rule, especially for smaller carriers and manufacturers, and the Commission seeks comment on whether a volume control requirement, if adopted, should utilize the same approach, which could help minimize the impact on small entities.

    65. Regarding the Commission's proposal to permit industry to rely on HAC standards developed pursuant to section 710(c) of the Act, in advance of a Commission rulemaking, such action would not result in new or increased regulatory burdens and may decrease regulatory burdens on small entities.

    Federal Rules Which Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With, the Commission's Proposals

    66. None.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Parts 20 and 68

    Incorporation by reference, Individuals with disabilities, Telecommunications, Telephones.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend title 47 of the Code Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 20—COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c.

    2. Amend § 20.19 by: a. Revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) and (l) introductory text; b. Removing the word “and” at the end of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(B) and removing the period at the end of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(C) and adding “; and” in its place; and c. Adding paragraphs (e)(1)(iii)(D) and (k)(3).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 20.19 Hearing aid-compatible mobile handsets.

    (b) Hearing aid compatibility; technical standards—(1) For radio frequency interference and other aspects of acoustic coupling—(i) Radio frequency interference. A wireless handset submitted for equipment certification or for a permissive change relating to hearing aid compatibility must either comply with a standard meeting the requirements of paragraph (k)(3) of this section or meet, at a minimum, the M3 rating associated with the technical standard set forth in the standard document “American National Standard Methods of Measurement of Compatibility Between Wireless Communication Devices and Hearing Aids,” ANSI C63.19-2011. Any grants of certification issued before [SIX MONTHS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE], under previous versions of ANSI C63.19 remain valid for hearing aid compatibility purposes.

    (ii) Volume control. A wireless handset submitted for equipment certification or for a permissive change relating to hearing aid compatibility must include volume control that is compliant with a relevant technical standard established or approved by the Commission pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 710(c).

    (2) For inductive coupling. A wireless handset submitted for equipment certification or for a permissive change relating to hearing aid compatibility must either comply with a standard meeting the requirements of paragraph (k)(3) of this section or meet, at a minimum, the T3 rating associated with the technical standard set forth in the standard document “American National Standard Methods of Measurement of Compatibility Between Wireless Communication Devices and Hearing Aids,” ANSI C63.19-2011. Any grants of certification issued before [SIX MONTHS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE], under previous versions of ANSI C63.19 remain valid for hearing aid compatibility purposes.

    (e) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iii) * * *

    (D) The handset was certified as meeting the requirements of paragraph (b)(1) of this section with the power reduction prior to [SIX MONTHS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE].

    (k) * * *

    (3) Reliance on standards developed through a public participation and consumer consultation process—(i) General. Wireless handsets that are compliant with a new or revised technical standard developed in accordance with this paragraph (k)(3) shall be considered hearing aid compatible for purposes of each relevant requirement of this section until such time as the Commission may determine otherwise.

    (ii) Qualifying public participation standards development process. For a handset to be considered hearing aid compatible under this paragraph (k)(3), the handset must comply with a standard that was developed through a voluntary and consensus-driven process under the aegis of a standards-setting body that is recognized by the Commission for purposes of this paragraph (k)(3). Such process must:

    (A) Be open to participation by all relevant stakeholders who have legitimate and meaningful interests in the process;

    (B) Allow all interested parties, including consumers and groups representing them, to comment on a proposed standard prior to adoption and to have their comments considered by the working groups that develop the standards; and

    (C) Provide an appeal mechanism that allows interested parties to seek review of standards-setting decisions.

    (iii) Consultation with consumer stakeholders. For a handset to be considered hearing aid compatible under this paragraph (k)(3), the handset must comply with a standard that was developed in consultation with interested consumer stakeholders as described in this paragraph (k)(3)(iii). Consumer stakeholders designated by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau shall be given the option to participate at the start of and throughout the standards development process and shall be invited to participate in relevant subcommittees and working groups. Any organization membership fees that may ordinarily be required for participation in the standards-setting process shall be waived for consumer organizations operating under a tax-exempt, non-profit status, and reasonable accommodations, such as sign language interpreters and communication access real-time translation (CART), shall be provided, as needed, for the attendance and participation of such designees during committee deliberations, at no cost to individuals needing such accommodations.

    (l) The standards listed in this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All material associated with the standards listed in this paragraph (l) is available for inspection at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th St. SW., Reference Information Center, Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554 and is available from the sources indicated below. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.htm.

    These standards may also be viewed on the “ANSI Incorporated by Reference (IBR) Portal” at http://ibr/ansi.org/.

    PART 68—CONNECTION OF TERMINAL EQUIPMENT TO THE TELEPHONE NETWORK 3. The authority citation for part 68 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 154, 303.

    4. Revise § 68.1 to read as follows:
    § 68.1 Purpose.

    The purpose of the rules and regulations in this part is to provide for uniform standards for the protection of the telephone network from harms caused by the connection of terminal equipment and associated wiring thereto, for the compatibility of hearing aids and telephones, and the compatibility of hearing aids and customer premises equipment used to access advanced communications services, so as to ensure that, to the fullest extent made possible by technology and medical science, people who are deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to the national telecommunications network.

    5. Amend § 68.2 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 68.2 Scope.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the rules and regulations apply to direct connection of all terminal equipment to the public switched telephone network for use in conjunction with all services other than party line services. Sections 68.4, 68.5, 68.6, 68.112, 68.160, 68.162, 68.201, 68.211 (except paragraph (a)(2)), 68.218, 68.224, and subparts D (except §§ 68.318, 68.324(e)(1) and (2), and 68.354) and E of this part also apply to “ACS telephonic CPE” as defined in § 68.3, for the purpose of achieving compliance with hearing aid compatibility and volume control requirements.

    6. Revise § 68.3 to read as follows:
    § 68.3 Definitions.

    ACS Telephonic CPE. Customer premises equipment used with advanced communications services that is designed to provide 2-way voice communication via a built-in speaker intended to be held to the ear in a manner functionally equivalent to a telephone, except for mobile handsets.

    Advanced communications services. Interconnected VoIP service, non-interconnected VoIP service, electronic messaging service, and interoperable video conferencing service.

    Demarcation point (also point of interconnection). As used in this part, the point of demarcation and/or interconnection between the communications facilities of a provider of wireline telecommunications, and terminal equipment, protective apparatus or wiring at a subscriber's premises.

    Essential telephones. Only coin-operated telephones, telephones provided for emergency use, and other telephones frequently needed for use by persons using such hearing aids.

    Harm. Electrical hazards to the personnel of providers of wireline telecommunications, damage to the equipment of providers of wireline telecommunications, malfunction of the billing equipment of providers of wireline telecommunications, and degradation of service to persons other than the user of the subject terminal equipment, his calling or called party.

    Hearing aid compatible. Except as used at §§ 68.4(a)(3), 68.315, and 68.414, the terms “hearing aid compatible” or “hearing aid compatibility” shall have the meaning defined in § 68.316, unless it is specifically stated that hearing aid compatibility volume control, as defined in § 68.317, is intended or is included in the definition.

    Inside wiring or premises wiring. Customer-owned or controlled wire on the subscriber's side of the demarcation point.

    Premises. As used herein, generally a dwelling unit, other building or a legal unit of real property such as a lot on which a dwelling unit is located, as determined by the provider of telecommunications service's reasonable and nondiscriminatory standard operating practices.

    Private radio services. Private land mobile radio services and other communications services characterized by the Commission in its rules as private radio services.

    Public mobile services. Air-to-ground radiotelephone services, cellular radio telecommunications services, offshore radio, rural radio service, public land mobile telephone service, and other common carrier radio communications services covered by part 22 of title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

    Responsible party. The party or parties responsible for the compliance of terminal equipment or protective circuitry that is intended for connection directly to the public switched telephone network or for use with advanced communications services with the applicable rules and regulations in this part and with any applicable technical criteria published by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (see §§ 68.604 and 68.608). If a Telecommunications Certification Body certifies the terminal equipment, the responsible party is the holder of the certificate for that equipment. If the terminal equipment is the subject of a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity, the responsible party shall be: the manufacturer of the equipment, or the manufacturer of protective circuitry that is marketed for use with terminal equipment that is not to be connected directly to the network, or if the equipment is imported, the importer, or if the equipment is assembled from individual component parts, the assembler. If the equipment is modified by any party not working under the authority of the responsible party, the party performing the modifications, if located within the U.S., or the importer, if the equipment is imported subsequent to the modifications, becomes the new responsible party. Retailers or original equipment manufacturers may enter into an agreement with the assembler or importer to assume the responsibilities to ensure compliance of the terminal equipment and to become the responsible party.

    Secure telephones. Telephones that are approved by the United States Government for the transmission of classified or sensitive voice communications.

    Terminal equipment. As used in this part, communications equipment located on customer premises at the end of a communications link, used to permit the stations involved to accomplish the provision of telecommunications or information services. “Terminal equipment” includes ACS telephonic CPE.

    7. Revise § 68.201 to read as follows:
    § 68.201 Connection to the public switched telephone network.

    Terminal equipment may not be connected to the public switched network unless it has either been certified by a Telecommunications Certification Body or the responsible party has followed all the procedures in this subpart for Supplier's Declaration of Conformity. ACS telephonic equipment must be certified by a Telecommunications Certification Body or the responsible party has followed all the procedures in this subpart for Supplier's Declaration of Conformity.

    8. Amend § 68.211 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 68.211 Terminal equipment approval revocation procedures.

    (d) Reauthorization. A product that has had its approval revoked may not be re-authorized for a period of six months from the date of revocation of the approval.

    9. Revise § 68.218 to read as follows:
    § 68.218 Responsibility of the party acquiring equipment authorization.

    (a) In acquiring approval for terminal equipment to be connected to the public switched telephone network or for ACS telephonic equipment, the responsible party warrants that each unit of equipment marketed under such authorization will comply with all applicable rules and regulations of this part and with any applicable technical criteria of the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (see §§ 68.604 and 68.608).

    (b) In the case of terminal equipment that is directly connected to the public switched telephone network, the responsible party or its agent shall provide the user of the approved terminal equipment the following:

    (1) Consumer instructions required to be included with approved terminal equipment by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (see § 68.610);

    (2) For a telephone that is not hearing aid-compatible, as defined in § 68.316 of these rules:

    (i) Notice that FCC rules prohibit the use of that handset in certain locations; and

    (ii) A list of such locations (see § 68.112).

    (c) When approval is revoked for any item of equipment, the responsible party must take all reasonable steps to ensure that purchasers and users of such equipment are notified to discontinue use of such equipment.

    10. Amend § 68.300 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 68.300 Labeling requirements.

    (a) Terminal equipment approved as set out in this part must be labeled in accordance with any applicable requirements published by the Administrative Council for Terminal Attachments (see §§ 68.604 and 68.608) and with requirements of this part for hearing aid compatibility and volume control.

    11. Add § 68.315 to subpart D to read as follows:
    § 68.315 Hearing aid compatibility; reliance on standards developed through a public participation and consumer consultation process.

    (a) General. Telephones that are compliant with a new or revised technical standard developed in accordance with this section shall be considered hearing aid compatible for purposes of §§ 68.4 and 68.6 until such time as the Commission may determine otherwise.

    (b) Qualifying public participation standards development process. For a telephone to be considered hearing aid compatible under this section, the telephone and telephone handset must comply with a standard that was developed through a voluntary and consensus-driven process, under the aegis of a standards-setting body that is recognized by the Commission for purposes of this section. Such process must:

    (1) Be open to participation by all relevant stakeholders who have legitimate and meaningful interests in the process;

    (2) Allow all interested parties, including consumers and groups representing them, to comment on a proposed standard prior to adoption and to have their comments considered by the working groups that develop the standards; and

    (3) Provide an appeal mechanism that allows interested parties to seek review of standards-setting decisions.

    (c) Consultation with consumer stakeholders. For a telephone to be considered hearing aid compatible under this section, the telephone and telephone handset must comply with a standard that was developed in consultation with interested consumer stakeholders as described in this paragraph (c). Consumer stakeholders designated by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau shall be given the option to participate at the start of and throughout the standards development process and shall be invited to participate in relevant subcommittees and working groups. Any organization membership fees that may ordinarily be required for participation in the standards-setting process shall be waived for consumer organizations operating under a tax-exempt, non-profit status, and reasonable accommodations, such as sign language interpreters and communication access real-time translation (CART) shall be provided, as needed, for the attendance and participation of such designees during committee deliberations, at no cost to individuals needing such accommodations.

    12. Amend § 68.316 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
    § 68.316 Hearing aid compatibility: Technical requirements.

    A telephone handset is hearing aid compatible for the purposes of this section if it complies with a standard meeting the requirements of § 68.315 or with the following standard, published by the Telecommunications Industry Association, copyright 1983, and reproduced by permission of the Telecommunications Industry Association:

    13. Revise § 68.317 to read as follows:
    § 68.317 Hearing aid compatibility volume control: technical standards.

    (a)(1) For telephones manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States prior to [TWO YEARS AFTER PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE], such a telephone complies with the volume control requirements of this section if it complies with:

    (i) The applicable provisions of paragraphs (b) through (g) of this section;

    (ii) Paragraphs (h) and (i) of this section; or

    (iii) A standard meeting the requirements of § 68.315.

    (2) For telephones manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States on or after [TWO YEARS AFTER PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE], such a telephone complies with the volume control requirements of this section if it complies with:

    (i) Paragraphs (h) and (i) of this section; or

    (ii) A standard meeting the requirements of § 68.315.

    (b) An analog telephone complies with the Commission's volume control requirements if the telephone is equipped with a receive volume control that provides, through the receiver in the handset or headset of the telephone, 12 dB of gain minimum and up to 18 dB of gain maximum, when measured in terms of Receive Objective Loudness Rating (ROLR), as defined in paragraph 4.1.2 of ANSI/EIA-470-A-1987 (Telephone Instruments With Loop Signaling). The 12 dB of gain minimum must be achieved without significant clipping of the test signal. The telephone also shall comply with the upper and lower limits for ROLR given in table 4.4 of ANSI/EIA-470-A-1987 when the receive volume control is set to its normal unamplified level.

    Note to paragraph (b): Paragraph 4.1.2 of ANSI/EIA-470-A-1987 identifies several characteristics related to the receive response of a telephone. It is only the normal unamplified ROLR level and the change in ROLR as a function of the volume control setting that are relevant to the specification of volume control as required by this section.

    (c) The ROLR of an analog telephone shall be determined over the frequency range from 300 to 3300 HZ for short, average, and long loop conditions represented by 0, 2.7, and 4.6 km of 26 AWG nonloaded cable, respectively. The specified length of cable will be simulated by a complex impedance. (See Figure A.) The input level to the cable simulator shall be −10 dB with respect to 1 V open circuit from a 900 ohm source.

    (d) A digital telephone complies with the Commission's volume control requirements if the telephone is equipped with a receive volume control that provides, through the receiver of the handset or headset of the telephone, 12 dB of gain minimum and up to 18 dB of gain maximum, when measured in terms of Receive Objective Loudness Rating (ROLR), as defined in paragraph 4.3.2 of ANSI/EIA/TIA-579-1991 (Acoustic-To-Digital and Digital-To-Acoustic Transmission Requirements for ISDN Terminals). The 12 dB of gain minimum must be achieved without significant clipping of the test signal. The telephone also shall comply with the limits on the range for ROLR given in paragraph 4.3.2.2 of ANSI/EIA/TIA-579-1991 when the receive volume control is set to its normal unamplified level.

    (e) The ROLR of a digital telephone shall be determined over the frequency range from 300 to 3300 Hz using the method described in paragraph 4.3.2.1 of ANSI/EIA/TIA-579-1991. No variation in loop conditions is required for this measurement since the receive level of a digital telephone is independent of loop length.

    (f) The ROLR for either an analog or digital telephone shall first be determined with the receive volume control at its normal unamplified level. The minimum volume control setting shall be used for this measurement unless the manufacturer identifies a different setting for the nominal volume level. The ROLR shall then be determined with the receive volume control at its maximum volume setting. Since ROLR is a loudness rating value expressed in dB of loss, more positive values of ROLR represent lower receive levels. Therefore, the ROLR value determined for the maximum volume control setting should be subtracted from that determined for the nominal volume control setting to determine compliance with the gain requirement.

    (g) The 18 dB of receive gain may be exceeded provided that the amplified receive capability automatically resets to nominal gain when the telephone is caused to pass through a proper on-hook transition in order to minimize the likelihood of damage to individuals with normal hearing.

    (h) A telephone complies with the Commission's volume control requirements if it is equipped with a receive volume control that provides, through the receiver in the handset or headset of the telephone, 18 dB of Conversational Gain minimum and up to 24 dB of Conversational Gain maximum when measured as described in ANSI/TIA-4965-2012 (Telecommunications—Telephone Terminal Equipment—Receive Volume Control Requirements for Digital and Analog Wireline Telephones). The 18 dB of Conversational Gain minimum must be achieved without significant clipping of the speech signal used for testing.

    (i) The 24 dB of Conversational Gain maximum may be exceeded provided the amplified receive capability automatically resets to a level less than 18 dB of Conversational Gain when the telephone is caused to pass through a proper on-hook transition in order to minimize the likelihood of damage to individuals with normal hearing.

    (j) These incorporations by reference of paragraph 4.1.2 (including table 4.4) of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard ANSI/EIA-470-A-1987, paragraph 4.3.2 of ANSI/EIA/TIA-579-1991, and ANSI/TIA-4965-2012 were approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of these publications may be purchased from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Sales Department, 11 West 42nd Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10036, (212) 642-4900, or http://global.ihs.com/. Copies also may be inspected during normal business hours at the following locations: Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554; and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html. These standards may also be viewed on the “ANSI Incorporated by Reference (IBR) Portal” at http://ibr.ansi.org/.

    (k) Manufacturers and other responsible parties of telephones subject to this rule shall engage in consultation with people with hearing loss and their representative organizations for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of the standard adopted pursuant to paragraph (j) of this section. Such consultation shall include testing a sample of products certified to be compliant with the revised standard to evaluate whether products compliant with such standard are providing a uniform and appropriate range of volume to meet the telephone needs of consumers. Such consultation and testing shall occur by [ONE YEAR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE], pursuant to paragraph (j) of this section, with follow-up every three years thereafter to assess the impact of these technological changes.

    14. Amend § 68.320 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 68.320 Supplier's Declaration of Conformity.

    (e) No person shall use or make reference to a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity in a deceptive or misleading manner or to convey the impression that such a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity reflects more than a determination by the responsible party that the device or product has been shown to be capable of complying with the applicable technical.

    15. Amend § 68.324 by adding paragraphs (e) introductory text and (g) to read as follows:
    § 68.324 Supplier's Declaration of Conformity requirements.

    (e) For terminal equipment that is directly connected to the public switched telephone network:

    (g) For ACS telephonic CPE subject to a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity, the responsible party shall make a copy of the Supplier's Declaration of Conformity freely available to the general public on its company Web site.

    [FR Doc. 2015-31368 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board 49 CFR Part 1040 [Docket No. EP 726] On-Time Performance Under Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 AGENCY:

    Surface Transportation Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Surface Transportation Board (Board) is proposing a definition of “on-time performance” for purposes of Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA).

    DATES:

    Comments are due by February 8, 2016. Reply comments are due by February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and replies may be submitted either via the Board's e-filing format or in the traditional paper format. Any person using e-filing should attach a document and otherwise comply with the instructions at the “E-FILING” link on the Board's Web site, at “http://www.stb.dot.gov.” Any person submitting a filing in the traditional paper format should send an original and 10 copies to: Surface Transportation Board, Attn: Docket No. EP 726, 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

    Copies of written comments and replies will be posted to the Board's Web site and will be available for viewing and self-copying at the Board's Public Docket Room, Room 131. Copies will also be available (for a fee) by contacting the Board's Chief Records Officer at (202) 245-0238 or 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423-0001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Scott M. Zimmerman at (202) 245-0386. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    By decision served on May 15, 2015, the Board instituted a rulemaking proceeding to define “on-time performance” for purposes of Section 213 of PRIIA, 49 U.S.C. 24308(f). The Board instituted this proceeding in response to a petition for rulemaking filed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Any rule promulgated in this proceeding would apply to complaints under 24308(f) currently pending before the Board, as well as future complaints or investigations under that section.1

    1 AAR requested a rulemaking only if the Board did not grant Canadian National Railway's (CN's) petition for reconsideration in Docket No. NOR 42134 and the motions to dismiss in Docket No. NOR 42141—the two complaint cases under 24308(f) now pending before the Board. While the Board has not ruled on those pleadings, the Board decided to institute a rulemaking proceeding and invite public participation because AAR's petition raised a number of important issues.

    Background. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) was established by Congress in 1970 to preserve passenger services and routes on the Nation's railroads. See Lebron v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 513 U. S. 374, 383-384 (1995); Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe R.R., 470 U. S. 451, 454 (1985); see also Rail Passenger Serv. Act of 1970, Public Law 91-518, 84 Stat. 1328 (1970). As a condition of relieving the freight railroads of their common carrier obligation to provide passenger service, Congress required that the freight railroads permit Amtrak to operate over their tracks and use their facilities. See 45 U.S.C. 561, 562 (1970 ed.). Since 1973, Congress has required freight railroads to give Amtrak trains preference over freight trains when using the lines and facilities of freight railroads: “Except in an emergency, intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation provided by or for Amtrak has preference over freight transportation in using a rail line, junction, or crossing. . . .” 49 U.S.C. 24308(c); see Amtrak Improvement Act of 1973, Public Law 93-146, 10(2), 87 Stat. 552 (initial version).

    In 2008, Congress enacted PRIIA to address, among other things, issues related to the performance of passenger rail service, including the concern that one cause of Amtrak's inability to achieve reliable on-time performance was the failure of host freight railroads to honor Amtrak's right to preference. See Passenger Rail Inv. & Improvement Act, Public Law 110-432, Div. B, 122 Stat. 4907 (2008); S. Rep. No. 67, 110th Cong., 1st Sess. 25-26 (2007). Section 207 of PRIIA charged Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) with “jointly” developing new, or improving existing, metrics and standards for measuring the performance of intercity passenger rail operations, including on-time performance and train delays incurred on host railroads.

    Under Section 213(a) of PRIIA, if the on-time performance of any intercity passenger train averages less than 80% for any two consecutive calendar quarters, the Board may initiate an investigation, or Amtrak and other eligible complainants may file a complaint with the Board requesting that the Board initiate an investigation. The purpose of such an investigation is to determine whether and to what extent delays are due to causes that could reasonably be addressed by the passenger rail operator or the host railroad. Following the investigation, should the Board determine that Amtrak's substandard performance is “attributable to” the rail carrier's “failure to provide preference to Amtrak over freight transportation as required” by 49 U.S.C. 24308(c), the Board may choose to “award damages” or other appropriate relief from a host railroad to Amtrak. 49 U.S.C. 24308(f )(2). If the Board finds it appropriate to award damages to Amtrak, Amtrak must use the award “for capital or operating expenditures on the routes over which delays” were the result of the host railroad's failure to grant the statutorily required preference to passenger transportation. 49 U.S.C. 24308(f )(4).

    On August 19, 2011, AAR filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of Section 207 of PRIIA. See Ass'n of Am. R.Rs. v. Dep't of Transp., 865 F. Supp. 2d 22 (D.D.C. 2012). On January 19, 2012, prior to the issuance of a decision in that case, Amtrak filed a complaint with the Board pursuant to Section 213 of PRIIA in Docket No. NOR 42134, requesting that the Board initiate an investigation into alleged “substandard performance of Amtrak passenger trains” on certain rail lines owned by CN.2 Amtrak's complaint was subsequently held in abeyance for the purposes of mediation; the mediation period expired on October 4, 2012. Later, the Board granted the parties' request that the case again be held in abeyance to permit them to continue discussions and potentially reach a settlement. This abeyance was extended several times; most recently, on August 19, 2013, the Board extended the abeyance period to July 31, 2014, which the parties argued was warranted by their ongoing discussions and to provide additional time that may be necessary for final resolution of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Section 207(a) of PRIIA. Ultimately, however, the mediation and discussions were unsuccessful.

    2 Amtrak Complaint, NOR 42134, at 2 (Jan. 19, 2012).

    Meanwhile, on May 31, 2012, the District Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 207. Ass'n of Am. R.Rs. v. Dep't of Transp., 865 F. Supp. 2d at 25. AAR then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the D.C. Circuit). The D.C. Circuit reversed the District Court, holding that Section 207 of PRIIA impermissibly delegates regulatory authority to a “private entity” (Amtrak) and, therefore, is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. Ass'n of Am. R.Rs. v. Dep't of Transp., 721 F.3d 666 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The D.C. Circuit's decision was then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which agreed to review the case.

    While review was pending before the Supreme Court, on August 29, 2014, Amtrak filed a motion to amend its complaint against CN in Docket No. 42134 (the “Illini/Saluki” case). Specifically, Amtrak sought to narrow the focus of the complaint to the performance of Amtrak's Illini/Saluki service rather than all of the Amtrak services on lines owned by CN addressed in the original complaint. In addition, on November 17, 2014, Amtrak filed a new complaint under Section 213 of PRIIA in Docket No. NOR 42141, alleging “substandard performance of Amtrak's Capitol Limited service between Chicago, IL and Washington, D.C.” on rail lines owned by CSX Transportation, Inc. and Norfolk Southern Railway Company (the “Capitol Limited” case).3

    3 Amtrak Complaint, NOR 42141, at 2 (Nov. 17, 2014).

    On December 19, 2014, while the Supreme Court case was still pending, the Board issued a decision in the Illini/Saluki case (December 2014 Decision) (1) granting Amtrak's motion to amend its complaint against CN, and (2) concluding that the pending court litigation involving the constitutionality of Section 207 did not preclude Amtrak's complaint before the Board from moving forward. The Board also directed the parties to provide arguments and replies addressing how to construe the term “on-time performance” as the term is used in Section 213. In dissent, Commissioner Begeman stated that the Board would best fulfill its obligations under the law by initiating a rulemaking to establish clear standards by which on-time performance cases could be fairly processed.

    CN filed a petition for reconsideration in the Illini/Saluki case on January 7, 2015. AAR also submitted a conditional petition for rulemaking in this docket on January 15, 2015. In response, the Board, on January 16, 2015, served a decision postponing the filing deadlines in the Illini/Saluki case established by the December 2014 Decision, pending further order of the Board. In the Capitol Limited case, the Board served a decision on April 7, 2015, directing the parties to engage in mediation. The mediation period concluded on August 14, 2015, without success.

    On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court reversed the D.C. Circuit's decision, finding that Amtrak is a governmental entity for purposes of analyzing the constitutional issues surrounding the delegation of authority in Section 207. Dep't of Transp. v. Ass'n of Am. R.Rs., 135 S. Ct. 1225 (2015). However, the Court remanded the case to the D.C. Circuit for consideration of AAR's other arguments regarding the constitutionality of Section 207, which the D.C. Circuit had declined to reach. Id. at 1234. Currently, the legality of Section 207 of PRIIA remains in dispute.

    As noted, on May 15, 2015, the Board instituted this rulemaking proceeding in response to a petition filed by AAR. In that decision, the Board stated that it intended to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking and a procedural schedule in a subsequent decision. The Board found persuasive the arguments regarding the advantages of rulemaking in this situation: There are multiple on-time performance cases pending in which the Board's definition could apply; it would be efficient to obtain the full range of stakeholder perspectives in one docket, rather than piecemeal on a case-by-case basis; and defining on-time performance by rulemaking would provide clarity regarding the trigger for potential adjudications and would avoid the potential relitigation of the issue in each case, thereby conserving party and agency resources.

    The Proposed Rule. The proposed rule's definition of on-time performance, which is derived from a previous definition of on-time performance used by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), reads as follows:

    a train is deemed to be “on time” if it arrives at its final destination within five minutes of its scheduled arrival time per one hundred miles of operation (capped at 30 minutes).

    The ICC's on-time performance regulations (former 49 CFR 1124.6) provided that an intercity passenger train “shall arrive at its final terminus no later than 5 minutes after scheduled arrival time per 100 miles of operation, or 30 minutes after scheduled arrival time, whichever is the less.” The ICC explained that “[t]he public should be able to rely on the established train schedule so that plans can be made with a modicum of certainty and trains may once again be attractive to travelers for whom on-time performance is imperative.” Adequacy of Intercity Rail Passenger Serv., 344 I.C.C. 758, 776 (1973).4 We believe that the ICC's prior sentiment is equally valid today.

    4 Subsequently, in the Amtrak Reorganization Act of 1979, Pub. L. 96-73, 96 Stat. 537, Congress repealed the ICC's adequacy-of-service jurisdiction over Amtrak while establishing an internal Amtrak organization with similar functions. This transfer of responsibilities, however, implied no Congressional judgment on the merits of the ICC's definition of on-time performance.

    Under Section 1040.2 of the proposed rule, Definition of “On Time,” a train would be considered “on time” if it arrives at its final terminus no more than five minutes after its scheduled arrival time for each 100 miles the train operated, or 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time, whichever is less. Section 1040.3 of the proposed rule, Table of Maximum Allowances, sets forth the following table specifying the maximum number of minutes after a scheduled arrival time that an “on-time” train may arrive at its final terminus for each distance-variable band.

    Distance operated
  • (miles)
  • Over Up to and
  • including
  • Maximum
  • allowance
  • (minutes)
  • 0 100 5 100 200 10 200 300 15 300 400 20 400 500 25 500 No limit 30

    As set forth in the table, a train operating up to 100 miles would be “on time” if it arrives at its final terminus no more than five minutes after its scheduled arrival time. Likewise, a train operating over 100 miles but no more than 200 miles would be considered “on time” if it arrives at its final terminus no more than 10 minutes after its scheduled arrival time, and a train operating a distance over 500 miles would be considered “on time” if it arrives at its final terminus no more than 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time.

    The proposed rule also provides a framework for calculating quarterly on-time performance for purposes of filing or initiating a complaint. As proposed in Section 1040.4, Calculation of Quarterly On-Time Performance, on-time performance would be calculated as a percentage for each individual calendar quarter (e.g., January 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, and so on) by dividing the total number of “on-time” trains that calendar quarter, as determined by distance-variable thresholds in Sections 1040.2 and 1040.3, by the total number of trains that operated during that calendar quarter. Trains that did not operate from scheduled origin to scheduled destination would be excluded from this calculation.5 If the on-time performance percentage, calculated as described above, falls below 80% in each calendar quarter for two consecutive calendar quarters, an eligible complainant could file a complaint requesting an investigation pursuant to Section 213(a) of PRIIA, or the Board could initiate an investigation on its own.

    5 Thus, excluded from the calculation would be, for example, trains that do not operate, for any reason; trains that terminate prematurely at an intermediate point rather than the scheduled final terminus; and trains that originate at an intermediate point rather than the scheduled origin.

    The Board proposes to adopt the ICC's definition because relying on a comparison between Amtrak's scheduled arrival time and the time an Amtrak train actually arrives at its final destination would be clear and relatively easy to apply. In particular, adoption of this definition would simplify the record-keeping and production of evidence that may otherwise be necessary for Amtrak and the host carriers if on-time performance were defined using a number of additional factors, such as the amount of delay at intermediate stops or construction on the host carrier's line.

    The Board seeks comments from all interested persons on the proposed rule. Importantly, the Board encourages interested persons to propose and discuss potential modifications or alternatives to the proposed rule. Examples of such alternatives might include, but are not limited to: Factoring into the calculation of on-time performance a train's punctuality at intermediate stops, rather than the final terminus only; implementing alternative tables of maximum allowances with respect to either the distance-variables or the maximum allowance of minutes for each distance-variable band; or calculating the “on-time” thresholds under an entirely different methodology, such as approaches that Amtrak or other public agencies and host carriers have implemented. The Board will carefully consider all recommended proposals, and may take further comment, if appropriate, in an effort to establish the most meaningful and straightforward definition of on-time performance.

    Procedural Schedule. On June 12, 2015, Amtrak requested that the Board limit the comment period in this proceeding to 30 days. AAR filed a request for procedural schedule on July 16, 2015, in which it requested that the Board schedule two rounds of pleadings (opening comments and replies) before issuing a proposed rule and allow 45 days for parties to submit each (essentially, an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking).

    The Board will allow six weeks for parties to file opening comments in response to this notice of proposed rulemaking and three weeks for parties to file reply comments. Given the significance of the issue at hand, the Board finds that the 30-day comment period requested by Amtrak would provide insufficient time for parties to provide comments on the proposed rule. A procedural schedule allowing reply comments is appropriate because the Board here invites comments on not only the proposed rule, but potential modifications or alternatives (on which the Board may take further comment if appropriate). This approach is intended to balance the need to provide sufficient opportunity for public comments, as urged in part by AAR, with the need to complete this proceeding as expeditiously as possible.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, generally requires a description and analysis of new rules that would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In drafting a rule, an agency is required to: (1) Assess the effect that its regulation will have on small entities; (2) analyze effective alternatives that may minimize a regulation's impact; and (3) make the analysis available for public comment. 601-604. In its notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency must either include an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, 603(a), or certify that the proposed rule would not have a “significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.” 605(b). The impact must be a direct impact on small entities “whose conduct is circumscribed or mandated” by the proposed rule. White Eagle Coop. v. Conner, 553 F.3d 467, 480 (7th Cir. 2009).

    The proposed regulation would not create a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. As noted above, host carriers have been required to allow Amtrak to operate over their rail lines since the 1970s. Moreover, an investigation concerning delays to intercity passenger traffic is a function of Section 213 of PRIIA rather than this rulemaking. The proposed rule seeks only to define “on-time performance” for the purpose of implementing the rights and obligations already established in Section 213 of PRIIA. Thus, the proposed rule does not place any additional burden on small entities, but rather clarifies an existing obligation.

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that the proposed regulation were to create an impact on small entities, which it does not, the number of small entities so affected would not be substantial. The proposed definition of on-time performance would apply in proceedings involving Amtrak, currently the only provider of intercity passenger rail transportation subject to PRIIA, and its host railroads. For almost all of its operations, Amtrak's host carriers are Class I rail carriers,6 and Class I carriers generally do not fall within the Small Business Administration's definition of a small business for the rail transportation industry.7 Of a total of approximately 560 smaller carriers that do fall within the SBA's definition of a small entity, only approximately 10 currently host Amtrak traffic.8 Therefore, the Board certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the RFA. A copy of this decision will be served upon the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, DC 20416.

    6 Under the Board's regulations, Class I carriers have annual carrier operating revenues of $250 million or more in 1991 dollars (adjusted for inflation using 2014 data, the revenue threshold for a Class I rail carrier is $475,754,803).

    7 The Small Business Administration's Office of Size Standards has established a size standard for rail transportation, pursuant to which a line-haul railroad is considered small if its number of employees is 1,500 or less, and a short line railroad is considered small if its number of employees is 500 or less. 13 CFR 121.201 (industry subsector 482).

    8 This number is derived from Amtrak's Monthly Performance Report for May 2015, historical on-time performance records, and system timetable, all of which are available on Amtrak's Web site.

    This proposal would not significantly affect either the quality of the human environment or the conservation of energy resources.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 1040

    On-time performance of intercity passenger rail service.

    It is ordered:

    1. Comments are due by February 8, 2016. Reply comments are due by February 29, 2016.

    2. A copy of this decision will be served upon the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration.

    3. Notice of this decision will be published in the Federal Register.

    4. This decision is effective on its service date.

    Decided: December 16, 2015.

    By the Board, Chairman Elliott, Vice Chairman Begeman, and Commissioner Miller.

    Brendetta S. Jones, Clearance Clerk.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Surface Transportation Board proposes to amend title 49, chapter X, subchapter A, of the Code of Federal Regulations by adding part 1040 as follows:

    PART 1040—ON-TIME PERFORMANCE OF INTERCITY PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE Sec. 1040.1 Purpose. 1040.2 Definition of “on time.” 1040.3 Table of maximum allowances. 1040.4 Calculation of quarterly on-time performance. Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 721 and 24308(f).

    § 1040.1 Purpose.

    This section defines “on-time performance” for the purpose of implementing Section 213 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, 49 U.S.C. 24308(f).

    § 1040.2 Definition of “on time.”

    A train is “on time” if it arrives at its final terminus no more than five minutes after its scheduled arrival time per 100 miles of operation, or 30 minutes after its scheduled arrival time, whichever is less. This definition shall be implemented in accordance with the table provided in § 1040.3.

    § 1040.3 Table of maximum allowances.

    The following table sets forth the maximum number of minutes after the scheduled arrival time that a train may arrive at its final terminus and be considered on time for the purpose of implementing 49 U.S.C. 24308(f).

    Distance operated
  • (miles)
  • Over Up to and
  • including
  • Maximum
  • allowance
  • (minutes)
  • 0 100 5 100 200 10 200 300 15 300 400 20 400 500 25 500 No limit 30
    § 1040.4 Calculation of quarterly on-time performance.

    In any given calendar quarter, on-time performance shall be calculated as a percentage using the following formula:

    (a) The denominator shall be the number of trains that operated during that calendar quarter, excluding any train not operating from its scheduled origin to its scheduled destination; and

    (b) The numerator shall be the number of trains included in the denominator that also satisfy the definition of “on-time performance,” as set forth in §§ 1040.2 and 1040.3.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32411 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 150924885-5999-01] RIN 0648-BF38 International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for the Area of Overlap Between the Convention Areas of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS hereby proposes regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act to implement Recommendation C-12-11 of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). Recommendation C-12-11 revises the management regime for the area of overlapping jurisdiction between the IATTC and the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC). These proposed regulations provide that the management measures of the IATTC would no longer apply in the area of overlapping jurisdiction, with the exception of regulations governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Register. This action is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.

    DATES:

    Comments on the proposed rule and supporting documents must be submitted in writing by January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0158, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0158, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. Include the identifier “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0158” in the comments.

    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure they are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. 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. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Copies of the draft Regulatory Impact Review and other supporting documents are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2015-0158 or by contacting the Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, Jr., NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0070, or [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS, West Coast Region, 562-980-4036.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background on the IATTC

    The United States is a member of the IATTC, which was established under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The full text of the 1949 Convention is available at: http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles/IATTC_convention_1949.pdf.

    The IATTC consists of 21 member nations and four cooperating non-member nations and facilitates scientific research into, as well as the conservation and management of, highly migratory species of fish in the IATTC Convention Area. The IATTC Convention Area is defined as waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N. latitude, 150° W. longitude, and 50° S. latitude. The IATTC has maintained a scientific research and fishery monitoring program for many years, and regularly assesses the status of tuna and billfish stocks in the EPO to determine appropriate catch limits and other measures deemed necessary to promote sustainable fisheries and prevent the overexploitation of these stocks.

    International Obligations of the United States Under the Convention

    As a Contracting Party to the 1949 Convention and a member of the IATTC, the United States is legally bound to implement decisions of the IATTC. The Tuna Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. 951-962), as amended on November 5, 2015, by Title II of Public Law 114-81, provides that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States international obligations under the Convention, including recommendations and decisions adopted by the IATTC. The Secretary's authority to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS.

    Area of Overlap Recommendation

    In 2004, the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean entered into force. The Convention's area of application (WCPFC Convention Area) overlaps with the IATTC Convention Area. The two convention areas overlap in the Pacific Ocean waters within a rectangular area bounded by 50° S. latitude, 150° W. longitude, 130° W. longitude, and 4° S. latitude (“Area of Overlap”).

    The IATTC and WCPFC recognized the need to clarify the management measures in the Area of Overlap, and the IATTC adopted Recommendation C-12-11 (IATTC—WCPFC Overlap Area) at its 84th meeting in October 2012. Recommendation C-12-11 sets forth specific provisions for management of the Area of Overlap. Specifically, Recommendation C-12-11 calls for each flag State member, if it is a member of both organizations, to decide whether IATTC or WCPFC conservation and management measures will apply to vessels listed in the registers of both organizations while fishing in the Area of Overlap. In December 2012, the WCPFC adopted a nearly identical decision. The record of the WCPFC's decision can be found at paragraph 80 in the Summary Report for the Ninth Regular Session of the WCPFC, which is available at: https://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/WCPFC9-Summary-Report-final.pdf.

    NMFS Proposal

    As stated above, the United States is a member of the IATTC. The United States is also a member of the WCPFC, and implements WCPFC decisions under the authority of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFC Implementation Act; 16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.). Currently, both the U.S. regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart C) and the regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart O) apply in the Area of Overlap. Rather than apply one Commission's measures to an individual vessel or gear type and the other Commission's measures to another vessel or gear type, NMFS proposes to apply the WCPFC's management measures to the entire U.S. fleet. NMFS proposes this application of the regulations because each Commission develops a comprehensive and self-contained package of management measures to address similar conservation objectives. If one set of management measures were applied to some vessels and another set to others, management would fail to address the conservation objectives of either Commission.

    NMFS proposes that the decisions of the WCPFC, rather than those of the IATTC, apply in the Area of Overlap because the U.S. fisheries impacted by this rulemaking occur mostly in the WCPFC Convention Area. In other words, the impacted fisheries are subject to regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, in most of their fishing grounds. Being subject to only this set of regulations when fishing inside the Area of Overlap—rather than being subject to only the IATTC-related regulations in that area—would provide more uniform regulations for these fisheries. Alternatively, NMFS also welcomes public input on alternatives to this rule, i.e., such as requiring U.S. vessels to adhere to some or all conservation measures of the IATTC, rather than those of the WCPFC, in the Area of Overlap. Depending on the input received, the final rule might be adjusted accordingly.

    U.S. vessels do not fish in the Area of Overlap often, but the two gear types that have fished in the Area of Overlap since 2008 are troll vessels that harvest South Pacific albacore and purse seine vessels that harvest tropical tuna. The majority of the South Pacific albacore troll fishery occurs in the WCPFC Convention Area outside the Area of Overlap (i.e., west of 150° W.), and some fishing has occurred in the Area of Overlap (Table 1). These fisheries are described in the Classification section below.

    Table 1—Number of U.S. Troll Vessels (i.e., Vessels) and Days Fished by Vessels (i.e., Vessel Days) in the Pacific Ocean for South Pacific Albacore From 2008 to 2014 (Data Provided by NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center) [Data for 2013 and 2014 are considered preliminary] Year East of 130° W. vessels vessel-days Area of overlap vessels vessel-days West of 150° W. vessels vessel-days 2008 3 93 3 162 2009 0 0 4 17 4 180 2010 3 7 5 58 6 339 2011 0 0 3 7 6 310 2012 6 17 9 152 9 378 2013 0 0 0 0 6 325 2014 0 0 7 116 8 503 — indicates data are for fewer than three vessels. Although under this proposed rule, regulations implementing WCPFC decisions would continue to apply in the Area of Overlap, NMFS also proposes that regulations in 50 CFR 300.22 that pertain to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register would still apply with respect to U.S. vessels that are used to fish in the Area of Overlap. NMFS proposes that IATTC Regional Vessel Register regulations continue to apply so that the United States can continue to fulfill its obligations under the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP) in the Area of Overlap. The IATTC Regional Vessel Register is used as a mechanism to implement AIDCP provisions, including vessel assessment fees, observer coverage, and authorization for the active status of purse seine vessels. Therefore, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register requirements that include the cost associated with vessel assessment fees would continue to apply in the Area of Overlap. In addition, the United States is obligated to manage U.S. purse seine well volume capacity in the IATTC Convention Area within the limits established by the IATTC, and the IATTC Regional Vessel Register is used for this purpose. Similarly, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register is used to manage the one-trip option for U.S. purse seine vessels licensed under the South Pacific Tuna Treaty for fishing trips that do not exceed 90 days in duration. Proposed Regulations for Area of Overlap

    This proposed rule would implement Recommendation C-12-11 and establish that, in the Area of Overlap, the regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C, would not apply; however, regulations pertaining to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register at 50 CFR 300.22(b) would still apply. The decisions of the WCPFC as implemented by NMFS regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, would continue to apply in the Area of Overlap. Under this proposed rule, the definition of the IATTC Convention Area would be revised into two parts: (1) include the Area of Overlap in the definition of the IATTC Convention Area for the purpose of IATTC Regional Vessel Register regulations at 50 CFR 300.22(b), and (2) exclude the Area of Overlap in the definition of the Convention Area for the purpose of regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C.

    Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and other applicable laws.

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

    Additionally, although there are no new collection-of-information requirements associated with this action that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, existing collection-of-information requirements still apply under the following Control Numbers: (1) 0648-0596, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements under the WCPFC; (2) 0648-0595, WCPFC Vessel Information Family of Forms; (3) 0648-0649, Transshipment Requirements under the WPCFC; and (4) 0648-0204, West Coast Region Family of Forms. 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 the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rationale for the certification is provided in the following paragraphs.

    As described in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION above, the proposed regulations would implement Recommendation C-12-11 adopted by the IATTC at its October 2012 meeting. Recommendation C-12-11 calls for each flag State member, if it is a member of both organizations, to decide whether IATTC or WCPFC conservation and management measures will apply to vessels listed in the registers of both organizations while fishing in the Area of Overlap. Currently, both the U.S. regulations that implement the decisions of the IATTC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart C) and the regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC (see 50 CFR part 300, subpart O) apply in the Area of Overlap. This proposed rule would provide that the regulations that implement management measures of the IATTC would no longer apply in the Area of Overlap, with the exception of regulations governing the IATTC Regional Vessel Register.

    The failure to promulgate the proposed action would continue to require the decisions of both the IATTC and WCPFC to apply in the Area of Overlap. Alternatively, the implementation of Recommendation C-12-11 would establish the application of the measures of only one organization (i.e., the WCPFC) as opposed to both organizations (i.e., the WCPFC and the IATTC).

    On June 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an interim final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33467). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 million to $20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 million to $5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 million to $7.5 million. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) conducted its analysis for this action in light of the new size standards.

    NMFS considers all entities subject to this action to be small entities as defined by both the former, lower size standards and the revised size standards. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are all U.S. vessels that may fish for tuna or tuna-like species in the Area of Overlap; however, U.S. vessels do not fish for tuna or tuna-like species in the Area of Overlap often. Since 2008, no U.S. fishing vessel with pelagic longline gear has fished in the Area of Overlap. Two gear types that have fished in the Area of Overlap since 2008 are troll vessels that harvest South Pacific albacore and purse seine vessels that harvest tropical tunas.

    There are two components to the U.S. tuna purse seine fishery in the EPO: (1) purse seine vessels with at least 363 mt fish hold volume (class size 6 vessels) that are typically based in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), and (2) coastal purse seine vessels with smaller fish hold volume that are based on the U.S. West Coast. Because the coastal purse seine vessels do not typically fish south of the equator or on the high seas, this rule would likely only affect the size class 6 purse seine vessels.

    In recent years, most of the yellowfin, skipjack, and bigeye tuna catch in the EPO have been landed by size class 6 purse seine vessels. Estimates of ex-vessel revenues in this purse seine fishery in the IATTC Convention Area since 2005 are confidential and may not be publicly disclosed because of the small number of vessels in the fishery. In the Area of Overlap, no purse seine vessels fished from 2008 to 2010, fewer than three purse seine vessels fished in 2011 and 2012 (therefore, their landings and revenue are confidential), and no purse seine vessels fished in 2013 or 2014.

    As of November 2015, there are 22 size class 6 purse seine vessels on the IATTC Regional Vessel Register and 40 size class 6 purse seine vessels on the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels. For the purse seine fishery based in the WCPO, NMFS estimates that the average annual receipts over 2010 to 2012 for each purse seine vessel were less than the $20.5 million threshold for finfish harvesting businesses (the greatest was about $19 million) based on the catches of each vessel in the purse seine fleet during that period and indicative regional cannery prices developed by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (available online: https://www.ffa.int/node/425#attachments). Since 2012, cannery prices have declined dramatically, so the vessels' revenues in 2013 and 2014 have very likely declined as well.

    U.S. vessels that fish with troll gear in the Pacific Ocean can be described as part of the North Pacific albacore troll fishery and the South Pacific albacore troll fishery. As of November 2, 2015, there are 1,394 vessels with active Pacific Highly Migratory Species permits authorized to use troll gear. An average of 640 West Coast albacore trollers participated in the fishery from 2008 to 2014, with an average ex-vessel revenue of approximately $53,829 per vessel. The North Pacific albacore troll fishery occurs mostly in the IATTC Convention Area from April through November, while the South Pacific albacore troll fishery occurs almost exclusively in the WCPFC Convention Area from November through April.

    From 2008 to 2012, and in 2014, fewer than three U.S. West Coast trollers participated in the South Pacific albacore fishery and landed on the West Coast. In 2013, four West Coast trollers participated in the South Pacific albacore fishery and landed on the West Coast, with an ex-vessel revenue of about $275,000 per vessel. To estimate revenues, only data from vessels that landed on the West Coast were used. From 2008 to 2014, the number of U.S. trollers targeting South Pacific albacore in the Area of Overlap has ranged from three to nine vessels on an annual basis (Table 1). However, fishing activity in the Area of Overlap could change with ocean conditions such as El Niño Southern Oscillation events.

    This action will not increase the economic or record keeping and reporting burden on U.S. vessel owners and operators; but rather, the rule is expected to reduce the burden because affected vessels will only be required to follow the measures of one organization (i.e., the WCPFC) rather than both organizations (i.e., the WCPFC and the IATTC) in the Area of Overlap. For example, WCPFC regulations at § 300.223(a) establish a limit of 1,828 purse seine fishing days in the WCPFC Convention Area in the areas of high seas and U.S. EEZ between 20° N. latitude and 20° S. latitude (an area known as the ELAPS), which includes some of the Area of Overlap, for calendar year 2015. The limit was reached and a closure of the applicable area to purse seine fishing took effect June 15, 2015, and will remain in effect through December 31, 2015 (80 FR 32313). In contrast, the IATTC implementing regulations at § 300.25(f) provide that U.S. purse seine vessels select one of two options for 62-day closures in the IATTC Convention Area for 2015 and 2016. Under this proposed rule, vessel owners would not have to comply with both sets of purse seine closures in the Area of Overlap, only the WCPFC closure. In other instances, this regulation would remove duplicative regulations governing the U.S. fleet in the Area of Overlap. However, vessel owners and operators will still need to comply with the IATTC Regional Vessel Register requirements, such as vessel assessment fees and observer coverage.

    In addition, this action is not expected to change the typical fishing practices of impacted vessels because the U.S. fisheries affected by this rulemaking occur mostly in the WCPFC Convention Area. In other words, the impacted fisheries are subject to regulations that implement the decisions of the WCPFC at 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, in most of their fishing grounds. Imposing only this set of regulations to vessels fishing inside the Area of Overlap would provide more uniform regulations for these fisheries.

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the SBA's June 20, 2013, and June 14, 2014, final rules (78 FR 37398 and 79 FR 33647, respectively), this certification was developed for this action using the SBA's revised size standards. NMFS considers all entities subject to this action to be small entities as defined by both the former, lower size standards and the revised size standards. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed action is considered to equally affect all of these small entities in the same manner. Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, the proposed action, if adopted, will not have adverse or disproportional economic impact on these small business entities. Therefore, the proposed action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and was not prepared for this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

    Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, International organizations, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: December 17, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart C, continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.

    2. In § 300.21, revise the definition for “Convention Area” in alphabetical order to read as follows:
    § 300.21 Definitions.

    Convention Area or IATTC Convention Area means:

    (1) for the purpose of section 300.22(b) of this subpart, all waters of the Pacific Ocean within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N. latitude from the coast of North America to its intersection with 150° W. longitude, then 150° W. longitude to its intersection with 50° S. latitude, and then 50° S. latitude to its intersection with the coast of South America; and

    (2) for the purpose of all other sections and paragraphs of this subpart, all waters of the Pacific Ocean within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N. latitude from the coast of North America to its intersection with 150° W. longitude, then 150° W. longitude to its intersection with 4° S. latitude, then 4° S. to its intersection with 130° W. longitude, then 130° W. longitude to its intersection with 50° S. latitude, and then 50° S. latitude to its intersection with the coast of South America.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32581 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 248 Monday, December 28, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Risk Management Agency Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request December 16, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602.

    Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full affect if received within January 27, 2016. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Risk Management Agency

    Title: Multiple Peril Crop Insurance.

    OMB Control Number: 0563-0053.

    Summary of Collection: Previous amendments to the Federal Crop Insurance Act expanded the role of the crop insurance program to be the principal tool for risk management by producers of farm products and provided that crop insurance program operate on an actuarially sound basis, provided for independent review of crop insurance products by person experienced as actuaries and in underwriting, and required that the crop insurance program operate on an actuarially sound basis. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) strengthens crop insurance by providing more risk management options for farmers and ranchers and by making crop insurance more affordable for beginning farmers. It continues the growth of the crop insurance program, new crop products developed, provides avenues to expand farm safety net options for organic producers and specialty crop producers, and new insurance concepts studied for possible implementation. Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) offers a Standard Reinsurance Agreement to eligible crop insurance companies under which FCIC will use data elements instead of standards forms.

    Need and Use of the Information: FCIC requires crop acreage information to be submitted to the insurance agent by each producer on or before a specific date. The basic provision covers information such as the name of the crop, the number of timely planted acres, person sharing in the crop, location of the acreage, etc. This information is used to determine liability, premium and subsidy. Federal agencies, Risk Management Agency, crop insurance companies that are reinsured by FCIC, and other agencies that require such information in the performance of their duties may use this information. If the information were not collected by specified dates, the producers may not have insurance coverage or the amount of insurance may be reduced and the crop insurance program would not be administered in an actuarially sound manner.

    Description of Respondents: Farms; Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 590,750.

    Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: Quarterly; Weekly; Semi-annually; Monthly; Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 8,555,856.

    Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32173 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-08-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Revised Sunshine Act Meeting Notice AGENCY:

    United States Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Commission Telephonic Business Meeting.

    DATES:

    Monday, December 28, 2015, at 10 a.m. EST.

    ADDRESSES:

    Telephonic Business Meeting.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mauro Morales, Staff Director at (202) 376-7700.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This business meeting is open to the public by telephone only. The public may listen on the following toll-free number: 1-888-278-8476 with conference ID number 8154942.

    Hearing-impaired persons who will attend the briefing and require the services of a sign language interpreter should contact Pamela Dunston at (202) 376-8105 or at [email protected] at least seven business days before the scheduled date of the meeting.

    Meeting Agenda I. Approval of Agenda II. Program Planning • Presentation of town hall budget estimates for the environmental justice report • Discussion and vote on town hall meeting plan • Discussion on plan for revision of Native American “Quiet Crisis” V. Adjourn Meeting Dated: December 22, 2015. David Mussatt, Regional Programs Unit Chief, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32672 Filed 12-23-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-57-2015] Authorization of Production Activity; Foreign-Trade Zone 84; Bauer Manufacturing Inc.; (Stationary Oil/Gas Drilling Rigs) Conroe, Texas

    On August 19, 2015, the City of Conroe, Texas, grantee of FTZ 84, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board on behalf of Bauer Manufacturing Inc., within FTZ 84, in Houston, Texas.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 54520, September 10, 2015). The FTZ Board has determined that no further review of the activity is warranted at this time. The production activity described in the notification is authorized, subject to the FTZ Act and the FTZ Board's regulations, including Section 400.14, and further subject to a restriction requiring that foreign status textile-based cotton transport straps (classified within HTSUS Subheading 5806.31) be admitted to the zone in privileged foreign status (19 CFR 146.41).

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32636 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-979] Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (“solar cells”), from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”). The period of review (“POR”) is December 1, 2013 through November 30, 2014. The administrative review covers two mandatory respondents, (1) Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited (“Yingli”), and (2) Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. and Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (“Trina”). The Department preliminarily finds that both mandatory respondents sold subject merchandise in the United States at prices below normal value (“NV”) during the POR. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 28, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeff Pedersen and Thomas Martin, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement & Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-2769 or (202) 482-3936, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by the order is crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels and building integrated materials.1 Merchandise covered by this order is classifiable under subheading 8501.61.0000, 8507.20.80, 8541.40.6020, 8541.40.6030, and 8501.31.8000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, our written description of the scope of the order is dispositive.

    1 For a complete description of the scope of the order, see “Decision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of the 2013-2014 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or not Assembled into Modules, From the People's Republic of China” from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, issued concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice (“Preliminary Decision 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 Jiangsu Sunlink PV Technology Co., Ltd. and Shanghai JA Solar Technology Co., Ltd. each had no shipments during the POR. For additional information regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Consistent with an announced refinement to its assessment practice in non-market economy (“NME”) cases, the Department is not rescinding this review, 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.2

    2See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694, 65694-95 (October 24, 2011) and the “Assessment Rates” section, below.

    Preliminary Affiliation and Single Entity Determination

    Based on record evidence, the Department preliminarily finds that the mandatory respondent Yingli is affiliated with the following eight companies pursuant to section 771(33)(F) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”): (1) Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (2) Tianjin Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (3) Hengshui Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (4) Lixian Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (5) Baoding Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd.; (6) Beijing Tianneng Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (7) Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd.; (8) Shenzhen Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. Furthermore, the Department preliminarily finds that the mandatory respondent Trina is affiliated with the following four companies pursuant to section 771(33)(F) of the Act: (1) Yancheng Trina Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd.; (2) Changzhou Trina Solar Yabang Energy Co., Ltd.; (3) Turpan Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd.; (4) Hubei Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. In addition, based on the information presented in this review, we preliminarily find that each of the mandatory respondents and their affiliates should be treated, respectively, as a single entity for the purposes of this review pursuant to 19 CFR 351.401(f). For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum and Yingli and Trina Collapsing Memoranda.3

    3See the December 18, 2015 Memoranda from Jeff Pedersen to Abdelali Elouaradia concerning “Affiliation and Single Entity Status” (“Yingli Collapsing Memorandum”), and the December 18, 2015 Memoranda from Thomas Martin to Abdelali Elouaradia concerning “Affiliation and Single Entity Status” (“Trina Collapsing Memorandum”).

    Use of Partial Facts Available (“FA”) and Partial Adverse Facts Available (“AFA”)

    Section 776(a) of the Act provides that the Department shall apply FA if (1) necessary information is not on the record, or (2) an interested party or any other person (A) withholds information that has been requested, (B) fails to provide information within the deadlines established, or in the form and manner requested by the Department, subject to subsections (c)(1) and (e) of section 782 of the Act, (C) significantly impedes a proceeding, or (D) provides information that cannot be verified as provided by section 782(i) of the Act.

    Section 776(b) of the Act further provides that the Department may use an adverse inference in applying FA (i.e., AFA) when a party has failed to cooperate by not acting to the best of its ability to comply with a request for information. Such an adverse inference may include reliance on information derived from the petition, the final determination, a previous administrative review, or other information placed on the record.

    Yingli was unable to obtain factor of production (“FOP”) data from its unaffiliated processors and its unaffiliated suppliers of solar cells. Pursuant to section 776(a) of the Act, the Department finds that it is appropriate to use FA in valuing the missing FOP data. For details regarding these determinations, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the Yingli Unreported FOP Memorandum.4

    4See the memorandum from Jeff Pedersen to Abdelali Elouaradia entitled “Unreported Factors of Production,” dated concurrently with these preliminary results (“Yingli Unreported FOP Memorandum”).

    Trina was also unable to obtain FOPs from all but one of its unaffiliated toll processors and its unaffiliated suppliers of solar cells. Because the unreported FOPs for solar cells represented a significant quantity of missing information, the Department subsequently issued a questionnaire to the largest five of Trina's suppliers of solar cells, by quantity. In response, these suppliers stated that they would not respond to the Department's questionnaire. Because necessary information is not available on the record, and in accordance with section 776(a)(1) of the Act, the Department is applying FA with respect to the FOPs from the unaffiliated tollers. However, we have determined that it is appropriate to apply AFA, pursuant to section 776(b) of the Act, to the unreported FOPs for purchased solar cells. For details regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the Trina Unreported FOP Memorandum.5

    5See the memorandum from Thomas Martin to Abdelali Elouaradia entitled “Unreported Factors of Production,” dated concurrent with these preliminary results (“Trina Unreported FOP Memorandum”).

    Separate Rates

    The Department preliminarily determines that information placed on the record by the mandatory respondents Trina and Yingli, as well as by 15 other separate rate applicants, demonstrates that these companies are entitled to separate rate status. For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Rate for Separate-Rate Companies Not Individually Examined

    The statute and the Department's regulations do not address the establishment of a rate to be applied to respondents not selected for individual examination when the Department limits its examination in an administrative review pursuant to section 777A(c)(2)(B) of the Act. Generally, the Department looks to section 735(c)(5) of the Act, which provides instructions for calculating the all-others rate in an investigation, for guidance when calculating the rate for respondents which we did not individually examine in an administrative review. Section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act articulates a preference that we not calculate an all-others rate using rates which are zero, de minimis or based entirely on facts available. Accordingly, the Department's usual practice has been to average the weighted-average dumping margins for the examined companies, excluding rates that are zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts available.6 In this administrative review both mandatory respondents, Yingli and Trina, have estimated weighted-average dumping margins which are not zero or de minimis and which are not based entirely on facts available. Because there are only two relevant weighted-average dumping margins for these preliminary results, using a weighted-average of these two rates risks disclosure of business proprietary data. Therefore, the Department assigned a weighted-average dumping margin to the separate rate companies as described in the Separate Rate Calculation Memorandum.7 The separate rate companies are listed in the “Preliminary Determination” section of this notice.

    6See Ball Bearings and Parts Thereof From France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews and Rescission of Reviews in Part, 73 FR 52823, 52824 (September 11, 2008), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 16.

    7See the memorandum from Jeff Pedersen to Howard Smith entitled “2013-2014 Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or not Assembled into Modules, from the People's Republic of China: Calculation of the Margin for Respondents Not Selected for Individual Examination,” dated concurrently with this notice.

    PRC-Wide Entity

    The Department's change in policy regarding conditional review of the PRC-wide entity applies to this administrative review.8 Under this policy, the PRC-wide entity will not be under review unless a party specifically requests, or the Department self-initiates, a review of the entity. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity in this review, the entity is not under review and the entity's rate (i.e., 238.95 percent) is not subject to change.9 Aside from the companies with no shipments, the separate rate companies discussed above, and the companies for which the review was previously rescinded,10 the Department considers all other companies for which a review was requested 11 to be part of the PRC-wide entity. For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    8See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013).

    9See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Final Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013, 80 FR 40998, 41002 (July 14, 2015) (“AR1 Final Results”).

    10See Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or not Assembled into Modules from the People's Republic of China: Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 80 FR 46245 (August 4, 2015).

    11See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews and Request for Revocation in Part, 80 FR 6041 (February 4, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”).

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Act. The Department calculated constructed export prices in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Given that the PRC is a NME country, within the meaning of section 771(18) of the Act, the Department calculated NV in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying the preliminary results of this review, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is made available to the public 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 is available to all parties 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 found at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Results of Review

    The Department preliminarily determines that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist for the POR:

    Exporter Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited/Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Tianjin Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Hengshui Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Lixian Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Baoding Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd./Beijing Tianneng Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Hainan Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd./Shenzhen Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd. 11.47 Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Trina Solar (Changzhou) Science and Technology Co., Ltd./Yancheng Trina Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd./Changzhou Trina Solar Yabang Energy Co., Ltd./Turpan Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd./Hubei Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. 4.53 BYD (Shangluo) Industrial Co., Ltd. 7.27 Canadian Solar International Limited 7.27 Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Changshu) Inc. 7.27 Canadian Solar Manufacturing (Luoyang) Inc. 7.27 Dongguan Sunworth Solar Energy Co., Ltd. 7.27 ERA Solar Co., Ltd. 7.27 ET Solar Energy Limited 7.27 JA Solar Technology Yangzhou Co., Ltd. 7.27 Jiangsu High Hope Int'l Group 7.27 JingAo Solar Co., Ltd. 7.27 Ningbo Qixin Solar Electrical Appliance Co., Ltd. 7.27 Shanghai BYD Co., Ltd. 7.27 Shenzhen Glory Industries Co., Ltd. 7.27 Shenzhen Topray Solar Co., Ltd. 7.27 Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd./Luoyang Suntech Power Co., Ltd. 7.27
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose to parties the calculations performed for these preliminary results of review within five days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). Interested parties may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review.12 Rebuttal briefs may be filed no later than five days after case briefs are due and may respond only to arguments raised in the case briefs.13 A table of contents, list of authorities used, and an executive summary of issues should accompany any briefs submitted to the Department. The summary should be limited to five pages total, including footnotes.14

    12See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(ii).

    13See 19 CFR 351.309(d).

    14See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    Interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice.15 Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, and a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral argument presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a date and time to be determined.16 Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    15See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    16See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    All submissions, with limited exceptions, must be filed electronically using ACCESS.17 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the Department's electronic records system, ACCESS, by 5 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on the due date. Documents excepted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with the APO/Dockets Unit in Room 18022 and stamped with the date and time of receipt by 5 p.m. ET on the due date.18

    17See generally 19 CFR 351.303.

    18See 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements); Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011).

    Unless otherwise extended, the Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of its analysis of issues raised in any briefs, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results of this review, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.19 The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review. For each individually examined respondent in this review whose weighted-average dumping margin in the final results of review is not zero or de minimis (i.e., less than 0.5 percent), the Department intends to calculate importer-specific assessment rates, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).20 Where the respondent reported reliable entered values, the Department intends to calculate importer-specific ad valorem assessment rates by aggregating the amount of dumping calculated for all U.S. sales to the importer and dividing this amount by the total entered value of the sales to the importer.21 Where the importer did not report entered values, the Department calculates an importer-specific assessment rates by dividing the amount of dumping for reviewed sales to the importer- by the total sales quantity associated with those transactions. In addition, the Department will calculate an estimated ad valorem importer-specific assessment rate to determine whether this rate is de minimis, however, the Department will direct CBP to assess importer-specific assessment rates based on the resulting per-unit rates.22 Where an importer-specific ad valorem is not zero or de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to collect the appropriate duties at the time of liquidation. Where either the respondent's weighted average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer-specific ad valorem assessment rate is zero or de minimis, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.23

    19See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    20See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012) (“Final Modification”).

    21See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    22Id.

    23See Final Modification, 77 FR at 8103.

    On October 24, 2011, the Department announced a refinement to its assessment practice in NME antidumping duty proceedings.24 Pursuant to this refinement in practice, for entries that were not reported in the U.S. sales database submitted by an exporter individually examined during this review, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the rate for the PRC-wide entity. Additionally, pursuant to this refinement, 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 CBP case number will be liquidated at the rate for the PRC-wide entity.

    24See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011), for a full discussion of this practice.

    In accordance with section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act, the final results of this review shall be the basis for the assessment of antidumping duties on entries of merchandise covered by the final results of this review and for future deposits of estimated antidumping duties, where applicable.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The Department will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit for antidumping duties equal to the weighted-average amount by which the normal value exceeds U.S. price. 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 of this notice, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For the exporters listed above, the cash deposit rate will be equal to the weighted-average dumping margin established in the final results of this review (except, if the rate is de minimis (i.e., less than 0.5 percent), then the cash deposit rate will be zero for that exporter); (2) for previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters not listed above that have separate rates, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding; (3) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate for the PRC-wide entity (i.e., 238.95 percent 25 ) and (4) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise that 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.

    25See AR1 Final Results, 80 FR at 41002.

    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 and/or countervailing 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 and/or countervailing duties has occurred, and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties and/or increase the amount of antidumping duties by the amount of the countervailing duties.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    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 and 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Scope of the Order 4. Duty Absorption 5. Preliminary Determination of No Shipments 6. Selection of Respondents 7. Single Entity Treatment 8. Discussion of the Methodology a. NME Country b. Separate Rates c. Application of Partial FA and AFA d. Surrogate Country e. Date of Sale f. Fair Value Comparisons g. U.S. Price h. Normal Value i. Section 777A(f) of the Act j. Currency Conversion 9. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-32630 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-489-825] Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty Determination AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of heavy walled rectangular welded carbon steel pipes and tubes (HWR pipes and tubes) from the Republic of Turkey (Turkey). The period of investigation is January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 28, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Smith or Reza Karamloo, Office II, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1766 or (202) 482-4470, respectively.

    Alignment of Final Countervailing Duty (CVD) Determination With Final Antidumping Duty (AD) Determination

    On the same day the Department initiated this CVD investigation, the Department also initiated AD investigations of HWR pipes and tubes from the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Turkey.1 The CVD and AD investigations cover the same merchandise. On November 23, 2015, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the petitioners 2 requested alignment of the final CVD determination of HWR pipes and tubes from Turkey with the final AD determination of HWR pipes and tubes from Turkey. Therefore, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(4), we are aligning the final CVD determination with the final AD determination. Consequently, the final CVD determination will be issued on the same date as the final AD determination, which is currently scheduled to be issued no later than May 2, 2016, unless postponed.

    1See Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes from the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation, 80 FR 49207 (August 17, 2015) (Initiation Notice). See also Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes From the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 80 FR 49202 (August 17, 2015).

    2 The petitioners in this investigation are Atlas Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, Bull Moose Tube Company, EXLTUBE, Hannibal Industries, Inc., Independence Tube Corporation, Maruichi American Corporation, Searing Industries, Southland Tube, and Vest, Inc.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The products covered by this investigation are HWR pipes and tubes from Turkey. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    We did not receive any comments concerning the scope of this investigation.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this CVD investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Act. For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we preliminarily determine that there is a subsidy (i.e., a financial contribution by an “authority” that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient) and that the subsidy is specific.3 For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.4

    3See 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.

    4See Memorandum from Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Countervailing Duty Investigation of Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes from the Republic of Turkey: Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination,” dated concurrently with this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    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 is available to all parties 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/index.html. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Determination and Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, we calculated a CVD rate for each individually-investigated producer/exporter of the subject merchandise. For companies not individually investigated, we calculated an “all-others” rate as described below. We preliminarily determine the countervailable subsidy rates to be:

    Company Subsidy rate (percent) MMZ Onur Boru Profil uretim San Ve Tic. A.S. 7.69 Ozdemir Boru Profil San ve Tic. Ltd Sti. 1.35 All-Others 4.39

    In accordance with sections 703(d)(1)(B) and (2) of the Act, we are directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all entries of HWR pipes and tubes from Turkey that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, and to require a cash deposit for such entries of merchandise in the amounts indicated above.

    In accordance with sections 703(d) and 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act, for companies not investigated, we apply an “all-others” rate, which is normally calculated by weighting the subsidy rates of the individual companies selected as respondents by those companies' exports of the subject merchandise to the United States.5 The “all-others” rate does not include zero and de minimis rates or any rates based solely on the facts available.

    5See Memorandum to the File, “Calculation of the “All-Others” Rate in the Preliminary Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Heavy Walled Rectangular Welded Carbon Steel Pipes and Tubes from the Republic of Turkey” (December 18, 2015). We calculated a weighted average of the rates of MMZ and Ozdemir using publicly-ranged data so as not to disclose the respondents' business proprietary information.

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, we intend to verify the information submitted by the respondents prior to making our final determination.

    U.S. International Trade Commission

    In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, we will notify the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) of our determination. In addition, we are making available to the ITC all non-privileged and non-proprietary information relating to this investigation. We will allow the ITC access to all privileged and business proprietary information in our files, provided the ITC confirms that it will not disclose such information, either publicly or under an administrative protective order, without the written consent of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

    In accordance with section 705(b)(2) of the Act, if our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will make its final determination within 45 days after the Department makes its final determination.

    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement.6 Interested parties may submit case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests.7 For a schedule of the deadlines for filing case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    6See 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    7See 19 CFR 351.309(c)-(d), 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    This determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 703(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The products covered by this investigation are certain heavy walled rectangular welded steel pipes and tubes of rectangular (including square) cross section, having a nominal wall thickness of not less than 4 mm. The merchandise includes, but is not limited to, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) A-500, grade B specifications, or comparable domestic or foreign specifications.

    Included products are those in which: (1) Iron predominates, by weight, over each of the other contained elements; (2) the carbon content is 2 percent or less, by weight; and (3) none of the elements below exceeds the quantity, by weight, respectively indicated:

    • 2.50 percent of manganese, or

    • 3.30 percent of silicon, or

    • 1.50 percent of copper, or

    • 1.50 percent of aluminum, or

    • 1.25 percent of chromium, or

    • 0.30 percent of cobalt, or

    • 0.40 percent of lead, or

    • 2.0 percent of nickel, or

    • 0.30 percent of tungsten, or

    • 0.80 percent of molybdenum, or

    • 0.10 percent of niobium (also called columbium), or

    • 0.30 percent of vanadium, or

    • 0.30 percent of zirconium.

    The subject merchandise is currently provided for in item 7306.61.1000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Subject merchandise may also enter under HTSUS 7306.61.3000. While the HTSUS subheadings and ASTM specification are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope Comments IV. Scope of the Investigation V. Alignment VI. Respondent Selection VII. Injury Test VIII. Subsidies Valuation IX. Analysis of Programs X. ITC Notification XI. Disclosure and Public Comment XII. Verification XIII. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-32631 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-020, C-570-021] Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Orders AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    Based on affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (“Department”) and the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), the Department is issuing antidumping duty (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) orders on melamine from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 28, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James Terpstra at (202) 482-3965 or Brendan Quinn at (202) 482-5848, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On November 6, 2015, the Department published its final affirmative determination of sales at less than fair value (“LTFV”) and its final affirmative determination that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of melamine from the PRC.1 On December 18, 2015, the ITC notified the Department of its final affirmative determination pursuant to section 735(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), that an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of LTFV imports and subsidized imports of melamine from the PRC.2

    1See Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 68851 (November 6, 2015) (“AD Final Determination”). See also Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, 80 FR 68847 (November 6, 2015).

    2See ITC Notification Letter to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance referencing ITC Investigation Nos. 701-TA-526-527 and 731-TA-1262-1263 (December 18, 2015) (“ITC Notification”).

    Scope of the Orders

    The merchandise subject to these orders is melamine (Chemical Abstracts Service (“CAS”) registry number 108-78-01, molecular formula C3H6N6).3 Melamine is a crystalline powder or granule typically (but not exclusively) used to manufacture melamine formaldehyde resins. All melamine is covered by the scope of these orders irrespective of purity, particle size, or physical form. Melamine that has been blended with other products is included within this scope when such blends include constituent parts that have been intermingled, but that have not been chemically reacted with each other to produce a different product. For such blends, only the melamine component of the mixture is covered by the scope of these orders. Melamine that is otherwise subject to these orders is not excluded when commingled with melamine from sources not subject to this investigation. Only the subject component of such commingled products is covered by the scope of these orders.

    3 Melamine is also known as 2,4,6-triamino-s-triazine; l,3,5-Triazine-2,4,6-triamine; Cyanurotriamide; Cyanurotriamine; Cyanuramide; and by various brand names.

    The subject merchandise is provided for in subheading 2933.61.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS subheading and CAS registry number are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

    Antidumping Duty Order

    In accordance with sections 735(b)(1)(A)(i) and 735(d) of the Act, the ITC has notified the Department of its final determination in this investigation, in which it found that imports of melamine from the PRC are materially injuring a U.S. industry. Therefore, in accordance with section 735(c)(2) of the Act, we are publishing this antidumping duty order.

    As a result of the ITC's final determination, in accordance with section 736(a)(1) of the Act, the Department will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, antidumping duties equal to the amount by which the normal value of the merchandise exceeds the export price (or constructed export price) of the merchandise, for all relevant entries of melamine from the PRC. These antidumping duties will be assessed on unliquidated entries from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after June 18, 2015, the date on which the Department published the AD Preliminary Determination, 4 but will not include entries occurring after the expiration of the provisional measures period and before publication of the ITC's final injury determination, as further described below.

    4See Melamine from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 34891 (June 18, 2015) (“AD Preliminary Determination”).

    Continuation of Suspension of Liquidation (AD)

    In accordance with section 735(c)(1)(B) of the Act, we will instruct CBP to continue to suspend liquidation on entries of subject merchandise from the PRC. We will also instruct CBP to require cash deposits equal to the estimated amount by which the normal value exceeds the U.S. price as indicated in the chart below, adjusted where appropriate for export subsidies.5 These instructions suspending liquidation will remain in effect until further notice.

    5See AD Final Determination, 80 FR at 68852 (describing the adjustments to the AD margins in more detail); see also sections 772(c)(1)(C) and 777A(f) of the Act, respectively. Unlike in administrative reviews, the Department calculates the adjustment for export subsidies in investigations not in the margin calculation program, but in the cash deposit instructions issued to CBP. See, e.g.,Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, and Negative Determination of Critical Circumstances: Certain Lined Paper Products from India, 71 FR 45012 (August 8, 2006), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 1.

    Accordingly, effective on the date of publication of the ITC's final affirmative injury determination, CBP will require, at the same time as importers would normally deposit estimated duties on this subject merchandise, a cash deposit equal to the estimated weighted-average antidumping duty margins, adjusted where appropriate for export subsidies, as discussed above.6 The “PRC-wide” rate applies to all exporters of subject merchandise not specifically listed.

    6See sections 736(a)(3), 772(c)(1)(C) and 777A(f) of the Act. Although the statute contemplates an adjustment for estimated domestic subsidy pass through, as stated in the AD Final Determination, we are not adjusting the PRC-wide rate for estimated domestic subsidy pass-through in this case because we have no basis upon which to make such an adjustment.

    Provisional Measures (AD)

    Section 733(d) of the Act states that instructions issued pursuant to an affirmative preliminary determination may not remain in effect for more than four months except where exporters representing a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise request the Department to extend that four-month period to no more than six months. At the request of exporters that accounted for a significant proportion of exports of melamine from the PRC, we extended the four-month period to no more than six months.7 In the underlying investigation, the Department published the AD Preliminary Determination on June 18, 2015. Therefore, the six-month period beginning on the date of the publication of the AD Preliminary Determination will end on December 15, 2015. Furthermore, section 737(b) of the Act states that definitive duties are to begin on the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determination.

    7See Melamine from the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 38175 (July 2, 2015).

    Therefore, in accordance with section 733(d) of the Act and our practice, we will instruct CBP to terminate the suspension of liquidation and to liquidate, without regard to antidumping duties, unliquidated entries of melamine from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after December 15, 2015, the date the provisional measures expired, until and through the day preceding the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determination in the Federal Register.

    Estimated Weighted-Average Dumping Margin

    The Department determines that the estimated final weighted-average dumping margin is as follows:

    Exporter Weighted-average
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • PRC-Wide Entity 8 363.31
    Countervailing Duty Order

    In accordance with sections 705(b)(1)(A)(i) and 705(d) of the Act, the ITC has notified the Department of its final determination that the industry in the United States producing melamine is materially injured by reason of subsidized imports of melamine from the PRC.9 Therefore, in accordance with section 705(c)(2) and 706(a) of the Act, we are publishing this countervailing duty order.

    8 The PRC-wide entity includes, among other companies, the mandatory respondents Allied Chemicals Inc., Xinji Jiuyuan Chemical Co., Ltd., Sichuan Golden Elephant Sincerity Chemical Co., Ltd., and Zhongyuan Dahua Group Inc., which withdrew from the investigation prior to respondent selection. As stated previously, we will adjust cash deposit rates by the amount of export subsidies, where appropriate. In this LTFV investigation, with regard to PRC-wide entity, export subsidies constitute 9.66 percent of the final calculated countervailing duty rate in the concurrent countervailing duty investigation, and, thus, we will offset the PRC-wide rate of 363.31 percent by the countervailing duty rate attributable to export subsidies (i.e., 9.66 percent). As a result, the cash deposit rate for the PRC-wide entity will be 353.65 percent.

    9See ITC Notification.

    Pursuant to section 706(a) of the Act, the Department will direct CBP to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, countervailing duties on unliquidated entries of melamine entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after April 20, 2015, the date on which the Department published its affirmative preliminary countervailing duty determination in the Federal Register, 10 and before August 18, 2015, the date on which the Department instructed CBP to discontinue the suspension of liquidation in accordance with section 703(d) of the Act. Section 703(d) of the Act states that the suspension of liquidation pursuant to a preliminary determination may not remain in effect for more than four months. Entries of melamine made on or after August 18, 2015, and prior to the date of publication of the ITC's final determination in the Federal Register are not liable for the assessment of countervailing duties, due to the Department's discontinuation, effective August 18, 2015, of the suspension of liquidation.

    10See Melamine From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty Determination, 80 FR 21706 (April 20, 2015).

    Provisional Measures (CVD)

    In accordance with Section 703(d) of the Act, the provisional measures period for the countervailing duty investigation ended on August 18, 2015, and CBP was instructed to terminate the suspension of liquidation and to liquidate, without regard to countervailing duties, unliquidated entries of melamine from the PRC, entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after August 18, 2015, the date the provisional measures expired, until and through the day preceding the date of publication of the ITC's final injury determination in the Federal Register.

    Suspension of Liquidation (CVD)

    In accordance with section 706 of the Act, the Department will direct CBP to reinstitute suspension of liquidation, effective on the date of publication of the ITC's notice of final determination in the Federal Register, and to assess, upon further instruction by the Department pursuant to section 706(a)(1) of the Act, countervailing duties for each entry of the subject merchandise in an amount based on the net countervailable subsidy rates for the subject merchandise. The Department will also direct CBP to require a cash deposit for each entry of subject merchandise in an amount equal to the net countervailable subsidy rates listed below. The all-others rate applies to all producers and exporters of subject merchandise not specifically listed.

    Company Subsidy rate
  • (percent)
  • Far-Reaching Chemical Co., Ltd. 154.00 M and A Chemicals Corp China 154.00 Qingdao Unichem International Trade Co., Ltd. 154.00 Shandong Liaherd Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. 156.90 Zhongyuan Dahua Group Co., Ltd. 154.00 All Others 154.58
    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice constitutes the AD and CVD orders with respect to melamine from the PRC pursuant to sections 736(a) and 706(a) of the Act. Interested parties can find an updated list of orders currently in effect by either visiting http://enforcement.trade.gov/stats/iastats1.html or by contacting the Department's Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Commerce Building.

    These orders are published in accordance with sections 706(a), 736(a), and 777(i) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.211(b).

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance .
    [FR Doc. 2015-32632 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE375 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (MAFMC) Ecosystem and Ocean Planning Advisory Panel (AP) will hold a public webinar meeting.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Monday, January 11, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For agenda details, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held via webinar with a with a telephone-only connection option. Connection details are available at: http://www.mafmc.org.

    Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331; Web site: www.mafmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; telephone: (302) 526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The MAFMC's Ecosystem and Ocean Planning AP will meet to provide input on the development of the Council's Unmanaged Forage Omnibus Amendment. This amendment will prohibit the development of new, or expansion of existing, directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species in Mid-Atlantic Federal waters until adequate scientific information is available to promote ecosystem sustainability. The webinar will include a discussion of development of the amendment to date. The AP will then be asked to provide input on preliminary management alternatives, a draft list of unmanaged forage species to be addressed in the amendment, and other aspects of the amendment.

    Special Accommodations

    The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32490 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Alaska Region Amendment 80 Permits and Reports.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0565.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 33.

    Average Hours per Response: 2 hours each for Application for Amend 80 QS; Application for Amend 80 Cooperative and CQ Permit; Application for Amend 80 limited access fishery; Application to transfer Amend 80 QS; Application for Amendment 80 Vessel Replacement and Application for inter-cooperative transfer Amend 80 CQ; 25 hours for Amend 80 cooperative report; 4 hours for Amend 80 appeals letter; 30 minutes for Flatfish Exchange Application.

    Burden Hours: 181.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area allocates several Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries among fishing sectors, established a limited access privilege program, and facilitated the formation of harvesting cooperatives in the non-American Fisheries Act (non-AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector. The Amendment 80 Fishery Management Plan applies retention standards on an aggregate basis to all activities of a cooperative, allowing participants within the cooperative to coordinate fishing and retention practices across the cooperative to meet the retention requirements.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations; individuals or households.

    Frequency: Annually and on occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission[email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32543 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: International Billfish Angler Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0020.

    Form Number(s): NOAA 88-10.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 500.

    Average Hours per Response: 5 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 42.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    The International Billfish Angler Survey began in 1969 and is an integral part of the Billfish Research Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC). The survey tracks recreational angler fishing catch and effort for billfish in the Pacific and Indian Oceans in support of the Pacific and Western Pacific Fishery Management Councils, authorized under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management and Act (MSA). The data are used by scientists and fishery managers to assist with assessing the status of billfish stocks. The survey is intended for anglers cooperating in the Billfish Program and is entirely voluntary. This survey is specific to recreational anglers fishing for Istiophorid and Xiphiid billfish in the Pacific and Indian Oceans; as such it provides the only estimates of catch per unit of effort for recreational billfish fishing in those areas.

    Affected Public:

    Frequency:

    Respondent's Obligation:

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32542 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION [Docket No. CPSC-2013-0025] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request—Safety Standard for Infant Swings AGENCY:

    Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“Commission” or “CPSC”) announces that the Commission has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a request for extension of approval of a collection of information associated with the CPSC's Safety Standard for Infants Swings (OMB No. 3041-0155). In the Federal Register of October 8, 2015 (80 FR 60885), the CPSC published a notice to announce the agency's intention to seek extension of approval of the collection of information. The Commission received no comments. Therefore, by publication of this notice, the Commission announces that CPSC has submitted to the OMB a request for extension of approval of that collection of information, without change.

    DATES:

    Written comments on this request for extension of approval of information collection requirements should be submitted by January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments about this request by email: [email protected] or fax: 202-395-6881. Comments by mail should be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for the CPSC, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. In addition, written comments that are sent to OMB also should be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket No. CPSC-2013-0025.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information contact: Robert H. Squibb, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; (301) 504-7815, or by email to: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CPSC has submitted the following currently approved collection of information to OMB for extension:

    Title: Safety Standard for Infant Swings.

    OMB Number: 3041-0155.

    Type of Review: Renewal of collection.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Affected Public: Manufacturers and importers of infant swings.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 9 firms that supply infant swings to the United States market have been identified; there are approximately 5 models per firm annually.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour/model associated with marking and labeling.

    Total Estimated Annual Burden: 45 hours (9 firms × 5 models × 1 hour).

    General Description of Collection: The Commission revised the CPSC standard for the safety standard for infant swings (16 CFR part 1223) on June 24, 2013 (78 FR 37706). The standard is intended to address hazards to children associated with infant swings. Among other requirements, the standard requires manufacturers, including importers, to meet the collection of information requirements for marking and labeling for infant swings.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32593 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. Sec. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirement on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, CNCS is soliciting comments concerning its proposed renewal of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Project Sponsor Application. The AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application is completed by organizations interested in sponsoring an AmeriCorps NCCC team. The NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program whose mission is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based national and community service.

    A copy of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed in the addresses section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by February 26, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods:

    (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service, National Civilian Community Corps; Attention Barbara Lane, Director of Projects and Partnerships; 1201 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20525.

    (2) By hand delivery or by courier to the CNCS mailroom, Room 8100, at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    (3) By fax to: (202) 606-6867, Attention: Barbara Lane, Director of Projects and Partnerships.

    (4) Electronically through www.regulations.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call 1-(800) 833-3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barbara Lane, (202) 606-6867, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CNCS is particularly interested in comments that:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are expected to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses).

    Background

    The AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application is completed by organizations interested in sponsoring an AmeriCorps NCCC team. Each year, AmeriCorps NCCC engages teams of members in projects in communities across the United States. Service projects, which typically last from six to eight weeks, address critical needs in natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans, and address other local needs.

    Current Action

    CNCS seeks to renew and revise the current application.

    The application will be used in the same manner as the existing application. CNCS additionally seeks to continue using the current application until the revised application is approved by OMB. The current application is due to expire on March 31, 2016.

    Type of Review: Renewal.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application.

    OMB Number: 3045-0010.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: Current/prospective AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsors.

    Total Respondents: 1,800 annually.

    Frequency: Rolling application process.

    Average Time per Response: Averages 9.5 hours.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 17,100 hours.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): None.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Jake Sgambati, Director of Operations, National Civilian Community Corps.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32619 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (hereinafter the “Corporation”), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirement on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, the Corporation is soliciting comments concerning its proposed implementation of AmeriCorps NCCC's (National Civilian Community Corps) Sponsor Survey. This survey was developed to support NCCC performance measurement for use in program development, funding, and evaluation. The survey instrument will be completed by NCCC project sponsors for each NCCC team following completion of each NCCC project. Completion of this information collection is not required to be considered for or obtain grant or resource funding support from AmeriCorps NCCC.

    Copies of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed in the addresses section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by February 26, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods:

    (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service National Civilian Community Corps; Attention Barbara Lane, Director Projects and Partnerships, Room 9805; 1201 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20525.

    (2) By hand delivery or by courier to the Corporation's mailroom at Room 8100 at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    (3) By fax to: (202) 606-3462, Attention: Barbara Lane, Director Projects and Partnerships.

    (4) Electronically through www.regulations.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call (202) 606-3472 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barbara Lane, (202) 606-6867, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Corporation is particularly interested in comments that:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Corporation, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are expected to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses).

    Background

    This National Civilian Community Corps Sponsor Survey originally developed this Sponsor Survey to evaluate the program's performance impact on sponsoring organizations and communities. This measurement instrument works to capture outputs and outcomes of the NCCC program on the organizations and communities it serves. This information collection serves as part of an overall AmeriCorps NCCC logic model to help measure the degree to which the program is addressing the statuary areas of national and community needs in a way that strengthens communities and builds leaders. The survey will be administered electronically to all project sponsors after each project is completed.

    Current Action

    This is a revision of the information collection request. The NCCC Sponsor Survey consists of between 34 and 37 questions, depending on which responses the respondents specify. All sponsors will receive their survey as a single instrument. For each team on each project, the organization that partnered with AmeriCorps NCCC will receive an individual survey.

    Type of Review: Revised.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: NCCC Sponsor Survey.

    OMB Number: 3045-01385.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: The NCCC sponsor survey will be administered to the project sponsor for any NCCC service project. These sponsors apply to receive a NCCC team, typically made up of 8-12 Members, for a period of approximately six-eight weeks to implement local service projects. There are approximately 1,200 projects that NCCC perform each year. The project sponsors are uniquely able to provide the information sought in the NCCC Sponsor Survey.

    Total Respondents: Based on the number of projects completed last fiscal year, NCCC expects to administer 2,400 surveys each fiscal year. These may not be unique responders as many sponsors receive teams on a rotating basis and thus may complete the survey more than once per year.

    Frequency: Biweekly. Each sponsor will complete only one survey per team per project.

    Average Time per Response: 30 minutes.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1,200 hours.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): None.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Jake Sgambati, Director of Operations, National Civilian Community Corps.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32603 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DOD-2015-OS-0141] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    National Guard Bureau, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to add a new System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Guard Bureau proposes to add a new system of records INGB 013, entitled “LeaveLog”, matches information for each user to that user's military pay account. Once validated, the information collected is used to automate the submission of leave requests, approval and/or disapproval of leave, and submission of leave transactions to military pay systems.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before January 27, 2016. This proposed action will be effective the day following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Jennifer Nikolaisen, 111 South George Mason Drive, AH2, Arlington, VA 22204-1373 or telephone: (703) 601-6884.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Guard Bureau notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/. The proposed system report, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on December 15, 2015, 2014, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. INGB 013 System name:

    LeaveLog

    System location:

    National Guard Bureau, Human Resources Manpower, 111 South George Mason Drive, Arlington, Virginia, 22204-1382.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    National Guard Service Members in an active duty status based on an individual order for active duty status. This includes Army National Guard and Air National Guard service members.

    Categories of records in the system:

    Full name, military rank, organization, type of leave, leave start and stop dates, address while on leave, phone number while on leave, leave balance, email address, and Social Security Number (SSN).

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    10 U.S.C. 10502, Chief, National Guard Bureau; Army Regulation 600-8-10, Leaves and Passes; Air Force Instruction 36-3003, Military Leave Program; and E.O. 9397 (SSN), as amended.

    Purpose(s):

    The system matches information for each user to access their military pay account. Once validated, the information collected is used to automate the submission of leave requests, approval and/or disapproval of leave, and submission of leave transactions to military pay systems.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained therein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the National Guard Bureau's compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    All records are electronic and are stored in a database with encryption for data at rest.

    Retrievability:

    Records are retrieved using the SSN, first and last name of the individual, or the organization to which the individual belongs.

    Safeguards:

    Records are protected from unauthorized disclosure by storage in areas accessible only to authorized personnel within buildings secured by locks or guards. Access to data by the users is restricted by the Web application itself and limited by user identification or authentication. User roles define user privileges and functions within the application. In order to access the system, users must have a DoD Common Access Card (CAC) which contains a digital certificate and validates their identity.

    Retention and disposal:

    Disposition pending (treat records as permanent until the National Archives and Records Administration has approved the retention and disposition schedule.

    System manager(s) and address:

    National Guard Bureau, Human Resources Manpower, 111 South George Mason Drive (2 East), Arlington, VA 22204-1382.

    Notification procedure:

    Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system can write to the National Guard Bureau, Human Capital Management Office, 111 South George Mason Drive (2 East), Arlington, VA 22204-1382.

    Written requests must include his or her full name, period of duty, and full mailing address in order to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Record access procedures:

    Individuals seeking access to records about themselves contained in this system can write to the National Guard Bureau, Human Capital Management Office, 111 South George Mason Drive (2 East), Arlington, VA 22204-1382.

    Written requests must include his or her full name, period of duty, and full mailing address in order to receive a response.

    In addition, the requester must provide a notarized statement or an unsworn declaration made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1746, in the following format:

    If executed outside the United States: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: `I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature)'.

    Contesting record procedures:

    The National Guard Bureau rules for accessing records, for contesting contents, and appealing initial agency determinations are published at 32 CFR part 329 or may be obtained from the system manager.

    Record source categories:

    Information is obtained from the individual, the Defense Joint Military Pay System—Active Component (DJMS-AC), and the Defense Joint Military Pay System—Reserve Component (DJMS-RC).

    Exemptions Claimed for the System:

    None.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32557 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Defense Business Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    DoD.

    ACTION:

    Meeting notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the Defense Business Board. This meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The public meeting of the Defense Business Board (“the Board”) will be held on Thursday, January 21, 2016. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 11:00 a.m. (Escort required; see guidance in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, “Public's Accessibility to the Meeting.”)

    ADDRESSES:

    Room 3E863 in the Pentagon, Washington, DC (Escort required; see guidance in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, “Public's Accessibility to the Meeting.”)

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The Board's Designated Federal Officer (DFO) is Ms. Roma Laster, Defense Business Board, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Room 5B1088A, Washington, DC 20301-1155, [email protected], 703-695-7563. For meeting information please contact Mr. Steven Cruddas, Defense Business Board, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Room 5B1088A, Washington, DC 20301-1155, [email protected], (703) 697-2168. For submitting written comments or questions to the Board, send via email to mailbox address: [email protected] Please include in the Subject line “DBB Jan 2016 Meeting.”

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.140.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The Board will review the findings and recommendations from the Task Groups on “Creating Virtual Consultancies: Engaging Talent (Innovative Culture Part II)” and “Evaluation of Position of Under Secretary of Defense for Business Management and Information.”

    The mission of the Board is to examine and advise the Secretary of Defense on overall DoD management and governance. The Board provides independent advice which reflects an outside private sector perspective on proven and effective best business practices that can be applied to the DoD.

    Availability of Materials for the Meeting: A copy of the agenda and the terms of reference for each Task Group study may be obtained from the Board's Web site at http://dbb.defense.gov/meetings. Copies will also be available at the meeting.

    Meeting Agenda 9:30 a.m.-9:35 a.m.—Opening remarks 9:35 a.m.-10:35 a.m.—Task Group briefings on “Creating Virtual Consultancies: Engaging Talent (Innovative Culture Part II)” and on “Evaluation of Position of Under Secretary of Defense, Business Management and Information.” 10:35 a.m.-10:45 a.m.—Public Comments (if time permits) 10:45 a.m.-11:00 a.m.—Board Deliberations

    Written public comments are strongly encouraged.

    Public's Accessibility to the Meeting: Pursuant to FACA and 41 CFR 102-3.140, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is limited and is on a first-come basis. All members of the public who wish to attend the public meeting must contact Mr. Steven Cruddas at the number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section no later than 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2016 to register and make arrangements for a Pentagon escort, if necessary. Public attendees requiring escort should arrive at the Pentagon Metro Entrance with sufficient time to complete security screening no later than 9:00 a.m. on January 21. To complete security screening, please come prepared to present two forms of identification of which one must be a pictured identification card.

    Special Accommodations: Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting should contact Mr. Cruddas at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    Procedures for Providing Public Comments

    Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.105(j) and 102-3.140, and section 10(a)(3) of FACA, the public or interested organizations may submit written comments to the Board about its mission and topics pertaining to this public meeting.

    Written comments should be received by the DFO at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting date so that the comments may be made available to the Board for their consideration prior to the meeting. Written comments should be submitted via email to the email address for public comments given in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section in either Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word format. Please include in the Subject line “DBB Jan 2016 Meeting.” Please note that since the Board operates under the provisions of the FACA, as amended, all submitted comments and public presentations will be treated as public documents and will be made available for public inspection, including, but not limited to, being posted on the Board's Web site.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32504 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Agency Information Collection Extension AGENCY:

    U.S. Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice and Request for Comments

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE), pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, intends to extend for three years, an information collection request with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the extended collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. This information collection request pertains to the Human Reliability Program (HRP). This information collection request consists of forms that will certify to DOE that respondents were advised of the requirements for occupying or continuing to occupy a HRP position. The forms include: Human Reliability Program Certification (DOE F 470.3), Acknowledgement and Agreement to Participate in the Human Reliability Program (DOE F 470.4), Authorization and Consent to Release Human Reliability Program (HRP) Records in Connection with HRP (DOE F 470.5), Refusal of Consent (DOE F 470.6), and Human Reliability Program (HRP) Alcohol Testing Form (DOE F 470.7). The HRP is a security and safety reliability program for individuals who apply for or occupy certain positions that are critical to the national security. It requires an initial and annual supervisory review, medical assessment, management evaluation, and a DOE personnel security review of all applicants or incumbents. It is also used to ensure that employees assigned to nuclear explosive duties do not have emotional, mental, or physical conditions that could result in an accidental or unauthorized detonation of nuclear explosives.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before February 26, 2016. If you anticipate difficulty in submitting comments within that period, contact the person listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be sent to Regina Cano U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Corporate Security Strategy, Analysis and Special Operations (AU-1.2), 1000 Independence Ave SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone at (202) 586-7079, by fax at (202) 586-3333, or by email at [email protected], or information about the collection instruments may be obtained at http://energy.gov/ehss/information-collection:.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to the person listed above in ADDRESSES.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This information collection request contains: (1) OMB No. 1910-5122; (2) Information Collection Request Title: Human Reliability Program; (3) Type of Review: renewal; (4) Purpose: This collection provides for DOE management to ensure that individuals who occupy HRP positions meet program standards of reliability and physical and mental suitability; (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 43,960; (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 43,999; (7) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 3,819; (8) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden; $332,253 (9) Response Obligation: Mandatory.

    Statutory Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 2165; 42 U.S.C. 2201; 42 U.S.C. 5814-5815; 42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq. ; 50 U.S.C. 2401 et seq. ; E.O. 10450, 3 CFR 1949-1953 Comp., p. 936, as amended; E.O. 10865, 3 CFR 1959-1963 Comp., p. 398, as amended; 3 CFR Chap. IV.

    Issued in Washington, DC on December 21, 2015. Stephanie K. Martin, Acting Director, Office of Resource Management, Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32587 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Agency Information Collection Extension AGENCY:

    U.S. Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Submission of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Energy (DOE) has submitted an information collection request to the OMB for an extension under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The information collection requests a three-year extension of its Environment, Safety and Health reporting requirements, OMB Control Number 1910-0300. This information collection request covers information necessary for the DOE to exercise management oversight and control over Management and Operating (M&O) contractors of the DOE's Government-Owned Contractor-Operated (GOCO) facilities, and offsite contractors. The contractor management oversight and control function concerns the ways in which the DOE's contractors provide goods and services for DOE organizations and activities in accordance with the terms of their contract(s); the applicable statutory, regulatory and mission support requirements of the DOE; and regulations in the functional area covered in this request.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this collection must be received on or before January 27, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, please advise the OMB Desk Officer of your intention to make a submission as soon as possible. The Desk Officer may be telephoned at 202-395-4650.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent to the DOE Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 10102, 735 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503 and to Sandra Dentinger, AU-70, Germantown Building, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20585-1290, by fax at 301-903-2194 or by email at [email protected], or information about the collection instruments may be obtained at http://energy.gov/ehss/information-collection:

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed at the addresses listed above in ADDRESSES.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The information collection request contains the following: (1) OMB No: 1910-0300; (2) Information Collection Request Title: Environment, Safety and Health; (3) Type of Review: renewal; (4) Purpose: The collections are used by DOE to exercise management oversight and control over its contractors in the ways in which the DOE's contractors provide goods and services for DOE organizations and activities in accordance with the terms of their contract(s); the applicable statutory, regulatory and mission support requirements of the Department. The collections are: Computerized Accident/Incident Reporting System (CAIRS); Occurrence Reporting and Processing System (ORPS); Noncompliance Tracking System (NTS); Radiation Exposure Monitoring System (REMS); Annual Fire Protection Summary Application; Safety Basis Information System; and Lessons Learned System; (5) Annual Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,004; (6) Annual Estimated Number of Total Responses: 79,634; (7) Response Obligation: Required, except for Noncompliance Tracking System (see Statutory Authority section below); (8) Annual Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 41,733; (9) Annual Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping Cost Burden: $0

    Statutory Authority:

    Section 641 of the Department of Energy Organization Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. 7251, and the following additional authorities:

    Computerized Accident/Incident Reporting System (CAIRS): DOE Order 231.1B (June 27, 2011).

    Occurrence Reporting and Processing System (ORPS): DOE Order 232.2 (August 30, 2011).

    Noncompliance Tracking System (NTS): 10 CFR part 820; 10 CFR part 851.

    Radiation Exposure Monitoring System (REMS): 10 CFR part 835; DOE Order 231.1B (June 27, 2011).

    Annual Fire Protection Summary Application: DOE Order 231.1B (June 27, 2011).

    Safety Basis Information System: 10 CFR part 830; DOE O 231.1B (June 27, 2011).

    Lessons Learned System: DOE Order 210.2A (April 8, 2011).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 11, 2015. Stephanie K. Martin, Acting Director, Office of Resource Management, Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32588 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-517-000] Shelby County Energy Center, 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 Shelby County Energy Center, 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 January 11, 2016.

    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 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32574 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-31-000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization

    Take notice that on December 10, 2015 Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia Gas), 5151 San Felipe, Suite 2500, Houston, Texas 77056 filed a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205 and 157.210 of the Commission's regulations under the Natural Gas Act for authorization to convert existing compressor units from base load to standby mode at the Cleveland Compressor Station, located in Upshur County, WV and the Files Creek Compressor Station, located in Randolph County, WV. Columbia Gas states that there will be no impact on Columbia's overall capacity and certified horsepower, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TTY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this Application should be directed to Tyler R. Brown, Senior Counsel, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 5151 San Felipe, Suite 2500, Houston, Texas 77056, by calling (713) 386-3797, or by email at [email protected]

    Any person may, within 60 days after the issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention. Any person filing to intervene or the Commission's staff may, pursuant to section 157.205 of the Commission's Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205) file a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the time allowed for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenter's will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenter's will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commentary, will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests, and interventions via the internet in lieu of paper. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a) (1) (iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the “e-Filing” link. Persons unable to file electronically should submit original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32572 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER11-1881-007; ER11-1894-007; ER11-1893-007; ER11-1892-007; ER11-1890-007; ER11-1889-007; ER11-1887-007; ER11-1886-007; ER11-1885-007; ER11-1883-007; ER11-1882-007.

    Applicants: Burley Butte Wind Park, LLC, Golden Valley Wind Park, LLC, Milner Dam Wind Park, LLC, Oregon Trail Wind Park, LLC, Pilgrim Stage Station Wind Park, LLC, Thousand Springs Wind Park, LLC, Tuana Gulch Wind Park, LLC, Camp Reed Wind Park, LLC, Payne's Ferry Wind Park, LLC, Salmon Falls Wind Park, LLC, Yahoo Creek Wind Park, LLC.

    Description: Supplement to August 7, 2015 Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the IWP Sellers.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5141.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1883-002; ER16-91-002; ER16-90-001; ER15-2477-001; ER15-1418-002; ER15-1375-002; ER15-1016-002; ER13-2112-004; ER13-1992-006; ER13-1991-006; ER12-631-009; ER12-2444-008; ER11-4678-009; ER11-4677-009; ER11-4462-014; ER11-2160-008; ER10-1989-008; ER10-1971-023; ER10-1962-008; ER10-1890-008 ER10-1856-008; ER10-1847-008.

    Applicants: Adelanto Solar, LLC, Adelanto Solar II, LLC, Blythe Solar 110, LLC, Desert Sunlight 250, LLC, Desert Sunlight 300, LLC, Diablo Winds, LLC, FPL Energy Cabazon Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Green Power Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Montezuma Wind, LLC, Genesis Solar, LLC, Golden Hills Wind, LLC, Golden Hills Interconnection, LLC, High Winds, LLC, McCoy Solar, LLC, NEPM II, LLC, NextEra Energy Montezuma II Wind, LLC, NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC, North Sky River Energy, LLC, Shafter Solar, LLC, Sky River LLC, Vasco Winds, LLC, Windpower Partners 1993, LLC

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of the NextEra Resources Entities.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5311.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-149-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2015-12-21_SA 2854 MDU-MDU Amended FCA (F109) to be effective 10/28/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5162.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-587-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Original WMPA SA No. 4324, Queue No. Z2-115 to be effective 12/8/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5091.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-588-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Service Agreement No. 2975; Queue No. W1-082 to be effective 12/2/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5092.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-589-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to Florence Solar WMPA SA No. 3482, Queue No. W3-080 to be effective 5/8/2014.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5104.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-590-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 3248, Queue No. W2-083 to be effective 2/5/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5110.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-591-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 3249, Queue No. W2-088 to be effective 2/5/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5133.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-592-000.

    Applicants: Wisconsin Electric Power Company.

    Description: Application of Wisconsin Electric Power Company of Depreciation Study and Change in Depreciation Rates.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5300.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-593-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 4159, Queue No. AA1-131 to be effective 2/8/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5135.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-594-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Assignment of WMPA SA No. 3859, Queue No. Z1-082 to HD Project One, LLC to be effective 5/19/2014.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5138.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-595-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., Ameren Illinois Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-12-21_SA 2879 Ameren Illinois-Wabash Valley Power Association WCA to be effective 12/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5139.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-596-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. Ameren Illinois Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-12-21_SA 2880 Ameren Illinois-Wabash Valley Power Association UCA to be effective 12/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5142.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-597-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of WMPA SA No. 3201, Queue No. W3-076 to be effective 2/5/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5143.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-598-000.

    Applicants: Louisville Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 12_21_2015 EKPC NITSA Amendment to be effective 12/29/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5184.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    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 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32569 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL13-62-002] Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. v. New York Independent System Operator, Inc.; Notice of Compliance Filing

    Take notice that on December 16, 2015, New York Independent System Operator, Inc. submits a compliance filing in response to the November 16, 2015 Data Request.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 11, 2016.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32573 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-313-000.

    Applicants: MMGS Inc.,Mitsui & Co. Cameron LNG Sales, Inc.

    Description: Petition for Temporary Waivers of Capacity Release Regulations and Related Pipeline Tariff Provisions of MMGS, Inc., et. al. under RP16-313.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5152.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/30/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-137-002.

    Applicants: Tallgrass Interstate Gas Transmission, L.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Compliance Filing for Rate Case to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-54-001.

    Applicants: Equitrans, L.P.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: AVC ADIT PLR Compliance Filing to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5088.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    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 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32570 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-36-000.

    Applicants: LWP Lessee, LLC.

    Description: Clarification to November 19, 2015 Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the FPA and Request for Shortened Comment Period of LWP Lessee, LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5271.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/28/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1276-005; ER10-1353-006; ER10-1319-006; ER10-1303-004; ER10-1292-004; ER10-1287-004.

    Applicants: Consumers Energy Company, CMS Energy Resource Management Company, Grayling Generation Station Limited Partnership, Genesee Power Station Limited Partnership, CMS Generation Michigan Power, LLC, Dearborn Industrial Generation, L.L.C.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Consumer Energy Company, et al.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5286.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1285-006.

    Applicants: Craven County Wood Energy Limited Partnership.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Craven County Wood Energy Limited Partnership.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5287.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2417-002; ER13-122-002.

    Applicants: ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Complex, ExxonMobil Beaumont Complex.

    Description: Supplement to June 29, 2015 Triennial Market-Power Analysis for the Central Region of ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Complex, et al.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5042.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-2409-006 ER15-2620-001; ER15-2615-001; ER14-2858-005; ER13-2409-006; ER12-979-010; ER12-2448-010 ER11-4501-011; ER11-4499-010; ER11-4498-010.

    Applicants: Buffalo Dunes Wind Project, LLC, Caney River Wind Project, LLC, Chisholm View Wind Project, LLC, Goodwell Wind Project, LLC, Little Elk Wind Project, LLC, Origin Wind Energy, LLC, Rocky Ridge Wind Project, LLC, Smoky Hills Wind Farm, LLC, Smoky Hills Wind Project II, LLC.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis and Order No. 697 Compliance Filing of Buffalo Dunes Wind Project, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5276.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/16/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1332-002.

    Applicants: Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Arbuckle Mountain Wind Farm LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5288.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-2681-000.

    Applicants: White Oak Energy LLC.

    Description: Request for administrative cancellation of tariff ID 36, et. al. of White Oak Energy LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5296.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-91-001.

    Applicants: Blythe Solar 110, LLC.

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of Blythe Solar 110, LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5297.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-438-001; ER15-2211-006; ER13-1266-007.

    Applicants: Marshall Wind Energy LLC, CalEnergy, LLC, MidAmerican Energy Services, LLC.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis for Southwest Power Pool Region of Marshall Wind Energy LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5290.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/16/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-553-001.

    Applicants: San Diego Gas & Electric Company

    Description: Tariff Amendment: SDGE Merchant OM Agreement-Baseline Filing to be effective 12/18/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5249.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-580-000.

    Applicants: Nevada Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Rate Schedule 140 NPC RS 140 Concurrence with PacifiCorp RS 439 12.18.15 to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5241.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-581-000.

    Applicants: ENGIE Portfolio Management, LLC

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for Market-Based Rate Authorization to be effective 2/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5246.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-582-000.

    Applicants: ENGIE Retail, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for Market-Based Rate Authorization to be effective 2/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5247.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-583-000.

    Applicants: GDF SUEZ Energy Resources NA, Inc.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for Market-Based Rate Authorization to be effective 2/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5248.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-584-000.

    Applicants: Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Filings Related to 1986 Integrated Transmission Agreement Part I to be effective 7/30/2010.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5250.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-584-001.

    Applicants: Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Filings Related to 1986 Integrated Transmission Agreement Part II to be effective 7/30/2010.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5251.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-585-000.

    Applicants: Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to Service Agreement No. 3 Under the CASOT to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5253.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-586-000.

    Applicants: Georgia Power Company.

    Description: Georgia Power Company submits rate schedule update per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): reduction in transmission carrying charge to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5272.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/8/16.

    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 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32568 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-29-000; Docket No. CP16-30-000] Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC; UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Applications

    Take notice that on December 9, 2015, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco), P.O. Box 1396, Houston, Texas 7725, filed an application pursuant to section 7(b) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) requesting an order authorizing the abandonment by sale to UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC of the Allentown Lateral, a 12.5 miles 12-inch-diameter pipeline and related appurtenances located in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

    Additionally, on December 9, 2015, UGI Mt. Bethel Pipeline Company, LLC (UGI), 5665 Leesport Ave, Reading, Pennsylvania 19605, filed an application pursuant to Section 7(c) of the NGA requesting a certificates of public convenience and necessity authorizing UGI to acquire and operate the Allentown Lateral, located in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, which are currently operated by Transco, and to provide open-access transportation services, with pre-granted abandonment approval. UGI's will continue to operate the facilities under open access certificates. UGI is also requesting approval for its proposed initial recourse rates for transportation service and for its pro forma tariff, which includes the authority to enter into negotiated rate agreements, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the Web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Ingrid Germany, Regulatory Analyst Lead, Transco Rates & Regulatory, P.O. Box 1396, Houston, Texas 77251 at (713) 215-4015, and/or to Frank H. Markle, Senior Counsel, UGI Corporation, 460 North Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19482 at (610) 768-3625.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit original and 7 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commentors will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commentors will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commentors will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 11, 2016.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32571 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-308-000.

    Applicants: Gulfstream Natural Gas System, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cleanup Filing Dec2015—FOSA Index to be effective 1/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20151217-5118.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-309-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Amendment to Neg Rate Agmt (Sequent 34693-39) to be effective 12/17/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20151217-5186.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-310-000.

    Applicants: Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Tariff Filing to be effective 3/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20151217-5206.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-311-000.

    Applicants: Enable Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negtiated Rate Filing—December 2015 EOG 1008270 Removal to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20151217-5208.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/29/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-312-000.

    Applicants: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rate eff 11-1-2016 for NJNG Contract 910230 to be effective 11/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5072.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/30/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32567 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719; FRL 9940-55-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 0229.21, OMB Control No. 2040-0004) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through December 31, 2015. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 60142) on October 5, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected], or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amelia Letnes, Office of Wastewater Management, Mail Code 4203M, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-5627; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: This consolidated ICR calculates the burden and costs associated with the NPDES program, identifies the types of activities regulated under the NPDES program, describes the roles and responsibilities of state governments and the Agency, and presents the program areas that address the various types of regulated activities. This renewal includes the addition of the burden and costs for the Airport Deicing Category previously contained in a separate ICR.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: State and Local Governments, Private Entities.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Mandatory per Clean Water Act (CWA) section 402.

    Estimated number of respondents: 532,523 (total).

    Frequency of response: Varies by requirement from daily to annually or on occasion.

    Total estimated burden: 21,041,107 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $121,797,877 (per year), includes $20,234,453 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is a decrease of 283,634 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB. Adjustments to the burden estimates include: The addition of the burden associated with the airport deicing category; changes in the burden associated with agency actions related to changes in the VGP; addition of burden associated with the issuance of the small vessels general permit (sVGP); and changes in the estimated burden associated with revised estimates of number of respondents.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32610 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2002-0059; FRL 9940-52-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Fund Program AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “Safe Drinking Water Act State Revolving Fund Program” (EPA ICR No. 1803.07, OMB Control No. 2040-0185) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through December 31, 2015. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 57605) on September 24, 2015, during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given in this renewal notice, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2002-0059, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nick Chamberlain, Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, 4606M, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-1871; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-182) authorized the creation of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF; the Fund) program in each state and Puerto Rico to assist public water systems to finance the costs of infrastructure needed to achieve or maintain compliance with SDWA requirements and to protect public health. Section 1452 authorizes the Administrator of the EPA to award capitalization grants to the states and Puerto Rico which, in turn, provide low-cost loans and other types of assistance to eligible drinking water systems. States can also reserve a portion of their grants to conduct various set-aside activities. The information collection activities will occur primarily at the program level through the (1) Capitalization Grant Application and Agreement/State Intended Use Plan; (2) Biennial Report; (3) Annual Audit; (4) Assistance Application Review; and (5) DWSRF National Information Management System and the Projects & Benefits Reporting System.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: Entities affected by this action are states and local governments.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Required to obtain or retain a benefit per the Safe Drinking Water Act Section 1452(g)(1).

    Estimated number of respondents: 1,035 (total).

    Frequency of response: Varies by requirement (i.e., quarterly, semi-annually and annually).

    Total estimated burden: 88,881 hours (average per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $4,884,591 (average per year), which is solely for labor cost.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is a net decrease of 180,916 hours in annual respondent burden hours from the previous ICR. This is partially attributable to the previous ICR's inclusion of burden hours from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed by the President on February 17, 2009. ARRA's additional $2 billion in funding for assistance agreements resulted in approximately twice the normal number of applications for assistance in 2009. There is also a net decrease in local respondent burden hours from the previous ICR, which included application preparation and submission burden hours for localities. This is a state need/requirement, not federal, and thus it is excluded from this ICR. Some of the decrease is offset by this ICR's inclusion of local burden for public awareness activities.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32614 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719; FRL 9940-56-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Cooling Water Intake Structures New Facility Final Rule (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “Cooling Water Intake Structures New Facility Final Rule (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 1973.06, OMB Control No. 2040-0241) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through December 31, 2015. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 60142) on October 5, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected], or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amelia Letnes, Office of Wastewater Management, Mail Code 4203M, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-5627; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) provides that “[a]ny standard established pursuant to [CWA section 301] or [CWA section 306] and applicable to a point source shall require that the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact.”

    The section 316(b) New Facility Rule (66 FR 65256; December 18, 2001) and minor amendments (68 FR 36749; June 19, 2003) implement section 316(b) of the CWA as it applies to new facilities that use cooling water intake structures (CWISs). The rule requires new facilities to submit several distinct types of information as part of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application. In addition, the rule requires new facilities to maintain monitoring and reporting data as outlined by the Director in their NPDES permits. The information requirements in this Information Collection Request (ICR) are necessary to ensure that new facilities are complying with the rule's provisions, and thereby minimizing adverse environmental impact resulting from impingement and entrainment losses due to the withdrawal of cooling water.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: State Governments, Private Entities

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Mandatory per Clean Water Act (CWA) section 316(b).

    Estimated number of respondents: 145 (total).

    Frequency of response: Annually, on occasion

    Total estimated burden: 151,789 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b)

    Total estimated cost: $11,817,460 (per year), includes $2,267,728 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is an increase of 13,368 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB. This increase is due to expected growth in the number of permitted facilities over the next three years.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32611 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719; FRL 9940-54-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Pretreatment Program (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “National Pretreatment Program” (EPA ICR No. 0002.16, OMB Control No. 2040-0009) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through December 31, 2015. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 60142) on October 5, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0719, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected], or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amelia Letnes, Office of Wastewater Management, Mail Code 4203M, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-5627; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: This ICR calculates the burden and costs associated with managing and implementing the National Pretreatment Program as mandated under Clean Water Act (CWA) sections 402(a) and (b) and 307(b). This ICR includes all existing tasks under the National Pretreatment Program, as amended by the EPA's Streamlining Rule. EPA's Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) in the Office of Water (OW) is responsible for the management of the pretreatment program. The CWA requires EPA to develop national pretreatment standards to control discharges from Industrial Users (IUs) into POTWs. These standards limit the level of certain pollutants allowed in non-domestic wastewater that is discharged to a POTW. EPA administers the pretreatment program through the NPDES permit program. Under the NPDES permit program, EPA may approve State or individual POTW implementation of the pretreatment standards at their respective levels.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: State & Local Governments, Private Entities

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Mandatory per Clean Water Act (CWA) sections 402(a) and (b) and 307(b).

    Estimated number of respondents: 95,462 (total).

    Frequency of response: Annually, Semi-annually, on occasion

    Total estimated burden: 1,744,406 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b)

    Total estimated cost: $77,907,187 (per year), includes $2,515,470 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is a decrease of 62,110 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB. This decrease is due to updated estimates that account for changes in the respondent universe.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32609 Filed 12-24-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0150; FRL 9940-49-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Establishing No-Discharge Zones (NDZs) Under Clean Water Act Section 312 (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “Establishing No-Discharge Zones (NDZs) Under Clean Water Act § 312 (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 1791.07, OMB Control No. 2040-0187) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through December 31, 2015. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 50276) on August 19, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid O