Federal Register Vol. 80, No.249,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 249 (December 29, 2015)

Page Range81155-81438
FR Document

80_FR_249
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 81155 - To Modify the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United StatesPDF
80 FR 81346 - Proposed Action Under the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines)PDF
80 FR 81272 - National Residue Program: Monitoring Chemical HazardsPDF
80 FR 81376 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 81426 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel NEUVA OLA; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81427 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel CARPE VITA; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81428 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel SHERYL ANN; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81427 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel THE DUCHESS; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81429 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel CALYPSO; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81351 - Notice of a Federal Advisory Committee Meeting; Manufactured Housing Consensus CommitteePDF
80 FR 81346 - Announcement of Funding Awards; Fair Housing Initiatives Program Fiscal Year 2015PDF
80 FR 81199 - Energy Conservation Program: Certification and Enforcement-Import Data CollectionPDF
80 FR 81425 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel U TURN; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81429 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel LOWCOUNTRY NATIVE; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81430 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel ISLAND FLYER; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81310 - Central Arizona Project-Rate Order No. WAPA-172PDF
80 FR 81431 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel THE GOLDFISCH; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81430 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel EROS; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
80 FR 81428 - Request for Comments of a Previously Approved Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 81356 - United States v. Gray Television, Inc., et al.; Proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact StatementPDF
80 FR 81279 - Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2016PDF
80 FR 81378 - Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Locating and Paying ParticipantsPDF
80 FR 81293 - Approval of Subzone Status; Nine West Holdings, Inc.; West Deptford, New JerseyPDF
80 FR 81293 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 183-Austin, Texas; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC; Subzone 183B (Semiconductors); Austin, TexasPDF
80 FR 81376 - Training and Qualification of Security Personnel at Nuclear Power Reactor FacilitiesPDF
80 FR 81377 - Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3PDF
80 FR 81438 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Treasury Financial Empowerment Innovation Fund Evaluation of a Near-Peer Counseling Program for High School and College Students on Pursuing and Financing Their Higher EducationPDF
80 FR 81317 - Alpha-Chlorohydrin, Registration Review Proposed Interim Decision; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 81320 - Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of an Application for New UsesPDF
80 FR 81341 - Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
80 FR 81412 - Notice of Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 81276 - Notice of Intent To Request Approval To Establish a New Information Collection and Record Keeping RequirementPDF
80 FR 81279 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81328 - 2016 Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates; 2016 Standard Mileage Rate for Moving PurposesPDF
80 FR 81251 - Trade Monitoring Procedures for Fishery Products; International Trade in Seafood; Permit Requirements for Importers and ExportersPDF
80 FR 81262 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off of Alaska; Observer Coverage Requirements for Small Catcher/Processors in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish FisheriesPDF
80 FR 81352 - Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compacts Taking Effect in the State of New MexicoPDF
80 FR 81353 - Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Tonto Apache Tribe of ArizonaPDF
80 FR 81352 - Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 81321 - Notification of Teleconferences of the Science Advisory Board; Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory PanelPDF
80 FR 81184 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 81181 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LAPDF
80 FR 81179 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Missouri River, Atchison, KSPDF
80 FR 81189 - Safety Zone; Closure of Morro Bay Harbor Bar Entrance; Morro Bay, CAPDF
80 FR 81316 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Pulp and Paper Production (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81315 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Aluminum, Copper and Other Non-Ferrous Metals Foundries (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81321 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NSPS for Petroleum Refineries for Which Construction, Reconstruction, or Modification Commenced After May 14, 2007 (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81316 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for the Wood Building Products Surface Coating Industry (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81314 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Hydrochloric Acid Production (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81367 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ActPDF
80 FR 81335 - Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act; Notice to Public of Web Site Location of Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Guidance DevelopmentPDF
80 FR 81340 - Establishment of a Public Docket; Clinical Trial Designs in Emerging Infectious DiseasesPDF
80 FR 81339 - Bioequivalence Recommendations for Paliperidone Palmitate; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 81375 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81303 - Agency Information Collection ExtensionPDF
80 FR 81381 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81373 - Privacy Act of 1974; Privacy Act System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 81324 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Final Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81293 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 81294 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 81323 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Final Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81423 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81380 - International Mail ContractPDF
80 FR 81379 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 81381 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 81415 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes MellitusPDF
80 FR 81436 - Proposed Collection of Information: Claim for United States Savings Bonds Not ReceivedPDF
80 FR 81436 - Proposed Collection of Information; Regulations Governing U.S. Treasury Securities-State and Local Government SeriesPDF
80 FR 81437 - Proposed Collection of Information: Regulations Governing Book-Entry Treasury Bonds, Notes, and Bills.PDF
80 FR 81437 - Proposed Collection of Information: Request by Owner or Person Entitled to Payment or Reissue of United States Savings Bonds/Notes Deposited in Safekeeping When Original Custody Receipts Are Not AvailablePDF
80 FR 81298 - Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 81329 - Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to the Wisconsin Department for Children and Families in Madison, WIPDF
80 FR 81324 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
80 FR 81309 - Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events; Notice of Technical ConferencePDF
80 FR 81306 - Pelzer Hydro Company, LLC; Consolidated Hydro Southeast, LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study Requests and Establishing Procedural Schedule for Relicensing and a Deadline for Submission of Final AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 81304 - Pelzer Hydro Company, LLC; Consolidated Hydro Southeast, LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Soliciting Additional Study Requests and Establishing Procedural Schedule for Relicensing and a Deadline for Submission of Final AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 81308 - Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC; Notice of Application Tendered for Filing With the Commission and Establishing Procedural Schedule for Licensing and Deadline for Submission of Final AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 81304 - Zapalac, Will; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 81304 - Lotus Energy Group, LLC v. ISO New England Inc.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 81308 - Sage Grouse Energy Project, LLC; Notice Rejecting Request for Extension of TimePDF
80 FR 81305 - First ECA Midstream LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 81307 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 81178 - Delegation of Authority for FERC Form No. 552PDF
80 FR 81309 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 81299 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012 Phase IIPDF
80 FR 81191 - Removal of Requirement To File Direct-Pay Fee Agreements With the Office of the General CounselPDF
80 FR 81233 - Draft Guidances Relating to the Regulation of Human Cells, Tissues, or Cellular or Tissue-Based Products; Public Hearing; Request for Comments; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 81332 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Current Good Manufacturing Practice for Positron Emission Tomography DrugsPDF
80 FR 81292 - Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Wyoming Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 81319 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Secondary Aluminum Production (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81318 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NSPS for Synthetic Fiber Production Facilities (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 81369 - Section 1201 Study: Notice and Request for Public CommentPDF
80 FR 81355 - Request for Nominations for the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Advisory CommissionPDF
80 FR 81355 - Notice of the Meeting Schedule for the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee Through June 2016PDF
80 FR 81328 - Submission for OMB Review; High Global Warming Potential HydrofluorocarbonsPDF
80 FR 81297 - Charter Renewal of Department of Defense Federal Advisory CommitteesPDF
80 FR 81162 - Community Reinvestment Act RegulationsPDF
80 FR 81353 - Proposed Renewal of Information Collection; Tribal Expression of Interest to the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal NationsPDF
80 FR 81294 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 81330 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Developmental Disabilities Protection and Advocacy Statement of Goals and PrioritiesPDF
80 FR 81296 - National Commission on the Future of the Army; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 81368 - Technical Advisory Committee; Request for NominationsPDF
80 FR 81344 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81345 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81344 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81345 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81295 - TRICARE; Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS); Fiscal Year 2016 Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) UpdatesPDF
80 FR 81393 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, To Amend and Correct Phlx Rule 1080.07PDF
80 FR 81407 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend NASDAQ Options Market-Fees and RebatesPDF
80 FR 81387 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Modify the Level 2 Professional Subscriber FeePDF
80 FR 81405 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Delete Rule 1068, Execution of Multi-Part OrdersPDF
80 FR 81402 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; National Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Fee and Rebate Schedule Pursuant to Exchange Rule 16.1PDF
80 FR 81384 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Revise the ICC Risk Management Framework and ICC Treasury Operations Policies and Procedures, and Adopt the ICC Risk Management Model Description DocumentPDF
80 FR 81390 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend BOX Rule 2020 (Participant Eligibility and Registration) To Replace the Limited Representative-Proprietary Trader and Limited Principal-Proprietary Trader Registration Categories and Establish the Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration CategoriesPDF
80 FR 81409 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Request and Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81413 - Notice of Intent To Rule on a Request for Change in Designation of On-Airport Property Purchased With Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Funding From Aeronautical to Non-Aeronautical at the Lancaster Airport, Lititz, PAPDF
80 FR 81367 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Johnson Matthey, Inc.PDF
80 FR 81234 - Revisions to the Public Notice Provisions in Clean Air Act Permitting ProgramsPDF
80 FR 81326 - Oracle Corporation; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public CommentPDF
80 FR 81186 - Regulated Navigation Area; Reporting Requirements for Barges Loaded With Certain Dangerous Cargoes, Illinois Waterway System Located Within the Ninth Coast Guard District; Expiration of Stay (Suspension) and Administrative ChangesPDF
80 FR 81223 - Neurological Devices; Reclassification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices Intended for Use in Treating Severe Major Depressive Episode in Patients 18 Years of Age and Older Who Are Treatment Resistant or Require a Rapid Response; Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Electroconvulsive Therapy for Certain Specified Intended UsesPDF
80 FR 81330 - Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices for Class II Intended Uses: Draft Guidance for Industry, Clinicians, and FDA Staff; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 81300 - Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports StudiesPDF
80 FR 81194 - Establish a Single Small Business Size Standard for Commercial Fishing BusinessesPDF
80 FR 81220 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 81216 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 81413 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on State Highway (SH) 365 From Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 1016/Conway Avenue to U.S. Highway (US) 281/Military Highway in Hidalgo County, TexasPDF
80 FR 81414 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in MinnesotaPDF
80 FR 81251 - Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQSPDF
80 FR 81295 - Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 81434 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Application for Special PermitsPDF
80 FR 81435 - Hazardous Materials: Delayed ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 81431 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Application for Modification of Special PermitPDF
80 FR 81432 - Hazardous Materials: Actions on Special Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 81159 - Common Crop Insurance Regulations; Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions, Extra Long Staple Cotton Crop Insurance ProvisionsPDF
80 FR 81165 - Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. AirplanesPDF
80 FR 81174 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
80 FR 81168 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF

Issue

80 249 Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation

See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

See

Natural Resources Conservation Service

See

Rural Housing Service

Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Final Judgment and Competitive Impact Statement: United States v. Gray Television, Inc., et al., 81356-81367 2015-32785 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Awards of Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grants: Wisconsin Department for Children and Families in Madison, WI, 81329-81330 2015-32702 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Wyoming Advisory Committee, 81292-81293 2015-32684 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA, 81184-81186 2015-32737 Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LA, 81181-81184 2015-32736 Missouri River, Atchison, KS, 81179-81181 2015-32735 Regulated Navigation Area: Reporting Requirements for Barges Loaded With Certain Dangerous Cargoes, Illinois Waterway System Located Within the Ninth Coast Guard District; Expiration of Stay (Suspension) and Administrative Changes, 81186-81189 2015-32616 Safety Zones: Closure of Morro Bay Harbor Bar Entrance; Morro Bay, CA, 81189-81191 2015-32734 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commission Fine Commission of Fine Arts NOTICES Meetings: Commission of Fine Arts, 81295 2015-32419 Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Developmental Disabilities Protection and Advocacy Statement of Goals and Priorities, 81330 2015-32667 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency RULES Community Reinvestment Act Regulations, 81162-81165 2015-32670 Copyright Office Copyright Office, Library of Congress NOTICES Request for Public Comments: Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Access to Copyrighted Works, 81369-81373 2015-32678 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 81328-81329 2015-32674 Charter Renewals: Federal Advisory Committees, 81297-81298 2015-32671 Meetings: National Commission on the Future of the Army, 81296-81297 2015-32665 Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee, 81298-81299 2015-32703 TRICARE; Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS): Fiscal Year 2016 Diagnosis Related Group Updates, 81295-81296 2015-32655 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Importers of Controlled Substances; Applications: Johnson Matthey, Inc., West Deptford, NJ, 81367 2015-32640 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Longitudinal Transition Study 2012 Phase II, 81299-81300 2015-32688 Energy Department Energy Department See

Energy Information Administration

See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

See

Western Area Power Administration

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Program: Certification and Enforcement—Import Data Collection, 81199-81216 2015-32796 NOTICES Macroeconomic Impacts of LNG Exports Studies, 81300-81303 2015-32590
Energy Information Energy Information Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81303-81304 2015-32721 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency PROPOSED RULES Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS, 81251 2015-32507 Revisions to the Public Notice Provisions in Clean Air Act Permitting Programs, 81234-81251 2015-32639 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NESHAP for Aluminum, Copper and Other Non-Ferrous Metals Foundries; Renewal, 81315-81316 2015-32731 NESHAP for Hydrochloric Acid Production; Renewal, 81314-81315 2015-32728 NESHAP for Pulp and Paper Production; Renewal, 81316 2015-32733 NESHAP for Secondary Aluminum Production; Renewal, 81319-81320 2015-32683 NESHAP for the Wood Building Products Surface Coating Industry; Renewal, 81316-81317 2015-32729 NSPS for Petroleum Refineries for Which Construction, Reconstruction, or Modification Commenced After May 14, 2007; Renewal, 81321 2015-32730 NSPS for Synthetic Fiber Production Facilities; Renewal, 81318-81319 2015-32682 Meetings: Science Advisory Board Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel; Teleconferences, 81321-81323 2015-32738 Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of an Application for New Uses, 81320-81321 2015-32750 Registration Review Proposed Interim Decision: Alpha-Chlorohydrin, 81317-81318 2015-32751 Export Import Export-Import Bank NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81323-81324 2015-32714 2015-32717 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 81168-81178 2015-31603 2015-32078 Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes, 81165-81168 2015-32080 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 81216-81220 2015-32547 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 81220-81223 2015-32548 NOTICES Intent To Rule on a Request for Change in Designation of On-Airport Property Purchased With Airport Improvement Program Funding From Aeronautical to Non-Aeronautical at the Lancaster Airport, Lititz, PA, 81413 2015-32641 Federal Crop Federal Crop Insurance Corporation RULES Common Crop Insurance Regulations: Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions, Extra Long Staple Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions, 81159-81162 2015-32308 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation RULES Community Reinvestment Act Regulations, 81162-81165 2015-32670 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission RULES Delegations of Authority: FERC Form No. 552, 81178-81179 2015-32690 NOTICES Applications: First ECA Midstream, LLC, 81305-81306 2015-32692 Combined Filings, 81307-81310 2015-32689 2015-32691 Complaints: Lotus Energy Group, LLC v. ISO New England Inc., 81304 2015-32694 Extension of Time Requests; Rejections: Sage Grouse Energy Project, LLC, 81308-81309 2015-32693 Filings: Zapalac, Will, 81304 2015-32695 Hydroelectric Applications: Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC, 81308 2015-32696 Pelzer Hydro Co., LLC and Consolidated Hydro Southeast, LLC, 81304-81305 2015-32697 Pelzer Hydro Co., LLC; Consolidated Hydro Southeast, LLC, 81306-81307 2015-32698 Meetings: Reliability Standard for Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events; Technical Conference, 81309 2015-32699 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in Minnesota, 81414-81415 2015-32520 Final Federal Agency Actions on State Highways: State Highway 365 from Farm-to-Market Road 1016/Conway Avenue to U.S. Highway 281/Military Highway in Hidalgo County, TX, 81413-81414 2015-32521 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Diabetes Mellitus, 81415-81422 2015-32709 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81423-81425 2015-32713 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System RULES Community Reinvestment Act Regulations, 81162-81165 2015-32670 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81324-81326 2015-32700 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Proposed Consent Agreements: Oracle Corp., 81326-81328 2015-32634 Fiscal Fiscal Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claim for United States Savings Bonds Not Received, 81436-81437 2015-32708 Regulations Governing Book-Entry Treasury Bonds, Notes, and Bills, 81437 2015-32706 Regulations Governing U.S. Treasury Securities—State and Local Government Series, 81436 2015-32707 Request by Owner or Person Entitled to Payment or Reissue of United States Savings Bonds/Notes Deposited in Safekeeping When Original Custody Receipts Are Not Available, 81437-81438 2015-32705 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration PROPOSED RULES Guidance: Human Cells, Tissues, or Cellular or Tissue-Based Products; Public Hearing; Request for Comments; Correction, 81233-81234 2015-32686 Neurological Devices: Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices Intended for Use in Treating Severe Major Depressive Episode in Patients 18 Years of Age and Older Who Are Treatment Resistant or Require a Rapid Response; Reclassification; etc., 81223-81233 2015-32592 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Current Good Manufacturing Practice for Positron Emission Tomography Drugs, 81332-81335 2015-32685 Establishment of a Public Docket; Clinical Trial Designs in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 81340-81341 2015-32724 Guidance: Bioequivalence Recommendations for Paliperidone Palmitate, 81339-81340 2015-32723 Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices for Class II Intended Uses, 81330-81332 2015-32591 Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act: Web Site Location of Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Guidance Development, 81335-81339 2015-32726 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES National Residue Program; Monitoring Chemical Hazards, 81272-81276 2015-32808 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Approval of Subzone Status: Nine West Holdings, Inc. West Deptford, NJ, 81293 2015-32782 Proposed Production Activities: Foreign-Trade Zone 183; Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, 81293 2015-32779 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES 2016 Privately Owned Vehicle Mileage Reimbursement Rates; 2016 Standard Mileage Rate for Moving Purposes, 81328 2015-32745 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 81328-81329 2015-32674 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Community Living Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority, 81341-81344 2015-32749 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Funding Awards: Fair Housing Initiatives Program, Fiscal Year 2015, 81346-81351 2015-32798 Meetings: Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, 81351-81352 2015-32799 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Proposed Wilton Rancheria Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, Sacramento County, CA, 81352-81353 2015-32739 Indian Gaming: Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compacts Taking Effect in New Mexico, 81352 2015-32741 Proclaiming Certain Lands as Reservation for the Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona, 81353 2015-32740 Interior Interior Department See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

National Park Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Tribal Expression of Interest to the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, 81353-81355 2015-32669
Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees Under CERCLA, 81367-81368 2015-32727
Labor Department Labor Department See

Labor Statistics Bureau

Labor Statistics Labor Statistics Bureau NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Technical Advisory Committee, 81368-81369 2015-32664 Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81428 2015-32786 Requests for Administrative Waivers of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel CALYPSO, 81429-81430 2015-32800 Vessel CARPE VITA, 81427 2015-32803 Vessel EROS, 81430-81431 2015-32788 Vessel ISLAND FLYER, 81430 2015-32793 Vessel LOWCOUNTRY NATIVE, 81429 2015-32794 Vessel NEUVA OLA, 81426 2015-32804 Vessel SHERYL ANN, 81428-81429 2015-32802 Vessel THE DUCHESS, 81427-81428 2015-32801 Vessel THE GOLDFISCH, 81431 2015-32789 Vessel U TURN, 81425-81426 2015-32795 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 81328-81329 2015-32674 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 81373-81375 2015-32719 National Institute Food National Institute of Food and Agriculture NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81276-81279 2015-32747 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, 81346 2015-32810 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 81345-81346 2015-32657 National Cancer Institute, 81344-81345 2015-32658 National Institute on Aging, 81344-81345 2015-32659 2015-32660 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Single Small Business Size Standard for Commercial Fishing Businesses, 81194-81198 2015-32564 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off of Alaska: Observer Coverage Requirements for Small Catcher/Processors in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fisheries, 81262-81271 2015-32742 Trade Monitoring Procedures for Fishery Products: International Trade in Seafood; Permit Requirements for Importers and Exporters, 81251-81262 2015-32743 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan; Scoping Process; Extension, 81294 2015-32668 Meetings: New England Fishery Management Council, 81293-81295 2015-32715 2015-32716 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Meetings: Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee, 81355 2015-32675 Requests for Nominations: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Advisory Commission, 81355-81356 2015-32676 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81375-81376 2015-32722 National Resources Natural Resources Conservation Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81279 2015-32746 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3, 81377-81378 2015-32777 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 81376 2015-32807 Training and Qualification of Security Personnel at Nuclear Power Reactor Facilities, 81376-81377 2015-32778 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Locating and Paying Participants, 81378-81379 2015-32783 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Hazardous Materials: Actions on Special Permit Applications, 81432-81433 2015-32393 Application for Modification of Special Permit, 81431-81432 2015-32394 Applications for Special Permits, 81434 2015-32408 Delayed Applications, 81435-81436 2015-32407 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES International Mail Contracts, 81380-81381 2015-32712 New Postal Products, 81379-81381 2015-32710 2015-32711 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Trade: Harmonized Tariff Schedule, U.S.; Modifications (Proc. 9384), 81155-81157 2015-32853 Railroad Retirement Railroad Retirement Board NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81381-81383 2015-32720 Rural Housing Service Rural Housing Service NOTICES Solicitation of Applications for Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2016, 81279-81292 2015-32784 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BOX Options Exchange, LLC, 81390-81393 2015-32648 ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 81384-81386 2015-32649 NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 81393-81402, 81405-81407 2015-32651 2015-32654 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 81387-81390, 81407-81409 2015-32652 2015-32653 National Stock Exchange, Inc., 81402-81405 2015-32650 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81409-81412 2015-32643 State Department State Department NOTICES Meetings: Department of State, 81412-81413 2015-32748 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

Maritime Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Fiscal Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Treasury Financial Empowerment Innovation Fund Evaluation of a Near-Peer Counseling Program for High School and College Students on Pursuing and Financing Their Higher Education, 81438 2015-32754
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department RULES Removal of Requirement To File Direct-Pay Fee Agreements With the Office of the General Counsel, 81191-81194 2015-32687 Western Western Area Power Administration NOTICES Central Arizona Project—Rate Order, 81310-81314 2015-32792 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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80 249 Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Federal Crop Insurance Corporation 7 CFR part 457 [Docket No. FCIC-15-0001] RIN 0563-AC47 Common Crop Insurance Regulations; Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions, Extra Long Staple Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions AGENCY:

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) amends the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions and Extra Long Staple (ELS) Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions. The intended effect of this action is to provide policy changes and to clarify existing policy provisions to better meet the needs of policyholders. As discussed further within this rule, FCIC received requests to simplify program administration consistent with evolving farming practices in cotton crop production. The changes will be effective for the 2017 and succeeding crop years.

DATES:

This final rule is effective December 29, 2015. However, FCIC will accept written comments on this final rule until close of business February 29, 2016. FCIC may consider the comments received and may conduct additional rulemaking based on the comments.

ADDRESSES:

FCIC prefers interested persons submit their comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Interested persons may submit comments, identified by Docket ID No. FCIC-15-0001, by any of the following methods:

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

Mail: Director, Product Administration and Standards Division, Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 419205, Kansas City, MO 64133-6205.

FCIC will post all comments received, including those received by mail, without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Once these comments are posted to this Web site, the public can access all comments at its convenience from this Web site. All comments must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rule. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information, see http://www.regulations.gov. If interested persons are submitting comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal and want to attach a document, FCIC requests that the document attachment be in a text-based format. If interested persons want to attach a document that is a scanned Adobe PDF file, it must be scanned as text and not as an image, thus allowing FCIC to search and copy certain portions of the submissions. For questions regarding attaching a document that is a scanned Adobe PDF file, please contact the Risk Management Agency (RMA) Web Content Team at (816) 823-4694 or by email at [email protected]

Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received for any dockets by the name of the person submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an entity, such as an association, business, labor union, etc.). Interested persons may review the complete User Notice and Privacy Notice for Regulations.gov at http://www.regulations.gov/#!privacyNotice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tim Hoffmann, Product Management, Product Administration and Standards Division, Risk Management Agency, United States Department of Agriculture, Beacon Facility, Stop 0812, Room 421, PO Box 419205, Kansas City, MO 64141-6205, telephone (816) 926-7730.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Order 12866

This rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, it has not been reviewed by the OMB.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

Pursuant to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, subchapter I), the collections of information in this rule have been approved by OMB under control number 0563-0053.

E-Government Act Compliance

FCIC is committed to complying with the E-Government Act of 2002, to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. This rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of title II of the UMRA) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of UMRA.

Executive Order 13132

It has been determined under section 1(a) of Executive Order 13132, Federalism, that this rule does not have sufficient implications to warrant consultation with the States. The provisions contained in this rule will not have a substantial direct effect on States, or on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

Executive Order 13175

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

Regulatory Flexibility Act

FCIC certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Program requirements for the Federal crop insurance program are the same for all producers regardless of the size of their farming operation. For instance, all producers are required to submit an application and acreage report to establish their insurance guarantees and compute premium amounts, and all producers are required to submit a notice of loss and production information to determine the indemnity amount for an insured cause of crop loss. Whether a producer has 10 acres or 1000 acres, there is no difference in the kind of information collected. To ensure crop insurance is available to small entities, the Federal Crop Insurance Act (FCIA) authorizes FCIC to waive collection of administrative fees from limited resource farmers. FCIC believes this waiver helps to ensure that small entities are given the same opportunities as large entities to manage their risks through the use of crop insurance. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been prepared since this regulation does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, and, therefore, this regulation is exempt from the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605).

Federal Assistance Program

This program is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.450.

Executive Order 12372

This program is not subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which require intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. See 2 CFR part 415, subpart C.

Executive Order 12988

This rule has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12988 on civil justice reform. The provisions of this rule will not have a retroactive effect. The provisions of this rule will preempt State and local laws to the extent such State and local laws are inconsistent herewith. With respect to any direct action taken by FCIC or action by FCIC directing the insurance provider to take specific action under the terms of the crop insurance policy, the administrative appeal provisions published at 7 CFR part 11 must be exhausted before any action against FCIC for judicial review may be brought.

Environmental Evaluation

This action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on the quality of the human environment, health, or safety. Therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is needed.

Background

FCIC amends the Common Crop Insurance Regulations (7 CFR part 457) by revising 7 CFR 457.104 Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions and 7 CFR 457.105 Extra Long Staple Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions to be effective for the 2017 and succeeding crop years. FCIC received requests to simplify program administration consistent with evolving farming practices in cotton crop production.

FCIC is issuing this final rule without opportunity for prior notice and comment. The Administrative Procedure Act exempts rules “relating to agency management or personnel or to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts” from the statutory requirement for prior notice and opportunity for public comment (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2)). However, FCIC is providing a 60-day comment period and invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments. FCIC may consider the comments received and may conduct additional rulemaking based on the comments.

1. The changes to 7 CFR 457.104 Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions are as follows:

(a) Section 9 (“Duties in the Event of Damage or Loss”)—FCIC is revising paragraph (a). The provisions require, in the event of damage or loss, the insured must leave cotton stalks intact for the insurance provider's inspection. FCIC has received requests to remove these provisions. The primary reasons provided to FCIC for removing the provisions include the following reasons:

• University extension in some regions recommends destroying the stalks as soon as possible after harvest to mitigate the possibility of insect infestation (specifically boll weevil);

• The provision requires cotton to be treated differently than other row crops, which do not require the insured to leave stalks intact for inspection;

• The provision was originally written to address multiple harvests on the same acreage, but today producers manage their cotton crops to result in harvest occurring once a year. Years ago, producers planted more late-maturing varieties and the bolls would open at different times during the harvest season causing a producer to pick the same acreage twice.

• Cotton farming practices have changed in some regions over the years and producers have grown accustomed to mowing the stalks immediately following the cotton picker; and

• Producers mow or shred cotton stalks so they can plant their winter grazing or cover crops. Since cotton stalks are woody, the sooner they can mow or shred the stalks, the sooner the stalks will begin to break down. When a cotton stalk inspection is required, a producer may have to wait up to two weeks before the field can be mowed. Depending on weather and individual circumstances, the stalk inspection is an inconvenience to producers and may interfere with timely completion of their normal operations and preparation for the winter/cover crop.

FCIC recognizes the potential existence of these issues, but also recognizes there may be situations in which a cotton stalk inspection has merit or necessity. Therefore, FCIC is revising the provision to allow insurance companies discretion to require, in certain circumstances, that insureds leave the cotton stalks intact for company inspection. FCIC is also revising the provision to allow FCIC to include specific circumstances in the Special Provisions for which FCIC will require insureds to leave cotton stalks intact, and FCIC will require the company to conduct a cotton stalk inspection, making discretion inapplicable when any Special Provisions circumstance required by FCIC occurs.

(b) Section 10 (“Settlement of Claim”)—FCIC is revising paragraph (c)(1)(i)(E). The current provision states production to count will include, among other things, all appraised production for acreage on which cotton stalks were destroyed in violation of section 9. As discussed above, FCIC is revising section 9, which is applicable only if the AIP exercises its discretion under appropriate circumstances to require that insureds leave cotton stalks intact. FCIC is revising paragraph (c)(1)(i)(E) to state this provision applies only if section 9(a) applies.

2. The changes to 7 CFR 457.105 Extra Long Staple Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions are as follows:

(a) Section 6 (“Insurable Acreage”)—FCIC is revising paragraph (b) to correct a prior Federal Register official publication error that inadvertently resulted in missing language from this provision. The words “. . . normally further care for the crop, must . . .” were not properly published within paragraph (b). This provision was intended to match the Cotton Crop Insurance Provisions language found at 7 CFR 457.104, section 6(b).

(b) Section 9 (“Duties in the Event of Damage of Loss”)—FCIC is revising paragraph (a)(2). The provisions require, in the event of damage or loss, the insured must leave cotton stalks intact for the insurance provider's inspection. FCIC has received requests to remove these provisions. The primary reasons provided to FCIC for removing the provisions include the following reasons:

• University extension in some regions recommends destroying the stalks as soon as possible after harvest to mitigate the possibility of insect infestation (specifically boll weevil);

• The provision requires cotton to be treated differently than other row crops, which do not require the insured to leave stalks intact for inspection;

• The provision was originally written to address multiple harvests on the same acreage, but today producers manage their cotton crops to result in harvest occurring once a year. Years ago, producers planted more late-maturing varieties and the bolls would open at different times during the harvest season causing a producer to pick the same acreage twice.

• Cotton farming practices have changed in some regions over the years and producers have grown accustomed to mowing the stalks immediately following the cotton picker; and

• Producers mow or shred cotton stalks so they can plant their winter grazing or cover crops. Since cotton stalks are woody, the sooner they can mow or shred the stalks, the sooner the stalks will begin to break down. When a cotton stalk inspection is required, a producer may have to wait up to two weeks before the field can be mowed. Depending on weather and individual circumstances, the stalk inspection is an inconvenience to producers and may interfere with timely completion of their normal operations and preparation for the winter/cover crop.

FCIC recognizes the potential existence of these issues, but also recognizes there may be situations in which a cotton stalk inspection has merit or necessity. Therefore, FCIC is revising the provision to allow insurance companies discretion to require, in certain circumstances, that insureds leave the cotton stalks intact for company inspection. FCIC is also revising the provision to allow FCIC to include specific circumstances in the Special Provisions for which FCIC will require insureds to leave cotton stalks intact, and FCIC will require the company to conduct a cotton stalk inspection, making discretion inapplicable when any Special Provisions circumstance required by FCIC occurs.

(c) Section 10 (“Settlement of Claim”)—FCIC is revising paragraph (c)(1)(i)(E). The current provision says the production to count will include, among other things, all appraised production for acreage on which cotton stalks were destroyed in violation of section 9. As discussed above, FCIC is revising section 9, which is applicable only if the AIP exercises its discretion under appropriate circumstances to require that insureds leave cotton stalks intact. FCIC is revising paragraph (c)(1)(i)(E) to state this provision applies only if section 9(a)(2) applies.

(e) Section 12 (“Prevented Planting”)—FCIC is removing the reference to limited level of coverage in section 12(b) because it is no longer applicable.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 457

Crop insurance, Cotton, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Final Rule

Accordingly, as set forth in the preamble, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation amends 7 CFR part 457 effective for the 2017 and succeeding crop years as follows:

PART 457—COMMON CROP INSURANCE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 457 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1506(l) and 1506(o).

2. Amend § 457.104 as follows: a. In the introductory text, by removing “2011” and adding “2017” in its place; and b. By revising sections 9(a) and 10(c)(1)(i)(E).

The revisions read as follows:

§ 457.104 Cotton crop insurance provisions.

9. Duties in the Event of Damage or Loss

(a) In addition to your duties under section 14 of the Basic Provisions, in the event of damage or loss, at our option or if required by FCIC in the Special Provisions, you may be required to leave the cotton stalks intact for our inspection. If applicable, the stalks must not be destroyed, and required samples must not be harvested, until the earlier of our inspection or 15 days after harvest of the balance of the unit is completed and written notice of probable loss given to us.

10. Settlement of Claim

(c) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) * * *

(E) If applicable, on which the cotton stalks are destroyed, in violation of section 9.

3. Amend § 457.105 as follows: a. In the introductory text, by removing “2014” and adding “2017” in its place; b. By revising sections 6(b), 9(a)(2), 10(c)(1)(i)(E), and the last sentence in section 12(b).

The revisions read as follows:

§ 457.105 Extra Long Staple Cotton crop insurance provisions.

6. Insurable Acreage

(b) Any acreage of the insured crop damaged before the final planting date, to the extent that a majority of producers in the area would not normally further care for the crop, must be replanted unless we agree that it is not practical to replant.

9. Duties in the Event of Damage or Loss

(a) * * *

(2) At our option or if required by FCIC in the Special Provisions, you may be required to leave the cotton stalks intact for our inspection. If applicable, the stalks must not be destroyed, and required samples must not be harvested, until the earlier of our inspection or 15 days after harvest of the balance of the unit is completed and written notice of probable loss is given to us.

10. Settlement of Claim

(c) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) * * *

(E) If applicable, on which the cotton stalks are destroyed, in violation of section 9.

12. Prevented Planting

(b) * * * If you have additional coverage and pay an additional premium, you may increase your prevented planting coverage to a level specified in the actuarial documents.

Signed in Washington, DC, on December 17, 2015. Brandon Willis, Manager, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2015-32308 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-08-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Parts 25 and 195 [Docket ID OCC-2015-0025] RIN 1557-AE01 FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Part 228 [Regulation BB; Docket No. R-1526] RIN 7100-AE40 FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Part 345 RIN 3064-AD90 Community Reinvestment Act Regulations AGENCY:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury (OCC); Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board); and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

ACTION:

Joint final rule; technical amendment.

SUMMARY:

The OCC, the Board, and the FDIC (collectively, the Agencies) are amending their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to adjust the asset-size thresholds used to define “small bank” or “small savings association” and “intermediate small bank” or “intermediate small savings association.” As required by the CRA regulations, the adjustment to the threshold amount is based on the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The Agencies also propose to make technical edits to remove obsolete references to the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and update cross-references to regulations implementing certain Federal consumer financial laws in their CRA regulations.

DATES:

January 1, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

OCC: Margaret Hesse, Senior Counsel, Community and Consumer Law Division, (202) 649-6350; Priscilla Benner, Attorney, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, (202) 649-5490; for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, TTY, (202) 649-5597; or Bobbie K. Kennedy, Bank Examiner, Compliance Policy Division, (202) 649-5470, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20219.

Board: Amal S. Patel, Senior Supervisory Consumer Financial Services Analyst, (202) 912-7879; or Nikita Pastor, Counsel, (202) 452-3667, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551.

FDIC: Patience R. Singleton, Senior Policy Analyst, Supervisory Policy Branch, Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, (202) 898-6859; or Richard M. Schwartz, Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-7424, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Description of the Joint Final Rule

The Agencies' CRA regulations establish CRA performance standards for small and intermediate small banks and savings associations. The CRA regulations define small and intermediate small banks and savings associations by reference to asset-size criteria expressed in dollar amounts, and they further require the Agencies to publish annual adjustments to these dollar figures based on the year-to-year change in the average of the CPI-W, not seasonally adjusted, for each twelve-month period ending in November, with rounding to the nearest million. 12 CFR 25.12(u)(2), 195.12(u)(2), 228.12(u)(2), and 345.12(u)(2). This adjustment formula was first adopted for CRA purposes by the OCC, the Board, and the FDIC on August 2, 2005, effective September 1, 2005. 70 FR 44256 (Aug. 2, 2005). The Agencies noted that the CPI-W is also used in connection with other federal laws, such as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. See 12 U.S.C. 2808; 12 CFR 1003.2. On March 22, 2007, and effective July 1, 2007, the former OTS, the agency then responsible for regulating savings associations, adopted an annual adjustment formula consistent with that of the other federal banking agencies in its CRA rule previously set forth at 12 CFR 563e. 72 FR 13429 (Mar. 22, 2007).

Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act),1 and effective July 21, 2011, CRA rulemaking authority for federal and state savings associations was transferred from the OTS to the OCC, and the OCC subsequently republished, at 12 CFR 195, the CRA regulations applicable to those institutions.2 In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act transferred responsibility for supervision of savings and loan holding companies and their non-depository subsidiaries from the OTS to the Board and the Board subsequently amended its CRA regulation to reflect this transfer of supervisory authority.3

1 Pub. L. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).

2See OCC interim final rule, 76 FR 48950 (Aug. 9, 2011).

3See Board interim final rule, 76 FR 56508 (Sept. 13, 2011).

The threshold for small banks and small savings associations was revised most recently in December 2014, and became effective January 1, 2015 (79 FR 77852 (Dec. 29, 2014)). The current CRA regulations provide that banks and savings associations that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.221 billion are small banks or small savings associations. Small banks and small savings associations with assets of at least $305 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.221 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years are intermediate small banks or intermediate small savings associations. 12 CFR 25.12(u)(1), 195.12(u)(1), 228.12(u)(1), and 345.12(u)(1). This joint final rule revises these thresholds.

During the period ending November 2015, the CPI-W decreased by 0.42 percent. As a result, the Agencies are revising 12 CFR 25.12(u)(1), 195.12(u)(1), 228.12(u)(1), and 345.12(u)(1) to make this annual adjustment. Beginning January 1, 2016, banks and savings associations that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.216 billion are small banks or small savings associations. Small banks and small savings associations with assets of at least $304 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.216 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years are intermediate small banks or intermediate small savings associations. The Agencies also publish current and historical asset-size thresholds on the Web site of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council at http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/.

In addition, the Agencies are making technical edits to 12 CFR 25.42, 228.42, and 345.42 to remove obsolete references to the “Office of Thrift Supervision” and to 12 CFR 563e in the CRA rules. As explained above, Title III of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred the powers, authorities, rights, and duties of the OTS to the Agencies. Specifically, among other changes, Title III abolished the OTS; transferred rulemaking and supervisory authority over savings and loan holding companies and supervisory authority over their non-depository subsidiaries to the Board; transferred rulemaking authority over federal savings associations and state savings associations, and supervisory authority over federal savings associations, to the OCC; and transferred supervisory authority over state savings associations to the FDIC.4

4See 12 U.S.C. 5412-5413.

Further, the Agencies are updating references to certain regulations implementing Federal consumer financial laws in the CRA regulations, as Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred rulemaking authority for a number of Federal consumer financial laws, including the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), effective July 21, 2011. The CFPB subsequently published an interim final rule to establish its own Regulation C to implement HMDA,5 and also published an interim final rule to establish its own Regulation Z to implement TILA.6 Accordingly, the Agencies are updating the citations in the CRA regulations 7 to reference the CFPB's Regulation C and Regulation Z, located at 12 CFR 1003 and 12 CFR 1026, respectively.

5 12 CFR part 1003. See 76 FR 78465 (Dec. 19, 2011).

6 12 CFR part 1026. See 76 FR 79768 (Dec. 22, 2011).

7See 12 CFR 25.12(h)(2)(i), 25.12(j)(2), 25.12(l), 25.42(b)(3), 25.42(d), 25.43(b)(2), 195.12(h)(2)(i), 195.12(j)(2), 195.12(l), 195.42(b)(3), 195.42(d), 195.43(b)(2), 228.12(h)(2)(i), 228.12(j)(2), 228.12(l), 228.42(b)(3), 228.42(d), 228.43(b)(2), 345.12(h)(2)(i), 345.12(j)(2), 345.12(l), 345.42(b)(3), 345.42(d), and 345.43(b)(2).

Administrative Procedure Act and Effective Date

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), an agency may, for good cause, find (and incorporate the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefore in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.

The amendments to the regulations to adjust the asset-size thresholds for small and intermediate small banks and savings associations result from the application of a formula established by a provision in the respective CRA regulations that the Agencies previously published for comment. See 70 FR 12148 (Mar. 11, 2005), 70 FR 44256 (Aug. 2, 2005), 71 FR 67826 (Nov. 24, 2006), and 72 FR 13429 (Mar. 22, 2007). Sections 25.12(u)(1), 195.12(u)(1), 228.12(u)(1), and 345.12(u)(1) are amended by adjusting the asset-size thresholds as provided for in §§ 25.12(u)(2), 195.12(u)(2), 228.12(u)(2), and 345.12(u)(2).

Accordingly, the Agencies' rules provide no discretion as to the computation or timing of the revisions to the asset-size criteria. Furthermore, deleting the obsolete references to the “Office of Thrift Supervision” and its CRA regulation and updating cross-references to reflect the transfer of rulemaking authority for many Federal consumer financial laws to the CFPB are technical and non-substantive revisions. For these reasons, the Agencies have determined that publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking and providing opportunity for public comment are unnecessary.

The effective date of this joint final rule is January 1, 2016. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the APA, the required publication or service of a substantive rule shall be made not less than 30 days before its effective date, except, among other things, as provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule. Because this rule adjusts asset-size thresholds consistent with the procedural requirements of the CRA rules, the Agencies conclude that it is not substantive within the meaning of the APA's delayed effective date provision. Moreover, the Agencies find that there is good cause for dispensing with the delayed effective date requirement, even if it applied, because their current rules already provide notice that the small and intermediate small asset-size thresholds will be adjusted as of December 31 based on twelve-month data as of the end of November each year. In addition, the technical edits to remove obsolete references to the “Office of Thrift Supervision” and its CRA rule in the Agencies' CRA rules and update citations to certain regulations are not substantive within the meaning of the APA's delayed effective date provision.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) does not apply to a rulemaking when a general notice of proposed rulemaking is not required. 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604. As noted previously, the Agencies have determined that it is unnecessary to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking for this joint final rule. Accordingly, the RFA's requirements relating to an initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis do not apply.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3506; 5 CFR 1320), the Agencies reviewed this final rule. No collections of information pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act are contained in the final rule.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Unfunded Mandates Act), 2 U.S.C. 1532, requires the OCC to prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating any final rule for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking was published. As discussed above, the OCC has determined that the publication of a general notice of proposed rulemaking is unnecessary. Accordingly, this joint final rule is not subject to section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Act.

List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 25

Community development, Credit, Investments, National banks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

12 CFR Part 195

Community development, Credit, Investments, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Savings associations.

12 CFR Part 228

Banks, Banking, Community development, Credit, Investments, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

12 CFR Part 345

Banks, Banking, Community development, Credit, Investments, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Department of the Treasury Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Chapter I

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, 12 CFR parts 25 and 195 are amended as follows:

PART 25—COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT AND INTERSTATE DEPOSIT PRODUCTION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 25 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 21, 22, 26, 27, 30, 36, 93a, 161, 215, 215a, 481, 1814, 1816, 1828(c), 1835a, 2901 through 2908, and 3101 through 3111.

2. Section 25.12 is amended: a. In paragraph (h)(2)(i), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place; b. In paragraph (j)(2), by removing “§ 226.2” and adding “§ 1026.2” in its place; c. In paragraph (l), by removing “§ 203.2” and adding “§ 1003.2” in its place; and d. By revising paragraph § 25.12(u)(1).

The revision reads as follows:

§ 25.12 Definitions.

(u) Small bank—(1) Definition. Small bank means a bank that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.216 billion. Intermediate small bank means a small bank with assets of at least $304 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.216 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.

§ 25.42 [Amended]
3. Section 25.42 is amended: a. In paragraphs (b)(3) and (d), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place, wherever it appears; and b. In paragraph (i), by removing “, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision,” and adding “and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,” in its place, and by removing “parts 228, 345, or 563e” and adding “parts 195, 228, or 345” in its place.
§ 25.43 [Amended]
4. Section 25.43 is amended in paragraph (b)(2) by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place. PART 195—COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT 5. The authority citation for part 195 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 1462a, 1463, 1464, 1814, 1816, 1828(c), 2901 through 2908, and 5412(b)(2)(B).

6. Section 195.12 is amended: a. In paragraph (h)(2)(i), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place; b. In paragraph (j)(2), by removing “§ 226.2” and adding “§ 1026.2” in its place; c. In paragraph (l), by removing “§ 203.2” and adding “§ 1003.2” in its place; and d. By revising paragraph (u)(1).

The revision is set forth below:

§ 195.12 Definitions.

(u) Small savings association—(1) Definition. Small savings association means a savings association that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.216 billion. Intermediate small savings association means a small savings association with assets of at least $304 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.216 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.

§ 195.42 [Amended]
7. Section 195.42 is amended in paragraphs (b)(3) and (d) by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place, wherever it appears.
§ 195.43 [Amended]
8. Section 195.43 is amended in paragraph (b)(2) by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place. Federal Reserve System 12 CFR Chapter II

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System amends part 228 of chapter II of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 228—COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT (REGULATION BB) 9. The authority citation for part 228 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 321, 325, 1828(c), 1842, 1843, 1844, and 2901 et seq.

10. Section 228.12 is amended: a. In paragraph (h)(2)(i), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place; b. In paragraph (j)(2), by removing “§ 226.2” and adding “§ 1026.2” in its place; c. In paragraph (l), by removing “§ 203.2” and adding “§ 1003.2” in its place; and d. Revising paragraph (u)(1).

The revision reads as follows:

§ 228.12 Definitions.

(u) Small bank—(1) Definition. Small bank means a bank that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.216 billion. Intermediate small bank means a small bank with assets of at least $304 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.216 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.

§ 228.42 [Amended]
11. Section 228.42 is amended: a. In paragraphs (b)(3) and (d), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place, wherever it appears; and b. In paragraph (i), by removing “, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision,” and adding “and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,” in its place, and by removing “parts 25, 345, or 563e” and adding “parts 25, 195, or 345” in its place.
§ 228.43 [Amended]
12. Section 228.43 is amended in paragraph (b)(2), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 12 CFR Chapter III Authority and Issuance

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation amends part 345 of chapter III of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

PART 345—COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT 13. The authority citation for part 345 continues to read as follows: Authority:

12 U.S.C. 1814-1817, 1819-1820, 1828, 1831u and 2901-2908, 3103-3104, and 3108(a).

14. Section 345.12 is amended: a. In paragraph (h)(2)(i), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place; b. In paragraph (j)(2), by removing “§ 226.2” and adding “§ 1026.2” in its place; c. In paragraph (l), by removing “§ 203.2” and adding “§ 1003.2” in its place; and d. Revising paragraph (u)(1).

The revision reads as follows:

§ 345.12 Definitions.

(u) Small bank—(1) Definition. Small bank means a bank that, as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years, had assets of less than $1.216 billion. Intermediate small bank means a small bank with assets of at least $304 million as of December 31 of both of the prior two calendar years and less than $1.216 billion as of December 31 of either of the prior two calendar years.

§ 345.42 [Amended]
15. Section 345.42 is amended: a. In paragraphs (b)(3) and (d), by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place, wherever it appears; and b. In paragraph (i), by removing “, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision,” and adding “and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,” in its place, and by removing “parts 25, 228, or 563e” and adding “parts 25, 195, or 228” in its place.
§ 345.43 [Amended]
16. Section 345.43 is amended in paragraph (b)(2) by removing “part 203” and adding “part 1003” in its place. Dated: December 16, 2015. Amy S. Friend, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel. By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, acting through the Secretary of the Board under delegated authority, December 16, 2015. Robert deV. Frierson, Secretary of the Board.

By order of the Board of Directors.

Dated at Washington, DC, this 15th day of December, 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2015-32670 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-33-P; 6210-01-6714-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1199; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-008-AD; Amendment 39-18351; AD 2015-26-03] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2011-07-10 for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model BD-100-1A10 (Challenger 300) airplanes. AD 2011-07-10 required revising the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness; doing detailed visual inspections; removing discrepant material; cleaning the surfaces of the valves, the plug of the sensing port, and the cabin pressure-sensing port plug; securing the insulation; installing a new safety valve, and replacing certain cabin pressure-sensing port plugs. This new AD retains all requirements of AD 2011-07-10, and requires a detailed visual inspection of both safety valves and the surrounding area for foreign material, room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) silicone, contamination, foam on the bulkhead structure, tape or insulation, and loose material; and corrective actions if necessary. This AD was prompted by reports of in-flight loss of cabin pressurization that was attributed to partial blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port in conjunction with a failed safety valve manometric capsule. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port, which could result in loss of cabin pressure.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of February 2, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of May 5, 2011 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011).

ADDRESSES:

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-1199; or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bombardier, Inc., 400 Côte-Vertu Road West, Dorval, Québec H4S 1Y9, Canada; telephone 514-855-5000; fax 514-855-7401; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.bombardier.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1199.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Luke Walker, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe and Mechanical Systems Branch, ANE-171, FAA, New York Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone 516-228-7363; fax 516-794-5531.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011). AD 2011-07-10 applied to certain Bombardier, Inc. Model BD-100-1A10 (Challenger 300) airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2015 (80 FR 20181) (“the NPRM”).

Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), which is the aviation authority for Canada, has issued Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2010-06R1, dated August 8, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model BD-100-1A10 (Challenger 300) airplanes. The MCAI states:

Investigation of a high altitude loss of cabin pressurization on a BD-100-1A10 aeroplane determined that it was caused by a partial blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port, in conjunction with a dormant failure/leakage of the safety valve manometric capsule. The blockage, caused by accumulation of lint/dust on the grid of the port plug, did not allow sufficient airflow through the cabin pressure-sensing port to compensate for the rate of leakage from the manometric capsule, resulting in the opening of the safety valve. It was also determined that failure of the manometric capsule alone would not result in the opening of the safety valve.

The original issue of this [Canadian] AD mandated a revision of the maintenance schedule, the cleaning of the safety valves, the removal of material from the area surrounding the safety valves and the modification of the safety valves with a gridless cabin pressure-sensing port plug.

Since the original issue of this [Canadian] AD, there have been two additional reported events of in-flight loss of cabin pressurization that were attributed to partial blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port in conjunction with a failed safety valve manometric capsule.

Bombardier Aerospace has determined that aeroplanes with a particular interior installation require improved instructions to clean the safety valves and their surrounding area. In addition, Aircraft Maintenance Manual tasks have been updated to ensure that inspection of the safety valves and their surrounding is carried out after any maintenance action.

Revision 1 of this [Canadian] AD is issued to mandate inspection and cleaning of the safety valves and their surrounding area on the affected aeroplanes.

You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-1199-0002. Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.

Revised Docket Number

We have changed the docket number specified in the NPRM from “Docket No. FAA-2015-0827” to “Docket No. FAA-2015-1199” in this final rule.

Conclusion

We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the change described previously and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Bombardier has issued Service Bulletin 100-25-21, Revision 02, dated July 25, 2013. The service information describes procedures for a detailed visual inspection of both safety valves and the surrounding area for foreign material, RTV silicone, contamination, foam on the bulkhead structure, tape or insulation, and loose material, and applicable corrective actions. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 67 airplanes of U.S. registry.

The actions required by AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), and retained in this AD take about 10 work-hours per product, at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. Required parts cost about $0 per product. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the actions that were required by AD 2011-07-10 is $850 per product.

We also estimate that it will take about 4 work-hours per product to comply with the new basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $22,780, or $340 per product.

According to the manufacturer, all of the costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-1199; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), and adding the following new AD: 2015-26-03 Bombardier, Inc.: Amendment 39-18351. Docket No. FAA-2015-1199; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-008-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Bombardier, Inc. Model BD-100-1A10 (Challenger 300) airplanes, certificated in any category, serial numbers 20001 through 20274.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 25, Equipment/Furnishings.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of in-flight loss of cabin pressurization that were attributed to partial blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port in conjunction with a failed safety valve manometric capsule. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct blockage of a safety valve cabin pressure-sensing port, which could result in loss of cabin pressure.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Retained Revision with No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), with no changes. For all airplanes: Within 30 days after June 1, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-10-18, Amendment 39-16297 (75 FR 27406, May 17, 2010)), revise the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating Tasks 21-31-09-101 and 21-31-09-102 in the Bombardier Temporary Revision (TR) 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009, to Section 5-10-40, “Certification Maintenance Requirements,” in Part 2 of Chapter 5 of Bombardier Challenger 300 BD-100 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks.

(1) For the new tasks identified in Bombardier TR 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009: For airplanes identified in the “Phase-in” section of Bombardier TR 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009, the initial compliance with the new tasks must be carried out in accordance with the phase-in schedule detailed in Bombardier TR 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009, except where that TR specifies a compliance time from the date of the TR, this AD requires compliance within the specified time after June 1, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-10-18, Amendment 39-16297 (75 FR 27406, May 17, 2010)).

Thereafter, except as provided by paragraph (n)(1) of this AD, no alternative to the task intervals may be used.

(2) When the information in Bombardier TR 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009, has been included in the general revisions of the applicable Airworthiness Limitations section, that TR may be removed from that Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness.

(h) Retained Inspection, Removal, Cleaning, and Installation With Certain Clarified Compliance Times

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), with certain clarified compliance times. For airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20173 inclusive, 20176, and 20177: Within 50 flight hours after June 1, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-10-18, Amendment 39-16297 (75 FR 27406, May 17, 2010)), do a detailed visual inspection of the safety valves and surrounding areas for discrepant material (e.g., foreign material surrounding the safety valves, room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) sealant on safety valves, RTV excess on the bulkhead, tape near the safety valve opening, and, on certain airplanes, insulation near the safety valve opening, and foam in the area surrounding the safety valves) and a detailed visual inspection for contamination (e.g., RTV, dust, or lint) in the safety valve pressure ports, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-14, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20124, 20125, 20128, 20134, 20139, 20143, 20146, 20148 through 20173 inclusive, 20176, and 20177); or Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20123 inclusive, 20126, 20127, 20129 to 20133 inclusive, 20135 to 20138 inclusive, 20140 through 20142 inclusive, 20144, 20145, and 20147).

(1) If any discrepant material is found during the detailed visual inspection, before further flight, remove the discrepant material, clean the surfaces of the valves, and secure the insulation, as applicable, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-14, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20124, 20125, 20128, 20134, 20139, 20143, 20146, 20148 through 20173 inclusive, 20176, and 20177); or Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20123 inclusive, 20126, 20127, 20129 through 20133 inclusive, 20135 through 20138 inclusive, 20140 through 20142 inclusive, 20144, 20145, and 20147).

(2) If contamination (e.g., RTV, dust, or lint) is found on the safety valve pressure sensing ports, before further flight, do a detailed visual inspection of the outside and inside diameters of the pressure sensing port conduit for the presence of RTV; and before further flight do the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(2)(i) and (h)(2)(ii) of this AD, as applicable; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-14, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20124, 20125, 20128, 20134, 20139, 20143, 20146, 20148 through 20173 inclusive, 20176, and 20177); or Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, dated June 30, 2008 (for airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20123 inclusive, 20126, 20127, 20129 through 20133 inclusive, 20135 through 20138 inclusive, 20140 through 20142 inclusive, 20144, 20145, and 20147).

(i) If no RTV is found, clean the plug of the sensing port.

(ii) If any RTV is found, install a new safety valve.

(i) Retained Cleaning for Certain Airplanes With No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), with no changes. For airplanes having S/Ns 20174, 20175, 20178 through 20189 inclusive, 20191 through 20228 inclusive, 20230 through 20232 inclusive, 20235, 20237, 20238, 20241, 20244, 20247, 20249 through 20251 inclusive, 20254, 20256 and 20259: Within 50 flight hours after June 1, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-10-18, Amendment 39-16297 (75 FR 27406, May 17, 2010)), clean the cabin pressure-sensing port plug in both safety valves, in accordance with Paragraph 2.B., “Part A—Modification—Cleaning,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin A100-21-08, dated June 18, 2009.

(j) Retained Cleaning for Certain Other Airplanes With No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (j) of AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), with no changes. For airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20189 inclusive, 20191 through 20228 inclusive, 20230 through 20232 inclusive, 20235, 20237, 20238, 20241, 20244, 20247, 20249 through 20251 inclusive, 20254, 20256, and 20259: Within 50 flight hours after June 1, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-10-18, Amendment 39-16297 (75 FR 27406, May 17, 2010)), clean the cabin pressure-sensing port plug in both safety valves, in accordance with Paragraph 2.B., “Part A—Modification—Cleaning,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin A100-21-08, dated June 18, 2009. Repeat the cleaning thereafter at intervals not to exceed 50 flight hours until the actions specified by paragraph (k) of this AD are completed.

(k) Retained Replacement With No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (k) of AD 2011-07-10, Amendment 39-16647 (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011), with no changes. For airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20189 inclusive, 20191 through 20228 inclusive, 20230 through 20232 inclusive, 20235, 20237, 20238, 20241, 20244, 20247, 20249 through 20251 inclusive, 20254, 20256, and 20259: Within 12 months after May 5, 2011 (the effective date of AD 2011-07-10), replace the cabin pressure-sensing port plug having part number (P/N) 2844-060 in both safety valves with a new gridless plug having P/N 2844-19 and re-identify the safety valves, in accordance with Paragraph 2.C., “Part B—Modification—Replacement,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin A100-21-08, dated June 18, 2009. Doing the actions in this paragraph terminates the repetitive cleanings required by paragraph (j) of this AD.

(l) New Requirement of This AD: Inspection and Cleaning

For airplanes having S/Ns 20003 through 20123 inclusive, 20126, 20127, 20129 through 20133 inclusive, 20135 through 20138 inclusive, 20140 through 20142 inclusive, 20144, 20145, and 20147: Within 500 flight hours or 15 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, do a detailed visual inspection of both safety valves and the surrounding area for foreign material, RTV silicone, contamination, foam on the bulkhead structure, tape or insulation, and loose material, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, Revision 02, dated July 25, 2013. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, Revision 02, dated July 25, 2013.

(m) Credit for Previous Actions

This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraph (l) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, Revision 01, dated February 26, 2013, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(n) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, New York Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), ANE-170, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the New York ACO, send it to ATTN: Program Manager, Continuing Operational Safety, FAA, New York ACO, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone 516-228-7300; fax 516-794-5531. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

(2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, New York ACO, ANE-170, FAA; or Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA); or Bombardier, Inc.'s TCCA Design Approval Organization (DAO). If approved by the DAO, the approval must include the DAO-authorized signature.

(o) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2010-06R1, dated August 8, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1199.

(2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (p)(5) and (p)(6) of this AD.

(p) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

(3) The following service information was approved for IBR on February 2, 2016.

(i) Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, Revision 02, dated July 25, 2013.

(ii) Reserved.

(4) The following service information was approved for IBR on May 5, 2011, (76 FR 17758, March 31, 2011).

(i) Bombardier Service Bulletin A100-21-08, dated June 18, 2009.

(ii) Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-14, dated June 30, 2008.

(iii) Bombardier Service Bulletin 100-25-21, dated June 30, 2008.

(iv) Bombardier Temporary Revision (TR) 5-2-53, dated October 1, 2009, to Section 5-10-40, “Certification Maintenance Requirements,” in Part 2 of Chapter 5 of Bombardier Challenger 300 BD-100 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks.

(5) For service information identified in this AD, contact Bombardier, Inc., 400 Côte-Vertu Road West, Dorval, Québec H4S 1Y9, Canada; telephone 514-855-5000; fax 514-855-7401; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.bombardier.com.

(6) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(7) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference 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.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 11, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-32080 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0648; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-136-AD; Amendment 39-18344; AD 2015-25-06] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2010-06-04, for certain Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, B4-2C airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes; and Model A300 B4-600R series airplanes. AD 2010-06-04 required repetitive inspections to detect cracks of the pylon side panels (upper section) at rib 8; and corrective actions if necessary. This new AD continues to require repetitive inspections for cracking of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8 with reduced compliance times, and corrective actions if necessary. This AD also requires repetitive post-repair and post-modification inspections and repair if necessary. This AD also removes certain airplanes having a certain modification from the applicability. This AD was prompted by reports of cracks found on pylon side panels at rib 8 and a fleet survey and updated fatigue and damage tolerance analyses. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of pylon side panels (upper section) at rib 8, which could lead to reduced structural integrity of the pylon primary structure, which could cause detachment of the engine from the fuselage.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of February 2, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of April 15, 2010 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)).

ADDRESSES:

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2014-0648; or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0648.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)). AD 2010-06-04 applied to certain Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, B4-2C airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes; and Model A300 B4-600R series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2014 (79 FR 56526).

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0136R1, dated July 30, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition on certain Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, B4-2C airplanes; Model A310 series airplanes; Model A300 B4-600 series airplanes; and Model A300 B4-600R series airplanes. The MCAI states:

Cracks were found on pylon side panels (upper section) at rib 8 on Airbus A300, A310 and A300-600 aeroplanes equipped with General Electric engines. Investigation of these findings indicated that this problem was likely to also affect aeroplanes of this type design with other engine installations.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to reduced strength of the pylon primary structure, possibly resulting in pylon structural failure and in-flight loss of an engine.

Prompted by these findings, EASA issued AD 2008-0181 [http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2009-0789-0002] [which corresponds to FAA AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))] to require repetitive detailed visual inspections [of the pylon side panels (upper section) at rib 8] and, depending on aeroplane configuration and/or findings, the accomplishment of applicable corrective action(s).

Since that [EASA] AD was issued, a fleet survey and updated Fatigue and Damage Tolerance analyses have been performed in order to substantiate the second A300-600 Extended Service Goal (ESG2) exercise. The results of these analyses have shown that the risk for these aeroplanes is higher than initially determined and consequently, the threshold and interval must be reduced to allow timely detection of these cracks and the accomplishment of applicable correction action(s).

EASA issued AD 2013-0136 [http://ad.easa.europa.eu/ad/2013-0136R1] which retained the requirements of EASA AD 2008-0181, which was superseded, and required the inspections to be accomplished within reduced thresholds and intervals.

After publication of EASA AD 2013-0136, it appeared that Airbus Mod 03599 had no influence on the aeroplane configuration affected by this AD. At the same time Airbus Service Bulletin (SB) A30-54-6015 Revision 3 was not integrally taken into account as this revision no longer identifies configuration 3 aeroplanes.

For the reasons described above, EASA [AD] 2013-0136 is revised to exclude Airbus Mod 03599 from the applicability and to delete the reference to the configuration 3 for A300-600 aeroplanes.

Corrective actions include doing a repair. This AD also provides an optional modification (installing a doubler), which would terminate the repetitive inspections. Required actions also include repetitive post-repair and post-modification inspections and repair if necessary. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0648-0002.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comment received on the NPRM (79 FR 56526, September 22, 2014) and the FAA's response.

Request To Revise Method Used To Determine Compliance Times

United Parcel Service (UPS) requested that we revise the proposed compliance times to be less complex. UPS stated that the proposed compliance times contain a method known as “Average Flight Time” (AFT) which results in a variable flight hour limit and adds unnecessary complexity to the threshold table and subsequent inspection actions. UPS added that use of the AFT method, along with a lack of standard procedures for implementing the AFT method would create uncertainty for operators and inspectors trying to determine the correct compliance time. UPS stated that in review of prior FAA ADs, including AD 98-18-02, Amendment 39-10718 (63 FR 45689, August 27, 1998), that the FAA does not concur with the AFT compliance time methodology as “. . . such adjustments may not address the unsafe condition in a timely manner” and “. . . they (AFT compliance times) do not fit into the AD tracking process for operators or for Principle Maintenance Inspectors (PMIs) attempting to ascertain compliance with ADs.”

UPS compiled a table of fixed compliance times that it suggested would be simpler to use instead of the proposed AFT-based compliance times.

We disagree with the commenter's request to revise the compliance times in this AD. The compliance times, as proposed, use fixed flight-cycle and flight-hour compliance times. For only Model A310 series airplanes, the compliance times depend on whether airplanes are short range or long range airplanes. We acknowledge that this causes additional complexity in tracking and forecasting airplane utilization; however, the inspection schedule was created by Airbus to offer operators the greatest flexibility. Operators may elect to inspect within the range that complies with both the long range and short range utilization in order to reduce the complexity. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Regarding AD 98-18-02, Amendment 39-10718 (63 FR 45689, August 27, 1998), at the time the FAA issued AD 98-18-02, the required actions in Airbus Industrie Service Bulletin A300-57-6027, Revision 2, dated September 13, 1994, contained inspection thresholds and intervals based on airplane flight cycles, and provided instructions for adjusting the flight cycle threshold and interval using each individual airplane's AFT utilization. The FAA did not agree with the AFT method because it could result in a different inspection threshold and interval for each individual airplane, and the FAA did not agree with adjusting a flight cycle based threshold and interval using the average flight time utilization without also having a related flight hour based threshold and interval.

Conclusion

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

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 56526, September 22, 2014) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 56526, September 22, 2014).

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued the following service information. The service information describes procedures for repetitive inspections for cracking of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8 with reduced compliance times, and corrective actions if necessary. This service information also describes procedures for post-modification and post-repair detailed inspections for cracking, as applicable, of the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) side panels of pylons 1 and 2, and repair if necessary. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated March 27, 2013.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013.

Airbus has also issued the following service information. This service information describes procedures for modifying by installing a doubler on the LH pylon 1 and RH pylon 2, on pylon side panels (upper section), at rib 8. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0081, dated August 11, 1993.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2024, dated August 11, 1993.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6021, Revision 02, dated May 21, 2008.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 156 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspection [retained actions from AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))] 4 work-hours × $85 per hour = $340 $0 $340 $53,040. Inspection [new actions] 24 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,040 per inspection cycle 0 $2,040 per inspection cycle $318,240 per inspection cycle.

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Repair 58 work-hours × $85 per hour = $4,930 $3,910 $8,840. Optional Modification Up to 48 work-hours × $85 per hour = $4,080 Up to $1,026 Up to $5,106. Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2014-0648; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)), and adding the following new AD:

    2015-25-06 Airbus: Amendment 39-18344. Docket No. FAA-2014-0648; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-136-AD.

    (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, certificated in any category.

    (1) Airbus Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, and B4-2C airplanes, on which Airbus Modification 02434 has been embodied in production.

    (2) Airbus Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 10432 has been embodied in production.

    (3) Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B-622, and B4-622R airplanes, except those on which Airbus Modification 10432 has been embodied in production.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 54, Nacelles/Pylons.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracks found on pylon side panels at rib 8 and a fleet survey and updated fatigue and damage tolerance analyses. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of pylon side panels (upper section) at rib 8, which could lead to reduced structural integrity of the pylon primary structure, which could cause detachment of the engine from the fuselage.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Actions and Compliance With Revised Service Information

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (f) of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)), with revised service information. Accomplishing the initial inspection required by paragraph (h) of this AD terminates the requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) For Configuration 01 airplanes as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: At the applicable time specified in table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD, except as required by paragraphs (g)(2) and (g)(3) of this AD, perform a detailed visual inspection of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8, in accordance with paragraph 3.B. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9)(i) through (g)(9)(iii) of this AD or paragraphs (k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(3) of this AD. Repeat the inspection at the time specified in table 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD.

    Table 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Compliance Times for Configuration 1 Airplanes For Model— That have accumulated— Inspect before the
  • accumulation of—
  • Or within— And repeat the inspection at intervals not to
  • exceed—
  • Whichever occurs later A300 B2-1C, B2-203, and B2K-3C airplanes ≤17,500 total flight cycles 1 5,350 total flight cycles 2,500 flight cycles 2 4,300 flight cycles. A300 B2-1C, B2-203, and B2K-3C airplanes >17,500 total flight cycles 1 20,000 total flight cycles or 40,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 4,300 flight cycles. A300 B4-103, B4-203, and B4-2C airplanes ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 5,350 total flight cycles 2,000 flight cycles 2 4,300 flight cycles. A300 B4-103, B4-203, and B4-2C airplanes >18,000 total flight cycles 1 20,000 total flight cycles or 40,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 4,300 flight cycles. A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B4-622, and B4-622R airplanes ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 4,200 total flight cycles 2,000 flight cycles 2 3,600 flight cycles. A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B4-622, and B4-622R airplanes >18,000 total flight cycles 1 20,000 total flight cycles or 40,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 3,600 flight cycles. A310-200 airplanes with GE CF6-80A3 or Pratt & Whitney engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 9,700 total flight cycles or 19,400 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 6,700 flight cycles or 13,400 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-200 airplanes with GE CF6-80A3 or Pratt & Whitney engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 6,700 flight cycles or 13,400 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-200 airplanes with GE CF6-80C2 engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 7,800 total flight cycles or 15,600 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 5,800 flight cycles or 11,600 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-200 airplanes with GE CF6-80C2 engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 5,800 flight cycles or 11,600 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 8,600 total flight cycles or 24,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 6,700 flight cycles or 18,700 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 6,700 flight cycles or 18,700 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with GE engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 7,000 total flight cycles or 19,600 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 5,700 flight cycles or 15,900 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with GE engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 5,700 flight cycles or 15,900 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 7,000 total flight cycles or 19,600 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 5,800 flight cycles or 16,200 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 SR 3 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 5,800 flight cycles or 16,200 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 5,900 total flight cycles or 29,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 6,000 flight cycles or 30,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 6,000 flight cycles or 30,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with GE engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 4,800 total flight cycles or 24,100 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 5,100 flight cycles or 25,500 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with GE engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 5,100 flight cycles or 25,500 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines ≤18,000 total flight cycles 1 4,800 total flight cycles or 24,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 1,500 flight cycles 2 5,200 flight cycles or 26,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first. A310-300 LR 4 airplanes with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines >18,000 total flight cycles 1 19,500 total flight cycles or 55,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first 250 flight cycles 2 5,200 flight cycles or 26,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first. 1 As of April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))). 2 After April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010; corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))). 3 “SR” applies to airplanes with average flights less than 4 flight hours. 4 “LR” refers to airplanes with average flights of 4 or more flight hours.

    (2) For Model A300 and A300-600 airplanes that have accumulated more than 40,000 total flight hours as of April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))): Within 250 flight cycles after April 15, 2010, do the actions specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.

    (3) For Model A310 airplanes that have accumulated more than 55,500 total flight hours as of April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))): Within 250 flight cycles after April 15, 2010, do the actions specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD.

    (4) For Configuration 01 airplanes, as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: If a crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, before further flight, install a doubler, in accordance with paragraph 3.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD.

    (5) For Configuration 02 airplanes, as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E.(2) of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraphs (g)(9)(i) through (g)(9)(iii) of this AD, or within 250 flight cycles after April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))), whichever occurs later, perform a detailed visual inspection of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8, in accordance with paragraph 3.B. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD.

    (6) For Configuration 03 airplanes, as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E.(2) of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraphs (g)(9)(i) through (g)(9)(iii) of this AD, or within 250 flight cycles after April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572))), whichever occurs later, perform a detailed visual inspection, and a high frequency eddy current inspection as applicable, of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8, in accordance with paragraph 3.B. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD.

    (7) For Configuration 02 and 03 airplanes, as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: If a crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g)(1), (g)(5), or (g)(6) of this AD, before further flight, repair in accordance with paragraph 3.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD.

    (8) For all airplanes, except those in Configuration 01, as identified in the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9) of this AD: Repeat the inspection specified in paragraph (g)(1), (g)(5), or (g)(6) of this AD, as applicable, at the intervals specified in paragraph 1.E.(2) of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (g)(9)(i) through (g)(9)(iii) of this AD.

    (9) For the actions specified in paragraph (g) of this AD, use the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraphs (g)(9)(i) through (g)(9)(iii) of this AD, or paragraph (k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(3) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008 (For Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, and B4-2C airplanes).

    (ii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008 (For Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B4-622, and B4-622R airplanes).

    (iii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008 (for Model A310 series airplanes).

    (h) New Repetitive Inspections and Repair

    Except as required by paragraphs (l)(1) and (l)(2) of this AD, at the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD: Do a detailed inspection for cracking of the pylons 1 and 2 side panels (upper section) at rib 8, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD. Accomplishing the inspection required by this paragraph terminates the requirements of paragraph (g)(1) through (g)(9) of this AD.

    (1) If any cracking is found, before further flight, do a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection to confirm the crack, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

    (i) If any crack indication is confirmed during the HFEC inspection specified in paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, and the crack is less than 20 mm, before further flight, repair, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

    (ii) If any crack indication is confirmed during the HFEC inspection specified in paragraph (h)(1) of this AD and the crack is greater than or equal to 20 mm, before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

    (2) If no cracking is found, or if crack indication is not confirmed during the HFEC inspection required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, at the applicable interval specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD, repeat the inspection specified in paragraph (h) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD until the modification specified in paragraph (i) is done.

    (i) Optional Modification

    Modifying by installing a doubler on the left hand (LH) pylon 1 and right hand (RH) pylon 2, on pylon side panels (upper section), at rib 8, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service information identified in paragraph (i)(1), (i)(2), or (i)(3) of this AD; as applicable; terminates the repetitive inspections specified in paragraph (h)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0081, dated August 11, 1993.

    (2) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2024, dated August 11, 1993.

    (3) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6021, Revision 02, dated May 21, 2008.

    (j) Post-Modification and Post-Repair Repetitive Inspections and Corrective Actions

    For airplanes on which the modification has been done as specified in paragraph (i) of this AD, and airplanes on which the repair has been done as specified in paragraph (h) of this AD: At the applicable compliance time specified in paragraph 1.E., Compliance,” of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD, do the post-modification and post-repair detailed inspections for cracking, as applicable, of the LH and RH side panels of pylons 1 and 2, in accordance with the applicable service bulletins identified in paragraph (k) of this AD. Repeat the inspections thereafter at the times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance” of the applicable service bulletin specified in paragraph (k) of this AD. If any cracking is found, before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. This repair is not a terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by this paragraph.

    (k) New Service Information

    Use the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraphs (k)(1) through (k)(3) of this AD to accomplish the inspections required by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD.

    (1) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated March 27, 2013 (for Model A300 B2-1C, B2-203, B2K-3C, B4-103, B4-203, and B4-2C airplanes).

    (2) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013 (for Model A310-203, -204, -221, -222, -304, -322, -324, and -325 airplanes).

    (3) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013 (for Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-605R, B4-620, B4-622, and B4-622R airplanes).

    (l) Exceptions

    (1) Where the compliance time column in the tables in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of the applicable service bulletin identified in paragraph (k) of this AD specifies a “threshold” in “FC” or “FH,” and does not specify from repair or service bulletin embodiment, those compliance times are total flight cycles and total flight hours.

    (2) Where the tables in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of the applicable service bulletin specified in paragraph (k) of this AD specifies “grace period after the receipt of the service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the corresponding compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

    (m) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph restates the credit provided by paragraph (f)(9) of AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)) with no changes. This paragraph provides credit for initial inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed prior to April 15, 2010 (the effective date of AD 2010-06-04) using the applicable service bulletins specified in paragraphs (m)(1)(i) through (m)(1)(vi) of this AD, which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, dated August 11, 1993.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 01, dated November 9, 2007.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, dated August 11, 1993.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 01, dated November 9, 2007.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, dated August 11, 1993.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 01, dated November 16, 2007.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for initial inspections required by paragraph (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the applicable service bulletins specified in paragraphs (m)(2)(i) through (m)(2)(ix) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, dated August 11, 1993, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 01, dated November 9, 2007, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, dated August 11, 1993, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 01, dated November 9, 2007, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (vii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, dated August 11, 1993, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (viii) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 01, dated November 16, 2007, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ix) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (3) This paragraph provides credit for initial inspections required by paragraph (i) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the applicable service bulletins specified in paragraphs (m)(3)(i) and (m)(3)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6021, dated August 11, 1993, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6021, Revision 01, dated November 16, 2007, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (n) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-2125; fax (425) 227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected].

    (i) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (ii) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2010-06-04, Amendment 39-16228 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)); are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (o) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0136R1, dated July 30, 2013, for related information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0648-0002.

    (2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (p)(5) and (p)(6) of this AD.

    (p) Material Incorporated by Reference

    (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

    (2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on February 2, 2016.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated March 27, 2013.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-0081, dated August 11, 1993.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-54-6021, Revision 02, dated May 21, 2008.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, Revision 03, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, 3, and 5; including Appendix 4; dated April 11, 2013.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A310-54-2024, dated August 11, 1993.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on April 15, 2010 ((75 FR 11428, March 11, 2010); corrected May 4, 2010 (75 FR 23572)).

    (i) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-54-0075, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (ii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A300-54-6015, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (iii) Airbus Mandatory Service Bulletin A310-54-2018, excluding Appendixes 1, 2, and 3, Revision 02, dated June 26, 2008.

    (5) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (6) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    (7) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference 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.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 8, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-31603 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0076; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-246-AD; Amendment 39-18350; AD 2015-26-02] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, and A330-300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report that, during a production flight test, the ram air turbine (RAT) did not pressurize the green hydraulic system. For certain airplanes, this AD requires identification of the part number, serial number, and standard of the RAT pump, RAT module, RAT actuator, and RAT lower gearbox assembly; replacement of the balance weight screw, modification of the actuator coil spring, modification of the actuator, an inspection of the anti-stall valve for correct installation in the RAT pump housing; and corrective actions if necessary. For certain other airplanes, this AD requires re-identification or replacement of the RAT module. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of the impeller function and RAT pump pressurization capability, which, if preceded by a total engine flame-out, could result in the loss of control of the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of February 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-0076; or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

    For Airbus service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. For Hamilton Sundstrand service information identified in this AD, contact Hamilton Sundstrand, Technical Publications, Mail Stop 302-9, 4747 Harrison Avenue, P.O. Box 7002, Rockford, IL 61125-7002; telephone 860-654-3575; fax 860-998-4564; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.hamiltonsundstrand.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0076.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, and A330-300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2015 (80 FR 3513).

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0274, dated November 15, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-200 Freighter, and A330-300 series airplanes; and Airbus Model A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, and A340-600 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    During a production flight test of an A330-300 aeroplane, the Ram Air Turbine (RAT) did not pressurize the green hydraulic system. Investigation revealed that the impeller drive (hex) shaft had a reduced length of engagement with the pump drive shaft. This caused the impeller drive shaft to disengage from the pump and disconnect the impeller. It was determined that the disconnection was the result of internal hex dimensions on the pump impeller shaft, which had been changed in a manufacturing drawing. From the investigation analysis, it was possible to identify a list of affected parts.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to the loss of impeller function and RAT pump pressurization capability, possibly resulting, in case of total engine flame out, to the loss of control of the aeroplane.

    To address this unsafe condition, a new design RAT pump shaft has been developed with a decreased hexagonal shaft housing depth, which increases the hexagonal drive shaft engagement in the impeller shaft to carry the impeller torque. Airbus issued Service Bulletin (SB) A330-29-3122, SB A340-29-4093 and SB A340-29-5021 to provide instructions for in-service replacement of the affected RAT hydraulic pumps, or re-identification of the RAT pump and complete RAT module, as applicable.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires identification and replacement [modification] or re-identification of all affected RAT hydraulic pumps on A330 and A340-200/300 aeroplanes, and replacement [modification] of all affected RAT modules on A340-500/-600 aeroplanes.

    For affected pumps, the required actions also include concurrent actions, as applicable, including replacement of the balance weight screw, modification of the actuator coil spring, modification of the actuator, an inspection of the anti-stall valve for correct installation in the RAT pump housing and re-installation if necessary. For affected pumps, corrective actions include replacement of the RAT hydraulic pump, and re-identification of the part number of the RAT module. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-0076-0003. Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015) and the FAA's response to each comment.

    One commenter, Joseph P. Evans, supported the NPRM (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015).

    Request To Include Optional Actions in Paragraphs (h) and (j) of the Proposed AD (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015)

    Delta Airlines (DAL) requested that paragraph (h) of the Proposed AD (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015) be revised to include an option for operators to concurrently do the actions described in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014, which refers to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-21, dated May 27, 2014, when doing any corrective actions required by paragraph (h) of the proposed AD. Based upon its requested revision to paragraph (h) of the proposed AD, DAL also requested that paragraph (j) of the proposed AD be revised to include a statement that if an operator did the optional concurrent actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014, the RAT module should be re-identified using the instructions in that service information.

    We agree with the commenter's request to include an option for the reasons provided by the commenter. The actions described in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014, include concurrently doing the actions specified in paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD. For similar reasons, we have also included options for operators to do the actions in Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2014; and Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014; as applicable.

    We have included a new paragraph (k) in this AD to allow operators the option to do the actions in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014; and Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2014, and re-designated the subsequent paragraphs accordingly. Paragraph (l) of this AD has been revised to include the option for operators to do the actions described in Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014, for the Model A340-541 and A340-642 series airplanes.

    If operators do the optional actions, the RAT actuators will be modified to the current standards and the RAT modules re-identified with the current part numbers. The service information for the optional actions specified in paragraph (k) of this AD states that the actions in the service information required by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD, as applicable, should be done concurrently, as described below.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014, specifies that the actions in Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012, be done concurrently.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2014, specifies that the actions in Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4093, dated October 25, 2012, be done concurrently.

    The service information for the optional actions specified in paragraph (l) of this AD states that the actions in the service information required by paragraph (l) of this AD should be done concurrently, as described as follows: Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014, specifies that the actions in Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5021, dated October 2, 2012, be done concurrently.

    Request To Correct an Error in Referenced Vendor Service Information

    Delta requested that the reference to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19 in paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015) be changed to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-13. Delta noted that Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012, references Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-13.

    We agree that the reference to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19 in paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015) was incorrect. We inadvertently referred to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19, and we should have referred to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-13. We have revised paragraph (i) of this AD to provide the correct reference, which is Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-13.

    In the preamble of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012, there are two incorrect references to the Hamilton Sundstrand service information. The references incorrectly specify Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin “EPRPS06M-29-13.” The first “P” in the citation should have been omitted. The correct reference is “ERPS06M-29-13.” As previously stated, we have revised paragraph (i) of this AD to address this issue.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the changes described previously and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

    • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 3513, January 15, 2015).

    We also determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this AD.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Airbus has issued the following service information. This service information describes procedures for identifying the part number, serial number, and standard of the RAT pump, RAT module, RAT actuator, and RAT lower gearbox assembly; replacing the balance weight screw, modifying the actuator coil spring, modifying the actuator, and doing an inspection of the anti-stall valve for correct installation; and re-identifying the part numbers of the RAT hydraulic pump and RAT module.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012.

    • Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4093, dated October 25, 2012.

    Airbus also issued Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2104; and Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2104, which describe procedures for identifying the part number and serial number of the RAT actuator; modifying the RAT actuators; and re-identifying the part numbers of the RAT module.

    Airbus has also issued Service Bulletin A340-29-5021, dated October 2, 2012; and Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014, which describe procedures for identifying the part number and serial number of the RAT actuator, modifying the RAT actuators; and re-identifying the part numbers of the RAT module.

    Hamilton Sundstrand has issued Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19, dated August 6, 2012, which identifies the serial numbers of the suspect hydraulic pump.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 66 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We also estimate that it will take about 14 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $78,540, or $1,190 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions will take about 18 work-hours and require parts costing up to $427,301, for a cost of $428,831 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need this action.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-0076; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-26-02 Airbus Amendment 39-18350. Docket No. FAA-2015-0076; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-246-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective February 2, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD affects AD 2012-21-19, Amendment 39-17235 (77 FR 65812, October 31, 2012); and AD 2012-21-20, Amendment 39-17236 (77 FR 65799, October 31, 2012).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all Airbus airplanes, certificated in any category, identified in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this AD, all manufacturer serial numbers.

    (1) Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

    (2) Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, -313, -541, and -642 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 29, Hydraulic Power.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report that, during a production flight test, the ram air turbine (RAT) did not pressurize the green hydraulic system. We are issuing this AD to prevent loss of the impeller function and RAT pump pressurization capability, which, if preceded by a total engine flame-out, could result in the loss of control of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Identification of RAT Components

    For Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes: Except as provided by paragraph (i) of this AD, within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, identify the part number, serial number, and standard (through the mod-dots) of the RAT pump, RAT module, RAT actuator, and RAT lower gearbox assembly, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of this identification if the part number, serial number, and standard can be conclusively determined from that review.

    (1) For Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012.

    (2) For Airbus Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes: Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4093, dated October 25, 2012.

    (h) Corrective and Concurrent Actions

    If the serial number of the RAT hydraulic pump is included in table 7, “Suspect Hydraulic Pump Serial Numbers,” of Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19, dated August 6, 2012: Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD. Prior to or concurrently with doing the corrective actions required by this paragraph, do the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(1) through (h)(4) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012 (for Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes); or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4093, dated October 25, 2012 (for Airbus Model A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes).

    (1) Replace the balance weight screw.

    (2) Modify the actuator coil spring.

    (3) Modify the actuator.

    (4) Do a general visual inspection of the anti-stall valve for correct installation in the RAT pump housing, and if any incorrect installation is found, before further flight, correctly install the anti-stall valve.

    (i) Exception to Service Information Specifications

    Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012 (for Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes), refers to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin “EPRPS06M-29-13” as an additional source of guidance for doing certain actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD. The first “P” in the citation should have been omitted; the correct reference is to Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin “ERPS06M-29-13.”

    (j) Re-Identification of Part Numbers

    If the serial number of the RAT hydraulic pump is not included in table 7, “Suspect Hydraulic Pump Serial Numbers,” of Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19, dated August 6, 2012: Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, re-identify the part numbers of the RAT hydraulic pump and RAT module, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable Airbus service information specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD.

    (k) Service Information for Optional Actions

    Accomplishment of the actions required by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014; or Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2014, as applicable, constitutes compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD.

    (l) RAT Module Replacement (Modification)

    For Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes having RAT module part number (P/N) 772722D, 772722E, 772722F, or 772722G: Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, replace (modify) the RAT module, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5021, dated October 2, 2012. As an option, accomplishment of the RAT module replacement (modification), in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014, constitutes compliance with the requirement of this paragraph.

    (m) Exception to Paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of This AD

    The actions required by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD are not required for airplanes on which Airbus Modification 202537 was embodied in production, provided it can be determined that, since the airplane's first flight, no RAT hydraulic pump or RAT module having a part number identified in paragraph (n) of this AD is installed on that airplane.

    (n) Terminating Action for Certain Requirements of Other ADs

    (1) For Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes: Accomplishment of the actions required by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this AD constitutes compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of AD 2012-21-19, Amendment 39-17235 (77 FR 65812, October 31, 2012); and paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of AD 2012-21-20, Amendment 39-17236 (77 FR 65799, October 31, 2012).

    (2) For Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes: Accomplishment of the actions required by paragraph (l) of this AD constitutes compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of AD 2012-21-20, Amendment 39-17236 (77 FR 65799, October 31, 2012).

    (o) Parts Installation Prohibition

    (1) For Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, -223F, -243, -243F, -301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes; and A340-211, -212, -213, -311, -312, and -313 airplanes: After modification of the RAT module as required by paragraph (h) of this AD, no person may install any complete RAT module having a part number identified in paragraph (o)(1)(i) of this AD, or any RAT hydraulic pump having the part number identified in paragraph (o)(1)(ii) of this AD, on any airplane.

    (i) RAT module P/N 766351, 768084, 770379, 770952, 770952A, 770952B, 1702934, 1702934A, or 1702934B.

    (ii) RAT hydraulic pump P/N 5909522 (Parker P/N 4207902).

    (2) For Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes: After modification of the RAT module as required by paragraph (l) of this AD, no person may install any complete RAT module having P/N 772722D, 772722E, 772722F, or 772722G, on any airplane.

    (p) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

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

    (q) Related Information

    Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0274, dated November 15, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-0076-0003.

    (r) Material Incorporated by Reference

    (1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

    (2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3122, dated October 25, 2012.

    (ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A330-29-3126, dated June 12, 2014.

    (iii) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4093, dated October 25, 2012.

    (iv) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-4097, dated June 12, 2014.

    (v) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5021, dated October 2, 2012.

    (vi) Airbus Service Bulletin A340-29-5025, dated June 16, 2014.

    (vii) Hamilton Sundstrand Service Bulletin ERPS06M-29-19, dated August 6, 2012.

    (3) For Airbus service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (4) For Hamilton Sundstrand service information identified in this AD, contact Hamilton Sundstrand, Technical Publications, Mail Stop 302-9, 4747 Harrison Avenue, P.O. Box 7002, Rockford, IL 61125-7002; telephone 860-654-3575; fax 860-998-4564; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.hamiltonsundstrand.com.

    (5) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    (6) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference 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.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 9, 2015. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32078 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 375 [RM16-4-000; Order No. 820] Delegation of Authority for FERC Form No. 552 AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Energy.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is amending its regulations governing delegations of authority to the Director of the Office of Enforcement. The amendment will provide clarity and consistency regarding the authority delegated to the Office of Enforcement.

    DATES:

    This rule will become effective January 28, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura Vallance, Office of Enforcement, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, 202-502-8395, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Order No. 820 Final Rule (Issued December 22, 2015)

    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is amending its regulations governing delegations of authority to the Director of the Office of Enforcement.1 These amendments will provide clarity and consistency regarding the authority delegated to the Office of Enforcement, by expressly delegating that office authority over FERC Form No. 552.2

    1 18 CFR 375.311 (2015).

    2Transparency Provisions of Section 23 of the Natural Gas Act, Order No. 704, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,260 (2007), order on reh'g, Order No. 704-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,275, order dismissing reh'g and clarification, Order No. 704-B, 125 FERC ¶ 61,302 (2008), order granting clarification, Order No. 704-C, 131 FERC ¶ 61,246 (2010).

    I. Background

    2. The Commission has broad statutory authority to perform acts and make rules that are necessary or appropriate to carry out its statutory function.3 This includes the delegation of its statutory authority to staff members on routine matters, “which in many cases represent nothing more than a ministerial judgment by the office director concerning procedural matters,” to allow the Commission to focus on more complex and controversial tasks.4 The Commission has delegated certain of its authority in a series of orders beginning in 1978.5

    3See Regulations Delegating Authority, Order No. 492, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,814, at 31,117 & n.2 (1988) (citing 16 U.S.C. 825h (Federal Power Act), 15 U.S.C. 717o (Natural Gas Act), and 15 U.S.C. 3411 (Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978)).

    4See J.R. Ferguson and Assoc., 20 FERC ¶ 61,132 at p. 61,291 (1982) (footnote omitted).

    5 Existing delegations of authority were promulgated in a series of rulemakings initiated in 1978. See Delegations to Various Office Directors of Certain Commission Authority, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,016 (1978); Chief Accountant, et al., Delegation of Authority; Final Regulation, Order No. 38, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,068 (1979), reh'g denied, 8 FERC ¶61,299 (1979); Delegation of the Commission's Authority to the Directors of Office of Electric Power Regulation, Office of the Chief Accountant, and Office of Pipeline and Producer Regulation, Order No. 147, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,259 (1981); Delegation of Authority, Order No. 224, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,356 (1982); Regulations Delegating Authority, Order No. 492, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,814 (1988); Streamlining Commission Procedures for Review of Staff Action, Order No. 530, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,906 (1990), reh'g denied, Order No. 530-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,914 (1991); Delegation of Authority to the Secretary, the Director of the Office of Electric Power Regulation, and the General Counsel, Order No. 585, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,030 (1995); Delegation of Authority, Order No. 613, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,087 (1999); Delegation of Authority, Order No. 632, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,143 (2003); Chief Accountant Delegations, Order No. 721, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31, 287 (2009).

    3. In 2007, the Commission issued Order No. 704, which created FERC Form No. 552. FERC Form No. 552, Annual Report of Natural Gas Transactions, collects transactional information from natural gas market participants. FERC Form No. 552 is codified in section 260.401 of the Commission's regulations.6

    6 18 CFR 260.401 (2015).

    II. Discussion

    4. Part 375, Subpart C, of the Commission's rules and regulations sets our delegations of authority to the various office directors, such as the Director of the Office of Enforcement. Section 375.311 specifically includes delegations of authority to the Director of the Office of Enforcement. Section 375.311(r) includes the authority to deny or grant, in whole or in part, motions of extensions of time to file, or requests for the waiver of the requirements of the Form Nos, 1, 1-F, 2, 2-A and 6, the Form 60, 61, 730 and Electric Quarterly Reports.7 Section 375.311 (s) includes the authority to provide notification if any of the above filings fails to comply with the applicable statutory requirements, and with all applicable Commission rules, regulations, and orders for which a waiver has not been granted, or, when appropriate, notify a party that a submission is acceptable.8

    7 18 CFR 375.311(r).

    8 18 CFR 375.311(s).

    5. Order No. 704 created the FERC Form No. 552 filing requirements. However, there is no delegated authority contained in the regulations similar to that found for the other forms administered by the Office of Enforcement. In order to create consistency among the delegations for forms administered by the Office of Enforcement, this rule amends 18 CFR 375.311(r) and (s) to add FERC Form No. 552 to the list of forms included in the delegations to the Director of the Office of Enforcement.

    III. Information Collection Statement

    6. Review by the Office of Management and Budget, pursuant to section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, is not required since this final rule does not contain new or modified information collection or recordkeeping requirements.

    IV. Environmental Analysis

    7. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment. Part 380 of the Commission's regulations exempts certain actions from the requirement that an Environmental Analysis or Environmental Impact Statement be prepared. Included is an exemption for procedural, ministerial, or internal administrative actions. As this Final Rule falls within that exemption, issuance of the Rule does not represent a major federal action having a significant adverse effect on the human environment under the Commission's regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, and, thus, does not require an Environmental Analysis or Environmental Impact Statement.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    8. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) generally requires a description and analysis of Final Rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Rules that are exempt from the notice and comment requirements of section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act are exempt from the RFA requirements. This Final Rule concerns matters of internal agency procedure and, therefore, an analysis under the RFA is not required.

    VI. Document Availability

    9. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the Internet through FERC's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and in FERC's Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington DC 20426.

    10. From FERC's Home Page on the Internet, this information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field.

    11. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC's Web site during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at 202-502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at [email protected], or the Public Reference Room at 202-502-8371, TTY 202-502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at [email protected]

    VII. Effective Date and Congressional Notification

    12. These regulations are effective January 28, 2016. This rule is exempt from the Congressional Review Act 9 under section 804 (3) because it relates to “agency management or personnel; or (C) any rule of agency organization, procedure, or practice that does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties.”

    9 5 U.S.C. 801-808.

    List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 375

    Authority delegations (Government agencies), Seals and insignia, Sunshine Act.

    By the Commission.

    Issued: December 22, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission amends Part 375, Chapter I, Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows.

    PART 375—THE COMMISSION 1. The authority citation for Part 375 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 551-557; 15 U.S.C. 717-717w, 3301-3432; 16 U.S.C. 791-825r, 2601-2645; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. In § 375.311, paragraphs (r) and (s) are revised to read as follows:
    § 375.311 Delegations to the Director of the Office of Enforcement.

    (r) Deny or grant, in whole or in part, motions for extension of time to file, or requests for waiver of the requirements of the following forms, data collections, and reports: Annual Reports (Form Nos. 1, 1-F, 2, 2-A, and 6); Quarterly Reports (Form Nos. 3-Q and 6-Q); Annual Report of Centralized Service Companies (Form No. 60); Narrative Description of Service Company Functions (FERC-61); Annual Report of Natural Gas Transactions (Form No. 552); Report of Transmission Investment Activity (FERC-730); and Electric Quarterly Reports, as well as, where required, the electronic filing of such information (§ 385.2011 of this chapter, Procedures for filing on electronic media, paragraphs (a)(6), (c), and (e)).

    (s) Provide notification if a submitted Annual Report (Form Nos. 1, 1-F, 2, 2-A, and 6), Quarterly Report (Form Nos. 3-Q and 6-Q), Annual Report of Centralized Service Companies (Form No. 60), Narrative Description of Service Company Functions (FERC-61), Annual Report of Natural Gas Transactions (Form No. 552), Report of Transmission Investment Activity (FERC-730), or Electric Quarterly Report fails to comply with applicable statutory requirements, and with all applicable Commission rules, regulations, and orders for which a waiver has not been granted, or, when appropriate, notify a party that a submission is acceptable.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32690 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2014-0358] RIN 1625-AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Missouri River, Atchison, KS AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is changing the operating schedule that governs the Atchison Railroad Drawbridge, Mile 422.5, across the Missouri River at Atchison, KS. Under this rule the drawbridge will open on signal if at least a two-hour notification is given. This rule change allows the bridge to operate under the customary schedule that has been adopted by the waterway users.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on January 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2014-0358 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Eric Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers, Bridge Branch, Coast Guard; telephone 314-269-2378, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking § Section Symbol U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On April 10, 2015, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Missouri River, Atchison, KS” in the Federal Register (80 FR 19252). We received no comments on the proposed rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority 33 U.S.C. 499.

    The Atchison Railroad Drawbridge crosses the Missouri River at mile 422.5 in Atchison, Kansas and operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.411 and 117.687 which apply to all drawbridges over the Missouri River. The vertical clearance of the bridge in the closed position is 37.5 feet above zero on this gage. Due to very limited drawspan openings and to codify the operating schedule that has been adopted by the waterway usersc, the Union Pacific Railroad requested a two-hour advance notice of opening the bridge's drawspan during the commercial navigation season.

    The Union Pacific Railroad has documented the limited number of vessel openings per year at this bridge. This information is available at the Coast Guard Western Rivers, Bridge Branch; see the aforementioned contact information.

    Upon this request and further review by the Coast Guard, it was concluded that a two-hour advance notice on drawspan openings of the Atchison Railroad Drawbridge would not create a consistency issue with other bridges on the Missouri River nor adversely affect navigation.

    IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule

    The Coast Guard provided a comment period in which no comments were received.

    This rule adds special operating requirements codifying the customary advance notice for openings of the Atchison Railroad Bridge under 33 CFR part 117, subpart B as required under 33 CFR 117.8. The proposed change will add a paragraph (b) to 33 CFR 117.411, a reference to this paragraph in 33 CFR 117.687, and allow for bridge drawspan openings to take place provided at least a two-hour advance notice is given.

    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 protesters.

    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.

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action and does not require a full assessment. As a matter of custom in the area, commercial mariners already provide advance notice; therefore this rule has little, if any, impact on current navigation.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 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 received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rule. 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.

    This rule is neutral to all business entities operating on the waterway and simply requires a two-hour advance notice to open the bridge. As stated above, it is custom in the area to provide advance notice for a requested opening. This rule simply codifies such notice already given as a customary practice. While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the bridge may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 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 Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    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 guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction.

    Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for 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 117

    Bridges.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

    PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Revise § 117.411 to read as follows:
    § 117.411 Missouri River.

    (a) The draws of the bridges across the Missouri River shall open on signal; except during the winter season between the date of closure and the date of opening of the commercial navigation season as published by the Army Corps of Engineers, the draw need not open unless at least 24 hours advance notice is given.

    (b) The draw of the Atchison Railroad Bridge, Mile 422.5, Missouri River need not open unless a two-hour advance notice is given during the commercial navigation season.

    3. Revise § 117.687 to read as follows:
    § 117.687 Missouri River.

    The draws of the bridges, except for the Atchison Railroad Bridge, Mile 422.5, see § 117.411(b) for further details, across the Missouri River shall open on signal; except during the winter season between the date of closure and date of opening of the commercial navigation season as published by the Army Corps of Engineers, the draws need not open unless at least 24-hours advance notice is given.

    Dated: December 11, 2015. D.R. Callahan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32735 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0814] RIN 1625-AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, Slidell, LA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Interim rule with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is modifying the method of operation for the Norfolk Southern Railroad (Norfolk Southern or NSRR) Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The bridge owner, Norfolk Southern, requested in writing to operate the draw of the bridge remotely. This interim rule codifies the change in method of operation and increases the efficiency of railroad operations, allowing for the operation of the draw from another location, while allowing for comments regarding remote operations during the interim period.

    DATES:

    This interim rule is effective December 29, 2015.

    Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments or view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type [USCG-2015-0814]. in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking.

    See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this interim rule, call or email Ms. Geri Robinson; Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District; telephone 504-671-2128, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR  Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking U.S.C. United States Code NSRR Norfolk Southern Railroad II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because there will be no change to the operating schedule of the bridge. The modification for the bridge owner to open the draw by remote operation does not change the existing operating schedule. This rule will impose no new restrictions or requirements on the mariner. Thus, publishing an NPRM is impracticable as mariners are not expected to experience any changes in the operation of the draw for the purposes of vessel passage. Delaying this rule to provide for the notice and comment period would also unnecessarily delay the bridge owner in transitioning to the more efficient remote operation method. We are requesting comments to this interim rule to ensure participation in the rulemaking based on real-time experience while the draw operates under the new remote operation method.

    We are issuing this rule and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying this rule to provide 30-day notice is unnecessary as mariners will experience no changes in transiting through the bridge site. Making this rule effective without providing 30-day notice imposes no impact on the mariner but allows for the bridge owner to transition to the more efficient remote operation method without unnecessary delay.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under the authority of 33 U.S.C. 499. The Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain at mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, has a horizontal clearance of 151 feet between fenders and a vertical clearance of 4.0 feet above Mean High Water, elevation 2.0 feet Mean Sea Level in the closed-to-navigation position. The vertical clearance of the bascule bridge in the open-to-navigation position is 68 feet for the full 151-foot horizontal clearance and unlimited from the tip of the bascule to the north fender system, a distance of 106 feet. Currently, the bridge opens on signal under 33 CFR 117.5.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.42, the District Commander may authorize a drawbridge to operate under an automated system or from a remote location. The purpose of this rule is to allow the draw of this bridge to operate from a remote location. The draw will continue to open on signal for the passage of vessels, and mariners should not experience any changes in the level of service.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The Coast Guard, at the request of Norfolk Southern, is changing the method of operation for the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bascule Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80, near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Due to the need for increased efficiency in railroad operations, Norfolk Southern requested a change to the method of operating the draw from on-site to a drawtender operating the bridge remotely.

    Presently, the draw is maintained in the open-to-navigation position and closed only for the passage of trains or maintenance. The bridge owner would like to operate the draw remotely using a drawtender at another drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama, rather than maintaining the current on-site operation and drawtender. The implementation of this rule, in effect, removes the requirement that a drawtender be present on site at all times.

    Under the new remote operation procedure, the draw will continue to be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and lowered only for the passage of trains or for maintenance. There will be no modifications to the operation of the bridge as it relates to the passage of vessels. Instead, this change will allow the bridge owner to increase efficiency of bridge operations and vessel transit by including this bridge in its current remote operation procedures located in Decatur, AL.

    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 protesters.

    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.

    This interim rule is not a significant regulatory action because the draw will be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and when closed to pass trains it will continue to open on signal as scheduled. Therefore, mariners will experience no changes in transiting through the bridge site. No new restrictions on or actions from the mariner are required by this rule.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 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. While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the bridge may be small entities, because the draw will be maintained in the open-to-navigation position and when closed to pass trains it will continue to open on signal as scheduled, no new restrictions or responsibilities are imposed on the mariner. Therefore, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

    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, above.

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 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 Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    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 guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction.

    Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for 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.

    VI. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

    Bridges.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

    PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. In § 117.467, redesignate paragraph (b) as paragraph (c); and add new paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 117.467 Lake Pontchartrain.

    (b) The draw of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, mile 4.80 near Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana shall be maintained as follows:

    (1) The draw shall be maintained in the fully open-to-navigation position for vessels at all times, except during periods when it is closed for the passage of rail traffic or to perform periodic maintenance authorized in accordance with subpart A of this part.

    (2) The draw shall be remotely operated by the drawtender at Norfolk Southern's drawbridge in Decatur, Alabama. The estimated duration that the bridge will remain closed for the passage of rail traffic is 10 to 15 minutes per operation.

    (3) When a train approaches the bridge, the drawtender will initiate the bridge closing warning signal, consisting of radio calls via VHF-FM-channels 13 and 16 and activation of flashing red warning lights at each end of the span. The radio calls will be broadcast at five (5) minutes prior to bridge closing and at two (2) minutes prior to bridge closing. Photoelectric (infrared) boat detectors will monitor the waterway beneath the bridge for the presence of vessels.

    (4) The drawtender will continuously monitor waterway traffic in the area using closed-circuit cameras mounted on the bridge. The draw will only be closed if the drawtender's visual inspection indicates that the channel is clear and there are no vessels transiting in the area. The drawtender will maintain constant surveillance of the navigation channel to ensure that no conflict with maritime traffic exists. Additionally, the draw will not be closed if the S11 bascule bridge that is located immediately west of the railroad bridge is in the open-to-navigation position. If two or more closed-circuit cameras are inoperable or if there is inclement weather, the draw will only be operated by a drawtender located on site at the bridge.

    (5) At the end of the two-minute warning period, if no vessels have been detected by the drawtender, the draw closing sequence will automatically proceed.

    (6) Upon passage of the train, the draw will be returned to the fully open-to-navigation position to allow marine traffic to pass. The warning lights will continue to flash red until the draw has returned to the fully open-to-navigation position at which time they will deactivate.

    (7) After the passage of each train, the draw must be returned to its fully open-to-navigation position.

    (8) To request openings of the draw when the bascule span is in the closed-to-navigation position, mariners may contact Norfolk Southern Railway via VHF-FM channel 13 or by telephone at the number displayed on the signs posted at the bridge.

    (9) The draw will be operated locally if:

    (i) Communication is lost between the drawbridge and the drawtender in Decatur, Alabama;

    (ii) More than two closed-circuit cameras are not working;

    (iii) The marine radio is inoperable;

    (iv) Weather conditions warrant; or

    (v) Ordered by the Coast Guard.

    Dated: December 11, 2015. D.R. Callahan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32736 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0285] RIN 1625-AA09 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is modifying the operating schedule that governs the South Park Highway Bridge, on the Duwamish Waterway, mile 3.8, at Seattle, WA. This modification revises closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge. This action improves movement of rush hour highway traffic while having minimal impact to maritime waterway traffic.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective January 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2015-0285 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District Bridge Program Office, telephone 206-220-7282; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking SNPRM Supplementary notice of proposed rulemaking § Section WSDOT Washington State Department of Transportation II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On May 14, 2015, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Drawbridge Operations: Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA” in the Federal Register (80 FR 27619). We received one comment on the rule. No public meeting was requested, and none was held.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority 33 U.S.C 499. The South Park Highway Bridge is a double bascule leaf drawbridge, and provides 34.8 feet of vertical clearance at center span while in the closed position, 30 feet of vertical clearance at the extreme east and west ends of the navigable channel, and unlimited vertical clearance in the fully open position. Vertical clearances are referenced to mean high-water elevation (MHW). Horizontal clearance is 128 feet. The South Park Highway Bridge is subject to tidal influence, and has at least 15 feet of water depth at the bridge site at mean lower low water.

    The drawbridge operating regulations at 33 CFR 117.1041(a) (2) currently states that the South Park Highway Bridge need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    The current drawbridge operating regulation was written to accommodate commuter patterns associated with morning and afternoon highway traffic associated with Boeing Plant number 2 shift changes. As of 2011, this plant is no longer operational and therefore highway traffic densities have changed. King County owns and operates the South Park Highway Bridge, and requested a permanent change to the existing operating regulation. The rule modification will update drawbridge closure times to better meet current highway traffic demands. Modifying the existing drawbridge regulation will better meet the needs of current highway users, and current commuter traffic patterns, while meeting reasonable needs to maritime navigation. This modification improves movement of rush hour highway traffic while having minimal impact to maritime waterway traffic.

    Vessel traffic on the Duwamish waterway consists of vessels ranging from small pleasure craft, sailboats, small tribal fishing boats, and commercial tug and tow, and mega yachts.

    IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes and the Final Rule

    The Coast Guard received one comment on the proposed operating schedule change from Delta Marine Industries. The rule change to the existing South Park Highway Bridge operating regulation would represent a restriction on navigation related to Delta Marine Industries' business. Currently, the closure hours of the 1st Avenue South Bridge (6:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:00-6:00 p.m., the same hours as now proposed for the South Park Highway Bridge) are the limiting factor for access of large vessels between Delta Marine Industries and Elliott Bay. With the change to the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge, vessels arriving and departing Delta Marine Industries would be delayed/impacted based on a half hour transit time between South Park Highway Bridge and 1st Avenue South Bridge.

    Delta Marine Industries agrees with the concept of modifying the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge in a way that reflects current usage. However, Delta Marine Industries believes that matching the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge to those of the 1st Avenue South Bridge does not accommodate the needs of maritime users. Delta Marine Industries proposed revising the closure hours for the South Park Highway Bridge to 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except Federal holidays. King County agreed with Delta Marine Industries' proposal.

    Therefore, the Coast Guard is modifying the drawbridge operating regulations at 33 CFR 117.1041(a) (2). The Coast Guard amends the opening schedule such that the bridge need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays other than Columbus Day. This amendment will increase efficiency for current highway traffic demands in light of changed traffic patterns and ensure minimal impact to maritime waterway traffic. All other requirements regarding the South Park Bridge under 33 CFR 117.1041 will remain the same.

    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 these statutes or 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.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the fact that the change will add thirty minutes to each closure period for the drawbridge, minimally impacting vessels transiting the waterway. The change does not otherwise significantly alter the duration and time frame of the current closure schedule.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 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 received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rule. 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.

    This action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because this rule will be in effect twice a day for a total of four hours when vehicle traffic is high. Vessels that can safely transit under the bridge may do so at any time.

    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 will 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, above.

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Government

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. 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 Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    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 guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a determination that this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This action is categorically excluded from further review, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32) (e), of the Instruction.

    Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32) (e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for 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 117

    Bridges.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

    PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Revise § 117.1041(a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 117.1041 Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish River; Seattle WA

    (a) * * *

    (2) The draw of the South Park Bridge, mile 3.8, need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except, Federal holidays, other than Columbus Day.

    Dated: December 14, 2015. R.T. Gromlich, Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard, Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32737 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2013-0849] RIN 1625-AA11 Regulated Navigation Area; Reporting Requirements for Barges Loaded With Certain Dangerous Cargoes, Illinois Waterway System Located Within the Ninth Coast Guard District; Expiration of Stay (Suspension) and Administrative Changes AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Interim rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    Through this interim rule, the Coast Guard is providing administrative changes to the existing reporting requirements under the Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) applicable to barges loaded with certain dangerous cargoes on the Illinois Waterway System in the Ninth District area of responsibility. The current stay of reporting requirements under the RNA is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2015. This interim rule limits the reporting requirements in that rule for an interim period while also requesting comments before proposing or finalizing any long term or permanent revisions to the existing reporting requirements.

    DATES:

    This interim rule is effective beginning January 1, 2016. Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before June 27, 2016. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for details on enforcement and compliance.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this interim rule and request for comments, [USCG-2013-0849], is available at http://www.regulations.gov. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2013-0849 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about this document call or email CDR Dan Somma at [email protected] or CDR Anthony Maffia at [email protected], or call the Coast Guard at 216-902-6064.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CDC Certain Dangerous Cargo CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive order FR Federal Register IRVMC Inland River Vessel Movement Center NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking Pub. L. Public Law RNA Regulated navigation area U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The reporting requirements under 33 CFR 165.921 “Regulated Navigation Area; Reporting Requirements for Barges Loaded with Certain Dangerous Cargoes, Illinois Waterway System located within the Ninth Coast Guard District” were initially suspended (“stayed”) in January 2011 due to the expiration of the contract for the Inland River Vessel Movement Center (IRVMC). The IRVMC was the Coast Guard office responsible for collecting the information required by the regulated navigation area (RNA) at § 165.921. Upon expiration of the contract for the IRVMC, the Coast Guard was not able to receive and process reports. Therefore, the suspension of reporting requirements was published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2011 and was due to expire on January 15, 2013 (76 FR 2829). On January 3, 2013, the Coast Guard extended the suspension through September 30, 2013 (78 FR 4788) and on October 1, 2013, the Coast Guard extended the suspension once again through December 31, 2015 (78 FR 61183).

    In January 2015 the Coast Guard published a final rule, titled Vessel Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure, and Automatic Identification System (80 FR 5282). This rule implemented new and updated Notices of Arrival reporting requirements under 33 CFR 160 Subpart C by providing an exemption, at 33 CFR 160.204(a)(3) for any vessel required to report movements, its cargo, or the cargo in barges it is towing under 33 CFR 165.921 after December 31, 2015. This rule, which was initially proposed in 2008 before the RNA reporting requirements were suspended, relied on the existing reporting requirements at 33 CFR 165.921 to support the exemption. Starting on January 1, 2016, a vessel would only be eligible for the exemption if it is required to report its movements or cargo as specified in § 160.204(a)(3). This rule makes changes to limit the suspended reporting requirements, which would otherwise come into effect in full on January 1, 2016.

    Also relevant to this interim rule and request for comments is the portion of 80 FR 5282 requiring that all vessels engaged in the movement of Certain Dangerous Cargos (CDC) have Class A Automatic Information System beginning in March 2016, pending Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of a collection of information associated with that regulatory requirement. These AIS requirements provided under 33 CFR 164.46, if enforced, may provide an alternative method of reporting that could potentially satisfy the requirements under 33 CFR 165.921 and qualify these vessels for the 33 CFR 160.204(a)(3) exemption. As indicated in the Federal Register publications establishing and extending the RNA suspension, during the suspension periods, the Coast Guard assessed whether to modify the reporting required under the RNA and potential suitable alternative Coast Guard offices and programs to receive and disseminate the reported information. The new Automatic Information System requirement, once in full effect, will still be assessed as a potential alternative reporting method. At this time, the Coast Guard has determined that using already-established Coast Guard offices and units centralized at the Ninth District level to receive required reports is the appropriate interim solution to resume the reporting requirements necessary for both maritime domain awareness and to satisfy the exemption in 33 CFR 160.204(a)(3). This interim rule provides the necessary administrative changes to the existing reporting requirements, requiring reporting in a limited form while also requesting comments to better assess a potential permanent reporting system.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule to limit the RNA reporting requirements that will come into effect after December 31 when the stay of § 165.921 expires. This rule is necessary to stay compliance with certain provisions of the existing rule, and to make administrative changes replacing the references to IRVMC, which is no longer operational. The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231, the same authority providing for the initial establishment of the RNA.

    The Coast Guard is issuing this interim rule without prior opportunity to comment, pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule for several reasons. It is unnecessary to publish an NPRM because this interim rule makes only administrative changes to the existing RNA regulation under 33 CFR 165.921, and does not propose or establish new restrictions or requirements. This interim rule merely stays compliance with portions of an existing requirement, allowing select existing provisions to resume upon expiration of a stay in effect through December 31, 2015, and makes the administrative changes necessary to redirect reporting from the IRVMC to the District. Additionally, publishing an NPRM was impracticable because of the relatively short time between the publication of the Notices of Arrival final rule and the expiration of the stay, as well as the uncertain enforcement date of certain provisions of the Automatic Information System portion of that rule. These circumstances did not allow adequate time to develop an NPRM, solicit and consider public comment, and develop and publish a final rule before the expiration of the stay. Instead, the Coast Guard is soliciting public comment with this interim rule while it is in effect and while the AIS requirement will be in effect, if that information collection is approved by OMB, so that the public's experience with this interim rule and the AIS requirement can be reflected in public comments.

    This interim rule is effective January 1, 2016. We are making this rule effective in less than 30 days from the date of publication under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) to the extent it relieves the reporting obligations that would otherwise come into effect upon the December 31, 2015 expiration of the stay, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) because the Coast Guard finds that the imminent expiration of the stay constitutes good cause for forgoing the 30-day delay of effective date. Delaying the effective date of this interim rule to provide a 30 day notice would be impracticable and contrary to public interest because a January 1, 2016, effective date is necessary to avoid submission of reports to the IRVMC which is no longer in operation.

    IV. Discussion of the Interim Rule

    The Coast Guard's suspension of reporting requirements under 33 CFR 165.921 will expire as scheduled, in part, on December 31, 2015. On January 1, 2016, reporting requirements under 33 CFR 165.921 will become effective in a limited form. The Coast Guard is not reinstating reporting, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, at 90-plus reporting points under the existing RNA currently published in the CFR. Under revisions made by this interim rule, reporting requirements will be enforced only when directed by the District Commander or a designated representative. This rule does not change the type of information to be reported.

    This interim rule makes administrative changes that remove or revise references to the IRVMC, as it is no longer operational, and replace them with the new Coast Guard office, the Ninth District CDC Reporting Unit (D9 CDCRU), which when activated will be responsible for collecting reported information. The entities required to report, and the information required, remain the same. However, reporting is required only as directed by the District Commander or a designated representative, based on assessment of prevailing safety and security conditions to ensure and enhance maritime domain awareness. In effect, the Coast Guard is allowing existing paragraphs (d)(1)(ix), (d)(2)(iv), (f)(9), and (g)(4) to come into effect, with administrative changes to accommodate the closure of IRVMC. We will continue to use the reporting points listed in paragraph (e) to describe where reporting is required. This rule “stays” (suspends) compliance with the other existing reporting requirements.

    The District Commander or designated representative will inform vessel operators and fleeting facilities when and where reporting is required, by using established coordination and communication mechanisms already in place and which are used to alert these same vessel operators and fleeting facilities of an increase in Maritime Security level. These notice mechanisms include, but are not limited to, coordination with industry trade organizations, Notices of Enforcement, Marine Safety Information Bulletins, and email notifications.

    Reports required under this RNA may be provided via email at [email protected] Alternative reporting contact methods, including telephone and fax numbers, will be provided in the notification from the District Commander or designated representative. Additionally, paragraph (h) allows for alternative methods to be submitted for approval by the District Commander. These are the same type of reporting methods listed in the current RNA at 33 CFR 165.921(d)(4), however there will not be a dedicated web link. The information required to be reported is not changed by this interim rule.

    The Coast Guard chose to suspend, rather than remove, several paragraphs of the existing rule in order to evaluate their necessity and to retain the ability to reinstate them (using appropriate administrative processes) if necessary. All public comments are welcome, but we specifically solicit comment on the following: The appropriate type and frequency of reporting related to CDC barges in D9; the potential to use AIS to satisfy reporting goals; and the extent to which complying with the AIS rule would render this rule unnecessary.

    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.

    No new requirements are established or imposed by this rule. This interim rule suspends compliance with certain provisions of an existing regulation that will come into effect when the current stay expires on December 31, 2015 thereby continuing to relieve a reporting obligation while the Coast Guard solicits public comment regarding appropriate reporting. As a result, the currently-stayed requirement will resume only in a limited form. The rule also makes administrative changes affecting which Coast Guard entity directs and receives reporting. None of these changes will have a significant impact on regulated entities.

    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. While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the RNA may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

    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 does not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The existing collection is approved by the Office of Management and Budget under OMB control number 1625-0105.

    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 administrative changes to resuming reporting requirements in a limited form under an established RNA. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. This interim rule limits the existing, suspended, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year reporting requirement throughout the entire RNA to require reporting only when and where directed by the District Commander, reducing the time frame and area that the reporting requirements are enforced. An environmental analysis checklist and categorical exclusion determination are not required. 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.

    VI. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this interim rule as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or additional publications or supplemental information is provided.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

    Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, and 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. In § 165.921: a. Revise paragraph (b); b. In paragraph (c), remove the words “Inland River Vessel Movement Center or (IRVMC)” and add in their place the words “Ninth District CDC Reporting Unit or (D9 CDCRU)”; c. In paragraph (d) introductory text, remove the words “Inland River Vessel Movement Center (IRVMC)” and add in their place the words “Ninth District CDC Reporting Unit Eighth District (D9 CDCRU)”; d. In paragraph (d)(1) introductory text and in paragraph (d)(1)(ii), remove the text “IRVMC” and add, in its place, the text “D9 CDCRU”; e. In paragraph (d)(1)(ix), remove the text “IRVMC” and add in its place the text “District Commander or designated representative”; f. In paragraph (d)(2) introductory text, remove the text “IRVMC” and add in its place the text “D9 CDCRU”; g. In paragraph (d)(2)(iv), remove the text “IRVMC” and add in its place the text “District Commander or designated representative”; h. Revise paragraph (d)(4). i. In the introductory text to paragraph (e), remove the text “the Inland River Vessel Movement Center” and add in its place the text “D9 CDCRU”; j. In paragraph (e), the introductory text to paragraphs (f) and (g), and the headings of Tables 165.921(f) and (g), remove the text “IRVMC” and add in its place the text “D9 CDCRU”; k. In paragraphs (f)(9) and (g)(4), remove the text “IRVMC” and add in its place the text “District Commander or designated representative”; l. In paragraph (i), remove the text “the IRVMC” and add in its place the text “designated representative”.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 165.921 Regulated Navigation Area; Reporting Requirements for Barges Loaded with Certain Dangerous Cargoes, Illinois Waterway System located within the Ninth Coast Guard District.

    (b) Enforcement and applicability. (1) Beginning January 1, 2016, reporting requirements under this RNA will be enforced only when directed by the District Commander or designated representative under paragraphs (d)(1)(ix), (d)(2)(iv), (f)(9), and (g)(4) of this section. Reporting points as listed in paragraph (e) of this section may be used to determine and inform where reporting is required. Compliance under other parts of this section is stayed until a future date published in the Federal Register, if determined necessary.

    (2) This section applies to towing vessel operators and fleeting area managers responsible for CDC barges in the RNA. This section does not apply to:

    (i) Towing vessel operators responsible for barges not carrying CDCs barges, or

    (ii) Fleet tow boats moving one or more CDC barges within a fleeting area.

    (d) * * *

    (4) When required, reports under this section must be made either by email at [email protected] or via phone or fax as provided in the notification as directed by the District Commander or designated representative through the D9 CDCRU. Notification of when and where reporting is required may be made through Marine Safety Information Bulletins, Notices of Enforcement, email and/or through industry outreach. At all other times, reporting under this section is not required and communications should be directed to the Captain of the Port.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. J.E. Ryan, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32616 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-1083] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Closure of Morro Bay Harbor Bar Entrance; Morro Bay, CA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone in the navigable waters of the Morro Bay Harbor Entrance. This temporary safety zone is being established to reduce significant hazards subject to the vessels, the harbor, and the public during periods of poor weather conditions. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from being in this temporary safety zone unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port, Los Angeles—Long Beach, or her designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from December 29, 2015 February 29, 2016 11:59 p.m. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 12:01 a.m. December 9, 2015, until December 29, 2015. The safety zone will only be enforced when the COTP or her designated representative deems it necessary because of hazardous, breaking, or rough bar conditions.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2015-1803 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 Jevon James, Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles—Long Beach; telephone (310) 521-3860, 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 LLNR Light List Number 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 proposes to issue 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 the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule.

    The bar located in Morro Bay, California, is unique to the Southern California coastline. Throughout the year, the bar produces extremely hazardous navigation conditions for all types of maritime traffic within a small waterway. It is predicted that the Southern California coast will be impacted by a strong El Niño, in which abnormally large waves will be observed. On December 7, 2015, a 53′ commercial fishing vessel requested to transit the bar during extremely hazardous conditions, to include seas exceeding 20′. The COTP issued a COTP Order to restrict the fishing vessel from crossing the bar until the weather subsided, to prevent a potentially hazardous transit. Thus, waiting for the publishing of the NPRM would be impracticable because immediate action is needed to minimize potential danger to all vessels transiting across the bar. For these reasons, the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for implementing this rule less than thirty days before the effective date.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under the authority of 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Los Angeles—Long Beach has determined that a potential hazard exists during certain weather conditions for all recreational and commercial vessels operating in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor Entrance. This temporary safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of, and reduce the risk to, the persons and vessels that operate on and in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor Entrance.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The U.S. Coast Guard has established a temporary safety zone encompassing all navigable waters near the inside and outside of the mouth of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance, from December 9, 2015, to February 29, 2016. When the Safety Zone is being enforced, the Coast Guard will turn on the Morro Bay Rough Bar Warning Light (LLNR 3877; 35°22.256′ N., 120°51.526 ′ W.). This indicates that rough bar conditions are taking place at the entrance. In addition, a Broadcast Notice to Mariner will be used to inform mariners of the enforcement of the safety zone. No vessel or person will be permitted to operate in the safety zone without obtaining permission from the Captain of the Port (COTP) or the COTP's designated representative. Sector Los Angeles—Long Beach may be contacted on VHF-FM Channel 16 or 310-521-3801.

    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.

    The implementation of this temporary safety zone is necessary for the protection of all waterway users. The size of the zone is the minimum necessary to provide adequate protection for the waterways users, adjoining areas, and the public. Any hardships experienced by persons or vessels are considered minimal compared to the interest in protecting the public.

    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.

    This rule will affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit or anchor within the designated area during the designated enforcement times. This temporary safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: (i) This zone will support the safety of vessel traffic through the area, (ii) this zone is limited in scope and duration, (iii) the Coast Guard will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 while the safety zone is enforced.

    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 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.T11-750 to read as follows:
    § 165.T11-750 Safety Zone; Morro Bay Breaking Bar; Morro Bay Harbor Entrance; Morro Bay, CA.

    (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters of the Morro Bay Harbor Entrance in approximate coordinates: from a point on the shoreline at 35°22.181′ N. 120°52.207′ W., thence westward to 35°22.181′ N. 120°52.538′ W., thence southward to 35°21.367′ N. 120°52.538′ W., thence eastward to a point on the shoreline at 35°21.366′ N. 120°51.717′ W., thence northward along the shoreline to a point inside the Morro Bay Harbor to 35°22.153′ N. 120°51.698′ W., thence northwestward to a point on land at 35°22.233′ N. 120°51.847′ W., thence southward along the shoreline to the beginning. These coordinates are based on North American Datum of 1983.

    (b) Definitions. For the purposes of this section:

    Designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Los Angeles—Long Beach (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone.

    Rough Bar means any swell, breaking surf, or wind conditions that create safety hazards. This includes but is not limited to, breaking surf 8 feet of greater or extreme steep or confused swell in the main channel or in the judgment of the COTP or the COTP's designated representative rough conditions exist.

    (c) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

    (2) To seek permission to enter, hail Coast Guard Station Morro Bay on VHF-FM Channel 16 or call at (805) 772-2167. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

    (d) Enforcement period. This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m. December 9, 2015 until February 29, 2016 11:59 p.m. The safety zone will only be enforced when the COTP or her designated representative deems it necessary because of the rough bar conditions, and enforcement will cease immediately upon conditions returning to safe levels.

    Dated: December 6, 2015. J.F. Williams, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Los Angeles—Long Beach.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32734 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 14 RIN 2900-AP28 Removal of Requirement To File Direct-Pay Fee Agreements With the Office of the General Counsel AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its regulations concerning the payment of fees for representation by agents and attorneys in proceedings before VA. Specifically, this rule removes the requirement that an agent or attorney file a direct-pay fee agreement with both the VA Office of the General Counsel and the agency of original jurisdiction. The intended effect of this final rule is to require that direct-pay fee agreements be submitted only to the agency of original jurisdiction, thereby eliminating duplicate filings by agents and attorneys.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: This rule is effective December 29, 2015.

    Applicability Date: The provisions of this final rule shall apply to all fee agreements transmitted to VA on or after December 29, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dana Raffaelli, Staff Attorney, Office of the General Counsel (022O), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-7699. (This is not a toll-free telephone number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This rule amends 38 CFR part 14 to remove the requirement that agents and attorneys file direct-pay fee agreements with the VA Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC. Current provisions in 38 CFR 14.636(g) and (h) require agents and attorneys to file direct-pay fee agreements with both the Office of the General Counsel and the agency of original jurisdiction. Removal of this requirement will eliminate administrative burdens associated with these direct-pay fee agreements. Agents and attorneys will be relieved from filing direct-pay fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel, and the Office of the General Counsel will no longer be required to process and maintain those fee agreements. In cases where it is necessary for the Office of the General Counsel to review fee agreements for reasonableness, such agreements may be called to our attention and copies of the agreements may be provided to the Office of the General Counsel by claimants or the agencies of original jurisdiction.

    Current 38 CFR 14.636(g)(2) and (g)(3) requires agents and attorneys to file all fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC, and to clearly specify in the agreement whether VA is to directly pay the agent or attorney fees out of an award of past-due benefits. Current 38 CFR 14.636(h)(4) requires agents and attorneys to notify the agency of original jurisdiction, within 30 days of the date of execution of the agreement, of the existence of a direct-pay fee agreement and also provide the agency of original jurisdiction with a copy of the agreement.

    The requirement that all fee agreements be filed with the Office of the General Counsel was established in 2008. See 73 FR 29852, May 22, 2008. Prior to June 20, 2007, agents and attorneys were required to file all fee agreements with the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) because agents and attorneys could not charge fees for services provided to VA claimants until after the Board had first made a final decision in the case. See 38 U.S.C. 5904(c)(1), (c)(2) (2002); see also 38 CFR 20.609(g) (2007). However, on December 22, 2006, Congress enacted Public Law 109-461, which allowed agents and attorneys to charge fees after the filing of a notice of disagreement in a case and required them to file any fee agreements “with the Secretary pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary” rather than with the Board. Public Law 109-461, § 101(d); see 38 U.S.C. 5904(c)(1), (c)(2); see also Public Law 109-461, § 101(h) (2006) (amendments to statutory fee requirements effective June 20, 2007).

    On May 22, 2008, VA implemented the statutory amendments regarding fees in § 14.636 (formerly § 20.609 (2007)), one of which directs attorneys and agents to file all fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC. See 73 FR 29852; 38 CFR 14.636(g)(3). However, in addition to filing all fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel, § 14.636(h)(4) requires that direct-pay fee agreements also be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction, so that the agency of original jurisdiction could make an initial determination regarding an agent or attorney's eligibility for fees following an award of past-due benefits and withhold fees from the award when an agent or attorney is found eligible for fees.

    The revisions to § 14.636(g)(3) and (h)(4) eliminate the requirement for agents and attorneys to file a direct-pay fee agreement with the Office of the General Counsel. Any fee agreement calling for the direct payment of fees out of any past-due benefits now must be filed only with the agency of original jurisdiction. The agency of original jurisdiction is the most appropriate location for such filings as that entity must determine when direct payment of fees is called for and authorize the correct payment. The agency of original jurisdiction will file the fee agreement in the claimant's electronic claims file contained in Veterans Benefits Administration's electronic database, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), and associate the attorney or agent's Power of Attorney (POA) code—meaning the three digit code that was assigned to the attorney or agent at the time of his or her VA accreditation—with the claimant's claim file. See M21-1, pt. III, ch.3 sec. C.5. The association of attorneys' and agents' POA codes with the claimants' files will allow VA to retrieve, from VBMS, a list of the claims for which an attorney or agent has entered his or her appearance, by filing a VA Form 21-22a, Appointment of Individual as Claimant's Representative, with VA. An attorney or agent may look up their POA code through the search feature on the accreditation Web page's Web site at: http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp—with the claimant's file.

    Fee agreements that do not provide for the direct payment of fees must still be filed with the Office of the General Counsel.

    The Office of the General Counsel retains authority to review all fee agreements for reasonableness in light of the services that the attorney or agent provided on a claim and the authority to review any fee agreement for eligibility that has not undergone review by another agency of original jurisdiction. See 38 CFR 14.636(i). In a reasonableness-review case involving a direct-pay fee agreement, the Office of the General Counsel will obtain a copy of the direct-pay fee agreement from the agency of original jurisdiction at which the agreement was filed. This will generally be accomplished by retrieving the document from VBMS.

    VA also makes an additional conforming amendment to 38 CFR 14.637(b) to reference fee agreements filed with either the Office of the General Counsel or the agency of original jurisdiction under § 14.636.

    Administrative Procedure Act

    This final rule is a procedural rule that does not impose new rights, duties, or obligations on affected individuals but, rather, eliminates duplicate filings under the statutory requirement that agents and attorneys file a copy of a fee agreement “with the Secretary.” See 38 U.S.C. 5904(c)(2). Therefore, it is exempt from the prior notice-and-comment and delayed-effective-date requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A) and (d)(3). This rule merely removes the prior requirement for attorneys and agents to file copies of any direct-pay fee agreement with both the Office of the General Counsel and the agency of original jurisdiction. Attorneys and agents must now file a copy of any direct-pay fee agreement with the agency of original jurisdiction and all other fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

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

    Section 14.636 of title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, which OMB approved under control number 2900-0605. This final rule will amend § 14.636(g)(3) and (h)(4) to remove the requirement that an agent or attorney file a direct-pay fee agreement with both the Office of the General Counsel and the agency of original jurisdiction, i.e., the VA regional office. The intended effect of this amendment is to require that direct-pay fee agreements be submitted only to the agency of original jurisdiction, thereby eliminating duplicate filings by agents and attorneys. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (at 44 U.S.C. 3507(d)), VA submitted this amended information collection to OMB for its review. OMB approved the amended information collection requirements under existing OMB control number 2900-0605.

    We also note that, in 2008, VA did not amend § 14.636 to reflect the OMB control number. Therefore, we are also amending § 14.636 to reflect that the correct OMB control number is 2900-0605.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The initial and final regulatory flexibility analyses requirements of sections 603 and 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, are not applicable to this rule, because a notice of proposed rulemaking is not required for this rule. Even so, the Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act. At a minimum, this rule will affect only the attorneys and agents who file fee agreements with the Office of the General Counsel. However, it will not have a significant economic impact on these individuals, as it will result in modest savings for affected attorneys and agents who will avoid the expense of duplicate filings. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

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

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this final rule have been examined, and it has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for VA Regulations Published From FY 2004 to FYTD.

    Unfunded Mandates

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

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    There are no Federal Domestic Assistance programs associated with this final rule.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert L. Nabors II, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on December 22, 2015, for publication.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 14

    Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Courts, Foreign relations, Government employees, Lawyers, Legal services, Organization and functions (Government agencies), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Surety bonds, Trusts and trustees, Veterans.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. William F. Russo Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Department of Veterans Affairs amends 38 CFR part 14 as follows:

    PART 14—LEGAL SERVICES, GENERAL COUNSEL, AND MISCELLANEOUS CLAIMS 1. The authority citation for part 14 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 28 U.S.C. 2671-2680; 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 512, 515, 5502, 5901-5905; 28 CFR part 14, appendix to part 14, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend § 14.636 by: a. Revising paragraph (g)(3). b. Revising paragraph (h)(4). c. Revising the parenthetical at the end of the section.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 14.636 Payment of fees for representation by agents and attorneys in proceedings before Agencies of Original Jurisdiction and before the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

    (g) * * *

    (3) A copy of a direct-pay fee agreement, as defined in paragraph (g)(2) of this section, must be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction within 30 days of its execution. A copy of any fee agreement that is not a direct-pay fee agreement must be filed with the Office of the General Counsel within 30 days of its execution by mailing the copy to the following address: Office of the General Counsel (022D), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420. Only fee agreements that do not provide for the direct payment of fees, documents related to review of fees under paragraph (i) of this section, and documents related to review of expenses under § 14.637, may be filed with the Office of the General Counsel. All documents relating to the adjudication of a claim for VA benefits, including any correspondence, evidence, or argument, must be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction, Board of Veterans' Appeals, or other VA office as appropriate.

    (h) * * *

    (4) As required by paragraph (g)(3) of this section, the agent or attorney must file with the agency of original jurisdiction within 30 days of the date of execution a copy of the agreement providing for the direct payment of fees out of any benefits subsequently determined to be past due.

    (The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0605.)

    § 14.637 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 14.637, paragraph (b), by removing “under § 14.636” and adding, in its place, “or the agency of original jurisdiction under § 14.636”.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32687 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 200 [Docket No. 150227193-5999-02] RIN 0648-BE92 Establish a Single Small Business Size Standard for Commercial Fishing Businesses AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues this final rule to establish a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for all businesses in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411), for Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) compliance purposes only. For the purposes of this final rule, a “commercial fishing business” is a business primarily engaged in commercial fishing, the “commercial fishing industry” is composed of all such businesses, and the $11 million standard only applies to this industry. This standard does not apply to businesses primarily engaged in seafood processing (NAICS 311170), seafood wholesale activities (NAICS 424460), or any other activity within the seafood industry. The $11 million standard will be used in RFA analyses in place of the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) current standards of $20.5 million, $5.5 million, and $7.5 million for the finfish (NAICS 114111), shellfish (NAICS 114112), and other marine fishing (NAICS 114119) sectors of the U.S. commercial fishing industry, respectively. Establishing a single size standard of $11 million for the commercial fishing industry will simplify the RFA analyses done in support of NMFS' rules, better meet the RFA's intent by more accurately representing expected disproportionate effects of NMFS' rules between small and large commercial fishing businesses, create a standard that more accurately reflects the size distribution of all businesses in the commercial fishing industry, and allow NMFS to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective July 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), proposed rule and associated comments are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2015-0061.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mike Travis, Industry Economist, at (727) 209-5982, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    For the purposes of this final rule, a “commercial fishing business” is a business primarily engaged in commercial fishing and the “commercial fishing industry” (NAICS 11411) is composed of all such businesses. Prior to 2013, SBA had established a single small business size standard for all businesses in the commercial fishing industry. Since 2005, this standard had been $4 million in annual gross receipts (revenues). Effective July 22, 2013, SBA established significantly different and higher size standards for the three separate sectors of the industry (78 FR 37398, June 20, 2013): $19 million for commercial finfish fishing businesses (NAICS 114111), $5.0 million for commercial shellfish fishing businesses (NAICS 114112), and $7.0 million for other commercial marine fishing businesses (NAICS 114119). These standards were subsequently adjusted for inflation to $20.5 million, $5.5 million, and $7.5 million, respectively, via an interim final rule, effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 requires SBA to review all size standards every five years to account for changes in industry structure and market conditions. SBA is also required to assess the impact of inflation on its monetary-based size standards at least once every five years (13 CFR 121.102). However, as reflected by the timing of the two recent rulemakings adjusting the size standards, SBA is not required to conduct the reviews for these two purposes simultaneously. Thus, these size standards are likely to change on a regular basis.

    Under the RFA, an agency must prepare an initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA/FRFA) for each proposed and final rule, respectively, unless it certifies that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Agencies generally rely on the SBA size standards to identify small entities for RFA purposes. For NMFS, rulemaking activities that have been impacted by changes to the size standards for defining “small” businesses include, but are not limited to, regulatory actions and analyses undertaken pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Between 2012 and 2014, NMFS published an average of 285 final rules per year, more than 40 percent of which required an RFA analysis, and a majority of those directly regulated commercial fishing businesses. Thus, NMFS' costs of complying with the RFA are significant even when the small business size standards are stable, and those costs increase substantially when the standards are changing on a recurring basis.

    NMFS and the Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils) have encountered significant difficulties implementing and adjusting to the new standards because: (1) The change was from a single size standard for all commercial fishing businesses to three very different standards, (2) many commercial fishing businesses participate in both finfish and shellfish fishing activities, making it unclear which standard to apply in the RFA analyses, and (3) a number of rules simultaneously implement regulations under fishery management plans for both finfish and shellfish species (for e.g., 76 FR 82044, December 29, 2011; 76 FR 82414, December 30, 2011; 77 FR 15916, March 26, 2012; and 80 FR 41472, July 15, 2015), again making it unclear which standard to apply in the RFA analyses.

    Furthermore, one of the RFA's primary purposes is to determine if proposed regulations are expected to have disproportionate economic impacts on small businesses relative to large businesses and, if so, to consider alternatives that would minimize any significant adverse economic impacts on small businesses. Under SBA's current standards for commercial fishing businesses, practically all commercial fishing businesses, and particularly commercial finfish fishing businesses, would likely be determined to be small. Thus, in their RFA analyses, NMFS and the Councils would not be able to discern, consider, or address any disproportionate economic impacts that various regulatory alternatives might have on businesses NMFS and the Councils think are “small” in the commercial fishing industry. Such an outcome effectively precludes NMFS from fulfilling one of the RFA's primary purposes and thus is not desirable.

    Section 601(3) of the RFA provides that an agency, after consultation with SBA's Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) and after an opportunity for public comment, may establish one or more definitions of “small business” which are appropriate to the activities of the agency and publish such definition(s) in the Federal Register. Further, 13 CFR 121.903(c) provides that where the agency head is developing a size standard for the sole purpose of performing a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis pursuant to section 601(3) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the department or agency may, after consultation with the SBA Office of Advocacy, establish a size standard different from SBA's which is more appropriate for such analysis.

    SBA has expressed support for the idea of creating a single size standard in instances where industries are closely related, as is the case for the finfish and shellfish sectors of the commercial fishing industry. In the preamble to its proposed rule to change the size standard for businesses in manufacturing industries (79 FR 54146, Sept. 10, 2014), SBA stated: “To simplify size standards and for other reasons, SBA may propose a common size standard for closely related industries. Although the size standard analysis may support a separate size standard for each industry, SBA believes that establishing different size standards for closely related industries may not always be appropriate. For example, in cases where many of the same businesses operate in the same multiple industries, a common size standard for those industries might better reflect the Federal marketplace. This might also make size standards among related industries more consistent than separate size standards for each of those industries.” (79 FR 54146, 54150, Sept. 10, 2014).

    NMFS has determined that the data used by SBA to develop the new standards are incomplete and, as a result, not representative of all commercial fishing businesses. Specifically, the data used by Size Standards only account for commercial fishing businesses that have employees (i.e., employer firms), and thus do not include commercial fishing businesses that do not have employees (i.e., non-employer firms). Non-employer commercial fishing businesses typically pay their self-employed crew a percentage of the gross or net revenue on each commercial fishing trip rather than a standard wage or salary, and thus self-employed crew are not considered employees. Commercial fishing businesses with employees represent only about 3 percent of all commercial fishing businesses, while the other 97 percent are non-employer firms.

    Further, according to SBA, annual gross revenues for finfish and shellfish commercial fishing businesses with employees average $1.6 and $0.6 million, respectively. Conversely, NMFS determined the annual gross revenues for commercial fishing businesses without employees are only about $44,000 on average. Thus, NMFS concluded that the exclusion of commercial fishing businesses without employees is primarily responsible for the magnitude of the size standard increases, particularly for finfish fishing businesses, and the standards would have been very different if SBA had used data for all commercial fishing businesses. Because the size standards apply to all commercial fishing businesses, not just those with employees, when used to analyze the economic impacts of management actions on directly regulated entities under the RFA, NMFS thinks it is more appropriate to have size standards for RFA purposes that are based on all commercial fishing businesses.

    In conjunction with its recent review of size standards, SBA developed a “Size Standards Methodology” for establishing, reviewing, and modifying size standards, where necessary. SBA included it as a supporting document (at www.regulations.gov) of the September 11, 2012, proposed rule (77 FR 55755) to change the size standards for the three sectors of the commercial fishing industry. Application of this new methodology resulted in the significantly different size standards for the three separate sectors of the industry. NMFS referenced this document in developing the size standard in this final rule. Consistent with that methodology, SBA used the following industry factors to establish the current size standards for NAICS Sector 11 (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting): Average firm size, as measured by simple average receipts and weighted average receipts; average assets size; the four-firm concentration ratio (i.e., the percentage of receipts accounted for by the four largest firms in the industry); and the Gini coefficient, which measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of firms by receipts size class under SBA's approach.

    SBA's primary source of industry data used in the rule to establish the new size standards for the three sectors of the commercial fishing industry was a special tabulation of the 2007 County Business Patterns data from the U.S. Bureau of Census (Census Bureau). This special tabulation provided SBA with data on the number of employer firms, number of establishments, number of employees, annual payroll, and annual receipts of companies by U.S. industry (6-digit NAICS code). These data were arrayed by various classes of firms' size based on the overall number of employees and gross receipts of the entire enterprise (all establishments and affiliated firms) from all industries. These data allowed SBA to estimate average firm size, the four-firm concentration ratio, and the Gini coefficient.

    SBA provided these data upon request to NMFS. NMFS subsequently requested and received from the Census Bureau comparable data for non-employer businesses. NMFS aggregated data to the industry level (i.e., NAICS 11411) for employer and non-employer businesses and then combined these data. Although data confidentiality was not an issue with the non-employer data, prior to aggregation NMFS had to estimate total gross receipts in certain receipts classes for employer firms where the Census Bureau determined the data were confidential and thus could not be released. The combined data provide a complete accounting of the distribution of businesses and receipts by receipt size class category for all commercial fishing businesses. NMFS used these data to generate estimates of certain industry factors needed to establish a single size standard for the commercial fishing businesses, consistent with SBA's methodology to the extent practicable.

    Specifically, NMFS used the data it received from SBA and the Census Bureau to generate estimates of simple average receipts, weighted average receipts, and the Gini coefficient. For simple average receipts, each firm's share of the industry's total receipts is weighted equally, whereas the shares of larger firms receive larger weights in estimating weighted average receipts. Weighted average receipts and the Gini coefficient were estimated using the equations provided in SBA's Size Standards Methodology document. NMFS generated the following estimates for the commercial fishing industry: $77,178 for simple average receipts, $12,322,365 for weighted average receipts, and 0.755 for the Gini coefficient. Based on the information in Table 2 of SBA's proposed rule to change the size standards for the finfish, shellfish, and other marine fishing sectors of the commercial fishing industry (77 FR 55755), these estimates support size standards of $5 million, $5 million, and $19 million, respectively.

    SBA also considers the average assets size of firms to be an important factor in establishing a size standard. NMFS does not possess and was not able to procure assets size data for non-employer businesses. SBA has such data for employer firms in the finfish and shellfish sectors, though not for employer firms in the other marine fishing sector because of the very small number of firms in that sector. The number of firms in the other marine fishing sector is very small because it includes firms primarily involved in the harvest of corals, sponges, reef associated plants (e.g., algae), and aquarium trade species, whose allowable harvest levels are very small. However, SBA had to purchase the assets size data for employer firms in the finfish and shellfish sectors from a private source and thus could not share the data with NMFS due to their proprietary nature. Therefore, NMFS created an estimate based on data that SBA published in its proposed rule, using the following approach.

    According to SBA's proposed rule, the average assets sizes for the finfish and shellfish commercial fishing sectors are $1.4 million and $0.4 million, respectively. Finfish fishing firms and shellfish fishing firms represent approximately 54 percent and 46 percent, respectively, of the 2,039 employer firms in those two sectors combined. Based on these percentages, the weighted average assets size of the combined finfish and shellfish commercial fishing sectors is approximately $0.94 million. Based on Table 2 in SBA's proposed rule, this estimate supports a $7 million size standard.

    SBA does not consider the average receipts of the four largest firms to be an important factor in establishing a size standard for industries where the four-firm concentration ratio is below 40 percent (i.e., receipts of the 4 largest firms account for less than 40 percent of the total receipts). According to the data SBA provided to NMFS, the four largest firms in the commercial fishing industry are commercial finfish fishing businesses. Within the finfish sector, these firms only account for 29 percent of total receipts. Therefore, within the larger commercial fishing industry as a whole, the percentage of receipts they account for must be less than 29 percent. Because the four largest firms account for less than 40 percent of the total receipts for the commercial fishing industry, consistent with SBA's methodology, NMFS did not use the four-firm concentration ratio in establishing a single size standard for the commercial fishing industry.

    According to SBA's methodology, all factors should be weighted equally. Therefore, NMFS averaged the standards supported by the simple average receipts ($5 million), weighted average receipts ($5 million), Gini coefficient ($19 million), and average assets size ($7 million) estimates, which results in a size standard of $9 million. However, SBA only allowed for eight size standards in its final rule (79 FR 54146, September 10, 2014): $5 million, $7 million, $10 million, $14 million, $19 million, $25.5 million, $30 million, and $35.5 million. When the estimated size standard is not equivalent to one of these eight standards, SBA rounds up to the next highest size standard. For NMFS' estimated $9 million size standard, the next highest size standard would be $10 million. If the average assets size factor is not included, because it is based on aggregated employer data only rather than a combination of employer and non-employer data, the average of the other 3 factors is $9.67 million. Thus, the next highest size standard would still be $10 million.

    NMFS is aware the Census Bureau has recently released the 2012 County Business Patterns data for employer firms. However, 2012 data for non-employer firms has not yet been released. As previously discussed, NMFS does not think it is prudent to establish a size standard based only on employer data because 97 percent of the commercial fishing businesses are non-employers. Further, even if the 2012 non-employer data is released and NMFS generates new estimates of the various industry factors, NMFS would still not be able to determine what standards are implied by the new estimates until SBA generates an updated version of Table 2 in its proposed rule to change the size standards for the finfish, shellfish, and other marine fishing sectors of the commercial fishing industry (77 FR 55755) using 2012 rather than 2007 data.

    As previously stated, SBA recently implemented a final rule to adjust all of its receipts based size standards for inflation using the chain-type price index for the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP price index) (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). According to that final rule, for all industries with a non-inflation-adjusted size standard of $10 million, the new inflation-adjusted size standard is $11 million.

    Thus, this final rule establishes a small business size standard of $11 million for all businesses in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411) for RFA compliance purposes only. The $11 million standard only applies to the commercial fishing industry and thus does not apply to businesses primarily engaged in seafood processing (NAICS 311170), seafood wholesale activities (NAICS 424460), or any other activity within the seafood industry. This single size standard for commercial fishing businesses would be used in all RFA analyses conducted in support of NMFS' regulatory actions. Establishing this single size standard would simplify the RFA analyses done in support of NMFS' rules, better meet the RFA's intent by more accurately representing expected disproportionate effects of NMFS' rules between small and large commercial fishing businesses, create a standard that more accurately reflects the size distribution of all businesses in the commercial fishing industry, and allow NMFS to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate.

    NMFS and the Councils have numerous regulatory actions at various stages of the rulemaking process at any point in time, and thus RFA analyses at various stages in development. As a result, NMFS has chosen to delay the effective date of this rule until July 1, 2016, to allow sufficient time for the Councils and NMFS to transition to the $11 million size standard. The delayed effective date will allow regulatory actions that are relatively far along in the rulemaking process and which used SBA's current standards for commercial fishing businesses in their RFA analyses to be in compliance and thus proceed on their current timeline. However, RFA analyses conducted in association with all proposed and final rules published after July 1, 2016, should use the $11 million size standard for commercial fishing businesses.

    Consistent with SBA's review requirements under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and 13 CFR 121.102, NMFS will review this standard at least once every 5 years to determine if a change is warranted. A change may be warranted because of changes in industry structure, market conditions, inflation, or other relevant factors. The reviews for these potential reasons will be conducted simultaneously in order to minimize the frequency of changes to the standard and additional rulemakings.

    On September 18, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule to establish a single small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for the commercial fishing industry, for RFA compliance purposes only, and requested public comments (80 FR 56432).

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received five public comment letters in response to the proposed rule. These letters were mostly from businesses which participate in commercial fishing activities but are primarily engaged in seafood processing or organizations representing such businesses. No change has been made to the proposed size standard or regulations as a result of these comments.

    Comment 1: The proposed size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts should not be applied to businesses primarily engaged in seafood processing (NAICS 311170).

    Response: NMFS agrees with this comment, as it is not NMFS' intent that the proposed size standard be applied to such businesses. Per the commenters' requests, NMFS has clarified the size standard established by this rule only applies to businesses primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NACIS 11411) and thus does not apply to businesses primarily engaged in seafood processing (NAICS 311170), seafood wholesale activities (NAICS 424460), or any other activity within the seafood industry.

    Comment 2: The proposed size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts should not be applied to any businesses that engage in both commercial fishing and seafood processing activities.

    Response: NMFS does not agree with this comment. Consistent with statements by other commenters, the determination of which NAICS code and thus which standard will be applied to each business for RFA analysis purposes is an empirical question that cannot be known until an analysis is conducted for a particular NMFS rulemaking. If a business is determined to be primarily engaged in commercial fishing when an RFA analysis is conducted for a NMFS rulemaking, the $11 million size standard will apply.

    Comment 3: NMFS' rule should include a broader discussion of all size standards and how they are applied.

    Response: NMFS does not agree with this comment as the background information provided is adequate and appropriate for the scope of this rule. As the commenter acknowledges, SBA has established small business size standards for all industries with a NAICS code. NMFS' rulemakings directly regulate businesses in only a small percentage of the industries for which SBA establishes size standards. Information regarding SBA's size standards can be found in the recent rules SBA has published and which are referenced in this rule as well as on SBA's Web site. With respect to how size standards are applied in practice, that is also beyond the scope of this rule, both with respect to how size standards are applied in general and how NMFS typically applies them in the RFA analyses for its rulemakings. NMFS does not know and thus cannot address how all of SBA's size standards are applied in practice by other agencies. Further, this rule only establishes NMFS' small business size standard for the commercial fishing industry for RFA purposes; it does not change how NMFS determines the industry in which a business is primarily engaged and thus how NMFS applies size standards in its RFA analyses.

    Comment 4: NMFS should not consider individual members of a fishery cooperative to be affiliated under SBA's principles of affiliation and thereby treated as a single entity in NMFS' RFA analyses.

    Response: This comment is beyond the scope of this rule. This rule will not change how NMFS applies SBA's principles of affiliation to businesses directly regulated by NMFS' rulemakings.

    Comment 5: NMFS did not provide sufficient opportunity for public comment on the proposed size standard or adequately inform or involve the Fishery Management Councils or the fishing industry in the rulemaking process and thus violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

    Response: NMFS does not agree with this comment. Consistent with the requirements of the APA, NMFS properly published the proposed rule in the Federal Register and provided the public, including the Fishery Management Councils, entities involved in commercial fisheries, and any other interested parties, with the appropriate 30 days to provide comments. Thus, NMFS has met the APA's requirements. Further, as stated in the preamble to the proposed rule, the Fishery Management Councils do not support SBA's disparate size standards for the three sectors of the commercial fishing industry, but rather, support having a single size standard. NMFS' single size standard was determined using SBA's methodology for establishing size standards, to the extent practicable given available data.

    Comment 6: NMFS did not adequately consult Advocacy when proposing, for RFA purposes only, the $11 million size standard for the commercial fishing industry.

    Response: NMFS does not agree with this comment. As explained in the proposed rule, NMFS and the Department of Commerce General Counsel's Office had preliminary discussions with Advocacy. Advocacy was supportive of NMFS publishing for notice and comment an alternative size standard pursuant to RFA section 601(3) and 13 CFR 121.903(c) in order to establish its own size standard for the commercial fishing industry for purposes of RFA analyses only. Thereafter, NMFS formally consulted Advocacy on the $11 million size standard and the proposed rule prior to its publication. Advocacy provided comments on the proposed rule and NMFS addressed those comments prior to its publication. NMFS also formally consulted Advocacy on this final rule prior to its publication. Advocacy provided comments on a draft of this rule and NMFS addressed those comments prior to its publication. Thus, NMFS has adequately consulted with Advocacy, consistent with RFA section 601(3) and 13 CFR 121.903(c).

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 601(3) of the RFA, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the RFA and other applicable law.

    This final rule has been determined by the Office of Management and Budget 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 SBA during the proposed rule stage that this action, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is repeated below.

    The purposes of the rule are to establish a single small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411), for RFA compliance purposes only, and a requirement for NMFS to assess at least once every 5 years whether this size standard should be changed. The objectives of the rule are to simplify the RFA analyses done in support of NMFS' rules, better meet the RFA's intent by more accurately representing expected disproportionate effects of NMFS' rules between small and large businesses, create a standard that more accurately reflects the size distribution of all businesses in the commercial fishing industry, and allow NMFS to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate. The RFA and 13 CFR 121.903(c) serve as the legal basis for the rule.

    The actions in this rule are administrative in nature and thus would only potentially generate indirect economic effects on commercial fishing businesses. Specifically, the $11 million size standard would only affect how NMFS and the Councils determine whether commercial fishing businesses directly regulated by future regulatory actions are small or large, whether and to what extent those actions have disproportionate economic impacts on those two classes of businesses, and when it is appropriate for NMFS to change the standard in the future. This rule would not impose any new requirements on commercial fishing businesses. Therefore, no small entities would be directly regulated by this rule. This rule would not be expected to affect the behavior or operations of commercial fishing businesses. As such, this rule is not expected to generate any direct economic effects on commercial fishing businesses.

    Based on the information above, a reduction in profits for a substantial number of small entities is not expected. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce hereby certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Because this rule, if implemented, is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and no comments were received on this certification, a final regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none was prepared.

    No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. This rule would not establish any new reporting or record-keeping requirements.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 200

    Commercial fishing, Small businesses.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., NMFS amends 50 CFR chapter II as follows:

    PARTS 200 THROUGH 215—[REMOVED] 1. Remove reserved parts 200 through 215 from subchapter C. 2. Add subchapter A, consisting of part 200, to read as follows: SUBCHAPTER A—GENERAL PROVISIONS PART 200—SMALL BUSINESS SIZE STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY NMFS FOR REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ACT COMPLIANCE PURPOSES ONLY Sec. 200.1 Purpose and scope. 200.2 Small business size standards and frequency of review. Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    § 200.1 Purpose and scope.

    (a) This part sets forth the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) small business size standards for NMFS to use in conducting Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analyses for NMFS actions subject to the RFA. This part also sets forth the timeframe for NMFS to review its small business size standards.

    (b) NMFS has established the alternative size standards in this part, for RFA compliance purposes only, in order to simplify the RFA analyses done in support of NMFS' rules, better meet the RFA's intent by more accurately representing expected disproportionate effects of NMFS' rules between small and large businesses, create a standard that more accurately reflects the size distribution of all businesses in the industry, and allow NMFS to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate.

    § 200.2 Small business size standards and frequency of review.

    (a) NMFS' small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing is $11 million in annual gross receipts. This standard applies to all businesses classified under North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 11411 for commercial fishing, including all businesses classified as commercial finfish fishing (NAICS 114111), commercial shellfish fishing (NAICS 114112), and other commercial marine fishing (NAICS 114119) businesses.

    (b) NMFS will review each of the small business size standards in paragraph (a) of this section at least once every 5 years to determine if a change is warranted. A change may be warranted because of changes in industry structure, market conditions, inflation, or other relevant factors.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32564 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 249 Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Part 429 [Docket No. EERE-2015-BT-CE-0019] RIN 1990-AA44 Energy Conservation Program: Certification and Enforcement—Import Data Collection AGENCY:

    Office of the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing a requirement that a person importing into the United States any covered product or equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard provide, prior to importation, a certification of admissibility to the DOE for the covered product or equipment. The certification would be submitted to DOE through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

    DATES:

    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) no later than February 12, 2016. See section V, “Public Participation,” of this NOPR for details.

    ADDRESSES:

    Any comments submitted must identify the NOPR for Import Data Collection, and provide docket number EERE-2015-BT-CE-0019 and/or regulatory information number (RIN) number 1990-AA44. Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    2. Email: [email protected] Include the docket number and/or RIN in the subject line of the message.

    3. Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20585-0121. If possible, please submit all items on a CD. It is not necessary to include printed copies.

    4. Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 950 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Suite 600, Washington, DC, 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, please submit all items on a CD. It is not necessary to include printed copies.

    For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see section V of this document (Public Participation).

    Docket: The docket, which includes Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available.

    A link to the docket Web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EERE-2015-BT-CE-0019. This Web page will contain a link to the docket for this notice on the regulations.gov site. The regulations.gov Web page will contain simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket. See section V for information on how to submit comments through regulations.gov.

    For further information on how to submit a comment, review other public comments and the docket, or to request a public meeting, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 202-586-6590. Email: [email protected]; or Mr. Steven Goering, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, Forrestal Building, GC-32, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 202-286-5691. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Authority and Background II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking III. Discussion A. Relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes B. Applicability of provision C. Information to be collected regarding products not previously certified to DOE as compliant with applicable energy conservation standards D. Method of Collection E. Effective Date and Compliance Date IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866 B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act D. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act E. Review Under Executive Order 13132 F. Review Under Executive Order 12988 G. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 H. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 I. Review Under Executive Order 12630 J. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 K. Review Under Executive Order 13211 V. Public Participation VI. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Authority and Background

    Title III, Part B 1 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA or the Act), Public Law 94-163 (codified at 42 U.S.C. 6291-6317) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency and established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles.2 Part C 3 of title III (42 U.S.C. 6311-6317) establishes an energy conservation program for certain industrial and commercial equipment. The Act provides DOE authority to enforce certain prohibited acts listed in section 6302(a), including EPCA's prohibition on the importation of covered products and equipment that do not conform to applicable energy conservation standards. (42 U.S.C. 6302(a)(5), 6303, 6316(a),(b)) 4

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

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

    3 For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, Part C was redesignated Part A-1.

    4 Section 6302(a)(5) states that it is unlawful for any “manufacturer” to “distribute in commerce” products that do not conform to applicable energy conservations standards. Section 6291 defines the term “manufacturers” so as to include importers, and states that “to distribute in commerce” means, among other things, “to import.” (42 U.S.C. 6291(10), (12), (16)).

    EPCA further provides that any covered product or equipment “offered for importation in violation of section 6302 of this title shall be refused admission into the customs territory of the United States under rules issued by the Secretary of the Treasury,” except under certain terms and conditions authorized under those rules. (42 U.S.C. 6301) Under the regulations issued by the Department of Treasury and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), if the DOE or the Federal Trade Commission “notifies CBP that a covered import does not comply with an applicable energy conservation or energy labeling standard, CBP will refuse admission to the covered import, or pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, CBP may allow conditional release of the covered import so that it may be brought into compliance.” (19 CFR 12.50(b))

    In addition, EPCA authorizes DOE to require importers of covered products and equipment “to submit information or reports” with respect to energy efficiency, energy use, or water use of covered products and equipment “as the Secretary determines may be necessary . . . to insure compliance with the requirements of this part.” (42 U.S.C. 6296(d))

    In its current form, 10 CFR 429.5 requires that persons importing covered products or covered equipment comply with the provisions of 10 CFR parts 429, 430, and 431. Part 429 requires, among other things, that importers of covered products or covered equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard 5 submit a certification report to DOE prior to distributing their products in U.S. commerce. The certification report must provide specific information for each basic model, including the product or equipment type, the brand name, and the basic model number, as well as specific energy use information. (10 CFR 429.12(b)). Importers are currently required to submit certifications on product-specific templates to DOE's Compliance and Certification Management System (CCMS), which assigns each certification submission a unique attachment identification number. (10 CFR 429.12(h)).

    5 Under DOE regulations, “energy conservation standard” is defined as any standard “meeting the definitions of that term in 42 U.S.C. 6291(6) and 42 U.S.C. 6311(18) as well as any other water conservation standards and design requirements found” in 10 CFR parts 429, 430, or 431. (10 CFR 429.2(b))

    In prior rulemakings, the DOE has received comments from a number of interested parties urging DOE to work with CBP to enforce EPCA and its implementing regulations. For example, in 1996, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) called on the DOE to “provide sufficient guidelines to Customs Officers in order to facilitate enforcement of requirements similar to those placed on U.S. manufacturers.” (Docket No. EE-RM-96-400, NEMA, No. 38 at p. 15). More recently, in April 2011, in response to a DOE Request for Information concerning “Increased Scope of Coverage for Electric Motors,” NEMA and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), addressed this issue in joint comments supported by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Alliance to Save Energy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. The commenters estimated that more effective enforcement of standards vis-à-vis imported electric motors could produce as much as one billion kilowatt-hours in incremental savings each year, and further noted that “manufacturers who comply are placed at a competitive disadvantage. . . . Therefore, we strongly urge DOE to work with Customs to expedite efforts for improved monitoring and enforcement with respect to imported motors. Without improved enforcement, the benefits of both existing standards and future standards are jeopardized.” (Docket No. EERE-2010-BT-STD-0027, ASAP, NEMA, No. 20 at p. 5).

    On February 19, 2014, the President issued Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's Businesses (EO 13659), which requires certain federal agencies to significantly enhance their use of technology to modernize and simplify the trade processing infrastructure. Specifically, EO 13659 requires applicable government agencies to use CBP's International Trade Data System (ITDS), and its supporting systems, such as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), to create a “single window” through which businesses will electronically submit import-related data for clearance. EO 13659 envisions and is working toward a simpler, more efficient portal for trade use, to the benefit of both the trade and those government agencies with related authorities and responsibilities.

    Based upon its specific authority to require the submission of information by importers and its broader authority to regulate the importation of covered products and equipment, DOE seeks in this proposed rule to require importers to provide a certification of admissibility to DOE prior to importation of products or equipment subject to DOE regulations. Importers would be required to submit the certification to DOE through ACE, which currently is being deployed to support electronic data filing through its Automated Broker Interface (ABI).

    II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    In this NOPR, DOE proposes to require that importers of covered products or equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard set forth in 10 CFR part 430 or 431 6 and falling under specified classifications of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States 7 provide a certification of admissibility for each shipment of such products or equipment before their arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Importers of such covered products or equipment are currently required to submit annual certifications to DOE that the products or equipment they intend to import are compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards, using CCMS. DOE proposes that, if an importer has already submitted its required certification report to DOE, the importer would provide a certification of admissibility with only the information necessary to tie the shipment back to its most recent CCMS submission. Any importer that has not already filed its required annual certification would be required to provide more detailed information regarding the covered product or equipment contained in the shipment.

    6 10 CFR parts 430 and 431 do not apply to covered products or equipment imported for export from the United States, provided that such products or equipment “or any container in which it is enclosed, when distributed in commerce, bears a stamp or label stating `NOT FOR SALE FOR USE IN THE UNITED STATES' ” and “such product is, in fact, not distributed in commerce for use in the United States.” (10 CFR 429.6). See also CBP Ruling No. HQ W231173 (“equipment subject to the standards set by the Department of Energy under 10 CFR 430.32 that are not in compliance with those standards, may be imported into the United States for the purpose of exportation, and placed in either a foreign trade zone or customs bonded warehouse pursuant to that purpose”), available at http://rulings.cbp.gov/index.asp?ru=w231173&qu=CBP+Ruling+HQ+W231173&vw=detail.

    7http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/index.htm.

    III. Discussion A. Relevant Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes

    All importers must provide the appropriate code for the products or equipment they are importing as explained in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated for Statistical Reporting Purposes, (HTS) which is published by the U.S. International Trade Commission pursuant to section 1207 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-418; 19 U.S.C. 3007) (Trade Act). The HTS code is meant in part to allow CBP to make classification distinctions of U.S. interest. Consistent with this practice, DOE would require importers of shipments containing covered products and equipment falling under specified classifications of the HTS to file a certification of admissibility with DOE. The relevant HTS codes that would require a certification filing to DOE are presented in Table III.1.8

    8 The HTS codes that would require a certification to DOE would be updated to reflect the then-current version of the HTS.

    Table III.1—HTS Codes of Products and Equipment Requiring Certification of Admissibility HTS Code (2014) HTS Product description (2014) 3922 Baths, shower baths, sinks, washbasins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats and covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware, of plastics. 6910 Ceramic sinks, washbasins, washbasin pedestals, baths, bidets, water closet bowls, flush tanks, urinals and similar sanitary fixtures. 7011.10 Glass envelopes (including bulbs and tubes), open, and glass parts thereof, without fittings, for electric lamps, cathode-ray tubes or the like: For electric lighting. 7321 Stoves, ranges, grates, cookers (including those with subsidiary boilers for central heating), barbecues, braziers, gas rings, plate warmers and similar nonelectric domestic appliances, and parts thereof, of iron or steel. 7322.90.0015 Air heaters, not electrically heated, incorporating a motor-driven fan or blower. 7322.90.0030 Hot air distributors, not electrically heated, incorporating a motor-driven fan or blower. 7322.90.0045 Parts of air heaters and hot air distributors. 8402 Steam or other vapor generating boilers (other than central heating hot water boilers capable also of producing low pressure steam); super-heated water boilers; parts thereof. 8403 Central heating boilers (other than those of heading 8402) and parts thereof. 8413 Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; part thereof. 8414 Air or vacuum pumps, air or other gas compressors and fans; ventilating or recycling hoods incorporating a fan, whether or not fitted with filters; parts thereof. 8415 Air conditioning machines, comprising a motor-driven fan and elements for changing the temperature and humidity, including those machines in which the humidity cannot be separately regulated; parts thereof. 8416 Furnace burners for liquid fuel, for pulverized solid fuel or for gas; mechanical stokers, including their mechanical grates, mechanical ash dischargers and similar appliances; parts thereof. 8417 Industrial or laboratory furnaces and ovens, including incinerators, nonelectric, and parts thereof. 8418 Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment, electric or other; heat pumps, other than the air conditioning machines of heading 8415; parts thereof. 8419.11.00 Instantaneous gas water heaters. 8419.19.0020 Instantaneous water heaters, non-electric. 8419.81.50 Cooking stoves, ranges and ovens. 8421.12.0000 Clothes-dryers (centrifugal). 8422.11.00 Dishwashing machines, of the household type. 8422.19.00 Dishwashing machines, other. 8422.90 Parts of dishwashing machines. 8427.10 Self-propelled trucks powered by an electric motor. 8428 Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, elevators, escalators, conveyors, teleferics). 8429 Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levelers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers:. 8430 Other moving, grading, leveling, scraping, excavating, tamping, compacting, extracting or boring machinery, for earth, minerals or ores; pile-drivers and pile-extractors; snowplows and snowblowers. 8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430. 8432 Agricultural, horticultural or forestry machinery for soil preparation or cultivation; lawn or sports ground rollers; parts thereof. 8433 Harvesting or threshing machinery, including straw or fodder balers; grass or hay mowers; machines for cleaning, sorting or grading eggs, fruit or other agricultural produce, other than machinery of heading 8437; parts thereof. 8434 Milking machines and dairy machinery, and parts thereof. 8435 Presses, crushers and similar machinery, used in the manufacture of wine, cider, fruit juices or similar beverages; parts thereof. 8436 Other agricultural, horticultural, forestry, poultry-keeping or bee-keeping machinery, including germination plant fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment; poultry incubators and brooders; parts thereof. 8437 Machines for cleaning, sorting or grading seed, grain or dried leguminous vegetables, and parts thereof; machinery used in the milling industry or for the working of cereals or dried leguminous vegetables, other than farm type machinery; parts thereof. 8438 Machinery, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter, for the industrial preparation or manufacture of food or drink, other than machinery for the extraction or preparation of animal or fixed vegetable fats or oils; parts thereof. 8439 Machinery for making pulp of fibrous cellulosic material or for making or finishing paper or paperboard (other than the machinery of heading 8419); parts thereof. 8440 Bookbinding machinery, including book-sewing machines, and parts thereof. 8441 Other machinery for making up paper pulp, paper or paperboard, including cutting machines of all kinds, and parts thereof. 8442 Machinery, apparatus and equipment (other than the machine tools of headings 8456 to 8465), for preparing or making plates, cylinders or other printing components; plates, cylinders and other printing components; plates, cylinders and lithographic stones. 8443 Printing machinery used for printing by means of plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442; other printers, copying machines and facsimile machines, whether or not combined; parts and accessories thereof. 8444 Machines for extruding, drawing, texturing or cutting man-made textile materials. 8445 Machines for preparing textile fibers; spinning, doubling or twisting machines and other machinery for producing textile yarns; textile reeling or winding (including weft winding) machines and machines for preparing textile yarns for use on the machines. 8446 Weaving machines (looms). 8447 Knitting machines, stitch-bonding machines and machines for making gimped yarn, tulle, lace, embroidery, trimmings, braid or net and machines for tufting. 8448 Auxiliary machinery for use with machines of heading 8444, 8445, 8446 or 8447 (for example, dobbies, Jacquards, automatic stop motions and shuttle changing mechanisms); parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of this heading or of heading 8444, 8445, 8446 or 8447 (for example, spindles and spindle flyers, card clothing, combs, extruding nipples, shuttles, healds and heald-frames, hosiery needles). 8449 Machinery for the manufacture or finishing of felt or nonwovens in the piece or in shapes, including machinery for making felt hats; blocks for making hats; parts thereof. 8450 Household- or laundry-type washing machines, including machines which both wash and dry; parts thereof. 8451 Machinery (other than machines of heading 8450) for washing, cleaning, wringing, drying, ironing, pressing (including fusing presses), bleaching, dyeing, dressing, finishing, coating or impregnating textile yarns, fabrics or made up textile articles and machines for applying the paste to the base fabric or other support used in the manufacture of floor coverings such as linoleum; machines for reeling, unreeling, folding, cutting or pinking textile fabrics; parts thereof. 8452 Sewing machines, other than book-sewing machines of heading 8440; furniture, bases and covers specially designed for sewing machines; sewing machine needles; parts thereof. 8453 Machinery for preparing, tanning or working hides, skins or leather or for making or repairing footwear or other articles of hides, skins or leather, other than sewing machines; parts thereof. 8454 Converters, ladles, ingot molds and casting machines, of a kind used in metallurgy or in metal foundries, and parts thereof. 8455 Metal-rolling mills and rolls therefor; parts thereof. 8456 Machine tools for working any material by removal of material, by laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic, electro-discharge, electro-chemical, electron-beam, ionic-beam or plasma arc processes; water-jet cutting machines. 8457 Machining centers, unit construction machines (single station) and multistation transfer machines, for working metal. 8458 Lathes (including turning centers) for removing metal. 8459 Machine tools (including way-type unit head machines) for drilling, boring, milling, threading or tapping by removing metal, other than lathes (including turning centers) of heading 8458. 8460 Machine tools for deburring, sharpening, grinding, honing, lapping, polishing or otherwise finishing metal or cermets by means of grinding stones, abrasives or polishing products, other than gear cutting, gear grinding or gear finishing machines [listed in prior subheadings]. 8461 Machine tools for planing, shaping, slotting, broaching, gear cutting, gear grinding or gear finishing, sawing, cutting-off and other machine tools working by removing metal or cermets, not elsewhere specified or included. 8462 Machine tools (including presses) for working metal by forging, hammering or die-stamping; machine tools (including presses) for working metal by bending, folding, straightening, flattening, shearing, punching or notching; presses for working metal. 8463 Other machine tools for working metal or cermets, without removing material. 8464 Machine tools for working stone, ceramics, concrete, asbestos-cement or like mineral materials or for cold working glass. 8465 Machine tools (including machines for nailing, stapling, glueing or otherwise assembling) for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials. 8466 Parts and accessories suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of headings 8456 to 8465, including work or tool holders, self-opening dieheads, dividing heads and other special attachments for machine tools; tool holders for any type of tool for working in the hand. 8467.21.00, 8467.22.00, 8467.29.00, 8467.81.0000, 8467.89 Tools for working in the hand (with self-contained electric motor). 8469 Typewriters other than printers of heading 8443; word processing machines. 8470 Calculating machines and pocket-size data recording, reproducing and displaying machines with calculating functions; accounting machines, postage-franking machines, ticket-issuing machines and similar machines, incorporating a calculating device; cash registers. 8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included. 8472 Other office machines (for example, hectograph or stencil duplicating machines, addressing machines, automatic banknote dispensers, coin-sorting machines, coin-counting or wrapping machines, pencil-sharpening machines, perforating or stapling machines). 8473 Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8469 to 8472. 8474 Machinery for sorting, screening, separating, washing, crushing, grinding, mixing or kneading earth, stone, ores or other mineral substances, in solid (including powder or paste) form; machinery for agglomerating, shaping or molding solid mineral fuels. 8475 Machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes; machines for manufacturing or hot working glass or glassware; parts thereof. 8476 Automatic goods-vending machines (for example, postage stamp, cigarette, food or beverage machines), including money-changing machines; parts thereof. 8477 Machinery for working rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof. 8478 Machinery for preparing or making up tobacco, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof. 8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof. 8481.80.1020 Bath and shower faucets (of copper). 8481.80.1030 Sink and lavatory faucets (of copper). 8481.80.30 Other taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances (of iron or steel). 8481.80.5060 Bath, shower, sink and lavatory faucets (of other materials). 8486 Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of semiconductor boules or wafers, semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits or flat panel displays; machines and apparatus specified in Note 9 (C) to this chapter; parts and accessories. 8501 Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets). 8502.40.0000 Electric rotary converters. 8504 Electrical transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors; parts thereof. 8508.11, 8508.19, 8508.70 Vacuum cleaners; parts thereof: With self-contained electric motor. 8509 Electromechanical domestic appliances, with self-contained electric motor, other than vacuum cleaners of heading 8508; parts thereof. 8510 Shavers, hair clippers and hair-removing appliances, with self-contained electric motor; parts thereof. 8511.40.0000 Starter motors and dual purpose starter-generators. 8511.90.60 Other parts of electrical ignition or starting equipment. 8512 Electrical lighting or signaling equipment (excluding articles of heading 8539), windshield wipers, defrosters and demisters, of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles; parts thereof. 8514 Industrial or laboratory electric furnaces and ovens (including those functioning by induction or dielectric loss); other industrial or laboratory equipment for the heat treatment of materials by induction or dielectric loss; parts thereof. 8515 Electric (including electrically heated gas), laser or other light or photon beam, ultrasonic, electron beam, magnetic pulse or plasma arc soldering, brazing or welding machines and apparatus, whether or not capable of cutting; electric machines and apparatus for hot spraying of metals or cermets; parts thereof. 8516 Electric instantaneous or storage water heaters and immersion heaters; electric space heating apparatus and soil heating apparatus; electrothermic hairdressing apparatus (for example, hair dryers, hair curlers, curling tong heaters) and hand dryers. 8517 Telephone sets, including telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, including apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network. 8518 Microphones and stands therefor; loudspeakers, whether or not mounted in their enclosures; headphones and earphones, whether or not combined with a microphone, and sets consisting of a microphone and one or more loudspeakers; audio-frequency electric amplifiers; electric sound amplifier sets; parts thereof. 8519 Sound recording or reproducing apparatus. 8521 Video recording or reproducing apparatus, whether or not incorporating a video tuner. 8525 Transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras, digital cameras and video camera recorders. 8527 Reception apparatus for radio broadcasting, whether or not combined, in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus or a clock. 8528 Monitors and projectors, not incorporating television reception apparatus; reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus. 8529 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528. 8530 Electrical signaling, safety or traffic control equipment for railways, streetcar lines, subways, roads, inland waterways, parking facilities, port installations or airfields (other than those of heading 8608); parts thereof. 8539 Electrical filament or discharge lamps, including sealed beam lamp units and ultraviolet or infrared lamps; arc lamps; parts thereof. 8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof. 8549 Other electrical parts of machinery or apparatus, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter. 8601 Rail locomotives powered from an external source of electricity or by electric accumulators (batteries). 8602 Other rail locomotives; locomotive tenders. 8603 Self-propelled railway or tramway coaches, vans and trucks, other than those of heading 8604. 8604 Railway or tramway maintenance or service vehicles, whether or not self-propelled (for example, workshops, cranes, ballast tampers, trackliners, testing coaches and track inspection vehicles). 8605 Railway or tramway passenger coaches, not self-propelled; luggage vans, post office coaches and other special purpose railway or tramway coaches, not self-propelled (excluding those of heading 8604). 8607 Parts of railway or tramway locomotives or rolling stock: Truck assemblies, axles and wheels, and parts thereof. 8608 Railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) signaling, safety or traffic control equipment for railways, tramways, roads, inland waterways, parking facilities, port installations or airfields; parts of the foregoing. 8701 Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709). 8702 Motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, including the driver. 8703 Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing cars. 8704 Motor vehicles for the transport of goods. 8705 Special purpose motor vehicles, other than those principally designed for the transport of persons or goods (for example, wreckers, mobile cranes, fire fighting vehicles, concrete mixers, road sweepers, spraying vehicles, mobile workshops, mobile radiological units). 8707 Bodies (including cabs), for the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. 8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. 8709 Works trucks, self-propelled, not fitted with lifting or handling equipment, of the type used in factories, warehouses, dock areas or airports for short distance transport of goods; tractors of the type used on railway station platforms; parts of the foregoing vehicles. 8710 Tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, motorized, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles. 8713 Carriages for disabled persons, whether or not motorized or otherwise mechanically propelled. 8714 Parts and accessories of vehicles of headings 8711 to 8713. 8802 Other aircraft (for example, helicopters, airplanes); spacecraft (including satellites) and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles. 8803 Parts of goods of heading 8801 or 8802. 8805 Aircraft launching gear; deck-arrestor or similar gear; ground flying trainers; parts of the foregoing articles. 8901 Cruise ships, excursion boats, ferry boats, cargo ships, barges and similar vessels for the transport of persons or goods. 8902 Fishing vessels; factory ships and other vessels for processing or preserving fishery products. 8904 Tugs and pusher craft. 8905 Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks; floating or submersible drilling or production platforms. 8906 Other vessels, including warships and lifeboats other than row boats. 8905 Binoculars, monoculars, other optical telescopes, and mountings therefor; other astronomical instruments and mountings therefor, but not including instruments for radio-astronomy; parts and accessories thereof. 9006 Photographic (other than cinematographic) cameras; photographic flashlight apparatus and flashbulbs other than discharge lamps of heading 8539; parts and accessories thereof. 9007 Cinematographic cameras and projectors, whether or not incorporating sound recording or reproducing apparatus; parts and accessories thereof. 9008 Image projectors, other than cinematographic; photographic (other than cinematographic) enlargers and reducers; parts and accessories thereof. 9010 Apparatus and equipment for photographic (including cinematographic) laboratories, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; negatoscopes; projection screens; parts and accessories thereof. 9014 Direction finding compasses; other navigational instruments and appliances; parts and accessories thereof. 9015 Surveying (including photogrammetrical surveying), hydrographic, oceanographic, hydrological, meteorological or geophysical instruments and appliances, excluding compasses; rangefinders; parts and accessories thereof. 9018 Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, including scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments; parts and accessories thereof. 9019 Mechano-therapy appliances; massage apparatus; psychological aptitude-testing apparatus; ozone therapy, oxygen therapy, aerosol therapy, artificial respiration or other therapeutic respiration apparatus; parts and accessories thereof. 9022 Apparatus based on the use of X-rays or of alpha, beta or gamma radiations, whether or not for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary uses, including radiography or radiotherapy apparatus, X-ray tubes and other X-ray generators, high tension generators, control panels and desks, screens, examination or treatment tables, chairs and the like; parts and accessories thereof. 9023 Instruments, apparatus and models, designed for demonstrational purposes (for example, in education or exhibitions), unsuitable for other uses, and parts and accessories thereof. 9024 Machines and appliances for testing the hardness, strength, compressibility, elasticity or other mechanical properties of materials (for example, metals, wood, textiles, paper, plastics), and parts and accessories thereof. 9027 Instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis (for example, polarimeters, refractometers, spectrometers, gas or smoke analysis apparatus); instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking viscosity, porosity, expansion, surface tension or the like; instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking quantities of heat, sound or light (including exposure meters); microtomes; parts and accessories thereof. 9030 Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and other instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking electrical quantities, excluding meters of heading 9028; instruments and apparatus for measuring or detecting alpha, beta, gamma, X-ray, cosmic or other ionizing radiations; parts and accessories thereof. 9031 Measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; profile projectors; parts and accessories thereof. 9033 Parts and accessories (not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter) for machines, appliances, instruments or apparatus of chapter 90. 9105.11 Alarm clocks (electrically operated). 9105.19 Other clocks. 9207 Musical instruments, the sound of which is produced, or must be amplified, electrically (for example, organs, guitars, accordions). 9209 Parts (for example, mechanisms for music boxes) and accessories (for example, cards, discs and rolls for mechanical instruments) of musical instruments; metronomes, tuning forks and pitch pipes of all kinds. 9401 Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof. 9402 Medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture (for example, operating tables, examination tables, hospital beds with mechanical fittings, dentists' chairs); barbers' chairs and similar chairs, having rotating as well as both reclining and elevating movements; parts of the foregoing articles. 9405 Lamps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated nameplates and the like, having a permanently fixed light source, and parts thereof not elsewhere specified or included. 9406 Illuminated signs, illuminated nameplates and the like. 9504 Video game consoles and machines, articles for arcade, table or parlor games, including pinball machines, bagatelle, billiards and special tables for casino games; automatic bowling alley equipment; parts and accessories thereof. 9506 Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof. 9508 Merry-go-rounds, boat-swings, shooting galleries and other fairground amusements; traveling circuses and traveling menageries; traveling theaters; parts and accessories thereof. 9518 Tailors' dummies and other mannequins; automatons and other animated displays used for shopwindow dressing.

    DOE requests comment on the requirement that importers importing covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards that are within the above listed HTS codes provide a certification of admissibility to DOE. Further, DOE requests comment as to whether covered products or equipment subject to or being considered for energy conservation standards are currently imported using other HTS codes.

    B. Applicability of Provision

    The requirement for a certification of admissibility would apply to all covered products and equipment subject to a DOE energy conservation standard set forth in 10 CFR part 430 or 431. The requirement would apply to all such products and equipment contained in the shipment, either as a final product or a component part of a final product. For example, an importer would need to submit an electronic record for all covered electric motors as defined in 10 CFR 431.12, provided that the electric motor is subject to a standard, regardless of whether the electric motor will be imported as a stand-alone product or as a component part of another product not subject to DOE regulations (a treadmill, for example). Similarly, an importer of a laptop computer that is bundled with an external power supply would be required to submit a certification of admissibility for the external power supply.

    If the shipment contains any such covered products or equipment, the importer would be required to state whether the product or equipment has been certified to DOE as compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards and, if so, the CCMS ticket number, the CCMS attachment identification number assigned to the certification submission, and the line number in the submission corresponding to the basic model certified. As discussed above, EPCA authorizes the Secretary of Energy to require importers of covered products and equipment “to submit information or reports to the Secretary” with respect to energy efficiency, energy use, or water use of covered products and equipment. (42 U.S.C. 6296(d)(1)) 10 CFR part 429 requires, among other things, that importers submit a certification report to DOE prior to distributing their products in U.S. commerce, and the failure to properly certify covered products and covered equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards is a prohibited act under those regulations. 10 CFR 429.12, 429.102(a)(1). Part of the certification report is a statement whereby the manufacturer (including an importer) certifies that the basic models listed in the certification report comply with the applicable energy conservation standard and have been tested according to the applicable test requirements. 10 CFR 429.12. DOE requests comment on its proposal to require, for a shipment that contains covered products or equipment subject to a DOE energy conservation standard, that the importer state whether the product or equipment has been certified to DOE as compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards and, if so, provide the CCMS ticket number, the CCMS attachment identification number assigned to the certification submission, and the line number in the submission corresponding to the basic model certified.

    If any covered product or equipment contained in the shipment has not been certified to DOE through CCMS, the importer would be required to include in its certification of admissibility; (1) the type of product or equipment; (2) the brand name of the covered product or equipment; (3) the individual model number of the covered product or equipment; (4) the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the covered product or equipment; and (5) a contact name and email address for the importer of record.

    Currently, 10 CFR part 429 uses the terms “individual model number,” “manufacturer's individual model number,” and “manufacturer's model number” interchangeably and, of the three terms, only defines the term “manufacturer's model number.” For clarity, DOE proposes to replace the term “manufacturer's model number” with the term “individual model number” in the definitions at 10 CFR 429.2.9

    9 DOE anticipates that it would subsequently amend any relevant product-specific sections as necessary to harmonize with these proposed definitional changes.

    DOE initially considered requiring importers to provide all of the product-specific information specified above for all covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards. However, importers are already required to provide this information to DOE, prior to importation, when certifying that basic models of covered product and equipment meet applicable energy conservation standards. (10 CFR 429.12(a)) DOE proposes, therefore, to collect this additional information only regarding imported covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards that the importer has not certified to DOE as meeting applicable energy conservation standards. DOE believes this would be less burdensome to importers who have certified the basic models of covered products and equipment being imported, and therefore have already provided this information to DOE. DOE requests comment on its proposal to collect this additional information only regarding imported covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards that the importer has not certified to DOE as meeting applicable energy conservation standards.

    Currently, importers are not required, in certifying a covered product or equipment that is a component product of a final product, to provide the brand name and individual model number of the final product. Thus, an importer may certify a basic model once in CCMS but import that basic model as a component of a variety of different final products. In order to facilitate, as necessary, identification of covered products or equipment being imported as a component of a final product, DOE proposes that, if a certified covered product or equipment is a component product of a final product being imported, the certification of admissibility must include the brand name and individual model number of the imported final product. DOE requests comment on this proposal. This information would be required regarding any covered product or equipment being imported as a component of another product, whether or not the covered product or equipment has been certified to DOE as meeting applicable energy conservation standards. DOE expects that it would be less of a reporting burden to provide the final product information during the importation process rather than as part of a complete certification through CCMS.

    As an alternative to this proposal, DOE would consider requiring this information from all manufacturers, including importers, as part of the process of certifying covered products or equipment. That requirement would not be adopted in this rulemaking, but rather in a separate rulemaking that DOE is preparing to revise its certification, compliance, and enforcement regulations applicable to consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment. See RIN: 1904-AD26. DOE requests comment regarding whether the reporting burden on importers would be less to provide this information as part of the certification of admissibility or as part of a compliance certification report submitted through CCMS.

    As in the case of products or equipment that are not “covered,” importers of products or equipment that are “covered” but not subject to standards (either DOE has not set standards or compliance with standards is not yet required) would not be required to provide a certification of admissibility. For example, although EPCA defines “covered equipment” to include “electric motors” (42 U.S.C. 6311(1)(A)), a small electric motor that is a component of a covered product or covered equipment is not subject to DOE energy conservation standards. (42 U.S.C. 6317(b)(3)). In addition, certain electric motors, such as NEMA Design C and IEC Design H, are not currently subject to the energy conservation standards for electric motors. 10 CFR 431.25.

    The regulations issued by the Department of Treasury and CBP pursuant to EPCA, discussed herein, provide that, “[u]pon a determination that a covered import is not in compliance with applicable energy conservation or labeling standards, DOE . . ., will provide CBP with a written or electronic notice that identifies the importer and contains a description of the noncompliant covered import that is sufficient to enable CBP to identify the subject merchandise and refuse admission thereof into the customs territory of the United States.” (19 CFR 12.50(c)) The requirement for a certification of admissibility would ensure that DOE is aware of all shipments containing covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards prior to importation into the United States. This information will allow DOE to notify CBP if an importer is attempting to import a covered product or equipment that DOE has determined fails to meet the applicable energy conservation standard. Requiring importers to state whether the covered product or equipment being imported has been certified to DOE would allow DOE to identify importers that have not complied with these requirements, including potentially the failure to test; ensure that the product or equipment does, in fact, meet the applicable standards; and, if not, take appropriate enforcement action.

    DOE requests comment on the proposed requirement that importers submit a certification of admissibility to DOE for all covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards contained in the shipment, either as a final product or a component part of a final product.

    C. Information to be Collected Regarding Products not Previously Certified to DOE as Compliant With Applicable Energy Conservation Standards

    If the product or equipment is covered and subject to a DOE energy conservation standard, and the basic model of the product or equipment has not been certified to DOE as compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards, then the certification of admissibility must include: (1) the type of product or equipment; (2) the brand name of the covered product or equipment; (3) the individual model number of the covered product or equipment; (4) whether the covered product or equipment is a final product or a component part of a final product and, if the covered product or equipment is a component, the brand name and individual model number of the final product; (5) the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the covered product or equipment, and in the case of electric motors, the Compliance Certification number; 10 and (6) a contact name and email address for the importer of record. In the interest of the Single Window Initiative that is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competiveness between the Canada Border Services Agency and CBP, the requested information is similar to that collected by Canada under Part VI, section 13, of their Energy Efficiency Regulations. (Regulations Amending the Energy Efficiency Regulations (1996), SOR/2011-182) 11

    10 Under current regulations, DOE provides manufacturers of covered electric motors with a unique “Compliance Certification number.” 10 CFR 431.36(f). DOE anticipates issuing a rule regarding compliance certification of electric motors in the near future. DOE may make conforming changes to a final rule in this rulemaking as appropriate based on any regulatory changes made in that rulemaking. See RIN:1904-AD25.

    11 Available at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-94-651/page-2.html#h-3. Canada collects the following five pieces of information: (1) The name of the product using one of the names set forth in their regulations; (2) the model number or unique motor identifier of the product, as the case may be; (3) the brand, if any, of the product; (4) the address of the dealer; and (5) whether the product is being imported for sale or lease in Canada without modification, sale or lease in Canada after being modified to comply with the applicable energy efficiency standard, or use as a component for incorporation into any other product that is to be exported from Canada.

    1. Type of Product or Equipment

    The specific products and equipment covered by DOE regulations found in 10 CFR parts 430 and 431 are divided into various types. DOE regulations refer to these types by the headers found in the applicable sections of 10 CFR part 429, subpart B. For example, to identify the type of product or equipment being imported, an importer would provide one of the following three-digit codes 12 presented in Table III.2.

    12 This table is illustrative only. For example, the table does not reflect product types for which standards are being considered, but have not yet been adopted.

    Table III.2—Three-Digit Product Type Codes Product type Three-digit code Refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers and freezers 014 Room air conditioners 015 Central air conditioners and heat pumps 016 Water heaters 017 Furnaces 018 Dishwashers 019 Clothes washers 020 Clothes dryers 021 Direct heating equipment 022 Kitchen ranges and ovens 023 Pool heaters 024 Television sets 025 Fluorescent lamp ballasts 026 General service fluorescent lamps 027 Faucets 028 Showerheads 029 Water closets 030 Urinals 031 Ceiling fans 032 Ceiling fan light kits 033 Torchieres 034 Compact fluorescent lamps 035 Dehumidifiers 036 External power supplies 037 Battery chargers 038 Electric motors 039 Commercial warm air furnaces 041 Commercial refrigerators, freezers, and refrigerator-freezers 042 Commercial heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC) equipment 043 Commercial water heating equipment 044 Automatic commercial ice makers 045 Commercial clothes washers 046 Distribution transformers 047 Illuminated exit signs 048 Traffic signal modules and pedestrian modules 049 Commercial unit heaters 050 Commercial pre-rinse spray valves 051 Refrigerated bottled or canned beverage vending machines 052 Walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers 053 Metal halide lamp ballasts and fixtures 054 Light emitting diodes 056 Furnace fans 058 Pumps 059 Commercial packaged boilers 060 Portable air conditioners 062

    For example, an importer of a consumer refrigerator would provide the code “014,” while an importer of a laptop bundled with an external power supply would provide code “037.” Collecting this information is essential to DOE's ability to identify possibly noncompliant products or equipment before they are imported into the United States. Once the type of product is identified, DOE can then focus its search of the relevant DOE databases to determine the compliance of the specific product or equipment being imported. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to identify the type of product or equipment being imported using a product-specific code in the certification of admissibility to DOE.13

    13 DOE anticipates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to revise Part 429. That rulemaking would likely change the regulatory structure to provide a three-digit numbering system.

    2. Brand

    The certification of compliance information DOE collects pursuant to 10 CFR 429.12 is brand-specific. A manufacturer provides the relevant information demonstrating compliance of their product or equipment specific to each brand under which a basic model may be labeled. Collecting information in the certification of admissibility regarding the brand of the covered product or equipment being imported would facilitate the DOE's determination of compliance of the product or equipment with applicable energy conservation standards and certification requirements. Moreover, collecting information as to the brand of the covered product or equipment is essential for DOE to provide CBP a description sufficient for CBP to identify the covered product and equipment and take appropriate action based upon the non-compliance of the product or equipment. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to provide the brand of the covered product or equipment being imported in their certification of admissibility to DOE.

    3. Individual Model Number

    The certification of compliance information DOE collects pursuant to 10 CFR 429.12 also includes the individual model number(s) within each basic model. By requiring importers to provide the individual model number of the covered product or equipment, DOE will be better able to determine if the product or equipment has, in fact, been certified as compliant or has been found noncompliant. Moreover, collecting information as to the individual model number of the covered product or equipment is essential for DOE, when required, to provide CBP a description sufficient for CBP to identify the product or equipment and take appropriate action based upon the non-compliance of the product or equipment. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to provide the individual model number of the covered product or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards in their certification of admissibility to DOE.

    4. Identification of Covered Product or Equipment Subject to DOE Energy Conservation Standards as a Product or Component

    As a practical matter, a description of covered product or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards that is a component of a final product must include information (e.g., brand and model number) regarding the final product sufficient to allow CBP to identify the final product and take appropriate action based upon the non-compliance of the component contained therein or packaged with the final product. It is therefore essential that the importer identify in its certification of admissibility whether the covered product or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards is a final product or a component of a final product and, if a component, the brand and individual model number of the final product. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to indicate in their certification of admissibility to DOE whether the covered product or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards being imported is a final product or a component of a final product and, if a component, the brand and individual model number of the final product.

    5. Original Equipment Manufacturer

    DOE routinely identifies noncompliant products by the original producer or assembler of the product (OEM). Collecting the OEM's name is therefore essential to DOE's ability to identify noncompliant products or equipment before they are imported into the United States. Once the OEM is identified, DOE can use that information to compare to the lists of products certified as compliant by that same OEM or, conversely, found to be noncompliant from the OEM. Identifying the OEM of the product will further help avoid confusion between similar products in the case where one OEM produces a compliant product while another does not. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to provide the name of the OEM for covered products and equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards they are importing and, in the case of electric motors, the Compliance Certification number on the electric motor nameplate.

    6. Contact Name and Email Address for Importer of Record

    In cases where a certification of admissibility raises questions of possible noncompliance with energy conservation standards, DOE will follow-up with the importer of record regarding the covered products or equipment certified. Requiring importers to provide a contact name and email address would facilitate DOE's efforts in this regard and would serve the interest of the importer in expeditiously resolving any issues raised. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to provide a contact name and email address in their certification of admissibility to DOE.

    D. Method of Collection

    All importers would be required to submit their certifications of admissibility to DOE via CBP's ACE system. Importers are encouraged by CBP to use ACE as it allows them to file manifests electronically; make periodic payments on an interest-free monthly basis; file and process formal consumption entries and informal entries, including ABI Census Warning Overrides; view and respond to certain CBP forms through the ACE Portal; and file and process AD/CVD entries (also known as type 03 entries) and track the lifecycle of their AD/CVD cases. Participating in ACE also supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's dual mission to facilitate legitimate trade and secure the nation's borders. Importers will be able to provide required information to multiple federal agencies through ACE, thereby simplifying the paperwork submission process for importers. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to file the certification of admissibility to DOE through the ACE system.

    E. Effective Date and Compliance Date

    If adopted, the effective date for this rule would be 30 days after publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The compliance date for the rule, on or after which importers must submit certifications of admissibility in accordance with the rule, would be 2 years after the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.

    IV. Procedural Issues and Regulatory Review A. Review Under Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that today's regulatory action is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” 58 FR 51735 (Oct. 4, 1993). Accordingly, this action was not subject to review under the Executive Order by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the OMB.

    B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) for any rule that by law must be proposed for public comment, unless the agency certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As required by Executive Order 13272, “Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking,” 67 FR 53461 (August 16, 2002), DOE published procedures and policies on February 19, 2003, to ensure that the potential impacts of its rules on small entities are properly considered during the rulemaking process. 68 FR 7990 DOE has made its procedures and policies available on the Office of the General Counsel's Web site (http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel).

    DOE has prepared an IRFA for this rulemaking. As presented and discussed below, the IRFA describes potential impacts on importers of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards and the associated compliance costs.

    A statement of the objectives of, and reasons and legal basis for, the proposed rule are set forth elsewhere in the preamble and not repeated here.

    1. Description and Estimated Number of Small Entities Regulated

    For companies classified in different NAICS codes, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has set a size threshold, which defines those entities classified as “small businesses” for the purposes of the statute. DOE used the SBA's small business size standards to determine whether any small entities would be subject to the requirements of the rule. The size standards are listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and industry description available at: http://www.sba.gov/content/table-small-business-size-standards and vary by NAICS code. Because the small business sizes vary by industry and the proposed rule affects companies in a range of NAICS codes, DOE used the most common threshold of 500 employees or less for an entity to be considered as a small business for this category.

    No comprehensive list of importers of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards exists. DOE evaluated many information sources to assess the availability of data needed to estimate the number of companies that could be both importers of products covered by this rulemaking and United States small businesses. DOE's research involved information from the Department of Commerce, the United States Census, the American Association of Exporters and Importers, the National Small Business Association, the Small Business Exporters Association, and the United States Customs and Border Protection Office. Ultimately, DOE's analysis relied most heavily on information from the Department of Commerce and the United States Census to estimate the number of affected small business importers.

    After assessing the data available, DOE relied on a three-step process for estimating the number of small business importers: (1) Determine the potentially affected industries; (2) Find the number of small businesses in each industry; (3) Estimate the number of those small businesses that import covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards.

    Determination of potentially affected industries. To calculate the number of small businesses potentially impacted by this rule, DOE first screened out the sectors listed in Table IV.1 (using two-digit NAICS code) from consideration based on the nature of their business (i.e., businesses operating in these sectors are unlikely to be an importer of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards or products that contain such covered products or equipment):

    Table IV.1—NAICS Sectors Screened Out From Consideration as Potentially Impacted by Rule NAICS Description 11 Agriculture. 21 Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction Quarrying. 22 Utilities. 23 Construction. 48-49 Transportation and Warehousing. 51 Information. 52 Finance and Insurance. 53 Real Estate. 54 Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. 55 Management of Companies and Enterprises. 56 Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services. 61 Educational Services. 62 Health Care and Social Assistance. 71 Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation. 72 Accommodation and Food Services. 81 Other Services, except Public Administration. 99 Unclassified.

    The industries that passed the screening are shown in Table IV.2.

    Table IV.2—NAICS Sectors (Two-Digit Code Level) Potentially Impacted by Rule NAICS Description 31-33 Manufacturing. 42 Wholesale Trade. 44-45 Retail Trade.

    Next, DOE evaluated each of the two-digit sectors that passed the first screening at the most granular five-digit NAICS code level.14 Table IV.3 shows the final industry NAICS codes DOE assumed could be affected by this rule based on the description of the industry.

    14 NAICS codes can be disaggregated into discrete non-overlapping subsets of firms based on their primary business activity.

    Table IV.3—NAICS Sectors (Five-Digit Code Level) Potentially Impacted by Rule NAICS Description 33241 Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing. 33331 Commercial and Service Industry Machinery Manufacturing. 33341 Ventilation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing. 33361 Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing. 33391 Pump and Compressor Manufacturing. 33399 All Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing. 33411 Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing. 33422 Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing. 33431 Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing. 33511 Electric Lamp Bulb and Part Manufacturing. 33512 Lighting Fixture Manufacturing. 33521 Small Electrical Appliance Manufacturing. 33522 Major Appliance Manufacturing. 33531 Electrical Equipment Manufacturing. 33591 Battery Manufacturing. 33599 All Other Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing. 33611 Automobile and Light Duty Motor Vehicle Manufacturing. 33612 Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturing. 42342 Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers. 42343 Computer and Computer Peripheral Equipment and Software Merchant Wholesalers. 42344 Other Commercial Equipment Merchant Wholesalers. 42361 Electrical Apparatus and Equipment, Wiring Supplies, and Related Equipment Merchant Wholesalers. 42362 Household Appliances, Electric Housewares, and Consumer Electronics Merchant Wholesalers. 42369 Other Electronic Parts and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers. 42372 Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies (Hydronics) Merchant Wholesalers. 42373 Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers. 42374 Refrigeration Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers. 42383 Industrial Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers. 42386 Transportation Equipment and Supplies (except Motor Vehicle) Merchant Wholesalers. 44229 Other Home Furnishings Stores. 44314 Electronics and Appliance Stores. 45411 Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses.

    Calculation of small businesses in affected industries. Second, DOE used firm-size data from the United States Census to determine the number of small businesses in each five-digit NAICS code sector that passed the screening. DOE used 2012 data because it was the most recently available data and, as mentioned above, DOE used the 500-employee threshold as the small business cut off.

    Calculation of the number of small business importers. Step 3 provides the total number of small businesses in the industries that may be affected by this rulemaking. DOE is not aware of data on the share of these small businesses that act as importers. To estimate this share, DOE divided the total number of importers—Department of Commerce data from 2011 shows that there were 183,960 U.S. businesses importing to the United States—by the total number of businesses in those sectors that might be engaged in importing (1,318,818) 15 to calculate the percentage of total businesses that are importers. In this way, DOE estimated that approximately 14 percent of businesses in the remaining sectors are engaged in importing activities. Lacking more specific importer data by industry, DOE assumed this percentage represented, on average, the share of total firms in each relevant industry that were importers. DOE then multiplied this share by the number of the small businesses in each covered NAICS sector (from Step 2) to yield the number of small business importers by each of those NAICS codes, as shown in Table IV.4.

    15 This value was determined by subtracting the number of businesses in NAICS sectors not engaged in importing from the total number of businesses according to the Census. This was necessary because the data on the total number of importers could not be disaggregated in meaningful detail, but clearly some industries (such as services) are much less likely to have a significant presence in importing when compared to wholesale, manufacturing, and retail.

    Table IV.4—Number of Small Business Potentially Impacted by Rule NAICS Description Small
  • business
  • importers
  • 33241 Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing 33 33331 Commercial and Service Industry Machinery Manufacturing 249 33341 Ventilation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing 204 33361 Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing 105 33391 Pump and Compressor Manufacturing 90 33399 All Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing 443 33411 Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 137 33422 Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing 96 33431 Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing 63 33511 Electric Lamp Bulb and Part Manufacturing 7 33512 Lighting Fixture Manufacturing 131 33521 Small Electrical Appliance Manufacturing 15 33522 Major Appliance Manufacturing 18 33531 Electrical Equipment Manufacturing 253 33591 Battery Manufacturing 17 33599 All Other Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing 122 33611 Automobile and Light Duty Motor Vehicle Manufacturing 27 33612 Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturing 7 42342 Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 349 42343 Computer and Computer Peripheral Equipment and Software Merchant Wholesalers 982 42344 Other Commercial Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 508 42361 Electrical Apparatus and Equipment, Wiring Supplies, and Related Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 1,196 42362 Household Appliances, Electric Housewares, and Consumer Electronics Merchant Wholesalers 291 42369 Other Electronic Parts and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 1,284 42372 Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies (Hydronics) Merchant Wholesalers 398 42373 Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 290 42374 Refrigeration Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 97 42383 Industrial Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 3,213 42386 Transportation Equipment and Supplies (except Motor Vehicle) Merchant Wholesalers 293 44229 Other Home Furnishings Stores 1,408 44314 Electronics and Appliance Stores 3,626 45411 Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses 3,989 Total 19,941

    This represents a conservative upper-bound estimate because there are companies contained in some NAICS sectors (e.g., heat exchanger manufacturers in NAICS 33241) that could be importers of non-covered products or equipment, but are included here because DOE lacks the data necessary to cull those out. The estimate of 19,941 importers includes both importers of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards and other end-use products meant for distribution in commerce that contain such covered products as components (e.g., any end-use product bundled with a covered external power supply or a non-covered end-use product with a covered motor.)

    2. Description and Estimate of Compliance Requirements

    DOE assumes small businesses that import covered products or equipment will have already complied with their legal obligation to certify to DOE, through CCMS, all basic models of such products or equipment, and therefore would be required to report only the following information regarding the most recent certification of the basic model of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards they import:

    1. The CCMS ticket number;

    2. The CCMS attachment identification number assigned to the certification submission;

    3. The line number in the submission corresponding to the basic model certified; and

    4. If the covered product or equipment is a component of a final product, the brand name and individual model number of the final product.

    The role of customs brokers. In assessing the burden of any new reporting requirements on importers, it is important to understand the process by which the typical importer complies with existing customs requirements. The vast majority of importers use customs brokers for a bundle of import-related services, including notification of regulatory requirements and aid in completing and submitting the required paperwork. For importers, who typically operate on tight schedules, delays at port can cause missed deliveries and result in heavy financial and reputational penalty. For these reasons, the job of negotiating the regulatory terrain of the import business is usually entrusted to third-party customs brokers who specialize in importation reporting requirements (among other services). Customs brokers are familiar with the necessary regulatory filings and procedures required to ensure that a shipment clears customs in a timely manner. Typically, an importer will contract with a broker who will file all necessary paperwork including the commercial invoice and any supplemental information required by various regulatory bodies. Additionally, brokers already have bond coverage to cover any duties associated with the importation and can save importers from having to post a separate bond for each shipment.

    Because this proposed rule entails only an electronic reporting requirement through ACE, DOE does not anticipate any significant incremental investment in product or capital conversion costs to comply. Currently, more than 96 percent of all entries filed with CBP are already being filed through the ABI. By the end of 2016, ACE will become the Single Window—the primary system through which the trade community will report imports and exports and the government will determine admissibility, with the ABI as the method through which entries and entry summaries are transmitted to ACE.16

    16http://www.cbp.gov/trade/automated.

    While the ABI interface helps to facilitate the process, there are new data elements proposed as reporting requirements in this NOPR. Those fall into two categories: (1) data fields that are already typically collected during the importation process and (2) those that are not.

    Data Already Collected: Based on interviews with customs brokers, DOE believes that the brand name of the final product being imported, which would be required in the instances where the covered product or equipment is a component of the final product, is on the commercial invoice that is already filed with the customs broker as part of the importation process. When required, this data can be keyed in during the electronic filing process that brokers and importers already go through and thus should have minimal impact on both the importer and customs broker.

    Data Not Currently Collected: The individual model number, required in the instances where the covered product or equipment is a component of the final product, the CCMS ticket number, the CCMS attachment identification number assigned to the certification submission, and the line number in the submission corresponding to the basic model certified are the only data fields proposed as a new reporting requirement that are not typically on any of the invoices. Depending on the product, the individual model numbers may be included on the invoice. In any case, customs brokers indicated they would most likely go to their client (the importer) to ask them for any missing information, which the importer would have as part of the process of certifying compliance to DOE.

    Furthermore, brokers maintain databases of their customers and associated products, and one of their service offerings is to be proactive with their clients in notifying them of new regulations. In interviews, brokers indicated they would likely review their customer databases to determine which companies are subject to new requirements and alert them to the additional data requirements discussed above. By contacting customers prior to the regulations going into effect, brokers can minimize the likelihood of any delays due to new DOE reporting requirements and also give customers time to prepare for the new requirements, particularly given the proposed two-year lead time.

    Therefore, DOE estimates a one-time burden of approximately twenty hours per small business importer to learn the reporting requirements and set up a system of information flow internally. DOE notes that all information should be readily available, as importers of covered products or equipment subject to energy conservation standards are already required to certify compliance.

    Because importers are currently required to submit certifications of compliance annually through CCMS, the information that would be submitted in a certification of admissibility prior to each importation of a basic model covered product or equipment (the most recent CCMS ticket number, attachment number, and line number) would need to be obtained and keyed in only once per year, for the first shipment of the covered product or equipment following the annual CCMS filing. Because this information would be readily available to the importer, DOE estimates annual burden of 0.03 hours per basic model of covered product or equipment imported by the small business importer to obtain and enter the data required for a certification of admissibility. For all subsequent certifications of admissibility submitted over the course of the year, the importer would only be required to electronically resubmit the same data, and the burden imposed by these subsequent electronic submissions would be negligible.

    Based upon information in the CCMS database, DOE estimates that, on average, each small business importer submits compliance certification reports for 157 basic models of covered product or equipment annually. Therefore, DOE estimates that the requirement of submission of certifications of admissibility proposed in this rule would result in an annual burden of approximately 4.71 hours per small business importer.

    3. Request for Comments

    DOE seeks comments on the following topics regarding this IRFA:

    (1) The five-digit NAICS codes believed to include importers of covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards or such products or equipment with covered components.

    (2) The availability of data on the number of small business importers in sectors covered by DOE regulations.

    (3) The estimated burden associated with the reporting of individual model numbers for both importers and customs brokers.

    (4) How brokers will react to the necessary reporting requirements and if there will be any increase in costs.

    4. Duplication, Overlap, and Conflict With Other Rules and Regulations

    DOE is not aware of any rules or regulations that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the rule being proposed.

    5. Significant Alternatives to the Rule

    This section considers alternatives to the proposals for the submission of certifications of admissibility in this rulemaking. As noted in Section III.B, DOE initially considered requiring importers to provide, in their certifications of admissibility, detailed product-specific information for all covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards. However, in order reduce the potential burden on importers, DOE proposes to collect this additional information only where the importer has not already certified to DOE the compliance of the product or equipment through CCMS.

    DOE could further mitigate the potential impacts on small business importers by not requiring a certification of admissibility prior to the importation of any covered consumer product or commercial and industrial equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard. However, DOE strongly believes the proposals in this rulemaking are essential to a sustainable and consistent enforcement program vis-à-vis imports of covered products and covered equipment. While the alternative may mitigate the potential economic impacts on small entities compared to the proposed provisions, the ability for DOE to enforce its energy conservation regulations far exceeds any potential burdens. Furthermore, small businesses may benefit from stronger enforcement against noncompliant imports. Thus, DOE rejected this alternative and is adopting the provisions set forth in this rulemaking for all importers of covered products and covered equipment. DOE continues to seek input from businesses that would be affected by this rulemaking and will consider comments received in the development of any final rule.

    C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act 1. Description of the Requirements

    DOE is proposing to require persons importing into the United States any covered consumer product or industrial equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard to provide a certification of admissibility to the DOE. DOE assumes that importers will have already complied with their legal obligation to certify to DOE, through CCMS, all basic models of products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards, such that the importer would only need to identify in its certification of admissibility the most recent CCMS ticket number, attachment number, and line number for the basic model of the covered product or equipment contained in the shipment. This information would enable DOE to identify, prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry, shipments that contain covered products or equipment that have been found to be non-compliant, allowing DOE to take appropriate proactive enforcement action. Such action could include providing notice to CBP sufficient to allow CBP to refuse admission of the non-compliant covered product or equipment into the U.S.

    2. Method of Collection

    The certification of admissibility would be required to be submitted to DOE through CPB's ACE system.

    3. Data

    The following are DOE estimates of the total annual reporting burden imposed on persons importing into the United States any covered product or equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard. These estimates take into account the time necessary to obtain and enter the required electronic information to be submitted to ACE. As explained in Section IV.B.3, for each basic model of covered product and equipment, the data required for a certification of admissibility would need to be obtained and entered only once per year. Subsequent certifications during the same year would only require electronic resubmission of the same data previously submitted, and the burden of each resubmission would be negligible.

    OMB Control Number: New.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission.

    Affected Public: Persons importing into the United States any covered consumer product or industrial equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 20,336

    Estimated Number of New Responses per Respondent Annually: 313

    Estimated Time per New Response: 0.03 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 109,955.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to the Importers: $4,336,589 in reporting costs.

    4. Comments

    Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of DOE, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to Chad Whiteman, Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 and by email to [email protected]

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

    D. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act

    DOE anticipates that this proposed rule falls into a class of actions that are categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and DOE's implementing regulations at 10 CFR part 1021. Specifically, this proposed rule amends an existing rule without changing its environmental effect and, therefore, DOE expects that it would be covered by the Categorical Exclusion in 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, paragraph A5. Accordingly, DOE is not preparing an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement.

    E. Review Under Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism,” 64 FR 43255 (August 4, 1999) imposes certain requirements on agencies formulating and implementing policies or regulations that preempt State law or that have Federalism implications. The Executive Order requires agencies to examine the constitutional and statutory authority supporting any action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States and to carefully assess the necessity for such actions. The Executive Order also requires agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have Federalism implications. On March 14, 2000, DOE published a statement of policy describing the intergovernmental consultation process it will follow in the development of such regulations. 65 FR 13735. DOE has examined this proposed rule and has determined that it would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. EPCA governs and prescribes Federal preemption of State regulations as to energy conservation for the products that are the subject of this proposed rule. States can petition DOE for exemption from such preemption to the extent, and based on criteria, set forth in EPCA. (42 U.S.C. 6297(d)) No further action is required by Executive Order 13132.

    F. Review Under Executive Order 12988

    Regarding the review of existing regulations and the promulgation of new regulations, section 3(a) of Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform,” 61 FR 4729 (Feb. 7, 1996), imposes on Federal agencies the general duty to adhere to the following requirements: (1) Eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) write regulations to minimize litigation; (3) provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard; and (4) promote simplification and burden reduction. Section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988 specifically requires that Executive agencies make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the preemptive effect, if any; (2) clearly specifies any effect on existing Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney General. Section 3(c) of Executive Order 12988 requires Executive agencies to review regulations in light of applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b) to determine whether they are met or it is unreasonable to meet one or more of them. DOE has completed the required review and determined that, to the extent permitted by law, the proposed rule meets the relevant standards of Executive Order 12988.

    G. Review Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) requires each Federal agency to assess the effects of Federal regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. Public Law 104-4, sec. 201 (codified at 2 U.S.C. 1531). For a proposed regulatory action likely to result in a rule that may cause the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year (adjusted annually for inflation), section 202 of UMRA requires a Federal agency to publish a written statement that estimates the resulting costs, benefits, and other effects on the national economy. (2 U.S.C. 1532(a), (b)) The UMRA also requires a Federal agency to develop an effective process to permit timely input by elected officers of State, local, and Tribal governments on a proposed “significant intergovernmental mandate,” and requires an agency plan for giving notice and opportunity for timely input to potentially affected small governments before establishing any requirements that might significantly or uniquely affect small governments. On March 18, 1997, DOE published a statement of policy on its process for intergovernmental consultation under UMRA. 62 FR 12820; also available at www.gc.doe.gov. DOE examined this proposed rule according to UMRA and its statement of policy and determined that today's proposal contains neither an intergovernmental mandate, nor a mandate that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more in any year, so these requirements do not apply.

    H. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277) requires Federal agencies to issue a Family Policymaking Assessment for any rule that may affect family well-being. This proposal would not have any impact on the autonomy or integrity of the family as an institution. Accordingly, DOE has concluded that it is not necessary to prepare a Family Policymaking Assessment.

    I. Review Under Executive Order 12630

    DOE has determined, under Executive Order 12630, “Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights” 53 FR 8859 (March 18, 1988), that this proposal would not result in any takings that might require compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    J. Review Under the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001

    Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516 note) provides for agencies to review most disseminations of information to the public under guidelines established by each agency pursuant to general guidelines issued by OMB. OMB's guidelines were published at 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002), and DOE's guidelines were published at 67 FR 62446 (October 7, 2002). DOE has reviewed this proposed rule under the OMB and DOE guidelines and has concluded that it is consistent with applicable policies in those guidelines.

    K. Review Under Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” 66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001), requires Federal agencies to prepare and submit to OIRA at OMB, a Statement of Energy Effects for any proposed significant energy action. A “significant energy action” is defined as any action by an agency that promulgates or is expected to lead to promulgation of a final rule, and that (1) is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, or any successor order; and (2) is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, or (3) is designated by the Administrator of OIRA as a significant energy action. For any proposed significant energy action, the agency must give a detailed statement of any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use should the proposal be implemented, and of reasonable alternatives to the action and their expected benefits on energy supply, distribution, and use.

    DOE has tentatively concluded that today's proposed regulatory action, which sets forth a proposed requirement for the submission of a certification of admissibility to DOE by importers of products or equipment subject to energy conservation standards, is not a significant energy action because the requirement is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, nor has it been designated as such by the Administrator at OIRA. Accordingly, DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy Effects on the proposed rule.

    V. Public Participation A. Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this proposed rule before or after the public meeting, but no later than the date provided in the DATES section at the beginning of this proposed rule. Interested parties may submit comments using any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice.

    Submitting comments via www.regulations.gov. The regulations.gov Web page will require you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your comment.

    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments.

    Do not submit to regulations.gov information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section.

    DOE processes submissions made through regulations.gov before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.

    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery, or mail. Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or mail also will be posted to regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments.

    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail or hand delivery, please provide all items on a compact disk (CD), if feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English and are free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author.

    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting time.

    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery two well-marked copies: One copy of the document marked confidential including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked non-confidential with the information believed to be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination.

    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.

    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure).

    B. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

    Although DOE welcomes comments on any aspect of this proposal, DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments and views of interested parties concerning the following issues:

    1. DOE requests comment on the requirement that importers importing covered products or equipment subject to DOE energy conservation standards that are within the listed HTS codes provide a certification of admissibility to DOE. Further, DOE requests comment as to whether covered products or equipment subject to or are being considered for DOE energy conservation standards are currently imported using other HTS codes.

    2. DOE requests comment on its proposal to require, for a shipment that contains covered products or equipment subject to a DOE energy conservation standard, that the importer state whether the product or equipment has been certified to DOE as compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards and, if so, provide the CCMS ticket number, the CCMS attachment identification number, and line number associated with the specific basic model.

    3. DOE requests comment on the requirement that importers submit a certification of admissibility to DOE for all covered products and equipment subject to an energy conservation standard that is contained in the shipment, either as a final product or a component part of a final product.

    4. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to indicate in the import declaration to DOE whether the covered product or equipment being imported and subject to DOE energy conservation standards is a final product or a component of a final product and, if the covered product or equipment is a component, the brand name and individual model number of the final product. DOE also requests comment regarding whether the reporting burden on importers would be less to provide this information as part of the certification of admissibility or as part of a compliance certification report submitted through CCMS.

    5. DOE requests comment on its proposal to collect additional product-specific information only (e.g., brand, individual model number) regarding imported covered products and equipment subject to energy conservation standards that the importer has not certified to DOE as meeting applicable energy conservation standards, and whether, as DOE anticipates, this would result in less burden to those required to file certifications of admissibility.

    6. DOE requests comment on requiring importers to file the certification of admissibility through ACE.

    VI. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 429

    Confidential business information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2015. Kathleen B. Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Steven P. Croley, General Counsel.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DOE is proposing to amend part 429 of chapter II, subchapter D of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

    PART 429—CERTIFICATION, COMPLIANCE, AND ENFORCEMENT FOR CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT 1. The authority citation for part 429 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 6291-6317

    2. Section 429.2 is amended by removing the definition of “manufacturer's model number” and adding in alphabetical order the definitions of “individual model number” and “original equipment manufacturer” to read as follows:
    § 429.2 Definitions.

    Individual model number means the identifier used by a manufacturer to uniquely identify the group of identical or essentially identical covered products or covered equipment to which a particular unit belongs. The individual model number typically appears on the product nameplates, in product catalogs, and in other product advertising literature.

    Original equipment manufacturer or OEM means any person who produces or assembles a unit of a covered product or covered equipment. Only one OEM is responsible for the manufacture (production or assembly) of a particular unit.

    3. Section 429.5 is amended by adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 429.5 Imported products.

    (c) Any person importing a unit of a covered product or covered equipment subject to an applicable energy conservation standard set forth in parts 430 or 431 of this chapter for entry into the United States on or after [2 YEARS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION OF FINAL RULE IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER], whether the unit is a component part of another product or a final product, must provide a certification of admissibility to the Secretary in accordance with § 429.500.

    4. Section 429.7 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 429.7 Confidentiality.

    (b) An individual model number is public information unless:

    (1) The individual model number is a unique model number of a commercial packaged boiler, commercial water heating equipment, commercial HVAC equipment or commercial refrigeration equipment that was developed for an individual customer,

    (2) The individual model number is not displayed on product literature, and

    (3) Disclosure of the individual model number would reveal confidential business information as described at § 1004.11 of this title—in which case, under these limited circumstances, a manufacturer may identify the individual model number as a private model number on a certification report submitted pursuant to § 429.12(b)(6).

    5. Section 429.12 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(6) to read as follows:
    § 429.12. General requirements applicable to certification reports.

    (b) * * *

    (6) For each brand, the basic model number and the individual model number(s) in that basic model with the following exceptions: For walk-in coolers, the basic model number for each brand must be submitted. For distribution transformers, the basic model number or kVA grouping model number (depending on the certification method) for each brand must be submitted. For commercial HVAC, WH, and refrigeration equipment, an individual model number may be identified as a “private model number” if it meets the requirements of § 429.7(b).

    6. Section 429.500 is added to read as follows:
    § 429.500. Certification of admissibility.

    (a) A certification of admissibility submitted pursuant to § 429.5(c) must meet the provisions of this section.

    (b) The certification must be submitted through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before the entry of the unit(s) at the port of arrival.

    (c) The certification must include whether the basic model of the product or equipment being imported has been certified to DOE as compliant with all applicable energy conservation standards;

    (d) If the importer has not submitted a certification report for the basic model of the product or equipment being imported pursuant to § 429.12, the certification of admissibility must include:

    (1) The type of product or equipment (using a three-digit code corresponding to the applicable section in 10 CFR part 429, subpart B);

    (2) The brand name of the covered product or equipment;

    (3) The individual model number of the covered product or equipment;

    (4) Whether the covered product or equipment being imported is a final product or a component of a final product and, if the covered product or equipment is a component, the brand name and individual model number of the final product;

    (5) The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the covered product or equipment being imported as defined in § 429.2 and, in the case of electric motors, the Compliance Certification number; and

    (6) A contact name and email address of the importer of record.

    (e) If the importer has submitted a certification report for the basic model of the product or equipment being imported pursuant to § 429.12, the certification of admissibility must include:

    (1)The CCMS ticket number of the most recent certification submission;

    (2)The CCMS attachment identification number assigned to the certification submission;

    (3) The line number in the submission corresponding to the basic model certified; and

    (4) If the covered product or equipment is a component of a final product, the brand name and individual model number of the final product.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32796 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-7533; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-080-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes, Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes, and Airbus Model A340-541 and A340-642 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by a report of an under-torqued forward engine mount bolt. This proposed AD would require a one-time torque check of the forward and aft engine mount bolts, and corrective actions if necessary. We are proposing this AD to detect and correct improperly torqued engine mount bolts, which could lead to detachment of the engine from the airplane during flight; and consequent damage to the airplane and injury to persons on the ground.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-7533; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-7533; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-080-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0082, dated May 11, 2015 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition on certain Airbus Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes, Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes, and Airbus Model A340-541 and A340-642 airplanes. The MCAI states:

    In 2013, during a pre-delivery test on an A330 aeroplane fitted with Pratt & Whitney (PW) PW4170 engines, an issue with N1 vibrations level on [engine] ENG1 was identified. While performing an engine removal, one forward engine mount bolt was found improperly torqued. The investigation concluded this was due to a production line engine installation quality issue. Further analysis showed that some aeroplanes, delivered between June 2006 and January 2014, may have had the rear (AFT) and forward (FWD) engine mount bolts improperly torqued.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could ultimately lead to an in-flight detachment of the engine from the aeroplane, possibly resulting in damage to the aeroplane and/or injury to persons on the ground.

    Prompted by these findings, Airbus issued four Alert Operators Transmissions (AOT) A71L004-14 (for A330 aeroplanes fitted Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines), AOT A71L006-14 (for A330 aeroplanes fitted with General Electric (GE) engines), AOT A71L005-14 (for A330 aeroplanes fitted with Rolls Royce (RR) Trent 700 engines) and AOT A71L008-14 (for A340 aeroplanes fitted with RR Trent 500 engines) to provide torque check instructions.

    For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires a one-time torque check of the FWD and AFT engine mount bolts and, depending on findings, [corrective actions] re-torque of the affected bolt(s) and/or replacement of all four bolts and associated nuts.

    Findings (or discrepancies) include one bolt that is loose or able to rotate, two or more bolts that are loose or able to rotate, or one or more pylon bolts that are fully broken. Corrective actions include re-torqueing the affected bolt(s), and replacing all bolts and associated nuts with new bolts and nuts on the engine where the loose or fully broken bolt(s) were detected. This proposed AD specifies reporting of all findings (including no discrepancies). The corrective actions include re-torqueing loose bolts before further flight. The compliance times for replacing loose or fully broken bolts ranges, depend on airplane configuration, and range from before further flight if more than one bolt rotates or is fully broken to no later than 2,350 flight cycles or 24,320 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, if only one bolt rotates. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-7533.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We have reviewed the following service information.

    • Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014. The service information describes procedures for doing a one-time torque check to determine if there are any loose or fully broken engine mount pylon bolts at four positions at the forward engine pylon 1 and pylon 2 of Airbus Model A330 series airplanes having Pratt and Whitney engines, doing corrective actions, and reporting all findings.

    • Airbus AOT A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014. The service information describes procedures for doing a one-time torque check to determine if there are any loose or fully broken engine mount pylon bolts at four positions at the forward engine pylon 1 and pylon 2 of Airbus Model A330 series airplanes having Trent 700 engines, doing corrective actions, and reporting all findings.

    • Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014. The service information describes procedures for doing a one-time torque check to determine if there are any loose or fully broken engine mount pylon bolts at five FWD and four AFT positions at the forward engine pylon 1 and pylon 2 of Airbus Model A330 series airplanes having GE engines, doing corrective actions, and reporting all findings.

    • Airbus AOT A71L008-14, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2014. The service information describes procedures for doing a one-time torque check to determine if there are any loose or fully broken engine mount pylon bolts at four positions at the forward engine pylon 1 and pylon 2 of Airbus Model A340 series airplanes having Trent 500 engines, doing corrective actions, and reporting all findings.

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

    Other Related Rulemaking

    On June 21, 2013, we issued AD 2013-14-04, Amendment 39-17509 (78 FR 68352, November 14, 2013). AD 2013-14-04 requires a torque check of forward engine mount bolts, and replacement if necessary on all Airbus Model A330-223F, -223, -321, -322, and -323 airplanes. AD 2013-14-04 was prompted by a fatigue load analysis that determined that the inspection interval for certain pylon bolts must be reduced. We issued AD 2013-04-04 to detect and correct loose or broken bolts, which could lead to engine detachment in-flight, and damage to the airplane.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 55 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We also estimate that it would take about 12 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this proposed AD, and 1 work-hour per product to report torque check findings. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $60,755, or $1,105 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions would take about 20 work-hours and require parts costing $90,200 for a cost of $91,900 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this proposed AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this proposed AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this proposed AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus: Docket No. FAA-2015-7533; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-080-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by February 12, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) of this AD, certificated in any category, from manufacturer serial number (MSN) 0715 through MSN 1507 inclusive, and MSN 1509, except airplanes on which all engines have been removed and/or replaced since the date of the first flight of the airplane.

    (1) Airbus Model A330-201, -202, -203, -223, and -243 airplanes.

    (2) Airbus Model A330-223F and -243F airplanes.

    (3) Airbus Model A330-301, -302, -303, -321, -322, -323, -341, -342, and -343 airplanes.

    (4) Airbus Model A340-541 airplanes.

    (5) Airbus Model A340-642 airplanes.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 71, Powerplant.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report of an under-torqued forward engine mount bolt. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct improperly torqued engine mount bolts, which could lead to detachment of the engine from the airplane during flight; and consequent damage to the airplane and injury to persons on the ground.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Definition of Affected Engine

    For the purpose of this AD, an affected engine is an engine that has never been removed and/or replaced since first flight of the airplane.

    (h) Action for Airbus Model A330 Airplanes Equipped With Pratt and Whitney (PW) Engines

    (1) For Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes equipped with PW engines: At the earlier of the times specified in paragraph (h)(1)(i) and (h)(1)(ii) of this AD, accomplish a one-time torque check of the forward (FWD) and rear (AFT) engine mount bolts on each affected engine, at the locations specified in, and in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.2, “Inspection Requirements,” of Airbus Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (i) Within 2,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD.

    (ii) During the accomplishment of Airbus Service Bulletin A330-71-3028, Revision 01, dated February 20, 2012, if done after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, only one FWD bolt is found that rotates: Do the actions specified in paragraph (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii), or (h)(2)(iv) of this AD, as applicable.

    (i) For Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes with an average flight time of greater than 132 minutes and having accumulated less than 2,350 flight cycles and less than 24,320 flight hours since first flight of the airplane: Before further flight, re-torque the affected bolt, and, within 2,350 flight cycles or 24,320 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts, in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (ii) For Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes with an average flight time of 132 minutes or lower and having accumulated less than 1,950 flight cycles and less than 20,210 flight hours since first flight of the airplane: Before further flight, re-torque the affected bolt, and within 2,350 flight cycles or 24,320 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts, in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (iii) For Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes having accumulated less than 2,140 flight cycles and less than 6,600 flight hours since first flight of the airplane: Before further flight, re-torque the affected bolt and within 2,140 flight cycles or 6,600 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever occurs first, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts, in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (iv) For airplanes identified in paragraphs (h)(2)(iv)(A), (h)(2)(iv)(B), and (h)(2)(iv)(C) of this AD: Before further flight, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (A) Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes with an average flight time of greater than 132 minutes and having accumulated 2,350 flight cycles or more or 24,320 flight hours or more since first flight of the airplane.

    (B) Model A330-200 and -300 series airplanes with an average flight time of 132 minutes or lower and having accumulated 1,950 flight cycles or more or 20,210 flight hours or more since first flight of the airplane.

    (C) Model A330-200 Freighter series airplanes having accumulated 2,140 flight cycles or more or 6,600 flight hours or more since first flight of the airplane:

    (3) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, two or more FWD bolts are found that rotate: Before further flight, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (4) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, one or more FWD pylon bolts are found fully broken: Before further flight, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014, except as required by paragraph (m)(2) of this AD.

    (5) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, only one AFT bolt is found that rotates: Before further flight, re-torque the affected bolt, and replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts at the next engine removal, in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (6) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, two or more AFT bolts are found that rotate: Before further flight, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014.

    (7) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, one or more AFT pylon bolts are found fully broken: Before further flight, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014, except as required by paragraph (m)(2) of this AD.

    (i) Concurrent Actions

    AD 2013-14-04, Amendment 39-17509 (78 FR 68352, November 14, 2013), requires a torque check of forward engine mount bolts using Airbus Service Bulletin A330-71-3028, Revision 01, dated February 20, 2012. If accomplishing the torque check of FWD engine mount bolts within the compliance times specified in paragraph (g) of the FAA AD 2013-14-04 using Airbus Service Bulletin A330-71-3028, Revision 01, dated February 20, 2012, perform the torque check of the AFT engine mount bolts at the same time.

    (j) Action for Airbus Model A330 Airplanes Equipped With General Electric (GE) Engines

    (1) For Airbus Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes equipped with GE engines: Within 2,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, accomplish a one-time torque check of the FWD and AFT engine mount bolts on each affected engine, at the locations specified in, and in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.2, “Inspection Requirements,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014.

    (2) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, only one FWD bolt is found that rotates: Do the actions specified in paragraphs (j)(2)(i) and (j)(2)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.

    (i) For airplanes that have accumulated less than 4,000 flight cycles and less than 30,800 flight hours since first flight of the airplane: Before further flight, re-torque affected FWD engine mount bolt(s), in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014, and, within 4,000 flight cycles or 30,800 flight hours since first flight of the airplane, whichever is first, replace the 5 bolts, as applicable, and their associated nuts with new bolts and nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014.

    (ii) For airplanes that have accumulated 4,000 flight cycles or more or 30,800 flight hours or more since first flight of the airplane: Before further flight, replace the 5 FWD engine mount bolts, as applicable, and their associated nuts with new bolts and nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014.

    (3) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, two or more FWD bolts are found that rotate: Repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p)(1) of this AD.

    (4) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, one or more FWD pylon bolts are found fully broken: Repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p)(1) of this AD.

    (5) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, only one AFT bolt is found that rotates: Before further flight, re-torque the affected AFT engine mount bolt(s) in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014, and, at the next engine removal, replace the 4 bolts and associated nuts with new bolts and nuts in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014.

    (6) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, two or more AFT bolts are found that rotate: Repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p)(1) of this AD.

    (7) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, one or more AFT pylon bolts are found fully broken: before further flight, do all applicable corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraph (m)(2) of this AD.

    (k) Action for Airbus Model A330 Airplanes Equipped With Rolls-Royce (RR) Trent 700 Engines

    (1) For Airbus Model A330-200, -200 Freighter, and -300 series airplanes equipped with RR Trent 700 Engines: Within 2,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, accomplish a one-time torque check of the FWD and AFT engine mount bolts on each affected engine, at the locations specified in, and in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.2, “Inspection Requirements,” of Airbus AOT A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014.

    (2) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (k)(1) of this AD, any discrepancy is detected (one bolt rotates, two or more bolts rotate, or one or more bolts are fully broken): Within the compliance time specified in Airbus AOT A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014, accomplish all applicable corrective actions in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (m)(1) and (m)(2) of this AD.

    (l) Action for Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 Airplanes Equipped With Rolls-Royce Trent 500 Engines

    (1) For Airbus Model A340-541 and -642 airplanes equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 500 Engines: Within 2,000 flight hours after the effective date of this AD, accomplish a one-time torque check of FWD and AFT engine mount bolts on each affected engine, at the locations specified in, and in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.2, “Inspection requirements,” of Airbus AOT A71L008-14, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2014.

    (2) If, during the torque check required by paragraph (l)(1) of this AD, any discrepancy is detected (one bolt rotates, two or more bolts rotate, or one or more bolts are fully broken): Within the compliance time specified in Airbus AOT A71L008-14, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2014, accomplish all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the instructions of Section 4.2.3, “Findings,” of Airbus AOT A71L008-14, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (m)(1) and (m)(2) of this AD.

    (m) Service Information Exceptions

    (1) Where Airbus AOTs A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014; A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014; and A71L008-14, dated September 29, 2014, specify to contact Airbus for further actions, before further flight, repair using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

    (2) Where Airbus AOT A71L004-14, Revision 01, dated April 7, 2014; AOT A71L005-14, Revision 01, dated December 11, 2014; AOT A71L006-14, dated July 22, 2014; and AOT A71L008-14, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2014, specify actions “if one pylon bolt fully broken,” this AD requires that those actions be done if one or more pylon bolt is found fully broken during any torque check required by paragraph (h)(1), (j)(1), (k)(1) or (l)(1) of this AD.

    (n) Reporting

    At the applicable time specified in paragraphs (n)(1) and (n)(2) of this AD: After accomplishment of any torque check required by paragraphs (h), (j), (k), and (l) of this AD, report all inspection results to Airbus, including no findings, in accordance with the “Reporting” section of the applicable service information specified in paragraphs (h), (j), (k), and (l) of this AD.

    (1) If the torque check was done on or after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the torque check.

    (2) If the torque check was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

    (o) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus AOT A71L004-14, dated April 1, 2014 (for Airbus Model A330 Airplanes Equipped with Pratt and Whitney Engines), which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (k) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus AOT A71L005-14, dated September 29, 2014 (for Airbus Model A330 Airplanes Equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 Engines), which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (3) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (l) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Airbus AOT A71L008-14, dated September 29, 2014 (for Airbus Model A340 Airplanes Equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 500 Engines), which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (p) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Vladimir Ulyanov, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1138; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

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

    (3) Reporting Requirements: A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (q) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0082, dated May 11, 2015, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-7533.

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAL, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 45 80; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 18, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32547 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-7531; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-052-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 787-8 airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of electrical shorts of the motor stator wiring burning a hole through the housing of the motor of the cabin air compressor (CAC). This proposed AD would require installing modified inboard and outboard CAC modules on the left side and right side cabin air conditioning and temperature control system (CACTCS) packs. We are proposing this AD to prevent an electrical short from burning through the housing of the motor of the CAC, which could result in a fire in the pack bay, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    • Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    For Boeing service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P. O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

    You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-7531; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric Brown, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6476; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-7531; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-052-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    We received reports of electrical shorts of the motor stator wiring burning a hole through the housing of the motor of the CAC. The pack bay is classified as a flammable fluid leakage zone and the burn-through would be classified as an ignition source. This condition, if not corrected, could result in a fire in the pack bay, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin B787-81205-SB210055-00, Issue 001, dated March 12, 2015. This service information describes procedures for installing modified inboard and outboard CAC modules on the left side and right side CACTCS packs. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination

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

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously. For information on the procedures and compliance times, see this service information at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-7531.

    Explanation of Required for Compliance (RC) Steps in Service Information

    The FAA worked in conjunction with industry, under the Airworthiness Directive Implementation Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), to enhance the AD system. One enhancement was a new process for annotating which steps in the service information are required for compliance with an AD. Differentiating these steps from other tasks in the service information is expected to improve an owner's/operator's understanding of crucial AD requirements and help provide consistent judgment in AD compliance. The steps identified as RC in any service information identified previously have a direct effect on detecting, preventing, resolving, or eliminating an identified unsafe condition.

    For service information that contains steps that are labeled as RC, the following provisions apply: (1) the steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD, and an AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures; and (2) steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 22 airplanes of U.S. registry.

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

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Modification, installation, and installation test Up to 30 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,550 $0 Up to $2,550 Up to $56,100.

    According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this proposed AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): The Boeing Company: Docket No. FAA-2015-7531; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-052-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by February 12, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 787-8 airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin B787-81205-SB210055-00, Issue 001, dated March 12, 2015.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 21, Air conditioning.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of electrical shorts of the motor stator wiring burning a hole through the housing of the motor of the cabin air compressor (CAC). We are issuing this AD to prevent an electrical short from burning through the housing of the motor of the CAC, which could result in a fire in the pack bay and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Replacement of CAC Modules

    Within 5 years after the effective date of this AD, install modified inboard and outboard CAC modules on the left side and right side cabin air conditioning and temperature control system (CACTCS) packs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin B787-81205-SB210055-00, Issue 001, dated March 12, 2015.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (4) For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (h)(4)(i) and (h)(4)(ii) of this AD apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

    (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    (i) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Eric Brown, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6476; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (2) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 18, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32548 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 882 [Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1210] Neurological Devices; Reclassification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices Intended for Use in Treating Severe Major Depressive Episode in Patients 18 Years of Age and Older Who Are Treatment Resistant or Require a Rapid Response; Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Electroconvulsive Therapy for Certain Specified Intended Uses AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Proposed order.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a proposed administrative order to reclassify the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) device for use in treating severe major depressive episode (MDE) associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BPD) in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition, which is a preamendments class III device, into class II (special controls) based on new information. FDA is also proposing to require the filing of a premarket approval application (PMA) or a notice of completion of a product development protocol (PDP) for ECT devices for other intended uses specified in this proposed order. The Agency is also summarizing its proposed findings regarding the degree of risk of illness or injury designed to be eliminated or reduced by requiring the devices to meet the statute's approval requirements for other intended uses specified in this proposed order. In addition, FDA is announcing the opportunity for interested persons to request that the Agency change the classification of any of the devices mentioned in this document based on new information. This action implements certain statutory requirements.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on this proposed order by March 28, 2016. See section XVII of this document for the proposed effective date of a final order based on this proposed order.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. 2014-N-1210 for “Neurological Devices; Reclassification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices Intended for Use in Treating Severe Major Depressive Episode in Patients 18 Years of Age and Older Who Are Treatment-Resistant or Require a Rapid Response; Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices for Certain Specified Intended Uses”. 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:

    Michael J. Ryan, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 1615, Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-6283, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background—Regulatory Authorities

    The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act), as amended by the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (the 1976 amendments) (Pub. L. 94-295), the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990 (SMDA) (Pub. L. 101-629), Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA) (Pub. L. 105-115), the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act of 2002 (MDUFMA) (Pub. L. 107-250), the Medical Devices Technical Corrections Act (Pub. L. 108-214), the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-85), and the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) (Pub. L. 112-144), establishes a comprehensive system for the regulation of medical devices intended for human use. Section 513 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360c) established three categories (classes) of devices, reflecting the regulatory controls needed to provide reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness. The three categories of devices are class I (general controls), class II (special controls), and class III (premarket approval). One type of general control provided by the FD&C Act is a restriction on the sale, distribution, or use of a device under section 520(e) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360j(e)). A restriction under section 520(e) of the FD&C Act must be implemented through rulemaking procedures, unlike the administrative order procedures that apply to this proposed reclassification under section 513(e) of the FD&C Act, as amended by FDASIA.

    Under section 513(d) of the FD&C Act, devices that were in commercial distribution before the enactment of the 1976 amendments, May 28, 1976 (generally referred to as preamendments devices), are classified after FDA has: (1) Received a recommendation from a device classification panel (an FDA advisory committee); (2) published the panel's recommendation for comment, along with a proposed regulation classifying the device; and (3) published a final regulation classifying the device. FDA has classified most preamendments devices under these procedures.

    Devices that were not in commercial distribution prior to May 28, 1976 (generally referred to as postamendments devices) are automatically classified by section 513(f) of the FD&C Act into class III without any FDA rulemaking process. Those devices remain in class III and require premarket approval unless, and until, the device is reclassified into class I or II or FDA issues an order finding the device to be substantially equivalent, in accordance with section 513(i) of the FD&C Act, to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. The Agency determines whether new devices are substantially equivalent to predicate devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 (21 CFR part 807).

    A preamendments device that has been classified into class III and devices found substantially equivalent by means of premarket notification (510(k)) procedures to such a preamendments device or to a device within that type may be marketed without submission of a PMA until FDA issues a final order under section 515(b) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360e(b)) requiring premarket approval or until the device is subsequently reclassified into class I or class II.

    Although, under the FD&C Act, the manufacturer of a class III preamendments device may respond to the call for PMAs by filing a PMA or a notice of completion of a PDP, in practice, the option of filing a notice of completion of a PDP has not been used. For simplicity, although corresponding requirements for PDPs remain available to manufacturers in response to a final order under section 515(b) of the FD&C Act, this document will refer only to the requirement for the filing and receiving approval of a PMA.

    On July 9, 2012, FDASIA was enacted. Section 608(a) of FDASIA (126 Stat. 1056) amended section 513(e) of the FD&C Act, changing the process for reclassifying a device from rulemaking to an administrative order. Section 608(b) of FDASIA amended section 515(b) of the FD&C Act changing the process for requiring premarket approval for a preamendments class III device from rulemaking to an administrative order.

    A. Reclassification

    FDA is publishing this document to propose the reclassification of ECT devices for use in treating severe MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition from class III to class II.

    Section 513(e) of the FD&C Act governs reclassification of classified preamendments devices. This section provides that FDA may, by administrative order, reclassify a device based upon “new information.” FDA can initiate a reclassification under section 513(e) of the FD&C Act or an interested person may petition FDA to reclassify a preamendments device. The term “new information,” as used in section 513(e) of the FD&C Act, includes information developed as a result of a reevaluation of the data before the Agency when the device was originally classified, as well as information not presented, not available, or not developed at that time. (See, e.g., Holland Rantos Co. v. United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 587 F.2d 1173, 1174 n.1 (D.C. Cir. 1978); Upjohn v. Finch, 422 F.2d 944 (6th Cir. 1970); Bell v. Goddard, 366 F.2d 177 (7th Cir. 1966).)

    Reevaluation of the data previously before the Agency is an appropriate basis for subsequent regulatory action where the reevaluation is made in light of newly available regulatory authority (see Bell, 366 F.2d at 181; Ethicon, Inc. v. FDA, 762 F. Supp. 382, 388-391 (D.D.C. 1991)) or in light of changes in “medical science” (see Upjohn, 422 F.2d at 951). Whether data before the Agency are old or new data, the “new information” to support reclassification under section 513(e) must be “valid scientific evidence,” as defined in section 513(a)(3) of the FD&C Act and § 860.7(c)(2) (21 CFR 860.7(c)(2)). (See, e.g., General Medical Co. v. FDA, 770 F.2d 214 (D.C. Cir. 1985); Contact Lens Mfrs. Assoc. v. FDA, 766 F.2d 592 (D.C. Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1062 (1986).)

    FDA relies upon “valid scientific evidence” in the classification process to determine the level of regulation for devices. To be considered in the reclassification process, the “valid scientific evidence” upon which the Agency relies must be publicly available. Publicly available information excludes trade secret and/or confidential commercial information, e.g., the contents of a pending PMA. (See section 520(c) of the FD&C Act .) Section 520(h)(4) of the FD&C Act, added by FDAMA, provides that FDA may use, for reclassification of a device, certain information in a PMA 6 years after the application has been approved. This includes information from clinical and preclinical tests or studies that demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of the device but does not include descriptions of methods of manufacture or product composition and other trade secrets.

    Section 513(e)(1) of the FD&C Act sets forth the process for issuing a final order for reclassifying a device. Specifically, prior to the issuance of a final order reclassifying a device, the following must occur: (1) Publication of a proposed order in the Federal Register; (2) a meeting of a device classification panel described in section 513(b) of the FD&C Act; and (3) consideration of comments to a public docket. FDA has held a meeting of a device classification panel described in section 513(b) of the FD&C Act with respect to ECT devices, and therefore, has met this requirement under section 515(b)(1) of the FD&C Act.

    FDAMA added a section 510(m) to the FD&C Act. Section 510(m) of the FD&C Act provides that a class II device may be exempted from the premarket notification requirements under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act if the Agency determines that premarket notification is not necessary to assure the safety and effectiveness of the device.

    B. Requirement for Premarket Approval Application

    FDA is proposing to require PMAs for ECT devices for the intended uses listed in section IX of this proposed order. For the purposes of this proposed order, the term, “Certain Specified Intended Uses,” refers to the listing of the intended uses in section IX of this proposed order and includes the following: schizophrenia, bipolar manic states, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and catatonia.

    Section 515(b)(1) of the FD&C Act sets forth the process for issuing a final order requiring PMAs. Specifically, prior to the issuance of a final order requiring premarket approval for a preamendments class III device, the following must occur: (1) Publication of a proposed order in the Federal Register; (2) a meeting of a device classification panel described in section 513(b) of the FD&C Act; and (3) consideration of comments from all affected stakeholders, including patients, payors, and providers. FDA has held a meeting of a device classification panel described in section 513(b) of the FD&C Act with respect to ECT devices, and therefore, has met this requirement under section 515(b)(1) of the FD&C Act.

    Section 515(b)(2) of the FD&C Act provides that a proposed order to require premarket approval shall contain: (1) The proposed order, (2) proposed findings with respect to the degree of risk of illness or injury designed to be eliminated or reduced by requiring the device to have an approved PMA or a declared completed PDP and the benefit to the public from the use of the device, (3) an opportunity for the submission of comments on the proposed order and the proposed findings, and (4) an opportunity to request a change in the classification of the device based on new information relevant to the classification of the device.

    Section 515(b)(3) of the FD&C Act provides that FDA shall, after the close of the comment period on the proposed order, consideration of any comments received, and a meeting of a device classification panel described in section 513(b) of the FD&C Act, issue a final order to require premarket approval or publish a document terminating the proceeding together with the reasons for such termination. If FDA terminates the proceeding, FDA is required to initiate reclassification of the device under section 513(e) of the FD&C Act, unless the reason for termination is that the device is a banned device under section 516 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360f).

    Under section 501(f) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 351(f)), a preamendments class III device may be commercially distributed without a PMA until 90 days after FDA issues a final order (or a final rule issued under section 515(b) of the FD&C Act prior to the enactment of FDASIA) requiring premarket approval for the device, or 30 months after final classification of the device under section 513 of the FD&C Act, whichever is later. For ECT devices, the preamendments class III devices that are the subject of this proposal, the later of these two time periods is the 90-day period. Since these devices were classified in 1979, the 30-month period has expired (44 FR 51776, September 4, 1979). Therefore, if the proposal to require premarket approval for ECT devices for Certain Specified Intended Uses is finalized, section 501(f)(2)(B) of the FD&C Act requires that a PMA for such device be filed within 90 days of the date of issuance of the final order. If a PMA is not filed for such device within 90 days after the issuance of a final order, the device would be deemed adulterated under section 501(f) of the FD&C Act.

    Also, a preamendments device subject to the order process under section 515(b) of the FD&C Act is not required to have an approved investigational device exemption (IDE) (see part 812 (21 CFR part 812)) contemporaneous with its interstate distribution until the date identified by FDA in the final order requiring the filing of a PMA for the device. At that time, an IDE is required only if a PMA has not been filed. If the manufacturer, importer, or other sponsor of the device submits an IDE application and FDA approves it, the device may be distributed for investigational use. If a PMA is not filed by the later of the two dates, and the device is not distributed for investigational use under an IDE, the device is deemed to be adulterated within the meaning of section 501(f)(1)(A) of the FD&C Act, and subject to seizure and condemnation under section 304 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 334) if its distribution continues. Other enforcement actions include, but are not limited to, the following: Shipment of devices in interstate commerce will be subject to injunction under section 302 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 332), and the individuals responsible for such shipment will be subject to prosecution under section 303 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 333). In the past, FDA has requested that manufacturers take action to prevent the further use of devices for which no PMA has been filed and may determine that such a request is appropriate for the class III devices that are the subject of this proposed order, if finalized.

    In accordance with section 515(b)(2)(D) of the FD&C Act, interested persons are being offered the opportunity to request reclassification of ECT devices for Certain Specified Intended Uses.

    II. Regulatory History of the Device

    In the preamble to the proposed rule (43 FR 55729, November 28, 1978), FDA described the recommendation of the Neurological Device Classification Panel (the Panel) that ECT be classified into class II because: “Although the use of this device involves a substantial risk to the patient, the Panel believes that the benefit of the treatment outweighs the risks involved if the patients are selected carefully and the devices are designed and used properly. The Panel believes that a standard will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device and that there is sufficient information to establish a standard to provide such assurance.” However, in 1979 (44 FR 51776, September 4, 1979), FDA classified ECT into class III after receiving several comments on the proposed rule, and reconvening the Panel to discuss these comments (May 29, 1979). The Panel discussed whether there was sufficient evidence to establish a performance standard for ECT. Several panel members expressed doubt that such information was available, and the Panel voted to recommend that ECT be classified into class III. FDA agreed with the Panel stating that FDA did not believe that the characteristics of ECT devices had been identified precisely enough such that special controls could be established that would provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

    On August 13, 1982, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) submitted a reclassification petition to FDA requesting that ECT be classified into class II. The reclassification petition was discussed at a Panel meeting on November 4, 1982 (47 FR 44611, October 8, 1982). The Panel recommended that ECT be reclassified from class III to class II. FDA tentatively agreed that there was sufficient evidence to reclassify to class II for severe depression and schizophrenia and published a notice of intent to reclassify (48 FR 14758, April 5, 1983). Several comments received by the Agency argued that research and data did not support that ECT is an effective therapy for schizophrenia, and after careful review of the scientific literature and the APA's petition, FDA agreed with the comments. In the subsequent proposed rule (55 FR 36578, September 5, 1990), FDA determined that the evidence of effectiveness for schizophrenia was inconclusive, and proposed that ECT be reclassified to class II only for severe depression and remain class III for all other indications. In 1995, FDA published an order for the submission of safety and effectiveness information on ECT devices (60 FR 41986, August 14, 1995). In 2003, FDA published an intent to withdraw the 1990 proposed rule (68 FR 19766, April 22, 2003) followed by withdrawal in 2004 (69 FR 68831, November 26, 2004) of the proposed rule for reclassification of ECT, along with other FDA proposed rules that had been outstanding for more than 5 years because the proposals were no longer considered viable candidates for final action. Thus, ECT devices remain in class III for all indications.

    In 2009, FDA published an order for the submission of safety and effectiveness information on ECT devices by August 7, 2009 (74 FR 16214, April 9, 2009). In response to that order, FDA received two submissions from ECT manufacturers suggesting that ECT devices could be reclassified to class II. The manufacturers stated that safety and effectiveness of these devices may be assured by reducing the frequency of treatments, temporary or permanent interruption of treatments, reduction of stimulus dose, electrode placement, dosage or type of anesthetic (or other) medications, including minimizing psychotropic medications, brief pulse or ultra-brief pulse waveform stimulus, EEG monitoring, proper preparation (including conductive gel) and contact of the electrodes to the skin, changing anesthetic medications or doses, and changing concurrent medications.

    In 2009, FDA also opened a public docket to receive information and comments regarding the current classification process for ECT by January 8, 2010 (74 FR 46607, September 10, 2009). FDA received over 3,000 submissions to the docket, with the majority of respondents, approximately 80 percent, opposing reclassification of ECT. The majority of those opposing reclassification of ECT cited adverse events from ECT treatment as the basis for their opposition. The most common type of adverse event mentioned in the public docket were memory adverse events, followed by other cognitive complaints, brain damage, and death.

    On January 27-28, 2011, a meeting of the Neurological Devices Panel was held to discuss the classification of ECT devices for treatment of several disorders. There was panel consensus recommending class III for Schizophrenia, Bipolar manic states, Schizoaffective, and Schizophreniform disorder. The Panel did not reach consensus on the classification of ECT for depression (unipolar and bipolar) and catatonia. The Panel transcript and other meeting materials are available on FDA's Web site (http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/NeurologicalDevicesPanel/ucm240924.htm).

    III. Device Description

    The ECT device consists of an electrical generator and a pair of electrodes that apply a brief intense electrical current to the head in order to induce a generalized seizure. In addition to generating and modulating the electrical functions of the stimulus, the box enclosing the generator also has capabilities and displays for physiological monitoring. The device parameters such as voltage, pulse width, frequency, and treatment (train) duration are adjustable. The typical display may provide information such as Electroencephalograph (EEG) activity, stimulus administration, total charge, energy, and impedance. These devices are currently regulated under § 882.5940 (21 CFR 882.5940), product code GXC.

    FDA is proposing in this order to modify the identification language from how it is presently written in § 882.5940(a). FDA is clarifying in the identification that these are prescription devices and clarifying that this device type includes the ECT pulse generator and its stimulation electrodes and accessories.

    IV. Proposed Reclassification

    FDA is proposing that ECT devices intended for treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition be reclassified from class III to class II. In this proposed order, the Agency has identified special controls under section 513(a)(1)(B) of the FD&C Act that, together with general controls applicable to the devices, would provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness. Absent the special controls identified in this proposed order, general controls applicable to the device are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

    Therefore, in accordance with sections 513(e) and 515(i) of the FD&C Act and21 CFR 860.130, based on new information with respect to the devices and taking into account the public health benefit of the use of the device and the nature and known incidence of the risk of the device, FDA, on its own initiative, is proposing to reclassify this preamendments class III device into class II when the device is intended to treat severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. FDA believes that this new information is sufficient to demonstrate that the proposed special controls can effectively mitigate the risks to health identified in the next section, and that these special controls, together with general controls, will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for ECT devices intended for treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition.

    Section 510(m) of the FD&C Act authorizes the Agency to exempt class II devices from premarket notification (510(k)) submission. FDA has considered ECT devices intended for treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition and decided that the device does require premarket notification. Therefore, the Agency does not intend to exempt this proposed class II device from premarket notification (510(k)) submission.

    V. Risks to Health

    After considering the available information from the reports and recommendations of the advisory committees (panels) for the classification of these devices, FDA has evaluated the risks to health associated with the use of ECT devices and determined that the following risks to health are associated with its use:

    Adverse reaction to anesthetic agents/neuromuscular blocking agents. The muscle relaxing and sedating (or sleep inducing) drugs that are a part of the procedure may hamper the patient's ability to breathe spontaneously.

    Adverse skin reactions. The patient-contacting materials of the device may cause an adverse immunological or allergic reaction in a patient.

    Cardiovascular complications. The therapeutic convulsions may be accompanied by arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) or ischemia/infarction (i.e., heart attack). Hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as hypotension (low blood pressure) may be associated with ECT treatment. ECT treatment may also result in stroke (impairment of blood flow to the brain or bleeding in the brain).

    Cognition and memory impairment. ECT treatment may result in memory impairment, specifically immediate post-treatment disorientation, anterograde memory impairment and retrograde personal (autobiographical) memory impairment.

    Death. Death may result from various complications of ECT such as reactions to anesthesia, cardiovascular complications, pulmonary complications, or stroke.

    Dental/oral trauma. Dental fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and prosthetic damage may occur as a result of strong muscle contractions during treatment.

    Device malfunction. Faulty hardware, software or accessories (electrodes) or improper use may cause electrical hazards, such as the risk of excessive dose administration, prolonged seizures, and skin burns.

    Manic symptoms. ECT treatment may result in the development of hypomanic or manic symptoms.

    Pain/discomfort. The patient may experience mild to moderate pain following the motor seizure induced by ECT treatment.

    Physical trauma. Inadequate supportive drug treatment may allow the patient to be injured from unconscious violent movements during convulsions.

    Prolonged or tardive seizures. ECT treatment may result in prolonged or delayed seizures, and status epilepticus (continuous unremittent seizure) may ensue if prolonged seizures are not properly treated.

    Pulmonary complications. ECT treatment may result in prolonged apnea (no breathing) or inhalation of foreign material, such as regurgitated stomach contents.

    Skin burns. Excessive electrical current or improperly designed electrodes may cause the patient's skin under the electrodes to be burned.

    Worsening of psychiatric symptoms. ECT treatment may be ineffective and therefore may result in worsening psychiatric symptoms.

    VI. Summary of Reasons for Reclassification

    FDA believes that ECT devices indicated for severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition should be reclassified from class III to class II because, in light of new information about the effectiveness of these devices, special controls, in addition to general controls, can be established to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device, and because general controls themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of its safety and effectiveness. FDA believes that in the specified patient population, and with the application of general and special controls as described in this document, the probable benefit to health from use of the device outweighs the probable injury or illness from such use. FDA acknowledges significant risks associated with ECT but believes that for the specified population—patients age 18 years of age and older experiencing a severe MDE associated with MDD or BPD for whom other treatment options have not been successful or for whom rapid, definitive response is needed due the severity of a psychiatric or medical condition—the probable benefit of ECT outweighs these risks. FDA is inviting comments on whether the term “treatment resistant” and the phrase “require rapid response” provide sufficient clarity to the population for which ECT benefits outweigh risks.

    VII. Summary of Data Upon Which the Reclassification Is Based

    Since the time of the original ECT device classification, sufficient evidence has been developed to support a reclassification of ECT to class II with special controls for severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. FDA's review of the clinical literature has been previously summarized in the Executive Summary to the January 27-28, 2011, Neurological Device Panel meeting to discuss ECT classification (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/NeurologicalDevicesPanel/UCM240933.pdf). The largest body of evidence for ECT effectiveness exists for MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older. Based on this review, FDA concluded that ECT demonstrated effectiveness in the acute phase (less than 3 months after treatment); however, the Panel members had various scientific opinions regarding the long-term effectiveness of ECT for the treatment of depression, but agreed that it was effective in the acute phase. Panel members indicated that controlled clinical trials are lacking regarding the effectiveness of ECT beyond the acute phase, in part, due to the fact that many patients have an initial improvement in the depressive symptoms following an acute course of ECT and are able to return to alternative treatments for managing depression such as medications and psychotherapy. The findings from FDA's review are consistent with other recently conducted, comprehensive, high quality systematic reviews, including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommendations/guidelines (Ref. 1), the Third report of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Special Committee on ECT (2004) (Ref. 2), the United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE 2003; NICE 2009) (Refs. 3, 4), the Surgeon General's report on mental health (Ref. 5), systematic reviews by Semkovska and McLoughlin (Ref. 6), and Greenhalgh et al (Ref. 7). These findings from the FDA review included examining the results of over 60 randomized controlled clinical trials comparing ECT with either placebo (sham) or antidepressant therapy in which ECT was superior for patients with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. In addition, FDA conducted a systematic meta-analysis of these studies which supported a robust effect of ECT in the short-term (e.g. 3 months) (Ref. 11).

    FDA also examined other conditions, including bipolar mania, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and catatonia, but there were insufficient clinical data to support effectiveness for these conditions. FDA relied upon literature describing clinical study data collected largely in patients age 18 and older. Data on the use of ECT in children and adolescents is limited and hence the recommended reclassification is limited to patients 18 years of age and older. Most of the published literature FDA is aware of and reviewed focused on subject populations that did not receive benefit from prior treatments; therefore, the recommended reclassification is limited to treatment resistant populations as well as those patients who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. Further, practice guidelines published by the APA task force on ECT and the NICE in the United Kingdom recommend that ECT be considered for primary use (i.e., prior to medications) when there is a need for rapid, definitive response due to the severity of a psychiatric or medical condition. Conventional treatments such as medications and psychotherapy are likely to be less effective for a rapid definitive response, thus the recommended reclassification for ECT includes patients who require a rapid response because of the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition.

    Panel deliberations focused heavily on ECT versus sham meta-analysis for treatment of depression. Discussion focused on the clinical meaningfulness of the effect size, the wide confidence interval which included 0 (i.e., the possibility of no effect), and the sources of variability in the dataset. Compared with other approved treatments for depression, the data suggest that the effect size of ECT is at least as large as, or larger than, that of other treatments (i.e., antidepressant medications) (Refs. 8, 9). In addition, other sources of evidence supported the effectiveness claim of ECT, including the FDA effectiveness systematic review, the meta-analysis demonstrating ECT favorability over placebo, and meta-analyses demonstrating ECT effectiveness being equal to or better than some antidepressant medications (see FDA Executive Summary from the panel meeting, Ref. 11).

    While medical/physical risks may occur with ECT, they vary in frequency, with the most severe risks being quite rare. Death associated with ECT appears to occur at a very low rate comparable to that of minor surgical procedures. Recent estimates of the mortality rate associated with ECT treatment are 1 per 10,000 patients or 1 per 80,000 treatments (Refs. 1, 10).

    The risks of greatest concern to clinicians and patients remain cognitive and memory impairment. Both the FDA review of literature and the meta-analyses of the randomized controlled studies indicate that while post-procedure disorientation occurs frequently, it is transient, typically resolving within minutes after the procedure is complete. The systematic meta-analyses of the randomized controlled clinical trials data by FDA revealed that there is no evidence that disorientation following ECT is long-term or persistent. The primary areas of concern for persistent changes are anterograde and retrograde autobiographical memory. While rates of occurrence are difficult to estimate, it appears that both types of memory impairment are not uncommon. The literature review suggests that anterograde memory declines immediately post-ECT and then returns to baseline within 3 months post-ECT. Retrograde autobiographical memory declines immediately post-ECT and then appears to improve over time. It is important to note that while improvement is seen, impairment may persist past 6 months post-ECT. Data on persistent retrograde autobiographical memory deficits beyond 6 months is lacking in the scientific literature. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that retrograde autobiographical memory returns to baseline over time. (See tables 6 and 7 and Figures 2-24 from FDA's Executive Summary, Ref. 11.)

    Despite the occurrence and uncertainty of duration of memory impairment, FDA believes that the potential benefits of ECT outweigh the risks in patients 18 years of age or older for MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition.

    VIII. Proposed Special Controls

    FDA believes that special controls, in addition to the general controls, are necessary to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for ECT devices indicated for severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. FDA believes that the risks to health identified in section V associated with ECT devices indicated for severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition can be mitigated with general and special controls.

    Several of the risks associated with ECT, including adverse reaction to anesthetic agents/neuromuscular blocking agents, cardiovascular complications, death, and pulmonary complications, are medical/physical risks related to the procedure involving use of the device. For these risks, safe use of the device is based on appropriate directions for use. FDA believes that labeling provisions are adequate to mitigate these risks, including:

    • Disclosure of contraindications, precautions, warnings, and potential adverse effects/complications in both physician and patient labeling so that users and patients can be advised of conditions under which ECT treatment should not proceed, and

    • Specific device use instructions including information regarding conduct of pre-ECT patient assessments; and information on appropriate patient monitoring during an ECT procedure) to minimize potential ECT procedural complications.

    Other ECT risks are specific to the medical/physical effects of the induced seizure and potentially severe muscle contractions that result from use of the device (dental/oral trauma, physical trauma, prolonged or tardive seizures, pain/discomfort). FDA believes that appropriate labeling provisions are adequate to mitigate these risks, including:

    • Disclosure of contraindications, precautions, warnings, and adverse effects/complications in both physician and patient labeling so that users and patients can be advised of conditions under which ECT treatment should not proceed and are aware of potential adverse effects associated with ECT treatment, and

    • Specific device use instructions including information regarding conduct of pre-ECT assessments, use of mouth protection during the procedure, use of general anesthetic agents and neuromuscular blocking agents, and information on appropriate patient monitoring during the procedure to minimize potential post-ECT complications.

    The risks of skin burns can be mitigated by performance testing of the device to demonstrate safe electrical performance, adhesive integrity, and physical and chemical stability of the stimulation electrodes. This risk is further mitigated by providing specific user instructions regarding proper electrode placement, including instructions for adequate skin preparation and use of conductivity gel in placing the electrodes.

    The risk of cognitive and memory impairment can be mitigated by establishing the technical parameters for the device along with non-clinical testing data to confirm the electrical characteristics of the output waveform to ensure that the device performance characteristics are consistent with existing clinical performance data that supports a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness (see information on review of clinical performance data in section VII). This risk is further mitigated by providing information to both the user and patient on the potential adverse effects of the device, alternative treatments, and a prominent warning that ECT device use may be associated with: Disorientation, confusion, and memory problems and limited in its long-term effectiveness (greater than 3 months). These risks can also be mitigated by providing instructions to the user that include recommendations on cognitive status monitoring prior to beginning ECT and during the course of treatment. Providing this information helps patients and providers to make informed choices about how and when to use ECT to maximize benefits and minimize potential adverse effects.

    The risks associated with malfunction of the device can be mitigated by data demonstrating electrical and mechanical safety and the functioning of all safety features built into the device (including the static and dynamic impedance monitoring system); appropriate analysis/testing of electromagnetic compatibility such that electromagnetic interference does not cause device malfunction; and appropriate software verification, validation, and hazard analysis to ensure that any device software has been adequately designed.

    The potential for manic symptoms or worsening of the condition being treated can be mitigated by labeling provisions, including:

    • The clinical training needed by users of the device to ensure appropriate use of ECT and appropriate ongoing medical management of the patient, and

    • Information on the patient population in which the device is intended to be used, including a detailed summary of the clinical testing pertinent to use of the device, information on the potential adverse effects of treatment, and information on the typical course of treatment such that users and patients can make informed decisions regarding the appropriate use of ECT.

    The risks of adverse skin reactions can be mitigated with biocompatibility testing to ensure that the materials used in patient-contacting components of the device are safe for skin contact as well as labeling that provides information on validated methods for reprocessing any reusable components between uses.

    Specifically, FDA believes that special controls in § 882.5940(b)(1), together with general controls, are sufficient to mitigate the risks to health described in section V:

    Table 1 shows how FDA believes that the risks to health identified in section V can be mitigated by the proposed special controls.

    Table 1—Health Risks and Mitigation Measures for ECT Identified risk Special controls Adverse reaction to anesthetic agents/neuromuscular blocking agents Labeling. Adverse skin reactions Biocompatibility Labeling. Cardiovascular complications Labeling. Cognitive and memory impairment Technical parameters Non-clinical test data. Labeling. Death Labeling. Dental/oral trauma Labeling. Device malfunction Performance data. Electromagnetic compatibility. Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis. Manic symptoms Labeling. Pain/discomfort Labeling. Physical trauma Labeling. Prolonged or tardive seizures Labeling. Pulmonary complications Labeling. Skin burns Performance data. Labeling. Worsening of psychiatric symptoms Labeling.

    In addition, FDA is proposing to limit this reclassification to prescription use devices under 21 CFR 801.109. Under 21 CFR 807.81, the device would continue to be subject to 510(k) notification requirements. Elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, FDA is announcing the availability of a draft guidance document entitled “Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Devices for Class II Intended Uses,” that, when finalized, would provide recommendations on how to comply with the special controls proposed in this order, if FDA reclassifies this device.

    IX. Dates New Requirements Apply

    In accordance with section 515(b) of the FD&C Act, FDA is proposing to require that a PMA be filed with the Agency within 90 days after issuance of any final order based on this proposal for ECT devices intended for Certain Specified Intended Uses. An applicant whose device was legally in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or whose device has been found to be substantially equivalent to such a device, will be permitted to continue marketing such class III devices during FDA's review of the PMA provided that the PMA is timely filed. FDA intends to review any PMA for the device within 180 days of the date of filing. FDA cautions that under section 515(d)(1)(B)(i) of the FD&C Act, the Agency may not enter into an agreement to extend the review period for a PMA beyond 180 days unless the Agency finds that “the continued availability of the device is necessary for the public health.”

    FDA intends that under § 812.2(d), the preamble to any final order based on this proposal will state that, as of the date on which the filing of a PMA or a notice of completion of a PDP is required to be filed, the exemptions from the requirements of the IDE regulations for preamendments class III devices in § 812.2(c)(1) and (2) will cease to apply to any device that is: (1) Not legally on the market on or before that date or (2) legally on the market on or before that date but for which a PMA or notice of completion of a PDP is not filed by that date, or for which PMA approval has been denied or withdrawn.

    If a PMA for a class III device is not filed with FDA within 90 days after the date of issuance of any final order requiring premarket approval for the device, the device would be deemed adulterated under section 501(f) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 351(f)). The device may be distributed for investigational use only if the requirements of the IDE regulations are met. The requirements for significant risk devices include submitting an IDE application to FDA for its review and approval. An approved IDE is required to be in effect before an investigation of the device may be initiated or continued under § 812.30. FDA, therefore, cautions that IDE applications should be submitted to FDA at least 30 days before the end of the 90-day period after the issuance of the final order to avoid interrupting investigations.

    FDA proposes that following the effective date of any final order, ECT devices intended for use in treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition must comply with the special controls. FDA notes that a firm whose ECT device was legally in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or whose device was found to be substantially equivalent to such a device and who does not intend to market such device for uses other than use in treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition, may remove such intended uses from the device's labeling. FDA proposes that such ECT devices must comply with the special controls, and, as part of the special controls, anyone who wishes to continue to market an ECT device for these uses must submit an amendment to their previously cleared premarket notification (510(k)) that demonstrates compliance with the special controls within 60 days after the effective date of the final order. Such amendment will be added to the 510(k) file but will not serve as a basis for a new substantial equivalence review. A submitted 510(k) amendment in this context will be used solely to demonstrate to FDA that an ECT device is in compliance with the special controls. If a 510(k) amendment is not submitted within 60 days after the effective date or if FDA determines that the amendment does not demonstrate compliance with the special controls, the device may be considered adulterated under section 501(f)(1)(B) of the FD&C

    X. Proposed Findings With Respect to Risks and Benefits

    As required by section 515(b) of the FD&C Act, FDA is publishing its proposed findings regarding: (1) The degree of risk of illness or injury designed to be eliminated or reduced by requiring that this device have an approved PMA or a declared completed PDP when intended for use in treating any condition other than MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition and (2) the benefits to the public from the use of ECT devices for other specified intended uses.

    These findings are based on the reports and recommendations of the advisory committees (panels) for the classification of these devices along with information submitted in response to the 515(i) Order (74 FR 16214), the public docket (74 FR 46607) and any additional information that FDA has obtained. Additional information regarding the risks as well as classification associated with this device type can be found in 43 FR 55729, 44 FR 51776, 48 FR 14758, and 55 FR 36578.

    XI. Device Subject to the Proposal To Require a PMA—ECT Devices for Certain Specified Intended Uses (§ 882.5940(c)) A. Identification

    An electroconvulsive therapy device is a device used for treating severe psychiatric disturbances by inducing in the patient a major motor seizure by applying a brief intense electrical current to the patient's head.

    B. Summary of Data

    For intended uses other than the treatment of MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition, FDA concludes that the safety and effectiveness of ECT devices have not been established by adequate scientific evidence. Given the FDA analysis and the advisory panel deliberations (see http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/NeurologicalDevicesPanel/ucm240924.htm), there is insufficient evidence of effectiveness for indications including: schizophrenia, bipolar mania (and mixed states), schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and catatonia. The panel recommended Class III designation for schizophrenia, bipolar mania (and mixed states), schizoaffective disorder, and schizophreniform disorder; however, the panel did not reach consensus on the classification of ECT in treatment of catatonia and a review of the literature for use of ECT in catatonia yielded only one randomized control trial (Ref. 11). The body of evidence is not sufficiently robust for FDA to determine that there is a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for ECT treatment of catatonia. Catatonia is a potentially life-threatening condition for patients unresponsive to the current standard of care treatment. FDA encourages collection of additional data that may support future reclassification of ECT for this use.

    FDA believes that insufficient information exists regarding the risks and benefits of the device in order for FDA to determine that general and/or special controls will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of ECT for Certain Specified Intended Uses. As established in section 513(a)(1)(C) of the FD&C Act and 21 CFR 860.3(c)(3), a device is in class III if insufficient information exists to determine that general controls and/or special controls are sufficient to provide reasonable assurance of its safety and effectiveness and the device is purported or represented to be for a use that is life-supporting or life-sustaining, or for a use which is of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, or if the device presents a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury. FDA believes that the risks to health identified in section V for the use of ECT devices for Certain Specified Intended Uses, in the absence of an established positive benefit-risk profile, presents a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

    C. Risks to Health

    The risks to health for ECT devices for intended uses other than the treatment of MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition are the same as outlined in section V.

    D. Benefits of ECT Devices

    As discussed previously, there is limited scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of ECT devices for intended uses other than the treatment of MDE associated with MDD or BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. Because the benefits of these devices for such uses are unknown, it is impossible to estimate the direct effect of the devices on patient outcomes. However, based on claims made about the devices, the devices have the potential to benefit the public by providing additional treatment options for schizophrenia, bipolar manic states, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and catatonia.

    XII. PMA Requirements

    A PMA for ECT devices Certain Specified Intended Uses must include the information required by section 515(c)(1) of the FD&C Act. Such a PMA should also include a detailed discussion of the risks identified previously, as well as a discussion of the effectiveness of the device for which premarket approval is sought. In addition, a PMA must include all data and information on: (1) Any risks known, or that should be reasonably known, to the applicant that have not been identified in this document; (2) the effectiveness of the device that is the subject of the application; and (3) full reports of all preclinical and clinical information from investigations on the safety and effectiveness of the device for which premarket approval is sought.

    A PMA must include valid scientific evidence to demonstrate reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use (see § 860.7(c)(1)). Valid scientific evidence is evidence from well-controlled investigations, partially controlled studies, studies and objective trials without matched controls, well-documented case histories conducted by qualified experts, and reports of significant human experience with a marketed device, from which it can fairly and responsibly be concluded by qualified experts that there is reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of a device under its conditions of use. Isolated case reports, random experience, reports lacking sufficient details to permit scientific evaluation, and unsubstantiated opinions are not regarded as valid scientific evidence to show safety or effectiveness. (§ 860.7(c)(2)).

    XIII. Opportunity To Request a Change in Classification

    Before requiring the filing of a PMA or notice of completion of a PDP for a device, FDA is required by section 515(b)(2)(D) of the FD&C Act to provide an opportunity for interested persons to request a change in the classification of the device based on new information relevant to the classification. Any proceeding to reclassify the device will be under the authority of section 513(e) of the FD&C Act.

    A request for a change in the classification of ECT devices is to be in the form of a reclassification petition containing the information required by 21 CFR 860.123, including new information relevant to the classification of the device.

    XIV. Codification of Orders

    Prior to the amendments by FDASIA, section 513(e) of the FD&C Act provided for FDA to issue regulations to reclassify devices and section 515(b) of the FD&C Act provided for FDA to issue regulations to require approval of an application for premarket approval for preamendments devices or devices found to be substantially equivalent to preamendments devices. Because sections 513(e) and 515(b) of the FD&C Act as amended require FDA to issue final orders rather than regulations, FDA will continue to codify reclassifications and requirements for approval of an application for premarket approval, resulting from changes issued in final orders, in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Therefore, under section 513(e)(1)(A)(i) of the FD&C Act, as amended by FDASIA, in this proposed order, we are proposing to codify the reclassification of ECT devices for use in treating severe Major Depressive Episode (MDE) associated with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Bipolar Disorder (BPD) in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition into class II by amending § 882.5940.

    XV. Environmental Impact

    The Agency has determined under 21 CFR 25.30(h) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    XVI. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This proposed order refers to previously approved collections of information that are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in 21 CFR part 807, subpart E, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120. The collections of information in 21 CFR part 812 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0078. The collections of information in 21 CFR part 814 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0231.

    The device and patient warning labeling provisions in this proposed rule are not subject to review by OMB because they do not constitute a “collection of information” under the PRA. Rather, the recommended labeling is a “public disclosure of information originally supplied by the Federal government to the recipient for the purpose of disclosure to the public” (5 CFR 1320.3(c)(2)).

    XVII. Proposed Effective Date

    FDA is proposing that any final order based on this proposal become effective 90 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    XVIII. Specific Questions for Comment

    Interested persons may submit either electronic comments regarding this document to http://www.regulations.gov or written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES). FDA is explicitly seeking comments on whether: (1) The term “treatment resistant” and the phrase “require rapid response” provide sufficient clarity to the population for which ECT benefits outweigh risks and (2) if 60 days is an appropriate time to allow existing manufacturers who do not intend to market their ECT device(s) for uses other than use in treating severe MDE associated with MDD and BPD in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition to prepare and submit 510(k) amendments for ECT devices.

    XIX. References

    The following references are on display in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; they are also available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. FDA has verified the Web site addresses, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    1. American Psychiatric Association. 2001. The Practice of Electroconvulsive Therapy: Recommendations for Treatment, Training and Privileging—A Task Force Report, 2nd ed. American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC.

    2. Royal College of Psychiatrists. The ECT Handbook. Ed. A.I.F. Scott. The Third Report of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Special Committee on ECT. 2004. Available at: http://www.ectron.co.uk/ws-public/uploads/143_cr128.pdf

    3. NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). Guidance on the Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy. Technology Appraisal Guidance: 59:1-37, 2003. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta59

    4. NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). Depression in Adults (update). National Clinical Practice Guideline: 90:1-585, 2009. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg90

    5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Mental Health Services; National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health, 1999. Available at: http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/ResourceMetadata/NNBBHS

    6. Semkovska, M., D.M. McLoughlin, “Objective Cognitive Performance Associated with Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Biological Psychiatry: 68:568-577, 2010.

    7. Greenhalgh, J., C. Knight, D. Hind, C. Beverley, S. Walters, “Clinical and Cost-effectiveness of Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depressive Illness, Schizophrenia, Catatonia and Mania: Systematic Reviews and Economic Modelling Studies. Health Technology Assessment: 9(9):1-170, 2005. J.C. Fournier, R.J. DeRubeis, S.D. Hollon, S. Dimidjian, J.D. Amsterdam, R.C. Shelton, J. Fawcett, “Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity.” Journal of the American Medical Association: 303(1):47-53, 2010.

    8. Kirsch, I., B.J. Deacon, T.B. Huedo-Medina, A. Scoboria, T.J. Moore, B.T. Johnson, “Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration.” PLoS Medicine: 5(2):260-268, 2008.

    9. Watts, B.V., et al. “An Examination of Mortality and Other Adverse Events Related to Electroconvulsive Therapy Using a National Adverse Event Report System.” Journal of ECT, 2010.

    10. Girish, K., N.S. Gill, “Electroconvulsive Therapy in Lorazepam Non-Responsive Catatonia.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry: 45(1):21-25, 2003.

    11. FDA Executive Summary, Prepared for the January 27-28, 2011 meeting of the Neurological Devices Panel, Meeting to Discuss the Classification of Electroconvulsive Therapy Devices (ECT), available at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/NeurologicalDevicesPanel/ucm240924.htm.

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 882

    Medical devices, Neurological devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, it is proposed that 21 CFR part 882 be amended as follows:

    PART 882—NEUROLOGICAL DEVICES 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 882 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 371.

    2. Revise § 882.5940 to read as follows:
    § 882.5940 Electroconvulsive therapy device.

    (a) Identification. An electroconvulsive therapy device is a prescription device, including the pulse generator and its stimulation electrodes and accessories, used for treating severe psychiatric disturbances by inducing in the patient a major motor seizure by applying a brief intense electrical current to the patient's head.

    (b) Classification. (1) Class II (special controls) when the device is intended to treat severe major depressive episodes (associated with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder) in patients 18 years of age and older who are treatment-resistant or who require a rapid response due to the severity of their psychiatric or medical condition. The special controls for this device are:

    (i) The technical parameters of the device, including waveform, output mode, pulse duration, frequency, train delivery, maximum charge and energy, and the type of impedance monitoring system must be fully characterized.

    (ii) Non-clinical testing data must confirm the electrical characteristics of the output waveform.

    (iii) Components (and accessories) of the device that come into human contact must be demonstrated to be biocompatible.

    (iv) Performance data must demonstrate electrical and mechanical safety and the functioning of all safety features built into the device including the static and dynamic impedance monitoring system.

    (v) Appropriate analysis/testing must validate electromagnetic compatibility.

    (vi) Appropriate software verification, validation, and hazard analysis must be performed.

    (vii) Performance data must demonstrate electrical performance, adhesive integrity, and physical and chemical stability of the stimulation electrodes.

    (viii) The labeling for the device must include the following:

    (A) Information related to generic adverse events associated with ECT treatment.

    (B) Instructions must contain the following specific recommendations to the user of the device:

    (1) Conduct of pre-ECT medical and psychiatric assessment (including pertinent medical and psychiatric history, physical examination, anesthesia assessment, dental assessment, and other studies as clinically appropriate);

    (2) Use of patient monitoring during the procedure;

    (3) Use of general anesthesia and neuromuscular blocking agents;

    (4) Use of mouth/dental protection during the procedure;

    (5) Use of EEG monitoring until seizure termination;

    (6) Instructions on electrode placement, including adequate skin preparation and use of conductivity gel; and

    (7) Cognitive status monitoring prior to beginning ECT and during the course of treatment via formal neuropsychological assessment for evaluating specific cognitive functions (e.g., orientation, attention, memory, executive function).

    (C) Clinical training needed by users of the device.

    (D) Information on the patient population in which the device is intended to be used.

    (E) Information on how the device operates and the typical course of treatment.

    (F) A detailed summary of the clinical testing, which includes the clinical outcomes associated with the use of the device, and a summary of adverse events and complications that occurred with the device.

    (G) A detailed summary of the device technical parameters;

    (H) Where appropriate, validated methods and instructions for reprocessing of any reusable components.

    (I) The following statement, prominently placed: “Warning: ECT device use may be associated with: disorientation, confusion, and memory problems.”

    (J) Absent performance data demonstrating a beneficial effect of longer term use, generally considered treatment in excess of 3 months, the following statement, prominently placed: “Warning: When used as intended this device provides short-term relief of symptoms. The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.”

    (ix) Patient labeling must be provided and include:

    (A) Relevant contraindications, warnings, precautions.

    (B) A summation of the clinical testing, which includes the clinical outcomes associated with the use of the device, and a summary of adverse events and complications that occurred with the device.

    (C) Information on how the device operates and the typical course of treatment.

    (D) The potential benefits.

    (E) Alternative treatments.

    (F) The following statement, prominently placed: “Warning: ECT device use may be associated with: disorientation, confusion, and memory problems.”

    (G) Absent performance data demonstrating a beneficial effect of longer term use, generally considered treatment in excess of 3 months, the following statement, prominently placed: “Warning: When used as intended this device provides short-term relief of symptoms. The long-term safety and effectiveness of ECT treatment has not been demonstrated.”

    (H) The following statements on known risks of ECT, absent performance data demonstrating that these risks do not apply:

    (1) ECT treatment may be associated with disorientation, confusion and memory loss, including short-term (anterograde) and long-term (autobiographical) memory loss following treatment. These side effects tend to go away within a few days to a few months after the last treatment with ECT. However, some patients have reported a permanent loss of memories of personal life events (i.e., autobiographical memory). Improvements in the way ECT is applied to patients currently, with controlled electric currents and electrode placement, can minimize but not completely eliminate, these risks.

    (2) Patients treated with ECT may also experience manic symptoms (including euphoria and/or irritability, impulsivity, racing thoughts, distractibility, grandiosity, increased activity, talkativeness, and decreased need for sleep) or a worsening of the psychiatric symptoms they are being treated for.

    (3) The physical risks of ECT may include the following (in order of frequency of occurrence):

    (i) Pain/somatic discomfort (including headache, muscle soreness, and nausea).

    (ii) Skin burns.

    (iii) Physical trauma (including fractures, contusions, injury from falls, dental and oral injury).

    (iv) Prolonged or delayed onset seizures.

    (v) Pulmonary complications (insufficient, or lack of breathing, or inhalation of foreign substance into the lungs).

    (vi) Cardiovascular complications (heart attack, high or low blood pressure, and stroke).

    (vii) Death.

    (viii) Devices marketed prior to the effective date of this reclassification must have an amendment submitted to their previously cleared premarket notification (510(k)) that demonstrates compliance with these special controls within 60 days after the effective date of this reclassification.

    (2) Classification: Class III (premarket approval) for the following intended uses: schizophrenia, bipolar manic states, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and catatonia.

    (c) Date premarket approval application (PMA) or notice of completion of product development protocol (PDP) is required. A PMA or notice of completion of a PDP is required to be filed with the Food and Drug Administration on or before [A DATE WILL BE ADDED 90 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION OF A FUTURE FINAL ORDER IN THE Federal Register], for any electroconvulsive therapy device with an intended use described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, that was in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or that has, on or before [A DATE WILL BE ADDED 90 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION OF A FUTURE FINAL ORDER IN THE Federal Register], been found to be substantially equivalent to any electroconvulsive therapy device with an intended use described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, that was in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976. Any other electroconvulsive therapy device with an intended use described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section shall have an approved PMA or declared completed PDP in effect before being placed in commercial distribution.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32592 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 1271 [Docket No. FDA-2015-D-3719] Draft Guidances Relating to the Regulation of Human Cells, Tissues, or Cellular or Tissue-Based Products; Public Hearing; Request for Comments; Correction AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notification of public hearing; request for comments; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is correcting a notification of a public hearing entitled “Draft Guidances Relating to the Regulation of Human Cells, Tissues, or Cellular or Tissue-Based Products; Public Hearing; Request for Comments” that appeared in the Federal Register of October 30, 2015 (80 FR 66845). The document announced a public hearing to obtain input on four recently issued draft guidances relating to the regulation of human cells, tissues, or cellular or tissue-based products (HCT/Ps). The document published with conflicting information about who must register for the public hearing. This document corrects that error.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In FR Doc. 2015-27703, appearing on pages 66845 and 66847 in the Federal Register of Friday, October 30, 2015, the following corrections are made:

    1. On page 66845, in the third column under DATES, the third sentence is revised to read: “Persons seeking to attend (including FDA employees) or to present at the public hearing must register by January 8, 2016.”

    2. On page 66847, in the first column under section IV. Attendance and Registration, the third sentence is revised to read: “Individuals who wish to attend (including FDA employees) or present at the public hearing must register by sending an email to [email protected] on or before January 8, 2016, and provide complete contact information, including name, title, affiliation, address, email, and phone number.”

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32686 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 51, 52, 55, 70, 71 and 124 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0090, FRL-9937-21-OAR] RIN 2060-AS59 Revisions to the Public Notice Provisions in Clean Air Act Permitting Programs AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to revise the public notice rule provisions for the New Source Review (NSR), title V and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) permit programs of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the corresponding onshore area (COA) determinations for implementation of the OCS air quality regulations. This action would remove the mandatory requirement to provide public notice of a draft air permit, as well as certain other program actions, through publication in a newspaper and would instead allow for electronic noticing (e-notice) of these actions. The proposed rule revisions would apply to major source air permits issued by the EPA, by EPA-delegated air agencies, and by air agencies with EPA-approved programs (with the exception of permits that are issued pursuant to the Tribal NSR Rule, which already allows for e-notice methods).

    DATES:

    Comments. Comments must be received on or before February 29, 2016.

    Public hearing. If anyone contacts us requesting a public hearing on or before January 13, 2016, we will hold a hearing. Additional information about the hearing, if requested, will be published in a subsequent Federal Register document.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0090, at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the Web, Cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general information on this proposed rule for NSR and OCS programs, please contact Mr. Dave Svendsgaard, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by phone at (919) 541-2380 or by email at [email protected]; for title V programs please contact Ms. Grecia Castro, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by phone at (919) 541-1351 or by email at [email protected] To request a public hearing or information pertaining to a public hearing on this document, contact Ms. Pamela Long, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by phone at (919) 541-0641 or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. General Information A. How is this Federal Register notice organized?

    The information presented in this document is organized as follows:

    I. General Information A. How is this Federal Register notice organized? B. Does this action apply to me? C. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for the EPA? D. How can I find information about a possible public hearing? E. Where can I obtain a copy of this document and other related information? II. Overview of Action III. Background IV. Proposed Revisions A. What are the e-notice requirements? B. What are the e-access requirements? C. Requirements for Agencies Implementing the Federal Permit Program Rules D. Requirements for Agencies Implementing Approved Programs Pursuant to the EPA's Permitting Rules for States E. Soliciting Comment on Allowing Temporary Use of Alternative Noticing Methods F. Clarifying E-Notice and E-Access Applicability for Minor NSR Permits G. Notice Requirements for PSD Permit Rescissions V. Policy Rationale and Legal Basis VI. Implementation A. Agencies Implementing Federal Preconstruction Permit Program Rules B. Agencies Implementing State Preconstruction Permit Program Rules C. Agencies Implementing Approved Operating Permit Programs D. Agencies Delegated to Implement the Federal Operating Permit Program VII. Environmental Justice Considerations VIII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations IX. Statutory Authority B. Does this action apply to me?

    Entities potentially affected by this proposed rule include air agencies responsible for the permitting of stationary and OCS sources of air pollution or for determining COA designation for implementation of the OCS Air Regulations. This includes the EPA Regions, and both EPA-delegated air programs and EPA-approved air programs that are operated by state, local and tribal governments. Entities also potentially affected by this proposed rule include owners and operators of stationary and OCS sources that are subject to air pollution permitting under the CAA, as well as the general public who would have an interest in knowing about permitting actions, public hearings and other agency actions.

    C. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for the EPA?

    1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to the EPA through http://www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the specific information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI in a disk or CD-ROM that you mail to the EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD-ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

    2. Tips for preparing comments. When submitting comments, remember to:

    • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).

    • Follow directions. The proposed rule may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.

    • Explain why you agree or disagree, suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.

    • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used to support your comment.

    • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.

    • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns wherever possible, and suggest alternatives.

    • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.

    • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

    D. How can I find information about a possible public hearing?

    To request a public hearing or information pertaining to a public hearing on this document, contact Ms. Pamela Long, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, by phone at (919) 541-0641 or by email at [email protected]

    E. Where can I obtain a copy of this document and other related information?

    In addition to being available in the docket, an electronic copy of this Federal Register document will be posted at http://www3.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html and http://www3.epa.gov/airquality/permits/actions.html.

    II. Overview of Action

    The CAA authorizes the EPA to administer and oversee the permitting of stationary and other sources of air pollution. To accomplish this obligation, the EPA has promulgated permitting regulations for construction of sources pursuant to NSR under title I of the CAA, for operation of major and certain other sources of air pollutants under title V of the CAA; and for OCS sources under CAA § 328. These regulations are contained in 40 CFR parts 51, 52, 55, 70, 71 and 124, and cover the requirements for federal permit actions (i.e., when the EPA or a delegated air agency is the permitting authority 1 ) and minimum permitting requirements under an approved state implementation plan (SIP) and title V program.2 These rules contain, among other things, requirements for public notice and availability of supporting information to allow for informed public participation in permit actions. These regulatory requirements for public participation in permit and other actions are the subject of this proposed rule.

    1 In lieu of “permitting authority,” in this preamble and rule, we sometimes use the terms “permitting agency,” “reviewing authority,” and “air agency” (or “agency”). These terms generally denote all forms of air permitting authorities, including EPA Regions, EPA-delegated air programs, and air programs that are operated by state, local and tribal governments and that implement their own rules under an EPA-approved implementation plan. Furthermore, the rules for the federal permit programs sometimes use the terms “Administrator” and “Director” in referring to the permitting authority.

    2 NSR includes the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), nonattainment major NSR (NNSR), and minor NSR permitting programs. Requirements for the NSR programs can be found at 40 CFR 51 for approved state and local permitting programs, and at 40 CFR 52 for federal permit programs. (In addition, 40 CFR 52 references part 124 for additional requirements.) Requirements for approved title V operating permit programs are located at 40 CFR 70 and for federal operating permit programs at 40 CFR 71. Requirements for the permitting of OCS sources can be found at 40 CFR 55.

    In general, prior to issuing a permit to a major stationary source 3 of air pollution, the permitting authority prepares a draft permit, provides notice to the public of the draft permit, and provides the public reasonable access to the draft permit, the application, and supporting information. The permitting authority must provide an opportunity for public comment, as well as an opportunity to request a public hearing on the draft permit. See, e.g., 40 CFR 70.7(h). In addition, the information that supports the permit decisions—referred to in some cases as the “permit record” or “administrative record”—must be made available to the public for inspection. Id. Under the title V programs, these procedures apply to permits for all covered sources, including certain non-major sources. See 40 CFR 70.3.4

    3 The term “major source” in the title V program rules includes any “major stationary source” under the NSR program rules. See, e.g., 40 CFR 52.21(b)(1)(i) and 40 CFR 71.2. In this preamble, we use the terms “major source” and “major stationary source” interchangeably.

    4 The EPA's rules generally require less extensive public participation procedures for the permitting of minor sources and minor modifications.

    This action addresses the method by which the permitting agency provides the required notice of the permitting action and access to the information supporting the action. We specifically propose to remove from the EPA rules the mandatory requirement that draft permits under CAA permitting programs for major sources be noticed in a newspaper of general circulation and instead allow—and, in some cases, require (as explained below)—the use of electronic methods to provide notice of and access to these draft permits. We are not changing the majority of the existing procedural requirements for processing permit applications and the requirement to keep a record of the materials that support the permit decisions. We also are not changing existing requirements as to the substance of the information that must be made available when the permitting agency notifies the public of the draft permitting action.

    We are also not proposing to revise the federal rules for public notice that apply to minor NSR permits under 40 CFR part 51.161, which require “notice by prominent advertisement.” See § 51.161(b)(3). In 2012, the EPA clarified through guidance that the § 51.161 term “prominent advertisement” is media neutral, and therefore newspaper notice of minor NSR actions is not required. (“EPA's 2012 Memorandum”) 5 The guidance memorandum did not, however, address notice requirements for synthetic minor source permits.6 In this action, we are proposing to extend the media neutrality policy of the EPA's 2012 Memorandum to all permit actions governed by § 51.161, including synthetic minor source permits, and to ensure that e-access methods are available for minor NSR permit actions.

    5 Memorandum from Janet McCabe, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, “Minor New Source Review Program Public Notice Requirements under 40 CFR 51.161(b)(3)” (April 17, 2012). See http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/pubnot.pdf.

    6 A synthetic minor source is a source that has taken restrictions to avoid applicability of major source requirements. Under the NSR program, such restrictions must be legally and practically enforceable. See, e.g., 67 FR 80191.

    We are also not proposing to revise the public participation requirements for permits that establish a Plantwide Applicability Limitation (PAL), which cross reference the public participation procedures at § 51.161. See §§ 51.165(f)(5), 51.166(w)(5), and 52.21(aa), and Appendix S to part 51, Section IV.K.5. As discussed in the preamble to the PAL regulations (“PAL preamble”), “[t]he reviewing authority must establish a PAL in a federally enforceable permit (for example, a “minor” NSR construction permit, a major NSR permit, or a SIP-approved operating permit program).” 67 FR 80208; December 31, 2002. The PAL preamble further explains that “the reviewing authority must provide an opportunity for public participation when issuing a PAL permit . . . consistent with the requirements at § 51.161 and include a minimum of a 30-day period for public notice and opportunity for public comment.” Id. As explained above, in EPA's 2012 Memorandum we clarified that the term “prominent advertisement” in § 51.161 is media neutral for minor NSR permits, and in this action we are proposing to extend the applicability of the policy in that memorandum to all permit actions governed by § 51.161. In addition, the PAL preamble explains “[w]here the PAL is established in a major NSR permit, major NSR public participation procedures apply.” Id. In this rule action, we propose to amend the public participation requirements for major source permits under CAA permitting programs to allow or require the use of electronic methods to provide notice of these permits. Therefore, since this proposed action along with our previous rules and guidance would collectively ensure that § 51.161 and the major source specific regulations allow for e-notice in lieu of newspaper notice, and these public notice requirements would apply as well to all of the types of permits that may be used to establish a PAL, we believe that it is unnecessary to propose any revisions to the PAL-specific provisions of EPA's air permitting rules.

    In addition, these proposed revisions would not change the requirements for nonattainment NSR (NNSR), minor NSR, and synthetic minor NSR permits in Indian country, which are contained in 40 CFR part 49 and allow for other means of public noticing beyond a newspaper of general circulation. See §§ 49.157 (minor NSR and synthetic minor NSR permits) and 49.171 (nonattainment major NSR permits). However, these proposed revisions would change the requirements for PSD permits that the EPA issues in Indian country, as well as Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits that are issued by a tribe through a delegation agreement or by a tribe that has an approved tribal implementation plan (TIP) that incorporates by reference the public noticing requirements in the federal PSD rules at 40 CFR 52.21. Also, since this proposal would revise the noticing requirements in 40 CFR 71, which apply to Indian country absent an approved part 70 program, the revisions would affect the public notice procedures for the majority of title V operating permits in tribal lands.7 Also, the tribal agency with an approved part 70 program would have the option to implement e-notice under the same terms that apply to other approved part 70 programs.

    7 Most states, certain local agencies and currently one tribe have approved part 70 programs. The EPA administers the part 71 federal program in most areas of Indian country (one tribe has been delegated implementation authority) and on the Outer Continental Shelf (when there is no delegated state permitting authority).

    This action addresses the public notice requirements for all air agencies. For the noticing of major source permits by the EPA and other air agencies that implement the federal permitting rules, e-notice would be required under this proposed rule. For major source permits issued by air agencies that implement their own rules approved by EPA, this proposed rule would allow additional flexibility such that these permitting authorities would have the option to provide e-notice or to continue to provide traditional newspaper notice, although they must adopt a single, “consistent noticing method” to be used for all of their major source permits. Thus, where an agency opts to post notices of draft permits on a Web site in lieu of newspaper publication, it must post all notices to this Web site in order to ensure that the public has a consistent and reliable location to turn to for all permit notices. If the agency does not maintain a consistent noticing method (i.e., if the state posts some notices to a Web site and others in the newspaper), the public may not know where to look for information regarding a permit for a source of interest to them. We are taking comment on this proposed approach of requiring a consistent noticing method for these approved state programs, as well as the option of not requiring a consistent noticing method.

    In addition, to satisfy the proposed requirements for e-notice, except for programs that implement part 51 regulations for PSD and NNSR permits and states that issue OCS permits, the air agency must maintain a mailing list that will notify any person on the list of any new public notice. This approach is consistent with the current noticing requirements in the federal rules for NSR and EPA-issued OCS permits, and for federal and state operating permits under parts 70 and 71 (and OCS permits subject to these requirements), which all require that a copy of the notice be mailed to persons who have subscribed to the appropriate mailing list. The EPA believes that continuing with this approach will maintain the current efforts to reach communities through a variety of methods. This proposed rule clarifies that distributing the public notice information to the persons on the mailing list can be by way of email or the more traditional mailing methods (e.g., postal service, courier).

    This proposed action also requires that, when a permitting authority adopts the e-notice approach, it also must provide e-access. For the purpose of this proposed rule, e-access means that the permitting authority must make the draft permit available electronically (i.e., on the agency's public Web site or on a Web site identified by the permitting agency, which could be an online document management system) for the duration of the public comment period. It is important to note that, while e-access in this proposed rule only pertains to the availability of and access to the draft permit during the public comment period, nothing in this rule alters the requirement for the permitting authority to maintain a record of the permit action and to make it available to the public. Thus, a permitting authority that is satisfying the proposed conditions of e-access by posting the draft permit on a Web site must also provide the public with reasonable access to the other materials that support the permit decision (as it has always been required to do). Access to the other materials can be provided either electronically, or at a physical location, or a combination of both.

    In addition to the proposed approach described above for EPA-approved permitting programs, we are requesting comment on an alternative approach. In the alternative approach, permitting programs that implement 40 CFR part 51 or 70 and that select e-notice as their consistent noticing method would have the option, but would not be required to, provide e-access. This approach could be of benefit to some agencies that may notice permits using an online permits register—which would qualify for e-notice under this rule proposal—but do not have the Web site capabilities to satisfy the e-access requirement of making the draft permit available electronically.

    Additionally, we are soliciting comment on including a provision in the regulations to allow air agencies to temporarily use an alternative noticing method if their Web site is unavailable for a period of time. This may be necessary during periods when a Web site is temporarily offline due to, for example, malfunctions, transitions to a different Web site platform, or emergency situations that result in prolonged electrical system outages. As with the Web site noticing method, the permitting agency would need to assure that the alternative noticing method provides adequate notice to the affected public. We specifically seek comment on the criteria for determining when the alternative method should be available, the length of time it could be used, and how the transition to the method would be conveyed to the public.

    Finally, we are proposing to extend the use of e-notice methods to three non-permitting actions. In each case, the regulatory provision currently requires notice of the action by way of newspaper publication. We briefly describe each provision below.

    • The “OCS Air Regulations” at 40 CFR part 55 apply to more than just OCS permitting actions. Specifically, when the EPA makes a COA designation determination, it must do so by way of a process that allows for public comment on the draft determination. Through this action, we are proposing to require electronic notice of the COA designation.

    • The existing federal PSD regulations contain a provision for “permit rescission” that only refers to newspaper notification. Specifically, paragraph 40 CFR 52.21(w)(4) requires that, if an agency rescinds a permit, it shall give “adequate notice of the rescission,” and that newspaper publication “shall be considered adequate notice.” We are proposing in this action to revise the provision to specifically require that the Administrator notify the public of a permit rescission by e-notice.

    • Paragraph 40 CFR 71.4(g) provides that, when the EPA takes action to administer and enforce, or to delegate, a federal operating permits program, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register and, “to the extent practicable, publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation within the area subject to the part 71 program effectiveness or delegation.” We are proposing to revise this provision to require the additional notice of the program effectiveness or delegation by way of posting on a public Web site identified by the EPA.

    • It is important to note that the EPA is not proposing additional public participation where existing rules do not require public participation. Thus, the minimum notice and access requirements being proposed in this rule would apply to the public participation procedures of air quality permits issued by EPA and other air agencies in cases where the current rules require public participation in a permitting decision.

    III. Background

    While the CAA requires permitting authorities to offer the opportunity for public participation in the processing of air permits, it does not specify the best or preferred method for providing notice to the public. See, e.g., CAA 165(a)(2). The EPA's air permitting regulations also address the issue of public participation, and in those rules there is more specificity regarding the methods of meeting the public notice obligations. The EPA's regulations are intended to ensure that the EPA and other permitting authorities provide adequate public notice of their permitting actions. Among the procedural requirements for public notice, the current regulations for the major NSR, title V and OCS programs include (or cross reference to) specific language that requires agencies to notify the public of pending permitting actions and the opportunity to comment on those permitting actions by advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation.8

    8 Those regulations also specify the information that the public notice must include, and, as noted above, this regulation does not change such information requirements.

    When the EPA first developed public notice provisions for the major NSR program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, newspaper advertisement was the most commonly accepted method for providing notice of permits and other agency actions in the community. The EPA, therefore, finalized rules that contained, among other things, requirements for newspaper notice of permitting and other actions. When the title V rules were first issued in 1992, the EPA considered the public notice requirements for PSD permits and similarly required in part that the public be notified of a permitting action by way of “a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the source is located or in a State publication designed to give general public notice.” 40 CFR 70.7(h)(1).9 OCS regulations, also promulgated in 1992, included this same approach of requiring public notice via newspaper publication, by requiring that the applicable requirements for federal PSD permits in 40 CFR part 124 also apply to the processing of OCS permit applications.10 The EPA also added specific language within the OCS rules that require COA designation determinations to be announced by way of a newspaper of general circulation. Consequently, in promulgating the rules for NSR, title V and OCS air programs, the EPA determined that it was most appropriate for permitting actions, COA designations, and public hearings to be announced to the public by a newspaper notice. The public notice procedures in the regulations for each of these programs have not changed with respect to newspaper notification since they were first developed and issued.

    9See 57 FR 32250 (July 21, 1992) regarding state operating permit programs (40 CFR 70) and 61 FR 34202 (July 1, 1996) regarding federal operating permit programs (40 CFR 71).

    10See 57 FR 40792 (September 4, 1992).

    Permitting authorities typically have met the required newspaper notice provision by publishing a single-day legal notice of availability of the draft permit action in a local newspaper. In some cases, depending on the location of the source and the demographics of the affected community, some permitting agencies may publish the notice in multiple newspapers to reach the intended audience, or may provide bilingual newspaper notices of their permitting actions. The specific contents of the newspaper notice are specified for some programs, and they tend to vary with different permitting authorities. Most notices typically contain basic information about the draft permit, such as the permit number, the name and physical address of the facility, and the name and contact information of a person from whom interested persons may obtain additional information on the draft permit. Depending on the permitting authority, the notice may include more detailed information on the draft permit, such as the anticipated emissions increase from the proposed project. The public notice for the permit also informs interested parties on how to request and/or attend a public hearing and how to access additional information relevant to the draft permit. This additional information is typically housed in a designated public reading room near the source or in a library at the permitting agency with specified hours of operation for viewing the documents. In the case of title V permits, as well as PSD and OCS permits that follow 40 CFR part 124, the regulations also provide for mailing lists for permit actions and, as a result, notice may also occur for these draft permits (in addition to the mandatory newspaper notice) via direct mail or other communication to those persons included on a mailing list.

    Over the years, however, availability of and access to the basic forms of electronic media—namely, the Internet and email—have increased significantly across the United States. More recently, sophisticated mobile devices and high-speed wireless networks are transforming the Internet and how our society interacts with it.11 One effect of this electronic media development is that circulation of newspapers and other print media is declining, making printed newspaper notice less effective in providing widespread public notice of permit actions. Over the same time period, many permitting authorities developed their own Internet Web sites and began using email for the purpose of communicating with the public. In doing so, many of these agencies began to supplement the required one-time newspaper publication with the posting of electronic notices of availability of draft permits via their agency Web sites. Once the permitting agency develops its Web site and formats it to post permitting notices, the agency has an effective and convenient way to communicate permitting-related information to the majority of the public. In addition, the effort and cost to post a notice on an already-established Web site is generally lower than the expense of purchasing a newspaper advertisement, and it generally enables broader and faster dissemination of information to interested and affected parties as compared to newspaper noticing.

    11 Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, October 2014, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/exploring_the_digital_nation_embracing_the_mobile_internet_10162014.pdf.

    The EPA believes that having the notice of availability and the draft permit remain electronically available on an agency's Web site for an extended period of time, as compared to a one-time publication in an area newspaper that directs the public to a reading room at the permitting agency, or at a library or other location near the source, results in a significant increase in public awareness of the proposed permitting action and access to the draft permit. Even without this additional electronic access to the draft permit, posting the notice for the duration of the public comment period provides more widespread public notice than a single-day publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

    We note that, in some instances, communities that are potentially affected by a proposed permitting action may have limited access to the Internet, and therefore may rely more on newspapers for receiving their information. In these cases, newspaper publication can still provide a means to convey permitting information to these communities. However, we expect that in many cases these communities would have access to a public library with Internet access that would provide access to the online permit notices and draft permits. Furthermore, because many permitting authorities are now supplementing their newspaper notices with electronic posting of the notice on their agency Web site, it seems unlikely that the public would continue to seek out permitting announcements in newspapers in the future. As discussed later in this preamble, a report issued by the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) found that publication in the legal section of a newspaper is antiquated and ineffective and is not ideal for providing notice to affected environmental justice (EJ) communities. Given this significant shift away from the public's reliance on traditional newspapers for information, and the corresponding increased reliance on the Internet, the EPA recognizes that newspaper notice is no longer the only, or most effective, method of announcing permitting actions to reach the public.

    To this end, the EPA has identified the need to allow for more noticing options than just newspaper publication. In 2011, the EPA issued the Tribal NSR Rules that contained, among other things, requirements for noticing of permits in Indian country that allowed for options other than newspaper and print media.12 The July 2011 rule provides options such as web posting and email lists among the methods that the permitting authority may use to provide adequate public notice in agreement with the prominent advertisement goal. See 76 FR 38764. Then, through guidance issued in 2012, the EPA clarified its position on what constitutes public notice for minor NSR permit programs and is adequate to meet the requirement of “notice by prominent advertisement.” 40 CFR 51.161(b)(3). As noted above, the EPA's 2012 Memorandum explained, “. . . as the public continues to increase the use of web based sources of information and states experience decreases in budgets allocated for public noticing of permits, we believe that for the purposes of minor NSR programs and permits, the `prominent advertisement' requirement at 40 CFR 51.161(b)(3) is media neutral.” The guidance further explains that the EPA believes “it is appropriate to give state and local programs the flexibility to determine what constitutes prominent advertisement for purposes of minor NSR programs and permits, consistent with the overarching requirement that the public have routine and ready access to the alternative publishing venues.”

    12See 76 FR 38748, July 1, 2011.

    IV. Proposed Revisions

    This action proposes to remove the mandatory requirement that draft permits for sources subject to the major NSR, title V or OCS programs be noticed in a newspaper of general circulation and instead allow the use of electronic methods to provide notice of draft permits. This action also proposes these same revisions for COA designations in the OCS program, permit rescissions under the federal PSD program, and noticing of federal operating permits programs. In the case of permits issued by the EPA or other agencies implementing 40 CFR parts 52 or 71, we are proposing to require that the EPA provide e-notice for all draft permits. For permits issued by other air agencies—specifically, agencies that implement 40 CFR parts 51 or 70—we are proposing that those permitting authorities would have the option to adopt either e-notice or traditional newspaper notice; however, they must select one of the noticing methods as their consistent noticing method to be used to notice all of their draft permits and their rules must reflect this selection.

    This proposed action also requires that, if the permitting authority adopts the e-notice approach, it would also provide e-access as described in this rule. Specifically, the agency would make the draft permit available electronically for the duration of the public comment period. Furthermore, this rule proposes specific minimum requirements for satisfying the meaning of the terms “e-notice” and “e-access.” While e-access in this rule pertains only to the availability and access to the draft permit, nothing in this rule nullifies the requirement for the permitting authority to maintain a record of the permit decisions and to make it available to the public. Hence, a permitting authority that is satisfying the proposed terms of e-access by posting the draft permit on its Web site must also maintain the other materials that support the permit decision and make them publicly available—either electronically, or at a physical location, or a combination of both. This proposed action does not affect any of the record retention or CBI policies of agencies.

    More specifically, this proposed action includes revisions to 40 CFR part 51.166 (state/local PSD permits), part 52.21 (EPA/delegated agency-issued PSD permits), part 70 (state/local/tribal operating permits), part 71 (EPA/delegated agency-issued operating permits), part 55 (EPA-issued OCS permits and COA designations), and part 124 (EPA-issued permits applying generally to a number of media programs, including EPA-issued PSD and OCS permits). In addition, this action proposes to add specific public notice provisions in 40 CFR 51.165 (for state/local major NNSR permits), which currently does not contain section-specific public notification requirements (except for PAL permits).13 However, since the PSD program rules under 40 CFR 51.166 contain specific newspaper public notice provisions at § 51.166(q)(2)(iii), for clarity and consistency purposes we are proposing to add parallel noticing provisions to § 51.165 to avoid any possible confusion as to the methods for providing notice under approved state and local NNSR programs.

    13 While 40 CFR 51.165 does not currently contain specific noticing provisions for draft major source permits, agencies implementing § 51.165 rely on the provisions of § 51.161 for the noticing of NNSR permits. As noted in this preamble, the EPA's 2012 Memorandum clarified that the terms used in § 51.161 allow for a media neutral approach to the noticing of permits, but the memorandum only applies to minor NSR permits.

    It is important to note that some of the rule sections that we are proposing to amend have existing noticing and access requirements that are specific to the section and may not appear in other sections. We are not proposing to alter these specific rule provisions in this action. For example, the notice requirements in § 51.166(q) relate to the “degree of increment consumption” that is expected from the source or modification, but these requirements are not in other sections. Similarly, parts 70 and 71 have differing requirements for what information the notice should identify. In the federal PSD and the OCS permitting sections, there are currently no specific provisions for permit noticing—nor are we proposing specific requirements through this action—but these sections cross reference the procedural requirements in part 124 for which amendments are being proposed in this action. Consequently, the proposed rule revisions that would allow for e-notice and e-access appear differently in each rule section, but the basic effect of the changes is the same across all of the sections being revised.14

    14 The docket for this action contains a document that reflects how the proposed rule changes compare to the existing rule provisions. See EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0090-0002.

    In specifying that an agency electronically post the notice and draft permit “for the duration of the public comment period,” we note that there may be instances during the comment period when the Web site is unavailable. This may occur due to, among other things, Web site failures or power outages. While we expect that these situations would be infrequent and short in duration, they would nonetheless temporarily interrupt the noticing of the draft permit and the electronic posting would be less than “the duration of the comment period.” We do not interpret “the duration of the comment period” to be a requirement for uninterrupted web access, but rather to mean that, to the extent that interruptions to the accessibility of the posted notice and draft permit occur, they would be short and infrequent. Further, we expect that the permitting authority or webmaster would be in a good position to make a reasonable assessment, based on experience, regarding unusual interruptions that would significantly affect the noticing of the permit. In general, we do not expect that short interruptions would significantly affect the noticing of the permit, and we do not expect these situations to result in a need for the comment period to be extended to account for the time during which the Web site is unavailable. On the other hand, for an agency that is providing only electronic access to the permit record (i.e., no physical access options), Web site interruptions could present larger problems for anyone who is attempting to understand the draft permit and provide timely comments. In such cases, the air agency should evaluate the degree of limitation that the interruption has on the public's access to the permit record. For any interruption that impacts public access for an extended period, we recommend that the agency provide hard copies of the permit record at appropriate locations. In addition to taking comment on this proposed approach for the phrase “for the duration of the public comment period,” we are soliciting comment on whether we should include a provision in the regulations that allows a permitting authority to use an alternative noticing (and/or access) method to reach the affected public while the Web site is unavailable.

    In addition to the proposed rule approach, we are taking comment on an alternative approach for air agencies that implement 40 CFR parts 51 and 70 that would not require these agencies to couple e-notice with e-access. In other words, if an agency adopts e-notice as its consistent noticing method, it would not be required to provide e-access (although the agency could provide e-access at its discretion—e.g., to supplement its physical access of the draft permit). This alternative approach may be of benefit to some agencies that notice permits using an online permits register—which would qualify for e-notice—but do not have the technical capabilities to satisfy the e-access requirement of making the draft permit electronically available.

    These proposed rules provide flexibility to air agencies with EPA-approved programs, such that they are no longer required to use newspaper noticing, although they can continue to use the newspaper method for noticing if they choose. In the case of EPA and other air agencies that implement the federal permitting rules, we are proposing that these programs are required to use e-notice and e-access, but these terms are limited in scope to require only minimal electronic noticing and access and to allow the agency the flexibility to use either its own Web site or another publicly available Web site that it identifies. We believe the proposed rule revisions, once final, will lead to more effective noticing of air permitting actions and will likely promote additional public participation in the permitting process, while also avoiding the higher costs of newspaper advertisement.

    A. What are the e-notice requirements?

    For the purpose of this proposed rule, the term “e-notice” means the notice of availability of the draft permitting action is provided on the permitting agency's Web site or another public Web site identified by the permitting agency for the purpose of noticing permits. The Web site should be easily accessible by the public, and the noticing section of the Web site should be “user friendly”—i.e., organized in such a way that it directs the public to the entire notice in a clear and straightforward manner. In some cases, the Web site may be characterized as a “portal” or it can be some other publicly accessible Web site that is identified by the permitting authority and allows for the noticing of draft permits (e.g., a state permits register).

    In some of the rule sections proposed for revision, the permitting authority must maintain a mailing list that will be used to notify persons on the list of any new public notice of a draft permit. This requirement exists in part 124 for EPA-issued PSD and OCS permits and in parts 70 and 71 for title V permits. We are proposing that the mailing list requirement would continue to apply for the noticing of these permits, and we are proposing that the mailing list requirement would not apply to programs that currently do not have a mailing list requirement—namely, agencies that follow part 51 regulations for PSD and NNSR permits and for state-issued OCS permits. Although the mailing list provisions were originally created with the idea that authorities would use the postal service to physically convey the notice to the recipients on the list, it has evolved over time such that many agencies that maintain a mailing list use electronic notification rather than mailing the notice through the postal service. In general, email notification has become a common practice among air agencies that currently provide supplemental notice via their agency Web site. Furthermore, many of these agencies' Web sites are equipped with a hyperlink or a radio button that facilitates convenient and easy sign up for interested persons to subscribe to the mailing list. Thus, we are not changing the current rule sections that require mailing lists, but we are updating the provisions to also allow agencies to use electronic methods to administer the activities of the mailing list, to include subscribing to the list, maintaining the list, and distributing the required information to the parties on the list. We expect that some agencies may use both electronic methods and more traditional methods (e.g., a mailing list sign-up sheet posted at a public hearing) to administer their permits mailing lists.

    Part 71.11(d)(3) currently requires the EPA and delegated agencies to affirmatively solicit for their mailing lists. As part of this proposed rulemaking, we are proposing revised language for part 71 to explain that the permitting authority will notify the public via Web site of the opportunity to be included or removed from its mailing list. We expect that many agencies will add a generally accepted method (e.g., hyperlink sign up function, radio button) to their Web sites that will facilitate easy and convenient sign-up for their mailing list, as well as methods for unsubscribing. As noted above, many air agencies maintain a Web site that currently supplements the newspaper noticing of their permits with online noticing of their permits. Furthermore, some of these agencies rely on a variety of methods, beyond mailing lists, to alert the affected community that their Web site has been updated with a new draft permit or new information about a permit. Though not required under this proposed rule, we encourage air agencies to continue the practice of providing appropriate additional outreach to the general public for permits of interest. These outreach efforts may consist of opportunities presented by social media services (e.g., RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook) where appropriate, or more traditional techniques such as online community bulletin boards or community newspapers. We are proposing that use of these additional outreach methods is not required, but is discretionary for the permitting authority.

    Also, it is important to reiterate that we are not proposing to alter any existing requirements regarding the content of the public notice. We are, however, expressly requiring that the notice direct interested parties to information on how to request and/or attend a public hearing and how to access additional information relevant to the draft permit. Requirements regarding additional information in the notice vary across the different sections of the permitting rules, and may further vary among different individual permitting authorities. Most notices of availability will contain, at a minimum, the permit number, name and physical address of the facility, and the name and contact information of a person from whom interested persons may obtain additional information on the draft permit.

    We request comment on this approach to defining e-notice as it applies to this proposed rule. In particular, we request comment on whether this approach and the corresponding rule text preclude some forms of electronic noticing that are currently being used or under development.

    To clarify what this action is proposing for e-notice, in the following section we provide a summary of the proposed rule requirements. In addition, we are providing recommended “best practices” for electronic notice. These best practices recommendations are intended to foster improved communication and outreach of permit notices beyond the minimum requirements being proposed in this action.

    1. Proposed Regulatory Requirements for E-Notice

    In order to satisfy the requirement for e-notice of a permit, the permitting authority shall electronically post, for the duration of the public comment period, the following information on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority:

    (1) notice of availability of the draft permit for public comment;

    (2) information on how to access the permit record (either electronically and/or physically);

    (3) information on how to request and/or attend a public hearing on the draft permit; and

    (4) all other information currently required to be included in the public notice under the existing regulations.

    In addition, where already required by the current rules, the permitting authority shall maintain a mailing list of persons who request to be notified of permitting activity and shall distribute (e.g., by email) the above information to these persons.

    2. Recommended Best Practices for E-Notice

    While not proposed as a requirement of this rule, the EPA is recommending best practices that can be used to augment the above requirements for electronic notice. These best practice methods are not required to satisfy the e-notice requirements for this proposed rule, but may be helpful in the course of providing the fullest communication to the public on permitting actions. The recommended best practices of e-notice include:

    • Providing notice of the final permit issuance on the Web site.

    • Soliciting actively for the mailing list on the Web site (e.g., Web site equipped with radio button, hyperlink, or “click here” function to subscribe).

    • Providing options for email notification that enable subscribers to tailor the types of notifications they receive (e.g., a person can request notification of only draft permit notices for major source actions, rather than receiving notice of all permitting activity by the agency).

    B. What are the e-access requirements?

    For the purpose of this proposed rule, the term “e-access” means the permitting authority shall post on its Web site (or a Web site identified by the permitting authority) the draft permit for the duration of the public comment period. As with e-notice, the posting of the draft permit should be in a prominent location on the Web site, and the Web site should allow user-friendly access to the draft permit. Access to all other relevant materials that represent the record for the permit shall also be available to the public during the public comment period, but these other materials can be accessible either electronically or at a physical location, or in both locations. In this action, we are proposing that if the permitting authority provides e-notice, then it must also provide e-access.

    In defining the requirements for e-access and authorizing the use of e-access for major source permits that are undergoing public notice, we are proposing to add new paragraphs to certain program rules and specifically revise other program rules that have draft permit access requirements containing language that could be read to suggest that access requirements could not be met through electronic availability of the permit materials. See, e.g., 40 CFR 51.166(q)(2)(ii), 55.5(f)(1)(i). These revised rule paragraphs would expressly allow for electronic availability of permit documents.

    As noted above, nothing in this proposed rule affects the requirement for an agency to maintain a record to support the decisions of the permitting actions and to make it available to the public. Furthermore, nothing in this proposed rule affects the record retention policies and requirements of governmental agencies that provide schedules for retention and disposal of paper and electronic records. Finally, the electronic posting of draft and final permits, including information supporting the permit decisions (e.g., permit applications), would be subject to the applicable CBI policies and requirements of the air agency and, consequently, some permit-related documents may be redacted or otherwise withheld from viewing on a Web site or public reading room if it is determined that the document contains CBI.

    We request comment on this approach to defining e-access as it applies to this proposed rule. In particular, we request comment on whether this approach and the corresponding regulatory text preclude some forms of electronic access that are currently being used or under development. Also, as noted above, we are requesting comment on an alternative proposal that does not require air agencies with EPA-approved programs to electronically post the draft permit (i.e., e-access) if they choose e-notice as their consistent noticing method.

    To clarify what this action is proposing for e-access, in the following section we provide a summary of the proposed rule requirements. As we provided in the preceding section on e-notice, we are also sharing what we consider to be recommended best practices for electronic access.

    1. Proposed Regulatory Requirements for E-Access

    In order to satisfy the requirement for electronic access, the permitting authority shall electronically post, for the duration of the public comment period, the draft permit on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority, which may include the permitting authority's public Web site, an online state permits register, or a publicly-available electronic document management Web site that allows for downloading documents. The draft permit file should be in a format that can be opened and viewed by the public using commonly accepted computer software (e.g., portable document format that can be opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader). We request comment on whether our rules should require that the electronic format of the draft permit be viewable by software that is “free” (i.e., available without charge) to the user.

    The Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://www.regulations.gov is a web-based docket system used for, among other things, federal permitting actions that require public notice and comment. This searchable docket system allows for public access and downloading of the draft permit and permit related documents. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site also allows the public to register to receive email alerts to track activity on selected dockets. Similar online data management systems exist in a number of states and allow agencies to provide digital access to permits and other records.

    2. Recommended Best Practices for E-Access

    While not proposed as a requirement of this rule, the EPA is recommending best practices that can be used to augment the above requirement for electronic access. These best practice methods are not required to satisfy the e-access provision for this proposed rule, but may be helpful in the course of providing the fullest communication to the public on permitting actions. The recommended best practices of e-access include:

    • Continued posting of the draft permit on the Web site past the public comment period (e.g., until issuance of the final permit or until the permit application has been denied or withdrawn).

    • Posting the final permit on the Web site for a specified period of time after issuance of the permit (e.g., through the permit appeal period or petition period).

    • Posting (or hyperlinking to) other key permit support documents on the agency Web site or on a publicly-available online document management site (e.g., FDMS), such as the permit application, Statement of Basis, fact sheet, preliminary determination, final determination, and response to comments.15

    15 While the EPA believes it is a best practice to electronically post as many of the key permit decision documents and information as possible, we recognize that air quality modeling runs and other permit data files may not be compatible with e-access. These documents typically cannot be uploaded to an electronic format due to the size and storage requirements in the electronic posting. In some cases, permitting authorities may choose to upload a description of these documents with directions on how to access the files or how to request access to them.

    C. Requirements for Agencies Implementing the Federal Permit Program Rules

    For programs in which the permits are issued by the EPA or by an air agency that implements the EPA's federal permitting rules (i.e., 40 CFR parts 52, 55, 71 or 124), the EPA is proposing specific changes to the public notice and permit access methods. We are proposing to remove the mandatory newspaper notice requirement and mandatory access to the permit information at a physical address, and to replace these requirements with mandatory e-notice and mandatory e-access, as those terms are outlined in this rule, as the consistent noticing method for major source permits issued under the federal rules for NSR and title V, and for all EPA-issued OCS permits.16 While each of these programs currently has specific rule provisions for noticing that may be worded differently depending on the program, we are proposing to replace the existing rule provisions with consistently worded provisions that describe the requirements for mandatory e-notice and e-access.

    16 OCS permits issued by delegated agencies should use the approved public notice requirements of the delegated agency. 40 CFR 55.11.

    As noted in the above sections of this preamble, if an agency is satisfying the requirements of e-notice and e-access, the permitting authority would retain the discretion to supplement the e-notice with any other noticing method (e.g., newspaper publication, announcement through social media) depending on the specific circumstances of the permit application, such as the location of the proposed project and the accessibility of information sources by the affected community and other stakeholders. Moreover, the EPA recommends that agencies supplement their Web site postings with notices in newspapers and other forms of print media when noticing draft permits for facilities that are in areas where the agency believes such print media may enhance noticing efforts for certain audiences among the interested public. The EPA specifically encourages agency practices that consider the input and special needs (such as social, economic and geographic factors at the location) of the particular communities that may be affected by a permit action in order to provide public notice by methods that would better reach particular communities.17 Thus, we are not proposing to require that the permitting agency provide additional noticing methods beyond e-notice. At the same time, nothing in the proposed rule revisions prevents the permitting agency from also providing additional notice by a method other than e-notice.

    17 For example, an agency may determine that a permitting action may potentially impact a community that has a large population with limited English proficiency and could decide that it is prudent to provide multilingual notices of the draft permit to reach the affected community. See http://www.epa.gov/ocr/limited-english-proficiency and http://www.lep.gov/.

    With respect to title V in particular, the rule revisions include additional changes in order to support the movement to e-notice. Currently, the title V regulations in part 71 include the use of a mailing list for public notice purposes. This proposal includes regulatory revisions to amend the EPA's solicitation obligations associated with the mailing list, but it otherwise keeps the mailing list in place. The EPA interprets its rules, and understands that many air agencies do as well, to allow for the mailing list to be maintained in an electronic format. Further, the EPA recognizes that many air agencies also maintain their part 70 mailing lists in an electronic format and that such a format is generally supported by stakeholders as well. See, e.g., Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) Task Force Report at 202, 206-207.18 With respect to the EPA's mailing list obligations for the federal program, we are proposing to remove the specific language within 40 CFR 71.11(d)(3)(E) and 71.27(d)(3)(E) that requires the EPA to solicit mailing list membership through “area lists” and “periodic publication in the public press.”

    18 In 2006, a task force assembled by the EPA finalized a document titled, “Final Report to the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee: Title V Implementation Experience.” This document was the result of the task force's efforts to report on the implementation performance of the operating permit program under title V of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, based on the first 10 years of experience. The final report to the CAAAC, dated April 2006, can be found at http://www3.epa.gov/airquality/permits/taskforcedocs/200604_report.pdf.

    Similar changes are proposed for 40 CFR part 124, which are “general program requirements” that apply to federally-issued PSD and OCS permits, as well as permits issued for other media programs. 40 CFR 52.21(q), 40 CFR 55.6(a)(3). Due to the existing language in part 124 covering a number of permit programs other than air permitting, the EPA is proposing minor revisions to part 124 in order to maintain the current provisions for the other permit programs and to specifically clarify public notice requirements associated with EPA-issued PSD permits (and PSD permits issued by any program that implements 40 CFR 52.21). In this action, we are proposing to establish a new paragraph within paragraph 124.10(c)(2) that applies exclusively to PSD permits (and OCS permits, which use the PSD provisions) with clearly identified public notice requirements that will require e-notice rather than newspaper notice. The part 124 provisions would continue to require the agency to solicit the public to be added to a mailing list and to provide specific notifications (e.g., state, local governments, resource agencies). However, the proposed new provision would allow that in lieu of the existing requirement in part 124 regarding soliciting persons for “area lists” and notifying the public of the opportunity to be on a mailing list, the agency may use generally accepted methods (e.g., hyperlink sign up function or radio button on agency Web site, sign-up sheet at public hearing) that enable interested parties to subscribe to the mailing list.

    The OCS regulations specify that EPA will use the applicable administrative and procedural requirements in 40 CFR part 124 and the federal title V rules (part 71 is incorporated by reference), and that the Administrator will follow the procedures used to issue PSD permits when using 40 CFR part 124. 40 CFR 55.6(a)(3), 40 CFR 55.13(f), 40 CFR 55.14(c)(5). Hence, as e-notice flexibility is added to parts 71 and 124, it will be incorporated by reference into the OCS regulations for EPA-issued OCS permits. In addition, specific language referencing the administrative procedures of 40 CFR 71 is proposed to be added to the Administrative Procedures and Public Participation requirements provisions of the OCS regulations to clarify that EPA may use either the applicable administrative procedures of 40 CFR 71 or 40 CFR 124 when issuing OCS permits.

    We note that some air programs with EPA-approved plans for implementing the PSD program incorporate by reference the federal rule provisions—e.g., 40 CFR part 52.21. Furthermore, some of these program rules automatically update whenever the EPA revises its rules and the revisions become effective. These agencies would not have the option to continue with newspaper notice as their noticing method (unless they revise their rules and undertake a SIP revision to remove the referencing of the federal rules). These agencies would be required to provide e-notice and e-access according to this rule. This same scenario would apply to programs that are delegated by the EPA to implement 40 CFR 52.21 and issue PSD permits on behalf of the EPA. We specifically solicit comment on whether any air program that incorporates by reference the federal permitting rules would have difficulty meeting the e-notice and e-access requirements of this proposed rule if the revisions become effective immediately upon finalizing the rule. We also solicit suggestions for addressing such difficulties.

    In addition, we are proposing to delete a superfluous provision from 40 CFR 52.21(q) “Public participation.” The second sentence reads “[t]he Administrator shall follow the procedures at 40 CFR 52.21(r) as in effect on June 19, 1979, to the extent that the procedures of 40 CFR part 124 do not apply.” The preamble to the 1980 NSR rules explained the transition from the previous regulations to the consolidated permitting regulations at part 124: “. . . the procedures of the 1978 Part 52 regulations continue to apply to the extent that the new procedures have not yet displaced them. In time, the new procedures will displace the old ones entirely.” See 45 FR 52686, August 7, 1980. Since the procedures of 40 CFR 124 have displaced the old procedures, this sentence is no longer necessary.

    We solicit comment on this “mandatory e-notice and e-access” approach for permit programs implemented by the EPA and by other agencies implementing the federal air permitting rules.

    D. Requirements for Agencies Implementing Approved Programs Pursuant to the EPA's Permitting Rules for States

    For the noticing of major source permits issued pursuant to EPA-approved air agency programs under 40 CFR part 51 or 70, we are proposing to remove the mandatory newspaper notice requirement and provide these agencies with the option to select either e-notice or newspaper notice. A required element of these programs is to provide adequate notice and informed public participation, and this program element is not changing. However, a key aspect of this proposed approach is that the agency would be required to adopt one noticing method—known as the “consistent noticing method”—to be used for all of its notices. Thus, if an agency selects e-notice, it must provide e-notice for all of its draft permit notices. If a consistent noticing approach is not adhered to (i.e., if the agency posted some notices to its Web site and others in the newspaper), it could lead to confusion for the public, who may not know where to look for permitting information regarding a source proposing to locate in the community. Accordingly, if the agency elects e-notice as its consistent noticing method (and e-notice is not available in its approved SIP), it must implement its choice of noticing method through a change in its program rules. As discussed later in this preamble, we are requesting comment on whether there are air agencies that believe they can implement e-notice and e-access in lieu of newspaper notice without contravening their state rules.

    As with the proposed mandatory requirements for e-notice for the federal programs, if the e-notice option is chosen as the consistent noticing method for a particular state program, the state must use e-notice to provide the information required under existing public notification regulations and must provide e-access to the draft permit. All other permit documents required under existing regulations can be accessible either electronically or physically (i.e., in a designated reading room). However, if the agency chooses newspaper notice as the consistent noticing method, then the agency can either provide electronic access or physical access (or both) to the additional materials that existing regulations require be made publicly available.

    We are aware that many states already have Web sites that are actively used for permitting purposes—e.g., permit application instructions, form downloads, online permit applications. Consequently, we anticipate that most of these state agencies will opt for the e-notice approach, since it may mirror what they are already doing to supplement their newspaper notice. For these agencies, we believe this change would be minimally burdensome and would relieve them of the additional burden of providing newspaper notice. At the same time, we recognize that some air agencies do not have an established Web site, or they may have a Web site but they would need to invest in significant infrastructure to increase their Web site capability in order to accommodate the posting of permit information that existing regulations require be included in a newspaper notice. These agencies may opt to continue with the newspaper notice as their consistent noticing method.

    With regard to part 70, the proposed revisions would affect only the mandatory newspaper language, and would not change any other obligations such as the requirement to have or maintain a mailing list. The EPA interprets the existing mailing list obligations to include either electronic or hardcopy mailing list, or both, at the reasonable discretion of the air agency.

    Furthermore, nothing in these proposed revisions to parts 51 and 70 prevents the air agency from also providing public notice through other methods including, but not limited to, a newspaper notice. As with our proposal for noticing of permitting actions under the federal rules, under this proposed option, agencies would have the discretion to provide public notice through other methods—in addition to their consistent noticing method—if a particular permit action warrants it and ensure that the notice of the draft permit reaches the affected community and stakeholders. We encourage all air agencies to consider facility- and permit-specific facts in determining the appropriate methods of public notice, such as expected public interest, location and type of source being permitted, environmental justice considerations, including the language that will be understood by the affected community.

    To summarize, we propose that for air agencies that implement 40 CFR part 51 or 70, for the noticing of their major source draft permits, they either provide: (1) Mandatory e-notice and e-access, as these terms are used in the context of this proposed rule, or (2) newspaper notice with either electronic access (e.g., Web site) and/or physical access (e.g., reading room) to the draft permit. In choosing (1) or (2), they must use a consistent method of noticing. These air agencies can continue to supplement the consistent noticing method with other noticing methods at their discretion or as currently required under part 70. We specifically request comment on this approach for EPA-approved NSR and title V permit programs to establish either “e-notice” or newspaper notice as the single, consistent noticing method.

    As noted above, since many air agencies with EPA approved programs currently have a Web site and notice draft permits and provide permit documents on their Web sites, we do not believe that the e-notice requirement would impose any additional burden on most agencies. We are specifically seeking comment on whether (and how significantly) this rule imposes additional burden on air agencies that already provide postings of permits on their Web sites and those air agencies that do not already use a Web site for permit postings.

    Finally, the EPA is requesting comment on two alternative approaches to the ones being proposed in this rule and described above, one for providing notice and the other for providing access. In the first alternative approach, an agency implementing rules pursuant to either part 51 or 70 would not be required to choose a consistent noticing method. Thus, the agency could potentially provide one noticing method for some permits (or some types of permits) and another noticing method for other permits. This approach is analogous to the “media neutral” approach that is available under § 51.161 for the noticing of minor NSR permits, as well as the approach adopted in the Tribal NSR Rule. See 40 CFR 49.157(b)(1). Neither of these other program rules requires a consistent noticing method. Thus, under such an approach for this rule, we would amend the part 51 and 70 rules that currently require “newspaper” notice to require use of Web site or newspaper notice, but without specifying a consistent noticing method. Alternatively, to provide additional flexibility to the agency, we could simply require that they provide notice via “a method reasonably likely to provide routine and ready access to the public” without imposing any more specific requirements. The EPA requests comment on whether to allow such an approach, how likely it is that this approach could lead to confusion (e.g., if the permitting agency regularly or frequently changed its noticing method from one permitting action to another), and whether EPA should require the permitting agency to specify the circumstances under which it will use a particular method or articulate criteria for doing so. The EPA also requests comment on whether it is reasonable to assume that permitting authorities would try to avoid such problems because each agency is ultimately responsible to ensure that it provides adequate notice on each of its permits and access to the permit information. In other words, does the suggested requirement for the agency to notice via “a method reasonably likely to provide routine and ready access to the public,” in and of itself ensure that some level of noticing consistency is achieved?

    The EPA also requests comments on a second alternative approach to providing access, under which e-notice would not need to be coupled with e-access for state agency programs implementing approved rules pursuant to parts 51 and 70. This may help some states that notice permits using an online permits register (which would qualify for e-notice), but where the state may not have its own Web site to satisfy the “e-access” requirement of making the draft permit available electronically. As noted elsewhere in this preamble, the state would still be required to provide access to the draft permit, as well as any other documents that are part of the permit record.

    E. Soliciting Comment on Allowing Temporary Use of Alternative Noticing Methods

    We are requesting comments on adding a provision to each of the program rules that would allow an agency that is relying on e-notice (and/or e-access) to temporarily use another noticing medium for a reasonable period of time during which its Web site is unavailable. This may be necessary during planned Web site outages (e.g., a transition to a different Web site platform) or unforeseen circumstances, such as Web site malfunctions or emergency situations (e.g., hurricanes) that result in prolonged electrical system outages. We do not believe this same problem existed under the current regulations that require newspaper notice. This is based on the assumption that, in the event that a problem occurs with a newspaper that the agency plans to use, the agency can notice the permit in another newspaper in the area that it determines would provide adequate notice.

    If an alternative noticing method is used, it would need to be publicly announced in some way before they occur, so that the public has reasonable notice of where to look for permit notices during such outages. It would also need to assure adequate notice to the affected public. Noticing either in the newspaper or State Register could be an agency's alternative noticing method, since each method is generally presumed to provide adequate notice to the public.

    Given the broad range of situations that could lead to problems with a Web site, it may be difficult to specify the limits of the duration of the “temporary” period. We expect that most agencies would generally have an incentive to restore operations to their Web site as soon as possible for cost purposes and to ensure that they continue to provide the most effective notice of their permitting actions. We request comment as to whether providing specific boundaries around the use of the alternative noticing method should be required, and how those boundaries should be established and what criteria should be used to judge their adequacy. We specifically seek comment on the appropriate criteria for invoking the alternative noticing method, the length of time it could be used, and how the transition to the alternative method would be conveyed to the public.

    F. Clarifying E-Notice and E-Access Applicability for Minor NSR Permits

    As noted earlier in this preamble, this rule proposal is not revising any regulatory requirements for minor NSR permits. Notably, this rule proposal is not revising the requirement for “notice by prominent advertisement” in 40 CFR 51.161(b)(3), because the prominent advertisement term, as discussed in the EPA's 2012 Memorandum, is sufficiently broad to allow for e-notice. However, while we are reaffirming the guidance provided in the EPA's 2012 Memorandum, we are proposing to amplify its policy guidance in two respects.

    This rule is proposing to clarify that the EPA's 2012 Memorandum's interpretation of “prominent advertisement” in paragraph 51.161(b)(3) as “media neutral” also applies to paragraph 51.161(b)(1). The provision currently reads: “[a]vailability for public inspection in at least one location in the area affected of the information submitted by the owner or operator and of the State or local agency's analysis of the effect on air quality.” Thus, paragraph 51.161(b)(1) does not expressly require that permitting information be made available in the form of paper records, and we are proposing to clarify that it allow for electronic access to the permitting information. More specifically, we are proposing that allowing electronic access to the information submitted by the owner or operator and to the agency's analysis of the effect on air quality by way of a Web site identified by the permitting authority would satisfy the requirement of “availability for public inspection in at least one location in the area affected . . .” We believe this approach is consistent with the memorandum with respect to allowing use of electronic and other methods to provide notice of minor NSR actions, and it is reasonable for the same reasons discussed in this preamble for allowing electronic access to permit documents for major source permits. We specifically request comment on this clarification for the minor NSR program rules.

    In addition, in issuing the EPA's 2012 Memorandum, the EPA indicated that our guidance on the meaning of the term “prominent advertisement” in 40 CFR part 51.161(b)(3) applies only to minor sources and not to synthetic minor sources. See Footnote 1. Given the statement in the memorandum, which raises uncertainty about the flexibility to use media neutral methods for synthetic minor programs, the EPA has now determined that it is not appropriate to exclude synthetic minor permits in this regard, and that this action should propose to clarify that the limitation established in the footnote is no longer appropriate. In this action, we are proposing to treat minor and synthetic minor sources identically in this regard by extending the EPA's media neutrality policy to synthetic minor sources. In addition, we propose to extend this policy to any permit action that relies on the public notice requirements of § 51.161.

    We seek comment on these two proposed revisions to the policy guidance provided by the EPA's 2012 Memorandum. Through the preamble to the final rule for this action, we intend to provide amplifying guidance with regard to the EPA's noticing policies for permits subject to 40 CFR 51.161.

    G. Notice Requirements for PSD Permit Rescissions

    In addition to the existing mandatory newspaper notice required for draft permits, part 71 permits programs and COA designations, the permitting program rules contain another regulatory provision that provides for newspaper notification. In the federal PSD regulations, a provision titled “permit rescission” requires that “[i]f the Administrator rescinds a permit under this paragraph, the public shall be given adequate notice of the rescission” and that notice “in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected region . . .” is considered adequate. 40 CFR 52.21(w)(4). While this language does not foreclose the notion that another type of noticing method could also be “adequate,” we are proposing to revise the rule provision to specifically require that the permitting authority notify the public of a permit rescission electronically—i.e., on a Web site identified by the permitting authority. This “mandatory e-notice” approach for permit rescissions under 40 CFR 52.21(w) is consistent with our approach for the noticing of other actions that implement the federal program rules. We specifically request comment on whether this is an appropriate approach for the noticing of a permit rescission.

    V. Policy Rationale and Legal Basis

    This proposal to revise these CFRs to allow permitting authorities to provide public notice of permits and other actions on a publicly available Web site in lieu of the newspaper publication requirement, when final and effective, would reduce burden to all air agencies. In addition, the proposed requirements are consistent with practices some permitting agencies currently follow to supplement existing requirements for noticing permits, and they would provide flexibility for agencies to use the noticing methods that they determine are appropriate, reasonable and effective without the need for newspaper notice. These proposed changes are consistent with the approaches taken in EPA's permitting rule for Indian country and in EPA's minor NSR regulations, and with broad stakeholder input regarding more effective advertisement of permitting actions.

    As noted earlier in this preamble, Internet Web sites have become an increasingly effective and widely employed avenue for broadly disseminating information to the public and many agencies currently supplement the required newspaper publication by posting draft and final permits on their agency Web sites. Since the Internet is generally available at all times, it allows for the noticing of a permit, and for the information that supports the permit, to be available and accessible over a longer period of time, rather than a one-day newspaper publication of the notice. As noted above, most states are already using the Internet (to varying degrees) for noticing permitting actions, so we do not anticipate many agencies having to spend a lot of time or funding on upgrading their existing Web sites to meet the proposed requirements. For agencies currently without a Web site for noticing permits and hearings, the use of e-notice and other applicable alternatives may allow the permitting authority to redirect funds that were being used for newspaper publication in order to establish and maintain a Web site where permit information could be posted. Thus, the EPA anticipates these proposed rule revisions, when finalized, would result in more effective dissemination of permitting and hearing information to the surrounding communities (including the underserved and environmental justice (EJ) communities) and possibly substantial cost savings for both the EPA and for state and local program permitting authorities.

    We believe these proposed requirements are consistent with CAA goals of providing public notice and promoting access to information in permitting, and they would enhance the permitting process. With respect to preconstruction permit actions, CAA § 160(1) establishes a statutory policy of providing for informed public participation in the permitting process, and CAA § 165(a)(2) precludes issuing a PSD permit without an opportunity for the public to review the decision and submit comments. These proposed revisions enable the use of e-notice and e-access for both EPA-issued and other agency-issued permits and further the statutory policies these provisions establish. With respect to operating permits, the 1990 CAA Amendments require that the EPA rules for permitting programs provide “adequate, streamlined and reasonable procedures” including an opportunity for the general public to have informed participation in the air permitting process in the areas affected by a proposed permit. CAA § 502(b)(6). Also, § 502(b)(8) provides that procedures to make information available should be consistent with the need for expeditious action on permit applications or related matters. The proposed revisions, which enable the use of e-notice for both EPA-issued and other agency-issued permits, would improve implementation of the statutory policy of ensuring public notice of title V permits by providing more effective noticing procedures in affected areas across the country.

    Another basis for, and benefit from, the proposed action would come from the cost savings associated with the move to electronic notification instead of legal notice advertisements in newspapers. The EPA's annual costs for publishing notices in newspapers is a significant annual expenditure, and it is the EPA's understanding that the newspaper publication for noticing permits has become costly for states as well. The EPA's proposal intends to reduce those costs by allowing the permitting authority to notice draft permits using a publicly available Web site in lieu of newspaper publication. While e-notice may pose a burden for certain states that do not already have a permitting Web site, the EPA is not mandating that permitting authorities that implement 40 CFR part 51 or 70 adopt the e-notice and e-access approaches, so these agencies can continue with the current program of newspaper publication if they prefer. In addition, permitting authorities that incorporate by reference the federal PSD rules at 40 CFR 52.21 that wish to continue to use newspaper notice as their primary method of notice can undertake a SIP revision to remove the reference to the federal provisions and adopt their own noticing rules that conform to § 51.166.

    As an example of the approximate costs for publishing permit and hearing notices in the newspaper, in Fiscal Year 2013, the EPA Regions incurred a cost of over $40,000 to publish newspaper notices for NSR, title V and OCS permits. In Fiscal Year 2014, newspaper notice for the EPA regional permits exceeded $35,000. Newspaper publication costs vary widely depending on a number of factors, but for most permits the cost to notice averages between $600 and $1,000 per notice. While these costs vary on a yearly basis in each EPA Region, the overall annual costs are significant for the EPA. Moreover, given that state and local air agencies generally process more air permits than the EPA, it is reasonable to expect that the annual costs incurred for newspaper publication by state and local permitting agencies exceed the annual costs incurred by the EPA. (We note, however, that some air agencies require that the applicant bear the cost of newspaper publication.)

    While we recognize that there is a cost associated with developing and maintaining an agency Web site for the purpose of noticing permits, the incremental cost to upload permit notices is expected to be very low, and we expect the overall burden would be less than that of the existing rules that mandate newspaper publication. This is because most agencies already have their own Web sites (or some other means to electronically notice draft permits and hearings) and they will continue to have their Web sites regardless of the requirements that are being proposed by this action. Thus, even though the costs of creating, upgrading and maintaining a Web site and providing web security may very well be many times higher than the cost of an agency's annual newspaper notice, states are choosing to continue to have a Web site due to the convenience of noticing and the ability to level out the overall costs of the Web site across all of the program areas of the agency. Furthermore, for agencies that already do web postings and posting of the draft permit, the newspaper requirement is duplicative and consequently the removal of the requirement would result in savings. The EPA specifically seeks comments on the potential cost savings, and the possibility of increased burden, from the specific noticing requirements in this rule proposal.

    A broad range of stakeholders has identified e-notice as a more efficient, more prominent, less costly and more cost-effective, and more reasonable approach to public notice of permitting actions, as compared to newspaper notice. For example, e-notice is responsive to recommendations from the CAAAC's Title V Task Force Report, which includes a number of recommendations for implementation improvements, such as public notice. Importantly, task force members agreed unanimously on two recommendations related to the means of providing public notice. First, task force members recommended that state program rules should be allowed to include alternatives to newspaper notification, provided the alternative is more effective in informing a cross section of the affected public. (A remaining concern mentioned was that members of the public may lack routine access to the Internet.) See Recommendation #1 at 210. Second, task force members agreed that states should improve their title V Web sites to provide better notice and access to relevant documents in a permit proceeding. Accordingly, the Final Report recommended that the EPA should encourage permitting authorities to provide the option to receive notification by email instead of traditional mail, and to maintain their Web sites with information, documents, and dates helpful for public participation, including how to sign up to be included on a mailing list. See Recommendation #3 at 210. While these recommendations were focused on permitting under title V, the EPA believes that the same concepts and concerns would also apply to NSR and OCS permits.

    As noted in the previous sections, providing e-notice is consistent with noticing requirements of the EPA's Tribal NSR Rule issued in 2011 and with the EPA's 2012 Memorandum that clarified the term “prominent advertisement” is media neutral for the minor NSR program. This action also supports Executive Orders 13563 and 13610 (issued in 2011 and 2012, respectively), which direct the Agency to modernize its rules periodically in order to achieve regulatory objectives more effectively, considering the agency resources and priorities.

    VI. Implementation A. Agencies Implementing Federal Preconstruction Permit Program Rules

    Once this rule becomes final, it will become effective within 30 days for air permitting programs that implement the federal program rules at 40 CFR parts 52, 55 and 124. This includes EPA Regions, air agencies that are delegated authority by the EPA to issue permits on behalf of the EPA (via a delegation agreement), and air agencies that have their own rules approved by EPA in a SIP and the SIP incorporates by reference the federal program rules and automatically updates when EPA's rules are amended. Under this rule proposal, these programs would be required to implement e-notice and e-access, with the exception of states that are delegated authority to issue permits under part 55 (as described earlier in this preamble).

    While we expect that most programs that implement the federal permitting rules are in a position to comply with the proposed requirements for e-notice and e-access once this rule is finalized, some programs may need more time. More time may be necessary if, for example, a delegated air program needs to upgrade or improve its Web site to allow for e-notice and/or e-access. We request comment on whether any air programs that would be required to immediately implement 40 CFR 52.21 would need a “phase in” period, beyond the 30 days, in order to implement e-notice and e-access.

    B. Agencies Implementing State Preconstruction Permit Program Rules

    For an air agency with an approved SIP that implements 40 CFR part 51 and that chooses e-notice and e-access as its consistent noticing method, it may need to revise its applicable program rules and seek the EPA's approval of a SIP revision in order to begin to implement e-notice in lieu of newspaper notice. (However, NNSR programs under § 51.165 are subject to the public participation requirements at § 51.161 and may be able to interpret their state rules and SIP to currently allow for implementing e-notice in lieu of newspaper notice.) Similarly, for an agency that implements rules that incorporate by reference our federal program regulations (40 CFR 52), and if its rules do not automatically update upon the EPA amending its federal rules, it may need to amend its regulations and seek the EPA's approval of a SIP revision in order to implement e-notice and e-access in lieu of newspaper notice.

    Under this proposed rule it is voluntary for these programs to move to e-notice and e-access, and we are not proposing to impose a deadline for submission of SIP revisions for those programs that are choosing to adopt e-notice and e-access instead of newspaper notice. Furthermore, nothing in the current or proposed 40 CFR part 51 rules prevents an agency from beginning to implement e-notice and e-access methods once the agency is ready, but depending on the air agency's rules there may be ongoing obligations to continue with newspaper notices until the agency revises its rules. We request comment on whether agencies believe they have the ability to implement e-notice and e-access in lieu of newspaper notice without amending their state rules.

    C. Agencies Implementing Approved Operating Permit Programs

    Consistent with title V and the part 70 regulations for initial program submittals, approved part 70 programs must provide for implementation of 40 CFR 70.7, including subsection “h” which sets forth the public participation obligations including “adequate procedures for public notice.” See, e.g., 40 CFR 70.4(b)(16). A program revision may be necessary when the relevant federal regulations are modified or supplemented. 40 CFR 70.4(i). When part 70 is revised after the air agency program is approved, the EPA determines the need for conforming revisions, but the approved program may initiate a program revision on its own initiative. See, e.g., 40 CFR 70.4(a) and (i). Under the proposed rulemaking, air agencies implementing part 70 have a choice as to whether or not to adopt e-notice as their consistent method of public notice of air permits. If an air agency chooses that approach and a program revision is necessary (e.g., additional authority is needed), then the agency should initiate a program revision by undergoing a rule change and submitting a program revision package to the EPA for review and approval consistent with § 70.4(i)(2).

    As previously noted in this preamble, this proposal would not change the requirement to provide “adequate procedures for public notice.” Consequently, we believe that a program revision will not necessarily be required for all approved programs and that certain agency programs could implement e-notice and e-access upon approval of the rules at the state level. We propose that, for an agency that needs only to revise the agency program rules to clarify its implementation of e-notice and e-access but does not otherwise require a program change because the current program practice includes electronic posting of public notices and the draft permit and has adequate authority and resources for maintaining the practice, that such agency does not need a program revision for implementing the revised part 70 notice requirements. We request comment on our proposed determination that certain approved programs will not need a program revision for implementing e-notice. Alternatively, the EPA proposes that these program revisions are non-substantial. Accordingly, the EPA Regional offices would issue direct approvals of these program revisions concurrent with their notice of proposed approval. We request comment on our interpretation that the program revisions are non-substantial.

    D. Agencies Delegated To Implement the Federal Operating Permit Program

    With regard to the proposed part 71 program revisions, once the rules are finalized, an air agency that is delegated the part 71 program would likely need to update its delegation agreement to update its notice procedures consistent with the e-notice requirement in the federal rules.

    VII. Environmental Justice Considerations

    The 1990 CAA Amendments generally require that the EPA or the permitting authority provide for adequate procedural opportunity for the general public to have informed participation in the air permitting process in the areas affected by a proposed permit. These areas include EJ communities.

    The effectiveness of noticing methods for reaching underserved and EJ communities is a substantial concern to the EPA. A 2011 report issued by NEJAC found that publication in the legal section of a regional newspaper is antiquated and ineffective, and is not ideal for providing notice to affected EJ communities.19 Regarding public participation, the report recommends to the EPA: “To ensure meaningful public participation, the public notice and outreach process must include direct communication in appropriate languages through telephone calls and mailings to EJ and tribal communities, press releases, radio announcements, electronic and regular mail, Web site postings and the posting of signs.” Thus, the NEJAC specifically listed Web site postings as a method to ensure meaningful public participation. The EPA concludes that notice via the Internet would be a viable and effective means of making information widely available to the public. We encourage permitting authorities to provide additional notice where they determine that a specific jurisdiction or population would be better served with notice by traditional newspaper or another noticing method.

    19 “Enhancing Environmental Justice in EPA Permitting Programs.” National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. April, 2011, pp. 20-21, http://www3.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publications/nejac/ej-in-permitting-report-2011.pdf.

    VIII. 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.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection activities contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB control numbers 2060-0003 (for PSD and NNSR permit programs) and 2060-0243 and 2060-0336 (for operating permit programs).

    In this action, the EPA is proposing to revise regulations to address public noticing method requirements for permits for major sources of air pollution. It is important to note that the proposed rule revisions would not require air agencies that implement the permitting program through an EPA-approved title V program or SIP to use e-notice. These agencies may continue to provide notice by newspaper publication or they can adopt e-notice as their consistent noticing method. Only in the latter case would an agency be required to revise the title V program rules or undertake a SIP revision. For EPA-delegated agencies, and for agencies that incorporate by reference the federal rules and their rules automatically update when the EPA revises its rules, no rulemaking action would be required by the agency to adopt the e-notice requirements. In addition, an agency delegated a part 71 program may need to update its delegation agreement. However, if any of these agencies desire to continue to provide notice by way of newspaper publication, they could request removal of delegation, revise their program rules consistent with the rules for state programs (e.g., 40 CFR 51.166), and undertake a SIP revision. An agency delegated the part 71 program may have to choose between implementing e-notice, obtaining approval for implementing a part 70 program, or relinquishing their title V program. Given that many air agencies already are providing various forms of electronic notice as a supplement to their newspaper notices, we anticipate that many agencies will cease to notice permits by way of newspaper. However, to the extent that a SIP revision or a title V program revision is necessary to effect the changes being proposed, we believe that the burden is already accounted for under the approved information collection requests noted above.

    In addition, the proposed rule would not create any new requirements for regulated entities, since air agencies are responsible for the noticing of permits. Some industry sources could experience a reduction in costs for permitting in cases where the permitting agency requires that the cost of the newspaper public notice be incurred by the permit applicant.

    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. This action will not impose any requirements on small entities. Entities potentially affected directly by this proposal include state, local and tribal governments, and none of these governments would qualify as a small entity. Other types of small entities are not directly subject to the requirements of this action.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (URMA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded federal mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

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

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. Specifically, these proposed public notice revisions do not affect the relationship or distribution of power and responsibilities between the federal government and Indian tribes. Elsewhere in this preamble we specifically describe the interaction of this proposed rule with tribal air agencies. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern environmental health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

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

    The 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. The results of this evaluation are contained in Section VII of this preamble titled, “Environmental Justice Considerations.”

    IX. Statutory Authority

    The statutory authority for this action is provided by 23 U.S.C. 101; 42 U.S.C. 6901, et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 300f, et seq. 33 U.S.C. 1251, et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 51

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control.

    40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference.

    40 CFR Part 55

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control.

    40 CFR Part 70

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control.

    40 CFR Part 71

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control.

    40 CFR Part 124

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, title 40, chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 51—REQUIREMENTS FOR PREPARATION, ADOPTION, AND SUBMITTAL OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 1. The authority citation for part 51 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    23 U.S.C. 101; 42 U.S.C. 7401—7671q.

    Subpart I—Review of New Sources and Modifications 2. Section 51.165 is amended by adding paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 51.165 Permit requirements.

    (i) Public participation requirements. The reviewing authority shall notify the public of a draft permit by a method described in either paragraph (i)(1) or (2) of this section. The selected method, known as the “consistent noticing method,” shall comply with the public participation procedural requirements of § 51.161 of this chapter and be used for all permits issued under this section and can be supplemented by other methods on individual permits at the discretion of the reviewing authority.

    (1) Post the information in paragraphs (i)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section, for the duration of the public comment period, on a public Web site(s) identified by the reviewing authority.

    (i) A notice of availability of the draft permit for public comment;

    (ii) The draft permit;

    (iii) Information on how to access the record for the permit; and

    (iv) Information on how to request and/or attend a public hearing on the permit.

    (2) Publish a notice of availability of the draft permit for public comment in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the source is located. The notice shall include information on how to access the draft permit and the record for the permit and how to request and/or attend a public hearing on the draft permit.

    3. Section 51.166 is amended by revising paragraphs (q)(2)(ii), (iii), (iv), (vi), and (viii) to read as follows:
    § 51.166 Prevention of significant deterioration of air quality.

    (q) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Make available in at least one location in each region in which the proposed source would be constructed a copy of all materials the applicant submitted, a copy of the preliminary determination, and a copy or summary of other materials, if any, considered in making the preliminary determination. This requirement can be met by making these materials available at a physical location or on a public Web site identified by the reviewing authority.

    (iii) Notify the public, by advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in each region in which the proposed source would be constructed, of the application, the preliminary determination, the degree of increment consumption that is expected from the source or modification, and of the opportunity for comment through a public hearing and through written public comment. Alternatively, these notifications can be made on a public Web site identified by the reviewing authority; however, the reviewing authority's selected notification method (i.e., either newspaper or Web site), known as the “consistent noticing method,” shall be used for all permits subject to notice under this section and can be supplemented by other methods on individual permits at the discretion of the reviewing authority. If the reviewing authority selects Web site notice as its consistent noticing method, the notice shall be available for the duration of the comment period and shall include the notice of public comment, the draft permit, and information on how to access the record for the permit and how to request and/or attend a public hearing on the permit.

    (iv) Distribute (e.g., via email, courier mail, postal service) a copy of the notice of public comment to the applicant, the Administrator and to officials and agencies having cognizance over the location where the proposed construction would occur as follows: Any other State or local air pollution control agencies, the chief executives of the city and county where the source would be located; any comprehensive regional land use planning agency, and any State, Federal Land Manager, or Indian Governing body whose lands may be affected by emissions from the source or modification.

    (vi) Consider all written comments submitted within a time specified in the notice of public comment and all comments received at any public hearing(s) in making a final decision on the approvability of the application. The reviewing authority shall make all comments available for public inspection in the same physical location(s), or the same Web site(s), where the reviewing authority made available preconstruction information relating to the proposed source or modification.

    (viii) Notify the applicant in writing of the final determination and make such notification available for public inspection at the same location(s) or Web site(s) where the reviewing authority made available preconstruction information and public comments relating to the proposed source or major modification.

    PART 52—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF IMPLEMENTATION PLANS 4. The authority citation for part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.

    Subpart A—General Provisions 5. Section 52.21 is amended by revising paragraphs (q) and (w)(4) to read as follows:
    § 52.21 Prevention of significant deterioration of air quality.

    (q) Public participation. The administrator shall follow the applicable procedures of 40 CFR part 124 in processing applications under this section.

    (w) * * *

    (4) If the Administrator rescinds a permit under this paragraph, the Administrator shall post a notice of the rescission determination on a public Web site identified by the Administrator within 60 days of the rescission.

    PART 55—OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF AIR REGULATIONS 6. The authority citation for the part 55 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Section 328 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.) as amended by Public Law 101-549.

    7. Section 55.5 is amended by revising paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (ii) and (f)(2) and (4) to read as follows:
    § 55.5 Corresponding onshore area designation.

    (f) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) Make available, in at least one location in the NOA and in the area requesting COA designation, which can be a public Web site identified by the EPA, a copy of all materials submitted by the requester, a copy of the Administrator's preliminary determination, and a copy or summary of other materials, if any, considered by the Administrator in making the preliminary determination; and

    (ii) Notify the public, by prominent advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the NOA and the area requesting COA designation or on a public Web site identified by the EPA, of a 30-day opportunity for written public comment on the available information and the Administrator's preliminary COA designation.

    (2) A copy of the notice required pursuant to paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section shall be sent (or emailed) to the requester, the affected source, each person from whom a written request of such notice has been received, and the following officials and agencies having jurisdiction over the COA and NOA: State and local air pollution control agencies, the chief executive of the city and county, the Federal Land Manager of potentially affected Class I areas, and any Indian governing body whose lands may be affected by emissions from the OCS source.

    (4) The Administrator will make a final COA designation within 60 days after the close of the public comment period. The Administrator will notify, in writing (which includes email), the requester and each person who has requested notice of the final action and will set forth the reasons for the determination. Such notification will be made available for public inspection.

    8. Section 55.6 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 55.6 Permit requirements.

    (a) * * *

    (3) Administrative procedures and public participation. The Administrator will follow the applicable procedures of 40 CFR part 71 or 40 CFR part 124 in processing applications under this part. When using 40 CFR part 124, the Administrator will follow the procedures used to issue Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) permits.

    9. Section 55.7 is amended by revising paragraphs (f)(4)(ii) and (iii) to read as follows:
    § 55.7 Exemptions.

    (f) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (ii) Make available, in at least one location in the COA and NOA, which can be a public Web site identified by the permitting authority, a copy of all materials submitted by the requester, a copy of the preliminary determination, and a copy or summary of other materials, if any, considered in making the preliminary determination.

    (iii) Notify the public, by prominent advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the COA and NOA or on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority, of a 30-day opportunity for written public comment on the information submitted by the owner or operator and on the preliminary determination.

    PART 70—STATE OPERATING PERMIT PROGRAMS 10. The authority citation for the part 70 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.

    11. Section 70.7 is amended by revising paragraphs (h)(1) and (2) to read as follows:
    § 70.7 Permit issuance, renewal, reopenings, and revisions.

    (h) * * *

    (1) Notice shall be given by one of the following methods that is selected by the permitting authority as its “consistent noticing method”: by publishing the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the source is located (or in a State publication designed to give general public notice) or by posting the notice, for the duration of the public comment period, on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority. The consistent noticing method shall be used for all permits subject to notice under this paragraph. If Web site noticing is selected as the consistent noticing method, the draft permit shall also be posted, for the duration of the public comment period, on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority. In addition, notice shall be given to persons on a mailing list developed by the permitting authority, including those who request in writing (via email, Web sign up, or other method) to be on the list. The permitting authority shall use other means if necessary to assure adequate notice to the affected public.

    (2) The notice shall identify the affected facility; the name and address of the permittee; the name and address of the permitting authority processing the permit; the activity or activities involved in the permit action; the emissions change involved in any permit modification; the name, address, and telephone number of a person (or an email or Web site address) from whom interested persons may obtain additional information, including copies of the permit draft, the application, all relevant supporting materials, including those set forth in § 70.4(b)(3)(viii) of this part, and all other materials available to the permitting authority (except for otherwise publically available materials and publications) that are relevant to the permit decision; a brief description of the comment procedures required by this part; and the time and place of any hearing that may be held, including a statement of procedures to request a hearing (unless a hearing has already been scheduled).

    PART 71—FEDERAL OPERATING PERMIT PROGRAMS 12. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401, et seq.

    Subpart A—Operating Permits 13. Section 71.4 is amended by revising paragraph (g) to read as follows:
    § 71.4 Program implementation.

    (g) Public notice of part 71 programs. In taking action to administer and enforce an operating permits program under this part, the Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register informing the public of such action and the effective date of any part 71 program as set forth in § 71.4(a) through (c) or (d)(1)(ii). The publication of this part in the Federal Register on July 1, 1996 serves as the notice for the part 71 permit programs described in § 71.4(d)(1)(i) and (e). The EPA will also publish a notice in the Federal Register of any delegation of a portion of the part 71 program to a State, eligible Tribe, or local agency pursuant to the provisions of § 71.10. In addition to notices published in the Federal Register under this paragraph (g), the Administrator will, to the extent practicable, post a notice on a public Web site identified by the Administrator of the part 71 program effectiveness or delegation, and will send a letter to the Tribal governing body for an Indian Tribe or the Governor (or his or her designee) of the affected area to provide notice of such effectiveness or delegation.

    14. Section 71.11 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(3)(i) introductory text, (d)(3)(ii), and (d)(4)(i)(G) to read as follows:
    § 71.11 Administrative record, public participation, and administrative review.

    (d) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (i) By mailing (or emailing) a copy of a notice to the following persons (any person otherwise entitled to receive notice under paragraph (d) of this section may waive his or her rights to receive notice for any permit):

    (ii) By posting a notice on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority for the duration of the public comment period. The notice shall be consistent with paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section and be accompanied by a copy of the draft permit.

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (G) The physical location and/or Web site address of the administrative record, the times at which the record will be open for public inspection, and a statement that all data submitted by the applicant are available as part of the administrative record; and

    Subpart B—Permits for Early Reductions Sources 15. Section 71.27 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(3)(i) introductory text, (d)(3)(ii), and (d)(4)(i)(E) to read as follows:
    § 71.27 Public participation and appeal.

    (d) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (i) By mailing (or emailing) a copy of a notice to the following persons (any person otherwise entitled to receive notice under this paragraph (d) may waive his or her rights to receive notice for any permit):

    (ii) By posting a notice of availability and a copy of the draft permit on a public Web site identified by the permitting authority for the duration of the public comment period.

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (E) The physical location and/or Web site address of the administrative record, the times at which the record will be open for public inspection, a statement that all data submitted by the applicant are available as part of the administrative record, and the name, address, and telephone number of a person (or an email or Web site address) from whom interested persons may obtain additional information, including copies of the draft permit, the application, all relevant supporting materials, and all other materials available to the Administrator that are relevant to the permit decision;

    PART 124—PROCEDURES FOR DECISIONMAKING 16. The authority citation for part 124 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.; Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. 300f et seq.; Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart A—General Program Requirements 17. Section 124.10 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(2)(iii) to read as follows:
    § 124.10 Public notice of permit actions and public comment period.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iii) For PSD permits:

    (A) In lieu of the requirement in paragraphs (c)(1)(ix)(B) and (C) of this section regarding soliciting persons for “area lists” and notifying the public of the opportunity to be on a mailing list, the Director may use generally accepted methods (e.g., hyperlink sign up function or radio button on agency Web site, sign-up sheet at public hearing, etc.) that enable interested parties to subscribe to a mailing list. The Director may update the mailing list from time to time by requesting written indication of continued interest from those listed. The Director may delete from the list the name of any person who fails to respond to such a request within a reasonable timeframe.

    (B) In lieu of the requirement in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section to publish a notice in a daily or weekly newspaper, the Director shall notify the public by posting the following information, for the duration of the public comment period, on a public Web site identified by the Director: a notice of availability of the draft permit for public comment (or the denial of the permit application), the draft permit, information on how to access the administrative record, and information on how to request and/or attend a public hearing on the permit.

    (C) In lieu of the requirement in paragraph (d)(1)(vi) of this section to specify a location of the administrative record, the Director may post the administrative record on a public Web site identified by the Director.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32639 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52, 78, and 97 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0500; FRL-9940-57-OAR] RIN 2060-AS05 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the comment period for the proposed rule titled “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS” that was published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2015. The proposal provided for a public comment period ending January 19, 2016. The EPA received several requests from the public to extend this comment period. The EPA is extending the comment period to a 60-day public comment period ending February 1, 2016.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published December 3, 2015, at 80 FR 75706, is extended. Comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0500, must be received on or before February 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Follow the detailed instructions as provided under ADDRESSES in the December 3, 2015 proposal.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. David Risley, Clean Air Markets Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (Mail Code 6204M), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9177; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document extends the public comment period for the proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS (80 FR 75706, December 3, 2015) in order to ensure that the public has sufficient time to review and comment on the proposal.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Parts 52, 78, and 97

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Electric power plants, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen oxides, Reporting and record keeping requirements.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32507 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 216 and 300 [Docket No. 090223227-5999-02] RIN 0648-AX63 Trade Monitoring Procedures for Fishery Products; International Trade in Seafood; Permit Requirements for Importers and Exporters AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes regulations to revise procedures and requirements for filing import, export, and re-export documentation for certain fishery products to meet requirements for the SAFE Port Act of 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), other applicable statutes, and obligations that arise from U.S. participation in regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) and other arrangements to which the United States is a member or contracting party. Specifically, NMFS proposes to integrate the collection of trade documentation within the government-wide International Trade Data System (ITDS) and require electronic information collection through the automated portal maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Under this integration, NMFS would require annually renewable International Fisheries Trade Permits (IFTP) for the import, export, and re-export of certain regulated seafood commodities that are subject to trade monitoring programs of RFMOs and/or subject to trade documentation requirements under domestic law. These trade monitoring programs enable the United States to exclude products that do not meet the criteria for admissibility to U.S. markets, including products resulting from illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing activities. This proposed rule would consolidate existing international trade permits for regulated seafood products under the Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) and Highly Migratory Species International Trade Permit (HMS ITP) programs and expand the scope of the permit requirement to include regulated seafood products under the Tuna Tracking and Verification Program (TTVP). This proposed rule would also stipulate data and trade documentation for the above programs which must be provided electronically to CBP and address recordkeeping requirements for these programs in light of the proposed changes. Trade documentation excludes any programmatic documents that are not required at the time of entry/export (e.g., biweekly dealer reports).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received by February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by docket NOAA-NMFS-2009-0124, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2009-0124, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Mark Wildman, International Fisheries Division, Office for International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this proposed rule may be submitted to the Office for International Affairs and Seafood Inspection (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or by email to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-7285.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mark Wildman, International Trade and Marine Stewardship Division, Office for International Affairs and Seafood Inspection, NOAA Fisheries (phone 301-427-8386, or email [email protected]).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act, Pub. L. 109-347) requires all Federal agencies with a role in import admissibility decisions to collect information electronically through the ITDS. The Department of the Treasury has the U.S. Government lead on ITDS development and Federal agency integration. CBP developed Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) as an internet-based system for the collection and dissemination of information for ITDS. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), through its e-government initiative, oversees Federal agency participation in ITDS, with a focus on reducing duplicate reporting across agencies and migrating paper-based reporting systems to electronic information collection.

    The term ITDS refers to the integrated, government-wide project for the electronic collection, use, and dissemination of the international trade and transportation data Federal agencies need to perform their missions, while the term ACE refers to the “single window” system through which the trade community will submit data related to imports and exports. Detailed information on ITDS is available at: http://www.itds.gov.

    Numerous Federal agencies are involved in the regulation of international trade and many of these agencies participate in the import, export and transportation-related decision-making process. Agencies also use trade data to monitor and report on trade activity. NMFS is a partner government agency in the ITDS project because of its role in monitoring the trade of certain fishery products. Electronic collection of seafood trade data through a single portal will result in an overall reduction of the public reporting burden and the agency's data collection costs, will improve the timeliness and accuracy of admissibility decisions, and increase the effectiveness of applicable trade restrictive measures.

    Overview of Current Trade Measures and Trade Monitoring Programs

    NMFS is responsible for implementation of trade measures and monitoring programs for fishery products subject to RFMO documentation requirements and/or documentation requirements under domestic laws. RFMOs are international fisheries organizations, established by treaties, to promote international cooperation to achieve effective and responsible marine stewardship and ensure sustainable fisheries management. The United States is a signatory to many RFMO treaties, and Congress has passed implementing legislation to carry out U.S. obligations under those treaties. Trade measures and monitoring programs enable the United States to exclude products that do not meet the criteria for admissibility to U.S. markets.

    NMFS notes that the MSA defines “import” to mean “land on, bring into, or introduce into, or attempt to land on, bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether or not such landing, bringing or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the United States; but . . . does not include any activity described [above] with respect to fish caught in the exclusive economic zone or by a vessel of the United States.” 16 U.S.C. 1802(22). This definition of “import” covers a broad range of activities, including but not limited to, customs entry for consumption, withdrawal from warehouse for consumption, or entry for consumption from a foreign trade zone. The following sections outline NMFS authorities for the various trade measures and trade monitoring programs that apply to fishery products.

    Authorities for Trade Measures

    The High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (HSDFMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1826d-k) requires U.S. actions to address IUU fishing activity, bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMR) and shark catch. Specifically, the HSDFMPA requires the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to identify in a biennial report to Congress foreign nations whose vessels engaged in IUU fishing or fishing practices that result in PLMR bycatch or shark catch on the high seas without a regulatory program comparable to that of the United States. The Secretary has established procedures to certify whether nations identified in the biennial report are taking appropriate corrective actions to address the activities for which they were identified (50 CFR 300, Subpart N). Certain fish and fish products from identified nations that do not receive positive certifications could be subject to import prohibitions under the authority provided in the High Seas Driftnet Fisheries Enforcement Act (HSDFEA) (16 U.S.C. 1826a-c).

    Additionally, there are identification and/or certification procedures in other statutes, including the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act (22 U.S.C. 1978) and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA) (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.). These procedures may result in trade restrictive measures for a country for those fishery products associated with the activity that raised concerns. Further, import prohibitions for certain fishery products could also be applied under provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and other statutes, depending on the circumstances of the fish harvest and the conservation concerns of the United States. Trade monitoring authority is also provided by the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA) (16 U.S.C. 1385) which specifies the conditions under which tuna products, eligible to be labeled dolphin-safe, may be imported into the United States.

    Multilateral efforts to combat IUU fishing may also result in requirements to take trade action. The United States is a member or contracting party to several RFMOs. Many of these RFMOs have established procedures to identify nations and/or vessels whose fishing activities undermine the effectiveness of the conservation and management measures adopted by the organization. Fishery products exported by such nations or harvested by such vessels may be subject to import or sale prohibitions specified by the RFMO as a means to address the activity of concern. In these cases, the United States is obligated to deny entry of the designated products into its markets, unless it has lodged a timely objection to the RFMO measure establishing the import or sale prohibition. Relevant RFMO statutes include the ATCA, the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention Act (AMLRCA) (16 U.S.C. 2431 et seq.), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (WCPFCIA) (16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), and the Tuna Conventions Act (TCA) (16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.).

    Although the proposed rule would not amend existing regulations pertaining to any of the above trade measure authorities, import filing through ACE will facilitate U.S. Government implementation of trade measures when and if imposed. ITDS will facilitate sharing of data between agencies and allow for improved targeting of suspected illegal (or embargoed) shipments.

    Trade Monitoring and Documentation Programs

    Pursuant to domestic statutory authorities and/or multilateral agreements, NMFS has implemented a number of monitoring programs to collect information from the seafood industry regarding the origin of certain fishery products. The purpose of these programs is to determine the admissibility of the products in accordance with the specific criteria of the trade measure or documentation requirements in effect. The three NMFS trade monitoring programs subject to this proposed rule are the HMS ITP program which regulates trade in specified commodities of tuna, swordfish, billfish, and shark fins; the AMLR trade program which regulates trade in Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish and other fishery products caught in the area where the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) applies; and the TTVP, which regulates trade in frozen and/or processed tuna products, as well as certain other fishery products under the authority of the HSDFEA (refer to 50 CFR 216.24(f)(2)(iii) for a complete list). Generally, these trade monitoring programs require anyone who intends to import, export, and/or re-export regulated species to: Obtain a permit from NMFS; obtain documentation on the flag-nation authorization for the harvest from the foreign exporter; and submit this information to NMFS. Depending on the commodity, specific information may also be required, for example the flag state of the harvesting vessel, the ocean area of catch, the fishing gear used, the harvesting vessel name, and details and authorizations related to harvest, landing, transshipment and export.

    In most cases, these trade monitoring programs require the importer to submit documentation that provides catch and/or other statistical information to NMFS, while other relevant information on the inbound shipments is provided by the dealer, importer, shipper, carrier, or customs broker to CBP by electronic means. NMFS reviews and reconciles the information reported by importers with the information obtained from CBP and, where applicable, from the relevant RFMO or harvesting or exporting/re-exporting nation to determine if the admissibility requirements have been satisfied. If documentation is incomplete, fraudulent or missing, or if the shipment is not admissible given its ocean area of harvest, flag country of the harvesting vessel, harvesting vessel or the circumstances under which it was harvested, entry into U.S. commerce may be prohibited for that shipment and the shipment may be subject to forfeiture. In addition, the importer or other responsible party may be subject to enforcement action. Likewise, U.S. exporters must provide similar documentation for use by other importing nations.

    As an ITDS partner government agency, access to the ACE system and ITDS data has improved NMFS' ability to evaluate trends and identify potential problems with seafood imports, including potential cases of seafood fraud (e.g., tariff code misspecification) or imports lacking proper documentation. ACE has helped NMFS communicate with the seafood industry to educate importers and brokers on documentation requirements. It has also helped NMFS target enforcement resources using a risk management approach and has improved the Agency's ability to intercept illegal shipments by providing access to real time information on shipments coming into U.S. ports of entry. NMFS anticipates that efficiencies derived from ITDS integration would better enable the agency to implement potential future trade measures taken by RFMOs or under domestic statutes, as well as enhance the implementation of NMFS' three current trade monitoring and documentation programs (AMLR, HMS ITP, and TTVP). NMFS believes implementation of ITDS would result in reduced reporting burdens for the seafood industry, reduced data processing time for government, increased compliance with product admissibility requirements, faster admissibility decisions and more effective enforcement.

    Under the proposed rule (50 CFR 300.320), an IFTP would be established which would consolidate existing international trade permits for regulated seafood products under the AMLR and HMS ITP programs and expand the scope of the permit requirement to include regulated seafood products under the TTVP. To obtain the IFTP, U.S. importers, exporters, and re-exporters of seafood products covered under the TTVP, AMLR, and HMS ITP programs would be required to electronically submit their application and fee for the IFTP via a Web site designated by NMFS. As explained above, currently, the TTVP, AMLR and HMS ITP regulations require submission of specific information and documentation for trade monitoring. Under this proposed rule, the IFTP holder, or his or her representative, would need to electronically provide CBP via ACE with certain data sets (i.e., a subset of the information required to be submitted under the TTVP, AMLR or HMS ITP) and scanned images of documentation for each applicable trade transaction. NMFS would provide detailed information regarding submission of such data sets and documentation in a compliance guide for industry that will be prepared in advance of NMFS' implementation of a final rule. The format for the data sets would be designated for each of the three programs and specified in the following documents that would be jointly developed by NMFS and CBP and made available to entry filers by CBP (http://www.cbp.gov/trade/ace/catair):

    • CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements—Appendix PGA • CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements—PGA Message Set • Automated Broker Interface (ABI) Requirements—Implementation Guide for NMFS

    While this proposed rule only applies to the three programs described above, proposed § 300.320 provides that the IFTP and ACE requirements may be incorporated by reference in other regulations pertaining to documentation and reporting of imports and/or exports.

    Because NMFS will have access to the ITDS, importers, exporters, re-exporters and/or their customs agents would no longer be required to provide NMFS with paper copies of trade documentation. However, they would still need to maintain, and make available for inspection, electronic or paper versions of said records at their place of business for a period of two years after the transaction. Biweekly dealer reports, or other documents not required for import/export admissibility decisions, will not be affected by this proposed rule and will continue to be submitted to NMFS as paper copies. Currently, a trade permit is not required for trade of TTVP fishery commodities. Under this proposed rule, however, those who trade in TTVP fishery commodities would need to obtain an IFTP and individuals or business entities trading in fishery commodities covered by the current HMS ITP and AMLR trade programs would need to obtain an IFTP rather than the program-specific permits required currently. The IFTP would authorize import, export and re-export of fishery commodities covered by the TTVP, AMLR or HMS ITP programs, provided that the permit holder complies with the specific requirements of each program. The amount of the fee charged for the IFTP would be calculated, at least annually, in accordance with procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook (http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/finance/Finance%20Handbook.html) for determining the costs for administering the IFTP program; the fee would not exceed such costs.

    Alternatives Considered

    When deliberating how best to implement ITDS, NMFS also considered several alternatives to the proposed action described above. Under the first alternative, rather than require entry filers to submit scanned images of documentation and a limited data set, such filers would be required to enter all data elements necessary for the authentication and authorization of each shipment into the CBP's automated ACE system. Although this alternative would not require the submission of scanned images of documentation for two of the three trade monitoring programs (scanned images would still be required for the TTVP), it would require entry filers to provide most of the data contained in such documentation at the time of import or export rather than providing a data set limited to only those elements absolutely necessary to determine admissibility. NMFS considers this alternative to be too burdensome for entry filers in terms of the additional time that would be required to enter such data into ACE.

    A second alternative would involve the submission of a limited electronic data set with no scanned documentation provided electronically. In this scenario, NMFS would require entry filers to submit a limited message set into ACE, but entry filers would also need to separately provide NMFS with any additional documentation and data necessary for NMFS to complete dolphin-safe tuna verification at the time of, or in advance of, importation and periodic reports for RFMOs. This alternative is not preferred as it would create an unnecessary burden on both NMFS and the trade since it would require entry filers to both complete ACE entry procedures and also submit admissibility documents to NMFS outside of ACE, the ITDS single window.

    A third alternative would be for NMFS to require an electronic data set consisting solely of the international fisheries trade permit number with scanned documentation provided electronically via ITDS. This alternative would not be preferred as it would place a significant burden on NMFS to manually convert scanned document images to data sets so that NMFS could make decisions regarding product admissibility. Such an approach would require considerable NMFS staff time and would inevitably create burdens on industry as such an alternative would result in post-release seizures or re-delivery orders to the trade for products later determined by NMFS to be inadmissible.

    A fourth alternative would be to implement the IFTP requirement for the HMS ITP and AMLR trade program but not for the TTVP which currently has no permit requirement. The rationale for instituting the IFTP for the TTVP is to identify the business entities that are engaged in the trade activities subject to monitoring, for the purposes of informing them of requirements and any changes thereto. Lack of education/notification could increase noncompliance, resulting in delayed release, seizures or other enforcement actions, and/or blocked shipments when requirements are not met at the border. In addition, not requiring an IFTP for the TTVP participants, would preclude the imposition of permit sanctions in the event of serious infractions of reporting or recordkeeping requirements in the TTVP. For all the above-stated reasons, this alternative is not preferred.

    Amendments to AMLR Regulations

    As a Member of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the United States is obligated to implement conservation measures adopted by CCAMLR, unless the United States objects, pursuant to Article IX of the CCAMLR Convention. NMFS has implemented CCAMLR-adopted conservation measures in 50 CFR part 300, subpart G. Under these regulations, a person that intends to import or re-export AMLR must obtain a dealer permit. To integrate the collection of information on the trade of AMLR within the ITDS, NMFS proposes to revise the AMLR regulations to require a dealer importing or exporting AMLR to possess a valid IFTP issued under the proposed § 300.322 discussed below. These proposed revisions to 50 CFR part 300 subpart G would replace the AMLR dealer permit procedures with a reference to the proposed IFTP procedures (see below). Where appropriate, the term “AMLR dealer permit” and references to that permit would be replaced with “IFTP.” Section 300.114(k) of the AMLR regulations regarding registered agents would be removed because § 300.322 provides for the designation of resident agents who would be authorized to act on behalf of foreign entities.

    Amendments to HMS ITP Regulations

    NMFS established permitting, reporting, and recordkeeping regulations to implement various RFMO trade monitoring programs under the HMS ITP program in 50 CFR part 300 subpart M. As noted above, a person trading in fishery commodities covered by the current HMS ITP program would need to obtain the newly established IFTP and the program-specific HMS ITP permit will be retired. Submission of consignment documents such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) bluefin tuna catch document would be through ACE and the CBP Document Imaging System (DIS). Using the ACE system rather than submitting hardcopy documents to NMFS would result in reduced reporting burdens for the seafood industry and reduced data processing time for the government as documents would be submitted only once, to CBP, instead of to both CBP and NMFS.

    Amendments to TTVP

    As noted above, a person trading in fishery commodities covered under the TTVP would need to obtain an IFTP. Such a trade permit is currently not a requirement under the TTVP. NMFS believes the benefits and efficiencies resulting from ITDS implementation and establishing a single consolidated IFTP covering all three of the NMFS trade monitoring programs would greatly exceed the fee charged to cover administrative costs associated with NMFS issuance of the IFTP.

    In addition, under current regulations at 50 CFR 216.24(f)(3)(ii), TTVP importers are able to submit documents electronically in Portable Document Format (PDF) using a secure file transfer protocol site. This proposed rule would eliminate that document submission option in favor of document submission through the ACE system. Such a change would result in reduced reporting burdens for the seafood industry and reduced data processing time for the government as documents would be submitted only once, to CBP, instead of to both CBP and the TTVP. The proposed rule would also allow for a reduced data set to be filed via ACE in certain circumstances. The reduced data set is limited to importations by domestic canners and to processors other than canners that label any tuna product dolphin-safe, and which are required to submit the monthly reports required under 50 CFR 216.93(d)(2) or (e) to the TTVP. The reduced data set pertains to importations of: 1) frozen cooked tuna loins used in cannery operations and 2) tuna products in airtight containers manufactured in American Samoa and imported into the United States or Puerto Rico that originated from the tuna receipts listed on those monthly reports. The reduced data set is intended to prevent duplicative reporting for the companies that import the tuna products described above and that already submit required information to the TTVP via the monthly reports.

    This proposed rule also makes minor edits to the regulatory text in order to update an internet Web site address, harmonize regulatory text in part 216, Subpart H, Dolphin Safe Tuna Labeling, with the regulatory text being revised as part of ITDS implementation in 50 CFR 216.24(f), and allow importers to submit documentation to the ACE system at the time of, or in advance of, importation. Revisions to the tables in § 216.24(f)(2)(i) through (iii) have been made to reflect the latest updates to harmonized tariff codes.

    Relationship to Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud

    This current rulemaking does not propose measures to implement recommendations 14 and 15 (seafood traceability) of the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud (Task Force). There will be a separate opportunity for public comment on the proposed regulations pertaining to these Task Force recommendations.

    Classification

    This proposed rule is published under the authority of AMLRCA of 1984, 16 U.S.C. 2431 et seq.; ATCA of 1975, 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; TCA of 1950, 16 U.S.C. 951-961; MSA, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; MMPA of 1972, 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; DPCIA, 16 U.S.C. 1385; HSDFMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1826d-k; and HSDFEA, 16 U.S.C. 1826a-c. Other relevant authorities include the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act, 22 U.S.C. 1978, and the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. 3371.

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the provisions of these and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. NMFS has prepared a regulatory impact review of this action, which is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). This analysis describes the economic impact this proposed action, if adopted, would have on the United States. NMFS invites the public to comment on this proposal and the supporting analysis.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis was not prepared because this proposed rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on U.S. small entities. Thus, 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 any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    The regulatory action being considered, and its legal basis, is described in detail earlier in the preamble. Although a new IFTP is proposed to be established for the import, export or re-export of regulated products under the AMLR, HMS ITP and TTVP programs, this new permit generally represents a consolidation of information contained in existing permits and should actually result in fewer reporting or recordkeeping requirements. Data sets to be entered electronically to determine product admissibility are already required to be submitted in paper form under the respective trade programs. Thus, NMFS anticipates that U.S. entities would not be significantly affected by this action because it generally does not pose new or additional burdens with regard to the collection and submission of information necessary to determine product admissibility.

    With regard to the possible economic effects of this action, per the response to Question 13 of the supporting statement prepared for the Paperwork Reduction Act analysis (available from www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain), NMFS estimates there will be 751 applicants for the new IFTP with an estimated net increase in annual costs of $16,255 for obtaining those permits, based on the combined number of permit holders and respondents under NMFS' existing trade monitoring programs. Although NMFS does not have access to data about the business sizes of importers and receivers that would be impacted by this proposed rule, it is likely that the majority may be classified as small entities. However, when overall total new burdens for the three requirements proposed under this rule (IFTP, data set submission, and admissibility document(s) submission) are compared to current burdens, the new consolidated burdens are estimated to result in an overall net burden decrease of 4,225 hours and $63,650. A no-action alternative, where NMFS would not promulgate the proposed rule, was not considered as all applicable U.S. government agencies are required to implement ITDS under the authority of section 405 of the SAFE Port Act and Executive Order 13659 on Streamlining the Export/Import Process, dated February 19, 2014.

    The proposed action would not affect the volume of seafood trade or alter trade flows in the U.S. market. Although the proposed rule would require traders under the TTVP to obtain an IFTP, which they are not currently required to do, NMFS expects that the consolidated IFTP would have no impact on, or would actually reduce, the overall administrative burden on the public; those parties currently required to obtain two separate permits under the AMLR and HMS ITP programs would be required to obtain only one consolidated permit under this proposed rule.

    The consolidated permitting and electronic reporting program proposed by this rulemaking would not have significant adverse or long-term economic impacts on small U.S. entities. This proposed rule has also been determined not to duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. Thus, the requirements and prohibitions in the proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Consequently, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has been submitted to OMB for approval. When overall total new burdens for the three requirements proposed under this rule (IFTP, data set submission, and admissibility document(s) submission) are compared to current burdens, the new burdens are estimated to result in an overall net burden decrease of 4,225 hours and $63,650.

    Public comment is sought regarding: whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the Office for International Affairs and Seafood Inspection at the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above, or to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by email to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-7285.

    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.

    List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 216

    Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Marine mammals, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    50 CFR Part 300

    Exports, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, Illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing, Imports, International trade permits, Treaties.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 216 and 300 are proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 216—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS 1. The authority citation for part 216 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., unless otherwise noted.

    2. In § 216.24, revise introductory paragraph (f)(2); (f)(2)(i)(A) and (D); (f)(2)(ii)(A) and (D); (f)(2)(iii)(A) through (C); introductory paragraph (f)(3); and (f)(3)(i) through (iii) to read as follows:
    § 216.24 Taking and related acts incidental to commercial fishing operations by tuna purse seine vessels in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

    (f) * * *

    (2) Imports requiring a Fisheries Certificate of Origin and an International Fisheries Trade Permit. Shipments of tuna, tuna products, and certain other fish products identified in paragraphs (f)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section may not be imported into the United States unless: a scanned copy of a properly completed Fisheries Certificate of Origin (FCO), NOAA Form 370, associated certifications and statements described in § 216.91(a), and required data set are filed electronically with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the time of, or in advance of, importation as required under § 300.322; and the importer of record designated on the entry summary (Customs Form 7501) holds a valid International Fisheries Trade Permit as specified at § 300.322 of this title. “Required data set” has the same meaning as § 300.321 of this title (see definition of “Documentation and data sets required”).

    (i) * * *

    (A) Frozen: (products containing Yellowfin).

    0303.42.0020 Yellowfin tunas, whole, frozen 0303.42.0040 Yellowfin tunas, head-on, frozen, except whole 0303.42.0060 Yellowfin tunas, other, frozen, except whole, head-on, fillets, livers and roes 0304.87.0000 Tuna fish fillets, frozen, not elsewhere specified or indicated (NESOI) 0304.99.1190 Tuna, frozen, in bulk or in immediate containers weighing with their contents over 6.8 kg each

    (D) Other: (products containing Yellowfin).

    0511.91.0090 Fish, shellfish products unfit for human consumption 1604.20.1000 Fish pastes 1604.20.1500 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, in oil 1604.20.2000 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, not in oil, less than 6.8 kg, in airtight containers 1604.20.2500 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, not in oil, not in airtight containers, in immediate containers weighing with their contents not over 6.8 kg each 1604.20.3000 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, NESOI 1604.20.4000 Fish sticks, not cooked, nor in oil 1604.20.5010 Fish sticks, cooked and frozen 1604.20.5090 Fish sticks, NESOI 2309.10.0010 Dog or cat food, in airtight containers

    (ii) * * *

    (A) Frozen: (other than Yellowfin).

    0303.41.0000 Albacore or longfinned tunas, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.43.0000 Skipjack tunas or stripe-bellied bonito, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.44.0000 Bigeye tunas, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.45.0110 Atlantic Bluefin, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.45.0150 Pacific Bluefin, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.46.0000 Southern bluefin tunas, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.49.0200 Tunas, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes, NESOI 0304.87.0000 Tuna fish fillets, frozen, NESOI 0304.99.1190 Tuna, frozen, in bulk or in immediate containers weighing with their contents over 6.8 kg each, NESOI

    (D) Other: (only if the product contains tuna).

    0511.91.0090 Fish, shellfish products unfit for human consumption 1604.20.1000 Fish pastes 1604.20.1500 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, in oil 1604.20.2000 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, not in oil, less than 6.8 kg, in airtight containers 1604.20.2500 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, not in oil, not in airtight containers, in immediate containers weighing with their contents not over 6.8 kg each 1604.20.3000 Fish balls, cakes and puddings, NESOI 1604.20.4000 Fish sticks, not cooked, nor in oil 1604.20.5010 Fish sticks, cooked and frozen 1604.20.5090 Fish sticks, NESOI 2309.10.0010 Dog or cat food, in airtight containers

    (iii) * * *

    (A) Frozen:

    0303.11.0000 Sockeye (red) salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.12.0012 Chinook (King) salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.12.0022 Chum (dog) salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.12.0032 Pink (humpie) salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.12.0052 Coho (silver) salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.12.0062 Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus masou, Oncorhynchus rhodurus), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes, NESOI 0303.13.0000 Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Danube salmon (Hucho hucho), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.14.0000 Trout (Salmo trutta; Oncorhynchus mykiss, clarki, aguabonita, gilae, apache, and chrysogaster), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.19.0100 Salmonidae, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes, NESOI 0303.57.0010 Swordfish steaks, frozen, except fillets 0303.57.0090 Swordfish, frozen, except steaks, fillets, livers and roes 0303.81.0010 Dogfish (Squalus spp.), frozen, except fillets, livers and roes 0303.81.0090 Sharks, frozen, except dogfish, fillets, livers and roes 0303.89.0079 Fish, other, frozen, except fillets, livers and roes, NESOI 0304.81.5010 Atlantic Salmonidae (Salmo salar) fillets, frozen, NESOI 0304.81.5090 Salmonidae fillets, frozen, except Atlantic salmon, NESOI 0304.89.1090 Fish fillets, skinned, frozen blocks weighing over 4.5 kg each, to be minced, ground or cut into pieces of uniform weights and dimensions, NESOI 0304.91.1000 Swordfish, frozen, in bulk or in immediate containers weighing over 6.8 kg each 0304.91.9000 Swordfish, frozen, NESOI 0304.99.9191 Fish fillets, ocean, frozen, NESOI 0307.49.0010 Squid fillets, frozen 0307.49.0022 Squid, Loligo opalescens, NESOI 0307.49.0024 Squid, Loligo pealei, NESOI 0307.49.0029 Squid, Loligo, other, NESOI 0307.49.0050 Squid, other, NESOI

    (B) Canned:

    1604.11.2020 Pink (humpie) salmon, whole or in pieces, but not minced, in oil, in airtight containers 1604.11.2030 Sockeye (red) salmon, whole or in pieces, but not minced, in oil, in airtight containers 1604.11.2090 Salmon NESOI, whole or in pieces, but not minced, in oil, in airtight containers 1604.11.4010 Chum (dog) salmon, not in oil, canned 1604.11.4020 Pink (humpie) salmon, not in oil, canned 1604.11.4030 Sockeye (red) salmon, not in oil, canned 1604.11.4040 Salmon, NESOI, not in oil, canned 1604.11.4050 Salmon, whole or in pieces, but not minced, NESOI 1604.19.2100 Fish, NESOI, not in oil, in airtight containers 1604.19.3100 Fish, NESOI, in oil, in airtight containers 1605.54.6020 Squid, Loligo, prepared or preserved 1605.54.6030 Squid, except Loligo, prepared or preserved

    (C) Other:

    0305.39.6080 Fish fillets, dried, salted or in brine, but not smoked, NESOI 0305.41.0000 Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), and Danube salmon (Hucho hucho), including fillets, smoked 0305.49.4041 Fish including fillets, smoked, NESOI 0305.59.0000 Fish, dried, whether or not salted but not smoked, NESOI 0305.69.4000 Salmon, salted but not dried or smoked; in brine 0305.69.5001 Fish in immediate containers weighing with their contents 6.8 kg or less each, salted but not dried or smoked; in brine, NESOI 0305.69.6001 Fish, salted but not dried or smoked; in brine, NESOI 0305.71.0000 Shark fins, dried, whether or not salted but not smoked 0305.49.0010 Squid, frozen, fillets 0307.49.0022 Squid, Loligo opalescens, frozen (except fillets), dried, salted or in brine 0307.49.0024 Squid, Loligo pealei, frozen (except fillets), dried, salted or in brine 0307.49.0029 Squid, Loligo, frozen (except fillets), dried, salted or in brine, NESOI 0307.49.0050 Squid, other, frozen (except fillets), dried, salted or in brine, except Loligo squid 0307.49.0060 Cuttle fish (Sepia officinalis, Rossia macrosoma, Sepiola spp.), frozen, dried, salted or in brine

    (3) Disposition of Fisheries Certificates of Origin. The FCO described in paragraph (f)(4) of this section may be obtained from the Administrator, West Coast Region, or downloaded from the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/dolphinsafe/noaa370.htm.

    (i) A properly completed FCO, and its attached certifications and statements as described in § 216.91(a), must accompany the required CBP entry documents that are filed at the time of, or in advance of, importation.

    (ii) FCOs and associated certifications and statements as described in § 216.91(a) must be provided electronically to CBP as indicated in paragraph (f)(2) of this section.

    (iii) FCOs that accompany imported shipments of tuna destined for further processing in the United States must be endorsed at each change in ownership and submitted to the Administrator, West Coast Region, by the last endorser when all required endorsements are completed. Such FCOs must be submitted as specified in § 216.93(d)(2).

    3. In § 216.93, revise paragraphs (f) and (g)(2) to read as follows:
    § 216.93 Tracking and verification program.

    (f) Tracking imports. All tuna products, except fresh tuna, that are imported into the United States must be accompanied as described in § 216.24(f)(3) by a properly certified FCO as required by § 216.24(f)(2). For tuna tracking purposes, copies of FCOs and associated certifications and statements must be submitted by the importer of record to U.S. Customs and Border Protection as described in and required by § 216.24(f)(2).

    (g) * * *

    (2) Record submission. At the time of, or in advance of, importation of a shipment of tuna or tuna products, any exporter, transshipper, importer, processor, or wholesaler/distributor of tuna or tuna products must submit all corresponding FCOs and required certifications and statements for those tuna or tuna products as required by § 216.24(f)(2).

    PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS 4. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 300 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5501 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 2431 et seq.; 31 U.S.C. 9701 et seq.

    5. In § 300.4: a. Revise paragraph (o); b. Redesignate paragraphs (p) and (q) as (q) and (r); and c. Add a new paragraph (p).

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 300.4 General prohibitions.

    (o) Ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, purchase, import, export, or have custody, control, or possession of, any fish imported, exported or re-exported in violation of this part.

    (p) Import, export, or re-export any fish regulated under this part without a valid International Fisheries Trade Permit or applicable shipment documentation.

    6. In § 300.107, revise paragraph (b) introductory text, and paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(3), (c)(6)(i)(A)(5), and (c)(7)(i)(A)(4) to read as follows:
    § 300.107 Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    (b) Dealers. Dealers of AMLR required under § 300.114 to have an International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) issued under § 300.322 must:

    (1) Accurately maintain all reports and records required by their IFTP and this subpart;

    (3) Within the time specified in the IFTP requirements, submit a copy of such reports and records to NMFS at an address designated by NMFS.

    (c) * * *

    (6) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) * * *

    (5) The dealer/exporter's name, address, and IFTP number; and

    (7) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) * * *

    (4) The dealer/exporter's name, address, and IFTP permit number;

    7. In § 300.114: a. Revise paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(4), (b), (d), (e), (f), (g)(1), (g)(2), (h), and (j); and b. Remove paragraph (k).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 300.114 Dealer permits and preapproval.

    (a) * * *

    (1) A dealer importing, or re-exporting AMLR, or a person exporting AMLR, must possess a valid IFTP issued under § 300.322 and file required data sets electronically with CBP at the time of, or in advance of importation or exportation. “Required data set: has the same meaning as § 300.321 (see definition of “Documentation and data sets required. See § 300.322 for IFTP application procedures and permit regulations. The IFTP holder may only conduct those specific activities stipulated by the IFTP. Preapproval from NMFS is required for each shipment of frozen Dissostichus species.

    (2) An AMLR may be imported into the United States if its harvest has been authorized by a U.S.-issued individual permit or its importation has been authorized by an IFTP and, in the case of frozen Dissostichus species, preapproval issued under § 300.114(a)(1). AMLRs may not be released for entry into the United States unless accompanied by the harvesting permit, the individual permit, or IFTP and, in the case of frozen Dissostichus species, the preapproval certification granted by NMFS to allow import. NMFS will only accept electronic catch documents for toothfish imports.

    (4) An IFTP or preapproval issued under this section does not authorize the harvest or transshipment of any AMLR by or to a vessel of the United States.

    (b) Application. Application forms for preapproval are available from NMFS. With the exception of the U.S. Customs 7501 entry number, a complete and accurate application must be received by NMFS for each preapproval at least 15 working days before the anticipated date of the first receipt, importation, or re-export. Dealers must supply the U.S. Customs 7501 entry number at least three working days prior to a Dissostichus species shipment's arrival.

    (d) Issuance. NMFS may issue a preapproval if it determines that the activity proposed by the dealer meets the requirements of the Act and that the resources were not or will not be harvested in violation of any CCAMLR conservation measure in force with respect to the United States or in violation of any regulation in this subpart. No preapproval will be issued for Dissostichusspecies without verifiable documentation, to include VMS reports with vessel location and messages, of the use of real-time C-VMS port-to-port by the vessel that harvested such Dissostichus species, except for Dissostichus species harvested during fishing trips that began prior to September 24, 2007.

    (e) Duration. A preapproval is valid until the product is imported. Each export or re-export document created by NOAA in the CDS is valid only for that particular shipment.

    (f) Transfer. A preapproval issued under this section is not transferable or assignable.

    (g) * * * (1) Pending applications. Applicants for preapproval under this section must report in writing to NMFS any change in the information submitted in preapproval applications. The processing period for the application may be extended as necessary to review and consider the change.

    (2) Issued preapprovals. Any entity issued a preapproval under this section must report in writing to NMFS any changes in previously submitted information. Any changes that would result in a change in the receipt or importation authorized by the preapproval, such as harvesting vessel or country of origin, type and quantity of the resource to be received or imported, and Convention statistical subarea from which the resource was harvested, must be proposed in writing to NMFS and may not be undertaken unless authorized by NMFS through issuance of a revised or new preapproval.

    (h) Revision, suspension, or revocation. A preapproval issued under this section may be revised, suspended, or revoked, based upon a violation of the IFTP, the Act, or this subpart. Failure to report a change in the information contained in a preapproval application voids the application or preapproval. Title 15 CFR part 904 governs sanctions under this subpart.

    (j) SVDCD. Preapprovals will not be issued for Dissostichus spp. offered for sale or other disposition under a Specially Validated DCD.

    8. In § 300.117, revise paragraphs (b) and (r), and add paragraph (ii) to read as follows:
    § 300.117 Prohibitions.

    (b) Import into, or export or re-export from, the United States any AMLRs without applicable catch documentation as required by § 300.107(c), without an IFTP as required by § 300.114 (a)(1), or in violation of the terms and conditions for such import, export or re-export as specified on the IFTP.

    (r) Without a valid first receiver permit issued under this subpart, receive AMLRs from a vessel or receive AMLRs from a vessel without a valid harvesting permit issued under this subpart.

    (ii) Import into, or export or re-export from, the United States any AMLRs harvest by a vessel of the United States without a valid harvesting permit issued under this subpart.

    9. In § 300.181: a. Add a definition for “Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)” in alphabetical order; b. Revise the definition for “CBP”; c. Add a definition for “International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) or trade permit” in alphabetical order; d. Revise the definition for “Permit holder”; and e. Add a definition for “Required data set”, in alphabetical order.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.181 Definitions.

    Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) has the same meaning as that term is defined in § 300.321 of this part.

    CBP means U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) or trade permit means the permit issued by NMFS under § 300.322.

    Permit holder, for purposes of this subpart, means, unless otherwise specified, a person who is required to obtain an International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) under § 300.322.

    Required data set has the same meaning as § 300.321 (see definition of “Documentation and data sets required”).

    10. Section 300.182 is revised to read as follows:
    § 300.182 International Fisheries Trade Permit.

    An importer, entering for consumption fish or fish products regulated under this subpart from any ocean area into the United States, or an exporter exporting or re-exporting such product, must possess a valid International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) issued under § 300.322.

    11. In § 300.183, revise introductory paragraph (a), and paragraphs (a)(3), (b), (c), (d) and (e) to read as follows:
    § 300.183 Permit holder reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    (a) Biweekly reports. Any person trading fish and fish products regulated under this subpart and required to obtain a trade permit under § 300.322 must submit to NMFS, on forms supplied by NMFS, a biweekly report of entries for consumption, exports and re-exports of fish and fish products regulated under this subpart except shark fins.

    (3) A biweekly report is not required for export consignments of bluefin tuna when the information required on the biweekly report has been previously supplied on a biweekly report submitted under § 635.5(b)(2)(i)(B) of this title. The person required to obtain a trade permit under § 300.322 must retain, at his/her principal place of business, a copy of the biweekly report which includes the required information and is submitted under § 635.5(b)(2)(i)(B) of this title, for a period of 2 years from the date on which each report was submitted to NMFS.

    (b) Recordkeeping. Any person trading fish and fish products regulated under this subpart and required to submit biweekly reports under paragraph (a) of this section must retain, at his/her principal place of business, a copy of each biweekly report and all supporting records for a period of 2 years from the date on which each report was submitted to NMFS.

    (c) Other requirements and recordkeeping requirements. Any person trading fish and fish products regulated under this subpart and required to obtain a trade permit under § 300.322 is also subject to the reporting and recordkeeping requirements identified in § 300.185.

    (d) Inspection. Any person authorized to carry out the enforcement activities under the regulations in this subpart (authorized person) has the authority, without warrant or other process, to inspect, at any reasonable time: fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, biweekly reports, statistical documents, catch documents, re-export certificates, relevant sales receipts, import and export documentation, and any other records or reports made, retained, or submitted pursuant to this subpart. A permit holder must allow NMFS or an authorized person to inspect any fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, and inspect and copy any import export, and re-export documentation and any reports required under this subpart, and the records, in any form, on which the completed reports are based, wherever they exist. Any agent of a person trading and required to obtain a trade permit under § 300.322, or anyone responsible for importing, exporting, re-exporting, storing, packing, or selling fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, shall be subject to the inspection provisions of this section.

    (e) Applicability of reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Reporting and recordkeeping requirements in this subpart apply to any person engaging in trading regardless of whether a trade permit has been issued to that person.

    12. In § 300.185: a. Revise paragraph (a)(2); b. Remove paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(3); and c. Revise paragraphs (b)(2), (c)(2)(i) and (ii), and (c)(3) to read as follows:
    § 300.185 Documentation, reporting and recordkeeping requirements for consignment documents and re-export certificates.

    (a) * * *

    (2) Documentation and consignment document reporting requirements. (i) All fish or fish products except for shark fins, regulated under this subpart, imported into the Customs territory of the United States or entered for consumption into a separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession, must, at the time of presenting entry documentation for clearance by customs authorities (e.g., electronic filing via ACE or other documentation required by the port director) be accompanied by an original, complete, accurate, valid, approved and properly validated, species-specific consignment document. An image of such document and the required data set must be filed electronically with CBP via ACE.

    (ii) Bluefin tuna. (A) Imports which were re-exported from another nation, must also be accompanied by an original, complete, accurate, valid, approved, and properly validated, species-specific re-export certificate. An image of such document, an image of the original import document, and the required data set must be filed electronically with CBP via ACE.

    (B) Bluefin tuna, imported into the Customs territory of the United States or entered for consumption into the separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession, from a country requiring a BCD tag on all such bluefin tuna available for sale, must be accompanied by the appropriate BCD tag issued by that country, and said BCD tag must remain on any bluefin tuna until it reaches its final destination. If the final import destination is the United States, which includes U.S. insular possessions, the BCD tag must remain on the bluefin tuna until it is cut into portions. If the bluefin tuna portions are subsequently packaged for domestic commercial use or re-export, the BCD tag number and the issuing country must be written legibly and indelibly on the outside of the package.

    (iii) Fish or fish products regulated under this subpart other than bluefin tuna and shark fins. (A) Imports that were previously re-exported and were subdivided or consolidated with another consignment before re-export, must also be accompanied by an original, complete, accurate, valid, approved and properly validated species-specific re-export certificate. An image of such document, an image of the original import document, and the required data set must be filed electronically with CBP via ACE.

    (B) All other imports that have been previously re-exported from another nation, should have the intermediate importers certification of the original statistical document completed.

    (iv) Consignment documents must be validated as specified in § 300.187 by a responsible government official of the flag country whose vessel caught the fish (regardless of where the fish are first landed). Re-export certificates must be validated by a responsible government official of the re-exporting country.

    (v) A permit holder may not accept an import without the completed consignment document or re-export certificate as described in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through (a)(2)(iv) of this section.

    (vi) For fish or fish products, except shark fins, regulated under this subpart that are entered for consumption, the permit holder must provide correct and complete information, as requested by NMFS, on the original consignment document that accompanied the consignment.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Documentation and reporting requirements. A permit holder must complete an original, approved, numbered, species-specific consignment document issued to that permit holder by NMFS for each export referenced under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, and electronically file an image of such documentation and the required data set with CBP via ACE. Such an individually numbered document is not transferable and may be used only once by the permit holder to which it was issued to report on a specific export consignment. A permit holder must provide on the consignment document the correct information and exporter certification. The consignment document must be validated, as specified in § 300.187, by NMFS, or another official authorized by NMFS. A list of such officials may be obtained by contacting NMFS. A permit holder requesting U.S. validation for exports should notify NMFS as soon as possible after arrival of the vessel to avoid delays in inspection and validation of the export consignment. A permit holder must ensure that the original, approved, consignment document accompanies the export of such products to their export destination.

    (c) * * *

    (2) Documentation and filing requirements. (i) If a permit holder re-exports a consignment of bluefin tuna, or subdivides or consolidates a consignment of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, other than shark fins, that was previously entered for consumption as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the permit holder must complete an original, approved, individually numbered, species-specific re-export certificate issued to that permit holder by NMFS for each such re-export consignment. Such an individually numbered document is not transferable and may be used only once by the permit holder to which it was issued to report on a specific re-export consignment. A permit holder must provide on the re-export certificate the correct information and re-exporter certification. The permit holder must also attach the original consignment document that accompanied the import consignment or a copy of that document, and must note on the top of both the consignment documents and the re-export certificates the entry number assigned by CBP authorities at the time of filing the entry summary. An electronic image of these documents and the required data set must be filed electronically with CBP via ACE at the time of export.

    (ii) If a consignment of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, except bluefin tuna or shark fins, that was previously entered for consumption as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section is not subdivided into sub-consignments or consolidated, for each re-export consignment, a permit holder must complete the intermediate importer's certification on the original statistical document and note the entry number on the top of the statistical document. Such re-exports do not need a re-export certificate and the re-export does not require validation. An electronic image of the statistical document with the completed intermediate importer's certification and the required data set must be filed electronically with CBP via ACE at the time of re-export.

    (3) Reporting requirements. For each re-export, a permit holder must submit the original of the completed re-export certificate (if applicable) and the original or a copy of the original consignment document completed as specified under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, to accompany the consignment of such products to their re-export destination. For re-exports of untagged Atlantic bluefin tuna, the permit holder must email, fax, or mail a copy of the completed consignment document and re-export certificate to the ICCAT Secretariat and the importing nation, at addresses designated by NMFS, to be received by the ICCAT Secretariat and the importing nation, within five days of export.

    13. In § 300.189, revise paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (m) and (n) to read as follows:
    § 300.189 Prohibitions.

    (a) Falsify information required on an application for a permit submitted under § 300.322.

    (b) Import as an entry for consumption, purchase, receive for export, export, or re-export any fish or fish product regulated under this subpart without a valid trade permit issued under § 300.322.

    (c) Fail to possess, and make available for inspection, a trade permit at the permit holder's place of business, or alter any such permit as specified in § 300.322.

    (m) Fail to electronically file via ACE a validated consignment document and the required data set for imports at time of entry into the Customs territory of the United States of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart except shark fins, regardless of whether the importer, exporter, or re-exporter holds a valid trade permit issued pursuant to § 300.322 or whether the fish products are imported as an entry for consumption.

    (n) Import or accept an imported consignment of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, except shark fins, without an original, complete, accurate, approved, valid and properly validated, species-specific consignment document and re-export certificate (if applicable) with the required information and exporter's certification completed.

    14. Under part 300, add subpart R to read as follows: Subpart R—International Trade Documentation and Tracking Programs. Sec. 300.320 Purpose and scope. 300.321 Definitions. 300.322 International Fisheries Trade Permit. 300.323 Reporting requirements. 300.324 Prohibitions.
    § 300.320 Purpose and scope.

    The regulations in this subpart are issued under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975 (ATCA), the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention Act of 1984. These regulations implement the applicable recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for the conservation and management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources so far as they affect vessels and persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. These regulations are also issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act and the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006. The requirements in this subpart may be incorporated by reference in other regulations under this title.

    § 300.321 Definitions.

    AMLR trade program means the program for monitoring trade in Antarctic marine living resources including, inter alia, Dissostichus species as set forth in subpart G of this part.

    Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) means, for purposes of this subpart, the Internet accessible system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and through which the government determines admissibility through use of both user generated and automated transactional functions. ACE is maintained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for the collection and dissemination of trade data.

    Catch and Statistical Document/Documentation means a document or documentation accompanying regulated seafood imports, exports and re-exports that is submitted by importers and exporters to document compliance with TTVP, AMLR, and HMS ITP trade documentation programs as described in § 216.24(f) of this title, and subparts G and M of this part.

    Documentation and data sets required under this subpart refers to documentation and data that must be submitted by an importer or exporter at the time of, or in advance of, the import, export or re-export of fish or fish products as required under this subpart, the AMLR trade program, the HMS ITP, or the TTVP. ACE will specify the required data sets to be submitted for specific programs and transactions.

    Fish or fish products regulated under this subpart means species and products containing species regulated under this subpart, the AMLR trade program, the HMS ITP, or the TTVP.

    HMS ITP means the Highly Migratory Species International Trade Program which includes trade monitoring and/or reporting and consignment documentation for trade of bluefin tuna, southern bluefin tuna, frozen bigeye tuna, swordfish, and shark fins as described in subpart M of this part.

    Import has the same meaning as 16 U.S.C. 1802(22). Import includes, but is not limited to, customs entry for consumption, withdrawal from warehouse for consumption, or entry for consumption from a foreign trade zone.

    International Fisheries Trade Permit (or IFTP) means the permit issued by NMFS under § 300.222.

    TTVP means the Tuna Tracking and Verification Program, which regulates trade in certain fishery products as set forth in § 216.24(f)(2) of this title.

    § 300.322 International Fisheries Trade Permit.

    (a) General. Any person, which includes a resident agent for a nonresident corporation (see 19 CFR 141.18), who imports into the United States (for consumption or non-consumption), exports, or re-exports fish or fish products regulated under this subpart from any ocean area, must possess a valid International Fisheries Trade Permit (IFTP) issued under this section. Fish or fish products regulated under this subpart may not be imported into, or exported or re-exported from, the United States unless the IFTP holder files electronically the documentation and the data sets required under this subpart with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) via ACE at the time of, or in advance of, importation, exportation or re-exportation. If authorized under other regulations under this title or other applicable laws and regulations, a representative or agent of the IFTP holder may make the electronic filings.

    (b) Application. A person must apply for an IFTP electronically via a Web site designated by NMFS. The application must be submitted electronically with the required permit fee payment, at least 30 days before the date upon which the applicant wishes the permit to be made effective.

    (c) Issuance. (1) Except as provided in subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, NMFS will issue an IFTP within 30 days of receipt of a completed application. NMFS will notify the applicant of any deficiency in the application, including failure to provide information, documentation or reports required under this subpart. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 days following the date of notification, the application will be considered abandoned.

    (d) Duration. An IFTP issued under this section is valid for a period of one year from the permit effective date.

    (e) Alteration. Any IFTP that is substantially altered, erased, or mutilated is invalid.

    (f) Replacement. NMFS may issue replacement permits. An application for a replacement permit is not considered a new application. An appropriate fee, consistent with paragraph (j) of this section, may be charged for issuance of a replacement permit.

    (g) Transfer. An IFTP issued under this section is not transferable or assignable; it is valid only for the permit holder to whom it is issued.

    (h) Inspection. The permit holder must keep the IFTP issued under this section at his/her principal place of business. The IFTP must be displayed for inspection upon request of any authorized officer, or any employee of NMFS designated by NMFS for such purpose.

    (i) Sanctions. The Assistant Administrator may suspend, revoke, modify, or deny a permit issued or sought under this section. Procedures governing permit sanctions and denials are found at subpart D of 15 CFR part 904.

    (j) Fees. NMFS will charge a fee to recover the administrative expenses of permit issuance. The amount of the fee is calculated, at least annually, in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from NMFS, for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified on each application form. The appropriate fee must be submitted via a Web site designated by NMFS at the time of application. Failure to pay the fee will preclude issuance of the permit. Payment by a commercial instrument later determined to be insufficiently funded shall invalidate any permit.

    (k) Change in application information. Within 15 days after any change in the information contained in an application submitted under this section, the permit holder must report the change to NMFS via a Web site designated by NMFS. If a change in permit information is not reported within 30 days, the permit is void as of the 30th day after such change.

    (l) Renewal. Persons must apply annually for an IFTP issued under this section. A renewal application must be submitted via a Web site designated by NMFS, at least 15 days before the permit expiration date to avoid a lapse in permitted status. NMFS will renew a permit provided that: the application for the requested permit renewal is complete; all documentation and reports required under this subpart and: the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Atlantic Tuna Conventions Act, the Tuna Conventions Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Dolphin Consumer Protection Information Act, and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act have been submitted, including those required under §§ 216.24, 216.93, 300.114, 300.183, 300.185, 300.186, 300.187 and 635.5 of this title; and the applicant is not subject to a permit sanction or denial under paragraph (i) of this section.

    § 300.323 Reporting requirements.

    A person importing for consumption or non-consumption, exporting, or re-exporting fish or fish products regulated under this subpart from any ocean area must file all reports and documentation required under the AMLR trade program, HMS ITP, and TTVP, and under other regulations that incorporate by reference the requirements of this subpart.

    § 300.324 Prohibitions.

    In addition to the prohibitions specified in §§ 300.4, 300.117, 300.189, 600.725 and 635.71 of this title, it is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

    (a) violate any provision of this subpart, or any IFTP issued under this subpart,

    (b) Import fish or fish products regulated under this subpart without a valid IFTP or without submitting complete and accurate information.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32743 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No.:150904827-5827-01] RIN 0648-BF36 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off of Alaska; Observer Coverage Requirements for Small Catcher/Processors in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fisheries AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes regulations that would implement Amendment 112 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP) and Amendment 102 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and revise regulations for observer coverage requirements for certain small catcher/processors in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). If approved, this proposed rule would modify the criteria for NMFS to place small catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category under the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program (Observer Program). Under this proposed rule, the owner of a non-trawl catcher/processor could choose to be in the partial observer coverage category, on an annual basis, if the vessel processed less than 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) of groundfish on an average weekly basis in a particular prior year, as specified in this proposed rule. This proposed rule would not alter observer coverage requirements for a catcher/processor using trawl gear or for a catcher/processor when participating in a catch share program; these catcher/processors would continue to be required to be in the full observer coverage category. This proposed rule would provide a relatively limited exception to the general requirement that all catcher/processors are in the full observer coverage category, and maintain the full observer coverage requirement for all trawl catcher/processors and catcher/processors participating in a catch share program that requires full coverage. The net impact of this proposed rule on the information available for fisheries management is expected to be small due, in part, to the small amount of fishing activity that would be impacted. This proposed rule is intended to promote the goals of the BSAI and GOA FMPs, and to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and other applicable laws.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 28, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0114, by any of the following methods:

    • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0114, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Electronic copies of Amendment 112 to the BSAI FMP and Amendment 102 to the GOA FMP, the Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (Analysis), and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action are available from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address; by email to [email protected]; or by fax to 202-395-5806.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anne Marie Eich, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for Action

    NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries of the GOA under the GOA FMP. NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries of the BSAI under the BSAI FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the GOA FMP and the BSAI FMP pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.). Regulations implementing the GOA FMP and BSAI FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679.

    The Council submitted Amendment 112 to the BSAI FMP and Amendment 102 to the GOA FMP (collectively referred to as Amendment 112/102) for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and a notice of availability of Amendment 112/102 was published in the Federal Register on February 29, 2016, with comments invited through February 29, 2016. Comments may address Amendment 112/102 or this proposed rule, but must be received by February 29, 2016 to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 112/102. All comments received by that time, whether specifically directed to Amendment 112/102, or to this proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 112/102.

    Background

    This proposed rule would modify the criteria used by NMFS to place small catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category in the Observer Program. Under this proposed rule, the owners of non-trawl catcher/processors could choose to be in the partial observer coverage category for the upcoming fishing year if their vessels processed less than 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) of groundfish on an average weekly basis in a particular prior year, as specified in this rule. This proposed rule does not alter observer coverage requirements for a catcher/processor using trawl gear or for a catcher/processor when participating in a catch share program; these catcher/processors would continue to be required to be in the full observer coverage category. The terms “production” and “processing” are used synonymously in this proposed rule. The following sections describe: (1) The Observer Program, (2) the Need for the Proposed Action, (3) the Rationale for Major Provisions of the Proposed Rule, and (4) the Proposed Rule.

    The Observer Program

    Regulations implementing the Observer Program allow NMFS-certified observers (observers) to obtain information necessary for the conservation and management of the BSAI and GOA groundfish and halibut fisheries. Observers collect biological samples and fishery-dependent information on total catch and fishing vessel interactions with protected species. Managers use data collected by observers to monitor quotas, manage groundfish catch and bycatch, and document and reduce fishery interactions with protected resources. Scientists use observer-collected data for stock assessments and marine ecosystem research.

    The Observer Program was implemented in 1990 (55 FR 4839, February 12, 1990). In 2012, NMFS restructured the funding and deployment systems of the Observer Program (77 FR 70062, November 21, 2012). Since implementation of the restructured Observer Program in 2013, vessels, shoreside processors and stationary floating processors participating in the groundfish and halibut fisheries off of Alaska are placed in one of two observer coverage categories: (1) Partial observer coverage category, or (2) full observer coverage category.

    An observer must be on board a vessel in the full observer coverage category any time the vessel is harvesting, receiving, or processing groundfish in a federally managed or parallel groundfish fishery, as specified at § 679.51(a)(2)(i). In the full observer coverage category, vessel operators obtain observers by contracting directly with observer providers. Operators of vessels in the full observer coverage category pay the observer provider for each day the observer is on board the vessel, including days that the vessel is travelling to or from the fishing grounds but not fishing.

    NMFS deploys observers on vessels in the partial observer coverage category according to a statistical sample design based on an annual deployment plan developed in consultation with the Council. Vessels in the partial observer coverage category are required to carry observers on fishing trips selected at random per the statistical sample design. Instead of paying for each day an observer is on board, NMFS assesses a fee equal to 1.25 percent of the ex-vessel value of the retained groundfish and halibut landed by vessels in the partial observer coverage category. NMFS uses these fees to establish a Federal contract with an observer service provider to deploy observers in the partial observer coverage category. Under this structure, observer coverage funding is based on the number of days a vessel operates (full observer coverage category) or on the ex-vessel value of a vessel's retained catch regardless of the amount of time the vessel is covered by an observer (partial observer coverage category).

    Before the Observer Program was restructured, most catcher/processors were required to have one or two observers on board at all times to generate vessel-specific estimates of retained and discarded catch needed to manage catch share programs. Observer coverage requirements on catcher/processors that were not in a catch share program were based on vessel length and gear type and included coverage levels equal to zero or no coverage, 30 percent of fishing trips, and 100 percent of fishing trips or full observer coverage. To monitor catch on unobserved catcher/processors, NMFS used the vessel-reported processed weight to estimate retained catch and data from observed vessels to estimate at-sea discards, including PSC, for each vessel. Under the restructured Observer Program, almost all catcher/processors were assigned to the full observer coverage category to obtain independent estimates of catch, at-sea discards, and PSC to reduce the potential for introducing error into NMFS' catch accounting system (as described in the proposed rule: 77 FR 23326, April 18, 2012).

    The restructured Observer Program provided three limited exceptions for catcher/processors to be placed in the partial observer coverage category. The restructured Observer Program provided these exceptions in recognition that the cost of full observer coverage would be disproportionate to total revenues for some small catcher/processors.

    First, the restructured Observer Program provided an exception (specified at the current § 679.51(a)(2)(v)) that applies to a hybrid vessel less than 60 feet length overall (LOA) that acted as both a catcher vessel and a catcher/processor in the same year in any year from 2003 through 2009. This exception to the full coverage requirement applies only if the vessel owner elected to participate in the partial observer coverage category at least 30 days prior to the vessel's first trip logged under Observer Declare and Deploy System (ODDS). ODDS is the system for assigning observers to trips by vessels in the partial observer coverage category (§ 679.51(a)(1)(ii)). All but two of the vessels that were eligible for this exception elected to participate in the partial coverage category.

    Second, the restructured Observer Program provided an exception from full coverage (specified at the current § 679.5(a)(2)(v)) if a catcher/processor had an average daily production of less than 5,000 lb (2.3 mt) round weight equivalent in its most recent full calendar year of operation from 2003 through 2009. This exception applied only if the owner of a catcher/processor made a one-time election to be placed in the partial observer coverage category before the catcher/processor's first fishing trip logged under ODDS. All but one of the vessels that were eligible for this exception elected to be placed in the partial observer coverage category.

    Third, the restructured Observer Program provided an exception from full coverage (specified at § 679.5(a)(2)(iv)(B)) if a catcher/processor did not process more than one metric ton round weight of groundfish on any day in the immediately preceding year. This exception is based on the catcher/processor's production in any year after implementation of the restructured Observer Program (i.e., in any year after 2012). Under this exception, a catcher/processor is placed in the partial observer coverage category for one year based on its production in the prior year, and this exception ends the year after the year in which the catcher/processor processes more than one metric ton on any day of the year.

    The first two exceptions are based on a vessel's activity between 2003 and 2009. A vessel that started processing after 2009 could never qualify to be placed in the partial observer coverage category under either of these exceptions. Also, the first two exceptions permanently placed a vessel in the partial observer coverage category. These exceptions have no provision to review the production of a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category on an ongoing basis and remove them from the partial observer coverage category if their production increases. Out of approximately seventy catcher/processors in the Observer Program, three catcher/processors have qualified for, and elected to be assigned permanently to, the partial observer coverage category under these two exceptions (Section 2.1.1 and Table 2 of the Analysis).

    The third exception, the one metric ton exception, is theoretically open to any catcher/processor that began production after 2009. However, in reviewing production data from 2008 through 2014 for this action, NMFS found no active catcher/processor (i.e., a catcher/processor which did any processing in a year) that processed one metric ton or less on every day during a year (Section 2.1.1 of the Analysis).

    Need for the Proposed Action

    Beginning with comments on the proposed rule for the restructured Observer Program, industry participants asked that the final rule for the restructured Observer Program allow NMFS to place catcher/processors with limited production in the partial observer coverage category. In response to these comments, NMFS stated in the final rule for the restructured Observer Program (77 FR 70062, November 21, 2012) that neither the Council nor NMFS had analyzed the situation of small catcher/processors that began production after 2009. NMFS explained that if these industry participants wished to be considered for placement in the partial observer coverage category, the Council and NMFS would need to make these changes through a separate rulemaking process.

    Members of industry subsequently sought a change in the rules for placement of catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category. Members of industry stated that the cost of full observer coverage for vessels that began processing, or wished to begin processing, relatively small amounts of groundfish after 2009, was disproportionate to the revenues they could receive. The Council and NMFS reviewed and developed a series of analyses that resulted in this proposed action. The history of this action is described in detail in Section 1.2 of the Analysis.

    Data on past production identified a small number of catcher/processors that processed a small amount of groundfish relative to the rest of the fleet. The Council and NMFS concluded that these vessels were paying, or would pay, a disproportionate amount for full observer coverage relative to the amount these vessels had processed, or would be likely to process. The Council and NMFS concluded that the cost of full observer coverage might be discouraging beneficial activity, such as processing sablefish in remote fishing grounds in the Aleutian Islands or processing by small jig gear vessels.

    The Council and NMFS concluded that the placement of catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category should not be a closed category but should be open to all catcher/processors based on an ongoing measure of their groundfish production in a year, except for catcher/processors where information needs compel full observer coverage regardless of the amount of production. Specifically, this proposed rule would not revise observer coverage requirements for trawl catcher/processors or catcher/processors while they are participating in a catch share program (Section 2.4.1 of the Analysis), even when these catcher/processors meet the production requirement.

    The objectives for this proposed rule are to (1) refine the balance between observer data quality from the fishery and cost of observer coverage to catcher/processors with limited groundfish production relative to the rest of the catcher/processor fleet by allowing those catcher/processors with limited production to be placed in the partial observer coverage category based on contemporary groundfish production amounts; and (2) implement this exception without altering the full observer coverage requirements for all trawl catcher/processors and catcher/processors in a catch share program.

    Rationale for Major Provisions of the Proposed Rule

    This discussion relies on the description provided in Section 2 of the Analysis.

    1. The Production Threshold for Placement in the Partial Observer Coverage Category

    This proposed rule would establish a production threshold for placement in the partial observer coverage category of average weekly groundfish production of 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) or less in a standard basis year or an alternate basis year (as defined below). The Council and NMFS considered five possible measures of groundfish production that could be used to establish the eligibility for catcher/processors to be assigned to the partial observer coverage category: Average daily production; average weekly production; maximum daily production; maximum weekly production; and overall annual production. For each measure of groundfish production, the Council and NMFS examined a range of production amounts and analyzed the effects of those alternatives.

    The Council and NMFS selected a weekly production measure because it would include catcher/processors that engage in intense bursts of processing activity during a year but may not process throughout the whole year. A weekly reporting period is the standard measure of production for a trip by a catcher/processor under the current regulation (see definition of “Fishing trip” in § 679.2). Using an average weekly production measure is less sensitive to variations in processing activity that can occur by using an average daily production measure. Additionally, unlike a maximum measure, an average measure of production does not unduly weight a single day or week of high production (Section 2.2.1 and Section 4.9 of the Analysis).

    The Council and NMFS considered a range of average weekly production measures as a threshold for partial coverage. The Council and NMFS considered a lower average weekly production threshold of 42,000 lb (19.1 mt) and a higher average weekly production threshold of 79,000 lb (35.8 mt). The three catcher/processors that are currently eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category would still be eligible under the higher production threshold considered, and would generally be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category at the lower production threshold (see Table 7, Section 3.7.2 of the Analysis). The Council and NMFS selected the higher production standard to ensure that catcher/processors that are currently eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category would continue to be eligible if these vessels maintain their current levels of production.

    The Council and NMFS concluded that this production threshold would maintain a limited exception to the general requirement that catcher/processors are in the full observer coverage category. Based on historical production data, approximately 3 percent of non-trawl catcher/processors have production that would allow them to be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category under this proposed rule. Based on historical production data, this would represent less than 1 percent of the aggregate groundfish production in the GOA and the BSAI. The Council does not anticipate that this action would impair data quality because the overwhelming amount of groundfish production would remain subject to full observer coverage (Section 3.6.7 of the Analysis). NMFS expects that up to 11 vessels would be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category based on estimated production data of all catcher/processors (Table 17 in Section 3.7.12 of the Analysis). The catcher/processors eligible for partial coverage under this proposed rule are engaged primarily in the hook-and-line and Pacific cod and sablefish fisheries (see Section 3.7.12 of the Analysis).

    2. The Basis Year for Placing a Catcher/Processor in the Partial Observer Coverage Category

    The Council and NMFS realize that it would be impossible for NMFS to place a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category for a fishing year beginning January 1 based on data from the fishing year that had just ended on December 31 (i.e., the fishing year minus one year) because there is not adequate time to compile and assess all of the production data relative to the production thresholds. Therefore, this proposed rule would establish the fishing year minus two years as the standard basis year for determining whether a catcher/processor was eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category, as it is the most recent year for which NMFS would have full production data. As an example, NMFS would assess production data from 2015 to determine if a catcher/processor would be eligible for partial coverage in the fishing year that begins on January 1, 2017, (i.e., the fishing year minus two years).

    If a catcher/processor had no production in the standard basis year, (i.e., two years before the current fishing year), but that catcher/processor had production before the standard basis year, the Council and NMFS recommended using the vessel's most recent year of production, but not earlier than 2009 (referred to as the alternate basis year) (Section 2.4 of the Analysis). For example, if this proposed rule was effective for the fishing year beginning January 1, 2017, and the most recent fishing year prior to 2015 a catcher/processor had production was 2011, the production from 2011 would be used to assess whether that catcher/processor met the threshold production amount to be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category. This proposed rule would not consider production data prior to 2009 because that is the first year that NMFS collected daily production reports (73 FR 76139), permitting calculation of average daily production (see Appendix D of the Analysis).

    3. A Catcher/Processor With No History of Production

    The Council and NMFS also considered the initial type of observer coverage (i.e., full or partial) that should apply to a catcher/processor with no production in either the standard basis year or an alternate basis year, e.g., a new catcher/processor. Three options were considered: placing the catcher/processor in the full observer coverage category in its first year of operation; placing the catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category in its first year of operation; or placing any trawl catcher/processors in the full observer coverage category until it had production history and placing any non-trawl catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category.

    The Council and NMFS recommended placing any new non-trawl catcher/processor without production history in the partial coverage category in its first year of operation. The Council and NMFS selected this option after analyzing the potential impact on data quality and costs of assigning new non-trawl catcher/processors to both the full or partial observer coverage categories. The Council and NMFS realize that the costs of full observer coverage could prevent some non-trawl catcher/processors from starting processing, particularly processing of sablefish in remote fishing grounds in the Aleutian Islands, and processing of Pacific cod by catcher/processors using jig gear. If non-trawl catcher/processors had to operate for their first two years in the full observer coverage category, it might defeat one of the objectives of this action, namely encouraging beneficial activity that is being prevented by the cost of full observer coverage.

    The Council and NMFS decided to exclude all trawl catcher/processors, regardless of their amount of production, from eligibility to participate in the partial observer coverage category. The unchanged observer requirements for trawl catcher/processors and catcher/processors that participate in a catch share program section of this preamble provides additional detail on trawl catcher/processor observer coverage requirements. Section 3.7.4 of the Analysis contains additional detail on the rationale for placing catcher/processors with no production in their appropriate observer coverage categories.

    4. Owner Choice by an Annual Deadline

    The Council and NMFS considered whether the owner of an eligible catcher/processor should have the option to be placed in the partial observer coverage category for the upcoming fishing year, or if NMFS would automatically place the qualifying vessel in the partial observer coverage category for the upcoming fishing year based on production data without any action by the vessel owner. The Council and NMFS decided that providing the vessel owner with the option to remain in the full observer coverage category best met the purposes of this action. Therefore, under this proposed rule, the owner of a qualifying vessel could choose to be placed in the partial observer coverage category by an annual deadline. If the owner of a qualifying vessel does not select to be placed in the partial observer coverage category by the annual deadline, that catcher/processor would be placed in the full observer coverage category for the upcoming fishing year. This annual selection process would be a new requirement for the three catcher/processors that are currently permanently placed in the partial observer coverage category.

    This proposed rule would establish two deadlines for a vessel owner to choose placement in the partial observer coverage category. First, NMFS anticipated that this proposed rule could be approved, be published, and become effective in spring of 2016. To achieve the benefits of this proposed rule in a timely manner, NMFS would establish a deadline in 2016 for a vessel owner of an eligible catcher/processor to request placement in the partial observer coverage category within 15 days after the effective date of the final rule, if approved. The effective date of the final rule would be 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. This deadline would provide a vessel owner 45 days to consider and submit a timely request for placement in the partial coverage category after the date of publication of the final rule. This deadline would require this request to be submitted in as timely a manner as practicable after the effective date of the final rule (i.e., within 15 days).

    This proposed rule would also establish a deadline applicable for the 2017 fishing year, and for all future fishing years. In the Analysis, NMFS stated that a July 1 deadline for choosing to be placed in the partial observer coverage would give vessel owners adequate time to choose partial observer coverage and would give NMFS adequate time to incorporate that information into its development of the Observer Program annual deployment plan for the upcoming fishing year (Section 2.2.4 of the Analysis). For the 2017 fishing year, a vessel owner would have to request placement in the partial observer coverage category by July 1, 2016.

    5. Unchanged Observer Requirements for Trawl Catcher/Processors and Catcher/Processors That Participate in a Catch Share Program

    While it is possible that a vessel may meet the production threshold to request to be in the partial observer coverage category, this proposed rule does not alter existing observer coverage requirements for a catcher/processor using trawl gear or a catcher/processor when participating in a catch share program; these catcher/processors would continue to be required to be in the full observer coverage category. The rationale for each is described below.

    During the development of this proposed rule, the Council and NMFS consistently stated that this proposed rule would not supersede any requirements for full observer coverage when a catcher/processor is participating in a catch share program (Section 2.4 of the Analysis). The requirements for full, or greater than full, coverage in these programs show a special need for verified individual accounting of catch by the catcher/processors in these programs.

    Therefore, the proposed rule would not provide exceptions for a catcher/processor subject to additional observer requirements specified in § 679.51(a)(2)(vi) to be placed in the partial observer coverage category. The existing additional observer requirements would continue to apply to catcher/processors participating in the following catch share programs: Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program (except catcher/processors sablefish CDQ fishing); American Fisheries Act; Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery; Amendment 80 trawl catcher/processors in the BSAI non-pollock fisheries; catcher/processors in the Central GOA Rockfish Program; and the longline catcher/processor subsector. Section 2.2 of the Analysis describes each of these catch share programs and the catcher/processors fishing under those programs in greater detail.

    Trawl catcher/processors, regardless of production level, would continue to be placed in the full observer coverage category. Trawl catcher/processors are subject to multiple bycatch, or prohibited species catch (PSC), limits for salmon, halibut, crab and herring (see § 679.21(d)(3), (e)(1), (f)(2), (h)(2), and (i)(3)). Therefore, NMFS has identified a heightened need for data from these vessels best achieved under full observer coverage. In addition, Section 2.4.1 of the Analysis states that most trawl catcher/processors are currently operating under the provisions of either the Amendment 80 or American Fisheries Act catch share programs and would be ineligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category because of the requirements for additional observer coverage under those catch share programs. Finally, NMFS analyzed production data from trawl catcher/processors relative to the 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) average weekly production threshold. No active trawl catcher/processors met this threshold to be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category during the years analyzed (2009 through 2014). Given these factors, and even if a trawl catcher/processor met the production requirement in the future, this proposed rule would not alter the existing requirements that a catcher/processor using trawl gear would continue to be required to be in the full observer coverage category.

    The Proposed Rule

    The proposed rule would revise regulations at 50 CFR part 679 to modify the criteria for NMFS to place small catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category in the Observer Program. The primary provision of the proposed rule is to establish a new paragraph in § 679.51, namely § 679.51(a)(3), “Catcher/processor placement in the partial observer coverage category for a year.”

    At § 679.51(a)(3)(i), this proposed rule would define the following terms for purposes of the new § 679.51(a)(3): A “fishing year” as the year during which a catcher/processor might be placed in the partial observer coverage category; the “standard basis year” as the fishing year minus two years; and the “alternate basis year” as the most recent year before the standard basis year in which a catcher/processor had any groundfish production but not earlier than 2009.

    The proposed rule at § 679.51(a)(3)(i) also defines a vessel's “average weekly groundfish production,” as the annual groundfish round weight production estimate for a catcher/processor, divided by the number of separate weeks during which production occurred, as determined by production reports, but excluding any groundfish that was caught with trawl gear. Thus, if a vessel has groundfish production any day in a week, excluding trawl production, that would be considered as a week of production.

    The proposed rule would specify at § 679.51(a)(3)(ii) the annual deadline for requesting placement in the partial observer coverage category as 15 days after the effective date of the final rule in 2016, and July 1 of the year before the year that the vessel owner would like to be placed in the partial observer coverage category, for 2017 and all future years. NMFS will make a determination within 30 days of receipt of the request for placement in the partial observer coverage category.

    The proposed rule would specify at § 679.51(a)(3)(iii) the requirements for NMFS to place a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category, namely if the vessel owner requests placement by the annual deadline specified and the vessel meets the production threshold of 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) of average weekly groundfish production (excluding groundfish caught with trawl gear).

    To determine eligibility for placement in the partial observer coverage category, NMFS will first examine the catcher/processor's production in the standard basis year, namely two years before the fishing year. If a catcher/processor produced at or below the production threshold (79,000 lb (35.8 mt) average weekly groundfish production) in the standard basis year, but more than zero pounds, the vessel would meet the production threshold for placement in the partial observer coverage category in the upcoming fishing year. If a catcher/processor exceeded that production threshold, the vessel would not be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category in the upcoming fishing year.

    If a catcher/processor had no production in the standard basis year, NMFS would examine the vessel's production in the alternative basis year, namely the first year that the vessel had any production before the standard basis year not earlier than 2009. If a catcher/processor had average groundfish weekly production of 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) or less in the alternate basis year, the vessel would meet the production threshold requirement for placement in the partial observer coverage category for the upcoming fishing year. If a catcher/processor exceeded the production threshold in the alternate basis year, the vessel would not be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category. If a catcher/processor had no production from 2009 through the standard basis year or an alternate basis year, the vessel would meet the production threshold requirement for placement in the partial observer coverage category.

    If a catcher/processor meets the production threshold requirement for placement in the partial observer coverage category and is not a vessel using trawl gear or otherwise required to have full observer coverage by participation in a catch share program, the catcher/processor would be placed in partial observer coverage only if the owner of the vessel makes the request by the specified deadline. The proposed rule specifies at § 679.51(a)(3)(iv) how the vessel owner would request placement in the partial observer coverage category. A vessel owner would need to submit a request form to NMFS, which NMFS would make available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    The proposed rule specifies at § 679.51(a)(3)(v) that NMFS will notify a vessel owner in writing if NMFS has placed the vessel in the partial observer coverage category once a request form has been submitted. Until NMFS provides this notice, the catcher/processor would remain in the full observer coverage category.

    The proposed rule specifies at § 679.51(a)(3)(vi) that if NMFS denies a request for placement in the partial observer coverage category, NMFS would issue an Initial Administrative Determination, which will explain in writing the reasons for the denial. If the vessel owner wishes to appeal the denial, the proposed rule provides at § 679.51(a)(3)(vii) that the vessel owner would be able to appeal to the National Appeals Office according to the procedures in 15 CFR part 906.

    In addition to the proposed new paragraph at § 679.51(a)(3), the proposed rule has several additional provisions. The proposed rule would add regulations at § 679.51(a)(1)(i)(C) to clarify that a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category under § 679.51(a)(3) is in the partial observer coverage category. The proposed rule would revise § 679.51(a)(2)(i)(A) to clarify that catcher/processors are placed in the full observer coverage category unless they are placed the partial observer coverage category using criteria specified at § 679.51(a)(3). The proposed rule also removes the regulations detailing the current exceptions to the full observer coverage category for catcher/processors at § 679.51(a)(2)(iv)(B).

    The proposed rule would add a new category to the definition of fishing trip for purposes of the Observer Program in § 679.2. Section 679.2 currently defines a fishing trip for a catcher vessel delivering to a shoreside or stationary floating processor and for a catcher vessel delivering to a tender vessel. The new definition would define a fishing trip for a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category, namely the period of time that begins when the vessel departs a port to harvest fish until the vessel returns to port and offloads all processed product. This definition would be necessary because the current definition of a fishing trip does not accurately apply to a catcher/processor in the partial coverage category.

    This proposed rule would add a new requirement at § 679.5(e)(13) for a catcher/processor landing report. The operator of a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category would be required to submit a catcher/processor landing report by 2400 hours, A.l.t., on the day after the end of the fishing trip. This would be a new reporting requirement created for this program. The landing report would be generated through eLandings or other NMFS-approved software by consolidating the daily production reports for the period the vessel operator defines as the fishing trip for purposes of observer coverage. NMFS would use information from the catcher/processor landing report to link catch data with observer data, to determine how to appropriately assign at-sea discard rates and PSC rates to unobserved catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category, and to monitor compliance with the requirement for catcher/processors placed in the partial observer coverage category to log all fishing trips in ODDS.

    The proposed rule would revise § 679.51(e)(1)(iii)(B) to remove requirements from catcher/processors placed in the partial observer coverage category to provide equipment for the purpose of observer data entry and transmission. Currently, all catcher/processors are required to provide an observer with a computer, NMFS-supplied software, and the ability to transmit data to NMFS using a point-to-point connection from the vessel. Removing this requirement would reduce the financial burden on small catcher/processors placed in the partial observer coverage category, especially for vessels mentioned in Section 3.7.4 of the Analysis that may begin to operate as a catcher/processor (e.g., catcher/processors using jig gear). Currently, observers deployed in the partial observer coverage category enter and transmit data without equipment provided by the industry. Maintaining the current equipment requirements for catcher/processors in partial coverage may result in duplicative and unnecessary equipment being available on the vessel. NMFS typically receives data from observers deployed in the partial observer coverage category at the end of each trip and that timeline would be sufficient for catcher/processors in partial coverage under this proposed rule. NMFS notes that even with this proposed change, more frequent data transmission could be achieved on some vessels if the observer is allowed to use existing communication equipment.

    The proposed rule would revise § 679.55(a) and (c) to clarify that all catcher/processors named on a Federal Fishing Permit (FFP) and not in the full observer coverage category are responsible for paying the observer fee.

    The proposed rule includes corrections to fix two cross reference errors in § 679.2 and replace language in § 679.5 that refer to old terminology of “100 percent observer coverage”. That terminology would be replaced with “full observer coverage”; this is the terminology used under the restructured Observer Program.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304 (b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendments 112 and 102, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

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

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The objectives for this proposed rule are to (1) refine the balance between observer data quality from the fishery and cost of observer coverage to catcher/processors with limited production relative to the rest of the catcher/processor fleet by allowing those catcher/processors with limited production the opportunity to be placed in the partial observer coverage category based on contemporary groundfish production amounts; and (2) maintain the full observer coverage requirement for all trawl catcher/processors and catcher/processors in a catch share program regardless whether these catcher/processors meet the groundfish production requirement for placement in the partial observer coverage category.

    An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. The IRFA describes the reasons why this action is being proposed; the objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule; the number and description of small entities directly regulated by the proposed action; any projected reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements of the proposed rule; any overlapping, duplicative, or conflicting Federal rules; impacts of the action on small entities; and any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that would accomplish the stated objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and any other applicable statutes, and would minimize any significant adverse impacts of the proposed rule on small entities. Descriptions of the proposed action, its purpose, and the legal basis are contained earlier in this preamble and are not repeated here. A summary of the IRFA follows. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).

    The RFA recognizes and defines three kinds of small entities: (1) Small businesses, (2) small non-profit organizations, and (3) small government jurisdictions. The proposed action would directly regulate small businesses.

    The Small Business Administration has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the United States. 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.

    Under the preferred alternative that would be implemented by this proposed rule, NMFS expects that up to 11 vessels may qualify for placement in the partial observer coverage category (See Section 3.4 and Section 4.6 of the Analysis for additional detail). NMFS estimates that these 11 vessels may be separated into four groups of entities.

    The first group of vessels consists of three catcher/processors that currently qualify for placement in the partial observer coverage category under the existing program rules. These were discussed in detail in Section 3.7.2 of the Analysis. These three vessels are estimated to be small entities based on estimates of their gross revenues, and of their known affiliations.

    The second group consists of three catcher/processors that currently operate as catcher/processors and are in the full observer coverage category, but that may be eligible to operate in the partial observer coverage category as a result of this proposed rule. These three catcher/processors are described in Section 3.7.3 of the Analysis. Two of these vessels are estimated to be small entities on the basis of estimates of their gross revenues, and of their known affiliations. One vessel is estimated to be a large entity on the basis of its gross revenue and its known affiliations.

    The third group consists of catcher vessels that may begin to operate as catcher/processors if this action is taken. As discussed in Section 3.7.4 of the Analysis, NMFS could not identify vessels in this group on the basis of historical information. However, NMFS noted that at least one jig vessel operator has indicated that he may begin catcher/processor operations using jig gear in Federal waters if that vessel could be eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category. NMFS estimates that this one known jig vessel would be estimated to be a small entity on the basis of gross revenues and affiliations of all known vessels currently using jig gear.

    Finally, the analysis determined that fishing operations using sablefish “A” quota shares in the Aleutian Islands may begin processing at-sea and operating as catcher/processors in the Aleutian Islands if those vessels are eligible for placement in the partial observer coverage category. Section 3.7.5 of the Analysis provides additional detail on these vessels. NMFS identified that up to four vessels could operate as catcher/processors for sablefish. NMFS estimates that, with one exception, these vessels would be estimated to be small entities on the basis of estimates of their gross revenues, and of their known affiliations. Collectively, NMFS estimates that up to 9 of the 11 vessels identified in these four groups would be considered directly regulated small entities.

    The proposed action contains one new reporting and recordkeeping requirement that affects the small entities. Vessel owners or operators desiring to be placed in the partial observer coverage category for a fishing year will have to submit a simple form expressing that choice by July 1 (except for the 2016 fishing year, as described previously). This information is needed for preparation of the Observer Program annual deployment plan.

    This form will use production data that will be available to the owner or operator on the eLandings Web site. Given the simplicity of the form, and the accessibility of the data needed to complete it, NMFS estimates that it will take no more than 30 minutes to complete and file the form. For Paperwork Reduction Act estimation purposes, NMFS values this type of effort at $37 per hour. Approximately 9 small entities could be affected by this requirement. Thus, the total public time required to complete 9 forms a year x 30 minutes is 4.5 hours. At a cost of $37 per hour, the estimated cost would be about $167.

    The RFA requires identification of any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives of the proposed action, consistent with applicable statutes, and that would minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. As noted in the IRFA, the proposed action is expected to create a net benefit for the directly regulated small entities. In other words, the benefits of the proposed action are expected to outweigh the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance costs described above.

    The Council and NMFS adopted the average weekly production threshold of 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) as its preferred alternative. This production threshold would allow a catcher/processor to qualify for placement in the partial observer coverage category for a year, if its round weight equivalent of their processed product, two years previous, averaged less than 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) a week. If the vessel had not operated two years previously, NMFS would use its production in the first year with production since 2009, inclusive of 2009. If the vessel has not produced in this period, NMFS would allow the vessel to be placed in the partial observer coverage category in the year in which application is made, unless it is a trawl vessel, in which case it would be in the full observer coverage category.

    This action is meant to reduce the relative burden on directly regulated small catcher/processors in comparison with the status quo. For vessels that qualify, this action would allow them to forego full observer coverage and operate with less expensive partial observer coverage, should they choose to do so. There are three catcher/processors that enjoy permanent placement in the partial observer coverage category under the status quo. These vessels would, under the action alternative, now have to qualify for placement in the partial observer coverage category each year. The Council and NMFS chose the 79,000-lb average weekly threshold, rather than an alternative 42,000-lb average weekly threshold, to maximize the potential for these three vessels to qualify for the option to be placed in the partial observer coverage category in future years. Moreover, one of the objectives of this action was to end the permanent placement in the partial observer coverage category for catcher/processor vessels and create a flexible system that could respond if a vessel increased production.

    The Council and NMFS considered multiple elements and options under Alternative 2 that would qualify more vessels or fewer vessels for placement in the partial observer coverage category. In addition to the two average weekly production thresholds, a low and a high average daily, maximum daily production, maximum weekly, and annual production measures were considered.

    The production thresholds analyzed under Element 1 Option 4B (high maximum weekly production) and Option 5B (high annual production) could have qualified one more small catcher/processor for partial observer coverage than is expected to qualify under the Council's preferred alternative (Option 2B: average weekly production threshold of 79,000 lb). The Council did not select Option 4B because basing a threshold on maximum weekly production could have excluded some catcher/processors that had one week of relatively high production, but had relatively low average production over the remainder of the year. The Council did not select Option 5B because it could allow catcher/processors with relatively high production levels over the course of several weeks or months during the year into the partial observer coverage category. NMFS recommended that catcher/processors with these high intensity production periods during the year should remain in the full observer coverage category so that all of their fishing activity is observed.

    The average weekly measure was chosen, because it provided a measure of production intensity, which the annual, maximum daily, and maximum weekly measures, did not provide; it was readily measurable; and it was less prone to manipulation or unusually high levels of production than the other options considered. A week is also the standard measure of production for a catcher/processor trip in current regulation (Section 2.2.1 and Section 4.9 of the Analysis).

    No relevant Federal rules have been identified that would duplicate or overlap with the proposed action.

    Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). These requirements have been submitted to OMB for approval. The information collections are presented by OMB control number.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0318

    Public reporting burden for Catcher/Processor Observer Partial Coverage Request is estimated to average 30 minutes per response.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0515

    Public reporting burden for Catcher/Processor Landing Report through eLandings is estimated to average one minute per response.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0711

    Public reporting burden for submittal of Observer Fee through eFISH is estimated to average 1 minute per response.

    Public comment is sought regarding: whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to NMFS at the ADDRESSES above, and email to [email protected], or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    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. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 679 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR 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 § 679.2, add paragraph (3)(iii) to the definition of “Fishing trip” to read as follows:
    § 679.2 Definitions.

    Fishing trip means: * * *

    (3) * * *

    (iii) For a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category, the period of time that begins when the vessel departs a port to harvest fish until the vessel returns to port and offloads all processed product.

    3. In § 679.5, add paragraph (e)(13) to read as follows:
    § 679.5 Recordkeeping and reporting (R&R).

    (e) * * *

    (13) Catcher/processor landing report. (i) The operator of a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category under § 679.51(a)(3) must use eLandings or other NMFS-approved software to submit a catcher/processor landing report to NMFS for each fishing trip conducted while that catcher/processor is in the partial observer coverage category.

    (ii) The vessel operator must log into eLandings or other NMFS-approved software and provide the information required on the computer screen. Additional instructions for submitting a catcher/processor landing report is on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    (iii) For purposes of this landing report requirement, the end of a fishing trip is defined in § 679.2, paragraph (3)(iii) of the definition of a fishing trip.

    (iv) The vessel operator must submit the catcher/processor landing report to NMFS by 2400 hours, A.l.t., on the day after the end of the fishing trip.

    4. In § 679.51, a. Revise paragraph (a)(1)(i)(B); b. Add paragraph (a)(1)(i)(C); c. Revise paragraph (a)(2)(i)(A); d. Remove and reserve paragraphs (a)(2)(iv)(B) and (a)(2)(v); e. Add paragraph (a)(3); and f. Revise paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(B) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 679.51 Observer requirements for vessels and plants.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (B) A catcher vessel when fishing for halibut with hook-and-line gear and while carrying a person named on a permit issued under § 679.4(d)(1)(i), § 679.4(d)(2)(i), or § 679.4(e)(2), or for sablefish IFQ with hook-and-line or pot gear and while carrying a person named on a permit issued under § 679.4(d)(1)(i) or § 679.4(d)(2)(i); or

    (C) A catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category under paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

    (2) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) Catcher/processors, except a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category under paragraph (a)(3) of this section;

    (3) Catcher/processor placement in the partial observer coverage category for a year—(i) Definitions. For purposes of this paragraph (a)(3), these terms are defined as follows:

    (A) Average weekly groundfish production means the annual groundfish round weight production estimate for a catcher/processor, divided by the number of separate weeks during which production occurred, as determined by production reports, excluding any groundfish caught using trawl gear.

    (B) Fishing year means the year during which a catcher/processor might be placed in partial observer coverage.

    (C) Standard basis year means the fishing year minus two years.

    (D) Alternate basis year means the most recent year before the standard basis year in which a catcher/processor had any groundfish production but not earlier than 2009.

    (ii) Deadline for requesting partial observer coverage. For the 2016 fishing year, the deadline for requesting partial observer coverage is [DATE 15 DAYS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE]. For the 2017 fishing year and every fishing year after 2017, the deadline for requesting partial observer coverage is July 1 of the year prior to the fishing year.

    (iii) Requirements for placing a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category. NMFS will place a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category for a fishing year if the owner of the catcher/processor requests placement in partial observer coverage by the deadline for requesting partial observer coverage for that fishing year and the catcher/processor meets the following requirements:

    (A) An average weekly groundfish production of:

    (1) 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) or less, but more than zero lb, in the standard basis year; or

    (2) Zero lb in the standard basis year and 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) or less, but more than zero lb, in the alternate basis year; or

    (3) Had no production from 2009 through the standard basis year; and

    (B) Is not a catcher/processor using trawl gear; and

    (C) Is not subject to additional observer coverage requirements in paragraph (a)(2)(vi) of this section.

    (iv) How to request placement of a catcher/processor in partial observer coverage. A vessel owner must submit a request form to NMFS. The request form must be completed with all required fields accurately completed. The request form is provided by NMFS and is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov). The submittal methods are described on the form.

    (v) Notification of placement in the partial observer coverage category. NMFS will notify the owner if the catcher/processor has been placed in the partial observer coverage category in writing. Until NMFS provides notification, the catcher/processor is in the full observer coverage category for that fishing year.

    (vi) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). If NMFS denies a request to place a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category, NMFS will provide an IAD, which will explain the basis for the denial.

    (vii) Appeal. If the owner of a catcher/processor wishes to appeal NMFS' denial of a request to place a catcher/processor in the partial observer coverage category, the owner may appeal the determination under the appeals procedure set out at 15 CFR part 906.

    (e) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iii) * * *

    (B) Communication equipment requirements. In the case of an operator of a catcher/processor (except for a catcher/processor placed in the partial observer coverage category under paragraph (a)(3) of this section), a mothership, a catcher vessel 125 ft. LOA or longer (except for a vessel fishing for groundfish with pot gear), or a catcher vessel participating in the Rockfish Program:

    5. In § 679.55, revise paragraphs (a) and (c) to read as follows:
    § 679.55 Observer fees.

    (a) Responsibility. The owner of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor named on a Federal Processing Permit (FPP), a catcher/processor named on a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP), or a person named on a Registered Buyer permit at the time of the landing subject to the observer fee as specified at § 679.55(c) must comply with the requirements of this section. Subsequent non-renewal of an FPP, FFP, or a Registered Buyer permit does not affect the permit holder's liability for noncompliance with this section.

    (c) Landings subject to the observer fee. The observer fee is assessed on landings by vessels not in the full observer coverage category described at § 679.51(a)(2) according to the following table:

    If fish in the landing by a catcher vessel or production by a catcher/processor is from the following fishery or species: Is fish from the landing subject to the observer fee? If the vessel is not designated on an FFP or required to be designated on an FFP: If the vessel is designated on an FFP or required to be designated on an FFP: (1) Groundfish listed in Table 2a to this part that are harvested in the EEZ and subtracted from a total allowable catch limit specified under § 679.20(a) Not applicable, an FFP is required to harvest these groundfish in the EEZ Yes. (2) Groundfish listed in Table 2a to this part that are harvested in Alaska State waters, including in a parallel groundfish fishery, and subtracted from a total allowable catch limit specified under § 679.20(a) No Yes. (3) Sablefish IFQ, regardless of where harvested Yes Yes. (4) Halibut IFQ or halibut CDQ, regardless of where harvested Yes Yes. (5) Groundfish listed in Table 2a to this part that are harvested in Alaska State waters, but is not subtracted from a total allowable catch limit under § 679.20(a) No No. (6) Any groundfish or other species not listed in Table 2a to part 679, except halibut IFQ or CDQ halibut, regardless of where harvested No No.
    §§ 679.2 and 679.5 [Amended]
    6. At each of the locations shown in the “Location” column, remove the phrase indicated in the “Remove” column and replace it with the phrase indicated in the “Add” column for the number of times indicated in the “Frequency” column. Location Remove Add Frequency § 679.2 Definition of “Suspension” § 679.50 § 679.53 1 § 679.2 Definition of “Suspension” § 679.50(j) § 679.53(c) 1 § 679.5(e)(10)(iv)(B) required to have 100 percent observer coverage or more, in the groundfish and halibut fishery full observer coverage category described at § 679.51(a)(2), 1
    [FR Doc. 2015-32742 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 249 Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2015-0002] National Residue Program: Monitoring Chemical Hazards AGENCY:

    Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS; also Agency) is clarifying its approach within the National Residue Program's (NRP's) Tier 2 exploratory program when it tests tissue samples collected from livestock and poultry carcasses and detects chemicals that do not have established tolerances or other regulatory levels. This approach applies to potentially hazardous chemicals that are not animal drugs or pesticide chemicals with established tolerances. The Agency also intends to apply this approach to egg products should these products become subject to chemical testing and to products from fish of the order Siluriformes when the final rule to make these species amenable to the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) is fully implemented. FSIS requests comments on the approach discussed in this document, and on how FSIS can further improve its management of environmental contaminants and other chemical hazards in meat and poultry products.

    DATES:

    To receive full consideration, comments must be received on February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.

    Mail, including CD-ROMs: Send to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2015-0002.

    Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to background documents or comments received, go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriot Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Patty Bennett, Humane Handling Enforcement Coordinator, Office of Field Operations, FSIS, USDA; Telephone (202)720-5397.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    To protect consumers and to verify the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products 1 in the United States, FSIS collects samples and analyzes them for a number of potentially harmful chemicals. Historically, the U.S. National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products (NRP), administered by FSIS, has primarily monitored livestock and poultry carcasses for animal drugs and pesticide chemicals, which are regulated and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), respectively.

    1 Products that meet USDA's definition of `egg product' are under USDA jurisdiction. The definition includes dried, frozen, or liquid eggs, with or without added ingredients, but mentions many exceptions. The following products, among others, are exempted as not being egg products: freeze-dried products, imitation egg products, egg substitutes. Products that do not fall under the definition, such as egg substitutes and cooked products, are under FDA jurisdiction.

    However, in addition to animal drugs and pesticide chemicals, there are other chemicals, including metals, mycotoxins, dioxins, and other environmental and industrial contaminants, that may on occasion be found in FSIS-regulated products. The NRP systematically addresses animal drugs and pesticide chemicals, but it has not covered other chemicals in a structured manner. The fact that it has not done so led the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to recommend, in a March 2010 report on FSIS's chemical residue program, that FSIS “establish policies and procedures for handling hazardous substances with no tolerances.” 2 While the OIG report concentrated on cattle, FSIS believes this concern applies to poultry and the other amenable livestock species (e.g., hogs, sheep) because issues associated with chemicals without a regulatory tolerance often are associated with sources that could involve more than one establishment and production class, such as contaminated feed. It is common practice for feed mills to produce feed for multiple species, and thus, a single contamination event may become an issue for several livestock and poultry production industries. In addition, FSIS does not limit testing for chemicals without tolerances to cattle. In a contamination event, the Agency would conduct testing on all exposed species.

    2 “FSIS National Residue Program for Cattle.” USDA, Office of the Inspector General Audit Report 24601-08-KC, March 2010.

    In this notice, FSIS is announcing that it has taken significant steps to enhance its ability to address all types of chemical hazards and is clarifying its approach within the NRP for addressing hazardous chemicals without established tolerances.

    Recent Improvements to the National Residue Program

    On July 6, 2012, FSIS announced that it was restructuring the NRP with respect to how samples are collected and analyzed for chemical compounds (New Analytical Methods and Sampling Procedures for the United States National Residue Program for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products, 77 FR 39895). The new methods and procedures that FSIS has adopted have strengthened the NRP by making it into an integrated chemical hazard identification, prioritization, and management program that supports the Agency's efforts to ensure that the U.S. supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe. FSIS has implemented new, more efficient analytical methods in its laboratories that enable the Agency to detect a greater number of chemicals than had been the case, and, at the same time, FSIS has streamlined its process for collecting samples for analysis.

    The restructured NRP consists of three tiers of sampling. Tier 1 is the scheduled sampling program that functions as an exposure assessment and includes sampling of both domestic and imported product. Production classes representing the majority of the annual volume of animals slaughtered in the United States (e.g., beef cows, market hogs, and young chickens) are tested under Tier 1. When a tissue sample from a livestock carcass is collected for residue testing under Tier 1, FSIS withholds the mark of inspection from the livestock carcass until all test results that bear on the determination as to whether the carcass is not adulterated have been received. On the other hand, poultry carcasses are not held pending test results (Not Applying the Mark of Inspection Pending Certain Test Results, 77 FR 73401, Dec. 10, 2012).

    Samples tested under Tier 1 are analyzed for a set of chemicals that currently includes animal drugs and pesticide chemicals. When any level of a chemical subject to Tier 1 testing is detected in a livestock carcass muscle sample, FSIS inspection program personnel are instructed to condemn the carcass and all parts, unless a tolerance level has been set for the chemical in the tissue and production class in question, and the detected level does not exceed this tolerance (Residue Sampling, Testing and Other Verification Procedures under the National Residue Program for Meat and Poultry Products, FSIS Directive 10,800.1). As mentioned above, poultry carcasses are generally not held pending the availability of test results, but any FSIS follow-up actions in response to violative results are the same for both poultry and livestock, including consultation with FDA and EPA. In recent years, egg products have not been a focus of the NRP. However, FSIS intends to apply the approach discussed in this notice to all FSIS-regulated products, including egg products, at which time egg products become subject to chemical testing. Thus, this notice generally refers to “carcasses,” even though analogous actions may be taken with respect to FSIS-regulated egg products.

    Tier 2 testing encompasses two separate programs. The first, known as the inspector-generated program, is a targeted testing program in which field public health veterinarians (PHVs) decide to perform in-plant screens because they suspect that animals or carcasses contain higher than allowable levels of chemical residues. FSIS inspectors will collect and submit samples for inspector-generated residue testing if a screen test is positive, or if a PHV has reason to believe that a carcass or its parts may contain violative levels of one or more chemical residues, even if the screen test is negative (Residue Sampling, Testing and Other Verification Procedures under the National Residue Program, FSIS Directive 10,800.1, Rev. 1).

    The second, Tier 2 testing program, known as the exploratory assessment program, includes sampling plans designed in response to information gained from previous exposure assessments, from the chemical hazard identification process, or from other agencies. Unlike livestock carcasses selected for sampling under Tier 1 or under the inspector-generated program, carcasses selected for sampling under the exploratory assessment program can be released into commerce before exploratory sampling results are available. Essentially the exploratory assessment program is designed to investigate animal populations when the compounds in question have no established tolerances; respond to intelligence regarding use of veterinary drugs, pesticides, and environmental contaminants reported from the field; determine the prevalence and concentration of residues; and evaluate residue trends.3 FSIS uses the results from these exploratory assessments to identify potential chemical hazards of concern and to inform FSIS and NRP priorities. The exploratory assessment program includes testing for veterinary drugs, pesticides, and several metals.4

    3 From: The United States National Residue Program (NRP) for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products: Residue Sampling Plans (traditionally known as the Blue Book), 2011 edition. At: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry.

    4 For example, exploratory assessment program for 2015 found in Summary Table III in: The United States National Residue Program (NRP) for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products: Residue Sampling Plans (traditionally known as the Blue Book), 2015 edition. At: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry.

    Tier 3 testing occurs in response to indications of chemical exposure to more than a single animal and encompasses targeted testing at the herd or flock level. Events triggering this type of testing are rare and usually involve extensive coordination between federal and state agencies at both the local and headquarters levels.

    This notice provides clarification to the Tier 2 exploratory assessment program.

    Current Regulatory Framework

    Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.), and the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031 et seq.), FSIS inspection personnel apply the mark of inspection to meat, poultry, and egg products only if they find upon inspection that these articles are not adulterated (21 U.S.C. 455, 457, 604, 606, 607, 1034, 1036). Under the Acts, meat, poultry, and egg products that do not bear an official mark of inspection are misbranded (21 U.S.C. 601(n)(12), 453(h)(12), and 1034). The Acts prohibit the sale or transportation in commerce of meat, poultry, and egg products capable of use as human food that are adulterated or misbranded or that have not been inspected and passed (21 U.S.C. 458(a)(2), 610(c), 1037(b)).

    Under the FMIA, “any carcass, part thereof, meat or meat food product” is adulterated “if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health; but in the case the substance is not an added substance, such article shall not be considered adulterated . . . if the quantity of such substance in or on such article does not ordinarily render it injurious to health” (21 U.S.C. 601(m)(1)). Under the FMIA, a product is also adulterated “if it bears or contains by reason of administration of any substance to the live animal or otherwise any added poisonous or added deleterious substance (other than one which is (i) a pesticide chemical in or on a raw agricultural commodity, (ii) a food additive, or (iii) a color additive) which may, in the judgment of the Secretary, make such article unfit for human food” (21 U.S.C. 601(m)(2)(A)). In addition, a product is adulterated under the FMIA if it bears or contains any pesticide chemical, color additives, or food additive that is unsafe within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) (21 U.S.C. 601(m)(2)(B)-(D)). Both the PPIA and EPIA contain similar provisions (21 U.S.C. 453(g)(1)-(2) and 1033(a)(1)-(2)).

    As mentioned above, because FSIS has primarily monitored livestock and poultry carcasses for animal drugs and pesticide chemicals, the approach described in this notice is initially intended to apply to livestock and poultry carcasses. FDA and EPA have statutory authority to establish residue tolerances that allow certain chemicals to remain in food products in non-harmful quantities, without causing these products to be adulterated. Under the FFDCA, the FDA may establish tolerances regulatory limits, and other limitations or specifications for animal drugs, approve food additives including conditions under which they may be used, and establish tolerances and regulatory limits for added or naturally occurring poisonous or deleterious substances, and the EPA may establish tolerance levels for registered pesticides. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) sets out tolerances and regulatory limits established by FDA, while Title 40 of the CFR sets out the tolerance levels established by EPA. In addition, FDA may also establish non-binding action levels that provide guidance for levels of contamination at which a food may be regarded as adulterated.

    Many of the tolerances and regulatory limits applicable to meat, poultry, or egg products have only been established for chemicals that are either animal drugs or pesticide chemicals. Yet other hazardous chemicals exist that do not have established tolerances, regulatory limits, or action levels but that could nonetheless be present in FSIS-regulated products at levels that may cause consumers to exceed a risk level for human consumption.5 6 This group of chemicals includes, but is not limited to, environmental contaminants, heavy metals, industrial chemicals, and mycotoxins. Unlike animal drugs or pesticide chemicals, these chemicals are usually not intentionally administered to food-producing animals or feed crops as part of accepted husbandry and agricultural practices. As such, they may not usually be reviewed by FDA or EPA as part of an approval process and hence may not have tolerances like animal drugs and pesticide chemicals and may not be subject to other regulatory limits. In most cases, the presence of these chemicals in edible animal tissue results from the food-producing animal's ante-mortem exposure to the chemical through feed, water, air, soil, or direct application.

    5 For example, for lead and cadmium, see results at: The United States National Residue Program (NRP) for Meat, Poultry and Egg Products: Residue Sample Results (traditionally known as the Red Book), 2012 edition. At: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry.

    6 For example, for dioxin-like compounds, see results from FSIS dioxin surveys at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry.

    When a livestock or poultry carcass tested under the Tier 1 or the Tier 2 inspector-generated program is determined to contain a level of an animal drug or pesticide chemical that exceeds the applicable tolerance set by FDA or EPA, the carcass and parts are adulterated under the FMIA or PPIA and as such must be condemned.7 FSIS Directive 10,800.1 provides instructions to FSIS personnel on the disposition of carcasses containing violative residues and on other procedures related to residue sampling under the Tier 1 and inspector-generated programs.

    7 If there is no tolerance for an identified animal drug or pesticide subject to Tier 1 testing, carcasses or parts containing any amount of the substance are condemned.

    In contrast, although FSIS has detected, and continues to detect, environmental contaminants and other potential hazardous chemicals without established tolerances or regulatory levels through its exploratory assessment program, the Agency does not have a consistent and structured procedure for addressing these exploratory assessment results. Therefore, to better address the potential human health risks that may be associated with the presence of environmental contaminants and other potential chemical hazards without tolerances in meat and poultry products, FSIS is providing information regarding its approach to responding to findings from its exploratory sampling program. This information is intended to clarify how the Agency will respond to sampling results that reveal the presence of contaminants and chemicals of this type. FSIS is publishing this Federal Register document to inform the public of approach and to request public comments.

    Structured Approach for Chemicals Without Established Tolerances

    FSIS intends to proceed as follows when chemicals without established tolerances or other applicable regulatory levels are detected in livestock or poultry carcasses. For chemicals designated for testing in the Tier 2 exploratory assessment program, FSIS will derive a de minimis level (DML) for the chemical in samples collected from a given production class or species below which FSIS is confident that any public health concern is nonexistent or negligible (next section describes the derivation of the DML). If the concentrations of the chemical detected in Tier 2 exploratory testing are consistently at or below the DML, FSIS will likely discontinue the exploratory testing for that chemical.

    If, based on FSIS testing results, carcasses in Tier 2 testing are found to contain levels of a chemical above the de minimis level, FSIS will take certain actions, including notifying the slaughter or processing establishment or other affected entities, such as suppliers of the source animals, if needed, of the presence of the chemical and notifying the appropriate federal partners for possible trace-back investigations and consideration of potential mitigation actions. This approach is one that FSIS has historically taken on an ad hoc basis for chemical exposure incidents and in its dioxin surveys,8 and one that the Agency will continue to apply in this more structured approach for the exploratory chemicals in Tier 2 that are detected above the DML. Carcasses subject to Tier 2 exploratory sampling are typically not held pending the exploratory testing results. As discussed below, the Agency intends to assess levels of chemicals subject to exploratory sampling over time to evaluate the need to revise this policy.

    8 Dioxin survey procedures and results at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/data-collection-and-reports/chemistry/residue-chemistry.

    If the levels of the chemical are found to be above the DML on more than an occasional basis, FSIS will consider adding the chemical to the Tier 1 scheduled sampling program. FSIS will consult with the appropriate federal agency (FDA or EPA) regarding such an action and will issue a notice in the Federal Register to request public comments before placing such a chemical into Tier 1. If the chemical without a tolerance or other regulatory level is placed in Tier 1, FSIS will not apply the mark of inspection to livestock carcasses that have been sampled for testing until results at or under the DML are available and received for any testing conducted by the Agency. In the further absence of a tolerance or other regulatory level, the detection of any chemical levels over the DML would preclude FSIS from determining that the carcass or its parts are not adulterated.

    Deriving De Minimis Levels (DMLs)

    The DML is a concentration of the chemical in a particular edible tissue below which any risk to public health is negligible (de minimis risk). FSIS intends to use the DML as a guide to help ascertain whether a test result from the Tier 2 exploratory assessment program needs follow-up actions or not. The derivation of a DML follows standard and routinely accepted risk assessment approaches.9 The DML is derived from a health-based guidance value for the given chemical, which is usually a human intake value (e.g., oral dose exposure) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime, like a reference dose (RfD) or an acceptable daily intake (ADI). Health-based guidance values for many chemicals are published by agencies such as the EPA, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). If significant exposure routes other than meat or poultry products exist for the chemical hazard, an appropriate fraction of the health-based guidance value will be allocated to these other exposure routes. To arrive at the DML, the health-based guidance value—or the fraction thereof allocated to the meat or poultry products in question—will be used together with consumption estimates taken from the What We Eat in America (the dietary intake interview component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)) or other appropriate consumption data.10 11

    9 For example, see: FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization). 2009. Environmental Health Criteria 240: Principles and methods for the risk assessment of chemicals in food. At: http://www.who.int/ipcs/food/principles/en/index1.html.

    10http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm.

    11 Kerry L. Dearfield, Sarah R. Edwards, Margaret M. O'Keefe, Naser M. Abdelmajid, Ashley J. Blanchard, David D. Labarre, and Patty A. Bennett (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service), “Dietary Estimates of Dioxins Consumed in U.S. Department of Agriculture—Regulated Meat and Poultry Products, ” Journal of Food Protection, 76, no. 9 (2013): 1597-1607.

    For almost all chemicals being considered for Tier 2 exploratory testing, a health-based guidance value exists, and the DML will be derived as described above. In the extremely rare instance where there is not a health-based guidance value, FSIS will work its federal partners to decide on a course of action to develop one. In other instances however, a DML equivalent, such as a maximum level determination by the Codex Alimentarius, is available for specific chemicals in specific food commodities (e.g., for lead in meat of cattle, pigs and sheep).12 In these instances, FSIS will use such values as the DML.

    12 Found in: Codex General Standard For Contaminants And Toxins In Food And Feed. At: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/standards/list-standards/en/?no_cache=1?provide=standards&orderField=ccshort&sort=asc&num1=.

    Identifying Chemicals of Concern

    FSIS may identify potential chemicals of concern for testing and the possible presence of chemical hazards in meat and poultry products through scientific literature reviews, expert elicitations, attendance at scientific meetings, collaboration with Federal, State, and international partners, and communication with stakeholders and trade partners. FSIS will also consult with its NRP collaboration body, the interagency Surveillance Advisory Team (SAT),13 for guidance on which chemicals to pursue in the Tier 2 exploratory program and for derivation of DMLs.

    13 The Surveillance Advisory Team (SAT), is an interagency committee comprised of representatives from FSIS, FDA, EPA, AMS, ARS, and CDC. It consists of experts in veterinary medicine, toxicology, chemistry, and public health who provide professional advice, as well as information on veterinary drug and pesticide use in animal husbandry. The purpose of the SAT is to enhance communication, which includes obtaining and evaluating relevant toxicity and exposure information for each compound that supports the NRP.

    Moreover, the multi-residue methods recently adopted by FSIS laboratories not only enable the Agency to test for a greater number of animal drug and pesticide chemical residues than in the past but also allow detection of a greater number of other potentially harmful chemicals, most of which do not have regulatory tolerances. As mentioned, FSIS has already been collecting data on certain environmental contaminants, including several metals, through its Tier 2 exploratory sampling.

    As a result of these efforts, FSIS may identify a chemical in meat or poultry products that is not being monitored by the Agency, and for which no applicable tolerance exists. In most such cases, FSIS will seek to empirically confirm the chemical's presence in FSIS-regulated product through a Tier 2 exploratory assessment, which may be run for a period of time (e.g., one year) and will record baseline levels of the chemical.

    Cost-Benefit Analysis

    No significant costs to establishments, regardless of size, are expected as a result of the Tier 2 exploratory assessment program. The purpose of this sampling is to determine prevalence and levels of various hazardous chemicals in meat and poultry carcasses. Exploratory testing is being conducted under the NRP at little or no additional cost to the establishment or to the Agency. Once a DML is established, and FSIS is confident that these products are not adulterated based on the results from the exploratory testing, FSIS will then be able to limit the scope of this testing in the future. As mentioned, establishments will receive notification if any results of those tests are above the DML. There is no requirement for establishments to hold carcasses until acceptable results are available (as for Tier 1 and Tier 2 inspector-generated samples) under Tier 2 exploratory sampling, so there is no establishment cost associated with Tier 2 exploratory assessment program.

    In most instances, FSIS does not expect establishments to take significant mitigating actions as a result of Tier 2 exploratory sampling since the purpose of this sampling is to inform the Agency on general prevalence, and not the performance of a particular establishment. However, if an establishment has received multiple test results that are above the DML or if it receives a test result well above the DML, FSIS will consult and work with its federal, state and local partners to determine the cause of the positive test results at little or no additional expense to establishments. Once a cause has been discovered, the establishment may receive a letter from FSIS or its partner agencies (which could include any test results, possible leads of sources of contamination to evaluate, and provide opportunities to consult with the appropriate agencies), at which time the establishment may voluntarily choose to incur the additional costs of certain mitigating actions, such as discarding feed or replacing feed troughs. Given its experience under the dioxin survey program and the ongoing Tier 2 exploratory program for veterinary drugs and pesticides, FSIS expects these follow-up letters and mitigating actions to be a rare occurrence while products from an establishment are tested in the Tier 2 exploratory assessment program.

    If a chemical is moved into Tier 1 sampling, the Agency will inform the public and will conduct a cost-benefit analysis for the specific chemicals and products involved. The public will then have the opportunity to comment on the cost-benefit analysis.

    Request for Comments

    The approach discussed in this notice is intended to provide more structure and consistency for existing FSIS procedures and practices for addressing chemicals in livestock and poultry carcasses that do not have established tolerances or other regulatory levels. The approach is designed to cover most chemical hazards that do not derive from animal drugs or pesticide chemicals. As part of an integrated chemical hazard identification, prioritization, and management system operating under the NRP, FSIS intends to use the risk-based procedures described in this document to efficiently and effectively address public health concerns associated with chemical hazards that may be detected in livestock and poultry carcasses. FSIS requests comments on the approach discussed in this document, and on how FSIS can further improve its management of environmental contaminants and other chemical hazards in meat and poultry products.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How to File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at: http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax: (202) 690-7442.

    Email: [email protected]

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register .

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    Done in Washington, DC: December 18, 2015. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32808 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Notice of Intent To Request Approval To Establish a New Information Collection and Record Keeping Requirement AGENCY:

    National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations that implement the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's (NIFA) intention to request approval to establish a new information collection and record keeping requirement for the Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).

    DATES:

    Written comments on this notice must be received by February 29, 2016, to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: Email: [email protected]; Mail: Office of Information Technology (OIT), NIFA, USDA, STOP 2216, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2216.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Martin, Records Officer; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).

    OMB Number: 0524-New.

    Type of Request: Intent to request approval to establish a new information collection and record keeping requirement for three years.

    Abstract: In January 2003, the National Veterinary Medical Service Act (NVMSA) was passed into law adding section 1415A to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1997. This law established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) (7 U.S.C. 3125a) authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which they agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations. The purpose of the program is to assure an adequate supply of trained food animal veterinarians in shortage situations and provide USDA with a pool of veterinary specialists to assist in the control and eradication of animal disease outbreaks.

    The VMLRP Program Office proposes a record keeping requirement for VMLRP participants and to collect additional information from current participants, their employers and past participants. The records to be maintained and the information collected will allow for better oversight and assessment of the program. Additionally, to streamline OMB approval processes all currently approved VMLRP information collections (OMB Control Number 0524-0046 and 0524-0047) will be combined into a single package along with the new information proposed. Each new requirement is described in detail below.

    (1) Service Log

    Need and Use of the Records: Program participants are required to verify on a quarterly basis that the terms of the VMLRP service agreement are being met through the Service Verification Form (NIFA-09-10, OMB No 0534-0047). This form is an affidavit signed by the program participant's employer or, if self-employed, by the participant. Upon receipt by NIFA of a signed form affirming service under the terms and conditions of the service agreement, funds are released to participant's lender(s). At this time the affidavit is not validated by VMLRP program staff. In order to validate service affidavits, the VMLRP proposes a recording keeping requirement for participants in the form of service log that would be subject to audit by program staff. During a service audit VMLRP staff will compare the service log to the shortage area description and contact participants with any questions. Discrepancies between the shortage situation description and service log may indicate a breach in the service agreement and payments to lender(s) will be put on hold until the discrepancy is resolved.

    Components of the Record: For those participants serving in the private sector (Type I and Type II shortage situations), the service log would contain the following for each service/appointment: Date of service, duration of services/appointment, windshield/drive time, species or species type served, county and zip of client/farm receiving services, and services provided. For those serving in the public sector (Type III shortage situations), the service log would contain the following: Date of service/activity, duration of service/activity and description of service/activity conducted including the specific role of the participant in that service/activity.

    Method of Collection: Participants should maintain their service logs in any data format e.g. csv, .xls, etc. A template will be provided. The full service log should be sent via email to the VMLRP Program Office along with the signed service verification form.

    Frequency of Response: Random audit. When the quarterly affidavit is sent to participants for signature, each participant will be notified if they have been selected for audit. A VMLRP participant should anticipate at least one audit during their service agreement period.

    Affected Public: VMLRP participants under service agreement.

    Type of Respondents: Veterinarians.

    Estimate of Burden:

    Number of respondents Estimated number of responses per respondent Average burden hours per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours requested
    150 260 .25 9750
    (2) Feedback Survey

    Need for and Use of the Information: The VMLRP Program Office does not have a formal mechanism for program participants to provide feedback to the program or to State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) on the status of the shortage situation they are serving. Moreover, there is no formal mechanism to obtain feedback on program processes, program resources, or quality of services and interactions with program staff. Currently, any feedback provided by participants is ad hoc on their own volition. The VMLRP Program Office is proposing to collect data on the current and 5-10y projected status of a shortage area, and program processes, resources and customer service. Data will be used by VMLRP to improve internal processes and shortage area information and will be shared with SAHOs to aide them in future nominations of veterinarian shortage situations. Active solicitation by VMLRP for feedback will occur after participants complete year one of the service agreement. This timing enables VMLRP to respond to feedback as appropriate and provide information to SAHOs during a participant's service agreement period.

    Method of Collection: Feedback questions will be solicited through a survey sent by email to participants as a pdf-fillable form or as a link to a web-based survey system. Completed surveys will be emailed to the VMLRP Program Office or stored on the web-based system. Completion of the survey is voluntary.

    Frequency of Response: Once during the service agreement period.

    Affected Public: VMLRP participants under service agreement.

    Type of Respondents: Veterinarians.

    Estimate of Burden:

    Number of
  • respondents
  • Estimated
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Annual
  • burden hours
  • requested
  • 50 1 .33 16.5
    (3) Close-Out Report

    Need for and Use of the Information: Close-out reports serve as documentation for federal award programs to assess whether the program is meeting its intended outcomes. VMLRP proposes to collect data from participants on the services provided during their service award, their impact on the shortage situation, and their professional plans post-service agreement. The information collected will be reported in aggregate as part of the program's annual report and used to evaluate VMLRP processes, impacts and projected outcomes.

    Method of Collection: Information will be solicited via email using a pdf-fillable form or as a link to a web-based survey system. Completed surveys will be emailed to the VMLRP Program Office or stored on the web-based system. Completion of the report is mandatory and a condition of the service agreement.

    Frequency of Response: Once at the end of the service agreement period.

    Affected Public: VMLRP participants under service agreement.

    Type of Respondents: Veterinarians.

    Estimate of Burden:

    Number of respondents Estimated number of responses per respondent Average burden hours per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours requested
    50 1 .33 16.5
    (4) Employer Feedback

    Need for and Use of the Information. The VMLRP Program Office does not have a formal mechanism for program participants' employers to provide feedback to the program or to State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs) on the status of the shortage situation their employee is serving. Currently, any feedback provided by employers is ad hoc on their own volition. The VMLRP Program Office is proposing to collect data on the current and 5-10y projected status of a shortage situation, as well as feedback on the impact their employee has had on the shortage situation. Data will be used by VMLRP to assess program impact and may be reported in aggregate in the program's annual reports. Shortage area information will be shared with SAHOs to aide them in future nominations of veterinarian shortage situations. Active solicitation by VMLRP for feedback will occur during the last quarter of the VMLRP participant's agreement period.

    Method of Collection: Feedback will be solicited through a survey emailed to participants' employers as a pdf-fillable form or as a link to a web-based survey system. Completed surveys will be emailed to the VMLRP Program Office or stored on the web-based system. Completion of the survey is voluntary.

    Frequency of Response: Once at the end of the service agreement period.

    Affected Public: Employers of VMLRP participants.

    Type of Respondents: Veterinarians.

    Estimate of Burden:

    Number of
  • respondents
  • Estimated
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Annual
  • burden hours
  • requested
  • 30 1 .25 7.5
    (5) Post-Award Termination Survey

    Need for and Use of the Information. One of the goals of the VMLRP is long-term mitigation of designated veterinarian shortage situations. At this time, it is unknown whether program participants continue providing services for their shortage situation after their service agreement ends. Data collected will be reported in aggregate as part of the program's annual report, used to assess factors associated with retention (remaining in the same area and providing the same services as described by the shortage situation), and help determine if shortage situations are being mitigated in the long-term.

    Method of Collection: Questions on retention will be solicited through a survey emailed to participants as a pdf-fillable form or as a link to a web-based survey system. Completed surveys will be emailed to the VMLRP Program Office or stored on the web-based system. Completion of the survey is voluntary.

    Frequency of Response: One, three and five years after service agreement end date.

    Affected Public: Past VMLRP participants.

    Type of Respondents: Veterinarians.

    Estimate of Burden:

    Number of respondents Estimated number of responses per respondent Average burden hours per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours requested
    150 1 .25 37.5

    Total Estimate of Burden: The estimated annual reporting burden for all VMLRP collection is as follows:

    Type of respondents Number of
  • respondents
  • Estimated
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours per
  • response
  • Annual
  • burden hours
  • requested
  • Applicants: Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Application OMB0524-0047 602 1 2.25 1350 Current Participants subtotal 1350 State Animal Health Officials: Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Shortage Situation Nomination OMB0524-0046 60 4 2 480 State Animal Health Official subtotal 480 Current Participants: Service Log 150 260 .25 9750 Feedback Survey 50 1 .33 16.5 Close-out Report 50 1 .33 16.5 Current Participants subtotal 9783 Employers: Employer Feedback 30 1 .25 7.5 Employer subtotal 7.5 Past Participants: Post-Award Termination Survey 150 1 .25 37.5 Past Participants subtotal 37.5 GRAND TOTAL 11,658

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed record keeping requirement and collection of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of collecting the information on respondents, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request to OMB for approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Obtaining a Copy of the Information Collection: A copy of the information collection and related instructions may be obtained free of charge by contacting Robert Martin as directed above.

    Done at Washington, DC, this 16 day of December 2015. Catherine E. Woteki, Under Secretary, Research, Education, and Economics.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32747 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Natural Resources Conservation Service Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request December 22, 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 effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Natural Resources and Conservation Service

    Title: Volunteer Program—Earth Team.

    OMB Control Number: 0578-0024.

    Summary of Collection: Volunteers have been a valuable human resource to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) since 1985. NRCS is authorize by the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) Supplement 296-33, Subchapter 33, to recruit, train and accept, with regard to Civil Service classification law, rules, or regulations, the service of individuals to serve without compensation. Volunteers may assist in any agency program/project and may perform any activities which agency employees are allowed to do. Volunteers must be 14 years of age. NRCS will collect information using NRCS forms.

    Need and Use of the Information: NRCS will collect information on the type of skills and type of work the volunteers are interested in doing. The collected information will be used to evaluate potential international volunteers and evaluate the effectiveness of the volunteer program. Without the information, NRCS would not know which individuals are interested in volunteering.

    Description of Respondents: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions; Farms; State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 3,766.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Biennially.

    Total Burden Hours: 488.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32746 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants for Fiscal Year 2016 ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Rural Housing Service (RHS), an Agency within Rural Development, announces that it is soliciting competitive applications under its Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) program. This action is taken to comply with Agency regulations found in 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, which requires the Agency to announce the opening and closing dates for receipt of pre-applications for HPG funds from eligible applicants.

    DATES:

    The closing deadline for receipt of all pre-applications in response to this Notice is 5:00 p.m., local time for each Rural Development State Office on February 12, 2016. Rural Development State Office locations can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. The application should be submitted to the Rural Development State Office where the project will be located. If submitting the pre-application in electronic format, the closing deadline for receipt is 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on February 12, 2016. The application closing deadline is firm as to date and hour. RHS will not consider any application that is received after the closing deadline. Applicants intending to mail applications must provide sufficient time to permit delivery on or before the closing deadline date and time. Acceptance by the United States Postal Service or private mailer does not constitute delivery. Facsimile (FAX) and postage due applications will not be accepted.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general information, applicants may contact Jeaneane Shelton, Finance and Loan Analyst, Multi-Family Housing Preservation and Direct Loan Division, USDA Rural Development, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0781, telephone (202) 720-5443 (voice) (this is not a toll free number) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD-Federal Information Relay Service) or via email at, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview

    Federal Agency Name: USDA Rural Housing Service.

    Funding Opportunity Title: Housing Preservation Grants.

    Announcement Type: Notice.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.433.

    Dates: February 12, 2016.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The reporting requirements contained in this Notice have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under Control Number 0575-0115.

    A. Program Description

    The HPG program is a grant program, authorized under 42 U.S.C. 1490m and implemented at 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N, which provides qualified public agencies, private non-profit organizations including, but not limited to, faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, and other eligible entities, grant funds to assist low- and very low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the HPG program assists rental property owners and cooperative housing complexes in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to low- and very low-income persons.

    B. Federal Award Information

    The funding instrument for the HPG program will be a grant agreement. The term of the grant can vary from 1 to 2 years, depending on available funds and demand. No maximum or minimum grant levels have been established at the National level. In accordance with 7 CFR 1944.652, coordination and leveraging of funding for repair and rehabilitation activities with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area are expected, but not required. You should contact the Rural Development State Office to determine the allocation. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 HPG program funds. New HPG applications must be submitted for the renewal or supplementation of existing HPG repair and/or rehabilitation projects that will be completed with FY 2016 HPG funds.

    For FY 2016, the amount of funding available for the HPG Program can be found at the following link: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Priorities such as Rural Economic Area Partnership Zones and other funds will be distributed under a formula allocation to states pursuant to 7 CFR part 1940, subpart L, “Methodology and Formulas for Allocation of Loan and Grant Program Funds.” Decisions on funding will be based on pre-application scores. Anyone interested in submitting an application for funding under this program is encouraged to consult the Rural Development Web site periodically for updated information regarding the status of funding authorized for this program.

    The commitment of program dollars will be made to selected applicants that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation.

    C. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants. Eligible entities for these competitively awarded grants include state and local governments, non-profit corporations, which may include, but not be limited to faith-based and community organizations, Federally recognized Indian tribes, and consortia of eligible entities. HPG applicants who were previously selected for HPG funds are eligible to submit new applications to apply for FY 2016 HPG program funds. More eligibility requirements can be found at 7 CFR 1944.658, 1944.661, and 1944.662.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching. Pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.652, grantees are expected to coordinate and leverage funding for repair and rehabilitation activities, as well as replacement housing, with housing and community development organizations or activities operating in the same geographic area. While HPG funds may be leveraged with other resources, cost sharing or matching is not a requirement that the HPG applicant do so as the HPG applicant would not be denied an award of HPG funds if all other project selection criteria have been met.

    3. Other. Awards made under this Notice are subject to the provisions contained in the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act 2015, Pub.L. 113-235, sections 738 and 739 regarding corporate felony convictions and corporate Federal tax delinquencies. To comply with these provisions, only selected applicants that are or propose to be corporations will submit this form as part of their pre-application. Form AD-3030 can be found here: http://www.ocio.usda.gov/document/ad3030.

    D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Applicants wishing to submit a paper application in response to this Notice must contact the Rural Development State Office serving the State of the proposed HPG housing project in order to receive further information and copies of the paper application package. You may find the addresses and contact information for each State Office following this web link, http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. Rural Development will date and time stamp incoming paper applications to evidence timely receipt and, upon request, will provide the applicant with a written acknowledgment of receipt. You may access the electronic grant pre-application for Housing Preservation Grants at: http://www.grants.gov.

    2. Content and Form of Application: 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N provides details on what information must be contained in the pre-application package. Entities wishing to apply for assistance should contact the Rural Development State Office to receive further information, the State allocation of funds, and copies of the pre-application package. Unless otherwise noted, applicants wishing to apply for assistance must make its statement of activities available to the public for comment. The applicant(s) must announce the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper of general circulation in the project area and allow at least 15 days for public comment. The start of this 15-day period must occur no later than 16 days prior to the last day for acceptance of pre-applications by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Rural Development. Federally recognized Indian tribes, pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674, are exempt from the requirement to consult with local leaders including announcing the availability of its statement of activities for review in a newspaper.

    All applicants will file an original and two copies of Standard Form (SF) 424, “Application for Federal Assistance,” and supporting information with the appropriate Rural Development State Office. A pre-application package, including SF-424, is available in any Rural Development State Office. All pre-applications shall be accompanied by the following information which Rural Development will use to determine the applicant's eligibility to undertake the HPG program and to evaluate the pre-application under the project selection criteria of 7 CFR 1944.679.

    (a) A statement of activities proposed by the applicant for its HPG program as appropriate to the type of assistance the applicant is proposing, including:

    (1) A complete discussion of the type of and conditions for financial assistance for housing preservation, including whether the request for assistance is for a homeowner assistance program, a rental property assistance program, or a cooperative assistance program;

    (2) The process for selecting recipients for HPG assistance, determining housing preservation needs of the dwelling, performing the necessary work, and monitoring/inspecting work performed;

    (3) A description of the process for identifying potential environmental impacts in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.672 and the provisions for compliance with Stipulation I, A-G of the Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement, also known as PMOA, (RD Instruction 2000-FF, available in any Rural Development State Office) in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673(b);

    (4) The development standard(s) the applicant will use for the housing preservation work; and, if not the Rural Development standards for existing dwellings, the evidence of its acceptance by the jurisdiction where the grant will be implemented;

    (5) The time schedule for completing the program;

    (6) The staffing required to complete the program;

    (7) The estimated number of very low- and low-income minority and nonminority persons the grantee will assist with HPG funds; and, if a rental property or cooperative assistance program, the number of units and the term of restrictive covenants on their use for very low- and low-income;

    (8) The geographical area(s) to be served by the HPG program;

    (9) The annual estimated budget for the program period based on the financial needs to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal. The budget should include proposed direct and indirect administrative costs, such as personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, and other cost categories, detailing those costs for which the grantee proposes to use the HPG grant separately from non-HPG resources, if any. The applicant budget should also include a schedule (with amounts) of how the applicant proposes to draw HPG grant funds, i.e., monthly, quarterly, lump sum for program activities, etc.;

    (10) A copy of an indirect cost proposal when the applicant has another source of Federal funding in addition to the Rural Development HPG program;

    (11) A brief description of the accounting system to be used;

    (12) The method of evaluation to be used by the applicant to determine the effectiveness of its program which encompasses the requirements for quarterly reports to Rural Development in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan for rental properties and cooperatives (when applicable) according to 7 CFR 1944.689;

    (13) The source and estimated amount of other financial resources to be obtained and used by the applicant for both HPG activities and housing development and/or supporting activities;

    (14) The use of program income, if any, and the tracking system used for monitoring same;

    (15) The applicant's plan for disposition of any security instruments held by them as a result of its HPG activities in the event of its loss of legal status;

    (16) Any other information necessary to explain the proposed HPG program; and

    (17) The outreach efforts outlined in 7 CFR 1944.671(b).

    (b) Complete information about the applicant's experience and capacity to carry out the objectives of the proposed HPG program.

    (c) Evidence of the applicant's legal existence, including, in the case of a private non-profit organization, which may include, but not be limited to, faith-based and community organizations, a copy of, or an accurate reference to, the specific provisions of State law under which the applicant is organized; a certified copy of the applicant's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws or other evidence of corporate existence; certificate of incorporation for other than public bodies; evidence of good standing from the State when the corporation has been in existence 1 year or more; and the names and addresses of the applicant's members, directors and officers. If other organizations are members of the applicant-organization, or the applicant is a consortium, pre-applications should be accompanied by the names, addresses, and principal purpose of the other organizations. If the applicant is a consortium, documentation showing compliance with paragraph (4)(ii) under the definition of “organization” in 7 CFR 1944.656 must also be included.

    (d) For a private non-profit entity, which may include, but not be limited to, faith-based and community organizations, the most recent audited statement and a current financial statement dated and signed by an authorized officer of the entity showing the amounts and specific nature of assets and liabilities together with information on the repayment schedule and status of any debt(s) owed by the applicant.

    (e) A brief narrative statement which includes information about the area to be served and the need for improved housing (including both percentage and the actual number of both low-income and low-income minority households and substandard housing), the need for the type of housing preservation assistance being proposed, the anticipated use of HPG resources for historic properties, the method of evaluation to be used by the applicant in determining the effectiveness of its efforts.

    (f) A statement containing the component for alleviating any overcrowding as defined by 7 CFR 1944.656.

    (g) Applicant must submit an original and one copy of Form RD 1940-20, “Request for Environmental Information,” prepared in accordance with Exhibit F-1 of RD Instruction 1944-N (available in any Rural Development State Office).

    (h) Applicant must also submit a description of its process for:

    (1) Identifying and rehabilitating properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places;

    (2) Identifying properties that are located in a floodplain or wetland;

    (3) Identifying properties located within the Coastal Barrier Resources System; and

    (4) Coordinating with other public and private organizations and programs that provide assistance in the rehabilitation of historic properties (Stipulation I, D, of the PMOA, RD Instruction 2000-FF, available as an electronic document and in any Rural Development State Office).

    (i) The applicant must also submit evidence of the State Historic Preservation Office's, (SHPO), concurrence in the proposal, or in the event of non-concurrence, a copy of SHPO's comments together with evidence that the applicant has received the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's advice as to how the disagreement might be resolved, and a copy of any advice provided by the Council.

    (j) The applicant must submit written statements and related correspondence reflecting compliance with 7 CFR 1944.674(a) and (c) regarding consultation with local government leaders in the preparation of its program and the consultation with local and state government pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order 12372.

    (k) The applicant is to make its statement of activities available to the public for comment prior to submission to Rural Development pursuant to 7 CFR 1944.674(b). The application must contain a description of how the comments (if any were received) were addressed.

    (1) The applicant must submit an original and one copy of Form RD 400-1, “Equal Opportunity Agreement,” and Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement,” in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.676.

    Applicants should review 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N for a comprehensive list of all application requirements.

    3. Address unique entity identifier and System for Award Management (SAM). As part of the application, all applicants, except for individuals or agencies excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(d), must be: (1) Registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its applications; and (3) maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or application. An award may not be made to the applicant until the applicant has complied with the unique entity identifier and SAM requirements.

    4. Intergovernmental Review Intergovernmental Review. The HPG program is subject to the provisions of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials.

    5. Funding Restrictions. There are no limits on proposed direct and indirect costs. Expenses incurred in developing pre-applications will be at the applicant's risk.

    6. Other Submission Requirements. To comply with the President's Management Agenda, the Department of Agriculture is participating as a partner in the Government-wide Grants.gov site. Housing Preservation Grants [Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance #10.433] is one of the programs included at this Web site. If you are an applicant under the Housing Preservation Grant program, you may submit your pre-application to the Agency in either electronic or paper format. Please be mindful that the pre-application deadline for electronic format differs from the deadline for paper format. The electronic format deadline will be based on Eastern Standard Time. The paper format deadline is local time for each Rural Development State Office.

    Users of Grants.gov will be able to download a copy of the pre- application package, complete it off line, and then upload and submit the application via the Grants.gov site. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant pre-application to USDA Rural Development; however, the Agency encourages your participation in Grants.gov.

    The following are useful tips and instructions on how to use the Web site:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site as well as the hours of operation. USDA Rural Development strongly recommends that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov. To use Grants.gov, applicants must have a DUNS number.

    • You may submit all documents electronically through the Web site, including all information typically included on the Application for Rural Housing Preservation Grants, and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • After you electronically submit your application through the Web site, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number.

    • RHS may request that you provide original signatures on forms at a later date.

    • If you experience technical difficulties on the closing date and are unable to meet the 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) deadline, print out your application and submit it to your State Office, you must meet the closing date and local time deadline.

    • Please note that you must locate the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA Number or FedGrants Funding Opportunity Number, which can be found at http://www.grants.gov.

    In addition to the electronic pre- application at the http://www.grants.gov Web site, all applicants must complete and submit the FY 2016 pre-application package, detailed later in this Notice, for Section 533 HPG. A copy of a suggested coversheet is included with this Notice. Applicants are encouraged to submit this pre-application coversheet electronically by accessing the Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Click on the Forms & Resources tab to access the “FY 2016 Pre-application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).”

    Applicants are encouraged but not required, to also provide an electronic copy of all hard copy forms and documents submitted in the pre-application/application package as requested by this Notice. The forms and documents must be submitted as read-only Adobe Acrobat PDF files on an electronic media such as CDs, DVDs or USB drives. For each electronic device that you submit, you must include a Table of Contents listing all of the documents and forms on that device. The electronic medium must be submitted to the local Rural Development State Office where the project will be located.

    Please Note:

    If you receive a loan or grant award under this Notice, USDA reserves the right to post all information that is not protected by the Privacy Act submitted as part of the pre-application/application package on a public Web site with free and open access to any member of the public.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria. All paper applications for Section 533 funds must be filed with the appropriate Rural Development State Office and all paper or electronic applications must meet the requirements of this Notice and 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N. Pre-applications determined not eligible and/or not meeting the selection criteria will be notified by the Rural Development State Office.

    2. Review and Selection Process. The Rural Development State Offices will utilize the following threshold project selection criteria for applicants in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.679:

    (a) Providing a financially feasible program of housing preservation assistance. “Financially feasible” is defined as proposed assistance which will be affordable to the intended recipient or result in affordable housing for very low- and low-income persons.

    (b) Serving eligible rural areas with a concentration of substandard housing for households with very low- and low-income.

    (c) Being an eligible applicant as defined in 7 CFR 1944.658.

    (d) Meeting the requirements of consultation and public comment in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.674.

    (e) Submitting a complete pre-application as outlined in 7 CFR 1944.676.

    3. Scoring. For applicants meeting all of the requirements listed above, the Rural Development State Offices will use weighted criteria in accordance with 7 CFR part 1944, subpart N as selection for the grant recipients. Each pre-application and its accompanying statement of activities will be evaluated and, based solely on the information contained in the pre-application, the applicant's proposal will be numerically rated on each criteria within the range provided. The highest-ranking applicant(s) will be selected based on allocation of funds available to the state.

    (a) Points are awarded based on the percentage of very low-income persons that the applicant proposes to assist, using the following scale:

    (1) More than 80% 20 points. (2) 61% to 80% 15 points. (3) 41% to 60% 10 points. (4) 20% to 40% 5 points. (5) Less than 20% 0 points.

    (b) The applicant's proposal may be expected to result in the following percentage of HPG fund use (excluding administrative costs) to total cost of unit preservation. This percentage reflects maximum repair or rehabilitation with the least possible HPG funds due to leveraging, innovative financial assistance, owner's contribution or other specified approaches. Points are awarded based on the following percentage of HPG funds (excluding administrative costs) to total funds:

    (1) 50% or less 20 points. (2) 51% to 65% 15 points. (3) 66% to 80% 10 points. (4) 81% to 95% 5 points. (5) 96% to 100% 0 points.

    (c) The applicant has demonstrated its administrative capacity in assisting very low- and low-income persons to obtain adequate housing based on the following:

    (1) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years experience successfully managing and operating a rehabilitation or weatherization type program: 10 points.

    (2) The organization or a member of its staff has at least one or more years experience successfully managing and operating a program assisting very low- and low-income persons obtain housing assistance: 10 points.

    (3) If the organization has administered grant programs, there are no outstanding or unresolved audit or investigative findings which might impair carrying out the proposal: 10 points.

    (d) The proposed program will be undertaken entirely in rural areas outside Metropolitan Statistical Areas, also known as MSAs, identified by Rural Development as having populations below 10,000 or in remote parts of other rural areas (i.e., rural areas contained in MSAs with less than 5,000 population) as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 10 points.

    (e) The program will use less than 20 percent of HPG funds for administration purposes:

    (1) More than 20% Not eligible. (2) 20% 0 points. (3) 19% 1 point. (4) 18% 2 points. (5) 17% 3 points. (6) 16% 4 points. (7) 15% or less 5 points.

    (f) The proposed program contains a component for alleviating overcrowding as defined in 7 CFR 1944.656: 5 points.

    In the event more than one pre-application receives the same amount of points, those pre-applications will then be ranked based on the actual percentage figure used for determining the points. Further, in the event that pre-applications are still tied, then those pre-applications still tied will be ranked based on the percentage for HPG fund use (low to high). Further, for applications where assistance to rental properties or cooperatives is proposed, those still tied will be further ranked based on the number of years the units are available for occupancy under the program (a minimum of 5 years is required). For this part, ranking will be based from most to least number of years.

    Finally, if there is still a tie, then a lottery system will be used. After the award selections are made, all applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by mail.

    F. Federal Award Administration Information

    1. Federal Award Notices. The Agency will notify, in writing, applicants whose pre-applications have been selected for funding. At the time of notification, the Agency will advise the applicant what further information and documentation is required along with a timeline for submitting the additional information. If the Agency determines it is unable to select the application for funding, the applicant will be so informed in writing. Such notification will include the reasons the applicant was not selected. The Agency will advise applicants, whose pre-applications did not meet eligibility and/or selection criteria, of their review rights or appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.682.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. Rural Development is encouraging applications for projects that will support rural areas where, according to the American Community Survey data by census tracts, at least 20 percent of the population is living in persistent poverty. This emphasis will support Rural Development's mission of improving the quality of life for Rural Americans and commitment to directing resources to those who most need them. A persistent poverty county is a classification for counties in the United States that have had a relatively high rate of poverty over a long period.

    3. Reporting. Post-award reporting requirements can be found in the Grant Agreement.

    G. Non-Discrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, religion, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected]

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and you wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

    Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: December 14, 2015. Tony J. Hernandez, Administrator, Rural Housing Service. Fiscal Year 2016 Pre-Application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG) Instructions

    Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit this pre-application form electronically by accessing the Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/housing-preservation-grants. Click on the Forms & Resources tab to access the “Fiscal Year 2016 Pre-application for Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants (HPG).” Please note that electronic submittals are not on a secured Web site. If you do not wish to submit the form electronically by clicking on the Send Form button, you may still fill out the form, print it and submit it with your application package to the State Office. You also have the option to save the form, and submit it on an electronic media to the State Office.

    Supporting documentation required by this pre-application may be attached to the email generated when you click the Send Form button to submit the form. However if the attachments are too numerous or large in size, the email box will not be able to accept them. In that case, submit the supporting documentation for this pre-application to the State Office with your complete application package under item IX.

    Documents Submitted, indicate the supporting documents that you are submitting either with the pre-application or to the State Office.

    EN29DE15.000 EN29DE15.001 EN29DE15.002 EN29DE15.003 EN29DE15.004 EN29DE15.005 EN29DE15.006 EN29DE15.007
    [FR Doc. 2015-32784 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Wyoming Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that a planning meeting of the Wyoming Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene at 1:00 p.m. (MST) on Thursday, January 14, 2016, via teleconference. The purpose of the planning meeting is for the Advisory Committee to continue their discussion and plans to identify specific issues for future study.

    Members of the public may listen to the discussion by dialing the following Conference Call Toll-Free Number: 1-888-364-3109; Conference ID: 480871. Please be advised that before being placed into the conference call, the operator will ask callers to provide their names, their organizational affiliations (if any), and an email address (if available) prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free phone number.

    Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the discussion by first calling the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-977-8339 and provide the FRS operator with the Conference Call Toll-Free Number: 1-888-364-3109, Conference ID: 480871. Members of the public are invited to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office by Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Written comments may be mailed to the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1961 Stout Street, Suite 13-201, Denver, CO 80294, faxed to (303) 866-1050, or emailed to Evelyn Bohor at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Rocky Mountain Regional Office at (303) 866-1040.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing as they become available at https://database.faca.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=283 and clicking on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission's Web site, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Rocky Mountain Regional Office at the above phone number, email or street address.

    Agenda
    Welcome and Introductions Sleeter C. Dover, Chair Discussion of Issues for Future Study Wyoming State Advisory Committee Administrative Matters Malee V. Craft, Regional Director and Designated Federal Official (DFO) DATES:

    Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. (MST).

    ADDRESSES:

    To be held via teleconference:

    Conference Call Toll-Free Number: 1-888-364-3109, Conference ID: 480871.

    TDD: Dial Federal Relay Service 1-800-977-8339 and give the operator the above conference call number and conference ID.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Malee V. Craft, Regional Director, [email protected], 303-866-1040.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32684 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-134-2015] Approval of Subzone Status; Nine West Holdings, Inc.; West Deptford, New Jersey

    On October 14, 2015, the Executive Secretary of the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board docketed an application submitted by the South Jersey Port Corporation, grantee of FTZ 142, requesting subzone status subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 142, on behalf of Nine West Holdings, Inc. in West Deptford, New Jersey.

    The application was processed in accordance with the FTZ Act and Regulations, including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 63533, October 20, 2015). The FTZ staff examiner reviewed the application and determined that it meets the criteria for approval.

    Pursuant to the authority delegated to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary (15 CFR Sec. 400.36(f)), the application to establish Subzone 142D is approved, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and further subject to FTZ 142's 249-acre activation limit.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32782 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-83-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 183—Austin, Texas; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC; Subzone 183B (Semiconductors); Austin, Texas

    Samsung Austin Semiconductor, L.L.C. (Samsung), operator of Subzone 183B, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facility in Austin, Texas. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on December 14, 2015.

    Samsung already has authority to produce semiconductor memory devices for export. The current request would add foreign-status hexamethyldisilazane to the scope of authority. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), additional FTZ authority would be limited to the specific foreign-status material described in the submitted notification and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Export production under FTZ procedures could exempt Samsung from customs duty payments on the foreign-status hexamethyldisilazane (3.7% duty rate) and the materials and components in the existing scope of authority. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is February 8, 2016.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Diane Finver at [email protected] or (202) 482-1367.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32779 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE377 New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Groundfish Committee to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate.

    DATES:

    This meeting will be held on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 9 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, MA 01950; phone: (978) 777-2500; fax: (978) 750-7911.

    Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    The committee will receive an update from the Plan Development Team on witch flounder analysis for Framework Adjustment 55, for informational purposes only. The committee will also discuss and plan for 2016 Council priorities for groundfish. They will review and potentially provide input on draft guidance prepared by NMFS related to the evaluation of catch share programs. The committee will also review and discuss potential 5-year research priorities for groundfish. Other business will be discussed as necessary.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, at (978) 465-0492, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32716 Filed 12-28-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE308 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for Comments; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and initiate scoping process; request for comments; extension of comment period and announcement of additional public hearing.

    SUMMARY:

    In the Notice of Intent (NOI) that published on Monday, November 23, 2015, the Council and NMFS announced the intention to prepare an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. This notice is to alert the interested public of an additional public hearing and to extend the written comment period from January 7, 2016, to January 20, 2016, to ensure adequate time for the public to comment on the NOI.

    DATES:

    The deadline for written and electronic scoping comments on the NOI published on November 23, 2015 (80 FR 72951) is extended to January 20, 2016, by 5 p.m., local time.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written scoping comments on Amendment 22 may be sent by any of the following methods:

    • Email to the following address: [email protected];

    • Mail to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950; or

    • Fax to (978) 465-3116.

    Requests for copies of the Amendment 22 scoping document and other information should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950, telephone (978) 465-0492. The scoping document is accessible electronically via the Internet at http://s3.amazonaws.com/nefmc.org/a-22-whiting-Scoping-document-4.pdf.

    F