Federal Register Vol. 80, No.250,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 250 (December 30, 2015)

Page Range81439-81736
FR Document

80_FR_250
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 81601 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Regarding NASDAQ Last Sale PlusPDF
80 FR 81541 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
80 FR 81542 - Information Collections Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 81495 - Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional EventsPDF
80 FR 81581 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Y-Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Related to Fees for Use of BATS Y-Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 81576 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Regarding NASDAQ Last Sale PlusPDF
80 FR 81584 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Regarding NASDAQ Last Sale PlusPDF
80 FR 81612 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend NOM Rules at Chapter XV, Section 2PDF
80 FR 81650 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt FINRA Rule 2030 and FINRA Rule 4580 To Establish “Pay-To-Play” and Related RulesPDF
80 FR 81551 - Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services; MeetingPDF
80 FR 81529 - Extension of Deep Seabed Exploration Licenses: Response to CommentsPDF
80 FR 81558 - Idaho: Filing of Plats of SurveyPDF
80 FR 81539 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 81533 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, NevadaPDF
80 FR 81555 - Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for LicensingPDF
80 FR 81552 - Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing and Co-DevelopmentPDF
80 FR 81553 - Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for LicensingPDF
80 FR 81556 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Affidavit of Support, FormI-134; Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved CollectionPDF
80 FR 81470 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Trade Agreements Thresholds (DFARS Case 2016-D003)PDF
80 FR 81496 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions (DFARS Case 2015-D021)PDF
80 FR 81499 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Multiyear Contract Requirements (DFARS Case 2015-D009)PDF
80 FR 81494 - Extension of Comment Period on the Proposed Rule on Roadless Area Conservation; National Forests System Lands in ColoradoPDF
80 FR 81465 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Des Allemands Bayou, Des Allemands, LAPDF
80 FR 81467 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Taxes-Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (DFARS Case 2014-D003)PDF
80 FR 81472 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services (DFARS Case 2013-D018)PDF
80 FR 81503 - Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification for Commercial Motor Vehicles Operated by United States-Domiciled Motor Carriers; WithdrawalPDF
80 FR 81529 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 81528 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 81670 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Emergency Revision of a Currently-Approved Information Collection: Licensing Applications for Motor Carrier Operating AuthorityPDF
80 FR 81545 - Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled To Begin on March 29, 2016; Updates and Other Supplemental InformationPDF
80 FR 81667 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; DiabetesPDF
80 FR 81557 - Public Land Order No. 7847; Partial Revocation of a Public Land Order No. 1378; ColoradoPDF
80 FR 81558 - Public Land Order No. 7845; Extension of Public Land Order No. 7177; AlaskaPDF
80 FR 81540 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Water Quality Inventory Reports (Reinstatement)PDF
80 FR 81671 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comments; Clearance of a New Information Collection(s): Voluntary Web-Based Questionnaire of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise FirmsPDF
80 FR 81667 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; The Visual Arts Group, LLCPDF
80 FR 81666 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Astraeus AerialPDF
80 FR 81666 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Charles Franklin, Inc.PDF
80 FR 81475 - Revision of Regulations To Allow Federal Contractors, Subcontractors, and Grantees To File Whistleblower Disclosures With the U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Withdrawal of Proposed RulePDF
80 FR 81541 - Notice of Request for Comments on Opening Balances for General Property, Plant, and EquipmentPDF
80 FR 81664 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Request and Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81507 - Information Collection; Recreation Fee and Wilderness Program AdministrationPDF
80 FR 81508 - Ski Area Water ClausePDF
80 FR 81559 - Information Collection: NRC Form 398, Personal Qualification Statement-LicenseePDF
80 FR 81561 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 81562 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 81547 - Guidance Regarding License Assignments and Transfers of Control During the Reverse Auction, Auction 1001PDF
80 FR 81548 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 81548 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
80 FR 81560 - Information Collection: NRC Generic Letter 2016-XX, Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel PoolsPDF
80 FR 81528 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Michigan Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Discuss Preparations for a Public Hearing Regarding the Civil Rights Impact of Civil Forfeiture Practices in the StatePDF
80 FR 81527 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Illinois Advisory Committee to Discuss Approval of a Project Proposal to Study Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in the StatePDF
80 FR 81534 - Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards; Supplemental Notice of Agenda and Discussion Topics for Staff Technical ConferencePDF
80 FR 81536 - Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 81539 - Breitburn Operating LP; Notice of Request for Temporary WaiverPDF
80 FR 81537 - Notice of Effectiveness of Exempt Wholesale Generator StatusPDF
80 FR 81537 - Texas Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Northern Supply Access ProjectPDF
80 FR 81534 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 81538 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 81645 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Proprietary Trader and Proprietary Trader Principal Registration Categories, Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration Categories, and Establishing the Series 57 ExaminationPDF
80 FR 81611 - Notice of Applications for Deregistration Under Section 8(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940PDF
80 FR 81709 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Consisting of Proposed Amendments to Rule G-37, on Political Contributions and Prohibitions on Municipal Securities Business, Rule G-8, on Books and Records, Rule G-9, on Preservation of Records, and Forms G-37 and G-37xPDF
80 FR 81564 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade Shares of the REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF and the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 81562 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Participant FeePDF
80 FR 81642 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Proprietary Trader and Proprietary Trader Principal Registration Categories, Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration Categories, and Establishing the Series 57 ExaminationPDF
80 FR 81640 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change to the Co-Location Services Offered by the Exchange (the Offering of a Wireless Connection To Allow Users To Receive Market Data Feeds From Third Party Markets) and to Reflect Changes to the NYSE Arca Options Fee Schedule and the NYSE Arca Equities Schedule of Fees and Charges Related to These ServicesPDF
80 FR 81609 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change to the Co-Location Services Offered by the Exchange (the Offering of a Wireless Connection To Allow Users To Receive Market Data Feeds From Third Party Markets) and To Reflect Changes to the Exchange's Price List Related to These ServicesPDF
80 FR 81590 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt FINRA Rule 2273 (Educational Communication Related to Recruitment Practices and Account Transfers)PDF
80 FR 81637 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Proprietary Trader and Proprietary Trader Principal Registration Categories, Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration Categories, and Establishing the Series 57 ExaminationPDF
80 FR 81606 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Y-Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Proprietary Trader and Proprietary Trader Principal Registration Categories, Securities Trader and Securities Trader Principal Registration Categories, and Establishing the Series 57 ExaminationPDF
80 FR 81589 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt a Participant FeePDF
80 FR 81614 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Order Granting Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 and Amendment No. 2, Consisting of Proposed New Rule G-42, on Duties of Non-Solicitor Municipal Advisors, and Proposed Amendments to Rule G-8, on Books and Records To Be Made by Brokers, Dealers, Municipal Securities Dealers, and Municipal AdvisorsPDF
80 FR 81648 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change to the Co-location Services Offered by the Exchange (the Offering of a Wireless Connection to Allow Users to Receive Market Data Feeds from Third Party Markets) and to Reflect Changes to the NYSE MKT Equities Price List and the NYSE Amex Options Fee Schedule Related to These ServicesPDF
80 FR 81531 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81576 - Investor Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 81441 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Commercial Prerinse Spray ValvesPDF
80 FR 81559 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air ActPDF
80 FR 81547 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
80 FR 81546 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
80 FR 81454 - Allocation and Disbursement of Royalties, Rentals, and Bonuses-Oil and Gas, OffshorePDF
80 FR 81550 - Acidified Foods; Draft Guidance for Industry; Withdrawal of Draft GuidancePDF
80 FR 81549 - Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United StatesPDF
80 FR 81532 - Information Collection; Economic Purchase Quantity-SuppliesPDF
80 FR 81533 - Information Collection; Price RedeterminationPDF
80 FR 81556 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81554 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81551 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81555 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81554 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81554 - Office of the Director; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 81552 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81555 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 81552 - National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 81475 - Occupational Exposure to BerylliumPDF
80 FR 81466 - Determination of Attainment; Texas; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 Ozone Nonattainment Area; Determination of Attainment of the 1997 Ozone StandardPDF
80 FR 81463 - Offset of Tax Refund Payments To Collect Past-Due SupportPDF
80 FR 81439 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards Technical AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 81501 - Hazardous Materials: Safety Requirements for External Product Piping on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable LiquidsPDF
80 FR 81573 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rules 5810(4), 5810(c), 5815(c) and 5820(d) To Provide Staff With Limited Discretion To Grant a Listed Company That Failed To Hold Its Annual Meeting of Shareholders an Extension of Time To Comply With the RequirementPDF
80 FR 81454 - Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 81550 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 81477 - Impact Aid ProgramsPDF
80 FR 81673 - Medicare Program; Prior Authorization Process for Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and SuppliesPDF
80 FR 81558 - National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related ActionsPDF

Issue

80 250 Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Forest Service

Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Program: Prior Authorization Process for Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies, 81674-81707 2015-32506 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81550 2015-32633 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Meetings: Illinois Advisory Committee, 81527-81528 2015-32834 Michigan Advisory Committee, 81528 2015-32835 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Des Allemands Bayou, Des Allemands, LA, 81465-81466 2015-32871 Commerce Commerce Department See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Defense Acquisition Defense Acquisition Regulations System RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements: Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services, 81472-81474 2015-32869 Taxes; Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, 81467-81470 2015-32870 Trade Agreements Thresholds, 81470-81471 2015-32875 PROPOSED RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements: Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions, 81496-81499 2015-32874 Multiyear Contract Requirements, 81499-81500 2015-32873 Defense Department Defense Department See

Defense Acquisition Regulations System

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81531-81532 2015-32809 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Economic Purchase Quantity; Supplies, 81532-81533 2015-32775 Price Redetermination, 81533 2015-32774
Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES Impact Aid Programs, 81477-81494 2015-32618 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

RULES Energy Conservation Program; Test Procedures for Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves, 81441-81454 2015-32805 NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Nevada, 81533-81534 2015-32882
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Determinations of Attainment; 1997 Ozone Standard: Texas; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 Ozone Nonattainment Area, 81466-81467 2015-32752 PROPOSED RULES Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional Events, 81495 2015-32899 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Water Quality Inventory Reports; Reinstatement, 81540-81541 2015-32860 Federal Accounting Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board NOTICES Opening Balances for General Property, Plant, and Equipment; Request for Comments, 81541 2015-32854 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration NOTICES Petitions for Exemption; Summaries: Astraeus Aerial, 81666-81667 2015-32857 Charles Franklin, Inc., 81666 2015-32856 Visual Arts Group, LLC, 81667 2015-32858 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81541-81547 2015-32790 2015-32791 2015-32900 2015-32901 Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled to Begin on March 29, 2016; Updates, 81545-81546 2015-32864 Guidance: License Assignments and Transfers of Control During the Reverse Auction, Auction 1001, 81547-81548 2015-32840 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agenda and Discussion Topics for Staff Technical Conference: Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, 81534-81536 2015-32833 Applications Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, and Protests: Snohomish County, WA; Public Utility District No. 1, 81536-81537 2015-32832 Combined Filings, 81534, 81538-81540 2015-32827 2015-32828 2015-32883 Exempt Wholesale Generators: Green Mountain Storage, LLC; Meyersdale Storage, LLC; Moxie Freedom LLC; et al., 81537 2015-32830 Requests for Temporary Waivers: Breitburn Operating LP, 81539 2015-32831 Schedules for Environmental Review: Texas Gas Transmission, LLC; Northern Supply Access Project, 81537-81538 2015-32829 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification for Commercial Motor Vehicles Operated by United States-Domiciled Motor Carriers, 81503-81506 2015-32868 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Licensing Applications for Motor Carrier Operating Authority, 81670-81671 2015-32865 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Diabetes, 81667-81670 2015-32863 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 81548 2015-32837 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 81548-81549 2015-32838 2015-32839 Fiscal Fiscal Service RULES Offset of Tax Refund Payments to Collect Past Due Support, 81463-81465 2015-32732 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: Acidified Foods; Withdrawal, 81550-81551 2015-32781 Forest Forest Service PROPOSED RULES Roadless Area Conservation: Colorado; National Forest System Lands, 81494-81495 2015-32872 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Recreation Fee and Wilderness Program Administration, 81507-81508 2015-32847 Ski Area Water Clause, 81508-81527 2015-32846 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Economic Purchase Quantity; Supplies, 81532-81533 2015-32775 Price Redetermination, 81533 2015-32774 Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States, 81549 2015-32776 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services, 81551 2015-32890
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

See

Ocean Energy Management Bureau

See

Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Air Act, 81559 2015-32797 Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

RULES Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards: Technical Amendments, 81439-81441 2015-32725
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Plats of Surveys: Idaho, 81558 2015-32886 Public Land Orders: Alaska; Extension, 81558 2015-32861 Colorado; Partial Revocation, 81557-81558 2015-32862 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Economic Purchase Quantity; Supplies, 81532-81533 2015-32775 Price Redetermination, 81533 2015-32774 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing, 81553-81556 2015-32877 2015-32879 Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing and Co-Development, 81552-81553 2015-32878 Meetings: Big Data to Knowledge Multi-Council Working Group; Amendment, 81554 2015-32768 Center for Scientific Review, 81555 2015-32770 National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, 81552 2015-32765 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 81551-81552, 81555 2015-32766 2015-32767 2015-32771 National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 81554-81555 2015-32769 National Institute on Aging, 81554, 81556 2015-32772 2015-32773 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Extension of Deep Seabed Exploration Licenses; Response to Comments, 81529-81531 2015-32889 Meetings: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 81528-81529 2015-32866 New England Fishery Management Council, 81529 2015-32867 National Park National Park Service NOTICES National Register of Historic Places; Pending Nominations and Related Actions, 81558-81559 2015-32381 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel Pools, 81560-81561 2015-32836 Personal Qualification Statement—Licensee, 81559-81560 2015-32845 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration PROPOSED RULES Occupational Exposure to Beryllium; Public Hearings, 81475-81477 2015-32764 Ocean Energy Management Ocean Energy Management Bureau RULES Allocation and Disbursement of Royalties, Rentals, and Bonuses—Oil and Gas, Offshore, 81454-81463 2015-32787 Natural Resources Office of Natural Resources Revenue RULES Allocation and Disbursement of Royalties, Rentals, and Bonuses—Oil and Gas, Offshore, 81454-81463 2015-32787 Office Special Office of the Special Counsel PROPOSED RULES Revision of Regulations to Allow Federal Contractors, Subcontractors, and Grantees to File Whistleblower Disclosures with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Withdrawal, 81475 2015-32855 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Hazardous Materials: Safety Requirements for External Product Piping on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable Liquids, 81501-81503 2015-32681 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 81561-81562 2015-32841 2015-32842 2015-32843 2015-32844 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission RULES Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity; Correction, 81454 2015-32646 NOTICES Applications for Deregistration; Investment Company Act of 1940, 81611-81612 2015-32823 Meetings: Investor Advisory Committee, 81576 2015-32806 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 81645-81648 2015-32825 BATS Y-Exchange, Inc., 81581-81584, 81606-81609 2015-32814 2015-32898 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 81642-81645 2015-32819 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 81637-81640 2015-32815 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 81590-81601, 81650-81664 2015-32816 2015-32894 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 81614-81637, 81710-81736 2015-32812 2015-32822 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 81589-81590, 81601-81606 2015-32902 2015-32813 NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 81576-81581 2015-32897 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 81562-81564, 81573-81576, 81584-81588, 81612-81614 2015-32647 2015-32820 2015-32895 2015-32896 New York Stock Exchange, LLC, 81609-81611 2015-32817 NYSE Arca, Inc., 81564-81573, 81640-81642 2015-32818 2015-32821 NYSE MKT, LLC, 81648-81650 2015-32811 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 81664-81666 2015-32849 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Voluntary Web-Based Questionnaire of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Firms, 81671 2015-32859
Treasury Treasury Department See

Fiscal Service

U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Affidavit of Support, 81556-81557 2015-32876 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 81674-81707 2015-32506 Part III Securities and Exchange Commission, 81710-81736 2015-32822 Reader Aids

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

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

80 250 Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF LABOR 2 CFR Part 2900 RIN 1205-AB71 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards Technical Amendments AGENCY:

Department of Labor.

ACTION:

Final rule; technical amendment.

SUMMARY:

This final rule implements technical amendments to the Department of Labor's (Department or DOL) adoption of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidance in the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards to Non-Federal Entities. The Department is making technical amendments in this final rule; all regulatory language included here is consistent with either the policies in the Uniform Guidance or the Department's existing policies and practices.

DATES:

Effective Date: December 30, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research (OPDR), at 202-693-3700 (voice); or 202-693-2766 (facsimile). These are not toll-free numbers.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Preamble to this rule is organized as follows:

I. Background—Provides a Brief Description of the Development of the Final Rule and a Summary of the Technical Changes. II. Administrative Information—Sets Forth the Applicable Regulatory Requirements. I. Background

The Department implements, in this final rule, technical amendments to 2 CFR 2900 which supplemented the final guidance Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on December 26, 2013, (Uniform Guidance, available at 78 FR 78589). The Department published 2 CFR part 2900 as part of OMB's joint interim final rule at 2 CFR part 200 (Interim Final Rule, available at 79 FR 75867) which implemented in regulations the final guidance published earlier by OMB. 2 CFR part 2900 has Department specific policies and procedures for financial assistance administration which were approved by OMB and supplements the information in 2 CFR part 200.

The Uniform Guidance followed on a notice of proposed guidance issued February 1, 2013, (available at 78 FR 7282), and an advanced notice of proposed guidance issued February 28, 2012, (available at 77 FR 11778). The final guidance incorporated feedback received from the public in response to those earlier issuances. Additional supporting resources are available from the Council on Financial Assistance Reform at www.cfo.gov/COFAR.

The Uniform Guidance delivered on two presidential directives; Executive Order 13520 on Reducing Improper Payments (74 FR 62201; November 15, 2009), and February 28, 2011, Presidential Memorandum on Administrative Flexibility, Lower Costs, and Better Results for State, Local, and Tribal Governments, (Daily Comp. Pres. Docs.; http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201100123/pdf/DCPD-201100123.pdf). It reflected more than two years of work by the Council on Financial Assistance Reform to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal financial assistance. For a detailed discussion of the reform and its impacts, please see the Federal Register notice for the issuance of the final guidance (78 FR 78589).

The Department provided additional language in 2 CFR part 2900 beyond that included in 2 CFR part 200, consistent with the Department's existing policy, to provide more detail with respect to how the Department intended to implement the policy, where appropriate. The Department is not making any new policy with the technical amendments in this final rule; all regulatory language included here is consistent with either the policies in the Uniform Guidance or the Department's existing policies and practices as explained in 2 CFR part 2900.

This final rule incorporates minor changes to 2 CFR part 2900 to add citations or correct citation errors in §§ 2900.1, 2900.5, 2900.7, and 2900.13. In addition, non-substantive deletions and additions of a word or phrase were made to §§ 2900.3, 2900.13, 2900.15, 2900.16, and 2900.21 to clarify the language in the section. Finally, typographical errors were corrected in §§ 2900.5 and 2900.20.

Accordingly, the regulations in 2 CFR part 2900 are amended to include updated information.

II. Administrative Information Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Ch. 3506; 5 CFR 1320 Appendix A.1) (PRA), the Department reviewed this final rule and determined that there are no new collections of information contained within the rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires an agency that is issuing a final rule to provide a final regulatory flexibility analysis or to certify that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule implements technical amendments to 2 CFR 2 part 900 which supplemented OMB final guidance issued on December 26, 2013. Therefore, this final rule and will not have a significant economic impact beyond the impact of the December 2013 guidance.

Executive Order 12866 Determination

Pursuant to Executive Order 12866, OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) designated the joint interim final rule at 2 CFR 200, which included Department specific policies and procedures for financial assistance administration at 2 CFR part 2900, published on December 19, 2014, (Interim Final Rule, available at 79 FR 75867) not to be significant. This final rule implements technical amendments to 2 CFR part 2900 and introduces no new policy issues, economic impacts, or new burdens; therefore, pursuant to Executive Order 12866, this action is not a significant regulatory action and was not submitted to OMB for review.

Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking and Waiver of Delayed Effective Date (a) Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking—In General

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Department generally is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking and provide the public with an opportunity to comment on proposed regulations prior to establishing a final rule. However, as noted earlier in the background preamble, OMB offered the public two opportunities to comment on the Uniform Guidance, first through an advanced notice of proposed guidance and, second, through a notice of proposed guidance. OMB considered over 300 comments submitted in response to each of these notices. OMB has directed agencies to adopt the uniform guidance in part 200 without change, except to the extent that an agency can demonstrate that any conflicting agency requirements are required by statute or regulations, or consistent with longstanding practice and approved by OMB. As explained above, the Department published agency specific supplemental information that was approved by OMB in 2 CFR part 2900. This final rule only makes technical amendments to 2 CFR part 2900. Finally, OMB made clear that the requirements in 2 CFR part 200 (including the audit requirements in subpart F) and 2 CFR part 2900, will apply, starting on December 26, 2014, giving recipients of all types of financial assistance advance notice of when the regulations would become effective. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause for waiving proposed rulemaking as unnecessary.

(b) Waiver of Delayed Effective Date—In General

Generally, the Department is subject to the APA requirement to delay the effective date of its final regulations by 30 days after publication, as required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), unless an exception under subsection (d) applies.

Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), the Department may waive the delayed effective date requirement if it finds good cause and explains the basis for the waiver in the final rulemaking document or if the regulations grant or recognize an exemption or relieve a restriction. In the present case, there is good cause to waive the delayed effective date for three reasons.

First, OMB informed the public on December 26, 2013, that agencies would be required to adopt the Uniform Guidance and make it effective by December 26, 2014. The public had significant time to prepare for the promulgation of those interim final regulations.

Second, while those interim final regulations were based on a new, more effective method for establishing government-wide requirements, the substance of the regulations are, in most cases, virtually identical to the requirements that exist in current agency regulations. Finally, this final rule makes technical changes to the Department's agency-specific supplemental information at 2 CFR part 2900 that was made effective along with 2 CFR part 200 on December 27, 2014. Delaying the implementation of these technical amendments would cause errors that were discovered in 2 CFR part 2900 to be in effect for an additional 30 days causing unnecessary confusion to recipients of Federal financial assistance. Based on these considerations, the Department has determined that there is good cause to waive the delayed effective date for these final regulations.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Determination

Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Unfunded Mandates Act) (2 U.S.C. 1532) requires that covered agencies prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating a rule that includes any Federal mandate 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 in any one year. If a budgetary impact statement is required, section 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Act also requires covered agencies to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives before promulgating a rule. OMB has determined that this final rule will not result in expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Accordingly, the Department has not prepared a budgetary impact statement or specifically addressed the regulatory alternatives considered.

Executive Order 13132 Determination

The Department has determined that this final rule does not have any Federalism implications, as required by Executive Order 13132.

Plain Language

The Department drafted this rule in plain language.

List of Subjects in 2 CFR Part 2900

Accounting, Administrative practice and procedure, Appeal procedures, Auditing, Audit requirements, Cost principles, Grant programs, Grant programs—labor, Grants administration, Labor, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Under the authority of the 5 U.S.C. 301, the Department of Labor amends 2 CFR part 2900 as follows:

PART 2900—UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS 1. The authority citation for part 2900 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 301; 2 CFR 200.

2. Revise § 2900.1 to read as follows:
§ 2900.1 Budget.

In the DOL, approval of the budget as awarded does not constitute prior approval of those items requiring prior approval, including those items the Federal Awarding agency specifies as requiring prior approval. See § 200.407 and § 2900.16 for more information about prior approval. (See 2 CFR 200.8)

3. Amend § 2900.3 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
§ 2900.3 Questioned cost.

In the DOL, in addition to the guidance contained in 2 CFR 200.84, a Questioned cost means a cost that is questioned by an auditor, Federal Project Officer, Grant Officer, or other authorized Awarding agency representative because of an audit or monitoring finding:

4. Revise § 2900.5 to read as follows:
§ 2900.5 Federal awarding agency review of merit of proposals.

In the DOL, audits and monitoring reports containing findings, issues of non-compliance or questioned costs are in addition to reports and findings from audits performed under Subpart F—Audit Requirements of 2 CFR 200 or the reports and findings of any other available audits. (See 2 CFR 200.205(c)(4))

5. Revise § 2900.7 to read as follows:
§ 2900.7 Payment.

In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.305(b), for Federal awards from the Department of Labor, the non-Federal entity should liquidate existing advances before it requests additional advances.

6. Revise § 2900.13 to read as follows:
§ 2900.13 Intangible property.

In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.315(d), the Department of Labor requires intellectual property developed under a competitive Federal award process to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This license allows subsequent users to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the copyrighted work and requires such users to attribute the work in the manner specified by the recipient.

7. Revise § 2900.15 to read as follows:
§ 2900.15 Closeout.

In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.343(b), for Federal awards from the Department of Labor, the non-Federal entity must liquidate all obligations and/or accrued expenditures incurred under the Federal award. For non-Federal entities reporting on an accrual basis and operating on an expenditure period, unless otherwise noted in the grant agreement, the only liquidation that can occur during closeout is the liquidation of accrued expenditures (NOT obligations) for goods and/or services received during the grant period.

8. Revise § 2900.16 to read as follows:
§ 2900.16 Prior written approval (prior approval).

In addition to the guidance set forth in 2 CFR 200.407, for Federal awards from the Department of Labor, the non-Federal entity must request prior written approval which should include the timeframe or scope of the agreement and be submitted not less than 30 days before the requested action is to occur. Unless otherwise noted in the grant agreement, the Grant Officer is the only official with the authority to provide prior written approval (prior approval). Items included in the statement of work or budget as awarded does not constitute prior approval.

9. Amend § 2900.20 by revising the introductory text to read as follows.
§ 2900.20 Federal Agency Audit Responsibilities.

In the DOL, in addition to 2 CFR 200.513, the department employs a collaborative resolution process with non-federal entities.

10. Revise § 2900.21 to read as follows:
§ 2900.21 Management decision.

In the DOL, ordinarily, a management decision is issued within six months of receipt of an audit from the audit liaison of the Office of the Inspector General and is extended an additional six months when the audit contains a finding involving a subrecipient of the pass-through entity being audited. The pass-through entity responsible for issuing a management decision must do so within twelve months of acceptance of the audit report by the FAC. The auditee must initiate and proceed with corrective action as rapidly as possible and should begin corrective action no later than upon receipt of the audit report. (See 2 CFR 200.521(d))

Signed at Washington, DC, this 23rd day of December, 2015. Thomas E. Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor.
[FR Doc. 2015-32725 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FM-P
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Parts 429 and 431 [Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-TP-0055] RIN 1904-AD41 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

On June 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to amend the test procedure for commercial prerinse spray valves. That proposed rulemaking serves as the basis for this final rule. Specifically, this final rule incorporates by reference relevant portions of the latest version of the industry testing standard from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard F2324-13, “Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves,” including the procedure for measuring spray force. This final rule also adopts a revised definition of “commercial prerinse spray valve,” clarifies the test procedure for products with multiple spray settings, establishes rounding requirements for flow rate and spray force measurements, and removes irrelevant portions of statistical methods for certification, compliance, and enforcement.

DATES:

The effective date of this rule is January 29, 2016. The final rule changes will be mandatory for representations starting June 27, 2016. The incorporation by reference of certain material listed in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of January 29, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

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 DOE's rulemaking Web page at: https://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/rulemaking.aspx?ruleid=119. This Web page will contain a link to the docket for this document on the www.regulations.gov site. The www.regulations.gov Web page will contain simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket.

For further information on how to review the docket, contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: [email protected]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. James Raba, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE-5B, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-8654. Email: [email protected] Ms. Johanna Jochum, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, GC-33, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-6307. Email: [email protected] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This final rule incorporates by reference into part 431 the following industry standard: ASTM Standard F2324-13, (“ASTM F2324-13”), Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves, approved June 1, 2013.

Copies of ASTM Standard F2324-13 can be obtained from ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428, or by going to http://www.astm.org/Standard/standards-and-publications.html.

See section IV.M. for additional information about this standard.

Table of Contents I. Authority and Background A. General Test Procedure Rulemaking Process II. Summary of the Final Rule III. Discussion A. Definitions 1. Commercial Prerinse Spray Valve 2. Spray Force B. Industry Standards Incorporated by Reference 1. Clarifications C. Additional Test Methods 1. Adding Test Method To Measure Spray Force 2. Multiple Spray Settings: Adding a Requirement To Measure Flow Rate and Spray Force of Each Spray Setting D. Rounding Requirements 1. Flow Rate 2. Spray Force E. Sampling Plan for Representative Values 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 of 1995 D. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 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 Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 K. Review Under Executive Order 13211 L. Review Under Section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974 M. Description of Materials Incorporated by Reference N. Congressional Notification V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary I. Authority and Background

Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA),1 sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency. Part B of title III 2 establishes the “Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles,” which includes commercial prerinse spray valves (CPSVs). EPCA provides definitions for commercial prerinse spray valves under 42 U.S.C. 6291(33), the test procedure under 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(14), and energy conservation standards for flow rate under 42 U.S.C. 6295(dd).3

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

2 For editorial reasons, Part B was codified as Part A in the U.S. Code (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, as codified).

3 Because Congress included commercial prerinse spray valves in Part B of Title III of EPCA, the consumer product provisions of Part B (not the industrial equipment provisions of Part C) apply to commercial prerinse spray valves. However, because commercial prerinse spray valves are more commonly considered to be commercial equipment, as a matter of administrative convenience and to minimize confusion among interested parties, DOE adopted CPSV provisions into subpart O of 10 CFR part 431. 71 FR 71340, 71374 (Dec. 8, 2006). Part 431 contains DOE regulations for commercial and industrial equipment. The location of provisions within the CFR does not affect either their substance or applicable procedure, and DOE refers to commercial prerinse spray valves as either “products” or “equipment.”

Under EPCA, the energy conservation program consists essentially of four parts: (1) Testing, (2) labeling, (3) Federal energy conservation standards, and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. The testing requirements consist of a test procedure that manufacturers of covered products must use as the basis for (1) certifying to DOE that their products comply with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted under EPCA, and (2) making representations about the efficiency of those products. Similarly, DOE must use the test procedure to determine whether the products comply with any relevant standards promulgated under EPCA.

EPCA sets forth the current maximum flow rate of not more than 1.6 gallons per minute for commercial prerinse spray valves. (42 U.S.C. 6295(dd)) EPCA also requires DOE to use the ASTM Standard F2324 as the basis for the test procedure for measuring flow rate. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(14))

In the December 8, 2006 final rule, DOE incorporated by reference ASTM Standard F2324-03 into regulatory text under section 431.263 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 431 (10 CFR part 431), and prescribed it as the uniform test method to measure flow rate of commercial prerinse spray valves under 10 CFR 431.264. 71 FR 71340, 71374. Later, on October 23, 2013, DOE published a final rule (October 2013 final rule) that incorporated by reference ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009) for testing commercial prerinse spray valves, which updated the 2003 version to the 2009 version of the same test standard. 78 FR 62970, 62980.

Since the October 2013 final rule, ASTM has published a revised version of the F2324 test standard, ASTM F2324-13. In addition, DOE has initiated a rulemaking to consider amended water conservation standards for commercial prerinse spray valves (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027). DOE published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) for the test procedure on June 23, 2015, presenting DOE's proposals to amend the CPSV test procedure (80 FR 35874-5886) (hereafter, the “2015 CPSV TP NOPR”). DOE held a public meeting related to this NOPR on July 28, 2015 (hereafter, the “NOPR public meeting”).

A. General Test Procedure Rulemaking Process

EPCA sets forth in 42 U.S.C. 6293 the criteria and procedures DOE must follow when prescribing or amending test procedures for covered products. EPCA provides that any test procedures prescribed or amended under this section shall be reasonably designed to produce test results which measure energy efficiency, energy use or estimated annual operating cost of a covered product during a representative average use cycle or period of use and shall not be unduly burdensome to conduct. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3))

In addition, if DOE determines that a test procedure amendment is warranted, it must publish proposed test procedures and offer the public an opportunity to present oral and written comments on them. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(2)) Finally, in any rulemaking to amend a test procedure, DOE must determine to what extent, if any, the proposed test procedure would alter the measured energy efficiency of any covered product as determined under the existing test procedure. (42 U.S.C. 6293(e)(1))

In this final rule, DOE amends the commercial prerinse spray valve test procedure to be based on the current industry standard, ASTM Standard F2324-13, “Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves,” which continues to measure water use based on a maximum flow rate. By incorporating the newest version of ASTM Standard F2324-13, DOE is adding testing requirements for spray force. In addition, DOE is also specifying provisions governing representations of commercial prerinse spray valves with multiple spray settings. In addition, DOE concludes that amendments adopted in this final rule do not change the measured energy and water use of commercial prerinse spray valves compared to the current test procedure. As such, all test procedure amendments adopted in this final rule are effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and required for representations regarding the water consumption of covered equipment 180 days after publication of this final rule in the Federal Register.

This final rule fulfills DOE's obligation to periodically review its test procedures under 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(1)(A). DOE anticipates that its next evaluation of this test procedure will occur in a manner consistent with the timeline set out in this provision.

II. Summary of the Final Rule

In this final rule, DOE amends 10 CFR 431.264, “Uniform test method for the measurement of flow rate for commercial prerinse spray valves,” as follows:

• Modifies the definition of “commercial prerinse spray valve,” and adds a definition for “spray force;”

• Incorporates by reference certain provisions (sections 6.1-6.9, 9.1-9.5.3.2, 10.1-10.2.5, 10.3.1-10.3.8, and 11.3.1) of the current revision to the applicable industry standard—ASTM Standard F2324-13, “Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves”—pertaining to flow rate and spray force measurement;

• Adds clarification addressing minor inconsistencies between the proposed test procedure and ASTM Standard F2324-13, and sources of ambiguity within ASTM Standard F2324-13;

• Modifies the current test method for measuring flow rate to reference sections 10.1-10.2.5 and 11.3.1 of ASTM Standard F2324-13;

• Adds a test method for measuring spray force that references sections 10.3.1-10.3.8 of ASTM Standard F2324-13;

• Adds a requirement for measuring the flow rate and spray force of each spray setting for commercial prerinse spray valves with multiple spray settings;

• Modifies the rounding requirement for flow rate measurement and specifies the rounding requirement for spray force measurement; and

• Modifies the existing CPSV sampling requirements to remove the provisions related to determining represented values where consumers would favor higher values.

III. Discussion

The following sections describe DOE's amendments to the test procedure, including definitions, industry standards incorporated by reference, modifications to the test procedure, additional test measurements, rounding requirements, and certification and compliance requirements.

A. Definitions

In this final rule, DOE amends the definition of “commercial prerinse spray valve” and adds a definition for the term “spray force.” A detailed discussion of these terms follows.

1. Commercial Prerinse Spray Valve

EPCA currently defines a “commercial prerinse spray valve” as a handheld device designed and marketed for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment that sprays water on dishes, flatware, and other food service items for the purpose of removing food residue before cleaning the items. (42 U.S.C. 6291(33)(A), 10 CFR 431.262) EPCA allows DOE to modify the CPSV definition to include products (1) that are used extensively in conjunction with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment, (2) to which the application of standards would result in significant energy savings, and (3) to which the application of standards would not be likely to result in the unavailability of any covered product type currently available on the market. (42 U.S.C. 6291(33)(B)(i)) EPCA also allows DOE to modify the CPSV definition to exclude products (1) that are used for special food service applications, (2) that are unlikely to be widely used in conjunction with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment, and (3) to which the application of standards would not result in significant energy savings. (42 U.S.C. 6291(33)(B)(ii))

As described in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE has observed the existence of products distributed in the U.S. with brochures describing them as “prerinse spray” or “prerinse spray valve;” these are often marketed (usually by third parties) to rinse dishes before washing, to pre-rinse items in a dish room in preparation for running them through a commercial dishwasher, or to be used with pre-rinse assemblies and/or as ware washing equipment. 80 FR 35874, 35876-77 (June 23, 2015). DOE has also observed products marketed as “pull-down kitchen faucets” or “commercial style prerinse,” which, generally speaking, are handheld devices that can be used for commercial dishwashing or ware washing regardless of installation location. Further, DOE has observed instances where products designed by the manufacturer for other specific applications are marketed on retailer's Web sites for commercial dishwashing and ware washing. In DOE's view, this illustrates that such products are also “suitable for use” as commercial prerinse spray valves and are marketed and used in commercial dishwashing and ware washing applications.

To ensure a level and fair playing field for all products serving commercial prerinse spray valve applications, all products that are used in such an application should be held to the same standard. As a result, in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed to modify the CPSV definition such that these categories of products would meet the definition of commercial prerinse spray valve and would be subject to the associated regulations. Id. Specifically, DOE stated that installation location is not a factor in determining whether a given model meets the definition of commercial prerinse spray valve. Id. Therefore, DOE proposed defining “commercial prerinse spray valve” as “a handheld device . . . suitable for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment for the purpose of removing food residue before cleaning items.” Id. at 35877.

Although DOE understands that manufacturers may market different categories of spray valves for various uses, such as cleaning floors or walls or filling glasses, DOE believes any such device that is suitable for use in conjunction with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment to spray water for the purpose of removing food residue should fall within the CPSV definition. Similarly, DOE believes products that are appropriate for removing food residue in dishwashing and ware washing applications should be subject to DOE standards and certification requirements, even if they are marketed without the term “commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment.” Therefore, after reviewing the current CPSV definition and products currently being distributed in the market as appropriate for dishwashing and ware washing applications, DOE proposed to replace the phrase “designed and marketed for use” with the phrase “suitable for use” in the CPSV definition. 80 FR 35874, 35876-77 (June 23, 2015).

During the NOPR public meeting, T&S Brass stated that manufacturers can only control what they design, intend, or market their product for. Specifically, T&S Brass stated that manufacturers generally use the words “designed” or “intended for” when they qualify commercial prerinse spray valves. (T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 13) 4 T&S Brass provided the examples of a garden hose spray nozzle or pet grooming spray valves, which are identical in look and feel to commercial prerinse spray valves, but require much higher flow rates due to different factors, such as the sensitivity of the pet's skin when used in pet grooming. T&S Brass expressed concern that these other products could be interpreted as being suitable for washing dishes, despite the manufacturer's intent for product use. (T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at pp. 14-16)

4 A notation in the form “T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at pp. 14-16” identifies a comment that DOE has received and has included in the docket of this rulemaking. This particular notation refers to a comment: (1) Submitted by T&S Brass; (2) as recorded in the public meeting transcript, which is document number 3 of the docket; and (3) on pages 14 through 16 of that document.

DOE also received written comments related to the term “suitable” in the proposed definition. Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) and Fisher Manufacturing Co. (Fisher) stated that the DOE proposed term “suitable” should be replaced with the phrase “designed and marketed,” as a manufacturer designs, develops, and markets a product with a specific end use in mind. (PMI, No. 4 at p. 1; Fisher, No. 5 at p. 1) PMI commented that the term “suitable” is ambiguous and could imply that a device be considered a commercial prerinse spray valve even though it may have not been designed or developed for that intended purpose. (PMI, No. 4 at p. 1) T&S Brass added that the term “suitable” subjects the definition to misrepresentation and that a product that is defined for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment is “designed and marketed” specifically for that application. (T&S Brass, No. 7 at p. 1)

During the NOPR public meeting, DOE clarified its proposal and requested additional information regarding the specific design changes that manufacturers implement to distinguish products that are “intended” for commercial dishwashing and ware washing applications from products that are never “intended” for those applications. DOE explained it has experienced instances where the term “designed and marketed” in a definition creates ambiguity and inequitable equipment coverage, since such coverage is subject to marketing materials rather than objective design criteria. (DOE, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at pp. 14-16) DOE has seen instances in the market where a manufacturer's self-declaration of intent varies greatly from how products are sold by retailers. DOE urged manufacturers to provide distinct design information or product characteristics that could be used to clearly distinguish products that are manufactured for dishwashing and ware washing installations. Thus, because the suggestion from T&S Brass of using “designed and/or intended for” does not differ functionally from the current definition of “designed and marketed for,” it would still perpetuate a fundamental problem DOE seeks to remedy. In fact, by removing the term “marketed,” T&S Brass's suggestion would increase ambiguity by requiring DOE or other parties to divine intent, without any express tie to objective criteria. Id. DOE requested that interested parties provide additional comments on how to clarify the definition to alleviate any unintended consequences. Id. Specifically, DOE requested comments on how to distinguish between products that are intended to be commercial prerinse spray valves versus those that are not, but may have similar design features and characteristics. Id. DOE did not receive any additional comments about using an alternative phrase to replace “designed and marketed.”

In response to T&S Brass's observation that certain products exist that are identical to commercial prerinse spray valves, but are advertised and/or intended to perform in different applications, such as pet grooming, DOE reviewed the comments from interested parties and different models of spray valves available on the market. DOE could not identify any differentiating characteristics among commercial prerinse spray valves and spray valves intended for other applications that would indicate that such products were not regularly used as commercial prerinse spray valves or that such products serve a unique utility in those applications. In addition, DOE has found spray valves that manufacturers market for specific applications listed on retailer's Web sites as appropriate for commercial dishwashing and ware washing.

Conversely, in a joint comment, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Gas Company (SCGC), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) company (referred to as the California Investor Owned Utilities, or CA IOUs), pointed out that there are products currently marketed as pot fillers, which have very high flow rates (greater than 3 gallons per minute (gpm)), that can be used in a similar function to CPSVs. According to the CA IOUs, because these products are listed as “pot fillers,” they would not be subject to standards. The CA IOUs stated that the definition of commercial prerinse spray valve should ensure that any product that may be used as a commercial prerinse spray valve is appropriately covered by the standard. The CA IOUs cautioned that there is a loophole that allows manufacturers to sell commercial prerinse spray valves that do not meet the flow rate standard and encouraged DOE to define the products carefully to eliminate the loophole. (EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027, CA IOUs, No. 34 at p. 2)

DOE is aware that “pot fillers” that have many of the same physical characteristics as commercial prerinse spray valves. However, DOE does not agree that most of these products can be used extensively in commercial dishwashing. Under the definition proposed in the CPSV TP NOPR, a pot filler would not be considered a commercial prerinse spray valve because it is not suitable to be used for rinsing dishware before washing in a commercial dishwasher. A pot filler is used to fill a container with water, while a commercial prerinse spray valve is used to remove food residue from dishware. DOE believes that a reasonable consumer would not install a pot filler to be used as a commercial prerinse spray valve. In addition, most pot fillers are usually rigidly mounted to a wall with a swing arm, and are thus not handheld devices. Therefore, DOE believes that the proposed definition is adequate in distinguishing pot fillers from commercial prerinse spray valves.

When evaluating whether a spray valve model is suitable for removing food residue from food service items before cleaning them in commercial dishwashing or ware washing equipment, DOE would consider various factors including channels of marketing and sales, product design and descriptions, and actual sales to determine whether the spray valve is used extensively in conjunction with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment. For example, a product marketed or sold through outlets that market or sell to food service entities such as restaurants or commercial or institutional kitchens is more likely to be used as a commercial prerinse spray valve than one marketed or sold through outlets catering to pet care. Similarly, a product marketed outside of the United States as a commercial prerinse spray valve, or for similar use in a kitchen-type setting, would be considered suitable for use as a commercial prerinse spray valve. In evaluating whether a spray valve is suitable for use as a commercial prerinse spray valve, DOE would consider how a product is marketed and sold to end-users, including how the product is identified and described in product catalogs, brochures, specification sheets, and communications with prospective purchasers. DOE would also consider actual sales, including whether the end-users are restaurants or commercial or institutional kitchens, even if those sales are indirectly through an entity such as a distributor.

For the reasons stated previously, DOE is modifying the CPSV definition in part by replacing the term “designed and marketed for use” with the phrase “suitable for use.” By relying on suitability, DOE effectively differentiates products that are used in commercial dishwashing applications (and therefore fall under the DOE regulations) from products that are unlikely to be used to wash dishes. DOE believes that such a definition also removes the loophole noted by the CA IOUs in its comment by avoiding the ambiguity associated with determining product coverage based on manufacturer intent or marketing materials. DOE recognizes that this definition change will alter the range of products subject to standards. Therefore, DOE maintains in this final rule that any equipment meeting the previous definition of commercial prerinse spray valve is subject to DOE's applicable standards and test procedure for such equipment. For clarity, DOE has moved the relevant portion of the previous CPSV definition to the current standard in 10 CFR 431.266 to ensure manufacturers understand the range of equipment subject to the current Federal energy conservation standards. Any representations with regard to water use for equipment meeting the revised definition must be based on the DOE test procedure as of 180 days following publications of this final rule. As of the compliance date for any amended standards, any equipment meeting the revised definition of commercial prerinse spray valve will be subject to DOE's applicable standards.

DOE also reviewed the prerinse spray valve definition in ASTM Standard F2324-13, which defines the term “prerinse spray valve” as “a handheld device containing a release to close mechanism that is used to spray water on dishes, flatware, etc.” The “release-to-close” mechanism included in the ASTM definition means a manually actuated, normally closed valve, which is a typical feature of commercial prerinse spray valves. In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed a different definition that would include the term normally closed; that is DOE proposed to define commercial prerinse spray valve as “a handheld device containing a normally closed valve that is suitable for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment for the purpose of removing food residue before cleaning items.” 80 FR 35874, 35877 (June 23, 2015).

DOE received one written comment regarding including the term “normally closed” in its proposed definition. The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) does not support the inclusion of the phrase “normally closed valve” in the CPSV definition. AWE commented that many non-dishwashing products, similar to prerinse spray valves, include “normally closed valves,” and that the proposed phrase would not distinguish commercial prerinse spray valves from other similar devices. Additionally, AWE stated that products sold and used to prerinse dishware could be deemed not subject to the proposed rule because the valve is not a “normally closed” valve. (AWE, No. 6, p. 2)

DOE is not currently aware of any commercial prerinse spray valves that lack a release to close valve, but agrees with AWE that including the term “normally closed valve” in the definition could result in a CPSV model not being considered a covered product if its design does not include such a valve. Therefore, DOE is not including the term “normally closed valve” in the definition and is instead replacing it with the term “release-to-close,” consistent with the definition in ASTM F2324−13.

In summary, in this final rule, DOE adopts a modified version of the definition of “commercial prerinse spray valve” than what was proposed in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR. 80 FR 35874, 35877 (June 23, 2015). Specifically, DOE defines “commercial prerinse spray valve” as “a handheld device that has a release-to-close valve and is suitable for removing food residue from food service items before cleaning them in commercial dishwashing or ware washing equipment.” DOE has concluded that this definition satisfies the requirements at 42 U.S.C. 6291(33)(B) because (1) the products covered by this definition are used extensively in conjunction with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment, (2) the application of standards to such products would result in significant energy savings, and (3) the application of standards to such products would not be likely to result in the unavailability of any covered product type currently available on the market.5

5 The analyses of the energy savings potential of standards and the impact of standards on the availability of any covered product type currently on the market are being conducted as part of DOE's concurrent energy conservation standards rulemaking for commercial prerinse spray valves. Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027.

2. Spray Force

In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed adding a definition for the term “spray force,” as “the amount of force exerted onto the spray disc, measured in ounce-force (ozf).” 80 FR 35874, 35878-79, 35886 (June 23, 2015). DOE understands spray force to be an important differentiating feature in commercial prerinse spray valves.

DOE received several written comments about adding a definition for spray force. DOE will finalize its decision regarding the use of spray force as it relates to the proposed amended energy conservation standards, and will address any comments related to spray force and product classes, in the ongoing CPSV standards rulemaking (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027).

During the NOPR public meeting, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) supported adding spray force requirements because doing so could aid in saving water and energy. (PG&E, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 17) The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) asked if DOE would be adding a definition for the term ounce-force. (NRDC, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 17) In this final rule, DOE does not include a definition for the unit ounce-force. Ounce-force is used by ASTM Standard F2324-13 and is a commonly understood unit of measurement.

As such, in this final rule, DOE adopts the term “spray force,” defined as “the amount of force exerted onto the spray disc, measured in ounce-force (ozf).” Adopting this new term in the CPSV test procedure does not affect any amended CPSV energy conservation standards and does not guarantee or require its use in such standards.

B. Industry Standards Incorporated by Reference

EPCA prescribes that the test procedure for measuring flow rate for commercial prerinse spray valves be based on ASTM Standard F2324, “Standard Test Method for Pre-Rinse Spray Valves.” (42 U.S.C. 6293(14)) Pursuant to this statutory requirement, DOE incorporated by reference ASTM Standard F2324-03 in a final rule published on December 8, 2006. 71 FR 71340, 71374. DOE last updated its CPSV test procedure to reference the updated ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009) in a final rule published on October 23, 2013. 78 FR 62970, 62980. The 2009 version was a reaffirmation of the 2003 standard and contained no changes to the test method. The current version of the ASTM industry standard for CPSVs is the version published in 2013, ASTM Standard F2324-13.

In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE noted that the most significant difference between ASTM Standard F2324-13 and the ASTM standard currently referenced by the DOE test procedure (ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009)) is that ASTM Standard F2324-13 replaces the cleanability test with a spray force test and moves the cleanability test to a normative (i.e., non-mandatory) appendix. 80 FR 35874, 35878 (June 23, 2015). During the NOPR public meeting, T&S Brass requested DOE's assistance in updating California's Title 20 requirements related to commercial prerinse spray valves because California Title 20 currently includes a cleanability requirement (Title 20, Section 1605.3(h)(3)(A)), which has now been moved to the appendix of ASTM Standard F2324-13. T&S Brass stated that, under the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, manufacturers who sell products in California must test for both cleanability and spray force. (T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 18) DOE appreciates T&S Brass's comments; however, DOE's adoption of any amendments to the Federal CPSV test procedure does not preclude California from adopting amendments to a rule California had in place prior to January 1, 2005, if that amendment is developed to align California regulations with changes in ASTM F2324. See 42 U.S.C. 6297(c)(7). Nonetheless, DOE welcomes any discussion with manufacturers and the State of California regarding any potential amendments to California's CPSV test procedure or requirements.

DOE also identified minor differences between ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009) and ASTM Standard F2324-13, which include (1) tolerance on water pressure required for testing, (2) minimum flow rate of flex tubing, (3) water temperature for testing, and (4) length of water pipe required to be insulated.

Table III.1 summarizes changes between ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009) and F2324-13 as they apply to DOE's test procedure.

Table III.1—Changes to ASTM Standard F2324 Current DOE test procedure
  • (ASTM Standard F2324-03 (2009))
  • Amended DOE test procedure
  • (ASTM Standard F2324-13)
  • Water pressure 60 ± 1 psi and 60 ± 2 psi 60 ± 2 psi. Minimum flow rate of flex tubing 7 gpm 3.5 gpm. Water temperature for testing 120 ± 4 °F 60 ± 10 °F. Minimum insulation requirement of water pipe Requires any insulation to have a thermal resistance (R) of 4 °F x ft2 x h/Btu for the entire length of the water pipe, from the mixing valve to the inlet of the flex tubing No requirement.

    DOE discussed the rationale for the changes between the ASTM Standards and the effects on testing results in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR. 80 FR 35874, 35878-79 (June 23, 2015). In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE concluded that the updates do not affect the measurement of flow rate for commercial prerinse spray valves. However, in this final rule, DOE is clarifying that the water temperature measurement for both spray force and flow rate tests is an instantaneous temperature measurement of the water at the start of the test, not the average temperature of the water over the duration of the test. Additionally, DOE clarifies that the water temperature will have no impact on the measured value of flow rate and spray force.

    DOE received a written comment concerning the incorporation by reference of ASTM Standard F2324-13. AWE supports, in part, the use of this ASTM standard as a method to test commercial prerinse spray valves. However, AWE opposes this test method as the sole means to determine compliance with a maximum flow rate of 1.28 gallons per minute (gpm). AWE stated that the ASTM Standard F2324-13 was developed and modified for flow rates not exceeding 1.6 gpm. AWE expressed concern whether the same test criteria would be adequate for testing commercial prerinse spray valves operating at flows significantly less than 1.28 gpm, because as water flow is reduced, the margin of error for performance narrows. (AWE, No. 6, p. 3)

    Currently, section 10 from ASTM Standard F2324-13 is the generally accepted test procedure for the CPSV industry, and is used to certify commercial prerinse spray valves at all flow rates, including flow rates at less than 1.28 gpm. The ASTM flow rate test method specifies an allowable range of supply water temperature and pressure, which are the two physical parameters that would have the biggest effect on the accuracy and repeatability of the water flow rate measurement of a commercial prerinse spray valve. DOE has no evidence that the accuracy or repeatability of flow rate measurements lower than 1.28 gpm would be significantly different than flow rate measurements greater than 1.28 gpm. Additionally, DOE tested a range of commercial prerinse spray valves as part of the ongoing CPSV energy conservation standards rulemaking, and found the test method to be sufficiently accurate for spray valves with low flow rates. In a comment submitted by the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), ASAP, and NRDC in response to the energy conservation standard NOPR, the commenters stated that they support incorporating provisions of ASTM Standard F2324-13 pertaining to flow rate and spray force into the DOE test procedure, including test methods and definitions. (EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027, ASE, ASAP, NRDC, No. 32 at p. 2) Finally, EPCA requires DOE to use the ASTM Standard F2324 as a basis for the test procedure for measuring flow rate. (42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(14)) Therefore, DOE incorporates by reference the specified sections of ASTM Standard F2324-13 in this final rule.

    DOE also received comments regarding its proposal to incorporate by reference elements of the water supply pressure specified in sections 9.3, 10.2.2 and 10.3.2 of ASTM Standard F2324-13. In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed to test commercial prerinse spray valves at a water pressure of 60 ± 2 psi when water is flowing through the commercial prerinse spray valve, as required by ASTM Standard F2324-13. As part of that proposal, DOE included a discussion on reports on water pressure across the country and the different aspects of testing at multiple water pressures. 80 FR 35873, 35878 (June 23, 2015). DOE also acknowledged that supply pressure will affect the flow rate of a commercial prerinse spray valve once installed. Typically, lower pressures result in lower flow rates and higher pressures result in higher flow rates. Nevertheless, DOE noted that testing at a single specific supply pressure to demonstrate compliance with the maximum allowable flow rate would create a consistent and standardized reference that would be comparable across all products. Id. Testing at multiple supply pressures would also increase test burden. DOE also reviewed the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Standard A112.18.1-2012, “Plumbing Supply Fittings,” which contains testing parameters for other plumbing products, such as faucets and showerheads, and found that it requires testing at lower supply pressures only when determining a minimum flow rate. 80 FR 35873, 35878 (June 23, 2015).

    In comments provided for the related CPSV energy conservation standards rulemaking, AWE supported the use of the ASTM Standard F2324-13 test procedure and testing at a supply pressure of 60 psi. (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027, AWE, No. 8 at p. 2) During the NOPR public meeting, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and NRDC both requested that DOE test at multiple water pressure values. (ASAP, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 27; NRDC, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at pp. 19-20) In response to the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, AWE commented that water pressure can vary from one water utility service area to another, impacting the performance of commercial prerinse spray valves. (AWE, No. 6 at p. 2) AWE also suggested that DOE suspend its rulemaking efforts until a comprehensive study is conducted to determine the effects of water pressure on performance of commercial prerinse spray valves. (AWE, No. 6 at p.4)

    In response to AWE's comment regarding the effect of varied water pressures on performance, DOE acknowledged in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR that supply pressures have an impact on flow rate. Consistent with what was described in Chapter 5 of the Technical Support Document (TSD) for the CPSV energy conservation standards NOPR (Docket EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027), DOE observed that flow rate increases with the square root of pressure. DOE compiled data from various field studies that demonstrated the performance of prerinse spray valves rated between 0.51 gpm and 1.88 gpm installed in commercial kitchen locations. While the water pressure measured in these locations ranged between 38 psi and 83 psi, the average water pressure observed in the commercial kitchens included in the studies was 55 psi, which is very close to the 60 psi supply pressure specified in ASTM Standard F2324-13. DOE provides the full results of its data analysis in a separate report accompanying this final rule, titled “Analysis of Water Pressure for Testing Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves Final Report.” 6 From the analysis, DOE found that although the flow rate of CPSVs can vary by almost 40 percent when the water pressure changes from the analyzed range of 40 psi to 80 psi, the weighted average flow rate for CPSVs installed with varying supply pressures results in a 5-percent decrease in flow rate as compared to the flow rate of a CPSV installed with a water pressure of 60 psi. Based on this information, DOE determined that 60 psi is representative of the water pressures observed across the nation. Therefore, this final rule incorporates the single water pressure supply requirement of ASTM Standard F2324-13, 60 ± 2 psi.

    6 The water pressure sensitivity analysis is available at regulations.gov under docket number EERE-2014-BT-TP-0055.

    Specifically, DOE is incorporating by reference the following sections of ASTM Standard F2324-13: 6.1-6.9, 9.1-9.5.3.2, 10.1-10.2.5, 10.3.1-10.3.8, 11.3.1 (replacing the plural “nozzles” with “nozzle”), and excluding references to “Annex A1.”

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed replacing the plural “nozzles” with “nozzle” because “nozzles” refers to Section 8.1 of the ASTM Standard F2324-13, which requires three representative production units to be selected for all performance testing. DOE did not receive any comments regarding this proposal, therefore DOE is incorporating this change in this final rule. DOE also clarifies in this final rule that the term “nozzle” means a CPSV unit. Also, DOE is retaining the existing CPSV sampling plan at 10 CFR 429.51(a), and therefore is not incorporating by reference Section 8.1 of ASTM Standard F2324-13. Section III.E of this document provides more details on the selection of units to test.

    DOE is also excluding any references to “Annex A1” from incorporation by reference because the annex provides a procedure for determining the uncertainty in reported test results. DOE's required statistical methods for determination of the representative value of flow rate for each basic model is in 10 CFR 429.51(a)(2). Therefore, DOE is not incorporating by reference Annex A1 in this test procedure, and any references to the annex in the incorporated ASTM Standard F2324-13 sections are invalid. The referenced sections describe the testing apparatus, test method, and calculations pertaining to flow-rate measurement.

    1. Clarifications

    In analyzing ASTM Standard F2324-13 and DOE's proposed test provisions when responding to comments submitted by interested parties and formulating the final test procedure adopted in this document, DOE noticed several minor inconsistencies and sources of ambiguity in the proposed test procedure and industry standard. As such, in this final rule, DOE is also clarifying several minor issues regarding terminology and conducting the amended DOE test procedure, so as to improve the repeatability and consistency of the test procedure.

    Throughout ASTM F2324-13, various terms are used to refer to flow rate: water consumption flow rate, water consumption, water flow rate, flow rate, and nozzle flow rate. Additionally, regulatory text in 10 CFR 429.51, 10 CFR 431.264, and 10 CFR 431.266 refers to flow rate using both the terms water consumption flow rate and flow rate. For this final rule, DOE is clarifying that all of the aforementioned terms are equivalent to the term flow rate.

    Section 9.1 of ASTM Standard F2324-13, instructs the test lab to attach the prerinse spray valve to a 36-inch, spring-style (flex tubing) prerinse spray valve in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. DOE is clarifying that the second instance of “prerinse spray valve” refers to the spring-style deck-mounted prerinse unit that is previously defined in section 6.8 of ASTM F2324-13. DOE is also clarifying that it does not believe that using the manufacturer's instructions or packaging are necessary to connect the nozzle for testing as the manufacturer's instructions typically describe how to install the entire prerinse spray valve, not just the nozzle.

    Section 10.1.1 of ASTM Standard F2324-13 directs the test lab to record the water temperature (°F), dynamic water pressure (psi), time (min) and the flow rate (gpm) for each run of every test. For this final rule, DOE is clarifying that water temperature and dynamic water pressure values must be recorded one time at the start of each run when testing for both flow rate and spray force. The time is measured throughout the flow rate test and recorded after the test to indicate the duration of testing. DOE clarifies that the flow rate is calculated afterwards using the normalized weight of the carboy, as discussed in the next paragraph, and the measured time of testing.

    In section 10.2.4 of ASTM F2324-13, the flow rate test requires that the water flow be stopped at the end of one minute. However, section 6.9 of ASTM F2324-13 requires time measurement instruments accurate ± 0.1 second and it will likely be difficult for an operator to stop the stopwatch and CPSV at precisely 1:00.0 min every test. Therefore, DOE is clarifying that the recorded weight of the water will be normalized to 60.0 seconds for every test, to ensure that each flow rate is calculated using the same time period. Normalize the weight using Equation 1, where Wwater is the weight normalized to a 1 minute time period, W1 is the weight of the water in the carboy at the conclusion of the flow rate test, and t1 is the total recorded time of the flow rate test.

    ER30DE15.001 C. Additional Test Methods 1. Adding Test Method To Measure Spray Force

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed a test procedure for measuring the spray force of a commercial prerinse spray valve. DOE discussed how the test is conducted, the apparatus used, a review of the procedure, the applicable sections of ASTM F2324-13 to incorporate by reference. DOE also explained that it proposed the test to support the forthcoming proposed revisions to the CPSV product class structure in the ongoing energy conservation standard for commercial prerinse spray valves (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027). 80 FR 35874, 35879 (June 23, 2015).

    As discussed previously in this final rule, DOE received several written comments about using spray force to define product classes. Specifically, in a joint comment submitted by ASE, ASAP, and NRDC and in the CA IOUs joint comment, the parties stated that they support incorporating provisions of ASTM Standard F2324-13 pertaining to spray force into the DOE test procedure, including test methods and definitions. The commenters additionally supported a requirement to measure and report spray force. (EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027, ASE, ASAP, NRDC, No. 32 at p. 2; EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027, CA IOUs, No. 34 at p. 3)

    In this final rule, DOE clarifies how to record average spray force. Section 10.3.6 of ASTM F2324-13 requires the average spray force to be recorded over a 15-second time period after the prerinse spray valve has flowed for at least 5 seconds. DOE interprets “average” spray force to require at least two spray force readings during the test. Therefore, in this final rule, DOE clarifies that this requires recording at least two spray force readings to calculate the average spray force over the 15-second time period.

    2. Multiple Spray Settings: Adding a Requirement To Measure Flow Rate and Spray Force of Each Spray Setting

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed adding a requirement at 10 CFR 431.264(b)(3) to measure and record each available spray pattern if a sample unit has multiple spray patterns or spray settings. DOE identified several commercial prerinse spray valves on the market with multiple spray patterns that can be selected by the end user. Additionally, section 10.3.7 of ASTM Standard F2324-13, which DOE proposed in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR to incorporate by reference, specifies that force shall be tested for each mode (i.e., spray setting). 80 FR 35873, 35880 (June 23, 2015).

    In this final rule, DOE intended the term “spray pattern” mean a user-selectable setting on a commercial prerinse spray valve; however, DOE realizes that some people might interpret the term “spray pattern” to mean the shape of the water spray as it exits the unit, such as shower, knife, solid stream, etc. For this final rule, DOE clarifies that the term “spray pattern” refers to a user-selectable setting on a commercial prerinse spray valve and uses the term “spray setting” instead of “spray pattern.” Although DOE used the term “spray pattern” in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, for clarity, DOE is using the term “spray setting” throughout this discussion of comments received in response to the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR and in the regulatory text.

    During the NOPR public meeting, Chicago Faucet sought clarification related to testing of multiple settings. Specifically, Chicago Faucet asked whether each setting on a model with multiple settings would need to be tested and meet a minimum spray force value. (Chicago Faucet, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3, pp. 25-26) DOE clarified during the public meeting that DOE was not proposing mandatory minimum spray force requirements, but rather was proposing to use the spray force measurement to define product classes. DOE further confirmed that a unit with multiple settings would need to be tested at each spray setting, and each spray setting would need to meet the applicable flow rate requirements.

    In its written comments, AWE agreed that all of the emitters of a valve must comply with maximum allowable flow requirements. AWE added that it is only necessary for at least one of the emitters to meet a minimum spray force requirement. AWE stated that requiring all emitters to meet a certain minimum spray force will likely result in excessive water use when used in applications that do not require high force. (AWE, No. 6, p. 3) As previously mentioned, DOE is not establishing a mandatory minimum spray force requirement but, rather, has proposed using the spray force measurement to define product classes. Further discussion on how DOE proposed to use spray force to define product classes is presented in the forthcoming CPSV standards rulemaking final rule (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027).

    T&S Brass stated that if the “suitable for use” language in DOE's proposed definition (based on suitability) were finalized, only one of the spray patterns would need to be tested and meet the requirements of a commercial prerinse spray valve. According to T&S Brass, one setting on the spray valve could meet the proposed definition even though the rest of the spray pattern selections may be non-compliant. T&S Brass also recommended that all spray modes of the commercial prerinse spray valve be tested for compliance. (T&S Brass, No. 7 at p. 2)

    As stated in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE is aware that some commercial prerinse spray valves may have multiple flow rate settings (which may or may not have the same water spray shape) or multiple, exchangeable faces to alter the spray force and flow rate of the product. 80 FR 35873, 35880 (June 23, 2015). In this final rule, DOE adopts its proposal in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR to require testing of spray force and flow rate for each of the spray settings in CPSVs with multiple settings. Similarly, in this final rule, DOE is also adopting a definition of basic model to clarify how spray settings can be grouped for the purposes of making representations and certifying compliance to the Department. The basic model definition allows manufacturers to group spray settings within a given product class as long as the individual spray settings have similar physical and functional (or hydraulic) characteristics that affect water consumption or water efficiency for the purposes of testing and certifying compliance with the applicable standard. DOE also notes that consistent with DOE's basic model grouping provisions discussed in the certification, compliance, and enforcement final rule, manufacturers may elect to certify multiple spray settings under the same basic model, provided that (1) all individual spray settings identified as the same basic model have the same certified flow rate, (2) all representations are based on the tested performance of the least efficient individual model in that basic model, and (3) all spray settings are in the same product class. 76 FR 12422, 12429 (March 7, 2011). Specifically, for commercial prerinse spray valves, manufacturers may certify a CPSV unit with multiple spray settings as a single basic model if all the spray settings fall into the same product class and all representations regarding the performance of that basic model are based on the most consumptive spray setting. In such a case, manufacturers may not make differing representations regarding the performance of different spray settings for those individual models within the basic model. However, to the extent manufacturers wish to make representations regarding the spray force or flow rate at spray settings other than the most consumptive flow rate, manufacturers may instead elect to certify individual spray settings as unique basic models.

    In addition, if the spray settings on a CPSV unit fall into multiple product classes, manufacturers must certify separate basic models for each product class and may only group individual spray settings into basic models within each product class. In the ongoing energy conservation standard rulemaking (Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-STD-0027), DOE proposed to adopt amended standards for commercial prerinse spray values and establish different product classes and standards for commercial prerinse spray valves as a function of spray force. 80 FR 39486 (July 9, 2015). As such, a commercial prerinse spray value that contains multiple spray settings, or is sold with multiple spray faces, may fall into different product classes. In such a case, the commercial prerinse spray valve would meet both product class definitions and, as such, would be required to meet an appropriate energy conservation standard for both product classes. For example, if product classes were differentiated at 5-ozf and 8-ozf, the maximum flow rate setting with a spray force below 5-ozf would have to meet the standard associated with a spray force below 5-ozf, and the maximum flow rate setting between 5- and 8-ozf would have to meet the standard associated with a spray force between 5- and 8-ozf. This is consistent with DOE's treatment of other products and equipment that fall into multiple product classes or equipment categories. For example, dual-temperature commercial refrigeration equipment that can operate as both a commercial refrigerator and a commercial freezer must be tested as, and meet the energy conservation standard for, both equipment categories. 77 FR 10292 (February 21, 2012). Similarly, if a spray valve has at least one setting that meets the definition of a commercial prerinse spray valve, then the entire unit is a commercial prerinse spray valve and all settings must meet the flow rate standard.

    D. Rounding Requirements 1. Flow Rate

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed to change the rounding requirements for recording flow rate measurements from one decimal place to two decimal places. 80 FR 35873, 35880 (June 23, 2015). During the NOPR public meeting, T&S Brass agreed with this proposal and stated that the WaterSense program also requires flow rate to be rounded to two decimal places. (T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at p. 23) DOE did not receive any comments objecting to this proposal. Therefore, DOE amends the flow rate measurement rounding requirements to two decimal places in 10 CFR 431.264(b)(1).

    2. Spray Force

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed to adopt Section 11.4.2 of the ASTM Standard F2324-13 that specifies that the spray force be rounded to one decimal place. 80 FR 35873, 35880 (June 23, 2015). DOE received no comments related to this proposal. Therefore, DOE adopts spray force rounding requirements of one decimal place in 10 CFR 431.264(b)(2).

    E. Sampling Plan for Representative Values

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed retaining the existing CPSV sampling plan at 10 CFR 429.51(a). 80 FR 35874, 35880 (June 23, 2015). Although Section 8.1 of ASTM Standard F2324-13 requires three representative production units to be selected for all performance testing, in the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed not to adopt this requirement. DOE only proposed to adopt the testing methodology (i.e., applicable to testing of a unit)—not the rating methodology (i.e., applicable to a basic model)—found in ASTM Standard F2324-13. However, DOE notes that the DOE test procedure for commercial prerinse spray valves adopted in this final rule incorporates by reference ASTM F2324-13, which requires performing three test runs on each unit and the measured flow rate or spray force to be calculated as the average of the flow rate or spray force value determined during each of the three runs. DOE is retaining this requirement as is it improves the accuracy and precision of the test. The representative value of flow rate and spray force for each CPSV model is then calculated as the values determined from each test, subject to the sampling plan and rounding requirements presented in at 10 CFR 431.51(a) and 10 CFR 431.264(b)(2).

    CPSV testing is subject to DOE's general certification regulations at 10 CFR 429.11. These require a manufacturer to randomly select and test a sample of sufficient size to ensure that the represented value of water consumption adequately represents performance of all of the units within the basic model, but no fewer than two units. (10 CFR 429.11(b)) The purpose of these requirements is to achieve a realistic representation of the water consumption of the basic model, and to mitigate the risk of noncompliance, without imposing undue test burden. DOE did not receive any comments related to this proposal.

    In the 2015 CPSV TP NOPR, DOE proposed to revise the statistical methods for determination of the representative value of flow rate for each basic model of commercial prerinse spray valve in 10 CFR 429.51(a)(2). 80 FR 35874, 35880 (June 23, 2015). Specifically, DOE proposed to remove the lower confidence limit (LCL) formula from the sampling plan for the selection of units for testing and retain only the provision for an upper confidence limit (UCL) under 10 CFR 429.51(a)(2)(i). The original statistical methods allowed for two options that were exclusive; however, because the energy conservation standard for commercial prerinse spray valves specifies a maximum water flow rate, only the UCL provision is used for certification and compliance purposes. DOE received no comments related to this proposal. Therefore, DOE removes the LCL formula from the sampling plan in this final rule and retains the remainder of the sampling plan at 10 CFR 429.51(a).

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

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that test procedure rulemakings do not constitute “significant regulatory actions” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735 (October 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    B. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act of 1996) requires preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) for any rule that by law must be proposed for public comment and a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) for any such rule that an agency adopts as a final rule, unless the agency certifies that the rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A regulatory flexibility analysis examines the impact of the rule on small entities and considers alternative ways of reducing negative effects. 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 DOE 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 reviewed this final rule under the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the procedures and policies published on February 19, 2003. DOE has concluded that the rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this certification is as follows.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) considers a business entity to be a small business, if, together with its affiliates, it employs less than a threshold number of workers specified in 13 CFR part 121. These size standards and codes are established by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The threshold number for NAICS classification code 332919, which applies to “other metal valve and pipe fitting manufacturing” and includes CPSV manufacturers, is 500 employees.7

    7 U.S. Small Business Administration Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes. See www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf (last accessed September 10, 2015).

    Based on a search of DOE's Compliance and Certification Database, individual company Web sites, and various marketing research tools (e.g., Dun and Bradstreet reports, Manta, and Hoovers), DOE identified 13 manufacturers of commercial prerinse spray valves, of which 9 are domestic small businesses. Table IV.1 lists the eight small businesses that DOE identified, according to the number of employees.

    Table IV.1—Small Business Size by Number of Employees Number of employees Number of small
  • businesses
  • Percentage of small
  • businesses *
  • 1-50 3 33 51-100 3 33 101-150 1 11 151-250 1 11 251-500 1 11 * Note: Because of rounding, the values in this column do not sum to 100%.

    DOE estimated the labor burden associated with testing, in view of the 2012 (most recent) median annual pay for (1) environmental engineering technicians ($45,350), (2) mechanical engineering technicians ($51,980), and (3) plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters ($49,140) for an average annual salary of $48,823.8 9 DOE divided the average by 1,920 hours per year (40 hours per week for 48 weeks per year) to develop an hourly rate of $25.43. DOE adjusted the hourly rate by 31-percent to account for benefits, resulting in an estimated total hourly rate of $33.31.10 11 DOE used this hourly rate to assess the labor costs for testing units according to the amendments to the test procedures.

    8 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Architecture and Engineering. www.bls.gov/ooh/Architecture-and-Engineering/home.htm (last accessed September 10, 2015).

    9 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Construction and Extraction Occupations. www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/home.htm (last accessed September 10, 2015).

    10 Bureau of Labor Statistics. News Release: Employer Cost For Employee Compensation. www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm. (last accessed September 10, 2015).

    11 Additional benefits include paid leave, supplemental pay, insurance, retirement and savings, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation.

    Currently, 10 CFR 431.264 prescribes measurements for flow rate and requires commercial prerinse spray valves with multiple spray settings to comply with the applicable Federal energy conservation standard. DOE is clarifying in this final rule that CPSV models with multiple spray patterns must demonstrate compliance through certifying each discrete spray pattern or through the application of the basic model concept (see section III.C.2).

    The amendments to the test procedures adopted in today's final rule do not modify the time or burden associated with conducting the CPSV test procedure, except for including an additional test for spray force. During the NOPR public meeting, T&S Brass commented that only the manufacturers participating in the WaterSense program typically perform this test. (T&S Brass, Public Meeting Transcript, No. 3 at pp. 24-25) Out of 13 total CPSV manufacturers that DOE identified, only 2 currently participate in the WaterSense program. DOE concludes, therefore, that most manufacturers do not currently test for spray force. DOE estimates that an additional hour of labor time per basic model is required to conduct the spray force test.

    In addition to the labor time, DOE assumed that manufacturers would have to either construct or purchase an apparatus to measure spray force. DOE researched the materials necessary for the spray force test and estimates the cost of these materials to be $575.

    Another amendment to the test procedure includes clarifying that all spray settings must be tested on units that offer multiple spray settings. While CPSV models with multiple spray settings are currently required to demonstrate compliance, which requires testing of all spray settings, DOE understands that testing multiple spray settings requires more testing time than testing units with only one spray setting and that some manufacturers may not have been testing each spray setting. Therefore, DOE is also estimating the cost associated with testing units with multiple spray settings. DOE's review of commercial prerinse spray valves with multiple spray settings indicates that these units have an average of three settings. DOE estimated that the time to measure both flow rate and spray force for all three spray settings is greater than 2 hours but typically less than 3 hours.

    Based on this analysis, DOE estimated that up to 3 hours of total testing time is required for each basic model. Therefore, up to 6 hours of total testing time might be required to test two production units per basic model in the final test procedure, which results in a total labor cost of $199.88. As previously stated, DOE estimated that the cost of complying with the current test procedure is $66.63. Therefore, the amended test procedure reflects an increase in cost of $133.25 per basic model, and an additional one-time equipment setup cost of $575, compared to the current test procedure.

    AWE commented that the additional manufacturer cost burden for requiring multiple spray force tests would negatively affect product innovation and consumer choice. (AWE, No. 6, p. 3). As described earlier, DOE has accounted for the multiple spray force tests costs by determining the added cost for increased testing time, labor, and purchase of equipment for the spray force test.

    DOE's analysis determined that 69-percent of all CPSV manufacturers could be classified as small entities according to SBA classification guidelines. DOE believes that small manufacturers would not be differentially affected by the proposed amendments to the test procedure. In fact, DOE does not believe the amendments adopted in today's final rule as they relate to testing will result in any significant differential impact as compared to the testing currently required by DOE's regulations. Therefore, DOE concludes that the cost effects accruing from the final rule would not have a “significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities,” and that the preparation of an FRFA is not warranted. DOE has submitted a certification and supporting statement of factual basis to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for review under 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    C. Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Manufacturers of commercial prerinse spray valves must certify to DOE that their products comply with any applicable energy conservation standards. To certify compliance, manufacturers must first obtain test data for their products according to the DOE test procedures, including any amendments adopted for those test procedures. DOE has established regulations for the certification and recordkeeping requirements for all covered consumer products and commercial equipment, including commercial prerinse spray valves. See generally 10 CFR part 429. The collection-of-information requirement for the certification and recordkeeping is subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has been approved by OMB under OMB control number 1910-1400. Public reporting burden for the certification is estimated to average 30 hours per response including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

    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 of 1969

    In this final rule, DOE amends its test procedure for commercial prerinse spray valves. DOE has determined that this 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 rule amends an existing rule without affecting the amount, quality or distribution of energy usage, and, therefore, will not result in any environmental impacts. Thus, this rulemaking is covered by Categorical Exclusion A5 under 10 CFR part 1021, subpart D, which applies to any rulemaking that interprets or amends an existing rule without changing the environmental effect of that rule. Accordingly, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    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 examined this final rule and determined that it 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. EPCA governs and prescribes Federal preemption of State regulations as to energy conservation for the products that are the subject of this final 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 (February 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, this final 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 regulatory action resulting 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 http://energy.gov/gc/office-general-counsel. DOE examined this final rule according to UMRA and its statement of policy and determined that the rule 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 final rule will 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 regulation will not result in any takings that might require compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    J. Review Under 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 final 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 OMB, a Statement of Energy Effects for any significant energy action. A “significant energy action” is defined as any action by an agency that promulgated 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 significant energy action, the agency must give a detailed statement of any adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use if the regulation is implemented, and of reasonable alternatives to the action and their expected benefits on energy supply, distribution, and use.

    This regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. Moreover, it would not have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, nor has it been designated as a significant energy action by the Administrator of OIRA. Therefore, it is not a significant energy action, and, accordingly, DOE has not prepared a Statement of Energy Effects.

    L. Review Under Section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974

    Under section 301 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (Pub. L. 95-91; 42 U.S.C. 7101), DOE must comply with section 32 of the Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974, as amended by the Federal Energy Administration Authorization Act of 1977. (15 U.S.C. 788; FEAA) Section 32 essentially provides in relevant part that, where a proposed rule authorizes or requires use of commercial standards, the notice of proposed rulemaking must inform the public of the use and background of such standards. In addition, section 32(c) requires DOE to consult with the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the impact of the commercial or industry standards on competition.

    The modifications to the test procedure addressed by this action incorporate testing methods contained in the following commercial standards: ASTM F2324-13, Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves, sections 6.1-6.9, 9.1-9.5.3.2, 10.1-10.2.5, 10.3.1-10.3.8, 11.3.1 (replacing “nozzles” with “nozzle”), and disregarding references to Annex A1. DOE has evaluated these standards and is unable to conclude whether they fully comply with the requirements of section 32(b) of the FEAA (i.e., that they were developed in a manner that fully provides for public participation, comment, and review). DOE has consulted with the Attorney General and the Chairman of the FTC concerning the impact of these test procedures on competition and has received no comments objecting to their use.

    M. Description of Materials Incorporated by Reference

    In this final rule, DOE incorporates by reference the test standard published by ASTM, titled, “Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves,” ASTM Standard F2324-13. ASTM Standard F2324-13 is an industry-accepted test procedure that measures water flow rate and spray force for prerinse spray valves, and is applicable to products sold in North America. ASTM Standard F2324-13 specifies testing conducted in accordance with other industry accepted test procedures (already incorporated by reference). The test procedure in this final rule references various sections of ASTM Standard F2324-13 that address test setup, instrumentation, test conduct, and calculations. ASTM Standard F2324-13 is readily available at ASTM's Web site at www.astm.org/Standard/standards-and-publications.html.

    N. Congressional Notification

    As required by 5 U.S.C. 801, DOE will report to Congress on the promulgation of this rule before its effective date. The report will state that it has been determined that the rule is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    V. Approval of the Office of the Secretary

    The Secretary of Energy has approved publication of this final rule.

    List of Subjects 10 CFR Part 429

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Energy conservation, Household appliances, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    10 CFR Part 431

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Energy conservation test procedures, Incorporation by reference, and 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.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DOE amends parts 429 and 431 of Chapter II 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. In § 429.51, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:
    § 429.51 Commercial pre-rinse spray valves.

    (a) Sampling plan for selection of units for testing. (1) The requirements of § 429.11 apply to commercial prerinse spray valves; and

    (2) For each basic model of commercial prerinse spray valve, a sample of sufficient size must be randomly selected and tested to ensure that any represented value of flow rate must be greater than or equal to the higher of:

    (i) The mean of the sample, where:

    ER30DE15.002 and, x is the sample mean; n is the number of samples; and xi is the ith sample; Or,

    (ii) The upper 95-percent confidence limit (UCL) of the true mean divided by 1.10, where:

    ER30DE15.003 and, x is the sample mean; s is the sample standard deviation; n is the number of samples; and t0.95 is the t statistic for a 95-percent two-tailed confidence interval with n-1 degrees of freedom (from Appendix A of this subpart).
    PART 431—ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT 3. The authority citation for part 431 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 6291-6317.

    4. Section 431.262 is revised to read as follows:
    § 431.262 Definitions.

    As used in this subpart:

    Basic model means all spray settings of a given class manufactured by one manufacturer, which have essentially identical physical and functional (or hydraulic) characteristics that affect water consumption or water efficiency.

    Commercial prerinse spray valve means a handheld device that has a release-to-close valve and is suitable for removing food residue from food service items before cleaning them in commercial dishwashing or ware washing equipment.

    Spray force means the amount of force exerted onto the spray disc, measured in ounce-force (ozf).

    5. Section 431.263 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 431.263 Materials incorporated by reference.

    (b) * * *

    (1) ASTM Standard F2324-13, (“ASTM F2324-13”), Standard Test Method for Prerinse Spray Valves, approved June 1, 2013; IBR approved for § 431.264.

    6. Section 431.264 is revised to read as follows:
    § 431.264 Uniform test method to measure flow rate and spray force of commercial prerinse spray valves.

    (a) Scope. This section provides the test procedure to measure the flow rate and spray force of a commercial prerinse spray valve.

    (b) Testing and calculations for a unit with a single spray setting—(1) Flow rate. (i) Test each unit in accordance with the requirements of sections 6.1 through 6.9 (Apparatus) (except 6.4 and 6.7), 9.1 through 9.4 (Preparation of Apparatus), and 10.1 through 10.2.5 (Procedure) of ASTM F2324-13, (incorporated by reference, see § 431.263). Precatory language in the ASTM F2324-13 is to be treated as mandatory for the purpose of testing. In section 9.1 of ASTM F2324-13, the second instance of “prerinse spray valve” refers to the spring-style deck-mounted prerinse unit defined in section 6.8. In lieu of using manufacturer installation instructions or packaging, always connect the commercial prerinse spray valve to the flex tubing for testing. Normalize the weight of the water to calculate flow rate using Equation 1, where Wwater is the weight normalized to a 1 minute time period, W1 is the weight of the water in the carboy at the conclusion of the flow rate test, and t1 is the total recorded time of the flow rate test.

    ER30DE15.004

    (ii) Perform calculations in accordance with section 11.3.1 (Calculation and Report). Record the water temperature (°F) and dynamic water pressure (psi) once at the start for each run of the test. Record the time (min), the normalized weight of water in the carboy (lb) and the resulting flow rate (gpm) once at the end of each run of the test. Record flow rate measurements of time (min) and weight (lb) at the resolutions of the test instrumentation. Perform three runs on each unit, as specified in section 10.2.5 of ASTM F2324-13, but disregard any references to Annex A1. Then, for each unit, calculate the mean of the three flow rate values determined from each run. Round the final value for flow rate to two decimal places and record that value.

    (2) Spray force. Test each unit in accordance with the test requirements specified in sections 6.2 and 6.4 through 6.9 (Apparatus), 9.1 through 9.5.3.2 (Preparation of Apparatus), and 10.3.1 through 10.3.8 (Procedure) of ASTM F2324-13. In section 9.1 of ASTM F2324-13, the second instance of “prerinse spray valve” refers to the spring-style deck-mounted prerinse unit defined in section 6.8. In lieu of using manufacturer installation instructions or packaging, always connect the commercial prerinse spray valve to the flex tubing for testing. Record the water temperature (°F) and dynamic water pressure (psi) once at the start for each run of the test. In order to calculate the mean spray force value for the unit under test, there are two measurements per run and there are three runs per test. For each run of the test, record a minimum of two spray force measurements and calculate the mean of the measurements over the 15-second time period of stabilized flow during spray force testing. Record the time (min) once at the end of each run of the test. Record spray force measurements at the resolution of the test instrumentation. Conduct three runs on each unit, as specified in section 10.3.8 of ASTM F2324-13, but disregard any references to Annex A1. Ensure the unit has been stabilized separately during each run. Then for each unit, calculate and record the mean of the spray force values determined from each run. Round the final value for spray force to one decimal place.

    (c) Testing and calculations for a unit with multiple spray settings. If a unit has multiple user-selectable spray settings, or includes multiple spray faces that can be installed, for each possible spray setting or spray face:

    (1) Measure both the flow rate and spray force according to paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section (including calculating the mean flow rate and mean spray force) for each spray setting; and

    (2) Record the mean flow rate for each spray setting, rounded to two decimal places. Record the mean spray force for each spray setting, rounded to one decimal place.

    7. Section 431.266 is revised to read as follows:
    § 431.266 Energy conservation standards and their effective dates.

    Commercial prerinse spray valves manufactured on or after January 1, 2006, shall have a flow rate of not more than 1.6 gallons per minute. For the purposes of this standard, a commercial prerinse spray valve is a handheld device designed and marketed for use with commercial dishwashing and ware washing equipment that sprays water on dishes, flatware, and other food service items for the purpose of removing food residue before cleaning the items.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32805 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 242 [Release No. 34-73639A; File No. S7-01-13] RIN 3235-AL43 Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity; Correction AGENCY:

    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is making a technical correction to its rules concerning Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity (“Regulation SCI”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and conforming amendments to Regulation ATS under the Exchange Act, which applies to certain self-regulatory organizations (including registered clearing agencies), alternative trading systems (“ATSs”), plan processors, and exempt clearing agencies (collectively, “SCI entities”).

    DATES:

    Effective December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara Hawkins, Special Counsel, Office of Market Supervision, at (202) 551-5523 and Alexander Zozos, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Market Supervision, at (202) 551-6932, Division of Trading and Markets, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-7010.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission is making a technical correction to final rules that were published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2014 (79 FR 72251) as part of Regulation SCI under the Exchange Act and conforming amendments to Regulation ATS under the Exchange Act.

    List of Subjects in 17 CFR 242

    Brokers; Confidential business information; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; and Securities.

    Accordingly, 17 CFR Part 242 is corrected by making the following correcting amendment:

    PART 242—REGULATIONS M, SHO, ATS, AC, NMS AND SCI AND CUSTOMER MARGIN REQUIREMENTS FOR SECURITY FUTURES—[CORRECTED] 1. The authority citation for Part 242 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 77g, 77q(a), 77s(a), 78b, 78c, 78g(c)(2), 78i(a), 78j, 78k-1(c), 78l, 78m, 78n, 78o(b), 78o(c), 78o(g), 78q(a), 78q(b), 78q(h), 78w(a), 78dd-1, 78mm, 80a-23, 80a-29, and 80a-37.

    § 242.1000 [Amended]
    2. Amend § 242.1000 in paragraph (3) of the definition of SCI alternative trading system or SCI ATS, by revising the phrase “until six months after satisfying any of paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section” to read “until six months after satisfying any of paragraphs (1) or (2) of this definition”.
    Dated: December 22, 2015. Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32646 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 30 CFR Part 519 RIN 1010-AD65 Office of Natural Resources Revenue 30 CFR Part 1219 [Docket ID: ONRR-2011-0024; DS63610000 DR2PS0000.CH7000 156D0102R2] RIN 1012-AA11 Allocation and Disbursement of Royalties, Rentals, and Bonuses—Oil and Gas, Offshore AGENCY:

    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this final rule, the Department of the Interior moves the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006's Phase I regulations from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapter V to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue's (ONRR) title 30 CFR chapter XII and clarifies and adds minor definition changes to these current revenue-sharing regulations. Additionally, ONRR amends these regulations concerning the distribution and disbursement of qualified revenues from certain leases on the Gulf of Mexico's Outer Continental Shelf, under the provisions of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006. These regulations set forth formulas and methodologies for calculating and allocating revenues to the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; their eligible coastal political subdivisions; the Land and Water Conservation Fund; and the United States Treasury.

    DATES:

    Effective: January 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For questions, contact Karen Osborne, Supervisory Management & Program Analyst, Office of the Deputy Director, ONRR, at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    President George W. Bush signed the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA or Act) into law on December 20, 2006 (Pub. L. 109-432, 120 Stat. 2922; 43 U.S.C. 1331 note), as part of H.R. 6111, The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006. With regard to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) provisions (Division C, Title 1, 120 Stat. 3000), GOMESA:

    • Provided for sharing of leasing revenues with Gulf producing States, coastal political subdivisions (CPSs) within those States, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), for coastal protection, conservation, and restoration projects.

    • Lifted the congressional moratorium on oil and gas leasing and development in a portion of the Eastern and Central GOM.

    • Mandated lease sales for 8.3 million acres in the Eastern and Central GOM, including 5.8 million acres in the Central GOM previously under Congressional moratoria.

    • Barred, until June 30, 2022, oil and gas leasing within 125 miles of the Florida coastline in the Eastern Planning Area, and 100 miles of the Florida coastline in the Central Planning Area, as well as in all areas in the GOM east of the Military Mission Line (86°41′ W. longitude).

    • Established a process for lessees to exchange with the Federal Government certain existing leases in moratorium areas for bonus or royalty credits to use on other GOM leases.

    This final rule sets forth the Department of the Interior's (DOI, hereafter “We”) plan to implement the second phase of GOMESA revenue sharing in fiscal year 2017 and beyond. In addition, we add several clarifications and conforming modifications to the GOMESA Phase I revenue-sharing regulations, currently available in BOEM's regulations at part 519, subpart D, of 30 CFR chapter V. We add these changes to differentiate between the two GOMESA revenue-sharing phases. We also move the Phase I regulations from 30 CFR chapter V, part 519, subpart D, to ONRR's regulations at 30 CFR chapter XII.

    We published a final rule (73 FR 78622, December 23, 2008) in the Federal Register on the allocation and disbursement of qualified revenues from two designated areas in the Gulf of Mexico, known as the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area and the 181 South Area. That final rule addressed such allocation and disbursement for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2016, to which we refer as “GOMESA Phase I” revenue sharing. You can find depictions of the 181 Area and the 181 South Area on the map available at www.boem.gov/Map-Gallery. The majority of this new final rule covers revenue sharing from the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area subject to GOMESA—for fiscal year 2017 and thereafter—to which we refer as “GOMESA Phase II” revenue sharing. To avoid confusion between the two GOMESA revenue-sharing phases, we are adding a new subpart E in the regulations for GOMESA Phase II. The differences between GOMESA Phase I and Phase II include the calculation methodology, revenue-sharing areas, and the imposition of a cap on shared revenues in Phase II. Moving the GOMESA Phase I regulations to 30 CFR chapter XII and modifying the definitions does not change the existing revenue-sharing methodology applicable to GOMESA Phase I.

    We have drawn on the experience that we gained during the first few years of GOMESA Phase I revenue sharing, along with comments and questions that we received, to refine the definitions. We have worked to eliminate any uncertainty, consistent with the Secretary's authority under GOMESA.

    For each of the fiscal years 2017 and thereafter, GOMESA directs the Secretary of the Interior to deposit 50 percent of qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) that we receive on or after October 1, 2016, from certain OCS oil and gas leases in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area, into a special account in the U.S. Treasury. From that account, we distribute 25 percent of the qualified revenues to the LWCF and distribute the remaining 75 percent to the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (which we collectively identify as the “Gulf producing States”) and their eligible CPSs. Under GOMESA Phase II, we share the revenues from leases that the Department issued on or after December 20, 2006, in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area. You can find the definition of these Phase II revenue-sharing areas in Section 102 of GOMESA, and you can also locate them on the map available at www.boem.gov/Map-Gallery.

    We allocate the GOMESA Phase II qualified OCS revenues among the Gulf producing States based upon proportional inverse distance calculations from applicable leased tracts (Phase II) in the 181 Area and the 181 South Area, as well as historical lease sites in the 2002-2007 Planning Area, in accordance with GOMESA. The result of this inverse distance calculation is that States closest to the most applicable leased tracts (Phase II)—as well as historical lease sites—will receive the greatest share of revenues. In determining each individual Gulf producing State's share of the GOMESA Phase II qualified OCS revenues, GOMESA provides that no State receives less than 10 percent of the revenues that we disburse to the Gulf producing States, regardless of the amount that the application of the proportional inverse distance formula establishes. Additionally, the shared revenues from certain GOMESA Phase II areas are subject to a cap of $500 million for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2055.

    The CPSs located in the States' coastal zone and within 200 nautical miles of the geographic center of any OCS leased tract receive 20 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) that GOMESA allocates to the State. We allocate revenues to the CPSs based upon their in-State relative population, coastline length, and proportional inverse distance from applicable leased tracts (Phase II) in the 181 Area and historical lease sites in the 2002-2007 Planning Area.

    There are a few substantive differences between GOMESA Phase I and Phase II revenue sharing. First, the GOM acreage and resulting qualified revenues will be greater in GOMESA Phase II because Phase II acreage consists of the entire 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area, whereas Phase I acreage consists of only the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area and the 181 South Area. Second, GOMESA Phase II requires that the proportional inverse distance calculations be from both applicable leased tracts in the 181 Area and the 181 South Area and historical lease sites in the 2002-2007 Planning Area, rather than only from applicable leased tracts. Additionally, under GOMESA Phase II, we must update the group of historical lease sites in the 2002-2007 Planning Area once every five years. The result of the five-year periods between updates is that each Gulf producing State's subset of inverse distances to historical lease sites remains static for five years following each update. Third, GOMESA Phase I ends with the disbursement of fiscal year 2016 qualified OCS revenues. GOMESA Phase II begins with the disbursement of fiscal year 2017 qualified OCS revenues. Fourth, for Phase II, GOMESA directs a $500 million annual cap on the majority of shared revenues, which equates to a $375 million annual cap among the four Gulf producing States and their eligible CPSs, and a $125 million annual cap to the LWCF for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2055.

    Revenues Shared Under GOMESA Phase II

    Qualified OCS revenues under GOMESA Phase II are revenues from leases that the Department issued after the passage of GOMESA (December 20, 2006) in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area, as GOMESA delineates.

    Excluded Acreage

    Selected acreage in the De Soto Canyon Protraction Area does not fall within the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, or the 2002-2007 Planning Area, as defined by GOMESA. You can locate the 21 blocks in the De Soto Canyon Protraction area bordering the Eastern Planning Area and not covered under GOMESA on the “Call for Information and Nominations Map, Central Planning Area Lease Sale 213,” available at www.boem.gov/Oil-and-Gas-Energy-Program/Leasing/Regional-Leasing/Gulf-of-Mexico-Region/Lease-Sales/213/index.aspx.

    II. Comments on the Proposed Amendments

    ONRR and BOEM published the proposed rule on March 31, 2014 (79 FR 17948), with a 60-day comment period. We received two comment letters on the proposed rule: One from a Gulf producing State, and one from a coastal political subdivision. We have analyzed the comments contained in the letters and discuss them below:

    Specific Comments on 30 CFR Part 1219—Subpart E—Offshore Oil and Gas, GOMESA Phase II Revenue Sharing (1) Definition of “Qualified Outer Continental Shelf Revenues” (Section 1219.511)

    (a) Public Comment: Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, commented that the exclusion in the proposed regulation of (1) user fees and (2) lease revenues explicitly excluded from GOMESA revenue sharing by statute or appropriations law is contrary to GOMESA's requirements.

    ONRR Response: As we discussed in the preamble of the proposed rule, the definition of “qualified Outer Continental Shelf revenues (Phase II)” is consistent with the regulations that we published for GOMESA Phase I revenue sharing (RIN 1010-AD46). In addition, this definition is consistent with other laws that appropriate OCS leasing revenues and fees by excluding any leasing revenues and fees that Congress may authorize DOI to retain in appropriations legislation or that are otherwise precluded from GOMESA revenue sharing.

    Beginning in Fiscal Year 2009, the Appropriations Acts for the Department of the Interior have contained language that excludes certain rental receipts from GOMESA qualified OCS revenues, which Congress has appropriated to fund certain Departmental operations. Appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2012 made that exclusion permanent.

    Additionally, we collect fees for cost recovery of special services, such as the transfer of a record title, based on the cost of providing those services. We collect these fees under the authority of the Independent Offices Appropriations Act (31 U.S.C. 9701) and the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-25. We do not derive these fees from the lease. For these reasons, Congress designates such fees as part of the Department's appropriation, and they do not qualify as qualified OCS revenues under GOMESA. See Pub. L. 111-88, October 30, 2009.

    (b) Public Comment: The State of Louisiana commented that we should revise the definition of qualified OCS revenues to include all funds due and payable to the United States, rather than only funds that ONRR receives. Louisiana expressed concern that including only funds received as qualified OCS revenues suggests that the United States (and therefore the Gulf-producing States and their CPSs) may not receive monies owed, and that ONRR may be perceived as having no obligation to collect monies owed.

    ONRR Response: ONRR's mission is “to collect, disburse and verify Federal and Indian energy and other natural resource revenues on behalf of all Americans.” The Secretary entrusts ONRR with a fiduciary role, and we ensure timely receipt of all revenues that payors owe. All qualified rentals, royalties, bonus bids, and other sums that ONRR receives within a fiscal year and subsequently transfers to the appropriate receipt account establish the amount of revenues due and payable for that fiscal year. We believe that this definition is consistent with the intent of the GOMESA provisions and other applicable laws.

    (2) GOMESA $500,000,000 Cap and ONRR Disbursement of Qualified OCS Revenues (Phase II) (Section 1219.512)

    Public Comments: Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, commented that it is concerned with what it believes is an arbitrary annual cap of five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000.00) per year.

    The State of Louisiana requested that States and their CPSs be allowed to direct all or a specified portion of their payments directly to a trustee.

    ONRR Response: GOMESA is explicit about the annual cap. GOMESA states that, for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2055, the total amount that the Department shares with the States, CPSs, and the LWCF cannot exceed $500,000,000 annually. ONRR does not have the authority to alter the application of the cap.

    GOMESA specifically enumerates the four States, CPSs, and the LWCF as the recipients of GOMESA revenue-sharing funds. ONRR's standard practice is to disburse revenue-sharing funds to the Government entity with which the Department shares the revenues. In order to maintain consistency between this standard practice and the revenue sharing under GOMESA, ONRR will disburse revenues to the States, CPSs, and the LWCF, and not directly to trustees.

    (3) ONRR Allocates the Qualified OCS Revenues (Phase II) to Coastal Political Subdivisions Within the Gulf Producing States (Section 1219.514)

    Public Comment: Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, commented that the portion of the allocation formula based upon proportionate coastline lengths for CPSs in Louisiana results in an inequity for Jefferson Parish, since parishes without a coastline in Louisiana receive greater allocations than Jefferson Parish, which has a coastline.

    ONRR Response: GOMESA specifically states in Section 105(b)(3)(B) that allocations to coastal political subdivisions will be made in accordance with paragraphs (B), (C), and (E) of section 31(b)(4) of the OCSLA. Paragraph (B) specifies that 25 percent of the allocation be based on the number of miles of coastline a CPS has in proportion to the total number of miles of coastline of all CPSs within each State. For the State of Louisiana, paragraph (C) specifies a proxy coastline length for CPSs without a coastline. GOMESA does not provide an option to adjust the coastline length of any CPSs in Louisiana that have a coastline shorter than the proxy coastline length. Although Jefferson Parish does receive a smaller portion of revenues relative to CPSs without a coastline, GOMESA does not provide the Department with the authority to address this issue without a legislative change.

    (4) ONRR Disbursement of Funds to Gulf Producing States and Eligible Coastal Political Subdivisions (Section 1219.516)

    Public Comment: The State of Louisiana commented that we should make the disbursement of allocated funds as quickly as practicable, but not later than March 31st of the year following the fiscal year of qualified OCS revenues.

    ONRR Response: ONRR intends to disburse funds as quickly as practicable, but we cannot guarantee that we will do so before March 31st of the following fiscal year. GOMESA requires that ONRR disburse funds within the following fiscal year—or by September 30th. ONRR's intent is to make the disbursements as soon as possible, but the disbursements may depend on factors outside of ONRR's authority. ONRR has modified the final rule to include language that states that we will disburse as soon as authorized and practicable each year.

    This final rule also makes non-substantive technical or clarifying changes to the proposed rule. In the interim, between development of the proposed rule and the final rule, we made a technical update in § 1219.102 due to the United States Department of the Treasury disbursing monies only by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

    III. Procedural Matters Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will review all significant rulemakings. OIRA determined that this rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866, while calling for improvements in the Nation's regulatory system to promote predictability; to reduce uncertainty; and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. E.O. 13563 directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    DOI certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This rule specifies the formulas and methodologies for distributing DOI-collected shared revenues to the qualified Gulf producing States, their CPSs, and the LWCF. This rule has no effect on the amount of royalties, rents, or bonuses that lessees, operators, or payors owe, regardless of size and, consequently, does not have a significant economic effect on offshore lessees or operators, including those classified as small businesses. Small entities may be the beneficiaries of contracts that GOMESA revenues fund and that Gulf producing States or CPSs manage for coastal protection, conservation, or restoration services, but that is solely at the local government entity's discretion rather than the Federal Government's discretion. It is not possible to estimate GOMESA's ultimate effect on small entities since, under the statute, States and CPSs will be the entities disbursing the shared revenues for one or more of the five GOMESA-authorized uses.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rulemaking is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq. of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

    (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. This rule's provisions specify how we will allocate qualified OCS revenues to States and CPSs during the second phase of GOMESA revenue sharing. This rule has no effect on the amount of royalties, rents, or bonuses that lessees, operators, or payors owe, regardless of size and, consequently, does not have a significant adverse economic effect on offshore lessees or operators, including those classified as small businesses. The Gulf producing States and CPS recipients of the revenues will likely fund contracts that will benefit the local economies, small entities, and the environment. We believe that these annual effects will be less than $100 million.

    (b) Does not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, local government agencies, or geographic regions.

    (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. We project that the effects, if any, of distributing revenues to the States and CPSs, will be beneficial.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. This rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. We are not required to provide a statement containing the information that the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) requires because this rule is not a mandate. This rule merely provides the formulas and methods to implement an allocation of revenue to certain States and eligible CPSs, as Congress directed.

    Takings (E.O. 12630)

    Under the criteria in section 2 of E.O. 12630, this rule does not have significant takings implications. This rule will not be a governmental action capable of interference with constitutionally protected property rights. This rule does not require a Takings Implication Assessment.

    Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of E.O. 13132, this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rule does not substantially and directly affect the relationship between the Federal and State governments. To the extent that State and local governments have a role in OCS activities, this rule does not affect that role.

    Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of E.O. 12988. Specifically, this rule:

    a. Meets the criteria of section 3(a), which requires that all regulations undergo review to eliminate errors and ambiguity and are written to minimize litigation.

    b. Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2), which requires that we write regulations in clear language using clear legal standards.

    Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and Tribal sovereignty. Under the Department's consultation policy and the criteria in E.O. 13175, we have evaluated this rule and determined that it has no substantial direct effects on Federally recognized Indian Tribes.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule:

    (1) Does not contain any information collection requirements.

    (2) Does not require a submission under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. We are not required to provide a detailed statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) because this rule qualifies for categorical exclusion under 43 CFR 46.210(c) and (i) and the DOI Departmental Manual, part 516, section 15.4.D: “(c) Routine financial transactions including such things as . . . audits, fees, bonds, and royalties . . . (i) Policies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: That are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature.” We have also determined that this rule is not involved in any of the extraordinary circumstances listed in 43 CFR 46.215 that require further analysis under NEPA. This rule does not alter, in any material way, natural resources exploration, production, or transportation.

    Effects on the Energy Supply (E.O. 13211)

    This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in E.O. 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    List of Subjects 30 CFR Part 519

    Government contracts, Mineral royalties, Oil and gas exploration, Public lands—mineral resources.

    30 CFR Part 1219

    Government contracts, Mineral royalties, Oil and gas exploration, Public lands—mineral resources.

    Janice M. Schneider, Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management. Kristen J. Sarri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary—Policy, Management and Budget. Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, under the authority provided by the Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950 (64 Stat. 1262) and Secretarial Order Nos. 3299, 3302, and 3306, the Department of the Interior amends part 519 of title 30 CFR chapter V and part 1219 of 30 CFR chapter XII as follows:

    Chapter V—Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior Subchapter A—Minerals Revenue Management PART 519 [REMOVED AND RESERVED] 1. Remove and reserve part 519 Chapter XII—Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Department of the Interior Subchapter A—Natural Resources Revenue 2. Revise part 1219 to read as follows: PART 1219—DISTRIBUTION AND DISBURSEMENT OF ROYALTIES, RENTALS, AND BONUSES Subpart A—[Reserved] Subpart B—[Reserved] Subpart C—Oil and Gas, Onshore Sec. 1219.100 What is ONRR's timing of payment to the States? 1219.101 What receipts are subject to an interest charge? 1219.102 What is ONRR's method of payment to the States? 1219.103 How will ONRR manage payments to Indian accounts? 1219.104 What are Explanation of Payments to the States and Indian Tribes? 1219.105 What definitions apply to this subpart? Subpart D—Oil and Gas, Offshore, GOMESA Phase I Revenue Sharing 1219.410 What does this subpart contain? 1219.411 What definitions apply to this subpart? 1219.412 How will ONRR divide the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I)? 1219.413 How will ONRR determine each Gulf producing State's share of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) from leases in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area and the 181 South Area? 1219.414 How will ONRR allocate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to coastal political subdivisions within the Gulf producing States? 1219.415 How will ONRR allocate qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to the coastal political subdivisions if, during any fiscal year, there are no applicable leased tracts in the 181 Area in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area? 1219.416 When will ONRR disburse funds to Gulf producing States and eligible coastal political subdivisions? Subpart E—Oil and Gas, Offshore, GOMESA Phase II Revenue Sharing 1219.510 What does this subpart contain? 1219.511 What definitions apply to this subpart? 1219.512 How will ONRR divide the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II)? 1219.513 How will ONRR determine each Gulf producing State's share of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) from leases in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the 2002-2007 Planning Area? 1219.514 How will ONRR allocate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) to coastal political subdivisions within the Gulf producing States? 1219.515 How will ONRR update the group of “historical lease sites” and “applicable leased tracts (Phase II)” used for determining the allocation of shared revenues? 1219.516 When will ONRR disburse funds to Gulf producing States and eligible coastal political subdivisions? Authority:

    Section 104, Pub. L. 97-451, 96 Stat. 2451 (30 U.S.C. 1714), Pub. L. 109-432, Div. C, Title I, 120 Stat. 3000.

    Subpart A—[Reserved] Subpart B—[Reserved] Subpart C—Oil and Gas, Onshore
    § 1219.100 What is ONRR's timing of payment to the States?

    ONRR will pay a State's share of mineral leasing revenues to the State not later than the last business day of the month in which the U.S. Treasury issues a warrant authorizing the disbursement, except for any portion of such revenues which is under challenge and placed in a suspense account pending resolution of a dispute.

    § 1219.101 What receipts are subject to an interest charge?

    (a) Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) will pay the State its proportionate share of any interest charge for royalty and related monies that are placed in a suspense account pending resolution of any matters that may disallow distribution and disbursement. Such monies not disbursed by the last business day of the month following receipt by ONRR will accrue interest until paid.

    (b) Upon resolution of any matters that may disallow distribution and disbursement, ONRR will disburse the suspended monies found due in paragraph (a) of this section, plus interest, to the State, under the provisions of § 1219.100.

    (c) ONRR will apply paragraph (a) of this section to revenues that ONRR cannot disburse to the State because the payor/lessee provided to ONRR incorrect, inadequate, or incomplete information, which prevented ONRR from identifying the proper recipient of the payment.

    § 1219.102 What is ONRR's method of payment to the States?

    ONRR will disburse monies to a State by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

    § 1219.103 How will ONRR manage payments to Indian accounts?

    ONRR will transfer mineral revenues received from Indian leases to the appropriate Indian accounts that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) manages for allotted and Tribal revenues. These accounts are specifically designated Treasury accounts. ONRR will transfer these revenues to the Indian accounts at the earliest practicable date after such funds are received, but in no case later than the last business day of the month in which ONRR receives these revenues.

    § 1219.104 What are Explanation of Payments to the States and Indian Tribes?

    (a) ONRR will describe the payments to States and BIA, on behalf of Indian Tribes or Indian allottees, discussed in this part, in ONRR-prepared Explanation of Payment reports. ONRR will prepare these reports at the lease level and will include a description of the type of payment made, the period covered by the payment, the source of the payment, sales amounts upon which the payment is based, the royalty rate, and the unit value. If any State or Indian Tribe needs additional information pertaining to mineral revenue payments, the State or Tribe may request this information from ONRR.

    (b) ONRR will provide these reports to:

    (1) States, not later than the 10th day of the month following the month in which ONRR disburses the State's share of royalties and related monies.

    (2) BIA, on behalf of Tribes and Indian allottees, not later than the 10th day of the month following the month in which ONRR disburses the funds.

    (c) ONRR will not include in these reports revenues that we cannot distribute to States, Tribes, or Indian allottees because the payor/lessee provided incorrect, inadequate, or incomplete information about the proper recipient of the payment, until the payor/lessee has submitted to ONRR the missing information.

    § 1219.105 What definitions apply to this subpart?

    Terms that ONRR uses in this subpart will have the same meaning as in 30 U.S.C. 1702.

    Subpart D—Oil and Gas, Offshore, GOMESA Phase I Revenue Sharing
    § 1219.410 What does this subpart contain?

    (a) The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA) directs the Secretary of the Interior to disburse a portion of the rentals, royalties, bonus bids, and other sums derived from certain Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leases in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (collectively identified as the Gulf producing States); to eligible coastal political subdivisions (CPSs) within those States; and to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Shared GOMESA revenues are reserved for the following purposes:

    (1) Projects and activities for the purpose of coastal protection, including conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly affected by coastal wetland losses;

    (2) Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, or natural resources;

    (3) Implementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan;

    (4) Mitigation of the impact of OCS activities through the funding of onshore infrastructure projects; and

    (5) Planning assistance and administrative costs not-to-exceed 3 percent of the amounts received.

    (b) This subpart sets forth the formula and methodology ONRR uses to determine the amount of revenues allocated and disbursed to each Gulf producing State and each eligible CPS for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2016. Leasing revenues disbursed under this subpart originate from leases issued on or after December 20, 2006, in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area and the 181 South Area, subject to restrictions identified in GOMESA. We collectively refer to the revenue sharing from these areas for these fiscal years as GOMESA Phase I revenue sharing. For questions related to the revenue-sharing provisions in this subpart, please contact: Program Manager, Financial Management, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, P.O. Box 25165, Denver Federal Center, Building 85, Denver, CO 80225-0165.

    § 1219.411 What definitions apply to this subpart?

    For purposes of this subpart:

    181 Area means the area identified in map 15, page 58, of the “Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 1997-2002,” dated August 1996, excluding the area offered in OCS Lease Sale 181, held on December 5, 2001.

    181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area is comprised of the area of overlap of the two geographic areas defined as the “181 Area” and the “Eastern Planning Area.”

    181 South Area means any area—

    (1) Located:

    (i) South of the 181 Area;

    (ii) West of the Military Mission Line; and

    (iii) In the Central Planning Area;

    (2) Excluded from the “Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 1997-2002,” dated August 1996, of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and

    (3) Included in the areas considered for oil and gas leasing, as identified in map 8, page 84, of the document entitled, “Revised Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2007-2012,” approved December 2010.

    Applicable leased tract (Phase I) means a tract that is subject to a lease under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. 1337, for the purpose of drilling for, developing, and producing oil or natural gas resources, issued on or after December 20, 2006, and located fully or partially in either the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or in the 181 South Area.

    Central Planning Area means the Central Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf, as designated in the document entitled, “Revised Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2007-2012,” approved December 2010.

    Coastal political subdivision means a political subdivision of a Gulf producing State, any part of which is:

    (1) Within the coastal zone (as defined in section 304 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1453)) of the Gulf producing State as of December 20, 2006; and

    (2) Not more than 200 nautical miles from the geographic center of any leased tract.

    Coastline means the line of ordinary low water along that portion of the coast which is in direct contact with the open sea and the line marking the seaward limit of inland waters. This is the same definition used in section 2 of the Submerged Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1301).

    Distance means the minimum great circle distance.

    Eastern Planning Area means the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf, as designated in the document entitled, “Revised Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2007-2012,” approved December 2010.

    Gulf producing State means each of the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

    Leased tract means any tract that is subject to a lease under section 6 or 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act for the purpose of drilling for, developing, and producing oil or natural gas resources.

    Military Mission Line means the north-south line at 86°41′ W. longitude.

    Qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) means

    (1) In the case of each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2016, all rentals, royalties, bonus bids, and other sums received by the United States from leases issued on or after December 20, 2006, located:

    (i) In the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area.

    (ii) In the 181 South Area.

    (2) For applicable leased tracts intersected by the planning area administrative boundary line (e.g., separating the GOM Central Planning Area from the Eastern Planning Area), only the percent of revenues equivalent to the percent of surface acreage in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area will be considered qualified OCS revenues (Phase I).

    (3) Exclusions from the term qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) are:

    (i) Revenues from the forfeiture of a bond or other surety securing obligations other than royalties;

    (ii) Civil penalties;

    (iii) Royalties “taken by the Secretary in-kind and not sold.” (Pub. L. 109-432, Dec. 20, 2006);

    (iv) Revenues generated from leases subject to section 8(g) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1337(g));

    (v) User fees; and

    (vi) Lease revenues explicitly excluded from GOMESA revenue sharing by statute or appropriations law.

    § 1219.412 How will ONRR divide the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I)?

    For each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2016, the Secretary of the Treasury will deposit 50 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) into a special U.S. Treasury account, from which ONRR will disburse 75 percent to the Gulf producing States and 25 percent to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Of the revenues disbursed to a Gulf producing State, we will disburse 20 percent directly to the CPSs within that State. Each Gulf producing State will receive at least 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) available for allocation to the Gulf producing States each fiscal year. The following table summarizes the resulting revenue shares (adding to 100 percent):

    Revenue Distribution of Qualified OCS Revenues Under GOMESA Phase I Recipient of qualified OCS revenues Percentage of qualified OCS revenues U.S. Treasury (General Fund) 50 Land and Water Conservation Fund 12.5 Gulf Producing States 30 Gulf Producing State Coastal Political Subdivisions 7.5
    § 1219.413 How will ONRR determine each Gulf producing State's share of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) from leases in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area and the 181 South Area?

    (a) ONRR will determine the great circle distance between:

    (1) The geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase I); and

    (2) The point on the coastline of each Gulf producing State that is closest to the geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase I).

    (b) Based on these distances, we will calculate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to disburse to each Gulf producing State as follows:

    (1) For each Gulf producing State, we will calculate and total, over all applicable leased tracts (Phase I), the mathematical inverses of the distances between the points on the State's coastline that are closest to the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase I), and the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase I). For applicable leased tracts intersected by the planning area administrative boundary line, we will use the geographic center of the entire lease for the inverse distance determination.

    (2) For each Gulf producing State, we will divide the sum of each State's inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase I) calculated under paragraph (1), by the sum of the inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase I) across all four Gulf producing States. In the formulas below, I AL, I LA, I MS, and I TX represent the sum of the inverses of the shortest distances between Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and all applicable leased tracts (Phase I), respectively. We will multiply the result by the amount of shareable, qualified OCS revenues (Phase I).

    Alabama Share = (I AL ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) Louisiana Share = (I LA ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) Mississippi Share = (I MS ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) Texas Share = (I TX ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase I)

    (3) If, in any fiscal year, this calculation results in less than a 10-percent allocation of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to any Gulf producing State, we will recalculate the distribution. We will allocate 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to the affected State and recalculate the other States' shares of the remaining qualified OCS revenues (Phase I), omitting from the calculation the State receiving the 10-percent minimum share.

    § 1219.414 How will ONRR allocate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to coastal political subdivisions within the Gulf producing States?

    (a) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, ONRR will allocate 25 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's population bears to the population of all CPSs in the State.

    (b) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 25 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's miles of coastline bears to the total miles of coastline across all CPSs in the State. However, for the State of Louisiana, we will deem CPSs without a coastline to each have a coastline one-third the average length of the coastline of all CPSs within Louisiana that have a coastline.

    (c)(1) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 50 percent in amounts that are inversely proportional to the respective distances between:

    (i) The point in each CPS that is closest to the geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase I); and

    (ii) The geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase I).

    (2) However, we will exclude distances to an applicable leased tract (Phase I) from this calculation if any portion of the tract is located in a geographic area that was subject to a leasing moratorium on January 1, 2005, unless the leased tract was in production on that date.

    § 1219.415 How will ONRR allocate qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) to the coastal political subdivisions if, during any fiscal year, there are no applicable leased tracts in the 181 Area in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area?

    If, during any fiscal year, there are no applicable leased tracts in the 181 Area in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area, ONRR will allocate revenues to the CPSs in accordance with the following criteria:

    (a) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 50 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's population bears to the population of all CPSs in the State.

    (b) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase I) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 50 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's miles of coastline bears to the total miles of coastline across all CPSs within the State. However, for the State of Louisiana, we will deem CPSs without a coastline to each have a coastline one-third the average length of the coastline of all CPSs within Louisiana that have a coastline.

    § 1219.416 When will ONRR disburse funds to Gulf producing States and coastal political subdivisions?

    ONRR will disburse GOMESA revenues as soon as authorized and practicable within the fiscal year following the year that we collect qualified OCS revenues (Phase I).

    Subpart E—Oil and Gas, Offshore, GOMESA Phase II Revenue Sharing
    § 1219.510 What does this subpart contain?

    (a) GOMESA directs the Secretary of the Interior to disburse a portion of the rentals, royalties, bonus bids, and other sums derived from certain OCS leases in the GOM to the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (collectively identified as the Gulf producing States); to eligible CPSs within those States; and to the LWCF. GOMESA directs the Gulf producing States and CPSs to use the shared revenues for the following purposes:

    (1) Projects and activities for the purpose of coastal protection, including conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane protection, and infrastructure directly affected by coastal wetland losses;

    (2) Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, or natural resources;

    (3) Implementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan;

    (4) Mitigation of the impact of OCS activities through the funding of onshore infrastructure projects; and

    (5) Planning assistance and administrative costs not-to-exceed 3 percent of the amounts received.

    (b) This subpart sets forth the formula and methodology ONRR will use to determine the amount of revenues allocated and disbursed to each Gulf producing State and each eligible CPS for fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter. Leasing revenues disbursed under this subpart (also referred to as GOMESA Phase II) originate from leases issued on or after December 20, 2006, in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area, and the GOM 2002-2007 Planning Area, subject to restrictions and caps identified in GOMESA. For questions related to the revenue-sharing provisions in this subpart, please contact: Program Manager, Financial Management, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, P.O. Box 25165, Denver Federal Center, Building 85, Denver, CO 80225-0165, or at (303) 231-3217.

    § 1219.511 What definitions apply to this subpart?

    For purposes of this subpart:

    181 Area is defined at § 1219.411.

    181 South Area is defined at § 1219.411.

    “181 Area in the Central Planning Area” is comprised of the area of overlap of the two geographic areas defined at § 1219.411 as the “181 Area” and the “Central Planning Area.”

    2002-2007 Planning Area means any area—

    (1) Located in—

    (i) The Eastern Planning Area, as designated in the “Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program 2002-2007,” dated April 2002;

    (ii) The Central Planning Area, as designated in the “Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program 2002-2007,” dated April 2002; or

    (iii) The Western Planning Area, as designated in the “Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program 2002-2007,” dated April 2002; and

    (2) Not located in—

    (i) An area in which no funds may be expended to conduct offshore preleasing, leasing, and related activities under sections 104 through 106 of the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 (Pub. L. 109-54; 119 Stat. 521) (as in effect on August 2, 2005);

    (ii) An area withdrawn from leasing under the “Memorandum on Withdrawal of Certain Areas of the United States Outer Continental Shelf from Leasing Disposition,” from 34 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 1111, dated June 12, 1998; or

    (iii) The 181 Area or 181 South Area.

    Applicable leased tract (Phase II) means a tract that is subject to a lease under section 8 of the OCSLA, for the purpose of drilling for, developing, and producing oil or natural gas resources, issued on or after December 20, 2006, and located fully or partially in either the 181 Area or the 181 South Area.

    Central Planning Area is defined at § 1219.411.

    Coastal political subdivision is defined at § 1219.411.

    Coastline is defined at § 1219.411.

    Distance is defined at § 1219.411.

    Eastern Planning Area is defined at § 1219.411.

    Gulf producing State is defined at § 1219.411.

    Historical lease site means any tract in the 2002-2007 Planning Area leased on or after October 1, 1982, under section 8 of the OCSLA, for the purpose of drilling for, developing, and producing oil or natural gas resources.

    Leased tract is defined at § 1219.411.

    Military Mission Line is defined at § 1219.411.

    Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) means—

    (1) In the case of fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, all rentals, royalties, bonus bids, and other sums received by the United States from leases that lessees enter(ed) into on or after December 20, 2006, located:

    (i) In the 181 Area;

    (ii) In the 181 South Area;

    (iii) In the 2002-2007 Planning Area.

    (2) Exclusions from the term “Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II)” are:

    (i) Revenues from the forfeiture of a bond or other surety instrument securing obligations other than royalties;

    (ii) Civil penalties;

    (iii) Royalties “taken by the Secretary in-kind and not sold” (Pub. L. 109-432, Dec 20, 2006);

    (iv) Revenues generated from leases subject to section 8(g) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1337(g));

    (v) User fees; and

    (vi) Lease revenues explicitly excluded from GOMESA revenue sharing by statute or appropriations law.

    (3) The term “Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II)” consists wholly of the two subsets defined as “Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped)” and “Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped).”

    (i) Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) means, in the case of fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, the subset of qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) received by the United States from leases that lessees enter(ed) into on or after December 20, 2006, located:

    (A) In the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area; or

    (B) In the 2002-2007 Planning Area.

    (ii) Qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) means, in the case of fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, the subset of qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) received by the United States from leases that lessees enter(ed) into on or after December 20, 2006, located:

    (A) In the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area, or

    (B) In the 181 South Area.

    § 1219.512 How will ONRR divide the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II)?

    (a) For fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury will deposit 50 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) into a special U.S. Treasury account, from which ONRR will disburse 75 percent to the Gulf producing States and 25 percent to the LWCF. Of the revenues disbursed to a Gulf producing State, we will disburse 20 percent directly to the CPSs within that State. Each Gulf producing State will receive at least 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) available for allocation to the Gulf producing States each fiscal year. The following table summarizes the resulting revenue shares (adding to 100 percent):

    Revenue Distribution of Qualified OCS Revenues (Phase II—Uncapped) Under GOMESA Phase II Recipient of qualified OCS revenues Percentage of qualified OCS revenues U.S. Treasury (General Fund) 50 Land and Water Conservation Fund 12.5 Gulf Producing States 30 Gulf Producing State Coastal Political Subdivisions 7.5

    (b) For fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury will deposit 50 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) into a special U.S. Treasury account. The total amount of qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) deposited in the special U.S. Treasury account and available for allocation to the Gulf producing States, the CPSs and the LWCF, under this subpart, cannot exceed $500,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2017 through 2055. After applying the cap, if applicable, ONRR will disburse 75 percent to the Gulf producing States and 25 percent to the LWCF. Of the revenues disbursed to a Gulf producing State, we will disburse 20 percent directly to the CPSs within that State. Each Gulf producing State will receive at least 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) available for allocation to the Gulf producing States each fiscal year.

    § 1219.513 How will ONRR determine each Gulf producing State's share of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) from leases in the 181 Area, the 181 South Area and the 2002-2007 Planning Area?

    (a) ONRR will determine the great circle distance between:

    (1) The geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase II) or historical lease site; and

    (2) The point on the coastline of each Gulf producing State that is closest to the geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase II) or historical lease site.

    (b) Based on a specific subset of these distances, we will calculate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) to disburse to each Gulf producing State as follows:

    (1) For each Gulf producing State, we will calculate and total, over all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or the 181 South Area, the mathematical inverses of the distances between the points on the State's coastline that are closest to the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or the 181 South Area, and the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or the 181 South Area.

    (2) For each Gulf producing State, we will divide the sum of each State's inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or the 181 South Area calculated under paragraph (1), by the sum of the inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Eastern Planning Area or the 181 South Area across all four Gulf producing States. In the formulas below, I AL, I LA, I MS, and I TX represent the sum of the inverses of the shortest distances between Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and all applicable leased tracts (Phase II), respectively. We will multiply the result by the amount of shareable, qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped).

    Alabama Share = (I AL ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) Louisiana Share = (I LA ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) Mississippi Share = (I MS ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) Texas Share = (I TX ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped)

    (3) If, in any fiscal year, this calculation results in less than a 10-percent allocation of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) to any Gulf producing State, we will recalculate the distribution. We will allocate 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped) to the affected State and recalculate the other States' shares of the remaining qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—uncapped), omitting from the calculation the State receiving the 10-percent minimum share.

    (c) Based on a specific subset of these distances, we will calculate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) to disburse to each Gulf producing State as follows:

    (1) For each Gulf producing State, we will calculate and total, over all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area and historical lease sites, the mathematical inverses of the distances between the points on the State's coastline that are closest to the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area and historical lease sites, and the geographic centers of the applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area and historical lease sites.

    (2) For each Gulf producing State, we will divide the sum of each State's inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area and historical lease sites calculated under paragraph (1), by the sum of the inverse distances from all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) located in the 181 Area in the Central Planning Area and historical lease sites across all four Gulf producing States. In the formulas below, I AL, I LA, I MS, and I TX represent the sum of the inverses of the shortest distances between Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and all applicable leased tracts (Phase II) and historical lease sites, respectively. We will multiply the result by the amount of shareable, qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped).

    Alabama Share = (I AL ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) Louisiana Share = (I LA ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) Mississippi Share = (I MS ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) Texas Share = (I TX ÷ (I AL + I LA + I MS + I TX)) × qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped)

    (3) If, in any fiscal year, this calculation results in less than a 10-percent allocation of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) to any Gulf producing State, we will recalculate the distribution. We will allocate 10 percent of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped) to the affected State and recalculate the other States' shares of the remaining qualified OCS revenues (Phase II—capped), omitting from the calculation the State receiving the 10-percent minimum share.

    § 1219.514 How will ONRR allocate the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) to coastal political subdivisions within the Gulf producing States?

    (a) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, ONRR will allocate 25 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's population bears to the population of all CPSs in the State.

    (b) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 25 percent based on the proportion that each CPS's miles of coastline bears to the total miles of coastline across all CPSs in the State. However, for the State of Louisiana, we will deem CPSs without a coastline to each have a coastline one-third the average length of the coastline of all CPSs within Louisiana that have a coastline.

    (c)(1) Of the qualified OCS revenues (Phase II) allocated to a Gulf producing State's CPSs, we will allocate 50 percent in amounts that are inversely proportional to the respective distances between:

    (i) The point in each CPS that is closest to the geographic center of the applicable leased tract (Phase II) or historical lease site; and

    (ii) The geographic center of each applicable leased tract (Phase II) or historical lease site.

    (2) However, we will exclude distances to an applicable leased tract (Phase II) from this calculation if any portion of the tract is located in a geographic area that was subject to a leasing moratorium on January 1, 2005, unless the leased tract was in production on that date.

    § 1219.515 How will ONRR update the group of “historical lease sites” and “applicable leased tracts (Phase II)” used for determining the allocation of shared revenues?

    (a) As GOMESA directs, ONRR will update the group of historical lease sites in the 2002-2007 Planning Area as follows:

    (1) On December 31, 2015, we will freeze the group of historical lease sites, subject to the adjustment under paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

    (2) Beginning January 1, 2022, and every fifth year thereafter, we will extend the ending date for determining the group of historical lease sites for an additional five calendar years by adding any new historical lease sites to the existing group.

    (b) Each year we will update the group of applicable leased tracts (Phase II) to include only leases that were in effect at any time during the previous fiscal year.

    § 1219.516 When will ONRR disburse funds to Gulf producing States and coastal political subdivisions?

    ONRR will disburse GOMESA revenues as soon as authorized and practicable within the fiscal year following the year that we collect qualified OCS revenues (Phase II).

    [FR Doc. 2015-32787 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4335-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Fiscal Service 31 CFR Part 285 RIN 1510-AA10 Offset of Tax Refund Payments To Collect Past-Due Support AGENCY:

    Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Fiscal Service, Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service), is amending its regulation governing the offset of tax refund payments to collect past-due support obligations. This rule will limit the time period during which Treasury may recover certain tax refund offset collections from States, when the States have already forwarded such funds to custodial parents as required or as authorized by applicable laws. This change will limit the time period during which Treasury may require States to return the offset funds to six months from the date of such collection, if Treasury has determined that the underlying refund was not due to the taxpayer.

    DATES: Effective Date.

    This interim final rule is effective January 1, 2016.

    Comment date. Comments must be received by February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You can download this interim rule at the following Web site: http://www.fms.treas.gov/debt. You may also inspect and copy this interim rule at: Treasury Department Library, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Collection, Room 1428, Main Treasury Building, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20220. Before visiting, you must call (202) 622-0990 for an appointment.

    In accordance with the U.S. government's eRulemaking Initiative, Fiscal Service publishes rulemaking information on www.regulations.gov. Regulations.gov offers the public the ability to comment on, search, and view publicly available rulemaking materials, including comments received on rules.

    Instructions for Comment Submission

    Comments on this rule, identified by docket FISCAL-2014-0005, should only be submitted using the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on the Web site for submitting comments. Fiscal Service recommends using this method to submit comments since mail can be subject to delays caused by security screening.

    Mail: Thomas Kobielus, Manager, Treasury Offset Program Division, Debt Management Services, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, 401 14th Street SW., Room 220B, Washington, DC 20227. Please note that mail may be delayed due to security screening.

    The fax and email methods of submitting comments on rules to Fiscal Service have been discontinued.

    All submissions received must include the agency name (“Bureau of the Fiscal Service”) and docket number FISCAL-2014-0005 for this rulemaking. In general, comments received will be published on Regulations.gov without change, including any business or personal information provided. Comments received, including attachments and other supporting materials, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Do not disclose any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Kobielus, Manager, at (202) 874-6810, or Tricia Long, Senior Counsel, at (202) 874-6680.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    When a tax refund payment is issued and offset through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) to collect a delinquent child support debt owed by the taxpayer, the taxpayer receives the benefit of the payment in the form of a credit on the amount of debt owed. If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) subsequently determines that the taxpayer was not entitled to that tax refund, the taxpayer is accordingly not entitled to the credit on the debt owed. Currently, IRS has unlimited time during which to require Fiscal Service to recover such erroneous offset funds from the Federal or State agency which collected the funds. Fiscal Service requires return of monies representing the offset from State agencies notwithstanding the fact that the State agency may have already forwarded such funds to the custodial parent.

    States submit past-due support obligations to TOP both for collection of support debts which have been assigned to the State pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 608(a)(3) and on behalf of custodial parents, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 654(4). Collections for support debts collected on behalf of custodial parents pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 654(4) are required by 42 U.S.C. 657 to be forwarded by the States to the custodial parent. By regulation, any of those collections resulting from tax refund offsets must be forwarded within 30 calendar days of initial receipt (unless the refund offset is based upon a joint return, in which case, the State has six months). See 45 CFR 302.32(b)(3)(ii). States also collect money as reimbursement for public assistance paid to the family. States have the option, as authorized by 42 U.S.C. 657, to forward such collections to custodial parents. Therefore, in many cases, the States no longer have the funds in their possession to return to Treasury. Under current procedures, States are required to pay Treasury from their own funds, or Treasury may retain such amounts from subsequent offset collections made on behalf of the States. This rule will impose a six-month limit upon Treasury for seeking recoupment from States for erroneous offset funds which have been forwarded to custodial parents pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 657.

    Following implementation of this rule, IRS and Fiscal Service will continue to work with the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and State child support agencies to assess the impact of this interim final rule and to identify potential improvements in the tax offset process, including the practice of recouping from States erroneous offset funds that have been forwarded to custodial parents. Once sufficient data respecting implementation of this new rule is available, but in no case later than 2 years, Treasury will work with OCSE to consider further reduction in the time limit placed upon it for seeking recoupment from States.

    The six-month limitation in this rule applies only to the offset of tax refund payments to collect past-due support obligations when States have forwarded the collected funds to the custodial parent. This rule does not apply when States have retained the funds. This rule does not apply to any other type of debt being collected by tax refund offset under 31 CFR part 285. This rule does not affect Treasury's rights to seek recovery of the erroneous offset funds from any person through any other means permitted by law.

    Fiscal Service developed this interim final rule in consultation with the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and appreciates their assistance. As required by 42 U.S.C. 664(b)(1), HHS has approved this interim final rule.

    II. Procedural Analyses Request for Comment on Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency in the Executive branch to write regulations that are simple and easy to understand. We invite comment on how to make this interim rule clearer. For example, you may wish to discuss: (1) Whether we have organized the material to suit your needs; (2) whether the requirements of the rule are clear; or (3) whether there is something else we could do to make this rule easier to understand.

    Regulatory Planning and Review

    The interim rule does not meet the criteria for a “significant regulatory action” as defined in Executive Order 12866. Therefore, the regulatory review procedures contained therein do not apply.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    It is hereby certified that the interim rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule merely provides a time frame for Treasury to require States to return collections. Moreover, the provisions contained in this interim rule impose no additional costs to small entities. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) is not required.

    Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1532 (Unfunded Mandates Act), requires that an agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating any rule likely to result in a Federal mandate 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 in any one year. If a budgetary impact statement is required, section 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Act also requires the agency to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives before promulgating the rule. We have determined that this interim rule will not result in expenditures by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. Accordingly, we have not prepared a budgetary impact statement or specifically addressed any regulatory alternatives.

    Federalism

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order (EO) 13132, Federalism. This rule relieves the States of an obligation to return funds to the Federal Government after a certain time period when the States have already forwarded the funds to custodial parents, as required or authorized by applicable laws, and they no longer have such funds. Treasury, with assistance from the Office of Child Support Enforcement at the Department of Health and Human Services, consulted with the States when developing this interim rule. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

    Administrative Procedure Act

    This rule is being issued without prior public notice and comment because under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) good cause exists to determine that prior notice and comment rulemaking is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. The policy being implemented through this rule imposes a time limitation on Treasury for recovering erroneous offset funds from States that have forwarded such funds onto families. It relieves the States of the burden of having to pay such amounts to Treasury from their own funds and does not adversely affect the rights of the public.

    List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 285

    Administrative practice and procedure, Child support, Child welfare, Claims, Credits, Debts, Disability benefits, Federal employees, Garnishment of wages, Hearing and appeal procedures, Loan programs, Privacy, Railroad retirement, Railroad unemployment insurance, Salaries, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Taxes, Veterans' benefits, Wages.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 31 CFR part 285 is amended as follows:

    PART 285—DEBT COLLECTION AUTHORITIES UNDER THE DEBT COLLECTION IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 1996 1. The authority citation for part 285 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 5514; 26 U.S.C. 6402; 31 U.S.C. 321, 3701, 3711, 3716, 3719, 3720A, 3720B, 3720D; 3720E; 42 U.S.C. 664; E.O. 13019, 61 FR 51763, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 216.

    2. Amend § 285.3 as follows: a. Revise paragraph (g). b. Redesignate paragraphs (h) through (k) as paragraphs (i) through (l), respectively. c. Add a new paragraph (h).

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 285.3 Offset of tax refund payments to collect past-due support.

    (g) Disposition of amounts collected. Fiscal Service will transmit amounts collected for debts, less fees charged under paragraph (i) of this section, to HHS or to the appropriate State. If IRS notifies Fiscal Service that a tax refund payment that was offset was erroneous or otherwise not due to the taxpayer, Fiscal Service will notify HHS or the appropriate State that the tax refund payment was not eligible for offset. Subject to paragraph (h) of this section, Fiscal Service may deduct the amount of the erroneous offset funds from amounts payable to HHS or the State, as the case may be; or, upon Fiscal Service's request, the State shall return promptly to the affected taxpayer or Fiscal Service an amount equal to the amount of the erroneous funds (unless the State previously has forwarded such amounts, or any portion of such amounts, to the affected taxpayer). HHS and States shall notify Fiscal Service any time HHS or a State returns an erroneous offset payment to an affected taxpayer. Fiscal Service and HHS, or the appropriate State, will adjust their debtor records accordingly.

    (h) Time limitation. If IRS notifies Fiscal Service on or after January 1, 2016, that a tax refund payment that was offset was erroneous or otherwise not due to the taxpayer, Fiscal Service shall not deduct the amount of the erroneous offset funds from amounts due to HHS or the State, or otherwise demand return of the offset funds from the State pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section, if the date of IRS's notification to Fiscal Service in paragraph (g) is more than six months after the date the tax refund was offset (i.e., the tax refund payment date); and the State has already forwarded the funds as required or authorized by 42 U.S.C. 657. This paragraph does not apply to paragraph (f) of this section.

    David A. Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32732 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0974] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Des Allemands Bayou, Des Allemands, LA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Delay of effective date without notice for temporary deviation from regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is modifying the effective dates of a published temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad swing span drawbridge across Des Allemands Bayou, mile 14.0, at Des Allemands, St. Charles and Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana. This modification of the dates is necessary due to weather delaying the scheduled rehabilitations. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in its closed-to-navigation position for three eight-hour periods during three consecutive days on two separate occasions.

    DATES:

    The deviation published December 11, 2015 (80 FR 76860) is effective from 7 a.m. on January 20, 2016 through 3 p.m. on January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket mentioned in the preamble as being available in the docket are part of the docket USCG-2015-0974 and are available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Donna Gagliano, Bridge Specialist, Coast Guard; telephone 504-671-2128, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On December 11, 2015, the Coast Guard published a notice of temporary deviation from regulations entitled, “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Des Allemands Bayou, Des Allemands, LA” in the Federal Register (80 FR 76860). The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad requested this temporary deviation from the operating schedule of the swing span drawbridge across Des Allemands Bayou, mile 14.0, at Des Allemands, St. Charles and Lafourche Parishes, Louisiana, for January 13 through 22, 2016, to perform the rehabilitation. Due to the weather issues, preparations for the rehabilitation were delayed so Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad requested a modification to the effective dates from January 20 through 29, 2016.

    The bridge has a vertical clearance of three feet above mean high water in the closed-to-navigation position and unlimited in the open-to-navigation position.

    The draw currently operates under 33 CFR 117.440(b). For purposes of this deviation, the bridge will not be required to open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for two three-day periods, January 20 through 22 and January 27 through 29, 2016. At all other times, the bridge will operate in accordance with 33 CFR 117.440(b).

    The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad requested a modification to the effective dates of the temporary deviation for the operation of the drawbridge to delay the previously approved deviation to accommodate rehabilitation work involving rest pivot piers and the future swing span change out, an extensive but necessary maintenance operation. The reason for the request is that poor weather has delayed the preparatory work necessary to accomplish the modification to the rest piers. Navigation on the waterway consists of tugs with tows, fishing vessels and recreational crafts.

    The Coast Guard has coordinated the closure with waterway users, industry, and other Coast Guard units and determined that this closure will not have a significant effect on vessel traffic.

    During this deviation for bridge rehabilitation, vessels will not be allowed to pass through the bridge during the eight-hour closures each day as stated above. Many of the vessels that currently require an opening of the draw will be able to pass using the opposite channel from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. when the deviations are not in effect. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: December 24, 2015. David M. Frank, Bridge Administrator, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32871 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2015-0117; FRL-9940-63-Region 6] Determination of Attainment; Texas; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 1997 Ozone Nonattainment Area; Determination of Attainment of the 1997 Ozone Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) 8-hour ozone nonattainment area is currently attaining the 1997 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). This determination is based upon certified ambient air monitoring data that show the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period and continues to monitor attainment of the NAAQS based on preliminary 2015 data. Thus, the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration, a reasonable further progress (RFP) plan, contingency measures, and other State Implementation Plan (SIP) documents related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS shall be suspended for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket No. EPA-R06-OAR-2015-0117. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Wendy Jacques, (214) 665-7395, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us,” and “our” means the EPA.

    I. Background

    The background for today's action is discussed in detail in our Proposal (80 FR 49187, August 17, 2015). In that document, we proposed to determine that the HGB ozone nonattainment area is currently in attainment of the 1997 ozone standard based on the most recent 3 years of quality-assured air quality data. Certified ambient air monitoring data show that the area has monitored attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period and continues to monitor attainment of the NAAQS based on preliminary 2015 data.

    Our Proposal provides our rationale for this rulemaking. Please see the docket for this and other documents regarding our Proposal. The public comment period for our Proposal closed on September 16, 2015.

    II. Response to Comments

    We received no adverse comments. We received one letter dated September 2, 2015, from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ or the Commenter) supporting our Proposal. A summary of the comment and our response follows.

    Comment: The Commenter agrees with our Proposal to determine that the HGB ozone nonattainment area is currently in attainment of the 1997 ozone standard based upon certified ambient air monitoring data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period and preliminary 2015 monitoring data.

    Response: We concur with the Commenter.

    III. What is the effect of this action?

    In accordance with our Clean Data Policy as codified in 40 CFR 51.1118, a determination of attainment suspends the requirements for the TCEQ to submit the attainment demonstration and associated reasonably available control measures, RFP plans, contingency measures for failure to attain or make reasonable progress and other planning SIPs related to attaining the 1997 ozone NAAQS in the HGB area for so long as the area continues to attain the standard. However, should the area violate the 1997 ozone standard after this Clean Data Determination is finalized, the EPA would rescind the CDD.

    IV. Final Action

    Based on the Proposal 1 and the certified ambient air monitoring data contained therein, EPA finds that the HGB ozone nonattainment area has attained the 1997 ozone standard and meets the requirements in 40 CFR 51.1118. This Clean Data Determination provides that Texas is no longer required to submit the attainment demonstration and other planning SIPs related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS, for so long as the area is attaining the standard.

    1 80 FR 49187 August 17, 2015.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action makes a determination of attainment based on air quality, and would, if finalized, result in the suspension of certain Federal requirements, and it would not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because it merely makes a determination based on air quality data.

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 29, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposed of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: December 15, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart SS—Texas 2. Section 52.2275 is amended by adding paragraph (k) to read as follows:
    § 52.2275 Control strategy and regulations: Ozone.

    (k) Determination of Attainment. Effective January 29, 2016 the EPA has determined that the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria 8-hour ozone nonattainment area has attained the 1997 ozone standard. Under the provisions of the EPA's Clean Data Policy, this determination suspends the requirements for this area to submit an attainment demonstration and other State Implementation Plans related to attainment of the 1997 ozone NAAQS for so long as the area continues to attain the 1997 ozone NAAQS.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32752 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Parts 212, 229, and 252 [Docket DARS-2014-0046] RIN 0750-AI26 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (DFARS Case 2014-D003) AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is issuing a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to notify contractors of requirements relating to Afghanistan taxes for contracts performed in Afghanistan.

    DATES:

    Effective December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Julie Hammond, telephone 571-372-6174.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    DoD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 79 FR 35715 on June 24, 2014, to revise the DFARS to add two new clauses that notify contractors of requirements relating to Afghanistan taxes when contracts are being performed in Afghanistan. Three respondents submitted public comments in response to the proposed rule.

    II. Discussion and Analysis

    DoD reviewed the public comments in the development of the final rule. A discussion of the comments is provided below:

    A. Summary of Significant Changes From the Proposed Rule

    The final rule amends DFARS clause 252.229-7014, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, to reference the bilateral security agreement entitled “The Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America” signed on September 30, 2014. The reference to the bilateral security agreement replaces the reference to the prior Agreement entered into between the United States and Afghanistan on May 28, 2003, regarding the “Status of United States Military and Civilian Personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense Present in Afghanistan,” which was concluded by an exchange of diplomatic notes (U.S. Embassy Kabul note No. 202, dated September 26, 2002; Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes 791 and 93, dated December 12, 2002, and May 28, 2003, respectively). The clause is also amended to change “Government of the United States of America” to the “Department of Defense” to more accurately represent the new agreement.

    The final rule also amends DFARS clause 252.229-7015, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement), to reference the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed on September 30, 2014, instead of the Military Technical Agreement (MTA) entered into between the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Interim Administration of Afghanistan in April 2002. As a result of the new SOFA, the reference to the 2011 NATO ISAF Letter of Interpretation that modified the MTA's tax exemption is also removed, including the language allowing contractors to include taxes on profits earned by local contractors in the contract price.

    The final rule also clarifies at DFARS 212.301 that the clauses apply to solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items.

    B. Analysis of Public Comments 1. Taxes in Afghanistan

    Comment: A respondent commented that the Afghan Ministry of Forces interprets Diplomatic Note (DN) 202 to apply only to prime contractors, while industry practice is to treat subcontractors in Afghanistan as subject to taxation. The respondent asked how DoD will enforce paragraph (b) of DFARS clause 252.225-7014, which exempts subcontractors from any taxes assessed in Afghanistan in accordance with DN 202.

    Response: The final rule has been updated to reference the new bilateral security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan signed on September 30, 2014. Article 17.3 of the new agreement states that United States subcontractors shall not be liable to pay any tax assessed by the government of Afghanistan within the territory of Afghanistan on their activities under a contract or subcontract with, or in support of, United States Forces.

    Comment: A respondent recommended Afghan contractors not be allowed to include Afghan tax on profits earned from NATO ISAF contracts in accordance with DFARS clause 252.225-7015(d). Another respondent asked about DoD's expectations regarding documentation of the price markup for Afghan income taxes as part of the contract price and whether United States Government contractors will be required to refund the United States Government if the Afghan contractors do not owe income taxes due to losses.

    Response: The language that allowed contractors to include Afghan taxes on profits earned by local contractors in the contract price is removed from the final rule.

    2. Bilateral Security Agreement

    Comment: A respondent commented that clarifying language is needed in the pending bilateral security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan to affirm that all non-Afghan national employees working on DoD contracts are tax exempt and will not be treated as Afghan residents.

    Response: This comment concerns the content of the bilateral security agreement, which is outside the scope of this rule.

    Comment: Two respondents requested that implementation of the proposed rule be delayed until resolution is reached between the United States and the Afghanistan government in a bilateral security agreement. If implementation of the rule is not delayed, one respondent requested that the proposed rule be revised to allow contracting officers to relieve defense contractors and subcontractors of the risks and responsibilities when denied a tax exemption by the Afghan Ministry of Finance.

    Response: A resolution has been reached between the United States and the Afghanistan government in a bilateral security agreement. The final rule has been updated to reference the new bilateral security agreement.

    3. General

    Comment: A respondent stated that the new tax law may limit the amount of contractors willing to work for the United States Government and may hurt future business relations between Afghanistan and the United States.

    Response: This comment concerns Afghanistan tax law and is outside the scope of this rule.

    Comment: A respondent recommended that the United States Government reduce costs by minimizing the use of military personnel and employing more Afghans.

    Response: The comment is outside the scope of this rule.

    Comment: One respondent suggested that clauses, similar to those included in the proposed rule, be added to specifically address and make the rule equally applicable to local Afghan contractors, vendors, and landlords.

    Response: The final rule has been updated to reference the new bilateral security agreement. Article 17.3 of the new agreement states that United States contractors that are Afghan entities shall not be exempt from corporate profits tax that may be assessed by the Afghanistan government within the territory of Afghanistan on income received due to their status as United States contractors.

    III. Applicability to Contracts at or Below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) and for Commercial Items, Including Commercially Available Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Items

    This rule creates two new clauses: (1) DFARS 252.229-7014, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, and (2) DFARS 252.229-7015, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement). The objective of the rule is to exempt DoD contracts performed in Afghanistan from payment liability for Afghan taxes pursuant to the bilateral security agreement entitled “The Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America” signed on September 30, 2014, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed on September 30, 2014.

    DoD is applying these two clauses to solicitations and contracts below the SAT and to the acquisition of commercial items, including COTS items, as defined at FAR 2.101. This rule clarifies the application of requirements relating to treatment of taxes for contracts performed in Afghanistan. Not applying this guidance to contracts below the SAT and for the acquisition of commercial items, including COTS items, would exclude contracts intended to be covered by this rule and undermine the overarching purpose of the rule. Consequently, DoD is applying the rule to contracts below the SAT and for the acquisition of commercial items, including COTS items.

    IV. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    A final regulatory flexibility analysis has been prepared consistent with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., and is summarized as follows:

    DoD is amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to add two new clauses in order to notify DoD contractors of requirements relating to Afghanistan taxes when DoD contracts are being performed in Afghanistan. The clause at DFARS 252.229-7014, Taxes-Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, will be required to be included in solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items, with performance in Afghanistan, unless the clause at 252.229-7015 is used. The clause at DFARS 252.229-7015, Taxes-Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement), will be required to be included in all solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items, with performance in Afghanistan awarded on behalf of NATO, which are governed by the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, if approval from the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics, is obtained prior to each use.

    No comments were received from the public relative to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis.

    DoD does not expect this proposed rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because this rule merely provides notice of the tax exemption for DoD contracts where performance is in Afghanistan. According to data in the Federal Procurement Data System, a total of thirty-five small business vendors received contract awards where performance was in Afghanistan during fiscal year 2015.

    There are no new projected reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements projected for this rule.

    There are no known significant alternatives to the rule. The impact of this rule on small business is not expected to be significant.

    VI. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The rule does not contain any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 212, 229, and 252

    Government procurement.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR parts 212, 229, and 252 are amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 212, 229, and 252 continue to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and CFR chapter 1.

    PART 212—ACQUISITION OF COMMERCIAL ITEMS 2. Amend section 212.301 by— a. Redesignating paragraphs (f)(xiii) through (xix) as (f)(xiv) through (xx); and b. Adding a new paragraph (f)(xiii).

    The addition reads as follows:

    212.301 Solicitation provisions and contract clauses for acquisition of commercial items.

    (f) * * *

    (xiii) Part 229—Taxes.

    (A) Use the clause at 252.229-7014, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, as prescribed at 229.402-70(k).

    (B) Use the clause at 252.229-7015, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement), as prescribed at 229.402-70(l).

    PART 229—TAXES 3. In section 229.402-70, revise the section heading and add new paragraphs (k) and (l) to read as follows:
    229.402-70 Additional provisions and clauses.

    (k) Use the clause at 252.229-7014, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, in solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items, with performance in Afghanistan, unless the clause at 252.229-7015 is used.

    (l) Use the clause at 252.229-7015, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement), instead of the clause at 252.229-7014, Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan, in solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items, with performance in Afghanistan awarded on behalf of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which are governed by the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), if approval from the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, has been obtained prior to each use.

    PART 252—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 4. Add sections 252.229-7014 and 252.229-7015 to read as follows:
    252.229-7014 Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan.

    As prescribed in 229.402-70(k), use the following clause:

    Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (DEC 2015)

    (a) This acquisition is covered by the Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement (the Agreement) between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America signed on September 30, 2014, and entered into force on January 1, 2015.

    (b) The Agreement exempts the Department of Defense (DoD), and its contractors and subcontractors (other than those that are Afghan legal entities or residents), from paying any tax or similar charge assessed on activities associated with this contract within Afghanistan. The Agreement also exempts the acquisition, importation, exportation, reexportation, transportation, and use of supplies and services in Afghanistan, by or on behalf of DoD, from any taxes, customs, duties, fees, or similar charges in Afghanistan.

    (c) The Contractor shall exclude any Afghan taxes, customs, duties, fees, or similar charges from the contract price, other than those charged to Afghan legal entities or residents.

    (d) The Agreement does not exempt Afghan employees of DoD contractors and subcontractors from Afghan tax laws. To the extent required by Afghan law, the Contractor shall withhold tax from the wages of these employees and remit those payments to the appropriate Afghanistan taxing authority. These withholdings are an individual's liability, not a tax against the Contractor.

    (e) The Contractor shall include the substance of this clause, including this paragraph (e), in all subcontracts, including subcontracts for commercial items.

    (End of clause)
    252.229-7015 Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement).

    As prescribed in 229.402-70(l), use the following clause:

    Taxes—Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement) (DEC 2015)

    (a) This acquisition is covered by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) entered into between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan issued on September 30, 2014, and entered into force on January 1, 2015.

    (b) The SOFA exempts NATO Forces and its contractors and subcontractors (other than those that are Afghan legal entities or residents) from paying any tax or similar charge assessed within Afghanistan. The SOFA also exempts the acquisition, importation, exportation, reexportation, transportation and use of supplies and services in Afghanistan from all Afghan taxes, customs, duties, fees, or similar charges.

    (c) The Contractor shall exclude any Afghan taxes, customs, duties, fees or similar charges from the contract price, other than those that are Afghan legal entities or residents.

    (d) Afghan citizens employed by NATO contractors and subcontractors are subject to Afghan tax laws. To the extent required by Afghan law, the Contractor shall withhold tax from the wages of these employees and remit those withholdings to the Afghanistan Revenue Department. These withholdings are an individual's liability, not a tax against the Contractor.

    (e) The Contractor shall include the substance of this clause, including this paragraph (e), in all subcontracts including subcontracts for commercial items.

    (End of clause)
    [FR Doc. 2015-32870 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Parts 225 and 252 [Docket DARS-2015-0066] RIN 0750-AI79 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Trade Agreements Thresholds (DFARS Case 2016-D003) AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is issuing a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to incorporate increased thresholds for application of the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and the Free Trade Agreements, as determined by the United States Trade Representative.

    DATES:

    Effective: January 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Amy G. Williams, telephone 571-372-6106.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    Every two years, the trade agreements thresholds are escalated according to a predetermined formula set forth in the agreements. The United States Trade Representative has specified the following new thresholds in the Federal Register (80 FR 77694, December 15, 2015):

    Trade agreement Supply contract
  • (equal to or
  • exceeding)
  • Construction contract
  • (equal to or
  • exceeding)
  • WTO GPA 191,000 7,358,000 FTAs: Australia FTA 77,533 7,358,000 Bahrain FTA 191,000 10,079,365 CAFTA-DR (Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) 77,533 7,358,000 Chile FTA 77,533 7,358,000 Colombia FTA 77,533 7,358,000 Korea FTA 100,000 7,358,000 Morocco FTA 191,000 7,358,000 NAFTA —Canada 25,000 10,079,365 —Mexico 77,533 10,079,365 Panama FTA 191,000 7,358,000 Peru FTA 191,000 7,358,000 Singapore FTA 77,533 7,358,000
    II. Discussion and Analysis

    This final rule implements the new thresholds in DFARS part 225, Foreign Contracting, for sections that include trade agreements thresholds (i.e., 225.1101, 225.7017-3, 225.7017-4, and 225.7503). Additionally, the rule updates clauses 252.225-7017, Photovoltaic Devices, and 252.225-7018, Photovoltaic Devices—Certificate, with conforming changes. A minor technical amendment corrects cross references at 225.1101(10)(i) and paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of the clause at 252.225-7018.

    III. Publication of This Final Rule for Public Comment Is Not Required by Statute

    The statute that applies to the publication of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is 41. U.S.C. entitled “Publication of Proposed Regulations.” Paragraph (a)(1) of the statute requires that a procurement policy, regulation, procedure or form (including an amendment or modification thereof) must be published for public comment if it relates to the expenditure of appropriated funds, and has either a significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of the agency issuing the policy, regulation, procedure or form, or has a significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors. This final rule is not required to be published for public comment, because it only adjusts the thresholds according to predetermined formulae to adjust for changes in economic conditions, thus maintaining the status quo, without significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of the Government.

    IV. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to this rule because this final rule does not constitute a significant FAR revision within the meaning of FAR 1.501-1, and 41 U.S.C. 1707 does not require publication for public comment.

    VI. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does apply, because the final rule affects the prescriptions for use of the certification and information collection requirements in the provision at DFARS 252.225-7035 and the certification and information collection requirements in the provision at DFARS 252.225-7018 (both currently approved under OMB Control #0704-0229), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Part 225, Foreign Acquisition and Related Clauses. However, there is no impact on the estimated burden hours, because the threshold changes are in line with inflation and maintain the status quo.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 225 and 252

    Government procurement.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR parts 225 and 252 are amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 225 and 252 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and CFR chapter 1.

    PART 225—FOREIGN CONTRACTING
    225.1101 [Amended]
    2. Amend section 225.1101— a. In paragraph (6) introductory text, by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place; b. In paragraph (10)(i) introductory text, by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place, and removing “at 25.401 applies” and adding “at FAR 25.401 or 225.401 applies” in its place; c. In paragraphs (10)(i)(A), by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place; d. In paragraph (10)(i)(B), by removing “$79,507” and adding “$77,533” in its place; e. In paragraph (10)(i)(C), by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place; and f. In paragraphs (10)(i)(D) through (F), by removing “$79,507” wherever it appears and adding “$77,533)” in its place.
    225.7017-3 [Amended]
    3. Amend section 225.7017-3 in paragraph (b) by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place.
    225.7017-4 [Amended]
    4. Amend section 225.7017-4 in paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(1) by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in both places.
    225.7503 [Amended]
    5. Amend section 225.7503— a. In paragraphs (a) and (b) introductory text, by removing “$7,864,000” and adding “$7,358,000” in both places; b. In paragraph (b)(1), by removing “$10,335,931” and adding “$10,079,365” in its place; c. In paragraph (b)(2), by removing “$7,864,000” and adding “$7,358,000” in its place, and removing “$10,335,931” and adding “$10,079,365” in its place; d. In paragraph (b)(3) by removing, “$10,335,931” and adding “$10,079,365” in its place; and e. In paragraph (b)(4), by removing “$7,864,000” and adding “$7,358,000” in its place, and removing “$10,335,931” and adding “$10,079,365” in its place.
    PART 252—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES
    252.225-7017 [Amended]
    6. Amend section 252.225-7017— a. By removing clause date “(NOV 2015)” and adding “(JAN 2016)” in its place; b. In paragraphs (c)(2) and (3), by removing “$79,507” and adding “$77,533” in its place; and c. In paragraphs (c)(4) and (5), by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place.
    252.225-7018 [Amended]
    7. Amend section 252.225-7018— a. By removing clause date “(NOV 2015)” and adding “(JAN 2016)” in its place; b. In paragraph (b)(1) introductory text, by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place; c. In paragraph (b)(1)(i), by removing “DFARS 225.217-4(b)” and adding “DFARS 225.7017-4(b)” in its place; d. In paragraph (b)(1)(ii), by removing “DFARS 225.217-4(a)” and adding “DFARS 225.7017-4(a)” in its place; e. In paragraph (b)(2), by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in its place; f. In paragraphs (d)(3) and (4) introductory text, by removing “$79,507” and adding “$77,533” in both places; and g. In paragraphs (d)(5) and (6) introductory text, by removing “$204,000” and adding “$191,000” in both places.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32875 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Part 252 [Docket DARS-2015-0039] RIN 0750-AI61 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services (DFARS Case 2013-D018) AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Interim rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is issuing an interim rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to provide contractors with additional time to implement security requirements specified by a National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 30, 2015.

    Comment date: Comments on the interim rule should be submitted in writing to the address shown below on or before February 29, 2016 to be considered in the formation of a final rule.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by DFARS Case 2013-D018, using any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by entering “DFARS Case 2013-D018” under the heading “Enter keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “DFARS Case 2013-D018.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “DFARS Case 2013-D018” on your attached document.

    Email: [email protected] Include DFARS Case 2013-D018 in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: 571-372-6094.

    Mail: Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Mr. Dustin Pitsch, OUSD(AT&L)DPAP/DARS, Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060.

    Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Dustin Pitsch, telephone 571-372-6090.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    DoD published an interim rule under this case number in the Federal Register (80 FR 51739) on August 26, 2015, to implement section 941 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 (Pub. L. 112-239), section 1632 of the NDAA for FY 2015, and DoD policies and procedures with regard to cloud computing. The first interim rule expanded safeguarding requirements to cover the safeguarding of covered defense information, and required compliance with the security requirements in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and organizations,” to replace the table based on NIST SP 800-53. The security requirements in NIST SP 800-171 are specifically tailored for use in protecting sensitive information residing in contractor information systems and generally reduce the burden placed on contractors by eliminating Federal-centric processes and requirements.

    To address concerns from industry with regard to implementation of the first interim rule, DoD held a public meeting on Monday, December 14, 2015 (80 FR 72712, November 20, 2015). There were 85 registered attendees. Various topics were discussed with industry at the public meeting, such as scope, applicability, training, subcontractor flowdown, and implementation issues. Industry representatives specifically expressed to DoD, both prior to and at the public meeting, the need for additional time to implement the security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171.

    II. Discussion and Analysis

    This second interim rule amends DFARS provision 252.204-7008, Compliance with Safeguarding and Covered Defense Information Controls, and DFARS clause 252.204-7012, Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting, to provide offerors additional time to implement the security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171, which will be required to be in place not later than December 31, 2017. The clause is also amended to require contractors to notify the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO) of any NIST SP 800-171 security requirements that are not implemented at the time of contract award, within 30 days of contract award. The status provided by the contractor to the DoD CIO on implementation of the NIST SP 800-171 security requirements will enable the Department to monitor progress across the Defense industrial base, identify trends in the implementation of these requirements and, in particular, identify issues with industry implementation of specific requirements that may require clarification or adjustment. Additionally, this information will inform the Department in assessing the overall risk to DoD covered defense information on unclassified contractor systems and networks.

    The second interim rule makes the following additional changes:

    • The subcontractor flowdown requirements in DFARS provision 252.204-7009 and clause 252.204-7012 are amended to require, when applicable, inclusion of the clause without alteration, except to identify the parties.

    • The subcontractor flowdown requirement in DFARS clause 252.204-7012 is further amended to limit the requirement to flow down the clause only to subcontractors where their efforts will involve covered defense information or where they will provide operationally critical support.

    • DFARS clause 252.204-7012 is amended to remove the requirement for DoD CIO acceptance of alternative but equally effective security measures prior to award.

    This rule is part of DoD's retrospective plan, completed in August 2011, under Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” DoD's full plan and updates can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=DOD-2011-OS-0036.

    III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

    IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    DoD expects that the additional implementation period provided by this interim rule may have a significant beneficial economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. Therefore, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis has been prepared and is summarized as follows:

    This rule allows contractors until December 31, 2017, to implement the security requirements specified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and organizations,” for safeguarding sensitive information residing in contractor information systems, contained in Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement clause 252.204-7012, Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting.

    The objective of this rule is to allow contractors additional time to implement the security requirements necessary to improve protection for DoD information stored on or transiting contractor systems.

    This rule will apply to all contractors with covered defense information transiting their information systems. DoD estimates that this rule may apply to 10,000 contractors and that less than half of those are small businesses.

    This second interim rule requires contractors, within 30 days of contract award, to notify the DoD Chief Information Officer of any NIST SP 800-171 security requirements that are not implemented at the time of contract award. This new reporting requirement affects the existing information collection requirements approved under the first interim rule under OMB Control number 0704-0478, titled “Enhanced Safeguarding and Cyber Incident Reporting of Unclassified DoD Information Within Industry,” but the effect on the total burden hours is negligible.

    The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules.

    No significant alternatives, that would minimize the economic impact of the rule on small entities, were determined.

    DoD invites comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

    DoD will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by this rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (DFARS Case 2013-D018), in correspondence.

    V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule affects the information collection requirements in the clause at DFARS 252.204-7012, currently approved under OMB Control Number 0704-0478, titled “Enhanced Safeguarding and Cyber Incident Reporting of Unclassified DoD Information Within Industry,” in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). The impact, however, is negligible, because the new reporting requirement is not anticipated to increase the estimate of total burden hours.

    VI. Determination To Issue an Interim Rule

    A determination has been made under the authority of the Secretary of Defense that urgent and compelling reasons exist to promulgate this interim rule without prior opportunity for public comment.

    The proliferation of information technology and increased information access has exposed DoD and DoD contractor information systems and networks to greater vulnerability of attacks. The first interim rule under this case number and title was necessary because of the urgent need to protect covered defense information and gain awareness of the full scope of cyber incidents being committed against defense contractors. That rule addressed the requirement for contractors and subcontractors to report cyber incidents that result in an actual or potentially adverse effect on a covered contractor information system or covered defense information residing therein, or on a contractor's ability to provide operationally critical support. However, since issuance of the first interim rule, industry has expressed to DoD the need for additional time to implement one part of the first interim rule, specifically the NIST SP 800-171 security requirements for covered contractor information systems.

    This second interim rule is being issued without the benefit of public comment to provide immediate relief from the requirement to have NIST 800-171 security requirements implemented at the time of contract award. Contractors are at risk of not being able to comply with the terms of contracts that require the handling of covered defense information. Contractors will be given until December 31, 2017 for implementation of the NIST 800-171 security requirements, thereby limiting the burden imposed on industry in the first interim rule. This rule grants additional time for contractors to assess their information systems and to set forth an economically efficient strategy to implement the new security requirements at a pace that fits within normal information technology lifecycle timelines. However, pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 1707 and FAR 1.501-3(b), DoD will consider public comments received in response to this interim rule in the formation of the final rule.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 252

    Government procurement.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR part 252 is amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 252 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and CFR chapter 1.

    PART 252—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 2. Amend section 252.204-7008 by— a. Removing clause date “(AUG 2015)” and adding “(DEC 2015)” in its place; b. Revising paragraph (c); and c. Removing paragraph (d).

    The revision reads as follows:

    252.204-7008 Compliance with Safeguarding Covered Defense Information Controls.

    (c) For covered contractor information systems that are not part of an information technology (IT) service or system operated on behalf of the Government (see 252.204-7012(b)(1)(ii))—

    (1) By submission of this offer, the Offeror represents that it will implement the security requirements specified by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations” (see http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-171), not later than December 31, 2017.

    (2)(i) If the Offeror proposes to vary from any of the security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171 that is in effect at the time the solicitation is issued or as authorized by the Contracting Officer, the Offeror shall submit to the Contracting Officer, for consideration by the DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO), a written explanation of—

    (A) Why a particular security requirement is not applicable; or

    (B) How an alternative but equally effective, security measure is used to compensate for the inability to satisfy a particular requirement and achieve equivalent protection.

    (ii) An authorized representative of the DoD CIO will adjudicate offeror requests to vary from NIST SP 800-171 requirements in writing prior to contract award. Any accepted variance from NIST SP 800-171 shall be incorporated into the resulting contract.

    3. Amend section 252.204-7009 by— a. Removing clause date “(AUG 2015)” and adding “(DEC 2015)” in its place; b. In paragraph (a), adding in alphabetical order a definition for “Compromise”; and c. Revising paragraph (c).

    The addition and revision read as follows:

    252.204-7009 Limitations on the Use or Disclosure of Third-Party Contractor Reported Cyber Incident Information.

    (a) * * *

    Compromise means disclosure of information to unauthorized persons, or a violation of the security policy of a system, in which unauthorized intentional or unintentional disclosure, modification, destruction, or loss of an object, or the copying of information to unauthorized media may have occurred.

    (c) Subcontracts. The Contractor shall include this clause, including this paragraph (c), in subcontracts, or similar contractual instruments, for services that include support for the Government's activities related to safeguarding covered defense information and cyber incident reporting, including subcontracts for commercial items, without alteration, except to identify the parties.

    4. Amend section 252.204-7012 by— a. Removing clause date “(SEP 2015)” and adding “(DEC 2015)” in its place; b. In paragraph (a), in the definition of “Cyber incident,” adding “a compromise or” after “that result in”; c. Revising paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B); and d. Revising paragraphs (m)(1) and (2).

    The revisions read as follows:

    252.204-7012 Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting.

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (A) The security requirements in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171, “Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Information Systems and Organizations,” http://dx.doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-171 that is in effect at the time the solicitation is issued or as authorized by the Contracting Officer, as soon as practical, but not later than December 31, 2017. The Contractor shall notify the DoD CIO, via email at [email protected], within 30 days of contract award, of any security requirements specified by NIST SP 800-171 not implemented at the time of contract award; or

    (B) Alternative but equally effective security measures used to compensate for the inability to satisfy a particular requirement and achieve equivalent protection accepted in writing by an authorized representative of the DoD CIO; and

    (m) * * *

    (1) Include this clause, including this paragraph (m), in subcontracts, or similar contractual instruments, for operationally critical support, or for which subcontract performance will involve a covered contractor information system, including subcontracts for commercial items, without alteration, except to identify the parties; and

    (2) When this clause is included in a subcontract, require subcontractors to rapidly report cyber incidents directly to DoD at http://dibnet.dod.mil and the prime Contractor. This includes providing the incident report number, automatically assigned by DoD, to the prime Contractor (or next higher-tier subcontractor) as soon as practicable.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32869 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    80 250 Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Proposed Rules OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL 5 CFR Part 1800 Revision of Regulations To Allow Federal Contractors, Subcontractors, and Grantees To File Whistleblower Disclosures With the U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Withdrawal of Proposed Rule AGENCY:

    U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

    ACTION:

    Withdrawal of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    In the Federal Register published on January 22, 2015, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) issued a proposed rule that would allow the agency to accept covered disclosures of wrongdoing from employees working under a contract or grant with the Federal government. OSC hereby withdraws this proposed rule.

    DATES:

    The proposed rule that appeared on January 22, 2015 at 80 FR 3182 is withdrawn as of December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa V. Terry, General Counsel, U.S. Office of Special Counsel, by telephone at (202) 254-3600, by facsimile at (202) 254-3711, or by email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) proposed revising its regulations to expand who may file a whistleblower disclosure with OSC. The proposed revision would have allowed employees of Federal contractors, subcontractors, and grantees to disclose wrongdoing within the Federal government if they work at or on behalf of a U.S. government component for which OSC has jurisdiction to accept disclosures. In response to the proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2015, OSC received 16 written comments. In light of the substantive issues raised by commenters, OSC is withdrawing its proposed rule for further consideration.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Mark P. Cohen, Principal Deputy Special Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32855 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7405-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, and 1926 [Docket No. OSHA-H005C-2006-0870-0353] RIN 1218-AB76 Occupational Exposure to Beryllium AGENCY:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; notice of informal public hearing.

    SUMMARY:

    OSHA is scheduling an informal public hearing on its proposed rule “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds.” The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on August 7, 2015 and the 90-day public comment period ended on November 5, 2015. This document describes the procedures that will govern this hearing.

    DATES:

    Informal public hearing. The hearing will begin on February 29, 2016 at 2 p.m. If necessary, the hearing will continue from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., local time, on subsequent days, in Washington, DC.

    ADDRESSES:

    Informal public hearing. The Washington, DC hearing will be held in Room N4437 A, B, C, D at the Frances Perkins Building, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.

    Notice of Intention to appear at the hearing: Interested persons who intend to present testimony or question witnesses at the hearing must submit (transmit, send, postmark, deliver) a notice of intention to appear, by January 29, 2016.

    Hearing testimony and documentary evidence. Interested persons who request more than 10 minutes to present testimony or intend to submit documentary evidence at the hearing must submit (transmit, send, postmark, deliver) the full text of their testimony and all documentary evidence by January 29, 2016.

    Methods of submission. All submissions must include the Agency name and the docket number for this rulemaking (OSHA-H005C-2006-0870-0353). Notices of intention to appear, hearing testimony, and documentary evidence may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions online for electronically submitting materials, including attachments;

    Fax: If your written submission does not exceed 10 pages, including attachments, you may fax it to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648; or

    Regular mail, express delivery, hand delivery, and messenger or courier service: Submit your materials to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-H005C-2006-0870-0353, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627). Deliveries (express mail, hand delivery, and messenger or courier service) are accepted during the OSHA Docket Office's normal hours of operation, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., E.T.

    Instructions: All submission must include the Agency name and docket number for this rulemaking (OSHA-H005C-2006-0870-0353). All submissions, including any personal information, are placed in the public docket without change and may be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, OSHA cautions you about submitting certain personal information such as social security numbers and birth dates. Because of security-related procedures, the use of regular mail may cause a significant delay in the receipt of your submissions. For information about security-related procedures for submitting materials by express delivery, hand delivery, messenger, or courier service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office. For additional information on submitting notices of intention to appear, hearing testimony, or documentary evidence, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    Docket: To read or download comments, notices of intention to appear, and other material in the docket, go to Docket No. OSHA-H005C-2006-0870-0353 at http://www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; however, some copyrighted material is not publicly available to read or download through the Web site. All submissions and other material in the docket are available for public inspection and copying in the OSHA Docket Office. For information on reading or downloading materials in the docket and obtaining materials not available through the Web site, please contact the OSHA Docket Office.

    Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice are available at http://www.regulations.gov. This notice, as well as new releases and other relevant information, also is available at OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Press inquiries: Kimberly Darby, Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone 202-693-1892.

    Technical information: Maureen Ruskin, OSHA, Office of Chemical Hazards-Metals, Room N-3718, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1955.

    Hearing inquiries: Gretta Jameson, OSHA, Office of Communications, Room N-3647; 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone 202-693-2176, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 7, 2015, OSHA published a proposed rule to amend its existing exposure limits for occupational exposure in general industry to beryllium and beryllium compounds (80 FR 47565). The proposed rule would promulgate a substance-specific standard for general industry, regulating occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds. OSHA accepted comments concerning the proposed rule during the comment period, which ended on November 5, 2015. Commenters shared information and suggestions on a variety of topics, and the Non-Ferrous Founders' Society also requested that OSHA schedule an informal public hearing on the proposed rule.

    Informal public hearing—purpose, rules and procedures. OSHA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by providing oral testimony and documentary evidence at the informal public hearing. OSHA also welcomes presentation of data and documentary evidence that will provide the Agency with the best available evidence to use in developing the final rule.

    Pursuant to 29 CFR 1911.15(a) and 5 U.S.C. 553(c), members of the public have an opportunity at the informal public hearing to provide oral testimony and evidence on issues raised by the proposal. An administrative law judge (ALJ) will preside over the hearing and will resolve any procedural matters relating to the hearing.

    OSHA's regulation governing public hearings (29 CFR 1911.15) establishes the purpose and procedures of informal public hearings. Although the presiding officer of the hearing is an ALJ and questioning of witnesses is allowed on crucial issues, the proceeding is largely informal and essentially legislative in purpose. Therefore, the hearing provides interested persons with an opportunity to make oral presentations in the absence of rigid procedures that could impede or protract the rulemaking process. The hearing is not an adjudicative proceeding subject to the Federal rules of evidence. Instead, it is an informal administrative proceeding convened for the purpose of gathering and clarifying information. Accordingly, questions of relevance, procedure, and participation generally will be resolved in favor of developing a clear, accurate, and complete record.

    Conduct of the hearing will conform to 29 CFR 1911.15. In addition, pursuant to 29 CFR 1911.4, the Assistant Secretary may, on reasonable notice, issue additional or alternative procedures to expedite the proceedings, to provide greater procedural protections to interested persons, or to further any other good cause consistent with applicable law. Although the ALJ presiding over the hearing makes no decision or recommendation on the merits of the proposal, the ALJ has the responsibility and authority necessary to ensure that the hearing progresses at a reasonable pace and in an orderly manner. To ensure a full and fair hearing, the ALJ has the power to regulate the course of the proceedings; dispose of procedural requests, objections, and comparable matters; confine presentations to matters pertinent to the issues the proposed rule raises; use appropriate means to regulate the conduct of persons present at the hearing; question witnesses and permit others to do so; limit the time for such questioning; and leave the record open for a reasonable time after the hearing for the submission of additional data, evidence, comments, and arguments from those who participated in the hearing (29 CFR 1911.16).

    If you submit scientific or technical studies or other results of scientific research, OSHA requests (but is not requiring) that you also provide the following information where it is available: (1) Identification of the funding source(s) and sponsoring organization(s) of the research; (2) the extent to which the research findings were reviewed by a potentially affected party prior to publication or submission to the docket, and identification of any such parties; and (3) the nature of any financial relationships (e.g., consulting agreements, expert witness support, or research funding) between investigators who conducted the research and any organization(s) or entities having an interest in the rulemaking. If you are submitting comments or testimony on the Agency's scientific or technical analyses, OSHA requests that you disclose: (1) The nature of any financial relationships you may have with any organization(s) or entities having an interest in the rulemaking; and (2) the extent to which your comments or testimony were reviewed by an interested party before you submitted them. Disclosure of such information is intended to promote transparency and scientific integrity of data and technical information submitted to the record. This request is consistent with Executive Order 13563, issued on January 18, 2011, which instructs agencies to ensure the objectivity of any scientific and technological information used to support their regulatory actions. OSHA emphasizes that all material submitted to the rulemaking record will be considered by the Agency to develop the final rule and supporting analyses. At the close of the hearing, the ALJ will establish a 45-day post-hearing comment period for interested persons who filed a timely notice of intention to appear at the hearing. During the first 30 days of the post-hearing period, those persons may submit final briefs, arguments, summations, and additional data and information to OSHA. During the remaining 15 days, they may only submit final briefs, arguments, and summations.

    Notice of intention to appear at the hearing. Interested persons who intend to participate in and provide oral testimony or documentary evidence at the hearing must file a written notice of intention to appear prior to the hearing. To testify or question witnesses at the hearing, interested persons must submit (transmit, send, postmark, deliver) their notice by January 29, 2016. The notice must provide the following information:

    • Name, address, email address, and telephone number of each individual who will give oral testimony;

    • Name of the establishment or organization each individual represents, if any;

    • Occupational title and position of each individual testifying;

    • Approximate amount of time required for each individual's testimony;

    • A brief statement of the position each individual will take with respect to the issues raised by the proposed rule; and

    • A brief summary of documentary evidence each individual intends to present.

    Participants who need projectors and other special equipment for their testimony must contact Gretta Jameson at OSHA's Office of Communications, telephone (202) 693-2176, no later than one week before the hearing begins.

    OSHA emphasizes that the hearing is open to the public; however, only individuals who file a notice of intention to appear may question witnesses and participate fully at the hearing. If time permits, and at the discretion of the ALJ, an individual who did not file a notice of intention to appear may be allowed to testify at the hearing, but for no more than 10 minutes.

    Hearing testimony and documentary evidence. Individuals who request more than 10 minutes to present their oral testimony at the hearing or who will submit documentary evidence at the hearing must submit (transmit, send, postmark, deliver) the full text of their testimony and all documentary evidence no later than January 29, 2016.

    The Agency will review each submission and determine if the information it contains warrants the amount of time the individual requested for the presentation. If OSHA believes the requested time is excessive, the Agency will allocate an appropriate amount of time for the presentation. The Agency also may limit to 10 minutes the presentation of any participant who fails to comply substantially with these procedural requirements, and may request that the participant return for questioning at a later time. Before the hearing, OSHA will notify participants of the time the Agency will allow for their presentation and, if less than requested, the reasons for its decision. In addition, before the hearing, OSHA will provide the hearing procedures and hearing schedule to each participant who filed a notice of intention to appear.

    Certification of the hearing record and Agency final determination. Following the close of the hearing and the post-hearing comment periods, the ALJ will certify the record to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. The record will consist of all of the written comments, oral testimony, and documentary evidence received during the proceeding. The ALJ, however, will not make or recommend any decisions as to the content of the final standard. Following certification of the record, OSHA will review all the evidence received into the record and will issue the final rule based on the record as a whole.

    Authority and Signature

    This document was prepared under the direction of David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, pursuant to section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(b)), Secretary of Labor's Order 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), and 29 CFR part 1911.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on December 23, 2015. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32764 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Part 222 RIN 1810-AB24 [ED-2015-OESE-0109] Impact Aid Programs AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary proposes to amend the Impact Aid Program regulations issued under title VIII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA or “the Act”). The proposed regulations govern Impact Aid payments to local educational agencies (LEAs). The program, in general, provides assistance for maintenance and operations costs to LEAs that are affected by Federal activities. These proposed regulations would update, clarify, and improve the current regulations.

    DATES:

    We must receive your comments on or before February 16, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after the comment period. To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under the help tab at “How To Use Regulations.gov.”

    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address them to Kristen Walls-Rivas, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3C103, Washington, DC 20202-6244.

    Privacy Note: The Department's policy for comments received from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters should be careful to include in their comments only information that they wish to make publicly available.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kristen Walls-Rivas, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3C103, Washington, DC 20202-6244. Telephone: (202) 260-3858 or by email: [email protected]

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Invitation To Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed regulations. We specifically invite you to comment on the ways in which school districts can collect data for counting federally-connected children for Impact Aid purposes, under proposed § 222.35; the proposed changes to the Indian policies and procedures (IPPs) in §§ 222.91 and 222.94-95; and the proposed changes to the equalization disparity test in § 222.162. Regarding the first of those topics, we invite comment on the following specific questions:

    • Are there alternative methods for counting federal-connected children besides the parent-pupil survey form or source check collection tools, either in use or that you propose?

    • What types of technical assistance would you like the Department to provide to properly educate and inform LEAs on the two regulatory methods of data collection, or on other methods?

    • Can you propose ways in which online or electronic data collection might be used to facilitate the data collection process? This may include but is not limited to the electronic collection of parent-pupil survey forms and the use of student information systems for Impact Aid data collection.

    To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the final regulations, we urge you to identify clearly the specific section or sections of the proposed regulations that each of your comments addresses and to arrange your comments in the same order as the proposed regulations.

    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed regulations. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the Department's programs and activities.

    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about these proposed regulations by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect the comments in person at 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for these proposed regulations. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Background

    The Secretary proposes to amend certain regulations in part 222 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The regulations in 34 CFR part 222 pertain to the Impact Aid Program and implement Title VIII of the ESEA. The purpose of this regulatory action is to update the current regulations in response to statutory changes and related issues that have arisen, as many of the regulations for this section have not been updated since 1995; to improve clarity and transparency regarding Federal program operations; and to improve the LEA's application processes to generate a more accurate data collection, which will facilitate more timely Impact Aid payments. The Department published final technical amendments for this program on June 11, 2015, deleting obsolete provisions and incorporating statutory changes that did not require notice and comment. These proposed regulations contain provisions on which we seek comment from the public.

    Tribal Consultation: Before developing these proposed regulations, the Department held two nationally accessible tribal consultation teleconferences on July 15, 2015, and July 28, 2015, pursuant to Executive Order 13175 (”Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments”), to solicit tribal input on the Impact Aid program regulations broadly, and specifically on the provisions that affect LEAs that claim students living on Indian lands. The Impact Aid Program announced the consultation teleconferences via the Office of Indian Education's listserv on July 2, 2015, and July 14, 2015. During the webinars, the attendees discussed a range of topics, including Indian lands property verification and data collection, IPPs, and IPP waivers. The Impact Aid Program received the most feedback on the regulations concerning IPPs, IPP waivers, and remedies for non-compliance with IPPs.

    There was a concern among many consultation participants that LEAs are not implementing IPPs with the degree of seriousness intended by the law and Impact Aid program regulations. Commenters wished to see LEAs focus more attention on equal participation of Indian students in all educational programs, including Advanced Placement courses, sports, and other extra-curricular activities. Some participants were concerned that LEAs do not provide sufficient time for tribes or parents to review data regarding participation of Indian children in the LEAs' programs; others stated that some LEAs provide outdated data to tribal leaders.

    In addition, participants sought more guidance on the standard for meaningful input from tribal officials and parents of Indian children. Commenters were further concerned that there is no requirement in the current Impact Aid regulations that tribes review and affirm that an LEA is in compliance with the content in the IPP before it is submitted to the Department for review. Others stated that tribes are not receiving copies of IPPs at all. Many commenters felt that some LEAs provide tribal leaders and parents of Indian children insufficient notice of meetings.

    There was also a general concern among many participants that the current remedy for non-compliance with IPPs, the withholding of an LEA's Impact Aid payments, is unhelpful, because withholding all funds would have a negative effect on Indian children. Others stated that the IPP complaint process is highly adversarial; they wished to see an intermediate step, such as a requirement that the LEA and tribal leaders attend a mediation session before a complaint is submitted to the Department. Commenters indicated that tribes would also like to be informed when the Department finds that an LEA serving children on the tribe's land is out of compliance with the IPP requirements.

    With regard to the current program regulations regarding an LEA's ability to submit a waiver from a tribe in lieu of IPPs, commenters expressed the concern that tribes may be waiving rights without informed knowledge about what they are waiving.

    The Impact Aid Program also heard comments about the verification of students living on Indian lands. Participants were concerned that LEAs were not providing sufficient time for tribal officials to confirm that the students in question resided on Indian land. Participants also stated that it would be helpful for them and for the officials certifying Indian land to have customized training that focuses on the Impact Aid program's requirements.

    The Department considered the views gathered during the tribal consultation process in developing these proposed regulations. Specifically, proposed provisions regarding IPPs and waivers of IPPs (§§ 222.91, 222.94, and 222.95) reflect this input.

    Applicability of the Every Student Succeeds Act

    On December 10, 2015, the President signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Public Law 114-95, 129 Stat. 1802 (2015), which amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The ESSA includes Impact Aid amendments (see new title VII of the ESEA, formerly title VIII), which take effect starting with fiscal year 2017 payments. Pub. L . 114-95, § 5(d). These proposed regulations are not directly affected by the ESSA. The statutory provisions underlying each regulatory provision in this document were not affected in a relevant manner by the ESSA. We plan to make any conforming references needed, including authority citations, in the final regulations. The Department will be considering in the near future whether further changes to the Impact Aid regulations are needed due to the ESSA.

    Summary of Proposed Changes

    These proposed changes would:

    • Amend the definition of “membership” in § 222.2 to clarify that an eligible student in membership must live in the same State as the LEA except in certain circumstances.

    • Amend §§ 222.3 and 222.5 to change the date by which an LEA may amend its application from September 30 to June 30 of the year preceding the Federal fiscal year for which it seeks assistance.

    • Amend § 222.22 to reflect a statutory change that would include payments in lieu of taxes (PILTs) and revenues from other Federal sources in the calculation of compensation from Federal activities, for purposes of determining eligibility and payments under section 8002 of the ESEA.

    • Amend § 222.23 to replace the current provision with a new provision that describes how LEAs formerly eligible for section 8002 grants, that have consolidated with another LEA, are treated with respect to section 8002 grant payments.

    • Amend § 222.30 to exclude Federal charter school startup funds from the analysis of whether Federal funds provide a substantial portion of the educational program, for purposes of determining an LEA's eligibility.

    • Amend § 222.35 to specify certain unusual circumstances in which someone other than a parent or legal guardian may sign a parent-pupil survey form and to require the use of source check forms to document children residing on Indian lands or in low-rent housing.

    • Amend § 222.37 to clarify the options for reporting average daily attendance and to make them available to all States.

    • Amend § 222.40 to require that an SEA submit the rationale for the additional factors selected to identify generally comparable districts and describe how those factors affect the cost of educating students.

    • Amend § 222.91 to add a requirement for an LEA claiming children residing on Indian lands to include with its application an assurance that the LEA has responded in writing to input from the tribes and parents of Indian children received during the IPP consultation process, prior to submitting the application for Impact Aid.

    • Amend § 222.94 to add a requirement that LEAs claiming children residing on Indian lands respond in writing to input obtained from parents of Indian children and tribal officials during the IPP consultation process, disseminate these responses to the parents of Indian children and tribal officials prior to submission of the Impact Aid application, and provide a copy of the IPPs to the tribe; and changing from 60 to 90 days the time period in which an LEA must amend its IPPs based on its own determination after obtaining tribal input.

    • Amend § 222.95 to allow the Department to withhold all or part of the Impact Aid payment from an LEA that is not in compliance with the requirements of § 222.94, and changing from 60 to 90 days the time within which LEAs must revise IPPs in response to Department notification.

    • Amend § 222.161 to give the SEA the ability to request permission from the Secretary to make estimated State aid payments that consider an LEA's Impact Aid payment in the event that the Department does not make an equalization determination before the start of an SEA's fiscal year.

    Significant Proposed Regulations

    We discuss substantive issues under the sections of the proposed regulations to which they pertain. Generally, we do not address proposed regulatory changes that are technical or otherwise minor in effect.

    § 222.2 What definitions apply to this part? Membership

    Statute: Section 8003 of the ESEA provides that payments are based on the number of eligible children in average daily attendance in schools of the LEA. The definition of “average daily attendance” in section 9101(1) of the ESEA provides in part that average daily membership can be converted to average daily attendance.

    Current Regulations: Paragraph (3) of the current definition of “membership” in § 222.2 excludes four categories of students.

    Proposed Regulation: The proposed regulation adds an additional exclusion to paragraph (3) of the definition of “membership.” Under the proposed provision, LEAs could not claim students who reside in a different State, unless the circumstances described in section 8010(c) of the Act apply, or unless the student is covered under a formal State enrollment or tuition agreement.

    Reasons: LEAs have sometimes attempted to claim children who reside in another State but attend school in the LEA. Children who reside in one State and attend school in a different State are generally excluded from Impact Aid eligibility by the current regulations because eligible students must be supported by State aid, and States typically do not provide State aid for the education of children who reside in other states. The proposed regulation would clarify this rule and provide the two exceptions to it: One is statutory (section 8010(c)) and the other is a situation in which children are covered under a formal written tuition or enrollment agreement between two States.

    Parent Employed on Federal Property

    Statute: Under section 8003 of the Act, several categories of eligible children include those who resided with a parent who is employed on Federal property.

    Current Regulation: Paragraph (1)(i) of the current definition of “parent employed on Federal property” in § 222.2 provides that a parent employed on Federal property is a parent who is employed by the Federal government and reports to work on Federal property or whose place of work is on Federal property.

    Proposed Regulation: The proposed regulation would clarify the definition of “parent employed on Federal property” by revising paragraph (1)(i) so it specifically includes parents employed by the Federal government but who report to an alternate duty station, such as a telework location, on the survey date.

    Paragraph (1)(ii) would not change; paragraph (1)(iii) would be deleted. Finally, paragraph (2) of the definition would be amended to further clarify that children whose parent's job includes providing services on a Federal property, but who are not Federal employees and whose duty station is not on the Federal property, are not eligible to be counted for Impact Aid.

    Reason: The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 has increased the number of Federal employees who telework on a regular basis. The proposed change to paragraph (1)(i) of the regulation is intended to include the children of Federal employees who might otherwise not be considered eligible for Impact Aid purposes because they telework. We propose deleting the provision in paragraph (1)(iii) because the provision is obsolete. LEAs have not used this provision since it was effective and the Department does not foresee it being needed in the future. We propose the revision to paragraph (2) to clarify further that parents who provide services to a Federal property, but who are not Federal employees and whose main duty station is not located on Federal property, are not eligible under the definition of “parent employed on Federal property.”

    § 222.3 How does a local educational agency apply for assistance under section 8002 or 8003 of the Act?

    Statute: Section 8005 of the Act governs the submission of applications for payments under sections 8002 and 8003 of the Act.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation describes how an LEA applies for assistance under sections 8002 and 8003 of the Act. Section 222.3(b)(2) provides that, under the exceptional circumstances described in § 222.3(b)(1), an LEA must file its application either 60 days following the event or by September 30 of the Federal fiscal year preceding the year for which it seeks assistance, whichever comes later.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would change the application deadline in § 222.3(b)(2) for LEAs with exceptional circumstances from September 30 to June 30 under section 8002 and 8003.

    Reasons: The proposed regulatory change would make § 222.3(b)(2) consistent with the proposed changes in § 222.5, in which the Department proposes to change the application amendment deadline from September 30 to June 30. See the discussion of proposed § 222.5 directly below for the reasons for that change.

    § 222.5 When may a local educational agency amend its application?

    Statute: Section 8005 of the Act governs the submission of applications for payments under sections 8002 and 8003 of the Act.

    Current Regulations: Under § 222.5(a)(2), an LEA may amend its application for situations described in § 222.3(b)(1) by September 30 following the January application deadline. In addition, § 222.5(b) permits an LEA that did not have data available at the time it filed its application, such as after a second membership count, to amend its application by September 30.

    Proposed Regulations: The Department proposes to change the amendment deadlines in §§ 222.5(a)(2) and 222.5(b)(2) from September 30 to June 30.

    Reasons: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2013 mandates that Impact Aid payments be made no later than two years after the funds are appropriated. Many LEAs submit their applications in January of each year showing incomplete counts of eligible children and submit amendments as late as September 30 to provide complete and accurate information. This procedure inhibits the Department's ability to review the applications and prepare initial payments. A June 30th amendment deadline will ensure that the Department receives complete application information for the review of data and release of funds in a timely manner.

    § 222.22 How does the Secretary treat compensation from Federal activities for purposes of determining eligibility and payment?

    Statute: Section 8002(a) of the Act provides that an LEA is not eligible for a payment under section 8002 if it is substantially compensated for the loss in revenue resulting from Federal ownership of land. Compensation is measured by increases in revenue from the conduct of Federal activities, but the statute does not define “substantial compensation.” Section 8002(b) contains a maximum payment provision that takes into account the amount of revenue received by the LEA from activities conducted on Federal property; those revenues specifically include payments received from any Federal agency other than the Department or education-related payments from the Department of Defense (DOD).

    Current Regulation: For purposes of determining an LEA's eligibility and maximum payment under section 8002, the current regulations provide in § 222.22 that an LEA is substantially compensated if its other Federal revenue exceeds its maximum payment amount under Section 8002. In § 222.22(d) the regulation excludes from “other Federal revenue” only payments from the DOD.

    Proposed Regulation: Proposed § 222.22(b)(1) would specifically include payments in lieu of taxes (PILTS) received from any other Federal agencies in the amount of revenue received by the LEA from activities conducted on Federal property, for purposes of determining an LEA's eligibility for, and amount of, payment under section 8002 of the Act.

    Reasons: This proposed revision would conform with the statutory requirements for calculating the revenue received by an LEA, in determining both eligibility and the maximum payment under section 8002 of the Act. The proposed regulation would specify that PILTs, which are payments from other Federal agencies, are part of revenues considered for eligibility and maximum payment purposes. In addition, by including, in proposed paragraph (b)(1), payments received by any other Federal agency, that means we do not take into account Federal funds from the Department, consistent with the statute and with current Department practice.

    § 222.23 How are consolidated local educational agencies treated for the purposes of eligibility and payment under section 8002?

    Statute: Section 8002(g) of the Act contains provisions granting eligibility to certain districts that consolidated from two or more former districts prior to 1995. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-76) amended this provision to also permit LEAs that consolidated after 2005 to receive a section 8002 foundation payment if one of the former districts was eligible for section 8002 funds for the fiscal year prior to consolidation.

    Current Regulation: There is no current regulation regarding the eligibility of consolidated districts. The current regulation at § 222.23 contains the previous formula for calculating a section 8002 payment under statutory provisions that have been replaced.

    Proposed Regulation: We propose to remove § 222.23 in its entirety and replace it with the proposed regulatory language regarding consolidated districts. The new regulation would clarify which consolidated LEAs are eligible, what documentation is necessary to prove eligibility, and how foundation payments are calculated for consolidated districts when more than one former district qualifies. The regulation would also clarify that consolidated LEAs remain eligible for section 8002 funds as long as the amount of Federal land in at least one former LEA upon which eligibility is based (i.e. the LEA that was eligible for Section 8002 funds in the prior fiscal year) comprises at least 10 percent of the taxable value of the former LEA at the time of Federal acquisition.

    Reasons: The 2014 statutory change created a new category of school districts that qualify for section 8002 grant funds, and this regulation would clarify the eligibility and payment for these districts, as well as for districts eligible under the previous statutory provision. The proposed regulation will require that the consolidated district still contains, within the boundaries of one of its former districts, Federal property that comprises at least 10 percent of the taxable value of the former LEA at the time of Federal acquisition. This is to ensure that an LEA will not receive both tax revenue and section 8002 funds for the same property, if a significant amount of previously-eligible Federal land within the boundaries of the former district has been sold and is no longer prohibited from being taxed.

    The regulation would also provide that an eligible consolidated LEA receives only a foundation payment and not any “remaining funds.” Remaining funds require submission of data by LEAs to calculate a maximum payment, and a consolidated LEA's payment is based only on the last payment received by a former LEA, so there is no documentation available with which to calculate a maximum payment. The provisions that are proposed in this section reflect current Department practice.

    § 222.24 How does a local educational agency that has multiple tax rates for real property classifications derive a single real property tax rate?

    Statute: Section 8002(b)(2) of the Act requires the Secretary to use an LEA's current levied real property tax rate for current expenditures in calculating an LEA's maximum payment amount under section 8002 of the Act.

    Current Regulation: None.

    Proposed Regulation: This proposed new regulation would describe how an LEA with multiple tax rates for different property classifications derives a single tax rate. Essentially, the LEA divides the total revenues it received from property taxes by the assessed valuation of the property in the LEA.

    Reasons: The statutory formula requires a single tax rate for an LEA. Taxing jurisdictions often set different tax rates for each type of property, resulting in multiple tax rates within an LEA. This provision would mandate a standardized arithmetic procedure to determine a single tax rate under section 8002, and reflects current practice.

    § 222.30 What is “free public education”?

    Statute: Section 8013(6) of the Act defines “free public education.” The definition includes the requirement that education must be at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without tuition charge.

    Current Regulations: The current regulatory definition of “free public education” in § 222.30(2)(ii) states in relevant part that education is provided at public expense if Federal funds, other than Impact Aid funds, do not constitute a substantial portion of the educational program.

    Proposed Regulation: The proposed regulation would exclude Federal charter school startup grant funds (Title V, part B, subpart I) from the calculation of the Federal portion that funds an LEA's educational program. The regulation would also add a provision clarifying that the Secretary analyzes whether a substantial portion of the education program is funded by Federal sources by comparing the LEA's finances to other LEAs in the State.

    Reasons: Under section 8003(a) of the Act, an LEA can only claim students for Impact Aid if the LEA provides a free public education to those students. Section 8003 Impact Aid funds are intended to replace lost local revenues due to Federal activity. Under the current regulations, if Federal funds are providing for the educational program (e.g. schools funded by the Department of Interior), then the lack of local tax revenue is already being compensated by another Federal source. As a result, the LEA is not eligible for Impact Aid for those students.

    The proposed regulation would also exclude charter school startup funds from the calculation of whether Federal funds provide a substantial portion of an LEA's program. These funds are generally available in the first two years of a charter school's operations; they can be used for a host of purposes other than current expenditures, and they are not long-term funding sources.

    Under the proposed regulation, in analyzing the portion of the education program that is funded by Federal sources, the Department would compare the LEA's finances to other LEAs in the State to account for the circumstances unique to the State.

    § 222.32 What information does the Secretary use to determine a local educational agency's basic support payment?

    Statute: Section 8005(b)(1) of the Act specifies that an LEA must submit an application that includes information for the Secretary to be able to determine the LEA's eligibility and payment amount.

    Current Regulations: Section 222.32(b) requires that an LEA must submit its federally connected membership based on a student count described in §§ 222.33 through 222.35 of the regulations.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would clarify that the LEA must submit its federally connected membership count in its timely and complete annual application.

    Reasons: The proposed regulation would clarify that each LEA must include an accurate membership count in its application by the deadline of January 31. In recent years, the Department's Impact Aid field reviews of LEAs have revealed that some applicants submitted estimated data on the section 8003 Impact Aid application, and then relied on the amendment process to provide the actual counted data. Accurate application information must be submitted before the program can review the application and calculate payments. If LEAs submit estimated data and rely on the amendment process to provide accurate data, the Impact Aid Program is delayed in processing payments to all districts.

    § 222.33 When must an applicant make its membership count?

    Statute: Section 8003 of the Act does not directly address when an LEA must make its membership count. The Secretary has the authority to regulate when an LEA calculates its membership under 20 U.S.C. 1221-e and 3474.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation refers to the “first or only” membership count.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would remove the reference to the first or only membership count. Additionally, the proposed regulation would clarify that the data from the only membership count must be complete by the application deadline.

    Reasons: The proposed regulatory change in § 222.34 (see below) would eliminate the current regulatory option of a second membership count. That change in turn would eliminate the need to reference first or only membership count, since there would be only one count. The proposed language in § 222.33(c) stating that the LEA must complete its membership count by the application deadline supports the proposed changes in § 222.32 that would help to ensure submission of a complete application by the deadline.

    § 222.34 If an applicant makes a second membership count, when must that count be made?

    Statute: Section 8003 of the Act does not directly address when an LEA must make its membership count. The Secretary has the authority to regulate when an LEA calculates its membership under 20 U.S.C. 1221-e and 3474.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation describes the process for undertaking a second membership survey.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulations would delete this provision and reserve the section for future use.

    Reasons: This provision has become obsolete over time. The second membership survey provision has not been used since 2012 and at that time it was used by only two LEAs. This change would streamline the review process to support timely and accurate payments. Allowing second membership surveys late in the year causes delays in the review process and potentially delays payment. The Department has determined that the impact of removing this provision is low and the benefits outweigh any foreseen consequence.

    § 222.35 How does a local educational agency count the membership of its federally connected children?

    Statute: Section 8005(b)(1) of the Act specifies that an LEA must submit an application that includes information for the Secretary to be able to determine the LEA's eligibility and payment amount.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation describes the information required on a parent-pupil survey form and on a source check form.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would reorganize paragraph (a) regarding parent-pupil survey forms, to first list the information required for all types of children, followed by specific requirements for certain categories of children. In addition, proposed paragraph (a)(4) would clarify for LEAs the rare situations in which an LEA may accept a parent-pupil survey form that is not signed by a parent or legal guardian. The regulation also would clarify that the Department will not accept parent-pupil survey forms signed by an employee of the LEA, unless the employee is a parent of a child attending school within the LEA, signing their own child's form.

    Proposed paragraph (b) pertains to source check documents, which are a data collection alternative to the parent-pupil survey form. The proposed regulations would require source check documents for children residing on Indian lands and for children residing in eligible low-rent housing. Under the proposed regulation, the source check forms must contain sufficient information to verify the eligibility of both the Federal property and the individual children claimed on the source check form.

    Reasons: With regard to parent-pupil survey forms, recent Impact Aid field reviews of LEAs have revealed instances of LEA staff members signing forms for parents or verifying the information by phone, without a parent signature on the form. The proposed revisions to paragraph (a) would clarify the requirements and provide examples of the few unusual situations in which someone other than a parent may sign a parent-pupil survey form. In no instance would an employee of the LEA be permitted to sign a form for a parent. These proposed changes reflect current Department policy.

    Paragraph (b) would be revised to require that LEAs claiming children who reside on Indian lands, and children who reside in low-rent housing, use a source check document to obtain the data required to determine the children's eligibility. The parent-pupil survey form is insufficient to document the different types of eligible Indian lands property and low-rent housing property and confirm that property's eligibility, because parents are unlikely to have the necessary documentation or information. In order to ensure accurate and timely eligibility and payment determinations, LEAs need to reach out directly to the government entities (e.g. for Indian lands—tribal officials, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) staff, and/or tax assessors; for low-rent housing—the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and/or local housing authorities) who have access to the records that document the legal status of a specific parcel of land and can certify that the status is consistent with the Federal property definition.

    § 222.37 How does the Secretary calculate the average daily attendance of federally connected children?

    Statute: Section 8003 the Act requires that payments be based on the average daily attendance (ADA) of federally connected children. Section 9101(1) of the Act defines ADA.

    Current Regulations: The current regulations describe the process for calculating ADA for LEAs that reside in States that use actual ADA when determining State aid, and for LEAs that reside in States where something other than ADA is used to calculate State aid. The current regulations also describe other options for LEAs or States if the State does not use ADA for determining State aid, including the use of a State average attendance ratio (which has informally been referred to as a “negotiated ratio,”), sampling, or the use of data similar to ADA.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would reorganize this section so that the options for LEAs, the States, and the Secretary are grouped together by actor. The proposed regulation would allow any State to ask the Secretary for a State average attendance ratio. In addition, in cases where there is reliable public data, the Secretary may calculate a State average attendance ratio.

    Reasons: Use of a State average attendance ratio typically benefits most LEAs and those that do not benefit have the option to submit actual attendance data to obtain a higher payment. Currently, 35 States have a State average attendance ratio. The proposed change would give LEAs in all States the opportunity to use a State average attendance ratio and alternative options for obtaining an attendance rate. This would reduce the LEAs' data collection burden and provide more options for each LEA to obtain a higher attendance rate, which may typically result in a higher Impact Aid payment.

    § 222.40 What procedures does a State educational agency use for certain local educational agencies to determine generally comparable local educational agencies using additional factors, for local contribution rate purposes?

    Statute: Section 8003(b)(1) of the Act contains the formula for determining an LEA's maximum payment amount, based in part on calculating each LEA's local contribution rate (LCR). The statute states that the LCR is to be determined under the procedures set forth in the Department's regulations as they were in effect on January 1, 1994.

    Current Regulations: The current regulations in § 222.39-§ 222.41 provide that an LEA's LCR is determined by identifying generally comparable districts. Under § 222.40, for certain qualifying LEAs, the SEA may use additional factors in identifying the generally comparable LEAs for the purpose of calculating and certifying an LCR. Section 222.40(d) provides that if an SEA proposes to use a special additional factor to select a group of generally comparable districts (GCDs) to support a higher LCR for a specific LEA, it must be a generally accepted, objectively defined factor that affects the LEA's cost of educating its students.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would clarify that SEAs that wish to use special additional factors to identify GCDs for purposes of calculating a higher LCR for certain LEAs must provide a rationale and explain how the selected factor or factors affect the cost of education. The proposed regulation does not substantively alter the manner in which the LCRs are calculated.

    Reasons: To determine GCDs for local contribution rate purposes, an SEA may use a special additional factor only if that factor has an impact on the cost of education for an LEA. In the past, the Department has had to contact the SEA to learn the rationale for a specific factor or factors after the GCD data were submitted. Requiring the rationale as part of the submission process would help ensure timely and accurate payments to the LEAs in the State.

    § 222.62 How are local educational agencies determined eligible under section 8003(b)(2)?

    Statute: Section 8003(b)(2) of the Act contains the requirements for eligibility and payment for heavily impacted districts.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation does not address how an applicant may apply for heavily impacted funding under section 8003(b)(2) on the Impact Aid application.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would require that an LEA that wishes to be considered for a heavily impacted payment under section 8003(b)(2) submit with its initial application the information needed to establish eligibility.

    Reasons: The majority of applicants that request assistance under section 8003(b)(2) do not meet the eligibility requirements for these payments, nor have they investigated the eligibility requirements and learned whether they may qualify. Requiring the LEAs to submit the supporting documentation that indicates potential eligibility would facilitate faster determinations of eligibility and payment for heavily impacted districts. This proposed regulatory change would be complemented by a change to the application forms to require submission of a brief document certified by the SEA to trigger a Department review for section 8003(b)(2) eligibility.

    § 222.91 What requirements must a local educational agency meet to receive a payment under section 8003 of the Act for children residing on Indian lands?

    Statute: Section 8004 of the Act requires that an LEA claiming children who reside on Indian lands must establish IPPs. As an alternative, the LEA may obtain a waiver of this requirement from each tribe indicating that the tribe is satisfied with the educational services the LEA is providing to the children of the tribe.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation requires that an LEA claiming children residing on Indian lands submit with its application its IPPs and a signed assurance attesting that the LEA developed its IPPs in consultation with the parents of Indian children and tribal officials. The current regulation provides that in the alternative, an LEA can submit documentation that the LEA has received a waiver that complies with section 8004(c) of the Act.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would require an assurance that the LEA has provided a written response to the comments, recommendations, and concerns expressed by the parents of children who reside on Indian lands and tribal officials during the IPP consultation process. In addition, the proposed regulation would require that an IPP waiver submitted with an application include a written statement from an appropriate tribal official stating that the tribe has received a copy and understands the requirements of §§ 222.91 and 222.94 that are being waived and that it is satisfied with the LEA's educational services provided to the tribe's students. An LEA would be required to submit its waiver at the time it submits its application.

    Reasons: The Department's tribal consultations yielded many concerns from the Indian community that LEAs are not engaging in meaningful consultation with the tribes and families, or providing meaningful opportunities for engagement and communication. One of the concerns most frequently voiced was that LEAs have not considered the tribes or parents' comments, concerns or recommendations when creating the educational program or making decisions about school-sponsored activities.

    The Department has taken these concerns into account and proposes to add to the Impact Aid section 8003 application package an assurance that the LEA has provided written responses to comments, concerns, or recommendations received through the IPP consultation process. This assurance does not mean that an LEA must adopt any specific recommendations; rather it will require the LEAs to explain in writing to the parents of Indian children and tribal officials why the LEA is not adopting the recommendations, or how it will implement or take into consideration those recommendations or concerns.

    With regard to a waiver of IPPs, the proposed rules would clarify that a waiver must be voluntary and must reflect an understanding on the part of the tribal official of the rights being waived. The statutory option of a waiver was intended to be used only when a tribe is truly satisfied with an LEA's program and services, and not as a way for an LEA to avoid the IPP process. The proposed regulation would require that a waiver be submitted with the application and not later; in the past when the Department has reviewed IPPs, some LEAs have submitted a waiver as an application amendment in order to avoid amending the IPPs, under circumstances that call into question whether the waiver has been knowing and voluntary on the part of the tribe.

    Based on the discussions during the consultation process, the Department is also considering administrative options, such as providing additional technical assistance to better support and assist LEAs, parents, and tribal officials as they negotiate the IPP consultation process.

    § 222.94 What provisions must be included in a local educational agency's Indian policies and procedures?

    Statute: Section 8004 of the Act states that an LEA claiming children residing on Indian lands must establish and maintain a set of IPPs in order to receive funds under section 8003 of the Act. The IPPs are intended to ensure: That Indian children participate on an equal basis in the educational program and activities sponsored by the LEA; that parents of Indian children and tribal leaders are given the opportunity to present their views on programs and activities and make recommendations; that the LEA consults with parents of Indian children and tribal leaders in the planning and development of the educational program and activities; and that the LEA disseminates evaluations, reports and program plans to the parents of Indian children and the tribes.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation identifies eight specific procedures than an LEA must describe in its IPPs. The IPPs must describe how the LEA: (1) Gives tribal officials and parents of Indian children the opportunity to comment on whether or not Indian children participate on an equal basis with non-Indian children in the LEA's educational program and school sponsored activities; (2) assesses whether or not Indian children participate on an equal basis; (3) modifies, if necessary, its education program to ensure equal participation for Indian children; (4) disseminates relevant documentation related to the education programs to parents of Indian children and tribes with sufficient time to allow the tribes and parents of Indian children an opportunity to review the documentation and make informed recommendations on the needs of the Indian children; (5) gathers information concerning Indian views in general and related to the frequency, location, and time of meetings; (6) notifies Indian parents and tribes of the time and location of meetings; (7) consults and involves tribal officials and parents of Indian children in the planning and development phase of the LEA's education programs and activities; and (8) modifies the IPPs, if necessary.

    Proposed Regulations: The proposed regulation would reorganize the information from §§ 222.94 and 222.95(e)-(g); it would also add a requirement that the LEA respond in writing, at least annually, to the comments and recommendations of the tribes or parents of Indian children and disseminate these responses to the tribes and parents prior to the submission of the IPPs to the Department. The regulation would also require the LEA to provide a copy of the IPPs to the tribe annually. Additionally, the proposed regulation would move paragraphs (e)-(g) of section § 222.95 to the revised § 222.94. Under those relocated provisions, proposed § 222.94(c)(3) would change the number of days that an LEA has to amend its IPPs, if it determines that they are not in compliance, from 60 days to 90 days.

    Reasons: The proposed provisions of §§ 222.94 and 222.95(e)-(g) are reorganized for clarity and order. Proposed § 222.94 would emphasize that the LEA must consult with, and actively solicit involvement from, the local tribes and parents of Indian children in the development of both the IPPs and the educational program and activities.

    Proposed § 222.94(b)(5) would add a requirement that the LEA provide written responses at least annually to comments and recommendations received through the IPP consultation process. This proposal stems from one of the most frequent concerns raised during the Indian consultation; that many LEAs have not considered the tribes or parents' comments, concerns or recommendations when creating the educational program or making decisions about school-sponsored activities. This provision would not require that an LEA adopt any specific recommendations; rather it would require the LEA to explain in writing to the parents of Indian children and tribal officials why the LEA is not adopting the recommendations, or how it will implement or take into consideration those recommendations or concerns. The LEA's response would demonstrate how the feedback has been thoughtfully considered in the development of the educational program, and would be reflected in the IPPs. Optimally, the outcome of the IPP consultation process would be a document that demonstrates to the tribe that the LEA has heard and acknowledged the feedback from the parents of Indian children and tribes.

    In addition, we learned during consultations that tribes do not always have access to a copy of the IPPs; thus the revisions would require the LEA to provide a copy of the IPPs to the tribe annually.

    Because LEAs are often required by State or local law to have the school board (or equivalent) certify any changes to the IPPs, extending the time that an LEA has to revise its IPPs from 60 to 90 days would allow time for both the revision and any necessary procedural steps. The provisions in proposed paragraph (c) were moved from current § 222.95(e)-(g) to keep the provisions related to the creation, content, and revision of IPPs under one regulatory section.

    § 222.95 How are Indian policies and procedures reviewed to ensure compliance with the requirements in section 8004(a) of the Act?

    Statute: Section 8004(e) of the Act provides for a complaint procedure for tribes with regard to IPPs. Under certain circumstances following a hearing and a determination by the Secretary, if the Department finds that the LEA is still in noncompliance with the provisions of section 8004, the Department must withhold Impact Aid payments to the LEA until the LEA undertakes the required remedy, unless the withholding would substantially disrupt the LEA's education programs.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation describes how the Department reviews and evaluates IPPs to ensure compliance with §§ 222.91 and 222.94. It provides that the Secretary will review IPPs periodically to ensure compliance. If an LEA is not in compliance, the Secretary will notify the LEA in writing of the deficiencies.

    Current § 222.95(d) states that the Department may withhold all payments if the LEA fails to bring its IPPs into compliance within 60 days of receipt of the Department's formal notification.

    Proposed Regulations: Proposed § 222.95(c) would change the number of days that an LEA has to remedy issues of noncompliance from 60 days to 90 days. The proposed regulation would also change the provision on withholding all section 8003 payments to the option to withhold all or part of the section 8003 payments. Finally, the proposed regulations would move paragraphs (e)-(g) of current § 222.95 into proposed § 222.94.

    Reasons: LEAs often need to have the school board (or equivalent body) certify any changes to the IPPs. Extending the time that an LEA has to revise its IPPs following Department notification from 60 to 90 days would allow time for both the revision and school board certification.

    Under the current withholding provisions, if an LEA does not correct deficiencies in its IPPs within 60 days, the Department's only sanction is to withhold all section 8003 payments, unless the withholding would substantially disrupt the LEA's education programs. As many LEAs rely heavily on Impact Aid funds, withholding all section 8003 funds would prevent some LEAs from being able to provide an adequate educational program to the students they serve. The Secretary's intent in proposing to amend this regulation is to adopt clear, fair, and flexible withholding procedures in the event a withholding action is required. We learned through the tribal consultation that tribes favor incentives to encourage LEAs to bring deficient IPPs into compliance with the law in a way that does not interrupt the educational services provided to their children. The proposed withholding procedure balances the need for compliance with the interests of ensuring the LEA has the resources needed to provide adequate educational services to the children they serve.

    Regarding the comments we heard requesting a more informal process for resolving disputes about IPPs, we fully encourage school districts and tribes to use alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration. This could obviate the need for a formal complaint to the Department, and nothing in the proposed or current regulations would prevent such a step. In addition, a party, once it has initiated a formal complaint, may request the Department to stay the proceedings to pursue mediation, and the Department would do so if both parties agree. In addition, the Impact Aid Program is willing to provide technical assistance to both parties to facilitate a common understanding before a formal complaint is launched.

    Subpart K—Determinations Under Section 8009 of the Act Section 222.161 How is State aid treated under Section 8009 of the Act?

    Statute: Section 8009(d)(2) of the Act prohibits States from taking Impact Aid into consideration as local revenues when making State aid payments before the Secretary certifies that the State's program of aid is equalized.

    Current Regulations: The current regulation in § 222.161(a)(5) repeats the statutory prohibition against a State taking Impact Aid into consideration before being certified. The current regulation does not specifically address the data needed from a State that was not previously certified but that is now requesting certification under section 8009 of the Act.

    Proposed Regulations: Under the proposed regulations, if the Secretary has not issued a certification before the beginning of the State's fiscal year, the State may request permission from the Secretary to make estimated State aid payments that take Impact Aid into account as local revenue. Before granting permission, the Secretary would consider whether the Secretary certified the State as equalized for the prior fiscal year, and whether the State revised its State aid program since the date of the prior year's certification. Also, the State must assure that if the State does not meet the disparity standard, the State will reimburse each LEA the amount deducted, within 60 days of the Department's determination.

    The proposed regulations would also clarify that if the Secretary has not previously certified a State's program of State aid and the State wishes to apply for certification, the State would submit projected data showing that it would meet the disparity standard if it were authorized to deduct Impact Aid under section 8009 of the Act.

    Reasons: The Department interprets section 8009 of the Act to prohibit States from making final, as opposed to estimated, State aid payments that consider eligible Impact Aid funds as local effort without the Secretary's certification. In instances where a State or LEA requests a pre-determination hearing under § 222.164(b)(5) and the issues presented are complex, the Secretary may not be able to make a final determination as to whether the State is equalized before the beginning of the State's fiscal year. In these instances, States should have the option of including estimated eligible Impact Aid revenues as local effort when making estimated State aid payments, rather than removing these Impact Aid revenues from consideration. Because certifications apply to an entire State fiscal year, if a State were required to remove Impact Aid revenues from estimated State aid payments and the Secretary later determines that the State is equalized, the State would need to adjust all State aid payments and Impact Aid recipients would have to return funds to the State. This could seriously destabilize an LEA's budget. On the other hand, if the State begins by taking eligible Impact Aid payments into account in its estimated State aid payments, as these regulations propose, and the Secretary does not certify the State as equalized, the State would have to increase each Impact Aid LEA's State aid within 60 days. The effect on the LEA's budget would then be positive, rather than negative. Even though the State would have to come up with additional funds, States are not required to request this advanced permission to make estimated payments that consider Impact Aid.

    Definition of Current Expenditures

    Statute: Section 8013(4) of the Act defines “current expenditures.”

    Current Regulations: The current regulation in paragraph (c) repeats the definition of “current expenditures” in the Act, and lists specific exclusions from that definition for the purposes of section 8009, such as expenditures from revenues designated for special cost differentials.

    Proposed Regulations: The Department proposes that the regulatory definition for “current expenditures” refer to, rather than repeat, the definition in section 8013(4) of the Act, and then list the additional exclusion for purposes of section 8009 of the Act. We would remove the exclusions in current subparagraphs (1) through (5) as part of the reorganized definition.

    Reasons: Referring applicants to the statutory definition of “current expenditures” will reduce redundancy. Subparagraphs (1) and (2) are contained in the statutory definition and thus are not needed. The intent of paragraphs (3) and (4), regarding special cost differentials, will be more clearly addressed by proposed § 222.162, which would define the four acceptable methods of calculating cost differentials for purposes of the disparity test. The substance of the current subparagraph (5) is combined into the text of the proposed regulation for clarity.

    Section 222.162 What disparity standard must a State meet in order to be certified and how are disparities in current expenditures or revenues per pupil measured?

    Statute: Section 8009(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act states that when certifying a State as equalized, the Secretary may take into account the extent to which a State aid program reflects additional costs of providing education in areas with special geographical factors or for students with particular needs, such as students with disabilities.

    Current Regulations: The current regulations explain the data a State should submit to the Secretary as evidence that its State aid program is equalized. The regulations identify the types of “special cost differentials” a State may account for when calculating per-pupil expenditures or revenues for each LEA, but do not explain specifically how these differentials are to be considered.

    Proposed Regulations: The Department proposes that a State may account for special cost differentials in one of four ways: The inclusion method on a revenue basis, the inclusion method on an expenditure basis, the exclusion method on a revenue basis, or the exclusion method on an expenditure basis. Using the inclusion method, a State would divide an LEA's revenue or total current expenditures by a pupil count that includes weights associated with special cost differentials. Using the exclusion method, a State would take an LEA's total revenues or current expenditures, subtract those revenues or expenditures associated with special cost differentials, and divide by the LEA's unweighted pupil count.

    Reasons: The current regulations are not clear regarding how States should treat special cost differentials in submitting data under the disparity test. The Department's longstanding interpretation of section 8009 of the Act and § 222.162 of the regulations is that there are four methods available, logically and mathematically, for treating those cost differentials. Explicitly defining the four options for taking special cost differentials into account would clarify the Department's long-standing interpretation of the statute, and avoid potential controversy over data submission under section 8009.

    Section 222.164 What procedures does the Secretary follow in making a determination under section 8009?

    Statute: Section 8009(c)(2) of the Act states that before making a determination under section 8009, the Secretary shall afford the State, and LEAs in the State, an opportunity to present their views.

    Current Regulations: Under the current regulations, the party initiating the proceeding under section 8009 shall notify the State and all LEAs in the State of their right to present views before the Secretary makes a determination.

    Proposed Regulations: The Department proposes that the Secretary, rather than a State or LEA initiating a proceeding, notify the State and all LEAs in the State of their right to present their views before the Secretary makes a determination under section 8009.

    Reasons: It is more practical for the Secretary to send the notification that the State and all LEAs in the State may present views, because the Department coordinates the predetermination hearing, and the request for the informal hearing needs to be made to the Department. In current practice, the Department notifies all LEAs in the State when the State submits written notice of its intention to consider Impact Aid payments in providing State aid to LEAs, and at that time gives instructions for requesting a predetermination hearing.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this regulatory action is “significant” and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as an action likely to result in a rule that may—

    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an “economically significant” rule);

    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;

    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement 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 stated in the Executive order.

    This proposed regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.

    We have also reviewed these regulations under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency—

    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify);

    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations;

    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);

    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and

    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices.

    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency “to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.” The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include “identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.”

    We are issuing these proposed regulations only on a reasoned determination that their benefits would justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that these proposed regulations are consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563.

    We also have determined that this regulatory action would not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions.

    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this regulatory action are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities. Upon review of the costs to the LEA, we have determined there is minimal financial or resource burden associated with these changes, and that the net impact of the changes would be a reduction in burden hours. Certain affected LEAs would need to respond in writing to comments from tribes and parents of Indian students, but this time burden would be balanced by other proposed regulatory changes that reduce the burden, which result in a net decrease of both burden hours and cost associated with these regulations.

    Clarity of the Regulations

    Executive Order 12866 and the Presidential memorandum “Plain Language in Government Writing” require each agency to write regulations that are easy to understand.

    The Secretary invites comments on how to make these proposed regulations easier to understand, including answers to questions such as the following:

    • Are the requirements in the proposed regulations clearly stated?

    • Do the proposed regulations contain technical terms or other wording that interferes with their clarity?

    • Does the format of the proposed regulations (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce their clarity?

    • Would the proposed regulations be easier to understand if we divided them into more (but shorter) sections? (A “section” is preceded by the symbol “§ ” and a numbered heading; for example, § 222.2 What definitions apply to this part?)

    • Could the description of the proposed regulations in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this preamble be more helpful in making the proposed regulations easier to understand? If so, how?

    • What else could we do to make the proposed regulations easier to understand? To send any comments that concern how the Department could make these proposed regulations easier to understand, see the instructions in the ADDRESSES section.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that these proposed regulations would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration Size Standards define institutions as “small entities” if they are for-profit or nonprofit institutions with total annual revenue below $5,000,000 or if they are institutions controlled by governmental entities with populations below 50,000. These proposed regulations would affect LEAs that meet this definition; therefore, these proposed regulations would affect small entities, but they would not have a significant economic impact on these entities.

    The proposed regulations would benefit both small and large institutions, including those that qualify as small entities, by removing the paperwork burden for reporting average daily attendance, reducing the burden for collection of data for the LEAs reporting children residing on Indian lands and low-rent housing. Multiple children can be verified on one form instead of one form per child. Thus, small entities would experience regulatory relief and a positive economic impact as a result of these proposed regulations.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, the Department provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps ensure that: The public understands the Department's collection instructions, respondents can provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents.

    Sections 222.35, 222.37, 222.40, 222.62, and 222.91 contain information collection requirements. Under the PRA the Department has submitted a copy of these sections to OMB for its review.

    A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless OMB approves the collection under the PRA and the corresponding information collection instrument displays a currently valid OMB control number. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to comply with, or is subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information if the collection instrument does not display a currently valid OMB control number.

    In the final regulations we will display the control number assigned by OMB to any information collection requirement proposed in this NPRM and adopted in the final regulations.

    The Department currently collects information from LEA applicants for the Impact Aid program using a program-specific grant application package (OMB Control Number 1810-0687). The application package, and some information grantees are required to submit, would change as a result of the proposed regulations.

    We estimate the total burden for the collection of information through the application package to be 104,720 hours. Based on past experience with this program, we estimate that a total of 1,264 applications would be received annually for the grant program. We estimate that it would take each applicant 82.8 hours to complete the application package, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The proposed changes to the regulations would change the burden hours for this collection by −35,959.

    Collection of Information Section 222.35

    The proposed regulations would require that LEAs claiming children who reside on Indian lands, and children who reside in low-rent housing, use a source check document to obtain the data required to determine the children's eligibility. The current burden hour estimation includes 500,000 parent respondents for the parent pupil survey form estimating 15 minutes per form for a total burden hours of 125,000 burden hours. The new provision would reduce the total number of parent respondents to 355,000 because the 145,000 children residing on Indian lands or low rent housing will no longer be surveyed using the parent pupil survey form. The burden hours for this category would reduce to 88,750 total burden hours. This is a reduction of 36,250 burden hours.

    The 145,000 children are distributed across approximately 500 LEAs. The previous burden hour calculation included 500 LEAs at an average of 3 hours for source checks per LEA, resulting in 1,500 total burden hours. Under the proposed regulation, the number of LEAs would increase to 1,000 LEAs increasing the burden hours to 3,000 for source checks, an increase of 1,500 burden hours. The net change in burden hours between parent pupil survey forms and source checks is a decrease of −34,750 burden hours.

    The program has also reduced the average number of hours per LEA to submit its application from 10 hours to 9 hours due to enhancements in the e-Application reporting system. This adjustment decreases the burden hours by −1,264, which results in a total decrease in this section of −36,014 burden hours.

    Section 222.37

    Under existing regulations, the burden estimation of hours is 900 LEAs taking 20 minutes each to report ADA for a total of 300 hours total burden. Since the last estimation of burden hours, the number of LEAs that are required to submit this data has reduced and will reduce again to zero under the proposed regulations. An LEA may exercise the option to report ADA in order to try and increase its attendance rate above the State average. We estimate that approximately 100 LEAs may use this option and the amount of time would be 5 minutes to report the data as it is readily available and accessible to the LEA. The entire estimated hours for all applicants would be an insignificant 8.3 total hours for this component.

    Section 222.40

    Proposed § 222.40 would require SEAs that opt to use special additional factors for the selection of GCDs to provide a rationale demonstrating how the special factors selected impact the cost of education.

    In the past 10 years (2006-2016) there are 14 SEAs that have used the GCD provision. In those 10 years, only one SEA has used the special additional factors provision. The SEA already submits the data, they are simply now providing a very brief narrative justification. At a maximum, this should only take 20 minutes to complete as the majority of the work is already accounted for in the burden hour calculation. As a result, there is essentially no increase for this provision.

    Section 222.62

    The burden hours associated with this activity have already been factored into the active data collection total burden hours; there is no increase to the burden hour calculation.

    Section 222.94

    The proposed regulatory provision would require LEAs claiming children residing on Indian lands to respond in writing to comments, recommendations, and concerns from the parents of Indian children and tribal officials. There is an associated increase with this requirement for the LEA. There are approximately 800 LEAs that are required to comply with this new requirement. We estimate 1.3 hours for the completion of this requirement, which would result in an increase of 1,040 total burden hours.

    Burden Hour Estimates for the Impact Aid Section 8003 Information Collection Package

    The Impact Aid Program is extending the existing and approved 1810-0687, and renewing its section 8003 application package with this notice. The following charts identify the changes from the current information collection with the proposed substantive changes to this information collection. Some of the changes in burden hours are a result of the proposed regulations, while others are the result of more accurate numbers of impacted LEAs and to account for system enhancements that make reporting easier. The activities associated directly with the changes proposed in this notice have been denoted with an asterisk. Table 1 provides a summary of the total burden hours associated with completing an Impact Aid application. Table 2 breaks down the hours associated with the completion of tables 1-5 of the Impact Aid application for reporting an applicant's federally-connected children. All applicants must complete at least one of these tables to be eligible to receive funding. Table 3 breaks down the burden hours associated with supplemental information that some or all Impact Aid applicants must submit with their applications. Table 4 shows the dollar change associated with the changes in the burden hours. For more complete information on burden hours and the justifications, please refer to the Information Collection Request (ICR).

    Table 1—Summary of Burden Hours To Submit a Complete Impact Aid Application Package By regulatory section or subsection Total annual burden hours under current regulations Estimated total annual burden hours under
  • the proposed
  • regulations
  • 34 CFR 222.35, 34 CFR 222.50-52, Tables 1-5 139,140 103,126 34 CFR 222.37, Table 6 1,264 100 34 CFR 222.53, Table 7 217 217 34 CFR 222.141-143, Table 8 5 5 Reporting Construction Expenditures 40 40 Housing Official Certification Form 13 5 Indian Policies and Procedures (IPPs) 0 187 IPP Responses. * 0 1,040 Total 140,679 104,720 Number of LEAs 1,265 1,264 Average Hours Per LEA (total divided by number of LEAs) 111.2 82.8 * Denotes changes directly associated with the proposed regulatory changes.
    Table 2—Reporting Numbers of Federally-Connected Children on Tables 1-5 of the Impact Aid Application Task Current est. number Proposed est. number Average hours Total hours Explanation Parent-pupil surveys * 500,000 355,000 0.25 88,750 Assumes 355,000 federally-connected children identified through a survey form completed by a parent. The number is reduced due to new regulations requiring source check forms for children residing on Indian lands or children residing on eligible low rent housing. Source check with Federal official to document children living on Federal property (LEAs). * 500 1000 3 3,000 Assumes 3 hours verify information on a source check. Collecting and organizing data to report on Tables 1-5 in the Application (LEAs) 1,265 1,264 9 11,376 Assumes time to complete and organize survey/source check data on federally-connected children averages nine hours. Total Current 103,126 Total Previous 139,140 Change −36,014 * Denotes changes directly associated with the proposed regulatory changes. Table 3—Additional Reporting Tasks and Supplemental Information on Tables 6-10 of the Impact Aid Application Task Current est. number Proposed est. number Average hours Total hours Explanation Reporting enrollment and attendance data on Table 6 (LEAs). * 1,264 100 1 100 The proposed regulations would reduce the number even further to approximately 100 LEAs who will have a higher attendance rate than the State average. Collecting and reporting expenditure data for federally-connected children with disabilities on Table 7 (LEAs) 869 868 .25 217 This assumes that an average of 868 LEAs received a payment for children with disabilities in the previous year and is required by law to report expenditures for children with disabilities for the prior year. Reporting children educated in federally-owned school buildings on Table 8 (LEAs) 5 5 1 5 Assumes LEAs maintain data on children housed in the small number of schools owned by ED but operated by LEAs. Reporting expenditures of Section 8007 funds on Table 10 (LEAs) 159 159 0.25 40 Assumes that the LEAs eligible to receive these funds have ready access to financial reports to retrieve and report these data. Indian Policies and Procedures (IPPs) 625 625 0.3 187 The LEA does not have to collect any new information to meet this requirement. IPP Response * 0 800 1.3 1,040 This assumes some LEAs may have to respond to more than one tribe. Contact Form for Housing Undergoing Renovation or Rebuilding 10 10 0 0 The time associated is too small to calculate (<5 minutes per applicant). Housing Official Certification Form 10 10 .50 5 Amount of time for the housing official to estimate the number of school-age children that would have resided in the housing had it not been unavailable due to renovation or rebuilding. Total Current 1,594 Total Previous 1,529 Change 65 * Denotes changes directly associated with the proposed regulatory changes. Table 4—Estimation of Annualized Cost to Applicants Respondent Hours per
  • response
  • Rate
  • ($/hour)
  • Number of
  • respondents
  • Cost
    Parent Respondents * .25 10 355,000 $887,500 LEA Respondents 9 15 1,264 170,640 Total Cost 1,058,140 Prior Cost Estimate 1,443,992 Cost Change −385,852 * Denotes changes directly associated with the proposed regulatory changes.

    We have prepared an ICR for these information collection requirements. If you want to review and comment on the ICR, please follow these instructions:

    In preparing your comments you may want to review the ICR, including the supporting materials, in www.regulations.gov by using the Docket ID number specified in this notice. This proposed collection is identified as proposed collection 1810-0687.

    We consider your comments on this proposed collection of information in—

    • Deciding whether the proposed collection is necessary for the proper performance of our functions, including whether the information will have practical use;

    • Evaluating the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collection, including the validity of our methodology and assumptions;

    • Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information we collect; and

    • Minimizing the burden on those who must respond. This includes exploring the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques.

    Between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register, OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in these proposed regulations. Therefore, to ensure that OMB gives your comments full consideration, it is important that OMB receives your comments on this ICR by January 29, 2016. This does not affect the deadline for your comments to us on the proposed regulations.

    When commenting on the ICR for these proposed regulations, please specify the Docket ID number and indicate “Information Collection Comments” on the top of your comments.

    Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery related to the information collection requirements should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Mailstop L-OM-2E319LBJ, Room 2E115, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.041 Impact Aid)

    List of Subjects in 34 CFR Part 222

    Administrative practice and procedure, Education of individuals with disabilities, Elementary and secondary education, Federally affected areas, Grant programs—education, Indians—education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, School construction.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Ann Whalen, Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education proposes to amend part 222 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 222—IMPACT AID PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 222 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 7701-7714, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 222.2 is amended in paragraph (c) by: A. Revising paragraph (3)(iv) under the definition of “Membership”, and adding paragraph (3)(v). B. Revising the definition of “Parent employed on Federal property”.

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 222.2 What definitions apply to this part?

    (c) * * *

    Membership means the following:

    (3) * * *

    (iv) Attend the schools of the applicant LEA under a tuition arrangement with another LEA that is responsible for providing them a free public education; or

    (v) Reside in a State other than the State in which the LEA is located, unless the student is covered by the provisions of—

    (A) Section 8010(c) of the Act; or

    (B) A formal State tuition or enrollment agreement.

    Parent employed on Federal property. (1) The term means:

    (i) An employee of the Federal Government who reports to work on, or whose place of work is located on, Federal property, including a federal employee who reports to an alternative duty station on the survey date, but whose regular duty station is on Federal property.

    (ii) A person not employed by the Federal Government but who spends more than 50 percent of his or her working time on Federal property (whether as an employee or self-employed) when engaged in farming, grazing, lumbering, mining, or other operations that are authorized by the Federal Government, through a lease or other arrangement, to be carried out entirely or partly on Federal property.

    (2) Except as provided in paragraph (1)(ii) of this definition, the term does not include a person who is not employed by the Federal government and reports to work at a location not on Federal property, even though the individual provides services to operations or activities authorized to be carried out on Federal property.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7703)
    § 222.3 [Amended]
    3. Section 222.3 is amended by removing the phrase “September 30” in paragraph (b)(2) introductory text and adding in its place “June 30”. 4. Section 222.5 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) and (2) to read as follows:
    § 222.5 When may a local educational agency amend its application?

    (a) * * *

    (2) By June 30 of the Federal fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the LEA seeks assistance.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Those data were not available at the time the LEA filed its application and are acceptable to the Secretary; and

    (2) The LEA submits a written request to the Secretary with a copy to its SEA no later than June 30 of the Federal fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the LEA seeks assistance.

    5. Section 222.22 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 222.22 How does the Secretary treat compensation from Federal activities for purposes of determining eligibility and payments?

    (b) * * *

    (1) The LEA received revenue during the preceding fiscal year, including payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS or PILTs) and other payments received from any other Federal Department or agency, generated directly from the eligible Federal property or activities in or on that property; and

    6. Section 222.23 is revised to read as follows:
    § 222.23 How are consolidated LEAs treated for the purposes of eligibility and payment under section 8002?

    (a) Eligibility. An LEA formed by the consolidation of one or more LEAs is eligible for section 8002 funds, notwithstanding section 222.21(a)(1), if—

    (1) The consolidation occurred prior to fiscal year 1995 or after fiscal year 2005; and

    (2) At least one of the former LEAs included in the consolidation:

    (i) Was eligible for section 8002 funds in the fiscal year prior to the consolidation; and

    (ii) Currently contains Federal property that meets the requirements of 222.21(a) within the boundaries of the former LEA or LEAs.

    (b) Documentation required. In the first year of application following the consolidation, an LEA that meets the requirements of paragraph (a) must submit evidence that it meets the requirements of paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2)(ii).

    (c) Basis for foundation payment. (1) The foundation payment for a consolidated district is based on the total section 8002 payment for the last fiscal year for which the former LEA received payment. When more than one former LEA qualifies under paragraph (a)(2), the payments for the last fiscal year for which the former LEAs received payment are added together to calculate the foundation basis.

    (2) Consolidated LEAs receive only a foundation payment and do not receive a payment from any remaining funds.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7702(g) and Pub. L. 113-76)
    7. Section 222.24 is added to read as follows:
    § 222.24 How does a local educational agency that has multiple tax rates for real property classifications derive a single real property tax rate?

    An LEA that has multiple tax rates for real property classifications derives a single tax rate for the purposes of determining its Section 8002 maximum payment by dividing the total revenues for current expenditures it received from local real property taxes by the total taxable value of real property located within the boundaries of the LEA. These data are from the fiscal year prior to the fiscal year in which the applicant seeks assistance.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7702)
    8. Section 222.30 is amended in the definition of “free public education” by revising paragraph (2)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 222.30 What is “free public education”?

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Federal funds, other than Impact Aid funds and charter school startup funds (Title V, part B, subpart I of the Act), do not provide a substantial portion of the educational program, in relation to other LEAs in the State, as determined by the Secretary.

    § 222.32 [Amended]
    9. Section 222.32 is amended in paragraph (b) by adding the phrase “timely and complete” after the first instance of “its”. 10. Section 222.33 is amended by: A. Revising the section heading. B. Removing the phrase “the first” in paragraph (a)(1) and adding in its place “its”. C. Adding paragraph (c).

    The revision and addition reads as follows:

    § 222.33 When must an applicant make its membership count?

    (c) The data resulting from the count in paragraph (b) must be complete by the application deadline.

    § 222.34 [Removed and Reserved]
    10. Section 222.34 is removed and reserved. 11. Section 222.35 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), adding paragraphs (a)(3) and (4), and revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 222.35 How does a local educational agency count the membership of its federally connected children?

    (a) * * *

    (1) The applicant shall conduct a parent-pupil survey by providing a form to a parent of each pupil enrolled in the LEA to substantiate the pupil's place of residence and the parent's place of employment.

    (2) A parent-pupil survey form must include the following:

    (i) Pupil enrollment information (this information may also be obtained from school records), including—

    (A) Name of pupil;

    (B) Date of birth of the pupil; and

    (C) Name of public school and grade of the pupil.

    (ii) Pupil residence information, including:

    (A) The complete address of the pupil's residence, or other acceptable location information for that residence, such as a complete legal description, a complete U.S. Geological Survey number, or complete property tract or parcel number; and

    (B) If the pupil's residence is on Federal property, the name of the Federal facility.

    (3) If any of the following circumstances apply, the parent-pupil survey form must also include the following:

    (i) If the parent is employed on Federal property, except for a parent who is a member of the uniformed services on active duty, parent employment information, including—

    (A) Name (as it appears on the employer's payroll record) of the parent (mother, father, legal guardian or other person standing in loco parentis) who is employed on Federal property and with whom the pupil resides; and

    (B) Name of employer, name and complete address of the Federal property on which the parent is employed (or other acceptable location information, such as a complete legal description).

    (ii) If the parent is a member of the uniformed services on active duty, the name, rank, and branch of service of that parent.

    (iii) If the parent is both an official of, and accredited by a foreign government, and a foreign military officer, the name, rank, and country of service.

    (iv) If the parent is a civilian employed on a Federal vessel, the name of the vessel, hull number, homeport, and name of the controlling agency.

    (4)(i) Every parent-pupil survey form must include the signature of the parent supplying the information and the date of such signature, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4)(ii) of this section.

    (ii) An LEA may accept an unsigned parent-pupil survey form, or a parent-pupil survey form that is signed by a person other than a parent, only under unusual circumstances. In those instances, the parent-pupil survey form must show why the parent did not sign the survey form, and when, how, and from whom the residence and employment information was obtained. Unusual circumstances may include, but are not limited to:

    (A) A pupil who, on the survey date, resided with a person without full legal guardianship of the child while the pupil's parent or parents were deployed for military duty. In this case, the person with whom the child is residing may sign the parent-pupil survey form.

    (B) A pupil who, on the survey date, was a ward of the juvenile justice system. In this case, an administrator of the institution where the pupil was held on the survey date may sign the parent-pupil survey form.

    (C) A pupil who, on the survey date, was an emancipated youth may sign his or her own parent-pupil survey form.

    (D) A pupil who, on the survey date, was at least 18 years old but who was not past the 12th grade may sign his or her own parent-pupil survey form.

    (iii) The Department does not accept a parent pupil survey form signed by an employee of the school district who is not the student's mother, father, legal guardian or other person standing in loco parentis.

    (b) Source check. A source check is a type of survey tool that groups children being claimed on the Impact Aid application by Federal property. This form is used in lieu of the parent-pupil survey form to substantiate a pupil's place of residence or parent's place of employment on the survey date.

    (1) A source check is required to document children residing on Indian lands and children residing in eligible low-rent housing.

    (2) The source check must include sufficient information to determine the eligibility of the Federal property and the individual children claimed on the form.

    (3) A source check may also include:

    (i) Certification by a parent's employer regarding the parent's place of employment;

    (ii) Certification by a military or other Federal housing official as to the residence of each pupil claimed; or

    (iii) Certification by a military personnel official regarding the military active duty status of the parent of each pupil claimed as active duty uniformed services.

    12. Section 222.37 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) and (c) and adding paragraphs (d) and (e) to read as follows:
    § 222.37 How does the Secretary calculate the average daily attendance of federally connected children?

    (b)(1) For purposes of this section, actual ADA means raw ADA data that have not been weighted or adjusted to reflect higher costs for specific types of students for purposes of distributing State aid for education.

    (2) If an LEA provides a program of free public summer school, attendance data for the summer session are included in the LEA's ADA figure in accordance with State law or practice.

    (3) An LEA's ADA count includes attendance data for children who do not attend the LEA's schools, but for whom it makes tuition arrangements with other educational entities.

    (4) Data are not counted for any child—

    (i) Who is not physically present at school for the daily minimum time period required by the State, unless the child is—

    (A) Participating via telecommunication or correspondence course programs that meet State standards; or

    (B) Being served by a State-approved homebound instruction program for the daily minimum time period appropriate for the child; or

    (ii) Attending the applicant's schools under a tuition arrangement with another LEA.

    (c) An LEA may calculate its average daily attendance calculation in one of the following ways:

    (1) If an LEA is in a State that collects actual ADA data for purposes of distributing State aid for education, the Secretary calculates the ADA of that LEA's federally connected children for the current fiscal year payment as follows:

    (i) By dividing the ADA of all the LEA's children for the second preceding fiscal year by the LEA's total membership on its survey date for the second preceding fiscal year (or, in the case of an LEA that conducted two membership counts in the second preceding fiscal year, by the average of the LEA's total membership on the two survey dates); and

    (ii) By multiplying the figure determined in paragraph (c)(1)(i)(A) of this section by the LEA's total membership of federally connected children in each subcategory described in section 8003 and claimed in the LEA's application for the current fiscal year payment.

    (2) An LEA may submit its total preceding year average daily attendance data. The Secretary uses these data to calculate the ADA of the LEA's federally connected children by—

    (i) Dividing the LEA's preceding year's total ADA data by the preceding year's total membership data; and

    (ii) Multiplying the figure determined in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section by the LEA's total membership of federally connected children as described in paragraph (c)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

    (3) An LEA may submit attendance data based on sampling conducted during the previous fiscal year.

    (i) The sampling must include attendance data for all children for at least 30 school days.

    (ii) The data must be collected during at least three periods evenly distributed throughout the school year.

    (iii) Each collection period must consist of at least five consecutive school days.

    (iv) The Secretary uses these data to calculate the ADA of the LEA's federally connected children by—

    (A) Determining the ADA of all children in the sample;

    (B) Dividing the figure obtained in paragraph (c)(3)(iv)(A) of this section by the LEA's total membership for the previous fiscal year; and

    (C) Multiplying the figure determined in paragraph (c)(3)(iv)(B) of this section by the LEA's total membership of federally connected children for the current fiscal year, as described in paragraph (c)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

    (d) An SEA may submit data to calculate the average daily attendance calculation for the LEAs in that State in one of the following ways:

    (1) If the SEA distributes State aid for education based on data similar to attendance data, the SEA may request that the Secretary use those data to calculate the ADA of each LEA's federally connected children. If the Secretary determines that those data are, in effect, equivalent to attendance data, the Secretary allows use of the requested data and determines the method by which the ADA for all of the LEA's federally connected children will be calculated.

    (2) An SEA may submit data necessary for the Secretary to calculate a State average attendance ratio for all LEAs in the State by submitting the total ADA and total membership data for the State for each of the last three most recent fiscal years that ADA data were collected. The Secretary uses these data to calculate the ADA of the federally connected children for each LEA in the State by—

    (i)(A) Dividing the total ADA data by the total membership data for each of the three fiscal years and averaging the results; and

    (B) Multiplying the average determined in paragraph (d)(2)(i)(A) of this section by the LEA's total membership of federally connected children as described in paragraph (c)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

    (e) The Secretary may calculate a State average attendance ratio in States with LEAs that would benefit from such calculation by using the methodology in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section.

    13. Section 222.40 is amended in paragraph (d)(1)(i) by adding the phrase “or density” after the word “sparsity” and by adding paragraph (d)(1)(iii).

    The addition reads as follows:

    § 222.40 What procedures does a State educational agency use for certain local educational agencies to determine generally comparable local educational agencies using additional factors, for local contribution rate purposes?

    (d) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iii) The SEA must submit its rationale for selecting the additional factors and describe how they affect the cost of education in the LEA.

    14. Section 222.62 is amended: A. By redesignating paragraphs (a) and (b) as paragraphs (b) and (c), respectively. B. By adding a new paragraph (a). C. In newly redesignated paragraph (b), by removing the phrase “an additional assistance payment under section 8003(f)” and adding in its place “a heavily impacted payment”. D. In newly redesignated paragraph (c), by removing the phrase “an additional assistance payment under section 8003(f)” and adding in its place “a heavily impacted payment”.

    The addition reads as follows:

    § 222.62 How are local educational agencies determined eligible under section 8003(b)(2)?

    (a) An applicant that wishes to be considered to receive a heavily impacted payment must submit the required information indicating eligibility under §§ 222.63 or 222.64 with the annual section 8003 Impact Aid application.

    15. Section 222.91 is revised to read as follows:
    § 222.91 What requirements must a local educational agency meet to receive a payment under section 8003 of the Act for children residing on Indian lands?

    (a) To receive a payment under section 8003 of the Act for children residing on Indian lands, a local educational agency (LEA) must—

    (1) Meet the application and eligibility requirements in section 8003 and subparts A and C of these regulations;

    (2) Except as provided in paragraph (b), develop and implement policies and procedures in accordance with § 222.94; and

    (3) Include in its application for payments under section 8003—

    (i) An assurance that the LEA established these policies and procedures in consultation with and based on information from tribal officials and parents of those children residing on Indian lands who are Indian children, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section;

    (ii) An assurance that the LEA has provided a written response to the comments, concerns and recommendations received through the Indian policy and procedures consultation process, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section; and

    (iii) Either a copy of the policies and procedures, or documentation that the LEA has received a waiver in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) An LEA is not required to comply with § 222.94 with respect to students from a tribe that has provided the LEA with a waiver that meets the requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) A waiver must contain a voluntary written statement from an appropriate tribal official or tribal governing body that—

    (i) The LEA need not comply with § 222.94 because the tribe is satisfied with the LEA's provision of educational services to the tribe's students; and

    (ii) The tribe was provided a copy of the requirements in § 222.91 and § 222.94, and understands the requirements that are being waived.

    (2) The LEA must submit the waiver at the time of application.

    (3) The LEA must obtain a waiver from each tribe that has Indian children living on Indian lands claimed by the LEA on its application under section 8003 of the Act. If the LEA only obtains waivers from some, but not all, applicable tribes, the LEA must comply with the requirements of § 222.94 with respect to those tribes that did not agree to waive these requirements.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7703(a), 7704)
    16. Section 222.94 is revised to read as follows:
    § 222.94 What are the responsibilities of the LEA with regard to Indian policies and procedures?

    (a) An LEA that is subject to the requirements of § 222.91(a) must consult with and involve local tribal officials and parents of Indian children in the planning and development of:

    (1) Its Indian policies and procedures (IPPs), and

    (2) The LEA's general educational program and activities.

    (b) An LEA's IPPs must include a description of the specific procedures for how the LEA will:

    (1) Disseminate relevant applications, evaluations, program plans and information related to the LEA's education program and activities with sufficient advance notice to allow tribes and parents of Indian children the opportunity to review and make recommendations.

    (2) Provide an opportunity for tribes and parents of Indian children to provide their views on the LEA's educational program and activities, including recommendations on the needs of their children and on how the LEA may help those children realize the benefits of the LEA's education programs and activities. As part of this requirement, the LEA will—

    (i) Notify tribes and the parents of Indian children of the opportunity to submit comments and recommendations, considering the tribe's preference for method of communication, and

    (ii) Modify the method of and time for soliciting Indian views, if necessary, to ensure the maximum participation of tribes and parents of Indian children.

    (3) At least annually, assess the extent to which Indian children participate on an equal basis with non-Indian children in the LEA's education program and activities. As part of this requirement, the LEA will:

    (i) Share relevant information related to Indian children's participation in the LEA's education program and activities with tribes and parents of Indian children; and

    (ii) Allow tribes and parents of Indian children the opportunity and time to review and comment on whether Indian children participate on an equal basis with non-Indian children.

    (4) Modify the IPPs if necessary, based upon the results of any assessment or input described in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (5) Respond at least annually in writing to comments and recommendations made by tribes or parents of Indian children, and disseminate the responses to the tribe and parents of Indian children prior to the submission of the IPPs by the LEA.

    (6) Provide a copy of the IPPs annually to the affected tribe or tribes.

    (c)(1) An LEA that is subject to the requirements of § 222.91(a) must implement the IPPs described in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (2) Each LEA that has developed IPPs shall review those IPPs annually to ensure that they comply with the provisions of this section, and are implemented by the LEA in accordance with this section.

    (3) If an LEA determines, after input from the tribe and parents of Indian children, that its IPPs do not meet the requirements of this section, the LEA shall amend its IPPs to conform with those requirements within 90 days of its determination.

    (4) An LEA that amends its IPPs shall, within 30 days, send a copy of the amended IPPs to—

    (i) The Impact Aid Program Director for approval; and

    (ii) The affected tribe or tribes.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7704)
    § 222.95 [Amended]
    17. Section 222.95 is amended: A. In paragraph (c), by removing the number “60” and adding in its place “90”. B. In paragraph (d), by adding the phrase “or part of the” after the word “all”. C. By removing paragraphs (e), (f), and (g). 18. Section 222.161 is amended by: A. Adding the phrase “Except as provided in paragraph (a)(6),” to the beginning of paragraph (a)(5) and lowercasing the word “A”. B. Adding paragraphs (a)(6) and (b)(3). C. Revising paragraph (c).

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 222.161 How is State aid treated under section 8009 of the Act?

    (a) * * *

    (6)(i) If the Secretary has not made a determination 30 days before the beginning of the State's fiscal year, the State may request permission from the Secretary to make estimated or preliminary State aid payments that consider a portion of Impact Aid payments as local resources in accordance with this section.

    (ii) The State must include with its request an assurance that if the Secretary determines that the State does not meet the requirements of section 222.162 for that State fiscal year, the State must pay to each affected LEA, within 60 days of the Secretary's determination, the amount by which the State reduced State aid to the LEA.

    (iii) In determining whether to grant permission, the Secretary may consider factors including whether—

    (A) The Secretary certified the State under § 222.162 in the prior State fiscal year; and

    (B) Substantially the same State aid program is in effect since the date of the last certification.

    (b) * * *

    (3) For a State that has not previously been certified by the Secretary under § 222.162, or if the last certification was more than two years prior, the State submits projected data showing whether it meets the disparity standard in § 222.162. The projected data must show the resulting amounts of State aid as if the State were certified to consider Impact Aid in making State aid payments.

    (c) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this subpart:

    Current expenditures is defined in section 8013(4) of the Act. Additionally, for the purposes of this section it does not include expenditures of funds received by the agency under sections 8002 and 8003(b) (including hold harmless payments calculated under section 8003(e)) that are not taken into consideration under the State aid program and exceed the proportion of those funds that the State would be allowed to take into consideration under § 222.162.

    (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 7709)
    19. Section 222.162 is amended: A. In paragraph (c)(2) introductory text, by removing the phrase “on those bases” in the first sentence and adding in its place “using one of the methods in paragraph (d)”. B. Revising paragraph (d).

    The revision reads as follows:

    § 222.162 What disparity standard must a State meet in order to be certified and how are disparities in current expenditures or revenues per pupil measured?

    (d) Accounting for Special Cost Differentials. In computing per-pupil figures under paragraph (c) of this section, the State accounts for special cost differentials that meet the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section in one of four ways:

    (1) The Inclusion Method on a Revenue Basis. The State divides total revenues by a weighted pupil count that includes only those weights associated with the special cost differentials.

    (2) The Inclusion Method on an Expenditure Basis. The State divides total current expenditures by a weighted pupil count that includes only those weights associated with the special cost differentials.

    (3) The Exclusion Method on a Revenue Basis. The State subtracts revenues associated with the special cost differentials from total revenues, and divides this net amount by an unweighted pupil count.

    (4) The Exclusion Method on an Expenditure Basis. The State subtracts current expenditures that come from revenues associated with the special cost differentials from total current expenditures, and divides this net amount by an unweighted pupil count.

    20. Section 222.164 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 222.164 What procedures does the Secretary follow in making a determination under section 8009?

    (a) * * *

    (2) Whenever a proceeding under this subpart is initiated, the party initiating the proceeding shall provide either the State or all LEAs with a complete copy of the submission required in paragraph (b) of this section. Following receipt of the submission, the Secretary shall notify the State and all LEAs in the State of their right to request from the Secretary, within 30 days of the initiation of a proceeding, the opportunity to present their views to the Secretary before the Secretary makes a determination.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32618 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service 36 CFR Part 294 RIN 0596-AD26 Extension of Comment Period on the Proposed Rule on Roadless Area Conservation; National Forests System Lands in Colorado AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Forest Service published a notice in the Federal Register on November 20, 2015, initiating a 45-day comment period on the proposed rule on Roadless Area Conservation; National Forests System Lands in Colorado. The closing date for the 45-day comment period was January 4, 2016. The Agency is extending the comment period to January 15, 2016.

    DATES:

    The closing date for the proposed rule published on November 20, 2015 (80 FR 72665) has been extended. Comments must be received by January 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted electronically via the Internet to go.usa.gov/3JQwJ or to www.regulations.gov. Send written comments to: Colorado Roadless Rule, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 80401.

    All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be placed in the project record and available for public inspections and copying. The public may inspect comments received on this proposed rule at USDA, Forest Service, Ecosystem Management Coordination Staff, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on business days. Those wishing to inspect comments should call (202) 205-0895 ahead to facilitate an appointment and entrance to the building. Comments may also be inspected at USDA, Forest Service Rocky Mountain Regional Office, Strategic Planning Staff, 740 Simms, Golden, Colorado, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on business days. Those wishing to inspect comments at the Regional Office should call (303) 275-5156 ahead to facilitate an appointment and entrance to the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ken Tu, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, Rocky Mountain Regional Office at (303) 275-5156.

    Individuals using telecommunication devices for the deaf may call the Federal Information Relay Services at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The State of Colorado maintains that coal mining in the North Fork Coal Mining Area provides an important economic contribution and stability for the communities of the North Fork Valley. USDA and the Forest Service are committed to contributing to energy security, and carrying out the government's overall policy to foster and encourage orderly and economic development of domestic mineral resources.

    All existing Federal coal leases within CRAs occur in the North Fork Valley near Paonia, Colorado on the GMUG National Forests. Coal from this area meets the Clean Air Act definition for compliant and super-compliant coal, which means it has high energy value and low sulphur, ash, and mercury content. There are two mines currently holding leases within CRAs. One is operating, producing approximately 5.2 million tons of coal annually. The second is currently idle due to a fire and flood within their mine operation. The final rule accommodates continued coal mining opportunities within the North Fork Coal Mining Area. At approximately 19,500 acres, this area is less than 0.5% of the total 4.2 million acres of CRAs. The North Fork Coal Mining Area exception allows for the construction of temporary roads for exploration and surface activities related to coal mining for existing and future coal leases. The reinstatement of this exception does not approve any future coal leases, nor does it make a decision about the leasing availability of any coal within the State. Those decisions would need to undergo separate environmental analyses, public input, and decision-making.

    A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) has been prepared to complement the 2012 Final EIS for the Colorado Roadless Rule. The SEIS is limited in scope to address the deficiencies identified by the District Court of Colorado in High Country Conservation Advocates v. United States Forest Service (13-01723, D. Col), correction of boundary information, and to address scoping comments. In conjunction with the 2012 Final EIS, the SEIS discloses the environmental consequences of reinstating the North Fork Coal Mining Area exception into the Colorado Roadless Rule.

    The Forest Service wants to ensure that there is sufficient time for potentially affected parties, including States, to comment. Thus the Agency is providing an extended comment period for the proposed rule and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

    Reviewers may obtain a copy of the proposed rule and SEIS from the Forest Service Colorado Roadless staff Web site at go.usa.gov/3JQw, or from Regulations.gov Web site, www.regulations.gov.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Thomas L. Tidwell, Chief, Forest Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32872 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 50 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0572, EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0229; FRL-9940-78-OAR] RIN 2060-AS02 Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional Events AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; notice of availability of related guidance; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 20, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule titled, “Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional Events.” The EPA is extending the comment period on the proposed rule and the notice of availability of the related draft guidance that was scheduled to close on January 19, 2016. The new comment closing date will be February 3, 2016. We are extending the comment period at the request of several stakeholders to allow interested parties additional time to thoroughly review and analyze the noted documents and provide meaningful comments.

    DATES:

    The public comment period for the proposed rule and notice of availability of related draft guidance published in the Federal Register on November 20, 2015 (80 FR 72840), is being extended. Written comments must be received on or before February 3, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established separate dockets for the proposed rulemaking and the related draft guidance (available at http://www.regulations.gov). For the proposed rulemaking titled, “Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional Events,” the Docket ID No. is EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0572. For the related draft guidance titled, “Draft Guidance on the Preparation of Exceptional Events Demonstrations for Wildfire Events that May Influence Ozone Concentrations,” the Docket ID No. is EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0229. Information on both of these actions is posted at http://www2.epa.gov/air-quality-analysis/treatment-data-influenced-exceptional-events. Submit your comments, identified by the appropriate Docket ID, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. If you need to include CBI as part of your comment, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html for instructions. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make.

    For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information on this action, contact Beth W. Palma, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Environmental Protection Agency (C539-04), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711; telephone number (919) 541-5432; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    After considering the request of several stakeholders, the EPA has decided to extend the public comment period for this action until February 3, 2016. This extension will allow interested parties additional time to thoroughly review and analyze the noted documents and provide meaningful comments.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Stephen D. Page, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32899 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Parts 216, 225, and 252 [Docket DARS-2015-0045] RIN 0750-AI69 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions (DFARS Case 2015-D021) AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to consolidate requirements that are applicable to DoD contracts for private security functions performed in designated areas outside the United States, make changes regarding applicability, and revise applicable quality assurance standards.

    DATES:

    Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted in writing to the address shown below on or before January 29, 2016 to be considered in the formation of a final rule.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by DFARS Case 2015-D021, using any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by entering “DFARS Case 2015-D021” under the heading “Enter keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “DFARS Case 2015-D021.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “DFARS Case 2015-D021” on your attached document.

    Email: [email protected] Include DFARS Case 2015-D021 in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: 571-372-6094.

    Mail: Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Ms. Julie Hammond, OUSD (AT&L) DPAP/DARS, Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060.

    Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Julie Hammond, telephone 571-372-6174.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Requirements for Defense contractors performing private security functions outside of the United States are covered in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at 25.302 and the clause at FAR 52.225-26, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States, and supplemented at DFARS 225.302 and the clause at DFARS 252.225-7039, Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States. DoD is proposing to consolidate all requirements for Defense contractors performing private security functions in certain designated operational areas in the DFARS at 225.302 and the clause 252.225-7039.

    II. Discussion and Analysis

    A proposed FAR rule, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions (FAR case 2014-018), was published in the Federal Register at 80 FR 30202 on May 27, 2015, to make conforming changes to the FAR by removing the requirements specific to DoD contracts for private security functions. Under this proposed rule (DFARS case 2015-D021), DoD is proposing the following changes: (1) Amend DFARS 225.302 to require contracting officers to use the DFARS clause 252.225-7039 in lieu of the FAR clause 52.225-26, and (2) amend DFARS clause 252.225-7039 to include all of the requirements for DoD contractors performing private security functions outside the United States from FAR clause 52.225-26.

    The rule also proposes to amend DFARS clause 252.225-7039 to add “International Standard ISO 18788, Management System for Private Security Operations-Requirements with Guidance” as an approved alternative to the ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012, American National Standard, Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations—Requirements with Guidance. Many foreign countries do not accept use of foreign national standards. As such, restricting compliance to the American National Standard may deter private security contractors from other countries from competing on DoD contracts overseas, thus restricting our ability to access security services from host countries or coalition partner states. This is contrary to the DoD policy of promoting effective competition through outreach in global markets (see Better Buying Power 3.0, September 19, 2014). In order to expand the contractor base and promote competition, this rule proposes to allow Defense contractors performing private security functions outside the United States to comply with either the American National Standard, ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012, or the International Standard, ISO 18788.

    III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

    IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    DoD does not expect that this proposed rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. Nevertheless, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis has been prepared and is summarized as follows:

    This rule proposes to amend the DFARS to consolidate all requirements for DoD contractors performing private security functions outside the U.S. from the FAR 25.302 and the clause at FAR 52.225-26, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the Unites States, in DFARS 225.302 and the clause at DFARS 252.225-7039, Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States.

    The objectives of this rule are as follows:

    • Provide DoD contracting officers and contractors a single clause covering all requirements related to the performance of private security functions outside the United States that may be updated by DoD as policies are issued that affect only defense contractors.

    • Identify the international high-quality assurance standard “ISO 18788: Management System for Private Security Operations” as an approved alternative to the American standard “ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012” currently required by DFARS clause 252.225-7039.

    This proposed rule will apply to defense contractors performing private security functions outside of the United States in designated operational areas under DoD contracts. According to data available in the Federal Procurement Data System for fiscal year (FY) 2013, DoD awarded 159 contracts that required performance outside the United States, although not necessarily in a designated operation area, and cited the National American Industry Classification System code 561612, Security Guards and Patrol Services, of which 33 contracts (21%) were awarded to small businesses. In FY 2014, DoD awarded 123 such contracts, of which 31 contracts (25%) were to small businesses.

    The private security contractors are required to report incidents when: (1) A weapon is discharged by personnel performing private security functions; (2) personnel performing private security functions are attacked, killed, or injured; (3) persons are killed or injured or property is destroyed as a result of conduct by Contractor personnel; (4) a weapon is discharged against personnel performing private security functions or personnel performing such functions believe a weapon was so discharged; or (5) active, non-lethal countermeasures (other than the discharge of a weapon) are employed by personnel performing private security functions in response to a perceived immediate threat. As a regular record keeping requirement, private security contractors are required to keep appropriate records of personnel by registering in the Synchronized Predeployment Operational Tracker the equipment and weapons used by its personnel. The complexity of the work to prepare these records requires the expertise equivalent to that of a GS-11, step 5 with clerical and analytical skills to create the documents.

    The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. There are no known significant alternatives to the rule. The impact of this rule on small business is not expected to be significant.

    DoD invites comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

    DoD will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by this rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (DFARS Case 2015-D021), in correspondence.

    V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The rule contains information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). Accordingly, DoD has submitted a request for approval of a new information collection requirement concerning “Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States” to the Office of Management and Budget.

    A. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average .5 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

    The annual reporting burden estimated as follows:

    Respondents: 12.

    Responses per respondent: 4.

    Total annual responses: 48.

    Preparation hours per response: .5 hours, estimated.

    Total response Burden Hours: 24.

    B. Request for Comments Regarding Paperwork Burden.

    Written comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection, including suggestions for reducing this burden, should be sent to Ms. Jasmeet Seehra at the Office of Management and Budget, Desk Officer for DoD, Room 10236, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, or email [email protected], with a copy to the Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Ms. Julie Hammond, OUSD(AT&L)DPAP/DARS, Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060. Comments can be received from 30 to 60 days after the date of this notice, but comments to OMB will be most useful if received by OMB within 30 days after the date of this notice.

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the DFARS, and will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Ms. Julie Hammond, OUSD(AT&L)DPAP/DARS, Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060, or email [email protected] Include DFARS Case 2015-D021 in the subject line of the message.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 216, 225, and 252

    Government procurement.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR parts 216, 225, and 252 are amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 216, 225, and 252 continue to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and CFR chapter 1.

    PART 216—TYPES OF CONTRACTS
    216.405-2-71 [Amended]
    2. In section 216.405-2-71, amend paragraph (b) by removing “FAR 52.225-26, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions” and adding “252.225-7039, Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States”; PART 225—FOREIGN ACQUISITION
    225.302-6 [Amended]
    3. Amend section 225.302-6 introductory text by adding “instead of FAR clause 52.225-26, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States,” after “Functions Outside the United States,”; PART 252—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 4. Amend section 252.225-7039 by— a. Removing clause date “(JAN 2015)” and adding “(DEC 2015)” in its place; b. Redesignating paragraphs (a) and (b) as paragraphs (c) and (f) respectively; c. Adding new paragraphs (a) and (b); d. Revising newly designated paragraph (c); e. Adding paragraphs (d) and (e); f. In newly designated paragraph (f), removing “paragraph (b)” and adding “paragraph (f)” in its place.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    252.225-7039 Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States.

    (a) Definitions. As used in this clause—

    Full cooperation

    (1) Means disclosure to the Government of the information sufficient to identify the nature and extent of the incident and the individuals responsible for the conduct. It includes providing timely and complete response to Government auditors' and investigators' requests for documents and access to employees with information;

    (2) Does not foreclose any contractor rights arising in law, the FAR or the terms of the contract. It does not require—

    (i) The contractor to waive its attorney-client privilege or the protections afforded by the attorney work product doctrine; or

    (ii) Any officer, director, owner or employee of the contractor, including a sole proprietor, to waive his or her attorney-client privilege or Fifth Amendment rights; and

    (3) Does not restrict the contractor from—

    (i) Conducting an internal investigation; or

    (ii) Defending a proceeding or dispute arising under the contract or related to a potential or disclosed violation.

    Private security functions means the following activities engaged in by a contractor:

    (1) Guarding of personnel, facilities, designated sites or property of a Federal agency, the contractor or subcontractor, or a third party.

    (2) Any other activity for which personnel are required to carry weapons in the performance of their duties in accordance with the terms of this contract.

    (b) Applicability. If this contract is performed both in a designated area and in an area that is not designated, the clause only applies to performance in the designated area. Designated areas are areas outside the United States of—

    (1) Contingency operations;

    (2) Combat operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense;

    (3) Other significant military operations (as defined in 32 CFR part 159), designated by the Secretary of Defense upon agreement of the Secretary of State;

    (4) Peace operations, consistent with Joint Publication 3-07.3; or

    (5) Other military operations or military exercises, when designated by the Combatant Commander.

    (c) Requirements. The Contractor shall—

    (1) Ensure that all employees of the Contractor, who are responsible for performing private security functions under this contract, comply with 32 CFR part 159 and any orders, directives or instructions to contractors performing private security functions that are identified in the contract for—

    (i) Registering, processing, accounting for, managing, overseeing and keeping appropriate records of personnel performing private security functions;

    (ii) Authorizing, accounting for and registering in Synchronized Predeployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT), weapons to be carried by or available to be used by personnel performing private security functions;

    (iii) Identifying and registering in SPOT armored vehicles, helicopters and other military vehicles operated by Contractors performing private security functions; and

    (iv) In accordance with orders and instructions established by the applicable Combatant Commander, reporting incidents in which—

    (A) A weapon is discharged by personnel performing private security functions;

    (B) Personnel performing private security functions are attacked, killed, or injured;

    (C) Persons are killed or injured or property is destroyed as a result of conduct by Contractor personnel;

    (D) A weapon is discharged against personnel performing private security functions or personnel performing such functions believe a weapon was so discharged; or

    (E) Active, non-lethal countermeasures (other than the discharge of a weapon) are employed by personnel performing private security functions in response to a perceived immediate threat;

    (2) Ensure that the Contractor and all employees of the Contractor who are responsible for performing private security functions under this contract are briefed on and understand their obligation to comply with—

    (i) Qualification, training, screening (including, if applicable, thorough background checks) and security requirements established by 32 CFR part 159;

    (ii) Applicable laws and regulations of the United States and the host country and applicable treaties and international agreements regarding performance of private security functions;

    (iii) Orders, directives and instructions issued by the applicable Combatant Commander or relevant Chief of Mission relating to weapons, equipment, force protection, security, health, safety, or relations and interaction with locals; and

    (iv) Rules on the use of force issued by the applicable Combatant Commander or relevant Chief of Mission for personnel performing private security functions; and

    (3) Provide full cooperation with any Government-authorized investigation of incidents reported pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this clause and incidents of alleged misconduct by personnel performing private security functions under this contract by providing—

    (i) Access to employees performing private security functions; and

    (ii) Relevant information in the possession of the Contractor regarding the incident concerned; and

    (4) Comply with ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012, American National Standard, Management System for Quality of Private Security Company Operations—Requirements with Guidance or the International Standard ISO 18788, Management System for Private Security Operations—Requirements with Guidance (located at http://www.acq.osd.mil/log/PS/psc.html).

    (d) Remedies. In addition to other remedies available to the Government—

    (1) The Contracting Officer may direct the Contractor, at its own expense, to remove and replace any Contractor or subcontractor personnel performing private security functions who fail to comply with or violate applicable requirements of this clause or 32 CFR part 159. Such action may be taken at the Government's discretion without prejudice to its rights under any other provision of this contract;

    (2) The Contractor's failure to comply with the requirements of this clause will be included in appropriate databases of past performance and considered in any responsibility determination or evaluation of past performance; and

    (3) If this is an award-fee contract, the Contractor's failure to comply with the requirements of this clause shall be considered in the evaluation of the Contractor's performance during the relevant evaluation period, and the Contracting Officer may treat such failure to comply as a basis for reducing or denying award fees for such period or for recovering all or part of award fees previously paid for such period.

    (e) Rule of construction. The duty of the Contractor to comply with the requirements of this clause shall not be reduced or diminished by the failure of a higher- or lower-tier Contractor or subcontractor to comply with the clause requirements or by a failure of the contracting activity to provide required oversight.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32874 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Part 217 [Docket DARS-2015-0067] RIN 0750-AI80 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Multiyear Contract Requirements (DFARS Case 2015-D009) AGENCY:

    Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is proposing to amend the DFARS to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and a section of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2015, which address various requirements for multiyear contracts.

    DATES:

    Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted in writing to the address shown below on or before February 29, 2016 to be considered in the formation of a final rule.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by DFARS Case 2015-D009, using any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by entering “DFARS Case 2014-D009” under the heading “Enter keyword or ID” and selecting “Search.” Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “DFARS Case 2014-D009.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “DFARS Case 2015-D009” on your attached document.

    Email: [email protected] Include DFARS Case 2015-D009 in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: 571-372-6094.

    Mail: Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Ms. Tresa Sullivan, OUSD(AT&L)DPAP/DARS, Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060.

    Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Tresa Sullivan, telephone 571-372-6176.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    DoD is proposing to amend the DFARS to implement section 816 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 (Pub. L. 113-291) and section 8010 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2015 (Division C, Title VII of Pub. L. 113-235), which address various requirements for multiyear contracts.

    Section 816 of the NDAA amends subsection (i) of 10 U.S.C. 2306b to clarify that a multiyear contract may not be entered into for a defense acquisition program that has been specifically authorized by law to be carried out using multiyear authority unless the Secretary of Defense certifies in writing that certain conditions have been met not later than 30 days before award of the contract (10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)).

    Section 8010 makes the following additional changes:

    • A multiyear contract may not be terminated without 30-day prior notification to the congressional defense committees.

    • A multiyear contract may not be entered into unless the head of the agency ensures that—

    ○ Cancellation provisions in the contract do not include consideration of recurring manufacturing costs of the contractor associated with the production of unfunded units to be delivered under the contract;

    ○ The contract provides that payments to the contractor under the contract shall not be made in advance of incurred costs on funded units; and

    ○ The contract does not provide for a price adjustment based on a failure to award a follow-on contract.

    II. Discussion and Analysis

    DoD is proposing to make the following changes to the DFARS:

    • Amend 217.170(b) to change “10 days before termination” to “30 days before termination” and remove the references to 10 U.S.C. 2306.

    • Add the new section 8010 requirements for multiyear contracts to the list of requirements at 217.172(e).

    • Clarify at 217.172(h) that the requirements are applicable to defense acquisition programs specifically authorized by law to be carried out using multiyear contract authority.

    • Change 217.172(h)(2) to require the Secretary of Defense to certify to Congress by no later than “30 days before entry” into a contract, instead of no later than “March 1 of the year in which the Secretary requests legislative authority to enter” in such contract.

    • Delete paragraph (7) at DFARS 217.172(h), which requires a notification to congressional defense committees 30 days prior to award, and redesignate paragraph (h)(8) as paragraph (7). Add to the newly redesignated paragraph (7), a reference to 10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(4).

    • Update cross references to 10 U.S.C. 2306b(i) throughout section 217.172.

    III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

    IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    DoD does not expect this proposed rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because this rule implements requirements for the head of agency, which are procedures internal to the Government. However, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis has been performed and is summarized as follows:

    The purpose of this proposed rule is to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to require the head of agency to—

    • Provide written notice to the congressional defense committees at least 30 days before termination of any multiyear contract;

    • For defense acquisition programs specifically authorized by law to be carried out using multiyear authority, ensure the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress certain conditions for the multiyear contract have been met no later than 30 days before entry into the contract; and

    • Ensure prior to award of a multiyear contract that—

    ○ Cancellation provisions in the contract do not include consideration of recurring manufacturing costs associated with the production of unfunded units;

    ○ The contract provides that payments to the contractor shall not be made in advance of incurred costs on funded units; and

    ○ The contract does not provide for a price adjustment based on failure to award a follow-on contract.

    The objective of this rule is to implement section 816 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and section 8010 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2015, which address various requirements for multiyear contracts.

    The rule is not expected to impact small entities, because the rule applies to multiyear contract authorities for specific major defense acquisition programs for which small entities would not have the capacity or infrastructure to fulfill or sustain. Small entities may perform under multiyear contracts as subcontractors; however, the rule invokes requirements that apply at the prime contract level.

    This rule does not create any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements. The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. There are no known significant alternatives to the rule that will meet the requirements of the statute.

    DoD invites comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

    DoD will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by this rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (DFARS Case 2015-D009), in correspondence.

    V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The rule does not contain any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 217

    Government procurement.

    Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR part 217 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 217 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and CFR chapter 1.

    PART 217—SPECIAL CONTRACTING METHODS
    217.170 [Amended]
    2. Amend section 217.170 in paragraph (b) by— a. Removing “10 days” and adding “30 days” in its place; and b. Removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(l)(6), 10 U.S.C. 2306c(d)(3),”; 3. Amend section 217.172— a. In paragraph (c), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)” in its place; b. In paragraph (e)(1), by removing the word “and”; c. In paragraph (e)(2), by removing the period and adding a semicolon in its place; and d. By adding paragraphs (e)(3), (4), and (5); e. In paragraph (h) introductory text, by removing “under the authority described in paragraph (b) of this section:” and adding “for a defense acquisition program that has been specifically authorized by law to be carried out using multiyear contract authority:” in its place; f. In paragraph (h)(2) introductory text, by removing “March 1 of the year in which the Secretary requests legislative authority to enter” and adding “30 days before entry” in its place and by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(A) through (G)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)” in its place; g. In paragraph (h)(2)(i)— i. By adding “-1” after “FAR 17.105”; ii. By adding a comma after “(5)”; and iii. By removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(A)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(A)” in its place; h. In paragraph (h)(2)(ii), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(B)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(B)” in its place; i. In paragraph (h)(2)(iii), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(C)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(C)” in its place; j. In paragraph (h)(2)(iv), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(D)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(D)” in its place; k. In paragraph (h)(2)(v), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(E)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(E)” in its place; l. In paragraph (h)(2)(vi), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(F)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(F)” in its place; m. In paragraph (h)(2)(vii), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(1)(G)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(3)(G)” in its place; n. In paragraph (h)(3), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(4)(A)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(5)(A)” in its place; o. In paragraph (h)(4), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(4)(B)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(5)(B)” in its place; p. In paragraph (h)(5), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(5)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(6)” in its place; q. In paragraph (h)(6), by removing “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(6)” and adding “10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(7)” in its place; r. Removing paragraph (h)(7); s. Redesignating paragraph (h)(8) as (h)(7); and t. In newly redesignated paragraph (h)(7) introductory text, adding “(10 U.S.C. 2306b(i)(4))” after “law's specific savings requirement” before the period.

    The additions read as follows:

    217.172 Multiyear contracts for supplies.

    (e) * * *

    (3) Cancellation provisions in the contract do not include consideration of recurring manufacturing costs of the contractor associated with the production of unfunded units to be delivered under the contract;

    (4) The contract provides that payments to the contractor under the contract shall not be made in advance of incurred costs on funded units; and

    (5) The contract does not provide for a price adjustment based on a failure to award a follow-on contract (section 8008(a) of Pub. L. 105-56 and similar sections in subsequent DoD appropriations acts).

    [FR Doc. 2015-32873 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 173 [Docket Number PHMSA-2009-0303 (HM-213D)] RIN 2137-AE53 Hazardous Materials: Safety Requirements for External Product Piping on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable Liquids AGENCY:

    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Withdrawal of notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    PHMSA is withdrawing the notice proposing to stop the transportation of flammable liquid material in unprotected external product piping on DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles as mandated by the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act” or the “FAST Act”. Although PHMSA is withdrawing its rulemaking proposal, the agency will continue to consider methods to improve the safety of transporting flammable liquid by cargo tank motor vehicle. PHMSA will also continue to analyze current incident data and improve the collection of future incident data to assist in making an informed decision on methods to address this issue further, if warranted.

    DATES:

    The notice of proposed rulemaking published January 27, 2011 (76 FR 4847) is withdrawn as of December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dirk Der Kinderen, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, telephone (202) 366-8553; or Leonard Majors, Office of Hazardous Materials Technology, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, telephone (202) 366-4545.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. What action is PHMSA taking? II. What did PHMSA propose and why? III. Why is PHMSA taking this action? IV. Background on Development of the Rulemaking A. Regulatory Assessment B. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) C. Post-GAO Report Analysis D. Commenter Concerns 1. Incident Analysis 2. Cost and Benefit Estimation E. Findings V. Conclusion I. What action is PHMSA taking?

    PHMSA is withdrawing notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) “Hazardous Materials: Safety Requirements for External Product Piping on Cargo Tanks Transporting Flammable Liquids” (HM-213D) published January 27, 2011 (76 FR 4847) under Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0303. This rulemaking proposed to stop flammable liquids from being transported in unprotected product piping (generally referred to as the “wetlines”) on the cargo tank of existing and newly manufactured DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles.

    II. What did PHMSA propose and why?

    PHMSA proposed to stop the transportation of flammable liquids in unprotected external product piping on DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles (CTMVs) unless the piping was protected from accident or bottom damages or the piping was designed or emptied in a way to remove the hazard of containing flammable liquid. PHMSA proposed this change because exposed piping containing flammable liquid can contribute to the severity of accidents involving a CTMV and an automobile, and because we currently do not require external piping containing flammable liquid to be protected like other hazardous material. Except for flammable liquid, § 173.33(e) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR: Parts 171-180) does not allow the transport of liquid hazardous material in piping of a DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicle unless it is equipped with accident damage or bottom damage protection devices.1 PHMSA also issued this proposed requirement to fully address the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendation H-98-27. This recommendation reads:

    1 The HMR currently prohibits liquid hazardous materials in Divisions 5.1 (oxidizer), 5.2 (organic peroxide), 6.1 (toxic), and Class 8 (corrosive to skin only) to remain in wetlines after loading or unloading. Due to complications associated with the loading practices and economics of transporting Class 3 flammable liquids, the provision does not apply to flammable liquids.

    Prohibit the carrying of hazardous materials in external piping of cargo tanks, such as loading lines that may be vulnerable to failure in an accident.

    III. Why is PHMSA withdrawing the rulemaking?

    PHMSA is withdrawing the rulemaking in accordance with a congressional mandate. On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act”.2 The Act outlines legislation to improve the Nation's surface transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, transit systems, and the rail transportation network. Among its many provisions is a mandate for PHMSA to withdraw this rulemaking no later than thirty days from the date of enactment of the FAST Act (see section 7206 of the Fast Act).

    2 See Public Law 114-94, 129; Stat. 1312, December 4, 2015.

    IV. Background on Development of this Rulemaking

    Although PHMSA is congressionally mandated to withdraw this rulemaking, below we discuss past and recent actions in development of this rulemaking.

    A. Regulatory Assessment

    PHMSA developed the assessment to evaluate regulatory action using data from hazardous materials incident reports over a 12.25-year time period (January 1999 to March 2011). PHMSA used a manual purging system 3 as the workable option to address the safety hazard of flammable liquid in unprotected wetlines. Under previous rulemaking efforts, PHMSA identified several technologies and design considerations that could allow operators of CTMVs to address this safety hazard and asked for public input on the practicality of using these options to protect against or prevent the safety hazard.4 PHMSA's conclusions regarding the practicality of alternatives remain valid. PHMSA believes a manual purging system is the only workable option based on our understanding of currently available and implemented technologies for addressing this safety hazard.

    3 The manual purging system is a pneumatic system consisting of tubes, check valves, and a control box installed on a CTMV that uses compressed air to clear the wetlines by forcing the liquid material out of the piping and into the cargo tank body.

    4 On December 30, 2004, the agency published an NPRM (69 FR 78375) that discussed a number of possible alternative actions.

    In developing an analysis of the benefits of the rulemaking, PHMSA considered avoided injuries, property damage, traffic delays, evacuations, emergency response, and environmental damage; in developing an analysis of the costs, we considered the installation, maintenance, and associated impacts of a equipping a CTMV with a manual purging system. PHMSA evaluated various implementation timelines ranging from a 5-year period to a 20-year period as the alternative actions. The best-case scenario benefit-cost ratio (BCR) was estimated to be 0.78, based on a 20-year period (which would result in a de facto applicability to new construction only, based on PHMSA's assumption of a 20-year useful service life for a CTMV), and a 7 percent discount rate.5 The assessment used the DOT's Value of Statistical Life (VSL) of $6.1 million at the time, which now has been revised to $9.2 million. Based on PHMSA's additional review of data following the publication of the NPRM and the outcome of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit (discussed below), the number of fatal incidents was reduced from four to three. These two changes were not accounted for in the assessment, but the net effect on the BCR is minor because the increase in benefits from the revised VSL is similar in magnitude to the decrease in benefits associated with the decrease in fatal incidents.

    5 A BCR is an indicator of the relative benefits of a project to its cost. A BCR of 1.0 indicates the benefits equal the cost. Thus, for the best-case scenario the BCR of 0.78 indicates that the estimated costs of complying with the rulemaking are greater than the estimated safety benefits.

    B. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report and the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) 6

    6 See Public Law 112-141, 126; Stat. 405, July 6, 2012.

    The MAP-21, enacted in July 2012, temporarily stopped PHMSA from issuing a final rule and required the GAO to examine the risks of, and alternatives to, transporting flammable liquids in wetlines. The GAO examined PHMSA's process for identifying wetlines incidents among its reported hazardous materials incidents, analyzed how useful PHMSA's incident data from January 1999 through March 2011 are for identifying such incidents, and examined whether the data accurately captured information about the incidents' consequences.

    In its final report, the GAO concluded that because PHMSA does not specifically provide an option to indicate a wetlines incident on its incident reporting form, it is difficult to identify the number of wetlines incidents from PHMSA's incident data.7 Additionally, due to inaccuracy of the damages associated with incidents, GAO believes the magnitude of the risks wetlines pose to safety is also unclear. It also noted that, although PHMSA has made changes to improve the quality of its incident data, the concerns that GAO identified call into question the usefulness of PHMSA's data for evaluating the benefits of avoiding these incidents—particularly the extent to which a wetlines rule would prevent fatalities. Finally, the GAO stated that PHMSA's economic analysis used to support the NPRM does not account for these limitations and therefore, the analysis does not adequately convey the uncertainty of PHMSA's calculated benefit of the rule. Moreover, GAO concluded that PHMSA's analysis has not adequately addressed the market uncertainty with regard to the technology used as the basis for addressing the safety hazard. See the GAO report for the complete discussion of the GAO audit and summary of conclusions and recommendations.

    7 CARGO TANK TRUCKS: Improved Incident Data and Regulatory Analysis Would Better Inform Decisions about Safety Risks, Report to Congressional Committees, GAO-13-721, September 2013, http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657755.pdf.

    C. Post-GAO Report Analysis

    Following the GAO report, PHMSA examined the regulatory assessment, taking into account the GAO findings as well as industry comments to help make a determination on whether to withdraw the rulemaking. This analysis also took into account the updated VSL. The analysis considered five scenarios for calculating the estimated societal benefits and four scenarios for the estimated costs. This additional analysis served as a sensitivity analysis of the regulatory assessment for the NPRM. The different scenarios for estimated benefits were based on:

    • The incident analysis data used in the regulatory assessment—i.e., “incident data”;

    • the incident data, including only those incidents involving a fire;

    • the incident data plus the Yonkers, NY fatal incident data;

    • the incident data, adjusted to account for the GAO recommendations; and

    • the incident data, adjusted to account for the GAO recommendations plus the Yonkers, NY fatal incident data.

    PHMSA calculated a range of potential BCR outcomes, based on the five scenarios for estimated benefits and the two scenarios for estimated average costs. It is reasonable to assume that the BCR lies somewhere between the highest and lowest BCR outcomes from this analysis. Under the low average cost estimate, in four of the five estimated benefit scenarios the BCR at a 7 percent discount rate was not net beneficial. The BCRs ranged from 0.77 to 1.1 for the low average cost scenario. In comparison, under the high average cost estimate, in all five estimated benefit scenarios the BCR at a 7 percent discount rate was not net beneficial. The BCRs ranged from 0.47 to 0.67 for the high average cost scenario.

    D. Commenter Concerns

    In general, most commenters to the NPRM opposed the proposed ban and indicated that they do not believe wetlines containing flammable liquid are a safety risk, citing PHMSA's own statistics that the frequency of wetlines incidents is low and the frequency of incidents that lead to injury or death is extremely low. They also expressed concerns regarding PHMSA's incident analyses, regulatory assessment, implementation of the rule, and safety impacts of the rule. The remaining commenters either supported the rulemaking on the basis of improved safety for the public or offered suggestions to strengthen or make clearer PHMSA's efforts to address the safety hazard. The opposition comments mainly address PHMSA's incident analysis and development of the costs and benefits of the regulatory assessment. PHMSA summarizes these concerns in greater detail below. This summary of comments is for the benefit of the reader for understanding of stakeholder information presented during the notice and comment portion of this rulemaking. The complete body of comments both in opposition to and support of the rule is available for review at the docket to the rulemaking (www.regulations.gov).

    1. Incident Analysis

    Commenters questioned whether all incidents and their associated data used in PHMSA's preliminary analyses should be included in the assessment with respect to: (1) The criteria used to decide whether an incident qualified as a wetlines incident; (2) whether deaths, injuries, or any other costs were actually the result of the material contained in the wetlines; and (3) relevance of proposed requirements. For example, they asserted that any incident involving the release of more than fifty gallons 8 without a fire resulting from a wetlines release should be excluded based on the assumption that a spill of more than fifty gallons indicates that there was a breach of the cargo tank itself (e.g., tank shell rupture, damage to an internal valve) such that any action to comply with the proposed performance standard—like purging the wetlines—would not have prevented the larger release of material. Additionally, they argued that data indicating damages not directly linked to wetlines damage or release should not be included. For example, costs associated with damage to the CTMV from a motor vehicle collision should not be included in the total for purposes of the analysis.

    8 A basic assumption used in wetlines incident determination is that depending on the number of cargo tank compartments and the size of the product piping, wetlines can contain up to 50 gallons of product.

    PHMSA agrees that only those costs associated with damages to the wetline and release of material from the wetlines should be counted. Unfortunately, under the current format of incident report information it is difficult to parse out the costs of wetlines-related damages from the total body of damages where damages occur beyond those associated with wetlines, unless some assumptions are made. For instance, in the case of an incident involving a fire, PHMSA assumed the fire was started and was propagated by the wetlines release.

    Upon consideration of the comments, PHMSA conducted further review of the 172 incidents that were initially determined to be wetlines incidents in our preliminary analyses. Prior to this review, PHMSA became aware that some of the data in our original set of incidents was not accurate and likely led to the critical comments. This data had since been corrected and a revised list of incidents was placed in the docket (8/12/2011; PHMSA-2009-0303-0048). PHMSA also reviewed additional CTMV incidents that occurred from January 1, 2009 to March 31, 2011 to capture more recent data. This review resulted in a final determination of 132 wetlines incidents. A total of 59 incidents where removed after a review of the original 172 incidents, and 19 incidents were added after a review of more recent data.

    2. Benefit and Cost Estimation

    Manual Purging System. Most commenters took issue with PHMSA's estimation of the costs of installing a manual purging system.9 In general, they believe PHMSA underestimated the total cost presented through incorrect assumptions and inclusion of cost factors that do not reflect real-world applications. Commenters indicated that PHMSA underestimated the true costs of a manual purging system by, for example, not incorporating a markup cost. Commenters provide a range of cost estimates from $4,000 to $10,000. Some also think the regulatory assessment should have been developed using a mix of costs of the manual system and the more expensive automated purging system. Commenters suggest this because they believe that owners will invest in the automated system out of concern that drivers will forget to operate the manual system and because an automated system will provide the added benefit of discovery of a faulty emergency valve and would continue to purge the lines during transportation if such a faulty valve were present. Details of this pricing can be found in the regulatory assessment and other documents submitted to the docket for this rulemaking. PHMSA's post-GAO analysis took into consideration the cost of the automated system.

    9 PHMSA used a per-unit price of $2,300 based on the advertised price of the one manufacturer of purging systems currently designing and installing such systems.

    Operational delays. Many commenters argued that PHMSA has not accounted for delay costs to the shipper or carrier due to operation of a purging system at the loading rack of a terminal facility. The delay would be caused by the driver of the CTMV waiting anywhere from three to six minutes for the system to complete the purging process prior to moving the CTMV. Commenters based this on their understanding that the regulations would not allow the vehicle to move until it is essentially empty—only a residue remains in the piping. Completion of the purging process would be an indicator that it is empty.

    Weight penalty. PHMSA estimated that a manual purging system is expected to add about 48 pounds to a CTMV. To the extent that a shipper or carrier operates at Federal or State gross weight limits, the shipper or carrier would have to ship less product because of this additional weight. Commenters disagreed with the estimate that only 25% of vehicle trips are at the maximum allowable weight and therefore affected by the additional weight of a purging system. Informal surveys of carriers by the American Trucking Association and the National Tank Truck Carriers found that as much as 80% of trips are at the maximum allowable weight. Again, PHMSA's post-GAO analysis accounted for this.

    Yonkers, NY Incident. Commenters believe the Yonkers, NY incident that led to NTSB Safety Recommendation (H-98-27) should not be included in the regulatory assessment for several reasons, including:

    (1) The belief that the fire in the incident was not caused by a wetlines release because the original NTSB accident report concluded that the fire was fed by fuel from the cargo tank compartments, implying a breach of the cargo tank;

    (2) the incident predates the incident analysis period; and

    (3) the uncertainty that such an event will ever occur again—no data supports the PHMSA assumption that this is a 20-year event.

    E. Findings

    Although a safety hazard exists, the regulatory assessment and further analysis indicate that prohibiting the transportation of flammable liquids in wetlines is unlikely to be cost beneficial. Additionally, the GAO report has pointed out a number of uncertainties with the data collection and analysis that would have a direct impact on PHMSA's ability to fully characterize the degree of risk that wetlines containing flammable liquids pose to the safety of transportation.

    V. Conclusion

    PHMSA is withdrawing this rulemaking in accordance with the FAST Act. PHMSA, however, will continue to examine this issue, particularly by monitoring flammable liquid wetlines incidents, in consideration of any future actions. Likely future actions include non-regulatory initiatives to improve the safety of transporting flammable liquid in unprotected external product piping on CTMVs.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 22, 2015, under authority delegated in 49 CFR Part 1.97. William S. Schoonover, Deputy Associate Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32681 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-60-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 393 [Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0428] RIN 2126-AB67 Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification for Commercial Motor Vehicles Operated by United States-Domiciled Motor Carriers; Withdrawal AGENCY:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of withdrawal.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) withdraws its June 17, 2015, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which would have required each commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operated by a United States-domiciled (U.S.-domiciled) motor carrier engaged in interstate commerce to display a label applied by the vehicle manufacturer or a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Registered Importer to document the vehicle's compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) in effect as of the date of manufacture. FMCSA withdraws the NPRM because commenters raised substantive issues which have led the Agency to conclude that it would be inappropriate to move forward with a final rule based on the proposal. Because the FMVSSs critical to the operational safety of CMVs are cross-referenced in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), FMCSA has determined that it can most effectively ensure that motor carriers maintain the safety equipment and features provided by the FMVSSs through enforcement of the FMCSRs, making an additional FMVSS certification labeling regulation unnecessary.

    DATES:

    The NPRM “Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification for Commercial Motor Vehicles Operated by United States-Domiciled Motor Carriers,” published on June 17, 2015 (80 FR 34588), is withdrawn as of December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this Notice of withdrawal, contact Mr. Michael Huntley, Chief, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Policy, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, by telephone at (202) 366-9209 or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background/General Issues Raised During Comment Period

    On June 17, 2015, FMCSA published an NPRM to require motor carriers to display an FMVSS certification label (80 FR 34588).

    The FMCSRs require that motor carriers operating CMVs in the U.S., including Mexico- and Canada-domiciled carriers, ensure that the vehicles are equipped with the applicable safety equipment and features specified in 49 CFR part 393, Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operations, which includes cross references to safety equipment and features that must be installed at the time of production. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires vehicle manufacturers to certify that the vehicles they produce for sale and use in the U.S. meet all applicable FMVSSs in effect at the time of manufacture. In addition, they must affix an FMVSS certification label to each vehicle in accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR part 567.

    As proposed, the NPRM would have required U.S.-domiciled motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce to use only CMVs that display an FMVSS certification label affixed by the vehicle manufacturer indicating that the vehicle: (1) Satisfied all applicable FMVSSs in effect at the time of manufacture; or (2) has been modified to meet those standards and legally imported by a DOT-Registered- Importer. In the absence of such a label (e.g., because of vehicle damage or deliberate removal), the motor carrier would have been required to obtain, and a driver upon demand present, a letter issued by the vehicle manufacturer stating that the vehicle satisfied all applicable FMVSSs in effect on the date of manufacture.

    Discussion of Comments to the NPRM

    FMCSA received 19 comments on the NPRM. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which represents State and Provincial agencies throughout North America responsible for motor carrier safety enforcement, supported the proposed rule, but stated “While CVSA supports the NPRM, it should be noted that, in our opinion, the best way to prevent non-FMVSS-compliant vehicles from operating in the U.S. by U.S.-domiciled motor carriers is to identify them at the point of titling, vehicle registration, or importation. Roadside inspections should be the secondary means of verifying that CMVs were FMVSS compliant at the time of manufacture.” One anonymous commenter also supported the proposed rule.

    Each of the remaining commenters opposed the proposal, including six trade associations representing the trucking industry, equipment manufacturers, and dealers (One trade association submitted two comments each covering a different issue). These associations are the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA). Three motor carriers submitted comments: Double D Distribution (Mark Droubay), United Parcel Service (UPS) and YRC Freight (YRC). Nine individuals submitted comments, including Congressman Richard L. Hanna from New York.

    Comments in Opposition to the NPRM

    Commenters opposed the proposed rule for the following reasons:

    • The rule would provide no safety benefits.

    • FMVSS markings, particularly on trailers, are subject to damage, over-painting, and loss over the life of the vehicle. No certification marking is permanent.

    • Many of the manufacturers have gone out of business, been purchased, or are overseas; obtaining a replacement certification or letter may not be possible.

    • The proposal does not recognize the issues raised by interlining and other operational patterns.

    • The rule would impose significant costs on carriers, which FMCSA has failed to estimate.

    • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation on which the proposal was based resulted from a bus crash that was unrelated to the standards to which the coach was manufactured.

    No Safety Benefits

    Several of the industry associations, the three motor carriers, and seven individuals who opposed the proposed rule in general stated that it would not enhance safety and that FMCSA had provided no safety rationale for the rule. OOIDA stated that most small carriers and owner/operators purchase used equipment. OOIDA also stated that it failed to see how maintaining proof of a CMV's compliance at the time of manufacture would improve safety years later. ATA and TCA stated that original certification has little if anything to do with the condition and safe operation of a CMV after it is purchased. ATA stated that FMCSA had provided no evidence of any crashes where lack of certification was responsible for the crash. UPS stated that the proposal appeared to be for the convenience of inspectors, not to improve safety.

    Issues Related to Markings

    ATA and others stated that no external markings on a CMV are permanent. YRC stated that it was primarily concerned with markings on trailers, converter dollies, and container chassis, which are affixed to the outside of the vehicle and subject to wear and tear from road conditions and may be painted over or removed during refurbishment. ATA submitted information from a survey of motor carriers. Of the responding motor carriers, 42 percent reported having missing or unreadable certification labels. No motor carrier surveyed indicated that the equipment did not have a label because it had not been designed to be compliant with the FMVSSs.

    Issues Related to Replacement Certifications

    The industry associations stated that FMCSA had not understood the difficulty of obtaining a replacement certification. ATA, Congressman Richard L. Hanna and others stated that many of the vehicle manufacturers have gone out of business or have been sold. Those that are out of business could not produce a replacement; the new owners of the manufacturers that have been sold might not have the records or may be unwilling to be liable for vehicles produced by the original manufacturer. ATA provided a list of 21 manufacturers that are out of business or have been sold. It also noted that current manufacturers may be reluctant out of fear of liability to provide certificates for equipment that may not have been maintained or may have been altered. For intermodal chassis, many of which were manufactured overseas, ATA stated that it will not be possible to identify or find the manufacturer.

    EMA raised a related issue: Multiple companies are involved in the manufacture and certification of most Class 3 through 7 vehicles and about half of the Class 8 vehicles. Under the proposal, EMA stated that a carrier would have to contact the final-stage manufacturer for a replacement, but the identity of that manufacturer may not be obvious as it is frequently not the nameplate company. EMA stated that its members charge a fee for replacement certificates.

    YRC and UPS stated that the alternative of a letter, kept with the equipment, is problematic. YRC stated that trailers and converter dollies are routinely used by non-owners during interlining, intermodal agreements, and equipment leases. UPS stated that the requirement to keep the letter with the trailer would require a secure compartment, which trailers do not currently have. ATA stated that containers and trailers may be sealed and asked if FMCSA was expecting inspectors to break seals to review a letter that spoke to compliance years in the past. ATA also stated that the proposed rule would result in penalizing drivers and carriers for missing labels on equipment they did not own which was in safe operating condition. ATA stated that for intermodal chassis, a database exists that would provide a better source of the information for inspectors.

    Cost Impacts

    The industry associations and motor carriers stated that FMCSA had failed to consider or estimate the significant costs associated with the proposed rule. They listed the following potential costs:

    • The time required to survey equipment to determine whether certificate information still existed on equipment.

    • The time required to identify the manufacturer and obtain a replacement certificate or letter.

    • The time required for a driver/carrier picking up equipment owned by another carrier to check for the label, certificate, or letter.

    • The operational disruption if CMVs had to be removed from service until replacements could be obtained or replaced altogether if the manufacturer no longer exists.

    • The fees charged for replacement certificates.

    UPS estimated that of its 77,000 trailers, 10,000 no longer have the decals. It would need to identify the manufacturer, if it still exists, to request a replacement. YRC stated that the initial audit of its equipment would require hundreds of hours of time by drivers, mechanics, and others, followed by the process of obtaining a replacement label if possible. If the manufacturer no longer exists, the rule would require that the equipment be removed from service. One carrier (32 tractors with 70 trailers) estimated that it would cost $18,000 to add/replace labels currently missing and $4,000-$6,000 annually to audit the equipment to ensure that tags are still there. ATA cited a comment from a member that it was charged $150 for a replacement decal for a trailer. ATA provided data from 20 carriers on the number of pieces of equipment missing decals—8,411 out of 47,000 CMVs.

    ATA also cited another member, a propane distributor, which had 29 trailers without certificates, most manufactured by companies that no longer exist. The proposal would require replacement of all of these trailers. NPGA stated that even when replacements could be obtained, taking the equipment out of service until the certificate or letter arrived would disrupt services and impose significant costs to lease replacements. NPGA and others noted that, even if the manufacturer is still in business, the carrier has no way to compel it to process a request quickly. EMA noted that completing a letter would take an hour or more of a manufacturer's expert's time. NADA's American Truck Dealers Division stated that any requirement that dealers not sell CMVs that lack certificates would be unacceptable and could cost dealers $3 million annually (assuming 1 hour/week to examine vehicles and obtain replacements), it also noted that small dealerships spend considerably more per employee on compliance than larger firms do.

    OOIDA stated that FMCSA must do a cost-benefit analysis and then publish a supplemental notice.

    Other Comments

    NPGA stated that it could support the requirement if it applied only to CMVs manufactured after the effective date of the rule. In the alternative, FMCSA should set the compliance period at 24 months to give carriers enough time to implement the provision without disrupting operations. UPS and YRC stated that they would support a prospective requirement provided the label was a permanent plate. UPS stated that it understood that the data connecting serial number and status at manufacture are available in State databases. Although these data may not be accessible at roadside inspection, they are available electronically. OOIDA stated that the burden should be on the seller of used vehicles, not the purchaser.

    Many of the industry commenters stated that the NTSB report did not provide a justification for the proposal.

    FMCSA Decision To Withdraw the NPRM

    After review and analysis of the public comments discussed in the preceding section, FMCSA has decided to withdraw the June 2015 NPRM. We will continue to uphold the operational safety of CMVs on the Nation's highways through continued enforcement of the FMCSRs, many of which cross-reference specific FMVSSs.

    Generally, U.S.-domiciled motor carriers operating CMVs (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) in interstate commerce have access only to vehicles that either were manufactured domestically for use in the United States with the required certification label or were properly imported into the United States in accordance with applicable NHTSA regulations, including certification documentation requirements of 49 CFR part 567. Furthermore, FMCSA's safety regulations incorporate and cross reference the FMVSSs critical to continued safe operation of CMVs.

    FMCSA believes continued strong enforcement of the FMCSRs in real-world operational settings, coupled with existing regulations and enforcement measures, will ensure the safe operation of CMVs in interstate commerce. Under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, FMCSA and its State and local partners conduct more than 2.3 million roadside vehicle inspections each year of CMVs (domiciled in the United States, Canada, or Mexico) operating in interstate commerce. Enforcement of the FMCSRs, and by extension the FMVSSs they cross-reference, is the bedrock of these compliance assurance activities.

    Simply requiring CMVs to bear FMVSS certification labels would not ensure their operational safety. An FMVSS label certifying compliance with performance standards applicable to lights, brakes, and other wear items does not ensure real-world safety in the absence of compliance with the operational and maintenance standards imposed by the FMCSRs, especially in the case of vehicles built many years ago. Although the presence or absence of an FMVSS compliance label can certainly provide a useful tool in this regard, inspection of the CMV's compliance with the FMCSRs remains the benchmark by which enforcement officials identify and remove from service vehicles likely to break down or cause a crash. The American public is better protected by the FMCSRs than solely through a label indicating a CMV was originally built to certain manufacturing performance standards.

    Therefore, after careful consideration, FMCSA has concluded it is not necessary to amend the FMCSRs to require CMVs to display an FMVSS certification label in order to achieve effective compliance with the FMVCRSs.

    In view of the foregoing, the NPRM concerning certification of compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards is withdrawn.

    Issued under the authority of delegation in 49 CFR 1.87 on December 23, 2015. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32868 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
    80 250 Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Information Collection; Recreation Fee and Wilderness Program Administration AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension to the information collection: Recreation Fee and Wilderness Program Administration.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received in writing on or before February 29, 2016 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments concerning this notice should be addressed to Al Remley, USDA Forest Service, Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources Program, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 1125, Washington, DC 20250.

    Comments also may be submitted via facsimile to Al Remley at 202-403-8986 or by email at [email protected]

    The public may inspect comments received at the USDA Forest Service Washington Office, during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to facilitate entry to the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Al Remley, Fee Program Manager, at 202-403-8986 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Recreation Fee and Wilderness Program Administration.

    OMB Number: 0596-0106.

    Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Extension.

    Abstract: The Federal Lands Recreation and Enhancement Act (16 U.S.C. 6801-6814) authorizes the Forest Service to issue permits and charge fees for recreation uses of Federal recreational lands and waters, such as group activities, recreation events and motorized recreational vehicle use. In addition, permits may be issued as a means to disperse use, protect natural and cultural resources, provide for the health and safety of visitors, allocate capacity, and/or help cover the higher costs of providing specialized services.

    FS-2300-26, Recreation Fee Envelope. Information collected includes the amount enclosed in the envelope, date in, date out, number of days paid, time and date of purchase, visitor's vehicle model and license number and registered State, visitor's home zip code, number in party, other charges (if applicable), visitor's Senior, Access Pass or Golden Passport number (if applicable), planned departure date (if applicable), site name, camp's site type: Single campsite or group campsite (if applicable), campsite number (if applicable), and the number in group.

    FS-2300-26a, Recreation Fee Envelope, is the same form as FS-2300-26; the difference is the color of the form is different to signify a specific region's use.

    FS-2300-30, Visitor's Permit. Information collected includes the visitor's name and address, area(s) to be visited, dates of visit, length of stay, location of entry and exit points, method of travel, number of people in the group, and where applicable, the number of pack and saddle stock (that is, the number of animals either carrying people or their gear), the number of dogs, and the number of watercraft and/or vehicles (where allowed).

    The Forest Service employee who completes the Visitor's Permit will note on the permit any special restrictions or important information the visitor should know. The visitor receives a copy of the permit and instructions to keep the permit with them for the duration of the visit.

    FS-2300-32, Visitor Registration Card. Information collected includes the visitor's name and address, area(s) to be visited, dates of visit, length of stay, location of entry and exit points, method of travel, number of people in the group, and where applicable, the number of pack and saddle stock (that is, the number of animals either carrying people or their gear) in the group, the number of dogs, and the number of watercraft and/or vehicles (where allowed).

    FS-2300-43, Permit for Short-Term, Noncommercial Use of Government-Owned Cabins and Lookouts is used to record contact information including name, address, and telephone number, requested dates of occupancy, party size, and additional items if applicable, such as number of pack animals and/or snowmobiles. If unable to collect this information, National Forests would not be able to manage their permit programs or disperse use, protect natural and cultural resources, provide for the health and safety of visitors, allocate capacity, and/or help cover the higher costs of providing specialized services on National Forest System recreational lands.

    FS-2300-47, National Recreation Application, is a form used to apply for a recreation permit. Information collected includes the applicant's name, address, phone number and email address, location and activity type, date and time of requested use, itinerary, number in party, entry and exit points, day or overnight use, method of travel (if applicable), group organization or event name (if applicable), group leader name and contact information (if applicable), vehicle or boat registration and license number and State of issue (if applicable), type and number of boats, stock or off-highway vehicles (if applicable), and assessed fee and method of payment (if applicable).

    FS-2300-48, National Recreation Permit, is used to authorize specific activities at particular facilities or areas. Information collected includes the group or individual's name, responsible person's signature, address, phone number, date of permit, method of travel, license number and description of vehicle and tow type, payment method and amount, number and types of water craft (if applicable), number in a group at a cabin or campsite (if applicable), number and type of off-highway vehicles or other vehicles, and number and type of other use (if applicable).

    This information is used to manage the application process and to issue permits for recreation uses of Federal recreational lands and waters. The information will be collected by Federal employees and agents who are authorized to collect recreation fees and/or issue recreation permits. Name and contact information will be used to inform applicants and permit holders of their success in securing a permit for a special area. Number in group, number and type of vehicles, water craft, or stock may be used to assure compliance with management area direction for recreational lands and waters and track visitation trends. A National Forest may use zip codes to help determine where the National Forest's visitor base originates. Activity information may be used to improve services. Personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and vehicle registration information will be secured and maintained in accordance with the system of records, National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS) USDA/FS-55.

    Estimate of Annual Burden: 3-15 minutes.

    Type of Respondents: Individuals.

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 2,363,600.

    Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 121,781 hours.

    Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Glenn P. Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National, Forest System.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32847 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service RIN 0596-AD14 Ski Area Water Clause AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of final directive.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service or Agency) is amending its internal directives for ski area concessions by adding two clauses to the Special Uses Handbook, Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2709.11, Chapter 50, addressing the sufficiency of water for operation of ski areas on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The Forest Service recognizes the importance of winter sports opportunities on NFS lands and the need to address the sufficiency of water for ski areas operating on NFS lands. By addressing this need, this final directive will promote the long-term sustainability of ski areas on NFS lands and the economies of the communities that depend on revenue from those ski areas.

    DATES:

    This directive is effective January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The final directive will be available for inspection at the office of the Director, Recreation and Heritage Resources Staff, Forest Service, USDA, 4th Floor Central, Sidney R. Yates Federal Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. Those wishing to inspect these documents are encouraged to call ahead to facilitate access to the building. Copies of documents in the record may be requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The final directive will be posted on the Forest Service's Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses on the effective date. Only the sections of the FSH that are the subject of this notice have been posted, i.e., FSH 2709.11, Special Uses Handbook, Chapter 50, Standard Forms and Supplemental Clauses, Section 52.4.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sean Wetterberg, National Winter Sports Program Manager, Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources staff, 801-975-3793, or Jean Thomas, National Water Rights Program Manager, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, and Rare Plants staff, 202-205-1172. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., eastern daylight time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Background and Need for the Final Directive Constitutional and Statutory Authority

    The Forest Service's authority to manage lands under its jurisdiction derives from the Property Clause of the United States Constitution, which empowers Congress to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the . . . Property belonging to the United States.” U.S. Const. art. IV, sec. 3, cl. 2. The Supreme Court has emphasized that Congressional authority over Federal lands is “without limitations.” Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529, 539 (1976). In turn, Congress entrusted the Forest Service with authority to “make such rules and regulations and establish such service as will insure the objects of the [national forests], namely to regulate their occupancy and use and to preserve the forests thereon from destruction.” Organic Administration Act of 1897 (16 U.S.C. 551). The Organic Administration Act constitutes an “extraordinarily broad” delegation to the Forest Service to regulate use of NFS lands and “will support Forest Service regulations and management . . . unless some specific statute limits Forest Service powers.” Charles F. Wilkinson & H. Michael Anderson, Land and Resource Planning in the National Forests 59 (1987). See also Wyoming Timber Indus. Ass'n v. United States Forest Serv., 80 F. Supp. 2d 1245, 1258-59 (D. Wyo. 2000). In the Organic Administration Act, Congress explicitly recognized that Forest Service regulations may affect the use of water on NFS lands (16 U.S.C. 481) (water on NFS lands may be used “under the laws of the United States and the rules and regulations established thereunder”).

    The Forest Service has broad authority to regulate and condition the use and occupancy of NFS lands under the Term Permit Act of 1915 (16 U.S.C. 497) (authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to permit use and occupancy of National Forest land “upon such terms and conditions as he may deem proper”); Multiple Use—Sustained Yield Act (MUSYA) (16 U.S.C. 529) (authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to develop and administer the surface resources of the National Forests); and Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1765) (authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to impose terms and conditions of rights-of-way on Federal land). In 1986, Congress directly addressed the Forest Service's authority to regulate development of ski areas on NFS lands. In the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b), Congress explicitly provided that permits are to be issued “subject to such reasonable terms and conditions as the Secretary deems appropriate” (16 U.S.C. 497b(b)(7)).

    Regulatory Authority

    Consistent with its constitutional and statutory authority, the Forest Service regulates the occupancy and use of NFS lands, including ski area operations, through issuance of special use authorizations (36 CFR part 251, subpart B). The Forest Service must include in special use authorizations terms and conditions that the Forest Service deems necessary to protect Federal property and economic interests (36 CFR 251.56(a)(ii)(A)); efficiently manage the lands subject to and adjacent to the use (36 CFR 251.56(a)(ii)(B)); protect the interests of individuals living in the general area of the use who rely on resources of the area (36 CFR 251.56(a)(ii)(E)); and otherwise protect the public interest (36 CFR 251.56(a)(ii)(G)).

    Purpose of the Final Directive

    One of the Forest Service's statutory duties is to provide the American public with outdoor recreation opportunities on NFS lands on a sustainable basis. One of these recreation opportunities is skiing, as many ski areas are operated on NFS lands under a permit issued by the Forest Service. Because water for snowmaking and other uses is critical to the continuation of ski areas on NFS lands, the Forest Service has a strong interest in addressing the long-term availability of water to operate permitted ski areas. This final directive will promote the long-term sustainability of ski areas on NFS lands by addressing the long-term availability of water to operate ski areas before permit issuance, during the permit term, and upon permit termination or revocation. Providing for the sustainability of ski areas on NFS lands will support jobs and the local economies that depend on revenue from ski areas on Federal lands. There are 122 ski areas that encompass about 180,000 acres of lands managed by the Forest Service. Ski areas receive roughly 23 million visitors annually, who contribute $3 billion yearly to local economies and support approximately 64,000 full- and part-time jobs in rural communities.

    Additionally, the final directive will reduce administrative costs to the United States by providing for more effective administration of ski area permits. The final directive will provide Agency employees and ski area permit holders with a consistent and comprehensive understanding of how water rights and water facilities should be managed under a ski area permit. Specifically, the final directive will provide direction related to the treatment of ski area water rights and authorization of water facilities under ski area permits, including at permit issuance, during the permit term, and upon permit termination or revocation.

    Approach of the Final Directive

    The final directive contains two clauses for ski area water rights, one for eastern States that follow the riparian doctrine for water rights and one for western States that follow the prior appropriation doctrine for water rights. Under a riparian doctrine system, water rights are appurtenant to the land, whereas under a prior appropriation doctrine system, water rights may be severed from the land. Most ski areas on NFS lands are in western states that adhere to the prior appropriation doctrine.

    For the last 30 years, the Forest Service has required ownership by the United States, either solely or in narrow circumstances jointly with the permit holder, of water rights developed on NFS lands to support operation of ski areas in prior appropriation doctrine states. This policy was motivated by the concern that if water rights used to support ski area operations are severed from a ski area—for example, are sold for other purposes—the Forest Service would lose the ability to offer the area to the public for skiing.

    The final directive does not provide for ski area water rights to be acquired in the name of the United States; instead, the final directive focuses on sufficiency of water to operate ski areas on NFS lands. This modified approach for ski areas is appropriate given the characteristics of ski area water rights and ski areas. Unlike water rights diverted from and used on NFS lands by holders of other types of special use permits, ski area water rights may involve long-term capital expenditures. In western States like Colorado and New Mexico, holders of ski area permits may have to purchase senior water rights at considerable expense to meet current requirements for snowmaking to maintain viability. Holders of ski area permits need to show the value of these water rights as business assets, particularly during refinancing or sale of a ski area. The value of these water rights is commensurate with the significant investment in privately owned improvements at ski areas. These investments were recognized by Congress in enactment of the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act, which authorizes permit terms of up to 40 years. 16 U.S.C. 497b(b)(1).

    In addition to these financial issues, the land ownership patterns at ski areas—particularly the larger ones—often involve a mix of NFS and private lands inside and outside the ski area permit boundary, which makes it difficult to implement a policy of sole Federal ownership for ski area water rights. Much of the development at ski areas is on private land at the base of the mountains. As a result, water diverted and used on NFS lands in the ski area permit boundary is sometimes used on private land, either inside or outside the permit boundary.

    With respect to sufficiency of water for ski area operations, the final directive includes a definition for the phrase, “sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area,” and clarifies when and how the holder must demonstrate sufficiency of water to operate the permitted ski area and new ski area water facilities; addresses availability of Federally owned ski area water rights during the permit term; and addresses availability of holder-owned ski area water rights during the permit term and upon permit revocation or termination. In particular, the final directive:

    • Requires applicants for a ski area permit to submit documentation prepared by a qualified hydrologist, i.e., an individual with the requisite education (e.g., in geology, forestry, soils, or engineering), training, and experience in hydrology to address sufficiency of water, or licensed engineer demonstrating sufficiency of water to operate the permitted ski area before permit issuance;

    • Requires the permit holder to submit documentation prepared by a qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer demonstrating a sufficient quantity of water to operate a ski area water facility, as defined by paragraph F.1.a and b of the final directive, before it is installed;

    • Requires the permit holder to demonstrate a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area before transferring or repurposing original water rights (water rights with a point of diversion and use inside the ski area permit boundary that were originally established by a permit holder) during the permit term;

    • Addresses the availability of Federally owned ski area water rights during the permit term;

    • Provides that Federally owned original water rights remain in Federal ownership;

    • Requires the holder to maintain all ski area water rights, and reserves the right of the United States to maintain Federally owned original water rights;

    • Requires the holder to offer to sell the holder's interest in original water rights to the succeeding permit holder upon permit termination or revocation; and

    • If the succeeding permit holder declines to purchase the holder's interest in original water rights jointly owned by the United States, requires the holder to offer to sell that interest at market value to the United States.

    Water clauses for special uses other than ski areas are not affected by this final directive.

    2. Response to General Comments on the Proposed Directive Public Input

    Prior to publishing the proposed directive for public comment, the Forest Service conducted four listening sessions and three open houses in April 2013 to identify interests and views from a diverse group of stakeholders regarding a revised water clause for ski areas (78 FR 21343, Apr. 10, 2013). Two listening sessions were held in Washington, DC; one was held in Denver, Colorado; and one was held in the Lake Tahoe area in California. Additionally, open houses were held in Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Lake Tahoe area in California. The Agency used input from these listening sessions and open houses in developing the proposed directive.

    On June 23, 2014, the Forest Service published the proposed directive in the Federal Register (79 FR 35513). The proposed directive was posted online at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-23/pdf/2014-14548.pdf. The Forest Service received 12,721 letters in response to the proposed directive, of which 35 were unique. Additionally, the Agency provided a 120-day government-to-government Tribal consultation period beginning on July 28, 2014. The Agency received written responses from 5 Tribes.

    Comments Generally in Favor of the Proposed Directive

    Comment: More than 12,000 commenters were generally in favor of the proposed directive and offered various reasons as to why they supported the proposed directive. It was characterized as a carefully crafted directive that balanced protecting rivers and streams with commercial interests. One commenter praised the Agency for balancing the fundamental principles of Agency land management with ski industry expectations. These principles include being able to carry out the Forest Service's statutory responsibilities to manage NFS lands on behalf of the American people, to assert control over water that originates and is used on NFS lands for multiple-use purposes, and to apply conditions of use to special use authorizations. Several county or regional commenters believed the proposed directive protected the long-term viability of skiing and winter sports in mountain communities that have tourism-based economies while preserving the economic viability of ski areas operating on Federal lands.

    Response: The Forest Service agrees with these comments.

    Comments Generally Opposed to the Proposed Directive

    Comment: Several commenters representing the ski industry, other business interests, or water districts and municipalities were generally opposed to the proposed directive. The ski industry asserted that the proposed directive was a heavy-handed approach that would be counterproductive to the desire to maintain ski area uses over the long term. Additionally, some commenters stated that the proposed directive was overbroad and exceeded federal authority, particularly in regards to proposed Clause D-30. Some water districts or municipalities simply objected to the proposed directive as drafted and requested that it not be adopted or revised.

    Response: Several important substantive modifications have been made in the final directive in response to comments the Agency received on the proposed directive. The final directive does not insert the Forest Service into day-to-day management of ski areas water rights. Rather, the final directive takes the Forest Service out of day-to-day management of ski area water rights by providing for the holder to establish, acquire, maintain, and perfect original water rights. Specific comments and responses related to proposed Clause D-30 are contained herein.

    General Comments

    Comment: One commenter suggested that the Federal Register notice for the final directive clarify that the Forest Service has not consistently required ski areas to acquire water rights in the name of the United States. This commenter believed that the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive was misleading in indicating that the proposed directive was a substantial change from prior policy.

    Response: While there may be examples of inconsistent application of prior policy, the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive correctly characterizes that policy.

    Comment: One commenter believed that the issues raised by the Agency could be addressed with existing mechanisms. This commenter requested that the Forest Service withdraw the proposed directive and consult with the States to address Forest Service participation in water allocation and management processes.

    Response: The Agency believes that the final directive is needed to address management of water resources on NFS lands and in particular to ensure that ski areas providing public services on NFS lands will have a sufficient quantity of water to operate. The Agency has made several significant changes to the proposed directive in response to comments received. The primary change with respect to ski area water rights is a shift in emphasis from non-severability to ensuring a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area. The Agency believes that the public comment period provided reasonable opportunity for States and others to provide input on the proposed directive. The proposed and final directives do not affect the States' role in allocating water rights in States that follow the prior appropriation doctrine.

    Comment: One commenter stated that the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive suggests that the Forest Service has had a uniform practice of administering special use permit clauses requiring the permit holder to acquire water rights in the name of the United States, but in many cases these clauses were not enforced. This commenter recommended clarifying in the final directive that the clauses in the final directive will displace all prior ski area water clauses, assuming that the Forest Service modifies the proposed directive to be acceptable as identified in the comments. Further, one commenter urged the Forest Service not to enforce prior ski area water clauses in prior or existing ski area permits.

    Another commenter submitted that there are probably many ski area permits that have no provision for United States ownership or control of water rights. This commenter believed that holders of those permits have little incentive to request inclusion of the proposed clause in their permits. The commenter also noted that often when ski area permits are modified, the amendment addresses only the proposed change that triggered the amendment (e.g., expansion of the permit area). This commenter suggested that the Forest Service make a concerted effort to add the new clause to ski area permits when other modifications are made to the permits.

    Response: Per the instructions in the final directive, once the final directive goes into effect, clauses D-30 and D-31 supersede all previous ski area water rights clauses in the Directive System. When ski area permits are issued, reissued, or modified under 36 CFR 251.61 to reflect new, changed, or additional uses or area, the appropriate new clause (D-30 or D-31) will be included in ski area permits, and any other water clauses in the permits will be removed.

    Holders of existing ski area permits that are not being reissued or modified under 36 CFR 251.61 may opt to amend their permit to include the appropriate new clause within one year of the effective date of the final directive, provided they:

    (1) Agree to have all water facilities on NFS lands that are used primarily for operation of the ski area and that are not authorized under a separate permit:

    (a) Authorized by their ski area permit;

    (b) designated on a map attached to the permit; and

    (c) included in an inventory in an appendix to the permit; and

    (2) submit documentation prepared by their qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer:

    (a) Demonstrating that they hold or can obtain a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area; and

    (b) identifying all water sources, water rights, and water facilities necessary to demonstrate a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area, including all original water rights; all water facilities authorized by the ski area permit; and any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service.

    These requirements, which are enumerated in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the instructions for clauses D-30 and D-31, must be met to implement the new clauses.

    Per National Ski Areas Association, Inc. v. United States Forest Service, 910 F. Supp. 2d 1269 (D. Colo. 2012), the 2011 and 2012 ski area water clauses in existing permits are not enforceable. However, previous water clauses in ski area permits are valid and enforceable as long as they remain in the permit.

    Comment: One commenter suggested that the Forest Service needs an effective tool to ensure ski area compliance with this directive. In this commenter's experience, ski area permit holders fight enforcement of even minor requirements that get in the way of the industry's development plans. This commenter noted that when a ski area signs a permit with the new water clause, the ski area must abide by that clause, as was the case with prior water clauses in ski area permits. The commenter further stated that the American public cannot afford future litigation on legal requirements that a ski area agrees to one day and disavows later.

    Response: The Agency agrees that the terms of a ski area permit executed by the holder are binding on the holder. When the appropriate water clause in the final directive is included in a ski area permit executed by the holder and the Forest Service, it will be binding on and enforceable against the holder.

    Comment: One commenter noted that the proposed directive would not change the Forest Service's policy on water rights for special uses other than ski areas. This commenter believed that the Forest Service would continue to take a possessory interest in water rights for other special uses, which would continue to affect municipal water providers, the agricultural and energy industries, and all other water users.

    Response: The proposed and final directives affect only ski area permits. Changes to water clauses for other special uses are outside the scope of the proposed and final directives. The possessory interest provision in Forest Service directives applies only to water rights for Forest Service programs administered on NFS lands, i.e., to permits where both the water facility and the water use are on NFS lands. Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2541.32, para. 2. The possessory interest provision does not apply to water rights held by municipal water providers and the agricultural and energy industries, since these water rights are not associated with both a water facility and water use on NFS lands. Likewise, the possessory interest provision does not apply to water rights held by other water users that are not associated with a point of diversion and water use on NFS lands.

    Comment: Commenters questioned the Agency's legal authority to manage water rights on NFS lands and included citations in support of this position. One commenter requested that the Forest Service specifically identify the statutory provisions granting the Agency authority to control water rights. Another commenter noted that Congress granted the Forest Service authority to permit the use of water rights on NFS lands, but not otherwise regulate them.

    Response: Prior appropriation doctrine States adjudicate and allocate water rights for all water users, including the Federal government. The Forest Service has the authority to manage use and occupancy of NFS lands, including use of NFS lands for ski areas. The Forest Service has broad authority to condition special use authorizations that allow use and occupancy of NFS lands, including the authority to put water clauses in permits to ensure sufficiency of water for authorized uses and to protect public property, public safety, and natural resources on NFS lands. The Agency cited numerous authorities in the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive and this Federal Register notice supporting this position. 79 FR 35516 (June 23, 2014); 16 U.S.C. 481, 497, 497b, 529, 551; 43 U.S.C. 1765; 36 CFR 251,56(a)(ii)(A), (a)(ii)(B), (a)(ii)(E), (a)(ii)(G).

    Comment: One commenter cited United States v. New Mexico for the proposition that there is no implied Forest Service reservation of water for secondary purposes and that the United States must acquire water rights in the same manner as any other public or private appropriator. Citing the Federal Task Force Report issued pursuant to section 389(d)(3) of Public Law 104-127, this commenter asserted that the Forest Service must attain the secondary purposes of the National Forests without interfering with the diversion, storage, and use of water for non-Federal purposes.

    Response: Ski area water rights do not qualify as reserved water rights. The Forest Service, like any other public or private party, must acquire water rights from prior appropriation doctrine States. These States adjudicate and allocate water rights, including water rights for the Federal government.

    3. Response to Comments Relating to Specific Clauses a. PRIOR APPROPRIATION DOCTRINE STATES—CLAUSE D-30 Proposed Instructions

    Only the first, second, fourth, and sixth paragraphs in the proposed instructions for clause D-30 received comment.

    Proposed Paragraph 1

    Paragraph 1 of the proposed instructions provided that clause D-30 supersedes all previous ski area water rights clauses in the Directive System. Paragraph 1 also provided that clause D-30 be included in ski area permits in prior appropriation doctrine States when these permits are issued, reissued, or modified under 36 CFR 251.61 and that clause D-30 not be included in Michigan, Vermont, and New Hampshire, which are riparian doctrine States.

    Comment: A concern was raised that because the instructions cited a specific version of the ski area permit and two specific interim directives, the new clause would be used only in permits with these versions of the water rights clause, rather than in all new or modified ski area permits.

    Response: It was not the Agency's intent to limit the new clauses to permits containing these versions of prior clauses. To clarify this intent, the Agency has removed these references from paragraph 1 of the instructions in the final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph 2

    The second paragraph of the proposed instructions for clause D-30 provided that before issuing a new or modified ski area permit in a prior appropriation doctrine State, the authorized officer would have to (1) ensure that the holder is in compliance with all water facility and water use requirements in clause D-30; (2) inventory ski area water rights; (3) classify the ski area's water rights consistent with the tables in clause D-30; and (4) ensure that the water rights inventory in paragraph 8 of clause D-30 is approved in writing by the Regional Forester.

    Comment: There was a general concern regarding the increased magnitude of work involved in implementing these instructions. One commenter suggested that it is unnecessary for Regional Foresters to approve water rights inventories in writing.

    Response: The Agency agrees with the concern regarding the potential magnitude of work involved in implementing these instructions. Therefore, the Agency has revised paragraph 2 of the instructions for clause D-30 in the final directive to address authorization of water facilities that are used primarily for operation of the ski area under the ski area permit and designation of those water facilities on a map. Additionally, the inventory in this paragraph is limited to water facilities on NFS lands that are used primarily for operation of the ski area and that are authorized by this permit. The final directive recognizes that there may be existing water facilities used primarily for operation of the ski area that are authorized by a separate, valid special use permit and that those water facilities may remain under that separate authorization, including upon reissuance, if eligible. The Forest Service will determine eligibility based on the primary use of that water facility and applicable statutory authority at the time of reissuance.

    The Agency has added a provision to the instructions requiring the applicant for a new or modified ski area permit to submit documentation prepared by the applicant's qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer demonstrating that the applicant holds or can obtain a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area. The documentation submitted must identify all water sources, water rights, and water facilities necessary to demonstrate a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area, including all original water rights; all water facilities to be authorized by the ski area permit; and any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service. This provision is consistent with the conceptual shift in the final directive from non-severability of ski area water rights to sufficiency of water to operate the ski area.

    The Agency agrees that it is unnecessary for Regional Foresters to approve inventories in writing and therefore has removed that requirement from the instructions in the final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph 4

    Paragraph 4 of the proposed instructions for clause D-30 provided that only water facilities and water rights that are necessary for and that primarily support operation of the ski area being authorized may be included in the ski area permit. Comments received on the terms “necessary” and “primarily support” are addressed in the response to comments on proposed paragraph F. The standard for determining which water facilities should be included under a ski area permit is addressed in the response to comments on proposed paragraph F.1.d.

    Proposed Paragraph 6

    Paragraph 6 of the proposed instructions for clause D-30 provided that, prior to authorizing a permit amendment for a new water facility at a ski area, the authorized officer would have to ensure that sufficient water is available to operate the water facility. The comments received on the standard for determining sufficiency of water in this context are addressed in the response to comments on proposed paragraph F.

    The remaining paragraphs in the proposed instructions for clause D-30 (paragraphs 3, 5, and 7) did not receive specific comment.

    Proposed Paragraph F—Water Facilities and Water Rights

    Proposed paragraph F provided that “necessary,” in relation to a water facility or water right, means that without that water facility or water right, the ski area would not be able to operate. Proposed paragraph F provided that “primarily supports” in relation to a water facility or water right means that the water facility or water right serves the ski area improvements on NFS lands significantly more than any other use.

    Comment: Several commenters believed that the definitions of “necessary” and “primarily supports” in the proposed clause were so broad that they could include water rights located off NFS lands used to support the operation of ski area improvements and could even include the water rights of municipal water providers that are used in connection with ski areas. These commenters believed such expansive coverage overreaches and should be narrowed to apply only to water rights that are necessary for operation of a ski area and to exclude any other water rights, such as water rights on non-NFS lands or water acquired from municipalities. Additionally, some commenters stated that, as proposed, the term “necessary” implied a determination of whether an individual water right or water facility is essential to the viability of the entire ski area. There was a concern that if considered individually, a water right might not be deemed necessary, whereas in total, a ski area's portfolio of water rights would be necessary for operation of the ski area. Several commenters recommended either redefining “necessary” to recognize the cumulative necessity of water rights or deleting the term “necessary” because the term “primarily supports” is adequate.

    Some commenters stated that to determine whether a water right “primarily supports” a ski area, a comparison would be made between water associated with a ski area use and any other use. Since water at ski areas is used for a wide assortment of purposes, these commenters believed it would be difficult to determine whether the water primarily supports a ski area. For example, water may be used inside or outside the ski area permit boundary on either NFS or private land for condominiums, golf courses, retail shops, and restaurants. These commenters also believed it would be difficult to determine whether a particular water right “primarily supports” ski area use because there are seasonal changes in the use of a particular water right. For example, snowmaking in the winter may change to golf course irrigation in the summer.

    Commenters noted that the amount of necessary water for a ski area is dynamic and that permit holders need flexibility to manage their water rights in the best interest of ski areas. Another commenter noted that there is variability from year to year as well as over the 40-year term of a ski area permit in the amount of water that is necessary to operate a ski area. These variations may be due to the amount of natural snowfall, levels of visitation, increases in snowmaking efficiency or other operational and technical advances in the use of water, availability of water based on seniority in appropriation, and changes in climate. This commenter stated that all these variables can result in decreases or increases in the amount of water necessary to support ski area operations.

    One commenter stated that the proposed definition of “necessary” in paragraph F is too narrow because many water rights are important to the planned and approved operation of the ski area. According to this commenter, the ski area could still operate with a reduced level of service or quality of skiing experience in their absence. For example, the partial loss of snowmaking water supply during one year might not result in closing the ski area, but those snowmaking water rights should nonetheless be protected under the new clause. This commenter believed that, under the proposed directive, a “necessary” water facility or water right would be subject to the new clause only if it also “primarily supports” the ski area operation.

    Another commenter believed that the combination of “necessary” and “primarily supports” was problematic and that a particular water right serving multiple purposes, such as domestic uses for condominiums and commercial operations at the base of a ski area and snowmaking inside the permit boundary, should not result in the exclusion of the entire water right from the protections of the new clause.

    One commenter expressed concern that the term “sufficient water” was not defined, which would create ambiguity for States and permit holders. This commenter sought clarity as to whether water associated with water rights and water facilities that are “necessary for” and that “primarily support” a ski area would be deemed sufficient. Commenters requested that the Forest Service provide reasonable criteria and guidance for determining sufficiency of water for ski area operations because the concept is complex and could involve detailed hydrological analysis and projections of future climatic conditions. Commenters believed that establishing criteria would avoid disputes, unreasonable expense, and delay.

    One commenter asserted that with respect to existing water rights, a water court has already determined sufficiency of water for ski area operations and approved water use for ski area purposes. This commenter encouraged Forest Service recognition of the water court's or State engineer's determinations of sufficiency of water and appropriateness of water use and acceptance of these findings. This commenter noted that the permit holder's water rights may be used at a ski area or they may be used at the holder's discretion to supply water for other purposes, provided that sufficient water remains to operate the ski area.

    One commenter observed that the requirement for sufficient water to be available is an important tool for the Forest Service to determine whether new water facilities, such as snowmaking systems, will be able to operate in dry years. However, this requirement may not ensure that sufficient water is available to operate in dry years in every case, for example, where the facility is served by water diverted from a location off NFS lands. This commenter also stated that, as proposed, this requirement did not explicitly apply to the issuance of a permit, which would present an important opportunity to conduct a sufficiency analysis.

    Another commenter was concerned that ensuring sufficient water to operate the ski area could conceivably dry up a stream and negatively affect flow-dependent resources and aquatic organisms, especially when water is withdrawn during low-flow periods in winter. This commenter recommended amending the second-to-last paragraph of the instructions to address the requirements of streamflow-dependent resources.

    Response: The Agency agrees that the amount of water necessary to operate a ski area may fluctuate from year to year and that the proposed definition of the term “necessary” is problematic. The Agency has removed the term “necessary” from the final directive. The Agency has changed the phrase “primarily supports” to the phrase “used primarily for operation of the ski area.” In relation to a water facility or water right, “used primarily for operation of the ski area” means that the water facility or water right provides significantly more water for operation of the permitted portion of the ski area than for any other use. Water facilities and water rights that are used primarily for operation of a ski area are relevant to the provisions of the new clauses, including those that address sufficiency of water for ski area operations.

    In addition, the Agency has added a definition for the term “sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area.” This term means that under typical conditions, taking into account fluctuations in utilization of the authorized improvements, fluctuations in weather and climate, changes in technology, and other factors deemed appropriate by the applicant's qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer, the applicant has sufficient water rights or access to a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted facilities, and to provide for the associated activities authorized under the ski area permit in accordance with the approved operating plan. This new term and definition are consistent with the shift from non-severability of water rights to sufficiency of water to operate the ski area. The definition recognizes that the quanity of water is not static and allows for appropriate factors to be considered in the sufficiency determination. Before issuance of a new or modified ski area permit, applicants will be required to submit documentation demonstrating that they hold or can obtain a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area. The submitted documentation will identify any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service. Addressing streamflow-dependent resources generally is beyond the scope of this directive.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1—Water Facilities Proposed Paragraph F.1.a

    This provision defined the term “water facility” to mean a ditch, pipeline, reservoir, well, tank, spring, seepage, or any other facility or feature that withdraws, stores, or distributes water.

    Comment: Several commenters opined that the definition of “water facility” in the proposed directive was not limited to facilities located on NFS lands and should be narrowed to apply only to those facilities.

    Response: The Agency has revised the definition of “water facility” in the final directive to clarify its scope. The definition in the final directive references only human-made features and removes references to natural features such as springs and seeps. In addition, the Agency has added the following definition for “ski area water facility” in the final directive: “Any water facility on NFS lands that is authorized by this permit and used primarily for operation of the ski area authorized by this permit.” This definition clarifies that only water facilities that are used primarily for operation of a ski area may be authorized by the ski area permit. The Forest Service does not authorize water facilities located on non-NFS lands.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.b

    This proposed provision stated that no water facility for which the point of withdrawal, storage, or distribution is on NFS lands may be initiated, developed, certified, permitted, or adjudicated by the holder unless expressly authorized by a special use authorization.

    Comment: One commenter believed that proposed paragraph F.1.b would provide for total Forest Service control over the adjudication, operation, and transfer of surface water and groundwater rights on NFS lands and that the requirement for Forest Service permission for slight changes to those water rights would constitute a taking of private property in contravention of State water law, direction from Congress, and U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Another commenter alleged that a water right appropriator does not need a landowner's permission to adjudicate water rights on the landowner's lands. Yet another commenter questioned the need for and the Agency's authority to require authorization prior to initiation or adjudication of water rights associated with a water facility on NFS lands. This commenter observed that it is common practice for water users to appropriate and adjudicate water rights on Federal land prior to obtaining a special use permit. One commenter observed that the Forest Service can impose reasonable conditions on the development of water rights located on NFS lands through its special use permit process when facilities to access those water rights are developed, but not when the water rights are acquired.

    Additionally, a commenter was concerned that the proposed restrictions on taking action regarding water facilities on NFS lands without a special use authorization would apply to water facilities that do not primarily support a ski area. One commenter observed that the proposed restrictions would affect diversions of water off NFS lands and would limit exercise of the associated water rights. A commenter also expressed concern that the permitting process can take a considerable amount of time, during which the priority date, and therefore the value of the water right, would be in jeopardy.

    One commenter recommended limiting paragraph F.1.b to construction of water facilities on NFS lands and deleting the reference to “initiation, permitting, or adjudication of water rights on NFS lands.” Others suggested that the provision be revised to clarify that the appropriation and adjudication of a water right for ski area operations on NFS lands are subject to State law and are not pre-conditioned on the existence of Forest Service permission because the Forest Service has agreed to be bound by State water law.

    Response: The Forest Service agrees that proposed paragraph F.1.b to a certain degree conflates acquisition of water rights from the State with Forest Service authorization of water facilities on NFS lands. In addition, paragraph F.1.b is unnecessary to the extent it provides that water facilities on NFS lands must be authorized by a special use authorization, as this requirement is already stated in applicable Forest Service regulations. Therefore, the Agency has removed proposed paragraph F.1.b from the final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.c

    Proposed paragraph F.1.c provided that the United States may place any conditions on installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of any water facility that are deemed necessary by the United States to protect public property, public safety, and natural resources on NFS lands. Numerous comments were received on this provision.

    Comment: Some commenters interpreted proposed paragraph F.1.c as a mechanism for the Forest Service to manage water use and water rights on NFS lands. These commenters noted that the Agency's authority to condition special use authorizations is not limitless, and that while the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act allows the Secretary to make permit changes from time to time, those changes must be in accordance with applicable law. These commenters recommended that proposed paragraph F.1.c be revised to add “in accordance with applicable laws.”

    Another commenter observed that when the Forest Service has raised the possibility of imposing a bypass flow on an existing water facility, a solution has been negotiated that protects both the water user who is seeking approval to use Federal land and the national objectives and interests of taxpayers. This commenter observed that the proposed directive provides flexibility and represents a rededication and commitment to common-sense water policies on Federal lands without jeopardizing the legitimate interests of taxpayers, ordinary citizens who use and enjoy those lands, or corporate permit applicants like ski areas. Additionally, this commenter observed that regardless of disagreement over the Forest Service authority to impose bypass flow requirements, many water rights holders with water facilities on NFS lands have found innovative ways to accommodate their water rights while meeting the water needs of other forest resources. The commenter credited the Forest Service with showing a growing willingness to accept workable alternatives to the imposition of bypass flow conditions.

    Several commenters favored the ability granted by proposed paragraph F.1.c to condition use of water facilities on NFS lands to protect aquatic and other environmental resources (e.g., by imposing bypass flow requirements). These commenters believed that the Agency has the legal authority and the legal obligation to do so and that failure to do so could expose the United States to substantial litigation risk. Other commenters noted that in some cases, the imposition of certain conditions such as bypass flow requirements may be the only practical way to protect environmental resources. Commenters cited State and Federal cases and Federal statutes in support of their position.

    Some commenters were concerned generally about environmental and social impacts associated with ski area water rights. One commenter requested that the Forest Service first determine how much water is needed to meet public purposes, such as instream flows for aquatic life, the movement of wood and sediment through the stream system, and seasonal inundation of floodplains, before allowing ski areas to divert and appropriate water. Another commenter requested that the Forest Service ensure that the proposed directive protect all public rights and interests in water on NFS lands, including Federal reserved water rights that date back to the establishment of the national forest reserves. This commenter wanted the Forest Service to compensate for impacts on flows due to climate change, such as impacts from rain on snow, by protecting flows during critical periods and avoiding activities that would increase peak flows. This commenter also recommended evaluating snowmaking practices to ensure that hydrology, peak flows, and water quality are not adversely affected.

    Response: The Agency has modified proposed paragraph F.1.c in the final directive. The first sentence of paragraph F.1.c in the final directive provides that the authorized officer may place conditions, as necessary to protect public property, public safety, and natural resources on NFS lands, on the installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of any water facility, but only in accordance with applicable law. The Forest Service recognizes that its actions must be in accordance with applicable law and that the Agency has authority under applicable law to condition special use authorizations that allow use and occupancy of NFS lands to protect public property, public safety, and natural resources on NFS lands.

    The second sentence of paragraph F.1.c in the final directive states that clause D-30 does not expand or contract the Agency's authority to place conditions on the installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of water facilities at issuance or reissuance of the permit, throughout the permit term, or otherwise. Thus, clause D-30 does not affect the Agency's authority to place conditions on water facilities under existing legal authority.

    The third sentence of paragraph F.1.c in the final directive states that the holder must comply with present and future laws, regulations and other legal requirements in accordance with section I of the ski area permit. This provision reinforces existing provisions in the ski area permit that provide protection for natural resources in connection with water facilities.

    In response to concerns regarding environmental impacts associated with water facilities, the sufficiency documentation an applicant must submit before receiving a new or modified ski area permit must include any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service. The Forest Service conducts environmental analysis, as appropriate, on a site-specific basis of the effects of water facilities on NFS lands. This type of site-specific analysis is beyond the scope of this notice of final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.d

    Proposed paragraph F.1.d provided that only water facilities that are necessary for and that primarily support operation of a ski area may be authorized by a ski area permit.

    Comment: One commenter recommended that proposed paragraph F.1.d provide examples of what is and what is not considered necessary for ski area operations. This commenter suggested that snowmaking and on-mountain restaurant uses may be necessary for ski area operations, but that base area water needs for condominiums, golf courses, and other uses not authorized by the ski area permit should not be considered necessary for ski area operations.

    One commenter believed this provision would impose unreasonable limitations on water facilities within the permit boundary. This commenter stated that “necessary” as proposed in paragraph F.1.d would impose an unreasonably high threshold and would include only facilities that are “mission-critical,” would create confusion at the field level, and would invite controversy and possibly third-party challenges regarding whether a proposed water facility met the applicable standard.

    Response: The Agency agrees that the term “necessary” is not needed. The Agency has removed the term “necessary” from paragraph F.1.d in the final directive and has revised this provision to clarify that only water facilities which are on NFS lands and are used primarily for operation of the ski area may be authorized by the ski area permit.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.e

    Proposed paragraph F.1.e provided that any change in the water facilities authorized by the permit would result in termination of the authorization for those water facilities, unless the change was expressly authorized by a permit amendment. Examples of changes to water facilities included (1) use of the water in a manner that does not primarily support operation of the ski area authorized by this permit; (2) a change in the ownership of associated water rights; or (3) a change in the beneficial use, location, or season of use of the water.

    Comment: One commenter raised a concern that if unauthorized changes to water facilities resulted in termination of the authorization, it would create an incentive for the holder not to make changes to water facilities that should be made. This commenter also observed that if the penalty for a violation is merely the loss of the right to use the water facility, the holder may abandon a water facility even if it is essential to providing the current level of public service. Other commenters asserted that restrictions on the ability to make changes to water facilities per paragraph F.1.e would impede the holder's ability to maximize the value and utility of the associated water right and would undercut the Agency's interest in sustaining ski area operations.

    One commenter observed that proposed paragraph F.1.e does not clearly identify the types of actions that are prohibited without authorization and recommended specifically listing all changes to a water facility that, if not authorized by a permit amendment, would trigger termination of authorization for the water facility. Similarly, another commenter observed that it would be difficult to determine consistently which modifications require approval because States define water rights broadly and do not assign a percentage of the total water right dedicated to each use. This commenter noted that the purposes of a ski area water right might simply be listed as “commercial or domestic” or “irrigation, domestic water for condominiums and homes, restaurants, and snowmaking,” and the amount of water a ski area uses for each purpose could change.

    Another commenter raised a concern that this clause would impose an undue burden on permit holders by placing restrictions on holders' ability to obtain, develop, maintain, or enhance water rights and thus would create additional impediments to the development of water resources to support permitted ski areas. Additionally, this commenter noted that the requirement for Forest Service approval of changes would delay compliance with State deadlines and could result in the forfeiture of water rights or impairment of their value.

    Response: The Agency agrees that clarification is needed regarding the types of changes to water facilities that, if not authorized by a permit amendment, will result in termination of authorization of the water facilities under the ski area permit. In contrast to proposed paragraph F.1.e, which provided that any unauthorized change to water facilities would result in termination of their authorization under the ski area permit, paragraph F.1.e in the final directive provides that if, due to a change, a ski area water facility will primarily be used for purposes other than operation of the ski area, authorization for that water facility under the ski area permit will terminate. Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive gives examples of the types of changes to water facilities that would result in their being used primarily for purposes other than operation of the ski area. These examples include a change in the ownership of the water facility or the associated water rights or a change in the beneficial use, location, or season of use of the water. Other changes to ski area water facilities could also result in their ceasing to be used primarily for operation of the ski area.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.f

    Proposed paragraph F.1.f provided that the holder must obtain a separate special use authorization to initiate, develop, certify, or adjudicate any water facility on NFS lands that does not primarily support operation of the ski area authorized by the ski area permit.

    Comment: One commenter observed that water right adjudications do not require prior permission from the owner of the land on which the point of diversion will be located. This commenter stated that the Forest Service has agreed to be bound by State law and has no authority to use the requirement for a new special use authorization to adjudicate water rights on NFS lands.

    One commenter was concerned that if a separate permit is required for water facilities on NFS lands that do not primarily support operation of the ski area, that permit would include water clauses for other special uses, which the commenter believed require transfer of water rights to the United States, or would provide for claiming a possessory interest in water rights in the name of the United States, consistent with FSM 2541.32. This commenter believed that Agency testimony before Congress is inconsistent with claiming a possessory interest in ski area water rights as provided in FSM 2541.32 and that the Agency should clarify in the final directive that it will not require ski areas to transfer ownership of water rights to the United States in any separate permit for water facilities on NFS lands that do not primarily support operation of a ski area.

    Response: The Agency has revised proposed paragraph F.1.f and consolidated it with paragraph F.1.e in the final directive. Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive provides that when authorization for a water facility under the ski area permit terminates because a change in the water facility results in its ceasing to be used primarily for operation of the ski area, a separate special use authorization is required to operate that water facility or to develop a new water facility, unless the holder has a valid existing right for the water facility to be situated on NFS lands. A valid existing right in this context is a legal right, typically a statutory right, to use and occupy NFS lands. In the absence of a valid existing right, a separate special use authorization is required under these circumstances because it is not appropriate to utilize the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act to authorize water facilities that do not primarily support operation of a ski area. 16 U.S.C. 497b(a), (b). Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive also provides that unless the holder has a valid existing right for the water facility to be situated on NFS lands, if the holder does not obtain a separate special use authorization for these water facilities, the holder must remove them from NFS lands.

    The Forest Service agrees that it is inappropriate to use the words “initiate,” “develop,” “certify,” or “adjudicate” in connection with proper authorization of a new water facility and has removed these words from paragraph F.1.e in the final directive. However, it would be prudent for the permit holder to communicate with the Forest Service regarding the likelihood of approval of a proposed water facility, regardless of whether it is used primarily for operation of the ski area, before incurring expenses in acquiring associated water rights.

    Neither the proposed nor the final directive provides for the United States to claim a possessory interest in ski area water rights. The instructions for clauses D-30 and D-31 provide that the possessory interest policy in FSM 2541.32, paragraph 2, will not apply to ski area permits. Moreover, under paragraph F.1.e in the final directive, when the water facilities continue to support approved ski area operations at any time of year, the separate permit will not contain the possessory interest provision, any waiver provision, or any power of attorney provision. The Agency will develop new or modified water clauses for these permits.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.g

    Proposed paragraph F.1.g provided for documentation of restrictions on withdrawal and use of water that are required by regulation or policy, an adjudication, or a settlement agreement or that are based on a decision document supported by environmental analysis.

    Comment: Commenters opined that proposed paragraph F.1.g is very broad and would allow the Forest Service to limit the exercise of privately held water rights established under State law by unilaterally imposing restrictions without statutory or regulatory authority. Specifically, these commenters were concerned that a single ski area permit administrator could determine that a regulation or policy requires restrictions on withdrawals and impose those limits under the permit; that Forest Service staff is not qualified to interpret the regulations of other Federal and State agencies; that restrictions could be based on any settlement agreement with any party on any subject matter, regardless of whether the holder of the water right was a party or had notice and regardless of whether the Forest Service was a party to that settlement agreement; that restrictions based on a decision document supported by environmental analysis would not be limited to decision documents prepared by the Forest Service and might include past or future critical habitat designations for aquatic species made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and that allowing restriction of water rights “based on” environmental documents would leave too much discretion to the permit administrator. One commenter believed that proposed paragraph F.1.g did not accomplish the stated objective in the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive of ensuring the availability of water resources for ski areas and recommended deleting proposed paragraph F.1.g.

    Response: The Agency believes that it is important to document existing restrictions on withdrawal and use of water from the permitted NFS lands so that permit administrators can ensure that these legal requirements are met during the typically 40-year term of the permit. However, the Agency agrees that the scope of the restrictions should be limited to those that are legally required and that it would be more appropriate to include the requirement in the instructions for the new water clauses. Consequently, the instructions for the new water clauses in the final directive require the documentation of a sufficient quantity of water submitted by an applicant prior to issuance of a new or modified ski area permit to identify any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service. Additionally, the Agency has removed the table in the water clause appendix on restrictions on withdrawal and use of water, since that information will be contained in the sufficiency documentation.

    Proposed Paragraph F.2—Water Rights

    Proposed paragraph F.2 defined the term “water right” to mean a right to use water that is recognized under State law under the prior appropriation doctrine. Additionally, proposed paragraph F.2 provided that the permit does not confer any water rights.

    Comment: One commenter recommended that the term “water right” be defined in a way that could be consistently applied, regardless of State definitions and processes. This commenter noted that in Colorado a conditional water decree or right establishes a priority date for the possible future grant of an absolute water right. In Colorado, an individual or entity can “use” a water right only when that individual or entity has put the water to beneficial use and has been granted an absolute water right. Treating a conditional water right as a water right in the proposed directive would in many respects be like treating an application as a water right in other prior appropriation doctrine States.

    Response: The Forest Service believes that the definition of “water right” in the proposed directive is appropriate. The definition should encompass any water right that is recognized under State law, including conditional water rights in the State of Colorado. The Agency has not changed the proposed definition of “water right” in the final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph F.3—Acquisition and Maintenance of Water Rights Proposed Paragraph F.3.a

    This proposed paragraph defined “NFS ski area water right” to mean “any water right acquired by the holder or a prior holder that is for water facilities that would divert or pump water from sources located on NFS lands, either inside or outside the permit boundary, for use that primarily supports operation of the ski area authorized by this permit.”

    Comment: Commenters objected to the term “NFS ski area water right” on the grounds that it implies that these water rights belong to the United States; that the water rights are appurtenant to NFS lands; and that the Forest Service, rather than the State, grants the water rights. These commenters also objected to the term on the grounds that it could include water rights that may be unnecessary for ski area operations and recommended that the definition be revised to apply only to water rights that are necessary for ski area operations. It was also recommended that “NFS” be removed from the term.

    Response: The Agency agrees that “NFS” is unnecessary in the term “ski area water right” and may lead to confusion. Consequently, the Agency has removed “NFS” from that term in the final directive and has simplified the definition to include any water right for use of water from a point of diversion on NFS lands, either inside or outside the permit boundary, that is primarily for operation of the ski area.

    In addition, the Agency has added terms and definitions for two categories of ski area water rights: “original” water rights and “acquired” water rights. Using these terms of art simplifies the wording in subsequent clauses that differentiate between these two types of ski area water rights. An “original water right” is defined as “any existing or new ski area water right with a point of diversion that was or is, at all times during its use, located within the permit boundary for this ski area and originally established under State law through an application for a decree to State water court, permitting, beneficial use, or otherwise recognized method of establishing a new water right, in each case by the holder or a prior holder of the ski area permit.” The definition further clarifies that an original water right cannot become an acquired water right by virtue of sale of the water right to a subsequent ski area permit holder.

    An “acquired water right” is defined as “any ski area water right that is purchased, bartered, exchanged, leased, or contracted by the holder or by any prior holder.” The distinguishing characteristics between these two types of ski area water rights is whether they were originally acquired from the State by a ski area permit holder to be used primarily for the operation of the ski area within the ski area permit boundary.

    Comment: One commenter suggested that the definition for “NFS ski area water right” be revised to limit its applicability to the holder's interest in water facilities and water rights because it may be only a partial interest. Another commenter believed that water rights that would not constitute NFS ski area water rights, such as water rights that are used for ski area purposes but arise from a point of diversion on private land, could still be affected by the proposed directive. As an example, this commenter cited an unauthorized change in ownership of a snowmaking pipeline diverting water from a stream on private land to the permitted ski area on NFS lands, which could result in termination of authorization for that water facility. Not having authorization for use of the water facility would in turn limit exercise of the associated water right.

    One commenter wanted to know the reason for treating water rights that arise from a point of diversion on NFS lands differently from water rights that arise from a point of diversion off NFS lands. This commenter also requested consideration of alternatives that would provide protection of all ski area water rights, regardless of land ownership at the point of diversion. Another commenter requested that further consideration be given to the effectiveness of the proposed directive in accomplishing its underlying policy objectives with respect to water rights for water that is stored, diverted, or pumped on non-NFS lands to support authorized ski area facilities within the permit area.

    Response: Water rights that are used for ski area purposes but arise from a point of diversion located on non-NFS lands are not affected by this final directive. Consistent with the definition for “ski area water right” in the final directive, which applies to water rights that are used primarily for operation of the ski area and that arise from a point of diversion located on NFS lands, only water facilities on NFS lands that are used primarily for operation of the ski area may be authorized under the ski area permit. The Forest Service does not authorize water facilities located on non-NFS lands. Therefore, in the example cited by the commenter, there would be no Forest Service permit, the water facility would not be subject to permit terms addressing change in ownership of the water facility, and there would be no effect on exercise of associated water rights.

    Proposed Paragraph F.3.b

    Proposed paragraph F.3.b provided that NFS ski area water rights must be acquired in accordance with applicable State law; that the holder must maintain NFS ski area water rights, including Federally owned NFS ski area water rights, for the term of the permit, as well as for the term of any subsequent permits that may be issued to the holder for the uses authorized by the permit; that the holder is responsible for submitting any applications or other filings that are necessary to protect those water rights in accordance with State law; and that the holder and not the United States must bear the cost of acquiring, maintaining, and perfecting NFS ski area water rights, including Federally owned NFS ski area water rights.

    Comment: Some commenters sought clarity on what it means to “maintain” NFS ski area water rights. One commenter suggested that the term “maintain” lends itself to water facilities but is unclear as applied to water rights. Some commenters asked whether voluntary or court-ordered surrender of part of a conditional water right would constitute a failure to maintain the water right under proposed paragraph F.3.b. Some commenters asked whether loss of a water right due to failure to maintain it would trigger termination of the permit per proposed paragraph F.1.e.

    Response: Voluntary or court-ordered surrender of part of a conditional water right would not constitute a failure to maintain the water right. Maintaining a water right means exercising due diligence to preserve it in accordance with applicable State law, including submitting required filings. The holder, rather than the Forest Service, is responsible for submitting applications or other filings that are necessary to maintain ski area water rights and for the cost of those filings. The Agency has redesignated proposed paragraph F.3.b as paragraph F.3.c in the final directive and simplified it to provide that the holder shall bear the cost of establishing, acquiring, maintaining, and perfecting original water rights, including any original water rights owned solely or jointly by the United States. Loss of a water right due to failure to maintain it will trigger termination of authorization of the associated water facility under the ski area permit (not termination of the ski area permit) under paragraph F.1.e in the final directive only if the associated water facility ceases to be used primarily for operation of the ski area.

    Comment: Several commenters requested clarification that proposed paragraph F.3.b would not apply to third-party water rights, such as water rights leased from municipalities, that are used in connection with a ski area or that are located on NFS lands.

    Response: Paragraph F.3.b in the proposed directive has been moved to paragraph F.3.c in the final directive and has been clarified so that it will not apply to water rights leased from third parties and other acquired water rights as defined in the final directive. Paragraph F.3.c in the final directive applies only to original water rights as defined in the final directive, including those owned solely or jointly by the United States.

    Comment: One respondent believed that the requirement to maintain NFS ski area water rights would unlawfully insert the Forest Service into the day-to-day management of ski area water rights.

    Response: Paragraph F.3.c in the final directive does not insert the Forest Service into day-to-day management of ski areas water rights. Rather, this paragraph takes the Forest Service out of day-to-day management of ski area water rights by providing for the holder to establish, acquire, maintain, and perfect original water rights.

    New Paragraph F.3.b

    The Agency has added a new paragraph F.3.b in the final directive. This new provision requires that an inventory of all ski area water facilities and original water rights be included in an appendix to the ski area permit and that the inventory be updated by the holder upon reissuance of the permit, installation or removal of a ski area water facility, when a listed ski area water facility is no longer authorized by the ski area permit, or when an original water right is no longer used for operation of the ski area. This new paragraph is needed to administer the requirements in the new water clauses regarding ski area water facilities and original water rights.

    Proposed Paragraph F.3.c

    Proposed paragraph F.3.c provided that NFS ski area water rights that are jointly or solely owned by the United States must remain in Federal ownership; that if the holder's ski area permit utilizes NFS ski area water rights acquired in the name of or transferred to the United States or held jointly with the United States, the holder must submit any applications or other filings that are necessary to protect those water rights as the agent of the United States in accordance with State law; and that notwithstanding the holder's obligation to maintain Federally owned NFS ski area water rights, the United States reserves the right to take any action necessary to maintain and protect those water rights, including submitting any applications or other filings that may be necessary to protect those water rights.

    Comment: Some commenters suggested that the Agency lacked the authority to force a permit holder to act as an agent of the United States by requiring the holder to maintain and bear the cost of acquiring, maintaining, and perfecting Federally owned NFS ski area water rights. These commenters also stated that the Forest Service cannot delegate its legislated duty to manage NFS lands to non-Federal entities.

    Response: The Forest Service has broad authority to condition special use authorizations, including the authority to require that the holder of a ski area permit establish, acquire, maintain, and perfect Federally owned original water rights and bear the cost of those actions.

    Comment: One commenter believed that the requirement in proposed paragraph F.3.c that any ski area water rights owned by the United States remain in Federal ownership was inconsistent with the purpose of the proposed directive and was unfair. This commenter asserted that permit holders who complied with prior requirements in ski area water clauses to transfer ownership to the United States should be able to recover those water rights under the final directive.

    Response: The final directive is not retroactive. Any water right owned solely or jointly by the United States was acquired in accordance with permit terms that were in effect at that time. Additionally, the Forest Service lacks authority to forfeit ownership of water rights to ski area permit holders. In an investigation of a land exchange in Utah conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (OIG), OIG stated that if water rights were excess to public needs, the water rights could be exchanged for properties or services of equal value. Excess water rights may also be disposed of pursuant to U.S. General Services Administration real property procedures. The Forest Service is not aware of any authority that would allow the Agency to relinquish title to water rights other than by exchange or disposal as noted above.

    In the final directive, the Agency has moved proposed paragraph F.3.c to paragraph F.3.d and revised it to state that original water rights owned solely by the United States and the United States' interest in jointly owned original water rights shall remain in Federal ownership. In addition, paragraph F.3.d in the final directive provides that notwithstanding the holder's obligation to maintain original water rights owned by the United States, the United States reserves the right to take any action necessary to maintain and protect those water rights, including submitting any applications or other filings that may be necessary to protect the water rights.

    Proposed Paragraph F.3.d

    Proposed paragraph F.3.d provided that if a water facility corresponding to an NFS ski area water right was or is initiated, developed, certified, permitted, or adjudicated by the holder on NFS lands without a special use authorization, then the water facility is in trespass; that the owner of the NFS ski area water right must apply for authorization of the water facility; and that if authorization is denied, the owner of the NFS ski area water right must promptly remove the point of diversion and water use from NFS lands or must abandon the NFS ski area water right.

    Comment: One commenter observed that it may not be possible to determine whether existing water facilities are properly authorized or in trespass because they may not be listed in the ski area permit or identified on a map attached to the permit. This commenter stated that, in practice, ski area improvements may have been considered authorized if they were located within the permit boundary and approved in a decision document pursuant to an environmental analysis. Several commenters asserted that the proposed directive would have retroactive effect because many water facilities for previously adjudicated ski area water rights would be found in trespass. These commenters also noted that proposed paragraph F.3.d is contrary to State laws that do not require landowner approval before adjudication of a water right. These commenters also believed that proposed paragraph F.3.d is contrary to numerous authorizations that allow development of privately owned water facilities on NFS lands and could jeopardize the availability of water for ski area operations. These commenters recommended that proposed paragraph F.3.d be revised or deleted. One commenter opined that the Agency lacks the legal authority to apply rules retroactively and suggested striking the words “was or” from proposed paragraph F.3.d.

    Response: The Agency is removing proposed paragraph F.3.d from the final directive because this provision is unnecessary. Existing regulations at 36 CFR 251.50(a) require a special use authorization for water facilities on NFS lands. Moreover, per paragraph 1 in the final instructions for the new ski area water clauses, all water facilities on NFS lands that are used primarily for operation of the ski area will be authorized under the ski area permit. Existing water facilities on NFS lands which are authorized by a separate, valid special use permit may remain under that separate permit, including upon reissuance, if eligible. These water facilities will not be eligible for reissuance under a separate permit if they are used primarily for operation of the ski area and the separate permit is issued under a statute other than the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act. This Act provides for ski areas and associated facilities on NFS lands to be authorized under its provisions. 16 U.S.C. 497b(a), (b). In that case, upon termination of the separate permit, the water facilities will be authorized under the ski area permit.

    In addition, under paragraph F.1.e in the final directive, when authorization for a water facility under the ski area permit terminates because a change in the water facility results in its ceasing to be used primarily for operation of the ski area, a separate special use authorization is required to operate that water facility or to develop a new water facility, unless the holder has a valid existing right for the water facility to be situated on NFS lands. A valid existing right in this context is a legal right, typically a statutory right, to use and occupy NFS lands. In the absence of a valid existing right, a separate special use authorization is required under these circumstances because it is not appropriate to utilize the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act to authorize water facilities that do not primarily support operation of a ski area. 16 U.S.C. 497b(a), (b). Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive also provides that unless the holder has a valid existing right for the water facility to be situated on NFS lands, if the holder does not obtain a separate special use authorization for these water facilities, the holder must remove them from NFS lands.

    Proposed Paragraph F.4—Non-Severability of Certain Water Rights Proposed Paragraph F.4.a

    Proposed paragraph F.4.a provided that when the United States owns any NFS ski area water rights, the Forest Service may not take any action that would adversely affect availability of those water rights to support operation of the ski area during the term of the permit, unless deemed necessary by the Forest Service to satisfy legal requirements.

    Comment: Several commenters did not believe that proposed paragraph F.4.a provided enough assurance that the Forest Service would not take any action that would adversely affect the availability of Federally owned NFS ski area water rights for ski area operations during the permit term. Some commenters asserted that it was unclear what was meant by “legal requirements” that might release the Agency from this commitment and questioned whether land management plan standards and guidelines would be deemed legal requirements. Additionally, commenters recommended narrowing the term “legal requirement” to “the Endangered Species Act” or striking the words “unless deemed necessary by the Forest Service to satisfy legal requirements” from the final directive. One commenter suggested striking proposed paragraph F.4.a entirely and addressing the Forest Service's commitment not to take any action adversely affecting the availability of Federally owned NFS ski area water rights on a case-by-case basis. One commenter suggested that this provision be revised to give ski area permit holders the right to approve changes the Forest Service makes to Federally owned NFS ski area water rights, so that they are dedicated to ski area operations for the benefit of the subsequent holder.

    Response: In the final directive, the Agency has revised paragraph F.4.a to state that the Agency shall not divide or transfer ownership of or seek any change in Federally owned water rights used by the holder that would adversely affect their availability for operation of the ski area during the term of this permit, unless required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service.

    Paragraph F.1.c in the final directive states that clause D-30 does not expand or contract the Agency's authority to place conditions on the installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of water facilities at issuance or reissuance of the permit, throughout the permit term, or otherwise. Thus, paragraph F.4.a does not expand or contract the Agency's ability to place conditions on water facilities under existing legal authority.

    Proposed Paragraph F.4.b

    Proposed paragraph F.4.b provided that when the holder has an interest in any NFS ski area water rights, or water rights that the holder has purchased or leased from a party other than a prior holder that are changed or exchanged to provide for diversion from sources on NFS lands for use that primarily supports operation of the ski area authorized by the permit (“changed or exchanged water rights”), the holder may not take any action during the permit term that would adversely affect the availability of those water rights to support operation of the ski area authorized by the permit, unless approved in writing in advance by the authorized officer. Actions that require advance written approval by the authorized officer included any division or transfer of ownership of the water rights and any modification of the type, place, or season of use of the water rights.

    Comment: Some commenters believed that the restriction in proposed paragraph F.4.b would inhibit ski area permit holders' ability to manage their water rights and would substitute the permit holders' discretion with that of the Forest Service in this context. Other commenters asserted, for example, that a permit holder may desire to sell water rights that once were necessary for ski area operations, but which the permit holder has determined are no longer necessary because of changed circumstances, such as increased efficiency. Alternatively, these commenters suggested that the permit holder may determine that it is in the best interests of the ski area to replace certain sources of necessary water with other sources, but would be unable to do so under proposed paragraph F.4.b. Some commenters believed that this provision would undermine the Forest Service's stated objective of ensuring sustainability of ski areas by impairing the holder's ability to develop and maintain water rights and ultimately would make less water available for successive permit holders. These commenters noted that ski area permit holders have acquired and maintained sufficient water rights at ski areas to provide outstanding recreation to the public on NFS lands at no cost to the Forest Service without a restriction on severability.

    One commenter noted that the type of actions that would require approval by the authorized officer, including “any modification of the type, place, or season of use of the water rights,” would be difficult to determine consistently because frequently in decrees and certificates States define water rights very broadly or list every conceivable water use. For example, this commenter stated that a decree for one ski area might simply list the uses for a ski area water right as “commercial and domestic,” while another decree for a ski area water right might list the uses as “irrigation and domestic water for condominiums and homes, restaurants, and snowmaking.” This commenter further noted that the difficulty would be compounded by the fact that States frequently do not assign a percentage of the total water right that is dedicated to each use, which would essentially leave it to the holder to tell the Agency how much water is typically consumed for each use.

    Commenters were concerned that the restriction in proposed paragraph F.4.b would apply to water rights that the holder does not own, in addition to water rights the holder has purchased or leased from a party other than a prior holder, and that the Forest Service lacks the authority to impose this restriction. One commenter noted that the Forest Service does not have sole discretion to determine whether it is legally entitled or required to interfere with a ski area water right. These commenters believed that State water administration authorities may also play a significant role in determining the appropriateness of the Forest Service's actions related to water rights. These commenters recommended that the directive recognize the need for the Forest Service to comply with State law and coordinate with State agencies before making any legal determination regarding ski area water rights. These commenters also suggested that the directive recognize the permit holder's right to seek judicial review of the accuracy of the Agency's determination that interference with a water right was required by law. Some commenters were concerned that the restriction in proposed paragraph F.4.b would have a retroactive effect because it would apply to water rights acquired many years ago.

    One commenter suggested that the proposed definition for “changed or exchanged water rights” was too narrow, in that it would apply only to water rights “that the holder has purchased or leased from a party other than a prior holder.” This commenter noted that this proposed definition would not include water rights that (1) are located off NFS lands; (2) are used under a change or exchange decree to allow diversion of water on NFS lands; and (3) were originally appropriated by the current or prior holder of the ski area permit, rather than being “purchased or leased” from another party. The commenter believed there is no reason to exclude these water rights from the scope of clause D-30. Another commenter recommended reinforcing that the restriction in proposed paragraph F.4.b would apply not only to purchased or leased ski area water rights, but also to ski area water rights acquired by the holder or a prior holder through appropriation. This commenter also recommended clarifying that the directive would not apply to water purchased by a ski area permit holder from a municipality or other entity that retains ownership of the associated water right.

    Response: A primary objective of the proposed and final directives is to address the long-term availability of water for ski areas on NFS lands so as to support the public recreation opportunity they provide and the economies of the local communities that depend on their revenue. The Agency believes that ensuring the long-term availability of water to operate ski areas on NFS lands can be accomplished by focusing on original water rights, i.e., water rights with a point of diversion and use inside the ski area permit boundary that were originally established by a permit holder.

    In the final directive paragraph F.4.b applies only to original water rights owned solely or jointly by the holder, which are critical to addressing sufficiency of water to operate a ski area on NFS lands. In addition, in deciding whether to approve division or transfer of or a change to an original water right, the authorized officer must consider any documentation prepared by the holder's qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer demonstrating that the proposed action will not result in a lack of a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area.

    Moreover, the Agency has added paragraph F.4.c in the final directive, which states that the holder may seek to change, abandon, lease, divide, or transfer ownership of or take other actions with respect to acquired water rights at any time and solely within its discretion. Paragraph F.4.c in the final directive also provides that, following these actions, paragraph F.1.e will apply to the associated ski area water facilities. Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive addresses proper authorization, and in certain circumstances removal, of water facilities after certain changes have been made in connection with those water facilities.

    Paragraph F.4.b in the final directive applies only to original water rights that are owned solely or jointly by the holder, not to water that is purchased or leased from municipalities or other entities. The concerns regarding the definition for “changed or exchanged water rights” are moot because the Agency has removed that definition from the final directive. The Forest Service's authority to include a water clause in ski area permits to address availability of water for operation of ski areas on NFS lands is separate from prior appropriation doctrine States' authority to adjudicate and allocate water rights. Paragraph F.4.b in the final directive will not have retroactive effect because it will apply to the current holder of the ski area permit.

    Proposed Paragraph F.5—Transfer of Certain Water Rights Proposed Paragraph F.5.a

    Proposed paragraph F.5.a provided that upon termination or revocation of the permit, the holder must sell the holder's interest in any NFS ski area water rights or changed or exchanged water rights to the purchaser of the ski area improvements. Proposed paragraph F.5.a also provided that the holder will retain the full amount of any consideration paid for those water rights by the purchaser of the ski area improvements, and that those water rights must continue to be used primarily in support of the ski area.

    Comment: Several commenters objected to proposed paragraph F.5.a on the grounds that limiting the market for ski area water rights to one buyer would undermine that market and devalue the water rights. Commenters believed the Forest Service should recognize that the existing holder is not the sole source of water rights for a succeeding holder. These commenters noted that the succeeding holder may have purchased water rights from another source prior to applying for the ski area permit or may be able to obtain sufficient water by acquiring water rights from the State or by purchasing or leasing water from municipalities, water districts, reservoir companies, or other entities. These commenters noted that the Forest Service should not restrict the succeeding holder to acquiring water rights from the current holder.

    Additionally, commenters questioned whether the Agency's concern regarding insufficiency of water rights for ski area operations was valid. These commenters believed it was unlikely that the holder would sell a viable ski area with insufficient water rights to operate because it would not be in the best interests of the holder to do so. The commenters also asserted that the Forest Service's authority under special use permit regulations at 36 CFR 251.54 and 251.59 to require that succeeding permit holders have a sufficient quantity of water to operate a ski area before issuing a new ski area permit was adequate to address the Agency's concern in this context.

    Three commenters believed that the existing permit holder should be required only to offer to sell certain types of ski area water rights at market value to the succeeding permit holder. These commenters believed that requiring the holder to offer to sell, rather than to sell, certain types of ski area water rights to the succeeding permit holder would maintain the value of the water rights while satisfying the Agency's interest in ensuring that sufficient water is available for ski area operations. The commenters believed this approach would be less likely to result in legal controversy because the approach would be more consistent with the ski area's property rights. These commenters recommended that the market value of these water rights be determined by appraisal and that the cost of the appraisal be split between the holder and the succeeding holder. Additionally, the commenters recommended that existing holders not be required to sell to the succeeding holder any water rights associated with undeveloped phases of a ski area's master development plan. Further, these commenters recommended that payment of the full price of ski area water rights purchased by the succeeding holder be due within 30 days of purchase or an otherwise agreed-upon timeframe.

    Conversely, other commenters supported the transfer requirement in proposed paragraph F.5.a because the requirement is premised on the commercial reality that water rights associated with a ski area permit are customarily included in the assets that are transferred to a buyer as part of the overall asking price, and because the transfer requirement is consistent with the requirement under the special use regulations at 36 CFR 251.60(i) to remove privately owned improvements from NFS lands when they are no longer authorized. One commenter agreed that it is appropriate for the holder to retain the full amount of the consideration paid by the succeeding holder for the holder's interest in ski area water rights.

    One commenter criticized the transfer requirement in proposed paragraph F.5.a as a perpetual allocation by the Federal government of Colorado's scarce water supply to an activity that could become economically marginal, but would be perpetuated as long as an individual or entity is willing to apply for a permit. This commenter believed that tying privately held water rights to a particular use in this manner could thwart the allocation of senior water rights to new and higher-value uses that are important for Colorado's future development.

    Response: The Agency believes that its concern regarding sufficiency of water for ski area operations can be addressed by requiring the holder to offer to sell, rather than to sell, the holder's interest in original water rights to the succeeding permit holder. This requirement, combined with the new requirement in the instructions for the purchaser of a ski area to submit documentation demonstrating that the purchaser holds or can obtain a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area prior to obtaining a permit, will meet the Agency's objective of addressing sufficiency of water to operate the ski area while giving the succeeding permit holder the option to purchase the holder's interest in original water rights or obtain water from other sources. Neither the proposed nor the final directive provides for water rights to be tied perpetually to a use that may cease to be viable. Like the proposed directive, the final directive addresses disposition of ski area water rights when the ski area is not reauthorized upon termination or revocation of the permit.

    Paragraph F.5.a in the final directive also provides that if the succeeding permit holder declines to purchase original water rights owned solely by the holder, the holder may transfer them to a third party. If the succeeding permit holder declines to purchase the holder's interest in original water rights jointly held with the United States, the holder must offer to sell that interest at market value to the United States. If the United States declines to purchase that interest, the holder may abandon, divide, lease, or transfer its interest at its sole discretion.

    Paragraph F.5.a in the final directive imposes no restrictions on the transfer or abandonment of acquired water rights.

    Paragraph F.5.a in the final directive provides that the holder will retain the full amount of any consideration paid for the holder's interest in original or acquired water rights. Paragraph F.5.a in the final directive does not prescribe a valuation mechanism or payment timeframe, as the Agency believes these issues are more appropriately addressed by the parties to the sale.

    In addition, paragraph F.5.a in the final directive provides that following transfer or abandonment of water rights under that paragraph, paragraph F.1.e will apply to the associated ski area water facilities. Paragraph F.1.e in the final directive addresses proper authorization, and in certain circumstances removal, of water facilities after certain changes have been made in connection with those water facilities.

    Proposed Paragraph F.5.b

    Proposed paragraph F.5.b provided that if the Forest Service does not reauthorize the ski area, the holder must promptly petition in accordance with State law to remove the point of diversion and water use from NFS lands for any changed or exchanged water rights and NFS ski area water rights owned solely by the holder, or the holder may relinquish those water rights. Proposed paragraph F.5.b further provided that the holder must relinquish its ownership interest in any water rights owned jointly by the holder and the United States.

    Comment: Some commenters objected to the requirement in proposed paragraph F.5.b to remove from NFS lands the point of diversion for any changed or exchanged water rights or NFS ski area water rights owned solely by the holder if the ski area is not reauthorized. These commenters believed that the reason for this requirement is unclear and that it would be inconsistent with the purpose of the Supreme Court finding that the Forest Service's Organic Act reserved the National Forests primarily to provide water to western settlers. Commenters believed that changing the points of diversion for these water rights would require State proceedings, which would be administratively onerous and expensive. These commenters suggested that the Forest Service authorize those points of diversion under a separate permit and thus maintain the value of the water rights. Another commenter observed that allowing the holder to transfer water rights to different points of diversion and use if the ski area is not reauthorized is consistent with Colorado State law and would mitigate any potential for forfeiture of the holder's solely owned water rights to the United States.

    One commenter was concerned that the requirement to relinquish to the United States the holder's interest in jointly owned water rights if the ski area is not reauthorized would eliminate any market for those water rights. Another commenter noted that water rights appropriated under State law in western states are not appurtenant to the land, and that the owner of these water rights can sever them from the land and transfer them to a different point of diversion and use, provided that the transfer does not impair other water rights. One commenter stated that there would be no impact on ski area recreation opportunities on NFS lands if the holder transferred its interest in jointly owned ski area water rights to a different point of diversion and use if the ski area is not reauthorized by the Forest Service.

    Response: In the final directive, the Agency has revised paragraph F.5.b to allow the holder to submit a proposal to the Forest Service for a permit authorizing a different use for the ski area water facilities. If a different use is not authorized for those water facilities, the holder must remove them from NFS lands. The Agency has replaced the requirement to relinquish the holder's interest in jointly owned ski area water rights to the United States if the ski area is not reauthorized with the requirement to offer to sell that interest to the United States at market value. Paragraph F.5.b in the final directive provides that if the United States declines to purchase that interest, the holder may abandon, divide, lease, or transfer its interest at its sole discretion. The Forest Service agrees that when a ski area is not reauthorized, there most likely would be no impact on ski area recreation opportunities on NFS lands if the holder severed its interest in jointly owned ski area water rights from the United States' interest in those water rights. Paragraph F.5.b in the final directive also clarifies that the holder may, in its sole discretion, abandon, divide, lease, or transfer any water rights solely owned by the holder.

    Proposed Paragraph F.6—Documentation of Transfer

    Proposed paragraph F.6 provided that when the foregoing provisions in proposed clause D-30 require the holder to transfer the holder's interest in any NFS ski area water rights or changed or exchanged water rights to the holder of a subsequent permit, the holder or the holder's heirs and assigns must execute and properly file any documents necessary to transfer the holder's interest, including but not limited to executing a quit claim deed. Proposed paragraph F.6 also provided that by executing the permit, the holder grants a limited power of attorney to the authorized officer to execute, on behalf of the holder, any documents necessary to transfer ownership under the foregoing provisions.

    Comment: Commenters objected to the limited power of attorney in proposed paragraph F.6 with regard to execution of documents necessary to transfer ownership of water rights on the grounds that it is offensive, heavy-handed, adversarial, unnecessary, and unsupported by law. Several commenters recommended that the Agency remove the limited power of attorney provision from the final directive or provide further justification for its need.

    Response: The Agency has removed proposed paragraph F.6 from the final directive, as it is not necessary to support the revised concept for addressing sufficiency of water for operation of ski areas on NFS lands. In particular, since the final directive no longer requires transfer of water rights, there is no need for a limited power of attorney on behalf of the Forest Service to ensure water rights are transferred if the holder declines to do so.

    Proposed Paragraph F.7—Waiver

    Proposed paragraph F.7 provided that the holder waives any claims against the United States for compensation for any water rights the holder transfers, removes, or relinquishes as a result of the foregoing provisions in proposed clause D-30; any claims for compensation in connection with imposition of restrictions on severing any water rights; and any claims for compensation in connection with imposition of any conditions on installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of water facilities in support of the ski area authorized by the permit.

    Comment: Commenters objected to proposed paragraph F.7 on the grounds that it would require waiver of their constitutional protections and that the Forest Service lacks statutory authority to require waiver of those protections. Other commenters believed that the waiver requirement was unnecessary. One commenter recommended that the Agency rely on the constitutionality of the final directive, rather than require permit holders to waive constitutional claims. Several commenters requested that proposed paragraph F.7 be removed from the final directive.

    Response: The Agency does not believe that a waiver provision is necessary, since the Agency does not believe that proposed and final clause D-30 effect a taking of private property. Therefore, the Agency has removed proposed paragraph F.7 from the final directive.

    Proposed Paragraph F.8—Inventory of Necessary Water Rights

    Proposed paragraph F.8 included 5 tables for recording certain information about water rights, including the state identification number; owner; purpose of use; decree, license, or certificate number; point of diversion; and point of use. Each table addressed a different category of water rights, including NFS ski area water rights that are owned solely by the United States; NFS ski area water rights that are owned solely by the holder; NFS ski area water rights that are owned jointly by the United States and the holder; changed or exchanged water rights; and water rights for points of diversion on non-NFS lands for use on NFS lands within the permit boundary.

    Comment: One commenter opposed the requirement to create and maintain an inventory of ski area water rights on the grounds that it would impose an unnecessary burden on the Forest Service and could introduce a conflict between the States' or permit holder's water rights records and the Agency's inventory. Additionally, this commenter asserted that the inventory was not necessary to ensure that a succeeding permit holder had sufficient water for operation of the ski area and would impose unnecessary bureaucratic delay on permit holders and needless workload on Agency staff. Another commenter noted that the inventory was unnecessary given the Agency's lack of water rights oversight to date and the ski industry's history of using those water rights to provide outstanding recreation opportunities at no cost to the Agency.

    Some commenters were concerned that inventorying water rights for points of diversion on non-NFS lands for use on NFS lands within the permit boundary per proposed paragraph F.8.e could be interpreted as imposing limitations on third-party water rights owned by entities that have no interest in the permitted ski area and that such restrictions would unreasonably interfere with the use of water that is located outside the permit area and is unrelated to the ski area. One commenter asserted that there is no connection between inventorying water rights for points of diversion on non-NFS lands and the Forest Service's interest in ensuring continuity of recreation opportunities for skiing on NFS lands and protecting water resources within the ski area permit boundary.

    Some commenters generally supported inventorying NFS ski area water rights because the inventory would disclose water uses by ski areas on Federal land. One commenter requested that the final directive be revised to specify a procedure for updating the inventory of ski area water rights that primarily support operation of the ski area when a ski area permit is amended or reissued to a new holder. This commenter believed that an updated inventory would reflect any additions or deletions from the list of ski area water rights and that these changes should be subject to public notice and comment.

    One commenter was concerned that focusing on ski area water rights in their entirety, rather than on the specific interest in water rights held by the permit holder for ski area purposes, would invite arguments about the scope of the inventory; risk excluding water supplies that are important to the continued operation of the ski area; and possibly create problems for third parties, such as a reservoir company and its shareholders, who also have ownership or other interests in the water rights. The commenter observed that ski area water rights in Colorado may be divided into fractional interests that are separately owned. In that case, different uses of the same water right may be subject to separate terms and conditions for purposes of administration by the State engineer. Alternatively, ski area water rights could be owned by nonprofit corporate entities such as ditch and reservoir companies, and the interests in those water rights could be represented by shares of stock in those companies.

    Response: An inventory of ski area water facilities is necessary to implement clauses D-30 and D-31 in the final directive to track water facilities that are authorized under the ski area permit, both at permit issuance and during the permit term, i.e., after changes are made in connection with water facilities that affect whether they are being used primarily for operation of the ski area. An inventory of original water rights is necessary to implement clause D-30 in the final directive to track original water rights for purposes of implementing paragraphs in clause D-30 that apply to those water rights. Per paragraph F.4.b in the final directive, the inventory will be updated by the holder upon reissuance of the ski area permit, installation or removal of a ski area water facility, when a listed ski area water facility is no longer authorized by the permit, or when an original water right is no longer used for operation of the ski area.

    The Agency does not believe that maintaining an inventory of original water rights will impose an unnecessary burden on the Forest Service or pose the risk of a conflict with the States' or permit holder's water rights records. Holders have a record of their ski area water rights and can provide the requisite information to the authorized officer to ensure that the inventory is accurate and updated as needed. Maintaining the inventory in the final directive will be simpler than maintaining the inventory in the proposed directive. In the final directive, the Agency has moved the inventory tables to an appendix and has reduced the 5 tables to 2, to track only original water rights and ski area water facilities authorized under the ski area permit. Finally, the Agency has removed the requirement for Regional Forester approval of the inventory before issuance of a new or modified ski area permit.

    The Agency agrees that water rights for points of diversion off NFS lands for use on NFS lands inside the ski area permit boundary should not be tracked in the inventory. These water rights do not arise from a point of diversion on NFS lands and therefore do not meet the definition of “ski area water rights” in the final directive.

    The Agency does not believe that changes to the inventory should be subject to public notice and comment. The inventory is a tracking mechanism. Prior appropriation doctrine States, not the Federal government, adjudicate and allocate water rights. Forest Service decisions regarding installation or removal of ski area water facilities will be subject to appropriate environmental analysis, including public involvement, as appropriate.

    Proposed Paragraph F.9—Performance Bond

    Proposed paragraph F.9 provided that when the holder owns any changed or exchanged water rights or solely owns any NFS ski area water rights, the holder must maintain a performance bond that fully covers the cost of removing all privately owned ski area improvements and restoring the site if the use is not reauthorized. Proposed paragraph F.9 also provided for the minimum amount of the bond to be specified and for the amount of the bond to be determined by the authorized officer.

    Comment: One commenter asserted that Forest Service form SF-25 is not appropriate for implementing the proposed performance bond requirement because of the form's references to “contracts” and “contractors.” This commenter recommended that a new form be developed that is tailored specifically to the obligations under FSM 6560.5. Other commenters questioned the need for a new performance bond requirement that would cover the cost of removing facilities and site restoration if a ski area is not reauthorized. Some commenters sought clarification as to how this performance bond compares to the existing performance bond requirements in the ski area permit. One commenter asserted that this requirement is unnecessary because of the existing performance bond clause in the ski area permit, which allows the Forest Service to require a performance bond at its discretion. One commenter asked for clarification as to whether the performance bond requirement would apply only to water facilities or to any ski area facilities. Additionally, some commenters objected to the cost of the performance bond.

    Some commenters supported the performance bond requirement to ensure that the permit holder removes authorized water facilities when the permit terminates and suggested that the performance bond requirement be extended to all special use permits.

    Response: The shift in focus with respect to ski area water rights from non-severability in the proposed directive to ensuring sufficiency of water for ski area operations in the final directive makes the performance bond requirement unnecessary in the final directive. Therefore, the Agency has removed proposed paragraph F.9 from the final directive. The objection to the use of form SF-25 is moot because the bonding requirement has been removed. The recommendation to expand the performance bond requirement to other types of special use permits is beyond the scope of this directive.

    Acknowledgment of Terms

    This provision stated that the holder has read and agrees to all terms and conditions of the permit, including the authorization provided in proposed paragraph F.6 that allows the authorized officer to act on the holder's behalf in executing all necessary documents to transfer ownership of NFS ski area water rights and changed or exchanged water rights as provided in the permit. No comments were received on this provision. Since proposed paragraph F.6 has been removed from the final directive, the acknowledgment of terms provision is moot and has also been removed from the final directive.

    b. RIPARIAN DOCTRINE STATES—CLAUSE D-31

    In several respects, the comments and responses on proposed clause D-30 apply to proposed clause D-31. Consequently, where applicable, the Agency has revised clause D-31 in the final directive, including the instructions, to track the changes to clause D-30 in the final directive, including the instructions.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1—Water Facilities Proposed Paragraph F.1.d

    Proposed paragraph F.1.d provided that the United States may place conditions on installation, operation, maintenance, and removal of any water facility that are deemed necessary by the United States to protect public property, public safety, and natural resources on NFS lands.

    Comment: Commenters asserted that the Forest Service does not have unfettered rights to impose any condition it sees fit on ski area water facilities as implied by proposed paragraph F.1.d. These commenters recommended that proposed paragraph F.1.d be amended in the final directive to add “in accordance with applicable laws” as required by the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act.

    Response: The Forest Service has redesignated proposed paragraph F.1.d as F.1.c in the final directive and revised paragraph F.1.c to track the revisions to the corresponding paragraph in proposed clause D-30. The response to comments on the corresponding proposed paragraph in clause D-30 is incorporated here by reference.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.e

    Proposed paragraph F.1.e provided that only water facilities that are necessary for and that primarily support operation of the ski area authorized by the permit may be included in the permit. No specific comments were received on proposed paragraph F.1.e in clause D-31. The Forest Service has redesignated proposed paragraph F.1.e as F.1.d and revised the paragraph to track the revisions made to the corresponding proposed paragraph in clause D-30.

    New Paragraph F.1.e

    The Agency has added a new paragraph F.1.e requiring an inventory of all ski area water facilities on NFS lands to be included in the appendix of the permit. The inventory must be updated by the holder upon reissuance of the ski area permit, installation or removal of a ski area water facility, or when a listed ski area water facility is no longer authorized by the ski area permit. This new paragraph corresponds to the new inventory provision in clause D-30 and is needed to track water facilities that are authorized under the ski area permit, both at permit issuance and during the permit term, i.e., after changes are made in connection with water facilities that affect whether they are being used primarily for operation of the ski area.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.f

    Proposed paragraph F.1.f provided that any change in water facilities authorized by this permit will result in termination of the authorization for those water facilities, unless the change is expressly authorized by a permit amendment. As examples of this type of change, proposed paragraph F.1.f listed use of the water in a manner that does not primarily support operation of the ski area authorized by the permit and a change in the beneficial use, location, or season of use of water.

    Comment: A commenter was concerned that proposed paragraph F.1.f would unreasonably restrict the maintenance and management of water resources and that greater flexibility was needed by holders in this context. For example, this commenter cited the need for flexibility to respond to changes in technology, weather conditions, or operational priorities and the need to make decisions quickly or in the case of a Federal government shutdown.

    Response: In the final directive, the Agency has revised proposed paragraph F.1.f to track the revisions made to the corresponding paragraph in proposed clause D-30. The response to comments on the corresponding proposed paragraph in clause D-30 is incorporated here by reference.

    Proposed Paragraph F.1.g

    Proposed paragraph F.1.g provided that the holder must obtain a separate special use authorization to initiate, develop, certify, or permit any water facility on NFS lands that does not primarily support operation of the ski area authorized by the permit.

    Comment: Commenters were concerned that separate permits issued under proposed paragraph F.1.g would not include the ski area water clauses, but rather would include standard water clauses for other special uses that require ownership of the water rights to be transferred to the United States.

    Response: In the final directive, the Agency has combined proposed paragraph F.1.g with paragraph F.1.f. In addition, the Agency has revised proposed paragraph F.1.g to track the revisions made to the corresponding provision in proposed clause D-30. The response to comments on the corresponding proposed paragraph in clause D-30 is incorporated here by reference.

    Proposed Paragraph F.2—Water Rights

    Comment: Some commenters recommended revising proposed paragraph F.2 to dedicate ski area water rights to ski area purposes to the extent the United States has any right, title, or interest in them as a riparian or littoral landowner.

    Response: In riparian doctrine States, water rights are appurtenant to the land and cannot be severed from the land. Therefore, in contrast to clause D-30, there is no need for clause D-31 to address severability of water rights from the permitted NFS lands.

    No Takings Implications

    Comment: Several commenters were concerned that proposed clause D-30 would effect a taking of private property by the Federal government. Commenters asserted several bases for this concern, including the fact that the proposed directive would not rescind water clauses for other special uses that require transfer of ownership of water rights to the United States; would require transfer of NFS ski area water rights to a succeeding permit holder; and would require transfer of the holder's solely owned NFS ski area water rights to the United States if the holder fails to move the point of diversion and use for those water rights when a ski area is not reauthorized. In addition, these commenters cited their belief that proposed clause D-30 would establish absolute control over the adjudication and operation of ski area water rights, for example, by requiring Forest Service permission for even minor changes; would allow the Forest Service to impose unlimited restrictions on water rights; and would not rescind prior ski area water rights clauses that required transfer of ownership of water rights to the United States. Several commenters asserted that the Forest Service lacks the legal authority to require holders to relinquish water rights under the ski area permit.

    Response: The Forest Service does not believe the proposed and final directives effect a taking of private property. Including requirements regarding ski area water rights in ski area permits that are issued, reissued, or modified under 36 CFR 251.61, rather than in existing ski area permits, does not effect a taking of private property. The Forest Service has broad authority to include appropriate terms and conditions in special use permits, including ski area permits. 79 FR 35516 (June 23, 2014); 16 U.S.C. 481, 497, 497b, 529, 551; 43 U.S.C. 1765; 36 CFR 251,56(a)(ii)(A), (a)(ii)(B), (a)(ii)(E), (a)(ii)(G). A ski area permit is a voluntary transaction, and a holder can decline the permit or accept the permit subject to its new conditions.

    Neither the proposed nor the final directive provides for Forest Service adjudication of water rights. The provisions governing use of water facilities have been clarified and narrowed consistent with the objectives of the final directive. When it becomes effective, the final directive will supersede prior ski area water clauses in the Forest Service's Directive System and standard ski area permit form.

    Water clauses in existing ski area permits, other than the 2011 and 2012 water clauses that were invalidated by the court's order in National Ski Areas Association, Inc. v. United States Forest Service, remain in effect. Holders of existing permits that are not being reissued or modified under 36 CFR 251.61 may elect to have these water clauses replaced with the appropriate water clause in the final directive within one year of the effective date of the final directive, provided they:

    (1) agree to have all water facilities on NFS lands that are used primarily for operation of the ski area and that are not authorized under a separate permit:

    (a) authorized by their ski area permit;

    (b) designated on a map attached to the permit; and

    (c) included in an inventory in an appendix to the permit; and

    (2) submit documentation prepared by their qualified hydrologist or licensed engineer demonstrating that:

    (a) they hold or can obtain a sufficient quantity of water to operate the permitted portion of the ski area; and

    (b) identifying all water sources, water rights, and water facilities necessary to demonstrate a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area, including all original water rights; all water facilities authorized by the ski area permit; and any existing restrictions on withdrawal or diversion of water that are required to comply with a statute or an involuntary court order that is binding on the Forest Service.

    Per paragraph F.3.d of the final directive, original water rights owned solely by the United States and the United States' interest in jointly owned original water rights will remain in Federal ownership.

    Water clauses for special uses other than ski areas are beyond the scope of this directive.

    Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

    Comment: One commenter recommended developing a new standard form to document the bonding requirement for removal of ski area improvements and site restoration, rather than relying on Forest Service form SF-25, which is intended to secure performance under the terms of the permit.

    Response: This comment is moot, since the Agency has removed the bonding requirement from the final directive.

    Federalism and Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    The Agency has considered the final directive under the requirements of E.O. 13132 on federalism and has concluded that the final directive conforms to the federalism principles in the E.O. The final directive will not impose any compliance costs on the States and will not have substantial direct effects on the States, the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the Agency has determined that no further assessment of federalism implications is necessary at this time.

    This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects 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.

    The Forest Service has assessed the impact of this policy on Indian tribes and determined that this directive does not, to our knowledge, have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under E.O. 13175. However, the Forest Service provided a 120-day government-to-government consultation period for recognized Tribes starting July 28, 2014. Tribes were provided the Federal Register notice for the proposed directive and proposed clauses D-30 and D-31. Tribes were encouraged to contact their local Forest Service administrative unit to engage in government-to-government consultation. Five Tribes submitted written comments in response to the request for consultation. The Hopi and Navajo Tribes acknowledged receipt of the comment opportunity, but did not provide comments.

    The summaries of those Tribes that did comment and the Agency's responses follow.

    Comment: The Tulalip Tribes stated that their water rights pursuant to the Treaty of Point Elliot of January 22, 1855 (12 Stat. 927), include a water right for instream flows to protect and enhance fish species and their habitat and to provide the habitat for flora and fauna harvested under the Treaty. The Tulalip Tribes want the Forest Service to ensure that water rights for ski areas in the State of Washington are held by the Federal government and are specifically limited to the term, place, and uses in the ski area permit. The Tulalip Tribes believed that this restriction would ensure that waters important for preservation of NFS lands and resources could not be transferred to other uses. The Tulalip Tribes further noted that the proposed directive addresses providing recreation opportunities, economic benefit to holders of special use permits, and protecting the public interest in water and other resources under the Agency's jurisdiction, but fails to acknowledge the Agency's legal duty to protect the Tulalip Tribes' water rights, which predate any other water rights pursuant to the Treaty of Point Elliot and an E.O. dated December 23, 1873.

    Response: For the reasons stated above, the final directive modifies the Forest Service's approach to accomplishing the objective of long-term availability of water to sustain ski area uses. In particular, the final directive does not provide for ski area water rights to be acquired in the name of the United States. With respect to ski area water rights, the final directive emphasizes sufficiency of water for ski area operations. In particular, the final directive includes a definition for the term, “sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area,” and clarifies when and how the holder must demonstrate a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area; provides that the holder may not make changes that would adversely affect the availability of the holder's solely or jointly owned original water rights for ski area operations during the permit term, unless approved in writing in advance by the authorized officer; requires the holder to offer to sell the holder's interest in original water rights to the succeeding permit holder; and provides that if a purchaser of the ski area declines to buy the holder's interest in jointly owned original water rights, the holder must offer to sell that interest to the United States.

    The Forest Service is committed to honoring Tribal treaty and other reserved rights, including Tribal water rights. Nothing in the final directive will infringe upon these rights. Water rights acquired under State law in connection with ski area permits are subject to the valid existing water rights of other water rights holders, including valid existing Tribal treaty and other reserved water rights, if any. Reference to the water rights of specific Tribes would be outside the scope of this directive, which sets forth water clauses for ski area permits.

    Comment: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska stated that the proposed directive may proceed, but asked to be notified if any burial sites or cultural properties are found during construction, as the Tribe has cultural properties on NFS lands. Similarly, the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribe asked to be consulted if any human remains or artifacts that fall under Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) guidelines are unearthed in connection with the proposal. The Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribe stated that it does not have any other comments, does not object to the proposed directive, and does not believe that it would otherwise adversely affect any traditional, religious, or culturally significant sites of the Tribe.

    Response: The final directive does not implement any site-specific decisions regarding the conditioning or construction of water facilities at ski areas on NFS lands. If a Tribe requests consultation on the final directive, the Forest Service will work with the Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions and modifications identified herein are not expressly mandated by Congress. The Forest Service will evaluate the need for and conduct appropriate tribal consultation on such site-specific projects if and when they are proposed. Prior to any permit being issued or conditions being placed, the authorized officer must, pursuant to Executive Orders 12898 and 13175 and NFS Directives, consult with relevant populations, including tribes having a current or historical interest in the NFS lands authorized by the permit or condition. Additionally, in accordance with NAGPRA, an existing clause in the standard ski area permit form states that if the holder inadvertently discovers human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony on NFS lands, the holder must immediately cease work in the area of the discovery; make a reasonable effort to protect and secure the items; and immediately notify the authorized officer by telephone of the discovery and follow up with written confirmation of the discovery.

    4. Regulatory Certifications Environmental Impact

    This final directive revises national Forest Service policy governing water rights in ski area permits. Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR 220.6(d)(2) exclude from documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement “rules, regulations, or policies to establish Service-wide administrative procedures, program processes, or instructions.” The Agency has concluded that this final directive falls within this category of actions and that no extraordinary circumstances exist which would require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Regulatory Impact

    This final directive has been reviewed under USDA procedures and E.O. 12866 on regulatory planning and review. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this final directive is significant and therefore subject to OMB review under E.O. 12866. The final directive is not economically significant because it will not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy; it will not adversely affect productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health and safety, or State or local governments; and it will not alter the budgetary impact of entitlement, grant, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of beneficiaries of those programs or interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency.

    The cost-benefit analysis prepared by the Agency for the final directive concludes that the benefits of the final directive to the Forest Service substantially outweigh the costs because the Agency has corrected the procedural deficiencies associated with 2011 and 2012 ski area water clauses and because the final directive will enhance treatment of ski area water rights and administration of ski area water facilities under ski area permits. The cost-benefit analysis also concludes that the costs to permit holders associated with the final directive are minimal and are substantially outweighed by the benefits of enhanced sustainability of ski areas on NFS lands and improved administration of ski area permits.

    The Agency has considered the final directive in light of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602 et seq.). Pursuant to a threshold Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, the Agency has determined that the final directive will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by the Act because the final directive will impose only modest record-keeping requirements on them; will not affect their competitive position in relation to large entities; and will not affect their cash flow, liquidity, or ability to remain in the market. The final directive will likely have a positive economic effect on current and future ski area permit holders and local communities close to ski areas because the final directive addresses long-term sustainability of ski areas. The basis for this determination is enumerated in the threshold Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis for the final directive.

    No Takings Implications

    The Agency has analyzed the final directive in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in E.O.12630 and has determined that the final directive will not pose the risk of a taking of private property.

    Civil Justice Reform

    The Agency has reviewed the final directive under E.O. 12988 on civil justice reform. Upon adoption of the final directive, (1) all State and local laws and regulations that conflict with the final directive or that impede its full implementation will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to the final directive; and (3) it will not require administrative proceedings before parties file suit in court challenging its provisions.

    Energy Effects

    The Agency has reviewed the final directive under E.O. 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.” The Agency has determined that the final directive does not constitute a significant energy action as defined in the E.O.

    Unfunded Mandates

    Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538), the Agency has assessed the effects of the final directive on State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. The final directive will not compel the expenditure of $100 million or more by any State, local, or Tribal government or anyone in the private sector. Therefore, a statement under section 202 of the act is not required.

    Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

    The information collection associated with the final directive is different from the information collection associated with the proposed directive. In particular, rather than requiring an inventory of 5 different types of water rights, the final directive requires an inventory of only original water rights and ski area water facilities authorized by the permit. In addition, the final directive requires an applicant for a new or modified ski area permit to document a sufficient quantity of water to operate the ski area and an applicant for a new water facility to document a sufficient quantity of water to operate the proposed water facility.

    Therefore, through this Federal Register notice, the Agency is providing an opportunity to comment on the information collection associated with the final directive during the 30-day period between the publication date and the effective date of the final directive. When this information collection has been approved for use, it will be incorporated into OMB control number 0596-0082, Special Uses Administration. All other information collections associated with the ski area permit are already covered by OMB control number 0596-0082.

    The following summarizes the information collection associated with the final directive:

    OMB Control Number: 0596-0235.

    Estimated Burden per Response: 1.5 hours.

    Type of Respondents: Ski area permit holders.

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 40.

    Estimated Annual Average Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.5.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 90 hours.

    Comment is invited on (1) whether this information collection is necessary for the stated purposes and proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden associated with the information collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments received in response to the notice of this information collection, including names and addresses when provided, will be included in the record for the final directive. The comments will be summarized and included in the package submitted to OMB for approval.

    5. Access to the Final Directive

    The Forest Service organizes its Directive System by alphanumeric codes and subject headings. The intended audience for this direction is Forest Service employees charged with issuing and administering ski area permits. To view the final directive, visit the Forest Service's Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses. Only the sections of the FSH that are the subject of this notice have been posted, i.e., FSH 2709.11, Special Uses Handbook, Chapter 50, Standard Forms and Supplemental Clauses, Section 52.4.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Thomas L. Tidwell, Chief, Forest Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32846 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Illinois Advisory Committee to Discuss Approval of a Project Proposal to Study Civil Rights and Environmental Justice in the State AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Illinois Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Friday, January 22, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. CST. The purpose of this meeting is to review and discuss approval of a project proposal to study civil rights and environmental justice in the State. The Committee met on November 20, 2015 and approved a study of this topic, particularly as it relates to coal ash disposal in communities of color in Illinois. This study is in support of the Commission's nationally focused 2016 statutory enforcement study on the same topic.

    This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-481-2844, conference ID: 2949512. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement at the end of the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, according to their wireless plan, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are also entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Carolyn Allen at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at https://database.faca.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=246. Click on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links to download. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda
    Welcome and Introductions Review and Discussion of Civil Rights Project Proposal: Environmental Justice and Coal Ash Disposal in Illinois Open Comment Future plans and actions Adjournment DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Friday, January 22, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. CST.

    Public Call Information

    Dial: 888-481-2844.

    Conference ID: 2949512.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski at [email protected] or 312-353-8311.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32834 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Michigan Advisory Committee for a Meeting To Discuss Preparations for a Public Hearing Regarding the Civil Rights Impact of Civil Forfeiture Practices in the State AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Michigan Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. EST for the purpose of discussing preparations for a public hearing regarding the civil rights impact of civil forfeiture practices in the State.

    This meeting is available to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-576-4398, conference ID: 3486198. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. An open comment period will be provided to allow members of the public to make a statement at the end of the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines according to their regular wireless plans, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are also entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Carolyn Allen at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at http://facadatabase.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=255. Click on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links to download. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda
    Welcome and Introductions Donna Budnick, Chair Preparatory Discussion for Public Hearing: Civil Rights Impact of Civil Forfeiture Practices in Michigan Future plans and actions Adjournment DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. EST.

    Public Call Information

    Dial: 888-576-4398.

    Conference ID: 3486198.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski at [email protected] or 312-353-8311.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32835 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE376 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a public meeting of its Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Advisory Panel (AP) and its Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish AP.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For agenda details, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Ocean Place Resort, 1 Ocean Boulevard, Long Branch, NJ 07740; telephone: (732) 571-4000.

    Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331; Web site: www.mafmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, telephone: (302) 526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The MAFMC's Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass AP and Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish AP will meet to provide input on a framework to modify the scup Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs). The scup GRAs are seasonally-effective areas where vessels fishing for or possessing black sea bass, longfin squid, or silver hake (also known as whiting) are prohibited from using trawl nets with codend mesh smaller than 5.0-inches in diameter. The Council has developed a range of alternatives for potential modifications to the GRA boundaries. The APs will provide feedback on those alternatives and may propose additional alternatives. More information, including a detailed agenda can be found at: www.mamfc.org.

    Special Accommodations

    The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: December 24, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32866 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Scientific & Statistical 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 Wednesday, January 20, 2016 beginning at 9 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Boston Logan, 100 Boardman Street, Boston, MA 02128; phone: (617) 567-6789.

    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 SSC will meet to: Consider identifying an ABC for witch flounder that is not bound by 75% of FMSY; comment on draft terms of reference for a 2016 benchmark stock assessment for witch flounder; receive an update on groundfish catch advice project; receive an update on the Council risk policy working group including an overview of current control rules. They will discuss other business as needed.

    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 24, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32867 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Extension of Deep Seabed Exploration Licenses: Response to Comments AGENCY:

    Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Response to comments.

    SUMMARY:

    Due to a clerical error, comments submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity on a requested extension of Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act exploration licenses were not considered until after the licenses were extended. After reviewing and considering those comments, NOAA has found that they provide no basis for reconsidering the requested license extensions or revising the now-extended licenses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Kerry Kehoe, Office for Coastal Management, National Ocean Service, 301-563-1151, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On February 28, 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a notice in the Federal Register advising the public of a request from Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin) to extend its two deep seabed mining exploration licenses (USA-1 and USA-4) issued under the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act (DSHMRA). See 77 FR 12245. Comments on the proposed extensions were requested at that time. Following the February 28, 2012, Notice, NOAA published a second notice in the Federal Register announcing the extension of Licenses USA-1 and USA-4 through 2017, and discussing several comments received on the extensions. See 77 FR 40586 (July 10, 2012).

    Comments submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), however, were not discussed in the July 10, 2012, notice. The CBD comments were received by NOAA but, due to a clerical error, the comments were not routed to the license extension reviewers who were unaware of CBD's comments until after an inquiry was received from CBD following the July 10, 2012, publication of the extension notice. Upon review and consideration of CBD's comments, NOAA determined that the extension of the exploration licenses should stand without modification as CBD's comments were based on a misunderstanding of the nature and scope of the license extensions.

    Following the discovery of CBD's comments, the relevant Staff from NOAA discussed the substance of the comments with CBD and described why CBD's concerns as articulated in the comments were not relevant to the USA-1 and USA-4 license extensions. In addition, NOAA is now publishing a response to the CBD comments to address any public misconceptions about the extension of the deep seabed mining exploration Licenses USA-1 and USA-4.

    General Response to the CBD Comments

    The CBD comments pertain to activities not presently authorized pursuant to the license extensions. Instead, the CBD comments are relevant to at-sea exploration activities that, if pursued, would first require additional NOAA approvals. See 77 FR 12246. As discussed below, the extension of the Lockheed Martin exploration licenses merely serves to preserve the legal status and any domestic and international priority of rights that Licenses USA-1 and USA-4 may confer.

    As part of Lockheed Martin's request to extend the USA-1 and USA-4 exploration licenses, it submitted a two-phase exploration plan. This two-phased plan is consistent with all the previous exploration plans submitted since the issuance of these licenses. Phase I is a preparatory stage which includes activities for which no license would be required. Phase II includes activities for which an exploration license may be required. The current exploration plan includes statements anticipating that actual exploration activities might be conducted under Phase II during the requested five-year extension; however, those statements are qualified. Lockheed Martin has stated that before it will conduct at-sea activities requiring an exploration license (i.e., Phase II activities), international security of tenure must first be obtained.1 In order for this to occur, the United States must first accede to the Law of the Sea Convention. The United States Department of State, in commenting on the requested license extension, stated its view that for Lockheed Martin to proceed with exploration activities without international recognition would be a violation of the terms, conditions and restrictions of its license. In the July 10, 2012, Federal Register notice for the issuance of the extension for the explorations licenses, NOAA acknowledged and accepted the Department of State's position. See 77 FR 12246.

    1 Lockheed Martin has also stated that the market price of metals would need to increase and stabilize to make the deep sea recovery of such materials commercial viable.

    Lockheed Martin also provided NOAA written confirmation that no at-sea exploration activities, which would require a license, would be conducted without additional authorization from NOAA. Such authorization would, at that time, be subject to all necessary environmental reviews. Although Lockheed Martin may ultimately conduct at-sea exploration activities pursuant to the USA-1 and USA-4 licenses, such activities would require additional environmental review and NOAA authorization before commencement of such exploration pursuant to these licenses.

    Accordingly, upon review and consideration of the CBD comments, NOAA has found that the extension of the deep seabed mining exploration licenses should stand without modification. NOAA's specific responses to the CBD comments are provided below.

    Response to CBD Comments

    Comment 1: NOAA cannot extend the licenses or approve the exploration plan unless it fully complies with the environmental review provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) through the preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement which includes a full analysis of the impact of direct, indirect and cumulative effects; alternatives; and mitigation measures for the action, along with an opportunity for public review and comment. It is inadequate for NOAA to rely on any prior NEPA analysis as there is significant new information about the impacts of offshore mineral exploration. While tiering to a previous environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) may be useful in complying with NEPA, it does not eliminate the need to analyze the impacts of site specific actions.

    Response: NOAA disagrees that the Agency has failed to fully comply with the requirements of NEPA.

    NOAA has prepared a programmatic EIS in connection with potential deep ocean mining activities.2 In addition, an EIS was prepared for USA-1 and USA-4 3 at the time of issuance and an updated environmental assessment was prepared in 1989 for the licenses.4 When USA-4 was transferred to Lockheed Martin Company in 1994, an additional environmental impact statement was prepared that noted that the EIS was only being prepared to meet the requirements of DSHMRA to prepare an EIS, and not those of NEPA as the transfer of the license would not have significant environmental impacts.5

    2 The programmatic EIS was prepared in 1981 which described the results of the Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study (DOMES), a five-year project designed to examine potential effects of nodule mining. The review covered both exploration and commercial recovery authorizations; however, it only assessed the environmental impacts from first generation mining activities with the belief that there would be a need for further assessments as the industry developed and evolved. The PEIS found that data collection activities for assessing resources and determining seafloor characteristics presented no threat of significant adverse effects on the environment. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Deep Seabed Mining: Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Sept. 1981.

    3 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Deep Seabed Mining: Final Environmental Impact Statement, July 1984.

    4 U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, Deep Seabed Mining: An Updated Environmental Assessment of NOAA Deep Seabed Mining Licensees' Exploration Plans, Jan. 1989.

    5 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Deep Seabed Mining: Final Environmental Impact Statement, November 1994.

    With respect to the instant license extensions, NOAA considered its environmental compliance obligations and determined that, in order for the Agency to conduct an environmental review, there must first be a proposed activity to review. As discussed above, there is no action triggered or authorized pursuant to the USA-1 and USA-4 license extensions that has the potential to significantly affect the environment. The extensions merely preserve any domestic or international priority of rights the licenses may confer. Lockheed Martin's revised exploration plan associated with the license extensions, which like each other exploration plan submitted for these licenses, has two phases with the first being preparatory land-side activities that do not require any authorizations and the second including actual at-sea exploration activities. Lockheed Martin has noted that its Phase II activities are contingent upon a U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention and a substantial increase in the market prices for metals; two events which have not occurred and are not likely to occur prior to the end of the current term of the licenses. Should Lockheed Martin decide to conduct any Phase II, at-sea exploration in connection with USA-1 or USA-4, the terms of the licenses require additional authorizations from NOAA and other federal reviewing agencies prior to the commencement of any such activities.

    Given the phased nature of these licenses and the uncertainty associated with possible commencement of Phase II activities, NOAA believes it would be premature at this stage to conduct the types of environmental reviews suggested by commenter. Lockheed Martin has not detailed the specific location(s) within the licensed exploration areas where any future at-sea activities would be conducted. The company has also not detailed the specifics of any exploration techniques, equipment or intensity. Absent this type of information, any environmental review conducted by NOAA would be speculative at best. Instead, NOAA believes that environmental reviews, including those that may be required under NEPA, are appropriate once Lockheed Martin has decided to pursue NOAA authorization for Phase II activities. Such environmental review will be subject to public review and comment, and NOAA encourages CBD to participate in that process should Lockheed Martin seek approval for Phase II activities.

    Comment 2: The extension is an action that must comply with the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

    Response: NOAA disagrees. As described in the response to comment 1 above, no action is presently triggered or authorized pursuant to the USA-1 and USA-4 license extensions that has the potential to affect protected species under the cited statutes. As such, NOAA is unaware of, and commenter has not identified, any outstanding obligations with respect to these statutes.

    Comment 3. The initial phase of the application at issue here will be comprised of surveys and other activities in preparation for mining. These exploratory surveys have significant environmental impacts including acoustic impacts from the use of seismic survey airguns, mining and lighting impacts. Deepsea [sic] mining also generates waste, noise, fuel or other spills, vessel traffic, sediment plumes, habitat disturbance and destruction, and water quality problems. The license should be denied because it is untenable for NOAA to make a finding that the exploration proposed in the application cannot reasonably be expected to result in significant adverse effect [sic] on the quality of the environment as required for issuing a license under 15 CFR 970.506. Any license should be conditioned on measures that avoid these environmental impacts.

    Response: NOAA disagrees. Contrary to the assertion of the commenter, the current license extensions do not authorize the at-sea activities described in the comments. The requested license extensions only extend the term of the licenses and do not authorize the types of at-sea exploration activities cited by commenter. Indeed, conducting such activities may be unnecessary as Lockheed Martin stands in a unique position as a pre-enactment explorer (i.e., the company conducted its exploration activities including the acquisition of manganese nodules from the seafloor for assay purposes prior to the enactment of the DSHMRA). When USA-4 was transferred to Lockheed Martin in 1994 following the relinquishment of the license from the consortium led by Kennecott Corporation, Lockheed Martin's request for the transfer of the license stated that the company had no plans to conduct at-sea exploration activities since it already had conducted sufficient exploration prior to the enactment of DSHMRA. As noted above, when and if Lockheed Martin decides to seek authorization to commence Phase II activities, such authorization will trigger appropriate review of the environmental impacts associated with the proposed at-sea exploration activities.

    The CBD comments also contain an extensive discussion of the impacts of airguns used to conduct seismic surveys. No such activities have been proposed, let alone authorized.

    Additionally, throughout the CBD comments the impacts of mining of the deep seabed are also discussed. Mining has not been authorized nor proposed. DSHMRA establishes a licensing requirement for exploration activities and a separate permit requirement for commercial recovery (i.e., mining). Both exploration licenses expressly prohibit the licensee from even testing mining equipment without receiving further authorization from NOAA. To date, no such authorizations have ever been requested.

    Federal Domestic Assistance Catalog 11.419

    Coastal Zone Management Program Administration. Dated: December 22, 2015. Christopher C. Cartwright, Associate Assistant Administrator for Management and CFO/CAO, Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32889 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-08-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0142] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Logistics Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Logistics Agency announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Logistics Agency, ATTN: Joint Contingency and Expeditionary Services (JCXS) Program Management Office (PMO), 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350; or call (571) 372-3593.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Joint Contingency Contracting System (JCCS); OMB 0704-XXXX.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to evaluate vendors for possible approval or acceptance to do business with and have access to U.S. military installations around the world. JCCS is a module of the Joint Contingency and Expeditionary Services (JCXS). JCXS is the DoD's agile, responsive, and global provider of Joint expeditionary acquisition business solutions that fulfill mission-critical requirements while supporting interagency collaboration—to include, but not limited to, contracting, finance, spend analysis, contract close-out, staffing, strategic sourcing, and reporting.

    As an integral component of JCXS, JCCS was designed to register foreign vendors for work with the U.S. Government. These vendors must provide certain information and identification documents, such as employee passports, in order to be vetted. If the requested information is not provided by vendors, proper verification of credentials and a security review cannot be properly completed. Vendor evaluation is essential for maintaining force protection.

    Although there is no PRA requirement for the current foreign respondents, beginning January 1, 2016, a new mandate exists that will necessitate all vendors register in order to do business with the U.S. Military. This addition of U.S. vendors establishes a burden to members of the public under the PRA.

    Affected Public: Business or other for profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Annual Burden Hours: 500.

    Number of Respondents: 1000.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Average Burden per Response: 0.5 hours (30 minutes).

    Frequency: On Occasion, Annually.

    Respondents are businesses who are applying, on occasion, for authorization to be a vendor with the U.S. Military, including approval for the associated access, if appropriate, to bases worldwide. Based on changing mission requirements, the U.S. Government may also require vendors to be vetted annually for eligibility to bid on new contracts. The amount of vendors registering with JCCS is expected to increase when the new requirement for all vendors takes effect in January 2016.

    Disclosure of PII and other needed information is voluntary to support the registration and vetting process. However, failure to provide the required information may result in a vendor being denied access to the JCCS business application, and subsequently prohibited from conducting business with the U.S. Military. The JCCS application is available through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Web site.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32809 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0082; Docket 2015-0055; Sequence 30] Information Collection; Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0082, Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0082 Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0082 Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0082, Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0082, Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Michael O. Jackson, Procurement Analyst, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, 202-208-4949 or email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    The provision at 52.207-4, Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies, invites offerors to state an opinion on whether the quantity of supplies on which bids, proposals, or quotes are requested in solicitations is economically advantageous to the Government. Each offeror who believes that acquisitions in different quantities would be more advantageous is invited to (1) recommend an economic purchase quantity, showing a recommended unit and total price, and (2) identify the different quantity points where significant price breaks occur. This information is required by Public Law 98-577 and Public Law 98-525.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 3,000.

    Responses per Respondent: 25.

    Annual Responses: 75,000.

    Hours per Response: 1.

    Total Burden Hours: 75,000.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0082, Economic Purchase Quantity—Supplies, in all correspondence.

    William Clark, Director, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32775 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0071; Docket 2015-0055; Sequence 28] Information Collection; Price Redetermination AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension of an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning Price Redetermination.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0071, Price Redetermination, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0071, Price Redetermination”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0071, Price Redetermination” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0071, Price Redetermination.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0071, Price Redetermination, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Curtis E. Glover, Sr., Procurement Analyst, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, GSA, (202) 501-1448 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    FAR 16.205, Fixed-price contracts with prospective price redetermination, provides for firm fixed prices for an initial period of the contract with prospective redetermination at stated times during performance. FAR 16.206, Fixed price contracts with retroactive price redetermination, provides for a fixed ceiling price and retroactive price redetermination within the ceiling after completion of the contract. In order for the amounts of price adjustments to be determined, the firms performing under these contracts must provide information to the Government regarding their expenditures and anticipated costs.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 139.

    Responses per Respondent: 9.

    Annual Responses: 1,251.

    Hours per Response: 8.

    Total Burden Hours: 10,008.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary; whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755.

    Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0071, Price Redetermination, in all correspondence.

    William Clark, Director, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32774 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Nevada AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Nevada. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 5:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Beatty Community Center, 100 A Avenue South, Beatty, Nevada 89003.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barbara Ulmer, Board Administrator, 232 Energy Way, M/S 505, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030. Phone: (702) 630-0522; Fax (702) 295-5300 or Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Tentative Agenda:

    1. Briefing and Recommendation Development for Path to Closure for Rainier Mesa/Shoshone Mountain—Work Plan Item #6 2. Recommendation Development for Frenchman Flat Long-Term Monitoring Plan (Closure Report)—Work Plan Item #5 3. Update on Rain Impacts on Post-Closure Monitoring Sites at the Nevada National Security Site

    Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Nevada, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Barbara Ulmer at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the phone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral presentations pertaining to agenda items should contact Barbara Ulmer at the telephone number listed above. The request must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments can do so during the 15 minutes allotted for public comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing to Barbara Ulmer at the address listed above or at the following Web site: http://nv.energy.gov/nssab/MeetingMinutes.aspx

    Issued at Washington, DC, on December 23, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32882 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2884-002.

    Applicants: Kansas City Power & Light Company, KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Protocols Compliance Filing to be effective 3/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5163.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-631-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: BPA Construction Agmt (USBR Green Springs Rev 1) to be effective 2/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5151.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-632-000.

    Applicants: Blythe Solar II, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Blythe Solar II, LLC Application for Market-Based Rates to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5161.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-633-000.

    Applicants: California Independent System Operator Corporation.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-12-23 ABAOA with CENACE-GCRBC, Termination of CFE ICAOA & Waiver Request to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5207.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32828 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RM15-14-000] Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards; Supplemental Notice of Agenda and Discussion Topics for Staff Technical Conference

    This notice establishes the agenda and topics for discussion at the technical conference to be held on January 28, 2016, to discuss issues related to supply chain risk management. The technical conference will start at 10:00 a.m. and end at approximately 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) in the Commission Meeting Room at the Commission's Headquarters, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC. The technical conference will be led by Commission staff, and FERC Commissioners may be in attendance. All interested parties are invited to attend, and registration is not required.

    The topics and related questions to be discussed during this conference are provided as an attachment to this Notice. The purpose of the technical conference is to facilitate a structured dialogue on supply chain risk management issues identified by the Commission in the Revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued in this proceeding and raised in public comments to the NOPR. Prepared remarks will be presented by invited panelists.

    This event will be webcast and transcribed. The free webcast allows listening only. Anyone with Internet access who desires to listen to this event can do so by navigating to the “FERC Calendar” at www.ferc.gov, and locating the technical conference in the Calendar of Events. Opening the technical conference in the Calendar of Events will reveal a link to its webcast. The Capitol Connection provides technical support for the webcast and offers the option of listening to the meeting via phone-bridge for a fee. If you have any questions, visit www.CapitolConnection.org or call 703-993-3100. The webcast will be available on the Calendar of Events at www.ferc.gov for three months after the conference. Transcripts of the conference will be immediately available for a fee from Ace-Federal Reporters, Inc. (202-347-3700).

    FERC conferences are accessible under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For accessibility accommodations, please send an email to [email protected] or call toll free (866) 208-3372 (voice) or (202) 502-8659 (TTY), or send a fax to (202) 208-2106 with the requested accommodations.

    There is no fee for attendance. However, members of the public are encouraged to preregister online at: https://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/registration/01-28-16-form.asp.

    For more information about the technical conference, please contact: Sarah McKinley, Office of External Affairs, 202-502-8368, [email protected]

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary. EN30DE15.000 Critical Infrastructure Protection Supply Chain Risk Management RM15-14-000 January 28, 2016 Agenda Welcome and Opening Remarks by Commission Staff 9:30-9:45 a.m. Introduction

    In a July 16, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in the above-captioned docket, the Commission proposed to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop new or modified Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards to provide security controls relating to supply chain risk management for industrial control system hardware, software, and services. The Commission sought and received comments on this proposal, including: (1) The NOPR proposal to direct that NERC develop a Reliability Standard to address supply chain risk management; (2) the anticipated features of, and requirements that should be included in, such a standard; and (3) a reasonable timeframe for development of a standard. The purpose of this conference is to clarify issues, share information, and determine the proper response to address security control and supply chain risk management concerns.

    Staff Presentation: Supply Chain Efforts by Certain Other Federal Agencies 9:45 a.m.-10:05 a.m. Break 10:05 p.m.-10:15 p.m. Panel 1: Need for a New or Modified Reliability Standard 10:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

    The Commission staff seeks information about the need for a new or modified Reliability Standard to manage supply chain risks for industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services associated with bulk electric system operations. Panelists are encouraged to address:

    • Identify challenges faced in managing supply chain risk.

    • Describe how the current CIP Standards provide supply chain risk management controls.

    • Describe how the current CIP Standards incentivize or inhibit the introduction of more secure technology.

    • Identify possible other approaches that the Commission can take to mitigate supply chain risks.

    Panelists 1. Nadya Bartol, Vice President, Industry Affairs and Cybersecurity Strategist, UTC 2. Jon Boyens, Project Manager, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) 3. John Galloway, Director, Cyber Security, ISO New England 4. John Goode, Chief Information Officer/Senior Vice President, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) 5. Barry Lawson, Associate Director, Power Delivery & Reliability, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) 6. Helen Nalley, Compliance Director, Southern Company 7. Jacob Olcott, Vice President of Business Development, Bitsight Tech 8. Marcus Sachs, Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Lunch 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Panel 2: Scope and Implementation of a New or Modified Standard 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

    The Commission staff seeks information about the scope and implementation of a new or modified Standard to manage supply chain risks for industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services associated with bulk electric system operations. Panelists are encouraged to address:

    • Identify types of assets that could be better protected with a new or modified Standard.

    • Identify supply chain processes that could be better protected by a Standard.

    • Identify controls or modifications that could be included in the Standard.

    • Identify existing mandatory or voluntary standards or security guidelines that could form the basis of the Standard.

    • Address how the verification of supply chain risk mitigation could be measured, benchmarked and/or audited.

    • Present and justify a reasonable timeframe for development and implementation of a Standard.

    • Discuss whether a Standard could be a catalyst for technical innovation and market competition.

    Panelists 1. Mike Ahmadi, Global Director—Critical Systems Security, Synopsys 2. Jonathan Appelbaum, Director, NERC Compliance, The United Illuminating Company 3. Brent Castegnetto, Manager, Cyber Security Audits & Investigations, WECC 4. Art Conklin, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Information Security Research and Education, University of Houston 5. Edna Conway, Chief Security Officer, Value Chain Security, Cisco 6. Bryan Owen, Principal Cyber Security Manager, OSIsoft 7. Albert Ruocco, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, American Electric Power (AEP) 8. Doug Thomas, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Ontario Independent Electricity System Operation (IESO) Break 2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Panel 3: Current Supply Chain Risk Management Practices and Collaborative Efforts 2:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m.

    The Commission staff seeks information about existing supply chain risk management efforts for information and communications technology and industrial control system hardware, software, and services in other critical infrastructure sectors and the government. Panelists are encouraged to address:

    • Generally describe how registered entities and other organizations currently manage supply chain issues.

    • Identify standards or guidelines that are used to establish supply chain risk management practices. Specifically, discuss experience under those standards or guidelines.

    • Identify organizational roles involved in the development and implementation of supply chain risk management practices.

    • Generally describe approaches for identifying, evaluating, mitigating, and monitoring supply chain risk.

    • Generally discuss how supply chain risk is addressed in the contracting process with vendors and suppliers.

    • Generally describe the capabilities that registered entities currently have to inspect third party information security practices.

    • Generally describe the capabilities that registered entities currently have to negotiate for additional security in their hardware, software, and service contracts. Describe how this may vary based on the potential vendor or supplier and the type of service to be provided.

    • Generally describe how vendors and suppliers are managing risk in their supply chain.

    Panelists 1. Douglas Bauder, Vice President, Operational Services, and Chief Procurement Officer, Southern California Edison 2. Andrew Bochman, Senior Cyber & Energy Security Strategist, INL/DOE 3. Dennis Gammel, Director, Security Technology, Schweitzer Engineering 4. Andrew Ginter, Vice President, Industrial Security, Waterfall Security Solutions 5. Steve Griffith, Industry Director, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 6. Maria Jenks, Vice President, Supply Chain, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) 7. Robert McClanahan, Vice President/Chief Information Officer, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) 8. Thomas O'Brien, Chief Information Officer, PJM Interconnection, LLC 4:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
    [FR Doc. 2015-32833 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 12690-015] Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Surrender of License.

    b. Project No.: 12690-015.

    c. Date Filed: December 4, 2015.

    d. Applicant: Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington.

    e. Name of Project: Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project.

    f. Location: On the east side of Admiralty Inlet in Puget Sound, Washington, about 0.6 mile west of Whidbey Island, within Island County, Washington.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Applicant Contact: Mr. Craig W. Collar, CEO/General Manager of Snohomish County PUD #1, 2320 California Street, Everett, WA 98201, Phone: (425) 783-8473.

    i. FERC Contact: Mr. Ashish Desai, (202) 502-8370, [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene and protests, is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, protests, comments, and recommendations, using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-12690-015.

    k. Description of Project Facilities: The unconstructed Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project works would consist of two 300-kW OpenHydro tidal turbines each mounted on a triangular subsea base, two approximately 7,000-foot-long connecting cables extending onshore, and onshore supporting facilities.

    l. Description of Request: The applicant has determined the unconstructed project is no longer economically feasible and proposes to surrender the license.

    m. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208- 3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above.

    n. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    o. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    p. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to project works which are the subject of the license surrender. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32832 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Effectiveness of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status Green Mountain Storage, LLC EG15-121-000; Meyersdale Storage, LLC EG15-122-000; Moxie Freedom LLC EG15-123-000; Odell Wind Farm, LLC EG15-124-000; Colbeck's Corner, LLC EG15-125-000; Mesquite Solar 2, LLC EG15-126-000; Mesquite Solar 3, LLC EG15-127-000; Land of the Sky MT, LLC EG15-128-000; Eden Solar, LLC EG15-129-000; Saddleback Ridge Wind, LLC EG15-130-000; Desert Stateline LLC EG15-131-000; CED Alamo 5, LLC EG15-132-000; Wake Wind Energy LLC EG15-133-000]

    Take notice that during the month of November 2015, the status of the above-captioned entities as Exempt Wholesale Generators became effective by operation of the Commission's regulations. 18 CFR 366.7(a).

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32830 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-513-000] Texas Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Northern Supply Access Project

    On June 5, 2015, Texas Gas Transmission, LLC (Texas Gas) filed an application in Docket No. CP15-513 requesting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act to construct and operate certain natural gas pipeline facilities. The proposed project is known as the Northern Supply Access Project (Project), and would allow Texas Gas to provide an additional 384,000 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas of north to south transportation capacity on Texas Gas's system while maintaining bi-directional flow capability on its system.

    On June 17, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) issued its Notice of Application for the Project. Among other things, that notice alerted agencies issuing federal authorizations of the requirement to complete all necessary reviews and to reach a final decision on a request for a federal authorization within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Project. This instant notice identifies the FERC staff's planned schedule for the completion of the EA for the Project.

    Schedule for Environmental Review Issuance of EA February 4, 2016. 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline May 4, 2016.

    If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Project's progress.

    Project Description

    Texas Gas proposes to construct, install, own, operate, and maintain the proposed Northern Supply Access Project, which would involve modifications at eight existing compressor stations in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana; Coahoma County, Mississippi; Tipton County, Tennessee; Webster, Breckinridge, and Jefferson Counties, Kentucky; and Lawrence and Dearborn Counties, Indiana. Texas Gas would also add one new 23,877 horsepower compressor station in Hamilton County, Ohio.

    Background

    On September 4, 2015, the Commission issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Northern Supply Access Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (NOI). The NOI was sent to affected landowners; federal, state, and local government agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. In response to the NOI, the Commission received consultation letters from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Mississippi, Kentucky and Indiana State Historic Preservation Officer. The Commission also received comments from the City of Harrison, Great Parks of Hamilton County, and the Allegheny Defense Project/Center for Biological Diversity/Fresh Water Accountability Project/Heartwood/Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. The primary issues raised by the commentors focused on the environmental impacts of operating the new Harrison Compressor Station near residences and the Miami Whitewater Forest and the indirect/cumulative impacts of shale gas development.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the EA and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Additional information about the Project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs at (866) 208-FERC or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). Using the “eLibrary” link, select “General Search” from the eLibrary menu, enter the selected date range and “Docket Number” excluding the last three digits (i.e., CP15-513), and follow the instructions. For assistance with access to eLibrary, the helpline can be reached at (866) 208-3676, TTY (202) 502-8659, or at [email protected] The eLibrary link on the FERC Web site also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rule makings.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32829 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-53-000.

    Applicants: South Central MCN LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act of South Central MCN LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5335.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: EC16-54-000.

    Applicants: Goal Line L.P., KES Kingsburg, L.P., Colton Power L.P.

    Description: Application for Authorization of Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities and Requests for Waivers, Confidential Treatment and Expedited Consideration of Goal Line L.P., et al.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5125.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1484-013.

    Applicants: Shell Energy North America (US), L.P.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis for the Southwest Power Pool Region of Shell Energy North America (US), L.P.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5331.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-569-010; ER15-1925-003; ER15-2676-001; ER13-712-010; ER10-1849-009; ER11-2037-009; ER12-2227-009; ER10-1887-009; ER10-1920-011; ER10-1928-011; ER10-1952-009; ER10-1961-009; ER12-1228-011; ER14-2707-006; ER12-895-009; ER10-2720-011; ER11-4428-011; ER12-1880-010; ER15-58-004; ER14-2710-006; ER15-30-004; ER14-2708-007; ER14-2709-006; ER13-2474-005; ER11-4462-015; ER10-1971-024.

    Applicants: Blackwell Wind, LLC, Breckinridge Wind Project, LLC, Cedar Bluff Wind, LLC, Cimarron Wind Energy, LLC, Elk City Wind, LLC, Elk City II Wind, LLC, Ensign Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Cowboy Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Oklahoma Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Sooner Wind, LLC, Gray County Wind Energy, LLC, High Majestic Wind Energy Center, LLC, High Majestic Wind II, LLC, Mammoth Plains Wind Project, LLC, Minco Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Minco Wind, LLC, Minco Wind II, LLC, Minco Wind III, LLC, Palo Duro Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Palo Duro Wind Energy, LLC, Seiling Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Seiling Wind, LLC, Seiling Wind II, LLC, Steele Flats Wind Project, LLC, NEPM II, LLC, NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Triennial Market Power Update for the Southwest Power Pool Region of the NextEra Companies.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5332.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-1923-003.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2015-12-23_SERTP Order 1000 Compliance Filing to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5084.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2866-004.

    Applicants: Louisville Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revisions to Formula Rate Protocols to Attachment O to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5074.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2875-002.

    Applicants: UNS Electric, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Formula Rate Protocols Compliance Filing to be effective 11/14/2014.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1733-001.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2nd Compliance Filing in ER15-1733 Revising Empire's Formula Rate Protocols to be effective 4/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5250.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-13-001.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Deficiency Response in ER16-13-Revisions to Att AE re Annual ARR Allocation to be effective 1/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5089.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-288-001.

    Applicants: Entergy Services, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Entergy Services, Inc., Correction to Amended Service Agreements to be effective 11/8/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5257.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-335-001.

    Applicants: Startrans IO, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Errata to 2016 TRBAA Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5269.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-619-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Public Service Electric and Gas Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: PSEG submits revisions to Attach. H-10A re: Abandonment Incentive Rate Treatment to be effective 2/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5266.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-620-000.

    Applicants: Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to the Safe Harbor PPA to be effective 12/22/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5282.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-621-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: GIA & Distribution Service Agreement Sunray Energy, LLC SEGS I Project to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-622-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: GIA and Distribution Service Agmt New-Indy Ontario, LLC to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5002.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-623-000.

    Applicants: New York State Reliability Council, L.L.C., Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP.

    Description: Informational filing of Installed Capacity Requirement for the New York Control Area of the New York State Reliability Council, L.L.C.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5320.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-624-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., ITC Midwest LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: 2015-12-23_SA 2728 MidAmerican-ITCM 1st Rev FSA (H021) to be effective 2/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5053.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-625-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: 2829R2 Midwest Energy & Westar Energy Meter Agent Agreement to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5054.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-626-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: 2986R1 KCP&L GMO and Entergy Services, Inc. Attachment AO to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-627-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Original SA No. 4323 (ISA); and Revised SA No. 4241 (CSA); Queue AA1-067 to be effective 11/24/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5080.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-628-000.

    Applicants: Florida Power & Light Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Florida Power & Light Company Market-Based Rate Request to be effective 2/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5082.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-629-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 95 of Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-630-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendments to Rate Schedule 217 Exhibit B.ADA and PRS to be effective 2/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20151223-5126.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/13/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32827 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. OR16-10-000] Breitburn Operating LP; Notice of Request for Temporary Waiver

    Take notice that on December 22, 2015, pursuant to Rule 202 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.202 (2014), Breitburn Operating LP (Breitburn), filed a petition for temporary waiver of Interstate Commerce Act sections 6 and 20, and the Commission's related oil pipeline tariff and reporting requirements at 18 CFR parts 341 and 357, with respect to certain oil pipeline gathering facilities in Oklahoma which transport production from producing areas known as the Postle Field Units. Breitburn states it has 100 percent ownership and title to all throughput on the facilities which connect to Jayhawk pipeline for ultimate transportation to downstream markets.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214 (2014)) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on Tapstone.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on January 6, 2016.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32831 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-315-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 20151221 Non Conforming to be effective 1/20/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5273.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-316-000.

    Applicants: Paiute Pipeline Company.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Compliance Filing: 12-14-15 Order on Rehearing in CP14-509 to be effective 12/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5092.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-317-000.

    Applicants: Bluewater Gas Storage, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Bluewater Gas Storage, LLC—Revisions to FERC Gas Tairfff to be effective 1/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5099.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-318-000.

    Applicants: Sea Robin Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Annual Flowthrough Crediting Mechanism filing on 12/22/15 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 12/22/15.

    Accession Number: 20151222-5243.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-54-001.

    Applicants: Equitrans, L.P.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: AVC ADIT PLR Compliance Filing to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5088.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-137-002.

    Applicants: Tallgrass Interstate Gas Transmission, L.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Compliance Filing for Rate Case to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/21/15.

    Accession Number: 20151221-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/4/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 24, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary
    [FR Doc. 2015-32883 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0026; FRL 9940-33-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Water Quality Inventory Reports (Reinstatement) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “National Water Quality Inventory Reports (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 1560.11, OMB Control No. 2040-0071) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This is a request for reinstatement of a previously discontinued collection. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 38684) on July 7, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OW-2003-0026, to (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, and (2) OMB via email [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    The EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Charles Kovatch, Assessment and Watershed Protection Division, Office of Water, Mail Code: 4503T, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-0399; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Abstract: The Clean Water Act Section 305(b) reports contain information on the water quality standards attainment status of assessed waters, and, when waters are impaired, the pollutants and potential sources affecting water quality. This information helps track State progress in addressing water pollution. Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires States to identify and rank waters that cannot meet water quality standards (WQS) following the implementation of technology-based controls. Under Section 303(d), States are also required to establish total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for listed waters not meeting standards as a result of pollutant discharges. In developing the Section 303(d) lists, States are required to consider various sources of water quality related data and information, including the Section 305(b) State water quality reports. Section 106(e) requires that states annually update monitoring data and use it in their Section 305(b) report. Section 314(a) requires states to report on the condition of their publicly-owned lakes within the Section 305(b) report.

    EPA's Assessment and Watershed Protection Division (AWPD) works with its Regional counterparts to review and approve or disapprove State Section 303(d) lists and TMDLs from 56 respondents (the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the five Territories). Section 303(d) specifically requires States to develop lists and TMDLs “from time to time,” and EPA to review and approve or disapprove the lists and the TMDLs. EPA also collects State 305(b) reports from 59 respondents (the 50 States, the District of Columbia, five Territories, and 3 River Basin Commissions).

    During the period covered by this ICR renewal, respondents will: Complete their 2016 Section 305(b) reports and 2016 Section 303(d) lists; complete their 2018 Section 305(b) reports and 2018 Section 303(d) lists; transmit annual electronic updates of ambient monitoring data via the Water Quality Exchange; and continue to develop TMDLs according to their established schedules. EPA will prepare biennial updates on assessed and impaired waters for Congress and the public for the 2016 reporting cycle and for the 2018 cycle, and EPA will review 303(d) list and TMDL submissions from respondents.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: States and Territories.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Mandatory (Clean Water Act Sections 305(b), 303(d), 314(a), and 106(e)).

    Estimated number of respondents: 59 (total).

    Frequency of response: Biennial.

    Total estimated burden: 3,740,017 (per year) hours. Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $203,340,984 (per year), includes $0 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is no change of hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR previously approved by OMB. The EPA is currently designing the Water Quality Framework, which is a new way of integrating the EPA's data and information systems to more effectively support reporting and tracking water quality protection and restoration actions. The Framework will streamline water quality assessment and reporting by reducing transactions associated with paper copy reviews and increasing electronic data exchange. The Framework composts with the EPA'sE-Enterprise Initiative, which seeks to assess and reformulate the EPA's business process to reduce burden through the improved use of technology. The EPA expects that the Framework will reduce reporting burden for integrated water quality inventory reports and will revise this ICR before the new information system is implemented for the 2018 reporting cycle.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32860 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ADVISORY BOARD Notice of Request for Comments on Opening Balances for General Property, Plant, and Equipment AGENCY:

    Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Board Action: Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3511(d), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), as amended, and the FASAB Rules Of Procedure, as amended in October 2010, notice is hereby given that the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) has issued an exposure draft, Opening Balances for General Property, Plant, and Equipment.

    The Exposure Draft is available on the FASAB home page http://www.fasab.gov/board-activities/documents-for-comment/exposure-drafts-and-documents-for-comment/. Copies can be obtained by contacting FASAB at (202) 512-7350.

    Respondents are encouraged to comment on any part of the exposure draft. Written comments are requested by February 4, 2016, and should be sent to [email protected] or Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director, Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, 441 G Street NW., Suite 6814, Mail Stop 6H19, Washington, DC 20548.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director, 441 G St. NW., Mail Stop 6H20, Washington, DC 20548, or call (202) 512-7350.

    Authority:

    Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub. L. 92-463.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32854 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1610-02-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0649] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0649.

    Title: Sections 76.1601, Deletion or Repositioning of Broadcast Signals; Section 76.1617, Initial Must-Carry Notice; 76.1607 and 76.1708 Principal Headend.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 3,300 respondents and 4,100 responses.

    Estimated Hours per Response: 0.5 to 1 hour.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement; Recordkeeping requirement.

    Total Annual Burden: 2,200 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: None.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in Sections 4(i) and 614(b)(9) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality required with this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: 47 CFR 76.1601 requires that effective April 2, 1993, a cable operator shall provide written notice to any broadcast television station at least 30 days prior to either deleting from carriage or repositioning that station. Such notification shall also be provided to subscribers of the cable system.

    47 CFR 76.1607 states that cable operators shall provide written notice by certified mail to all stations carried on its system pursuant to the must-carry rules at least 60 days prior to any change in the designation of its principal headend.

    47 CFR 76.1617(a) states within 60 days of activation of a cable system, a cable operator must notify all qualified NCE stations of its designated principal headend by certified mail.

    47 CFR 76.1617(b) within 60 days of activation of a cable system, a cable operator must notify all local commercial and NCE stations that may not be entitled to carriage because they either:

    (1) Fail to meet the standards for delivery of a good quality signal to the cable system's principal headend, or

    (2) May cause an increased copyright liability to the cable system.

    47 CFR 76.1617(c) states within 60 days of activation of a cable system, a cable operator must send by certified mail a copy of a list of all broadcast television stations carried by its system and their channel positions to all local commercial and noncommercial television stations, including those not designated as must-carry stations and those not carried on the system.

    47 CFR 76.1708(a) states that the operator of every cable television system shall maintain for public inspection the designation and location of its principal headend. If an operator changes the designation of its principal headend, that new designation must be included in its public file.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, The Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32901 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0546, 3060-0748, 3060-0980] Information Collections Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before January 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email [email protected]; and to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected] Include in the comments the OMB control number as shown in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information or copies of the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page <http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain>, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0546.

    Title: Section 76.59 Definition of Markets for Purposes of the Cable Television Mandatory Television Broadcast Signal Carriage Rules.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business and other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 180 respondents and 200 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.5 to 40 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement; Recordkeeping requirement.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,486 hours.

    Total Annual Costs: $1,387,950.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 303(r), 338 and 534.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Privacy Impact Assessment(s): No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: On September 2, 2015, the Commission released a Report and Order (Order), FCC 15-111, in MB Docket No. 15-71, adopting satellite television market modification rules to implement Section 102 of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR). The STELAR amended the Communications Act and the Copyright Act to give the Commission authority to modify a commercial television broadcast station's local television market—defined by The Nielsen Company's Designated Market Area (DMA) in which it is located—to include additional communities or exclude communities for purposes of better effectuating satellite carriage rights. The Commission previously had the authority to modify a station's market only in the cable carriage context. Market modification allows the Commission to modify the local television market of a particular commercial television broadcast station to enable commercial television stations, cable operators and satellite carriers to better serve the interests of local communities. Market modification provides a means to avoid rigid adherence to DMA designations and to promote consumer access to in-state and other relevant television programming. Section 338(l) of the Communications Act (the satellite market modification provision) and Section 614(h)(1)(C) of the Communications Act (the corresponding cable provision) permit the Commission to add communities to or delete communities from a station's local television market following a written request. Furthermore, the Commission may determine that particular communities are part of more than one television market.

    Section 76.59(a) of the Commission's Rules authorizes the filing of market modification petitions and governs who may file such a petition. With respect to cable market modification petitions, a commercial TV broadcast station and cable system operator may file a market modification petition to modify the local television market of a particular commercial television broadcast station for purposes of cable carriage rights. With respect to satellite market modification petitions, a commercial TV broadcast stations, satellite carrier and county governmental entity (such as a county board, council, commission or other equivalent subdivision) may file a market modification petition to modify the local television market of a particular commercial television broadcast station for purposes of satellite carriage rights. Section 76.59(b) of the Commission's Rules requires that market modification petitions and responsive pleadings (e.g., oppositions, comments, reply comments) must be submitted in accordance with the procedures for filing Special Relief petitions in Section 76.7 of the rules. Section 76.59(b) of the Commission's Rules requires petitioners (e.g., commercial TV broadcast stations, cable system operators, satellite carriers and county governments) to include the specific evidence in support of market modification petitions.

    Section 338(l)(3) of the Communications Act provides that “[a] market determination . . . shall not create additional carriage obligations for a satellite carrier if it is not technically and economically feasible for such carrier to accomplish such carriage by means of its satellites in operation at the time of the determination.” If a satellite carrier opposes a market modification petition because the resulting carriage would be technically or economically infeasible pursuant to Section 338(l)(3), the carrier must provide specific evidence in its opposition or response to a pre-filing coordination request (see below) to demonstrate its claim of infeasibility. If the satellite carrier is claiming infeasibility based on insufficient spot beam coverage, then the carrier may instead provide a detailed certification submitted under penalty of perjury. Although the Commission will not require satellite carriers to provide supporting documentation as part of their certification, the Commission may decide to look behind any certification and require supporting documentation when it deems it appropriate, such as when there is evidence that the certification may be inaccurate. In the event that the Commission requires supporting documentation, it will require a satellite carrier to provide its “satellite link budget” calculations that were created for the new community. Because the Commission may determine in a given case that supporting documentation should be provided to support a detailed certification, satellite carriers are required to retain such “satellite link budget” information in the event that the Commission determines further review by the Commission is necessary. Satellite carriers must retain such information throughout the pendency of Commission or judicial proceedings involving the certification and any related market modification petition. If satellite carriers have concerns about providing proprietary and confidential information underlying their analysis, they may request confidentiality.

    The Report and Order establishes a “pre-filing coordination” process that will allow a prospective petitioner for market modification (i.e., broadcaster or county government), at its option, to request/obtain a certification from a satellite carrier about whether or not (and to what extent) carriage resulting from a contemplated market modification is technically and economically feasible for such carrier before the prospective petitioner undertakes the time and expense of preparing and filing a satellite market modification petition. To initiate this process, a prospective petitioner may make a request in writing to a satellite carrier for the carrier to provide the certification about the feasibility or infeasibility of carriage. A satellite carrier must respond to this request within a reasonable amount of time by providing a feasibility certification to the prospective petitioner. A satellite carrier must also file a copy of the correspondence and feasibility certification it provides to the prospective petitioner in this docket electronically via ECFS so that the Media Bureau can track these certifications and monitor carrier response time. If the carrier is claiming spot beam coverage infeasibility, then the certification provided by the carrier must be the same type of detailed certification that would be required in response to a market modification petition. For any other claim of infeasibility, the carrier's feasibility certification must explain in detail the basis of such infeasibility and must be prepared to provide documentation in support of its claim, in the event the prospective petitioner decides to seek a Commission determination about the validity of the carrier's claim. If carriage is feasible, a statement to that effect must be provided in the certification. To obtain a Commission determination about the validity of the carrier's claim of infeasibility, a prospective petitioner must either file a (separate) petition for special relief or its market modification petition.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0980.

    Title: Implementation of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999: Local Broadcast Signal Carriage Issues and Retransmission Consent Issues, 47 CFR Section 76.66.

    Form Number: Not applicable.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 10,300 respondents; 11,978 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 1 hour to 5 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Third party disclosure requirement; On occasion reporting requirement; Once every three years reporting requirement; Recordkeeping requirement.

    Obligation To Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 325, 338, 339 and 340.

    Total Annual Burden: 12,186 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $24,000.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: On September 2, 2015, the Commission released a Report and Order (Order), FCC 15-111, in MB Docket No. 15-71, adopting satellite television market modification rules to implement Section 102 of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) Reauthorization Act of 2014 (STELAR). With respect to this collection, the Order amended Section 76.66 of the Commission's Rules by adding a new paragraph (d)(6) that addresses satellite carriage after a market modification is granted by the Commission.

    47 CFR Section 76.66(d)(6) addresses satellite carriage after a market modification is granted by the Commission. The rule states that television broadcast stations that become eligible for mandatory carriage with respect to a satellite carrier (pursuant to § 76.66) due to a change in the market definition (by operation of a market modification pursuant to § 76.59) may, within 30 days of the effective date of the new definition, elect retransmission consent or mandatory carriage with respect to such carrier. A satellite carrier shall commence carriage within 90 days of receiving the carriage election from the television broadcast station. The election must be made in accordance with the requirements of 47 CFR Section 76.66(d)(1).

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0748.

    Title: Section 64.104, 64.1509, 64.1510 Pay-Per-Call and Other Information Services.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 5,125 respondents; 5,175 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours-260 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Annual and on occasion reporting and recordkeeping requirements; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority(s) for the information collection are found at 47 U.S.C. 228(c)(7)-(10); Public Law 192-556, 106 stat. 4181 (1992), codified at 47 U.S.C. 228 (The Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act of 1992).

    Total Annual Burden: 47,750 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: None.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: An assurance of confidentiality is not offered because this information collection does not require the collection of personally identifiable information from individuals.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: 47 CFR 64.1504 of the Commission's rules incorporates the requirements of Sections 228(c)(7)-(10) of the Communications Act restricting the manner in which toll-free numbers may be used to charge telephone subscribers for information services. Common carriers may not charge a calling party for information conveyed on a toll-free number call, unless the calling party: (1) Has executed a written agreement that specifies the material terms and conditions under which the information is provided, or (2) pays for the information by means of a prepaid account, credit, debit, charge, or calling card and the information service provider gives the calling party an introductory message disclosing the cost and other terms and conditions for the service. The disclosure requirements are intended to ensure that consumers know when charges will be levied for calls to toll-free numbers and are able to obtain information necessary to make informed choices about whether to purchase toll-free information services. 47 CFR 64.1509 of the Commission rules incorporates the requirements of 47 U.S.C. (c)(2) and 228 (d)(2)-(3) of the Communications Act. Common carriers that assign telephone numbers to pay-per-call services must disclose to all interested parties, upon request, a list of all assigned pay-per-call numbers. For each assigned number, carriers must also make available: (1) A description of the pay-per-call services; (2) the total cost per minute or other fees associated with the service; and (3) the service provider's name, business address, and telephone number. In addition, carriers handling pay-per-call services must establish a toll-free number that consumers may call to receive information about pay-per-call services. Finally, the Commission requires carriers to provide statements of pay-per-call rights and responsibilities to new telephone subscribers at the time service is established and, although not required by statute, to all subscribers annually.

    Under 47 CFR 64.1510 of the Commission's rules, telephone bills containing charges for interstate pay-per-call and other information services must include information detailing consumers' rights and responsibilities with respect to these charges. Specifically, telephone bills carrying pay-per-call charges must include a consumer notification stating that: (1) The charges are for non-communication services; (2) local and long distance telephone services may not be disconnected for failure to pay per-call charges; (3) pay-per-call (900 number) blocking is available upon request; and (4) access to pay-per-call services may be involuntarily blocked for failure to pay per-call charges. In addition, each call billed must show the type of services, the amount of the charge, and the date, time, and duration of the call. Finally, the bill must display a toll-free number which subscribers may call to obtain information about pay-per-call services. Similar billing disclosure requirements apply to charges for information services either billed to subscribers on a collect basis or accessed by subscribers through a toll-free number. The billing disclosure requirements are intended to ensure that telephone subscribers billed for pay-per-call or other information services can understand the charges levied and are informed of their rights and responsibilities with respect to payment of such charges.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer. Office of Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32900 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket No. 12-269; DA 15-1428] Application Procedures for Broadcast Incentive Auction Scheduled To Begin on March 29, 2016; Updates and Other Supplemental Information AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This document updates and supplements information on procedures for the Broadcast Incentive Auction.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division: For general auction questions contact Linda Sanderson, at (717) 338-2868; for reverse auction legal questions contact Erin Griffith or Kathryn Hinton at (202) 418-0660; for forward auction legal questions contact Leslie Barnes or Valerie Barrish at (202) 418-0660.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Broadcast Incentive Auction Supplemental Information Public Notice (PN), AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket No. 12-269, DA 15-1428, released on December 21, 2015. The complete text of the Broadcast Incentive Auction Supplemental Information PN, including the attachments, is available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function on the ECFS Web page athttp://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Alternative formats are available to persons with disabilities by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    I. Introduction

    1. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) updates and supplements information provided in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures Public Notice (PN), 80 FR 66429, October 29, 2015. Specifically, the Bureau announces that the pre-auction process tutorial for the forward auction will be available by January 19, 2016; provides additional information concerning access to the Commission's bidding system (Auction System) for the reverse and forward auctions; provides additional details about the grouping of Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) in the assignment phase of the forward auction; and makes ministerial changes to two of the appendices released with the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. All other dates and deadlines, as well as other application procedures, instructions, and information, remain as previously announced.

    II. Tutorial on Forward Auction Pre-Auction Process To Be Available by January 19, 2016

    2. The Bureau will make available an interactive, online tutorial focusing on the pre-auction application process for the forward auction (Auction 1002) no later than January 19, 2016. The pre-auction application process tutorial will be accessible from the Commission's Auction 1002 Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/auctions/1002 through a link under the “Education” tab. Once posted, the tutorial will remain available and accessible on the Auction 1002 Web page anytime for reference.

    III. Access to the Auction System for Bidding

    3. As previously described in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, an applicant must have an FCC-provided SecurID® token to access the Auction System in order to place bids in the reverse or forward clock rounds, as well as to participate in any mock auction. SecurID® tokens will be distributed to applicants for the reverse auction prior to the deadline for initial commitments, and to forward auction applicants prior to the announcement of qualified bidders, to enable applicants with complete applications to practice with the Auction System. Each authorized bidder identified on an applicant's FCC Form 177 or 175 will be issued a unique SecurID® token tailored to that bidder. For security purposes, the SecurID® tokens, the telephonic bidding telephone number, and the relevant Auction System Bidder's Guide are mailed only to the applicant's contact person at the contact address listed on its auction application.

    A. Reverse Auction Applicants

    4. Each reverse auction (Auction 1001) applicant permitted to make an initial commitment must do so in the Auction System using a SecurID® token. The Bureau will therefore provide SecurID® tokens prior to the initial commitment deadline.

    5. As explained in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, an applicant will receive confidential notices concerning the status of its application and of each station selected on its application after the initial filing deadline (First Confidential Status Letter) and after the resubmission deadline (Second Confidential Status Letter), respectively. Each applicant whose application and at least one selected station have been deemed “complete” in the Second Confidential Status Letter will be permitted to make an initial commitment to a preferred relinquishment option for each complete station using a SecurID® token. Additional instructions for making an initial commitment will be provided to each applicant with one or more complete stations as an enclosure to its Second Confidential Status Letter.

    6. Once the initial clearing target has been determined based on initial commitments, an applicant that was permitted to make an initial commitment will receive a third confidential status letter (Final Confidential Status Letter) notifying the applicant for each complete station whether or not the station is qualified to bid in the clock rounds of the reverse auction. An applicant with one or more qualified stations will be eligible to participate in a mock auction prior to bidding in the clock rounds of the reverse auction. Additional instructions for participating in the mock auction and for placing bids in the clock rounds of the reverse auction, using the applicant's previously received SecurID® tokens, will be provided to each applicant that has at least one station qualified to bid. Any applicant with a station that is not qualified to bid in the reverse auction clock rounds will not be able to place clock round bids for that station in the Auction System.

    B. Forward Auction Applicants

    7. As described in the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, an Auction 1002 applicant whose application has been deemed to be “complete” will be eligible to practice with the Auction System prior to the mock auction that will be offered to qualified bidders. Any applicant that is eligible to practice with the Auction System must have a SecurID® token to log in. SecurID® tokens along with instructions for practicing with the Auction System will therefore be distributed to each applicant whose application is listed as complete in a public notice to be released after the deadline for resubmitting corrected applications and prior to the announcement of qualified bidders in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN.

    8. Each applicant listed as a qualified bidder in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN will be provided with additional instructions for participating in the mock auction and for placing bids in the forward auction using the applicant's previously received SecurID® tokens. Any applicant whose application was listed as complete after the deadline for resubmitting corrected applications that does not become qualified to bid will not be permitted to access the Auction System for bidding.

    IV. Grouping of PEAs for Forward Auction Assignment Phase Bidding

    9. In the Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures PN, 80 FR 61918, October 14, 2015, the Commission adopted procedures for assignment phase bidding which depend in part upon the Regional Economic Area Grouping (REAG) in which a PEA is included. The public notice indicated that, for the grouping and sequencing of PEAs in the assignment rounds, the PEAs in the six least populous REAGs will be included with the PEAs in one of the six REAGs that cover the contiguous United States. Attachment 1 to the Broadcast Incentive Auction Supplemental Information PN lists each PEA and the REAG with which it will be associated for assignment phase bidding purposes.

    V. Corrections and Notifications to Technical Appendices

    10. The Bureau makes ministerial changes to two of the appendices released with the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. First, the Bureau corrects typographical errors in the text of APPENDIX D to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN. Specifically, in Section 5.5 of APPENDIX D, (a) the variable u and the variable s should be switched in much of the text in the section, including the examples, and (b) the variable t in Example 3 should be replaced by the variable s. The corrected text to Section 5.5 of APPENDIX D is shown in Attachment 2 of the Broadcast Incentive Auction Supplemental Information PN.

    11. The Bureau also notes that in Section 3.2 of APPENDIX E to the Auction 1000 Application Procedures PN, includes those Mexican stations that cause pairwise interference less than 0.5 percent to U.S. stations when placed on their future channel as specified in the Mexican Coordination.

    Federal Communications Commission. Craig Bomberger, Deputy Division Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, WTB.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32864 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-1131] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicole Ongele, FCC, via email to [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1131.

    Title: Implementation of the NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008: Location Information From Owners and Controllers of 911 and E911 Capabilities.

    Form No.: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit, and state, local and tribal government.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 60 respondents; 60 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0.833 hours (5 minutes).

    Frequency of Response: One-time, on occasion, third party disclosure requirement, and recordkeeping requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 (NET 911 Act), Public Law 110-283, 122 Stat. 2620 (2008) (to be codified at 47 U.S.C. 615a-1), and section 222 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 5 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No Impact.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: Respondents are not required to submit proprietary trade secrets or other confidential information. However, carriers that believe the only way to satisfy the requirements for information is to submit what it considers to be proprietary trade secrets or other confidential information, carriers are free to request that materials or information submitted to the Commission be withheld from public inspection and from the E911 Web site (see Section 0.459 of the Commission's rules).

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is seeking an extension of this information collection from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in order to obtain the full three-year approval. The information collection requirements contained in this collection guarantee continued cooperation between interconnected VoIP service providers and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in complying with the Commission's E911 requirements.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32790 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0422] Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated Authority AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before February 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information about the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0422.

    Title: Section 68.5, Waivers (Application for Waivers of Hearing Aid Compatibility Requirements).

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 2 respondents; 2 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 3 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 610.

    Total Annual Burden: 6 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: None.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: An assurance of confidentiality is not offered because this information collection does not require the collection of personally identifiable information from individuals.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: Telephone manufacturers seeking a waiver of 47 CFR 68.4(a)(1), which requires that certain telephones be hearing aid compatible, must demonstrate that compliance with the rule is technologically infeasible or too costly. Information is used by FCC staff to determine whether to grant or dismiss the request.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32791 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket No. 12-269; DA 15-1435] Guidance Regarding License Assignments and Transfers of Control During the Reverse Auction, Auction 1001 AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This document provides guidance regarding reverse auction participation by parties to pending transactions involving broadcast television licenses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division: For general reverse auction questions contact Erin Griffith or Kathryn Hinton at (202) 418-0660. Media Bureau licensing questions contact David Brown at (202) 418-1645 or Dorann Bunkin at (202) 418-1636.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Auction 1001 Guidance on Broadcast Transactions Public Notice (PN), AU Docket No. 14-252, GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket No. 12-269, DA15-1435, released on December 17, 2015. The complete text of the Auction 1001 Guidance on Broadcast Transactions PN, is available for public inspection and copying from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday or from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function on the ECFS Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Alternative formats are available to persons with disabilities by sending an email to ­[email protected].gov or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    1. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) recently waived the bar on the assignment of a license in, or transfer of control of an applicant for, the reverse auction, provided that (1) the assignment or transfer application has been accepted for filing as of January 12, 2016, the reverse auction application filing deadline, and (2) the assignee or transferee agrees to be bound by the original applicant's actions in the auction with respect to the license(s). Subject to these two requirements and Commission approval, assignments and transfers involving participating licensees may be consummated during the reverse auction.

    2. Reverse auction participants will utilize the FCC Registration Number (FRN) and related password associated with a station to access the application and bidding systems (collectively, the Auction System) with respect to that station. The Bureau has frozen the FRN data in the Auction System as of December 8, 2015, the opening date for the reverse auction filing window. An assignee/transferee in a pending transaction that is approved and consummated until the completion of the auction will have two options if it wishes to participate in the reverse auction on behalf of a station covered by such a transaction. First, it may contractually designate the assignor/transferor as its bidding agent for the covered stations. Second, the parties to the transaction may agree that the assignee/transferee will use the FRN and password associated with assigned or transferred stations (the “auction FRN”) to apply for and participate in the reverse auction. The parties must elect one of these options prior to the beginning of the prohibited communications period on January 12, 2016 and inform the Commission which option they have elected. Alternatively, the parties may wait until after the auction to seek approval and consummate the transaction.

    3. With regard to the second option, the auction FRN and password will also provide access to the assignor/transferor's data in Commission licensing and other systems associated with that FRN. To prevent the assignee/transferee from accessing the information related to the stations the assignor/transferor may retain, the assignor/transferor may obtain a new FRN and password for those stations. Additionally, the auction FRN and password will provide access to the assignor/transferor's bidding information for any stations associated with the auction FRN. Thus, if a transaction involves fewer than all the licenses associated with the auction FRN, the assignee/transferee and the assignor/transferor would both have access to the same bidding information regarding all the licenses associated with that auction FRN that are in the reverse auction.

    4. As a result, the parties to a pending transaction must acknowledge that the Commission is not liable for their use of any systems or information accessed as a result of a shared FRN and password under the second option. The parties may also want to contractually limit the assignee/transferee's right to access and/or use any such systems or information. Finally, the parties are subject to the rule prohibiting communication of an incentive auction applicant's bids and bidding strategies.

    Federal Communications Commission. Craig Bomberger, Deputy Division Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, WTB.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32840 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)).

    The comment period for this application has been extended. Comments regarding this application must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than January 31, 2016.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (Nadine Wallman, Vice President) 1455 East Sixth Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44101-2566:

    1. KeyCorp, Cleveland, Ohio; to acquire First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., and thereby acquire control of its subsidiary bank, First Niagara Bank, National Association, both in Buffalo, New York.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 24, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32838 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company

    The notificants listed below have applied under the Change in Bank Control Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)) and § 225.41 of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41) to acquire shares of a bank or bank holding company. The factors that are considered in acting on the notices are set forth in paragraph 7 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(7)).

    The notices are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notices also will be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing to the Reserve Bank indicated for that notice or to the offices of the Board of Governors. Comments must be received not later than January 13, 2016.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Chapelle Davis, Assistant Vice President) 1000 Peachtree Street NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30309:

    1. Andrew Charles Heaner, Atlanta, Georgia; to retain voting shares of Heritage First Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly retain voting shares of Heritage First Bank, both in Rome, Georgia.

    B. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (Jacquelyn K. Brunmeier, Assistant Vice President) 90 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55480-0291:

    1. Richard Pedersen, Everett, Washington; to retain voting shares of Flathead Lake Bancorporation, Inc., and thereby indirectly retain voting shares of First Citizens Bank of Polson, National Association, both in Polson, Montana.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 24, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32837 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)). If the proposal also involves the acquisition of a nonbanking company, the review also includes whether the acquisition of the nonbanking company complies with the standards in section 4 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843). Unless otherwise noted, nonbanking activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding each of these applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than January 22, 2016.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Chapelle Davis, Assistant Vice President) 1000 Peachtree Street NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30309:

    1. Southeast, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia; to become a bank holding company by acquiring at least 50 percent of the voting shares of Barwick Banking Company, Barwick, Georgia.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, December 24, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32839 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0184; Docket 2015-0055, Sequence 33] Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for comments regarding an extension of an information collection requirement for an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for Information Collection 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States in all correspondence related to this case. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Michael O. Jackson, Procurement Analyst, Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, at 202-208-4949 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    Section 862 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, as amended by section 853 of the NDAA for FY 2009 and sections 831 and 832 of the NDAA for FY 2011, together with the required Governmentwide implementing regulations (32 CFR part 159, published at 76 FR 49650 on August 11, 2011), as amended, adds requirements and limitations for contractors performing private security functions in areas of combat operations, or other military operations as designated by the Secretary of Defense, upon agreement of the Secretaries of Defense and State.

    These requirements are that contractors performing in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan ensure that their personnel performing private security functions comply with 32 CFR part 159, including (1) accounting for Government-acquired and contractor-furnished property and (2) reporting incidents in which a weapon is discharged, personnel are attacked or killed or property is destroyed, or active, lethal countermeasures are employed.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 920.

    Responses per Respondent: 5.

    Total Response: 4,600.

    Hours per Response: 0.167.

    Total Burden Hours: 768.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited upon; Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies Of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0184, Contractors Performing Private Security Functions Outside the United States, in all correspondence.

    William Clark, Director, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32776 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifiers: CMS-10415] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806 or Email: OIRA_ [email protected]

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected]

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Generic Clearance for the Collection Customer Satisfaction Surveys; Use: This collection of information is necessary to enable the Agency to garner customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner, in accordance with our commitment to improving service delivery. The information collected from our customers and stakeholders will help ensure that users have an effective, efficient, and satisfying experience with the Agency's programs. This feedback will provide insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences and expectations, provide an early warning of issues with service, or focus attention on areas where communication, training or changes in operations might improve delivery of products or services. These collections will allow for ongoing, collaborative and actionable communications between the Agency and its customers and stakeholders. It will also allow feedback to contribute directly to the improvement of program management.

    Collecting voluntary customer feedback is the least burdensome, most effective way for the Agency to determine whether or not its public Web sites are useful to and used by its customers. Generic clearance is needed to ensure that the Agency can continuously improve its Web sites though regular surveys developed from these pre-defined questions. Surveying the Agency Web sites on a regular, ongoing basis will help ensure that users have an effective, efficient, and satisfying experience on any of the Web sites, maximizing the impact of the information and resulting in optimum benefit for the public. The surveys will ensure that this communication channel meets customer and partner priorities, builds the Agency's brands, and contributes to the Agency's health and human services impact goals. Note that the burden estimate for the collection has increased from the figure published in the 60-day notice (80 FR 66904). In the 60-day notice, we did not account for the currently approved burden that will be retained and then add it to the new burden for which we are seeking approval. The total is now 50,000 hours. Form Number: CMS-10415 (OMB control number: 0938-1185); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Individuals and Households, Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions, State, Local or Tribal Governments; Number of Respondents: 1,000,000; Total Annual Responses: 1,000,000; Total Annual Hours: 50,000. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact John Booth at 410-786-6577.)

    Dated: December 22, 2015. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32633 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2010-D-0434] Acidified Foods; Draft Guidance for Industry; Withdrawal of Draft Guidance AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; withdrawal.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is announcing the withdrawal of a draft guidance for industry, entitled “Draft Guidance for Industry: Acidified Foods.” The draft guidance was intended to complement our regulations regarding acidified foods (including regulations for specific current good manufacturing practice, establishment registration, and process filing) by helping commercial food processors determine whether their food products are subject to these regulations by providing for voluntary submission of process filings by processors of non-acidified foods (e.g., some acid foods or fermented foods), and by helping processors of acidified foods in ensuring safe manufacturing, processing, and packing processes and in employing appropriate quality control procedures. We are withdrawing the draft guidance, in part, because many of the topics addressed in the draft guidance are now being addressed in other documents.

    DATES:

    The withdrawal is effective December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Mignogna, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-302), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-1565.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In a notice published in the Federal Register of September 27, 2010 (75 FR 59268), we announced the availability of a draft guidance entitled “Draft Guidance for Industry: Acidified Foods” and gave interested parties an opportunity to submit comments by December 27, 2010, for us to consider before beginning work on the final version of the guidance. The draft guidance was intended to complement our regulations regarding acidified foods (including regulations for specific current good manufacturing practice (21 CFR part 114), establishment registration (21 CFR 108.25(c)(1)), and process filing (21 CFR 108.25(c)(2)) by helping commercial food processors in determining whether their food products are subject to these regulations and by providing for voluntary submission of process filings by processors who conclude that their products are non-acidified foods (e.g., acid foods or fermented foods). The draft guidance also was intended to help processors of acidified foods in ensuring safe manufacturing, processing, and packing processes and in employing appropriate quality control procedures.

    We are withdrawing the draft guidance, in part, because the procedures for voluntary submission of process filings by processors of non-acidified foods are addressed by our recently issued guidance entitled “Submitting Form FDA 2541 (Food Canning Establishment Registration) and Forms FDA 2541d, FDA 2541e, FDA 2541f, and FDA 2541g (Food Process Filing Forms) to FDA in Electronic or Paper Format” (80 FR 60909, October 8, 2015). We also are withdrawing the draft guidance, in part, because we recently issued a final rule entitled “Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food” (80 FR 55908, September 17, 2015), and that rule, along with guidance documents we are developing as a companion to that rule, should help processors in ensuring safe manufacturing, processing, and packing processes and in employing appropriate quality control procedures.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32781 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services; Meeting AGENCY:

    Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the public meeting of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services (Advisory Council). The Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services provides advice on how to prevent or reduce the burden of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias on people with the disease and their caregivers. During the January meeting, the Advisory Council will review the process for developing recommendations and developing the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, discuss updates to work on Goals 2 and 3 of the National Plan, and hear updates on a future summit on care.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on January 25, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in Room 6, Building 31 of the National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.

    Comments: Time is allocated in the afternoon on the agenda to hear public comments. The time for oral comments will be limited to two (2) minutes per individual. In lieu of oral comments, formal written comments may be submitted for the record to Rohini Khillan, ASPE, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Room 424E, Washington, DC 20201. Comments may also be sent to [email protected] Those submitting written comments should identify themselves and any relevant organizational affiliations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rohini Khillan (202) 690-5932, [email protected] Note: Seating may be limited. Those wishing to attend the meeting must send an email to [email protected] and put “January 25 Meeting Attendance” in the Subject line by Friday, January 15, so that their names may be put on a list of expected attendees and forwarded to the security officers at the National Institutes of Health. Any interested member of the public who is a non-U.S. citizen should include this information at the time of registration to ensure that the appropriate security procedure to gain entry to the building is carried out. Although the meeting is open to the public, procedures governing security and the entrance to Federal buildings may change without notice. If you wish to make a public comment, you must note that within your email.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice of these meetings is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 2, section 10(a)(1) and (a)(2)). Topics of the Meeting:

    During the January meeting, the Advisory Council will review the process for developing recommendations and developing the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, discuss updates to work on Goals 2 and 3 of the National Plan, and hear updates on a future summit on care.

    Procedure and Agenda: This meeting is open to the public. Please allow 45 minutes to go through security and walk to the meeting room. The meeting will also be webcast at www.hhs.gov/live.

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 11225; Section 2(e)(3) of the National Alzheimer's Project Act. The panel is governed by provisions of Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Richard G. Frank, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32890 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Peer Review Meeting.

    Date: January 27, 2016.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Room 8C100, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Thomas F. Conway, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G51, National Institutes of Health, NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-507-9685, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials.

    Date: January 27, 2016.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Raymond R. Schleef, Ph.D., Senior Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3E61, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, (240) 669-5019, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32771 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Peer Review Meeting.

    Date: January 22, 2016.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Room 3C100, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Thomas F. Conway, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G51, National Institutes of Health, NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-507-9685, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Investigator Initiated Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U01).

    Date: January 22, 2016.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Zhuqing (Charlie) Li, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room # 3G41B, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, (240) 669-5068, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32767 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Special Emphasis Panel; SBIR Review Meeting Topic 14.

    Date: February 5, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: M. Lourdes Ponce, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, 6701 Democrary Blvd., Democracy 1, Room 1073, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-9459, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.859, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry Research; 93.350, B—Cooperative Agreements; 93.859, Biomedical Research and Research Training, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32765 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing and Co-Development AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The invention listed below is owned by an agency of the U.S. Government and is available for licensing and/or co-development in the U.S. in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404 to achieve expeditious commercialization of results of federally-funded research and development. Foreign patent applications are filed on selected inventions to extend market coverage for companies and may also be available for licensing and/or co-development.

    DATES:

    Only written comments and/or applications for a license which are received by the National Cancer Institute, Technology Transfer Center on or before January 29, 2016 will be considered.

    ADDRESSES:

    Invention Development and Marketing Unit, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD, 20850-9702, Tel. 240-276-5515 or email [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Information on licensing and co-development research collaborations, and copies of the U.S. patent applications listed below may be obtained by contacting: Attn. Invention Development and Marketing Unit, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD 20850-9702, Tel. 240-276-5515 or email [email protected] A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement may be required to receive copies of the patent applications.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Technology description follows.

    Title of invention: Monoclonal Antibodies Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 4 (FGFR4) and Methods for Their Use.

    Description of Technology: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and adolescents. Although current treatments for primary disease are relatively successful, metastatic RMS is generally accompanied by a dismal prognosis. Thus, the development new therapies for metastatic RMS provides a strong benefit to the advancement of public health.

    Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 4 (FGFR4) is a cell surface protein that is highly expressed in RMS, and other cancers (including liver, lung, pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancers). Researchers in the National Cancer Institute's Genetics-Branch found that in RMS patients, high FGFR4 expression is often associated with advanced-stage disease, rapid disease progression, and poor survival. The correlation between FGFR4 expression and highly aggressive RMS makes FGFR4 an attractive target for treatment of RMS. By targeting FGFR4 specifically, it may be possible to attack the cancer cells while leaving healthy, essential cells unaffected. This invention concerns the generation of several high-affinity monoclonal antibodies which can be used to treat FGFR4-related diseases. In particular, these antibodies have been used to generate antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) which are capable of specifically targeting and killing diseased cells.

    Potential Commercial Applications:

    —Development of unconjugated antibody therapeutics —Development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and recombinant immunotoxins (RITs) —Development of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T Cell Receptors (TCRs) —Development of bispecific antibody therapeutics —Development of Diagnostic Agents for detecting FGFR4-positive cancers

    Value Proposition:

    —High affinity and specificity of the antibodies allows more selective targeting of cancer cells, reducing the potential for side effects during therapy —Multiple antibodies available

    Development Stage:

    In vitro/Discovery

    Inventor(s):

    Javed Khan, M.D. (NCI), S. Baskar (NCI), R.J. Orientas (Lentigen Technology, Inc.)

    Publication(s):

    —“Comprehensive genomic analysis of rhabdomyosarcoma reveals a landscape of alterations affecting a common genetic axis in fusion-positive and fusion-negative tumors.” Cancer Discov. 2014 Feb;4(2):216-31. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0639. Epub 2014 Jan 23. —“Targeting wild-type and mutationally activated FGFR4 in rhabdomyosarcoma with the inhibitor ponatinib (AP24534)”. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 4;8(10):e76551. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076551. eCollection 2013 —“Identification of FGFR4-activating mutations in human rhabdomyosarcomas that promote metastasis in xenotransplanted models.” J Clin Invest. 2009 Nov;119(11):3395-407. doi: 10.1172/JCI39703. Epub 2009 Oct 5. —“Identification of cell surface proteins as potential immunotherapy targets in 12 pediatric cancers.” Front Oncol. 2012 Dec 17;2:194. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2012.00194. eCollection 2012.

    Intellectual Property:

    HHS Reference No. E-264-2015/0-US-01

    U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/221,045 filed September 20, 2015 entitled “Monoclonal Antibodies Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 4 (FGFR4) and Methods for Their Use” [HHS Reference E-264-2015/0-US-01]

    Licensing and Collaborative/Co-Development Research Opportunity:

    The National Cancer Institute seeks partners to license or co-develop the development new antibody-based therapies for metastatic Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS).

    Contact Information:

    Requests for copies of the patent application or inquiries about licensing and/or research collaboration and co-development opportunities should be sent to John D. Hewes, Ph.D., email: [email protected]

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Thomas M. Stackhouse, Associate Director, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32878 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The invention listed below is owned by an agency of the U.S. Government and is available for licensing and/or co-development in the U.S. in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404 to achieve expeditious commercialization of results of federally-funded research and development. Foreign patent applications are filed on selected inventions to extend market coverage for companies and may also be available for licensing and/or co-development.

    DATES:

    Only written comments and/or applications for a license which are received by the NCI Technology Transfer Center on or before January 29, 2016 will be considered.

    ADDRESSES:

    Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD 20850-9702, Tel. 240-276-5515 or email [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Information on licensing and co-development research collaborations, and copies of the U.S. patent applications listed below, may be obtained by contacting: Attn. Invention Development and Marketing Unit, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD 20850-9702, Tel. 240-276-5515 or email [email protected] A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement may be required to receive copies of the patent applications.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of invention: Thalidomide/lenolidomide/pomalidomide analogs that inhibit inflammation, angiogenesis.

    Description of Technology: Thalidomide and its close analogs (lenalidomide and pomalidomide) are widely used to treat a variety of diseases, such as multiple myeloma and other cancers, as well as the symptoms of several inflammatory disorders. However, thalidomide is known for its teratogenic adverse effects when first introduced clinically in the 1950s, and is associated with drowsiness and peripheral neuropathy. Hence, there is intense interest to synthesize, identify and develop safer analogs. Researchers at the National Institute on Aging's Drug Design and Development Section synthesized novel thalidomide analogs that demonstrate clinical potential without being teratogenic, as initially evaluated in in vivo zebrafish and chicken embryo model systems and in cell culture. These new compounds differentially provide potent anti-angiogenesis and/or anti-inflammatory action. The agents have potential for development of new cancer therapies and treatment of a number of neurological and systemic disorders involving chronic inflammation and elevated TNF-alpha levels.

    Potential Commercial Applications:

    —Cancer therapeutics —Inflammatory disorders such as Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis, graft-versus-host disease, and rheumatoid arthritis —Neuroinflammatory disorders (acute: Traumatic brain injury and stroke; chronic: Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis)

    Value Proposition:

    —Non-teratogenic —Potent

    Development Stage:

    In Vitro/Discovery

    Inventor(s):

    Nigel H. Greig (NIA), Weiming Luo (NIA), David Tweedie (NIA), William Douglas Figg, Sr. (NCI), Neil Vargesson (Univ. Aberdeen, Scotland), and Shaunna Beedie (NCI & Univ. Aberdeen, Scotland)

    Intellectual Property:

    HHS Reference No. E-208-2015/0-US-01

    U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/235, 105, filed September 30, 2015, entitled “Thalidomide/lenolidomide/pomalidomide analogs that inhibit inflammation, angiogenesis”

    Licensing and Collaborative/Co-Development Research Opportunity: The National Institute on Aging seeks collaborators to license or co-develop novel thalidomide analogs that demonstrate clinical potential without being teratogenic.

    Contact Information: Requests for copies of the patent application or inquiries about licensing and/or research collaboration and co-development opportunities should be sent to John D. Hewes, Ph.D., email: [email protected]

    CFR Citation: 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Thomas M. Stackhouse, Associate Director, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32877 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Rodent Tissue Bank.

    Date: January 29, 2016.

    Time: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, Suite 2C212, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Kimberly Firth, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-7702 [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32772 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Office of the Director; Amended Notice of Meeting

    Notice is hereby given of a correction in the meeting notice of the Big Data to Knowledge Multi-Council Working Group (BD2K) that was published in the Federal Register on Friday, December 11, 2015, 80 FRN 76996.

    The date of the meeting is January 11, 2016. The time and meeting access codes remain the same.

    A portion of the meeting is open to the public, 11 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and is being held by teleconference only. No physical meeting location is provided for any interested individuals to listen to committee discussions. Any individual interested in listening to the meeting discussions must call: 1-866-692-3158 and use Passcode 2956317 for access to the meeting.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Anna Snouffer, Deputy Director, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32768 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Special Emphasis Panel; Center for Complex Tissues (2016/05).

    Date: February 15, 2016.

    Time: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Two Democracy Plaza, Suite 920, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: John K. Hayes, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 959, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301)-451-3398, [email protected].

    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32769 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Investigator Initiated Program Project Applications (P01).

    Date: January 28, 2016.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Zhuqing (Charlie) Li, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room # 3G41B, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, (240) 669-5068, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; Partnerships for the Development of Host-Targeted Therapeutics to Limit Antimicrobial Resistance (R01).

    Date: January 28-29, 2016.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Room 2H 200 A/B, 3F100, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Susana Mendez, DVM, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G53B, National Institutes of Health, NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane Dr., MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, (240) 669-5077, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32766 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR-14-092: Bioengineering Research Partnerships (BRP).

    Date: January 21, 2016.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Mehrdad Mohseni, MD, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5211, MSC 7854, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0484, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32770 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The invention listed below is owned by an agency of the U.S. Government and is available for licensing and/or co-development in the U.S. in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404 to achieve expeditious commercialization of results of federally-funded research and development. Foreign patent applications are filed on selected inventions to extend market coverage for companies and may also be available for licensing and/or co-development.

    DATES:

    Only written comments and/or applications for a license which are received by the National Cancer Institute, Technology Transfer Center on or before January 29, 2016 will be considered.

    ADDRESSES:

    Invention Development and Marketing Unit, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD, 20850-9702.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Information on licensing and co-development research collaborations, and copies of the U.S. patent applications listed below may be obtained by contacting: Attn. Invention Development and Marketing Unit, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Mail Stop 9702, Rockville, MD, 20850-9702, Tel. 240-276-5515 or email [email protected]. A signed Confidential Disclosure Agreement may be required to receive copies of the patent applications.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Technology description follows.

    Title of invention: A Novel Fully-Human Anti-CD30 Chimeric Antigen Receptor for Treatment of CD30+ Lymphoma.

    Description of Technology: Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are hybrid proteins that consist of two major components: A targeting domain and a signaling domain. The targeting domain allows T cells which express the CAR to selectively recognize and bind to diseased cells that express a particular protein. Once the diseased cell is bound by the targeting domain of the CAR, the signaling domain of the CAR activates the T cell, thereby allowing it to kill the diseased cell. This is a promising new therapeutic approach known as adoptive cell therapy (ACT).

    Researchers at the National Cancer Institute's Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch developed a CAR that recognizes human tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 8 (TNFRSF8, also known as CD30). The expression of CD30 is deregulated in a variety of human cancers, including many lymphomas. By creating a CAR that recognizes CD30, it may be possible to treat these cancers using adoptive cell therapy.

    Potential Commercial Applications

    —Treatment of human cancers associated with expression of CD30 or variants thereof

    —Specific cancers include: Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas, Hodgkin's Lymphomas, several solid malignancies

    Value Proposition

    —Human components are less likely to cause adverse or neutralizing immune response in patients

    —Targeted therapies decrease non-specific killing of healthy cells and tissues, resulting in fewer off-target side-effects and healthier patients

    Development Stage In vivo/Lead Validation. Inventor(s) Jim N. Kochenderfer, M.D. (NCI). Intellectual Property HHS Reference No. E-001-2016/0-US-01 US Provisional Application 62/241,896 (HHS Reference No. E-001-2016/0-US-01) filed October 15, 2015 entitled “A Novel Fully-Human Anti-CD30 Chimeric Antigen Receptor for Treatment of CD30+ Lymphoma”

    Licensing Opportunity: Researchers at the NCI seek licensees for a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that recognizes human tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 8 (TNFRSF8, also known as CD30) for use as a cancer therapeutic.

    Contact Information

    Requests for copies of the patent application or inquiries about licensing and/or research collaboration and co-development opportunities should be sent to John D. Hewes. Ph.D., email: [email protected].

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Thomas M. Stackhouse, Associate Director, Technology Transfer Center, National Cancer Institute.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32879 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Alzheimer's Center.

    Date: February 4, 2016.

    Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Jeannette L. Johnson, Ph.D., National Institutes on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2c212, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-7705, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 23, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32773 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615-0014] Agency Information Collection Activities: Affidavit of Support, FormI-134; Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    60-day notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment upon this proposed extension of a currently approved collection of information. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the information collection notice is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments regarding the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e. the time, effort, and resources used by the respondents to respond), the estimated cost to the respondent, and the actual information collection instruments.

    DATES:

    Comments are encouraged and will be accepted for 60 days until February 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    All submissions received must include the OMB Control Number 1615-0014 in the subject box, the agency name and Docket ID USCIS-2006-0072. To avoid duplicate submissions, please use only one of the following methods to submit comments:

    (1) Online. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov undere-Docket ID number USCIS-2006-0072;

    (2) Email. Submit comments to [email protected];

    (3) Mail. Submit written comments to DHS, USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Laura Dawkins, Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140, telephone number 202-272-8377 (This is not a toll-free number. Comments are not accepted via telephone message). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments

    You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS-2006-0072 in the search box. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make to DHS. DHS may withhold information provided in comments from public viewing that it determines may impact the privacy of an individual or is offensive. For additional information, please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection: Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Affidavit of Support.

    (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: I-134; USCIS.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Individuals or households. This information collection is necessary to determine if at the time of application into the United States, the applicant is likely to become a public charge.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection I-134 is 18,460 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.5 hours.

    (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 27,960 hours.

    (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: There is no estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Laura Dawkins, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32876 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCO-9230000-L1440000-ET0000; COC 013297] Public Land Order No. 7847; Partial Revocation of a Public Land Order No. 1378; Colorado AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior.

    ACTION:

    Public land order.

    SUMMARY:

    This order partially revokes the withdrawal created by Public Land Order No. 1378 insofar as it affects 21.91 acres reserved for the use of the United States Forest Service as the Sunshine Campground. This order also opens the land to appropriation and use of all kinds under the public land laws, except for the United States mining laws.

    DATES:

    The effective date is: December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Valerie Hunt, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region 2, 303-275-5071; or Steve Craddock, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office, 303-239-3707; or write: Land Tenure Program Lead, BLM Colorado State Office, 2850 Youngfield Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215-7093. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individuals. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Forest Service determined that a portion of the land withdrawn and reserved for the Sunshine Campground is not needed for picnic or recreation use, and has requested a partial revocation of the withdrawal. The land will remain segregated from the United States mining laws due to a pending land exchange proposal.

    Order

    By virtue of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Interior by Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1714, it is ordered as follows:

    1. The withdrawal created by Public Land Order No. 1378 (22 FR 240 (1957)) is hereby revoked in part as to the following described land:

    Uncompahgre National Forest New Mexico Principal Meridian T. 42 N., R. 9 W.,

    Sec. 20, lot 11.

    The area described contains 21.91 acres in San Miguel County.

    2. At 9 a.m. on December 30, 2015, subject to valid existing rights, the provisions of existing withdrawals, other segregations of record, and the requirements of applicable law, the land described in Paragraph 1 is hereby opened to such forms of disposition as may be made of National Forest System land, except for location and entry under the United States mining laws.

    Dated: December 15, 2015. Janice M. Schneider, Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32862 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [16X.LLID9570000.L14400000.BJ0000.241A.X.4500081115] Idaho: Filing of Plats of Survey AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of filing of plats of surveys.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has officially filed the plats of survey of the lands described below in the BLM Idaho State Office, Boise, Idaho, effective 9:00 a.m., on the dates specified.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bureau of Land Management, 1387 South Vinnell Way, Boise, Idaho 83709-1657.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    These surveys were executed at the request of the Bureau of Land Management to meet their administrative needs. The lands surveyed are:

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey of portions of the west boundary and subdivisional lines, and subdivision of sections 29 and 31, Township 26 North, Range 2 East, of the Boise Meridian, Idaho, Group Number 1393, was accepted October 8, 2015.

    These surveys were executed at the request of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to meet certain administrative and management purposes. The lands surveyed are:

    The plat representing the dependent resurvey of portions of the Boise Meridian (east boundary), subdivisional lines, subdivision of sections 12, 13, 24, and 25, and 1912 meanders of the Kootenai River in section 12, and the survey of the 2012-2014 meanders of the Kootenai River in sections 24 and 25, Township 63 North, Range 1 West, of the Boise Meridian, Idaho, Group Number 1380, was accepted October 22, 2015.

    Stanley G. French, Chief Cadastral Surveyor for Idaho.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32886 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-GG-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [14XLLAK941000-L14400000-ET0000; AA-45553] Public Land Order No. 7845; Extension of Public Land Order No. 7177; Alaska AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Public Land Order.

    SUMMARY:

    This order extends the duration of the withdrawal created by Public Land Order No. 7177 for an additional 20-year period, which would otherwise expire on December 20, 2015. The extension is necessary for continued protection of the investment of Federal funds in the United States Forest Service Glacier Loop Administrative Site near Juneau, Alaska.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 21, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Renee Fencl, Bureau of Land Management Alaska State Office, 222 West 7th Avenue, No. 13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7504, 907-271-5067 or [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose for which the withdrawal was first made requires this extension to continue protection of the investment of Federal funds in the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Loop Administrative Site.

    Order

    By virtue of the authority vested in the Secretary of the Interior by Section 204 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1714, it is ordered as follows:

    Public Land Order No. 7177 (60 FR 66150 (1995)), which withdrew 22.51 acres of public land near Juneau, Alaska from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the general land laws, including the United States mining laws, to protect the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Loop Administrative Site, is hereby extended for an additional 20-year period. This withdrawal will expire on December 20, 2035, unless, as a result of a review conducted prior to the expiration date pursuant to Section 204(f) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. 1714(f), the Secretary determines that the withdrawal shall be further extended.

    Dated: December 12, 2015. Janice M. Schneider, Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32861 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NRNHL-19892; PPWOCRADI0, PCU00RP14.R50000] National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related Actions AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service is soliciting comments on the significance of properties nominated before November 28, 2015, for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places.

    DATES:

    Comments should be submitted by January 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be sent via U.S. Postal Service to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW., MS 2280, Washington, DC 20240; by all other carriers, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1201 Eye St. NW., 8th floor, Washington, DC 20005; or by fax, 202-371-6447.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The properties listed in this notice are being considered for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for their consideration were received by the National Park Service before November 28, 2015. Pursuant to section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60, written comments are being accepted concerning the significance of the nominated properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    GEORGIA DeKalb County Villa MiraFlores, 1214 Villa Dr., Atlanta, 15000964 ILLINOIS Kane County Muirhead, Robert and Elizabeth, House, 42W814 Rohrson Rd., Plato Center, 15000965 Lake County Van Hagen, George E., House, 12 W. County Line Rd., Barrington Hills, 15000966 MAINE Cumberland County Brunswick Commercial Historic District, 50-151 Maine St., Brunswick, 15000968 Falmouth High School, 192 Middle Rd., Falmouth, 15000967 Kennebec County Hussey—Littlefield Farm, 63 Hussey Rd., Albion, 15000969 Lincoln County Cottage on King's Row, 1400 ME 32, Bristol, 15000970 Washington County Marsh Stream Farm, 38 Marsh Stream Ln., Machiasport, 15000971 PENNSYLVANIA Montgomery County Hatfield Borough Substation, Lock Up and Firehouse, Cherry at Diamond & Fretz Sts., Hatfield Borough, 15000972 Philadelphia County Albion Carpet Mill, (Textile Industry in the Kensington Neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MPS) 1821-1845 E. Hagert St., Philadelphia, 15000973 Authority:

    60.13 of 36 CFR part 60

    Dated: December 3, 2015. J. Paul Loether, Chief, National Register of Historic Places/National Historic Landmarks Program.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32381 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-51-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air Act

    On December 18, 2015, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the District of Kansas in the lawsuit entitled United States v. Northcutt, Inc., Civil Action No. 6:15-cv-1396.

    The United States filed this lawsuit under the Clean Air Act. The United States' complaint seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties for violations of the regulations that govern sales of substitutes for ozone-depleting substances at the defendant's facility in Wichita, Kansas. See 42 U.S.C. 7413, 7671k; 40 CFR 82.170 to 82.184. The consent decree requires the defendant to discontinue domestic marketing and sales of the substitutes at issue, send a warning letter to past domestic purchasers of the substitutes, and pay a $100,000 civil penalty.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States v. Northcutt, Inc., D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-2-1-11181. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected]. By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ-ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    During the public comment period, the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Web site: http://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ-ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $6.25 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury.

    Maureen Katz, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32797 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2015-0174] Information Collection: NRC Form 398, Personal Qualification Statement—Licensee AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of submission to the Office of Management and Budget; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently submitted a request for renewal of an existing collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The information collection is entitled, “NRC Form 398, Personal Qualification Statement—Licensee.”

    DATES:

    Submit comments by January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments directly to the OMB reviewer at: Vlad Dorjets, Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (3150-0018), NEOB-10202, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503; telephone: 202-395-7315, email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tremaine Donnell, NRC Clearance Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6258; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0174 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0174

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The Supporting Statement is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15344A157 and NRC Form 398 is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15344A198.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    NRC's Clearance Officer: A copy of the collection of information and related instructions may be obtained without charge by contacting the NRC's Clearance Officer, Tremaine Donnell, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6258; email: [email protected]

    B. Submitting Comments

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information in comment submissions that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. All comment submissions are posted at http://www.regulations.gov and entered into ADAMS. Comment submissions are not routinely edited to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the OMB, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that comment submissions are not routinely edited to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

    II. Background

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the NRC recently submitted a request for renewal of an existing collection of information to OMB for review entitled, “NRC Form 398, Personal Qualification Statement—Licensee.” The NRC hereby informs potential respondents that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and that a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The NRC published a Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period on this information collection on August 18, 2015 (80 FR 50050).

    1. The title of the information collection: “NRC Form 398, Personal Qualification Statement—Licensee.”

    2. OMB approval number: 3150-0090.

    3. Type of submission: Extension.

    4. The form number if applicable: NRC Form 398.

    5. How often the collection is required or requested: Upon application for an Initial or upgrade operator license, and every six years for the renewal of Operator or senior operator licenses.

    6. Who will be required or asked to respond: Facility licensees who are tasked with Certifying that the applicants and renewal operators are qualified to be licensed as reactor operators and senior reactor operators.

    7. The estimated number of annual responses: 1,500.

    8. The estimated number of annual respondents: 1,500.

    9. An estimate of the total number of hours needed annually to comply with the information collection requirement or request: 7,225.

    10. Abstract: NRC Form 398 is used to transmit detailed information required to be submitted to the NRC by a facility licensee on each applicant applying for new and upgraded licenses or license renewals to operate the controls at a nuclear reactor facility. This information is used to determine that each applicant or renewal operator seeking a license or renewal of a license is qualified to be issued a license, and that the licensed operator would not be expected to cause operational errors and endanger public health and safety.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of December 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Tremaine Donnell NRC Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32845 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2015-0136] Information Collection: NRC Generic Letter 2016-XX, Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel Pools AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice of submission to the Office of Management and Budget; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recently submitted a proposed collection of information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The information collection is entitled, “NRC Generic Letter 2016-XX, Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel Pools.”

    DATES:

    Submit comments by January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments directly to the OMB reviewer at: Vlad Dorjets, Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (3150-XXXX), NEOB-10202, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503; telephone: 202-395-7315, email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tremaine Donnell, NRC Clearance Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6258; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0136 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID: NRC-2015-0136.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The proposed information collection and the supporting statement are available in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML15224A005 and ML15268A549, respectively.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    NRC's Clearance Officer: A copy of the collection of information and related instructions may be obtained without charge by contacting the NRC's Clearance Officer, Tremaine Donnell, Office of Information Services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6258; email: [email protected]

    B. Submitting Comments

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information in comment submissions that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. All comment submissions are posted at http://www.regulations.gov and entered into ADAMS. Comment submissions are not routinely edited to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the OMB, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that comment submissions are not routinely edited to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

    II. Background

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the NRC recently submitted a proposed collection of information to OMB for review entitled, “NRC Generic Letter 2016-XX, Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel Pools.” The NRC hereby informs potential respondents that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and that a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The draft generic letter was published for public comment on March 11, 2014 (79 FR 13685), but without an express request for public comment on the proposed information collection as required by the Office of Management and Budget. Therefore, the NRC published a Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period on these proposed information collection in the draft generic letter on June 4, 2015 (80 FR 31930).

    1. The title of the information collection: NRC Generic Letter 2016-XX, Monitoring of Neutron-Absorbing Materials in Spent Fuel Pools.

    2. OMB approval number: An OMB control number has not yet been assigned to this proposed information collection.

    3. Type of submission: New.

    4. The form number if applicable: Not applicable.

    5. How often the collection is required or requested: One-time.

    6. Who will be required or asked to respond: All nuclear power reactors with a license issued under Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 50, “Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities,” except those that have permanently ceased operations with all reactor fuel removed from on-site spent fuel pool storage; all holders of an operating license for a non-power reactor (research reactor, test reactor, or critical assembly) under 10 CFR part 50 who have a reactor pool, fuel storage pool, or other wet locations designed for the purpose of fuel storage, except those who have permanently ceased operations with all reactor fuel removed from on-site wet storage.

    7. The estimated number of annual responses: 112.

    8. The estimated number of annual respondents: 112.

    9. An estimate of the total number of hours needed annually to comply with the information collection requirement or request: 12,900 hours.

    10. Abstract: Neutron-absorbing materials installed in the spent fuel pool that are credited for maintaining subcriticality must be able to perform their neutron-absorbing safety function during both normal operating conditions and design basis events. Monitoring of neutron-absorbing materials is intended to identify when degradation may affect the ability to perform the neutron-absorbing safety function, so that appropriate corrective action can be taken. The NRC is requesting information to determine if (1) addressees have adequate neutron-absorbing material monitoring programs in place to ensure compliance with the regulations, and (2) the agency should take additional regulatory action. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA) requires that licensees provide reasonable assurance of adequate protection to public health and safety. NRC verification of compliance with the NRC's regulations and license conditions with respect to spent fuel pool neutron absorbers provides reasonable assurance of such adequate protection with respect to those neutron absorbers. The NRC has authority to collect this type of information pursuant to Sections 161 and 182 of the AEA, and 10 CFR 50.54(f), to enable the NRC to determine if the license to operate a nuclear facility needs to be modified, revoked, or suspended. The NRC uses the information collected to verify that licensees meet the NRC regulations and requirements of their license.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of December, 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Tremaine Donnell, NRC Clearance Officer, Office of Information Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32836 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Effective date December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Valerie J. Pelton, 202-268-3049.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 22, 2015, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 170 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2016-47, CP2016-62.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32844 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maria W. Votsch, 202-268-6525.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 22, 2015, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 173 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2016-50, CP2016-65.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32841 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Valerie J. Pelton, 202-268-3049.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 22, 2015, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 171 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2016-48, CP2016-63.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32843 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY:

    Postal ServiceTM.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service gives notice of filing a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission to add a domestic shipping services contract to the list of Negotiated Service Agreements in the Mail Classification Schedule's Competitive Products List.

    DATES:

    Effective date: December 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Valerie J. Pelton, 202-268-3049.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The United States Postal Service® hereby gives notice that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 3632(b)(3), on December 22, 2015, it filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission a Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 172 to Competitive Product List. Documents are available at www.prc.gov, Docket Nos. MC2016-49, CP2016-64.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32842 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-12-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76760; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-154] Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to Participant Fee December 23, 2015.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on December 17, 2015, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes [sic] amend the Exchange's transaction fees at Chapter XV, entitled “Options Pricing,” Section 10, entitled “Participant Fee—Options.”

    The Exchange purposes [sic] an increase to its Participant Fee to recoup costs incurred by the Exchange. The Exchange's Participant Fee is competitive with those of other options exchanges.3 While the amendment proposed herein is effective upon filing, the Exchange has designated the amendment [sic] become operative on January 4, 2016.

    3See note 14 below.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to increase the NOM Participant Fee, so the Exchange can allocate its costs to various options market participants. Today, the Exchange assesses all NOM Participants a $500 per month Participant Fee. This fee was initially assessed in 2012.4 The Exchange proposes to increase this Participant Fee from $500 to $1,000 per month for all NOM Participants. The proposed Participant Fee is in addition to the trading rights fee of $1,000 per month to be an Exchange member.5

    4See Securities and Exchange Act Release No. 68502 (December 20, 2012), 77 FR 76572 (December 28, 2012) (SR-NASDAQ-2012-139).

    5See Exchange Rule 7001.

    The Exchange believes this Participant Fee is competitive with fees at other options exchanges.6

    6See note 14 below.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act 7 in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 6(b)(4) and 6(b)(5) of the Act 8 in particular, in that it provides for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among members and issuers and other persons using any facility or system which the Exchange operates or controls, and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers.

    7 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    8 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4) and (5).

    The Commission and the courts have repeatedly expressed their preference for competition over regulatory intervention in determining prices, products, and services in the securities markets. In Regulation NMS, for example, the Commission indicated that market forces should generally determine the price of non-core market data because national market system regulation “has been remarkably successful in promoting market competition in its broader forms that are most important to investors and listed companies.” 9 Likewise, in NetCoalition v. NYSE Arca, Inc. 10 (“NetCoalition”) the D.C. Circuit upheld the Commission's use of a market-based approach in evaluating the fairness of market data fees against a challenge claiming that Congress mandated a cost-based approach.11 As the court emphasized, the Commission “intended in Regulation NMS that `market forces, rather than regulatory requirements' play a role in determining the market data . . . to be made available to investors and at what cost.” 12

    9 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51808 at 37499 (June 9, 2005) (“Regulation NMS Adopting Release”).

    10NetCoalition v. NYSE Arca, Inc., 615 F.3d 525 (D.C. Cir. 2010).

    11See NetCoalition, at 534.

    12Id. at 537.

    Further, “[n]o one disputes that competition for order flow is `fierce.' . . . As the SEC explained, `[i]n the U.S. national market system, buyers and sellers of securities, and the broker-dealers that act as their order-routing agents, have a wide range of choices of where to route orders for execution'; [and] `no exchange can afford to take its market share percentages for granted' because `no exchange possesses a monopoly, regulatory or otherwise, in the execution of order flow from broker dealers'. . . .” 13 Although the court and the SEC were discussing the cash equities markets, the Exchange believes that these views apply with equal force to the options markets.

    13Id. at 539 (quoting ArcaBook Order, 73 FR at 74782-74783).

    The Exchange's proposal to increase the NOM Participant Fee from $500 to $1,000 per month is reasonable because the Exchange is seeking to recoup costs related to membership administration. The proposed fee is competitive with fees at other options exchanges.14

    14See The Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated's Fees Schedule. Per month a Market Maker Trading Permit is $5,500, an SPX Tier Appointment is $3,000, a VIX Tier Appointment is $2,000, and an Electronic Access Permit is $1,600. See also the International Securities Exchange LLC's Schedule of Fees. Per month an Electronic Access Member is assessed $500.00 for membership and a market maker is assessed from $2,000 to $4,000 per membership depending on the type of market maker. See also C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated's Fees Schedule. Per month, a market-maker is assessed a $5,000 permit fee, an Electronic Access Permit is assessed a $1,000 permit fee. See also NYSE Arca, Inc.'s Fee Schedule. Per month, a Clearing Firm is assessed a $1,000 per month fee for the first Options Trading Permit (“OTP”) and $250 thereafter, and a market maker is assessed a permit based on the maximum number of OTPs held by an OTP Firm or OTP Holder during a calendar month ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 a month.

    The Exchange's proposal to increase the NOM Participant Fee from $500 to $1,000 per month is equitable and not unfairly discriminatory because the Participant Fee will be assessed uniformly to each NOM Participant.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In terms of inter-market competition, the Exchange notes that it operates in a highly competitive market in which market participants can readily favor competing venues if they deem fee levels at a particular venue to be excessive, or rebate opportunities available at other venues to be more favorable. In such an environment, the Exchange must continually adjust its fees to remain competitive with other exchanges and with alternative trading systems that have been exempted from compliance with the statutory standards applicable to exchanges. Because competitors are free to modify their own fees in response and because market participants may readily adjust their order routing practices, the Exchange believes that the degree to which fee changes in this market may impose any burden on competition is extremely limited.

    In terms of intra-market competition, the Exchange's proposal to increase the NOM Participant Fee from $500 to $1,000 per month does not impose an undue burden on competition because the Exchange would uniformly assess the same Participant Fee to each NOM Participant. If the proposed amendment is unattractive to market participants, it is likely that the Exchange will lose Participants. Accordingly, the Exchange does not believe that the proposed changes will impair the ability of members or competing order execution venues to maintain their competitive standing in the financial markets.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    No written comments were either solicited or received.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act.15

    15 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).

    At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is: (i) Necessary or appropriate in the public interest; (ii) for the protection of investors; or (iii) otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-NASDAQ-2015-154 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2015-154. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2015-154, and should be submitted on or before January 20, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.16

    16 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32820 Filed 12-29-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76761; File No. SR-NYSEArca-2015-107] Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To List and Trade Shares of the REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF and the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600 December 23, 2015.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) 1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 2 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,3 notice is hereby given that, on December 10, 2015, NYSE Arca, Inc. (“Exchange” or “NYSE Arca”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 15 U.S.C. 78a.

    3 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to list and trade shares of the following under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600 (“Managed Fund Shares”): The REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF and the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at www.nyse.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the self-regulatory organization included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of those statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to list and trade shares (the “Shares”) of the following under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600, which governs the listing and trading of Managed Fund Shares 4 : The REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF and the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (each a “Fund” and, collectively, the “Funds”).5

    4 A Managed Fund Share is a security that represents an interest in an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1) (the “1940 Act”) organized as an open-end investment company or similar entity that invests in a portfolio of securities selected by its investment adviser consistent with its investment objectives and policies. In contrast, an open-end investment company that issues Investment Company Units, listed and traded on the Exchange under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3), seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of a specific foreign or domestic stock index, fixed income securities index or combination thereof.

    5 The Commission has approved listing and trading on the Exchange of a number of actively managed funds under Rule 8.600. See, e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 63076 (October 12, 2010), 75 FR 63874 (October 18, 2010) (SR-NYSEArca-2010-79) (order approving Exchange listing and trading of Cambria Global Tactical ETF); 70055 (July 29, 2013) (SR-NYSEArca-2013-52) (order approving proposed rule change relating to listing and trading of shares of the First Trust Morningstar Managed Futures Strategy Fund under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600); and 71456 (January 31, 2014), 79 FR 7258 (February 6, 2014) (SR-NYSEArca-2013-116) (order approving proposed rule change relating to listing and trading of shares of the AdvisorShares International Gold ETF, AdvisorShares Gartman Gold/Yen ETF, AdvisorShares Gartman Gold/British Pound ETF, and AdvisorShares Gartman Gold/Euro ETF under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600).

    The Shares will be offered by Exchange Traded Concepts Trust (the “Trust”), a Delaware statutory trust. Exchange Traded Concepts, LLC will serve as the investment adviser to the Funds (“Adviser”). Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (the “Sub-Adviser”) will serve as sub-adviser to the Funds.6

    6 The Trust is registered under the 1940 Act. On October 9, 2015, the Trust filed with the Commission an amendment to its registration statement on Form N-1A under the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a) (“Securities Act”), and under the 1940 Act relating to the Funds (File Nos. 333-156529 and 811-22263) (“Registration Statement”). The description of the operation of the Trust and the Funds herein is based, in part, on the Registration Statement. In addition, the Commission has issued an order granting certain exemptive relief to the Trust under the 1940 Act. See Investment Company Act Release No. 30445, April 2, 2013 (File No. 812-13969) (“Exemptive Order”).

    SEI Investments Distribution Co. (“SIDCO”), (the “Distributor”) will be the principal underwriter and distributor of the Funds' Shares. SEI Investments Global Funds Services (the “Administrator”) will serve as the administrator, custodian, transfer agent and fund accounting agent for the Funds.7

    7 The Funds are subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as commodity pools. The Adviser is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”), and the Funds will be operated in accordance with CFTC rules.

    Commentary .06 to Rule 8.600 provides that, if the investment adviser to the investment company issuing Managed Fund Shares is affiliated with a broker-dealer, such investment adviser shall erect a “fire wall” between the investment adviser and the broker-dealer with respect to access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to such investment company portfolio. In addition, Commentary .06 further requires that personnel who make decisions on the open-end fund's portfolio composition must be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material nonpublic information regarding the open-end fund's portfolio.8 Commentary .06 to Rule 8.600 is similar to Commentary .03(a)(i) and (iii) to NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3); however, Commentary .06 in connection with the establishment of a “fire wall” between the investment adviser and the broker-dealer reflects the applicable open-end fund's portfolio, not an underlying benchmark index, as is the case with index-based funds. Neither the Adviser nor the Sub-Adviser is a broker-dealer or affiliated with a broker-dealer.

    8 An investment adviser to an open-end fund is required to be registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”). As a result, the Adviser and Sub-Adviser and their related personnel will be subject to the provisions of Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act relating to codes of ethics. This Rule requires investment advisers to adopt a code of ethics that reflects the fiduciary nature of the relationship to clients as well as compliance with other applicable securities laws. Accordingly, procedures designed to prevent the communication and misuse of non-public information by an investment adviser must be consistent with Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act. In addition, Rule 206(4)-7 under the Advisers Act makes it unlawful for an investment adviser to provide investment advice to clients unless such investment adviser has (i) adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations, by the investment adviser and its supervised persons, of the Advisers Act and the Commission rules adopted thereunder; (ii) implemented, at a minimum, an annual review regarding the adequacy of the policies and procedures established pursuant to subparagraph (i) above and the effectiveness of their implementation; and (iii) designated an individual (who is a supervised person) responsible for administering the policies and procedures adopted under subparagraph (i) above.

    In the event (a) the Adviser or Sub-Adviser becomes a registered broker-dealer or becomes newly affiliated with a broker-dealer, or (b) any new adviser or sub-adviser is a registered broker-dealer, or becomes affiliated with a broker-dealer, it will implement a fire wall with respect to its relevant personnel or its broker-dealer affiliate regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to a portfolio, and will be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material non-public information regarding such portfolio.

    The REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF—Principal Investments

    According to the Registration Statement, the Fund will seek to outperform the total return performance of the S&P 500 Dynamic Gold Hedged Index (the “S&P Benchmark”) by actively hedging the returns of the S&P 500® Index using gold futures.

    The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective of outperforming the S&P Benchmark by providing exposure to a gold-hedged U.S. large-cap portfolio using a quantitative, rules-based strategy. The Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets (plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in (i) U.S. exchange-listed large-cap U.S. stocks; (ii) gold futures, (iii) exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) 9 and exchange-traded closed-end funds (together with ETFs, the “Underlying Funds”) that provide exposure to large-cap U.S. stocks, (iv) ETFs or exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) 10 that provide exposure to gold, and (v) futures that provide exposure to the S&P 500® Index. The Fund will not invest in non-U.S. stocks.

    9 For purposes of this filing, ETFs include Investment Company Units (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3)); Portfolio Depository Receipts (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.100); and Managed Fund Shares (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600). The Underlying Funds in which a Fund will invest all will be listed and traded on national securities exchanges. While the Funds may invest in inverse ETFs, the Funds will not invest in leveraged (e.g., 2X, -2X, 3X or -3X) ETFs.

    10 ETNs, which will be listed on a national securities exchange, are securities such as those described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(6). While the Funds may invest in inverse ETNs, the Funds will not invest in leveraged (e.g., 2X, -2X, 3X or -3X) ETNs.

    The Fund will seek to achieve a similar level of volatility as that of the S&P Benchmark, although there is no assurance it will do so.

    According to the Registration Statement, the S&P Benchmark seeks to reflect the returns of a portfolio of S&P 500® stocks, hedged with a long gold futures overlay. Specifically, the S&P Benchmark measures the total return performance of a hypothetical portfolio consisting of securities that compose the S&P 500® Index, which measures the performance of the large-capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market, and a long position in gold futures contracts, the notional value of which is comparable to the value of the S&P Benchmark's equity component.

    The Sub-Adviser will continuously monitor the Fund's holdings in order to enhance performance while still providing approximately equal notional exposure to equity securities and gold futures contracts.

    According to the Registration Statement, futures contracts, by their terms, have stated expirations and, at a specified point in time prior to expiration, trading in a futures contract for the current delivery month will cease. Therefore, in order to maintain exposure to gold futures contracts, the S&P Benchmark must periodically migrate out of gold futures contracts nearing expiration and into gold futures contracts that have longer remaining until expiration, a process referred to as “rolling.” The impact from this continuous process of selling expiring contracts and buying longer-dated contracts is called roll yield. The S&P Benchmark rolls these futures contracts according to a predefined schedule, regardless of the liquidity or roll yield of the futures contract selected.

    The Fund will look to minimize the impact of rolling futures contracts in a number of ways. For example, the Fund may roll positions in gold futures contracts before or after the scheduled roll dates for the S&P Benchmark, to the extent of favorable market prices and available liquidity. Additionally, the Fund may attempt to minimize roll costs (and maximize yields) by rolling into the gold futures contract with the largest positive or smallest negative roll yield. This strategy for taking long positions in and unwinding exposure to gold futures contracts may cause the Fund to have more or less exposure to gold futures contracts than the S&P Benchmark. Additionally, the Fund is not obligated to rebalance its exposures at the same time that the S&P Benchmark rebalances its exposures, and the Fund may rebalance more or less frequently than the S&P Benchmark in order to ensure that the Fund's exposure to equities remains comparable to the Fund's exposure to the price of gold.

    The Fund will not directly hold gold futures contracts or other commodity-linked instruments (namely, commodity-related pooled vehicles (as described below) and options on commodity futures). Rather, the Fund expects to gain exposure to these instruments by investing up to 25% of its total assets, as measured at the end of every quarter of the Fund's taxable year, in a wholly-owned and controlled Cayman Islands subsidiary (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary will be advised by the Adviser and the Fund's investment in the Subsidiary will primarily be intended to provide the Fund primarily with exposure to the price of gold. The Fund's investment in the Subsidiary is expected to provide the Fund with an effective means of obtaining exposure to the commodities markets in a manner consistent with U.S. federal tax law requirements applicable to registered investment companies.

    The REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF—Principal Investments

    According to the Registration Statement, the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (the “Fund”) will seek to outperform the total return performance of the FTSE Emerging Gold Overlay Index (the “FTSE Benchmark”) by actively hedging a portfolio of emerging markets securities using gold futures.

    The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective of outperforming the FTSE Benchmark by providing exposure to a gold-hedged emerging markets portfolio using a quantitative, rules-based strategy. The Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets (plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in (i) equity securities of emerging markets companies, as such companies are classified by the FTSE Benchmark (“Emerging Markets Securities”) 11 , (ii) gold futures, (iii) ETFs and exchange-traded closed-end funds (together with ETFs, the “Underlying Funds”), American Depository Receipts (“ADRs”) 12 , Global Depository Receipts (“GDRs”, American Depositary Shares (“ADS”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), International Depository Receipts (“IDRs”, and together with ADRs, GDRs and ADS, “Depositary Receipts”) that provide exposure to Emerging Markets Securities, (iv) ETFs 13 or ETNs 14 that provide exposure to gold, and (v) futures that provide exposure to Emerging Markets Securities. The Fund will seek to achieve a similar level of volatility as that of the FTSE Benchmark, although there is no assurance it will do so. The FTSE Benchmark classifies a market as an emerging market based on a number of considerations related to the strength of the economy and the strength of capital market systems. The FTSE Benchmark classifies a company as being an emerging markets company based on a number of factors related to incorporation, listing, governance and operations of the company.

    11 The non-U.S. equity securities in the Fund's portfolio will meet the following criteria at time of purchase: (1) Non-U.S. equity securities each shall have a minimum market value of at least $100 million; (2) non-U.S. equity securities each shall have a minimum global monthly trading volume of 250,000 shares, or minimum global notional volume traded per month of $25,000,000, averaged over the last six months; (3) the most heavily weighted non-U.S. equity security shall not exceed 25% of the weight of the Fund's entire portfolio, and, to the extent applicable, the five most heavily weighted non-U.S. equity securities shall not exceed 60% of the weight of the Fund's entire portfolio; and (4) each non-U.S. equity security shall be listed and traded on an exchange that has last-sale reporting. For purposes of this filing, the term “non-U.S. equity securities” includes the following (each as referenced below): common stocks and preferred securities of foreign corporations; warrants; convertible securities; master limited partnerships (“MLPs”); rights; and “Depositary Receipts” (as defined below, excluding Depositary Receipts that are registered under the Act).

    12 According to the Registration Statement, ADRs are receipts typically issued by United States banks and trust companies which evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. Generally, ADRs in registered form are designed for use in domestic securities markets and are traded on exchanges or over-the-counter in the United States. American Depositary Shares (ADSs) are U.S. dollar-denominated equity shares of a foreign-based company available for purchase on an American stock exchange. ADSs are issued by depository banks in the United States under an agreement with the foreign issuer, and the entire issuance is called an ADR and the individual shares are referred to as ADSs. GDRs, EDRs, and IDRs are similar to ADRs in that they are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer, however, GDRs, EDRs, and IDRs may be issued in bearer form and denominated in other currencies, and are generally designed for use in specific or multiple securities markets outside the U.S. EDRs, for example, are designed for use in European securities markets while GDRs are designed for use throughout the world. ADRs, GDRs, EDRs, and IDRs will not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities. Non-exchange-listed ADRs will not exceed 10% of the Fund's net assets.

    13See note 9, supra.

    14See note 10, supra.

    The FTSE Benchmark seeks to reflect the returns of a portfolio of Emerging Markets Securities, hedged with a long gold futures overlay. Specifically, the FTSE Benchmark measures the total return performance of a hypothetical portfolio consisting of Emerging Markets Securities and a long position in gold futures, the notional value of which is comparable to the value of the FTSE Benchmark's equity component.

    The Sub-Adviser will continuously monitor the Fund's holdings in order to enhance performance while still providing approximately equal notional exposure to equity securities and gold futures contracts.

    According to the Registration Statement, futures contracts, by their terms, have stated expirations and, at a specified point in time prior to expiration, trading in a futures contract for the current delivery month will cease. Therefore, in order to maintain exposure to gold futures contracts, the FTSE Benchmark must periodically migrate out of gold futures contracts nearing expiration and into gold futures contracts that have longer remaining until expiration, a process referred to as “rolling.” The impact from this continuous process of selling expiring contracts and buying longer-dated contracts is called roll yield. The FTSE Benchmark rolls these futures contracts according to a predefined schedule, regardless of the liquidity or roll yield of the futures contract selected.

    The Fund will look to minimize the impact of rolling futures contracts in a number of ways. For example, the Fund may roll positions in gold futures contracts before or after the scheduled roll dates for the FTSE Benchmark, to the extent of favorable market prices and available liquidity. Additionally, the Fund may attempt to minimize roll costs (and maximize yields) by rolling into the gold futures contract with the largest positive or smallest negative roll yield. This strategy for taking long positions in and unwinding exposure to gold futures contracts may cause the Fund to have more or less exposure to gold futures contracts than the FTSE Benchmark. Additionally, the Fund is not obligated to rebalance its exposures at the same time that the FTSE Benchmark rebalances its exposures, and the Fund may rebalance more or less frequently than the FTSE Benchmark in order to ensure that the Fund's exposure to equities remains comparable to the Fund's exposure to the price of gold.

    The Fund will not directly hold gold futures contracts or other commodity-linked instruments (namely, commodity-related pooled vehicles (as described below) and options on commodity futures). Rather, the Fund expects to gain exposure to these instruments by investing up to 25% of its total assets, as measured at the end of every quarter of the Fund's taxable year, in a wholly-owned and controlled Cayman Islands subsidiary (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary will be advised by the Adviser and the Fund's investment in the Subsidiary will primarily be intended to provide the Fund with exposure to the price of gold. The Fund's investment in the Subsidiary is expected to provide the Fund with an effective means of obtaining exposure to the commodities markets in a manner consistent with U.S. federal tax law requirements applicable to registered investment companies.

    Other Investments

    While each Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets in the securities and financial instruments described above, a Fund may invest its remaining assets in the securities and financial instruments described below.

    In addition to the exchange-traded equity securities described above for the Funds, the Funds may invest in the following exchange-traded equity securities: exchange-traded common stock (other than large-cap U.S. stocks or Emerging Markets Securities, respectively, for the respective Funds); exchange-traded preferred stock (other than preferred stock referred to above with respect to the REX Gold Hedged S&P 500 ETF), warrants, MLPs, rights, and convertible securities.

    The Funds may invest in restricted (Rule 144A) securities.

    In addition to the futures transactions described above under “Principal Investments” of a Fund, the Funds may engage in other index, commodity and currency futures transactions and may engage in exchange-traded options transactions on such futures. The Funds may use futures contracts and related options for bona fide hedging; attempting to offset changes in the value of securities held or expected to be acquired or be disposed of; attempting to gain exposure to a particular market, index, or instrument; or other risk management purposes.

    The Funds may purchase and write (sell) exchange-traded and OTC put and call options on securities, securities indices and currencies. A Fund may purchase put and call options on securities to protect against a decline in the market value of the securities in its portfolio or to anticipate an increase in the market value of securities that a Fund may seek to purchase in the future.

    Each Fund will also invest in money market mutual funds, cash and cash equivalents 15 to collateralize its exposure to futures contracts and for investment purposes.

    15 For purposes of this filing, cash equivalents include short-term instruments (instruments with maturities of less than 3 months) of the following types: (i) U.S. Government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest, which are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities; (ii) certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or savings and loan association; (iii) bankers' acceptances, which are short-term credit instruments used to finance commercial transactions; (iv) repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements; (v) bank time deposits, which are monies kept on deposit with banks or savings and loan associations for a stated period of time at a fixed rate of interest; (vi) commercial paper, which are short-term unsecured promissory notes; and (vii) money market funds.

    In addition to the securities and financial instruments described under “Principal Investments” above for each Fund, each Fund may invest in the securities of pooled vehicles that are not investment companies and, thus, not required to comply with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These pooled vehicles typically hold currency or commodities, such as gold or oil, or other property that is itself not a security.16

    16 For purposes of the filing, pooled vehicles will mean: Trust Issued Receipts (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.200); Commodity-Based Trust Shares (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.201); Commodity Index Trust Shares (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.203); and Trust Units (as described in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.500).

    Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions, which may be deemed to be loans.

    Each Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements as part of a Fund's investment strategy.

    In addition, the Funds may invest in the following fixed income instruments (“Fixed Income Instruments”): U.S. government securities, namely, U.S. Treasury obligations 17 , U.S. government agency securities and U.S. Treasury zero-coupon bonds.

    17 U.S. Treasury obligations consist of bills, notes and bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury and separately traded interest and principal component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the federal book-entry system known as Separately Traded Registered Interest and Principal Securities (“STRIPS”) and Treasury Receipts.

    The Funds will invest in the securities of other investment companies, including the Underlying Funds, to the extent that such an investment would be consistent with the requirements of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, or any rule, regulation or order of the Commission or interpretation thereof.

    Investment in the Subsidiaries

    According to the Registration Statement, each Fund will achieve commodities exposure through investment in a Subsidiary. Such investment may not exceed 25% of a Fund's total assets, as measured at the end of every quarter of a Fund's taxable year. Each Subsidiary will invest in derivatives, including commodity and equity futures contracts and commodity-linked instruments, and other investments (cash, cash equivalents and Fixed Income Instruments with less than one year to maturity) intended to serve as margin or collateral or otherwise support the Subsidiary's derivatives positions. Unlike a Fund, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in commodity futures and may use leveraged investment techniques. The Subsidiaries otherwise are subject to the same general investment policies and restrictions as the Funds.

    According to the Registration Statement, the Subsidiaries are not registered under the 1940 Act. As an investor in its Subsidiary, each Fund, as the Subsidiary's sole shareholder, would not have the protections offered to investors in registered investment companies. However, because a Fund would wholly own and control the Subsidiary, and a Fund and Subsidiary would be managed by the Adviser, it is unlikely that the Subsidiary would take action contrary to the interests of a Fund or a Fund's shareholders. A Fund's Board of Trustees has oversight responsibility for the investment activities of the Funds, including their investments in its respective Subsidiary, and each Fund's role as the sole shareholder of its Subsidiary. Also, in managing a Subsidiary's portfolio, the Adviser and Sub-Adviser would be subject to the same investment restrictions and operational guidelines that apply to the management of a Fund.

    Investment Restrictions

    Each Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold 25% or more of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent that the respective benchmark concentrates in an industry or group of industries.18

    18 The Commission has taken the position that a fund is concentrated if it invests more than 25% of the value of its total assets in any one industry. See, e.g., Investment Company Act Release No. 9011 (October 30, 1975), 40 FR 54241 (November 21, 1975.

    Each Fund will be classified as a non-diversified investment company under the 1940 Act. A “non-diversified” classification means that a Fund is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of their assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer.19

    19 The diversification standard is set forth in Section 5(b)(1) of the 1940 Act.

    The Adviser will not take defensive positions in the Funds' portfolios during periods of adverse market, economic, political, or other conditions as the Adviser intends for each Fund to remain fully invested consistent with its investment strategy under all market conditions.

    Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid assets (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities deemed illiquid by the Adviser,20 consistent with Commission guidance. Each Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of a Fund's net assets are invested in illiquid assets. Illiquid assets include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with Commission staff guidance.21

    20 In reaching liquidity decisions, the Adviser may consider the following factors: The frequency of trades and quotes for the security; the number of dealers wishing to purchase or sell the security and the number of other potential purchasers; dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; and the nature of the security and the nature of the marketplace in which it trades (e.g., the time needed to dispose of the security, the method of soliciting offers and the mechanics of transfer).

    21 The Commission has stated that long-standing Commission guidelines have required open-end funds to hold no more than 15% of their net assets in illiquid securities and other illiquid assets. See Investment Company Act Release No. 28193 (March 11, 2008), 73 FR 14618 (March 18, 2008), footnote 34. See also, Investment Company Act Release No. 5847 (October 21, 1969), 35 FR 19989 (December 31, 1970) (Statement Regarding “Restricted Securities”); Investment Company Act Release No. 18612 (March 12, 1992), 57 FR 9828 (March 20, 1992) (Revisions of Guidelines to Form N-1A). A fund's portfolio security is illiquid if it cannot be disposed of in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the value ascribed to it by the fund. See Investment Company Act Release No. 14983 (March 12, 1986), 51 FR 9773 (March 21, 1986) (adopting amendments to Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act); Investment Company Act Release No. 17452 (April 23, 1990), 55 FR 17933 (April 30, 1990) (adopting Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933).

    According to the Registration Statement, each Fund will seek to qualify for treatment as a Regulated Investment Company (“RIC”) under the Internal Revenue Code.22

    22 26 U.S.C. 851.

    With respect to the REX Gold Hedged FTSE Emerging Markets ETF, the non-U.S. equity securities in such Fund's portfolio will meet the following criteria at time of purchase 23 : (1) Non-U.S. equity securities each shall have a minimum market value of at least $100 million; (2) non-U.S. equity securities each shall have a minimum global monthly trading volume of 250,000 shares, or minimum global notional volume traded per month of $25,000,000, averaged over the last six months; (3) the most heavily weighted non-U.S. equity security shall not exceed 25% of the weight of the Fund's entire portfolio, and, to the extent applicable, the five most heavily weighted non-U.S. equity securities shall not exceed 60% of the weight of the Fund's entire portfolio; and (4) each non-U.S. equity security shall be listed and traded on an exchange that has last-sale reporting.

    23 These criteria are similar to certain “generic” listing criteria in NYSE Arca Equities Rule 5.2(j)(3), Commentary .01(a)(B), which relate to criteria applicable to an index or portfolio of U.S. and non-U.S. stocks underlying a series of Investment Company Units to be listed and traded on the Exchange pursuant to Rule 19b-4(e) under the Act.

    According to the Registration Statement, the Funds are subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC rules as commodity pools. The Adviser is registered as a commodity pool operator, and the Funds will be operated in accordance with CFTC rules.

    Each Fund's investments will be consistent with its investment objective and will not be used to enhance leverage. While a Fund may invest in inverse ETFs and ETNs, a Fund will not invest in leveraged (e.g., 2X, −2X, 3X or −3X) ETFs and ETNs.

    Creation of Shares

    According to the Registration Statement, the Trust will issue and sell shares of each Fund only in Creation Units of at least 50,000 Shares each on a continuous basis through the Distributor, at their NAV next determined after receipt, on any business day of an order received in proper form.

    The consideration for purchase of a Creation Unit of a Fund generally will consist of an in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities—the “D