Federal Register Vol. 80, No.38,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 38 (February 26, 2015)

Page Range10323-10568
FR Document

80_FR_38
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 10522 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 10482 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 10566 - Boston and Maine Corporation-Discontinuance of Service Exemption-in Essex County, MassPDF
80 FR 10460 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling QuotasPDF
80 FR 10457 - Certain Cased Pencils From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Initiation and Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances ReviewPDF
80 FR 10483 - Sunshine Act NoticePDF
80 FR 10456 - Foreign-Trade Zone 119-Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota; Application for Subzone; Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc.; Red Wing, MinnesotaPDF
80 FR 10323 - Cattle Fever Tick; Importation Requirements for Ruminants From MexicoPDF
80 FR 10456 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 168-Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Samsung Electronics America, Inc (Kitting of Mobile Phones and Tablet Computers), Coppell, TexasPDF
80 FR 10456 - Foreign-Trade Zone 61-San Juan, Puerto Rico; Application for Subzone; Roger Electric Corporation, Bayamon, Puerto RicoPDF
80 FR 10494 - Submission for OMB Review; Emergency Clearance Request Human Influenza Surveillance of Health Care Centers in the United States and TaiwanPDF
80 FR 10501 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, MAPDF
80 FR 10506 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DCPDF
80 FR 10505 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Kerr County Attorney's Office, Kerr County, TXPDF
80 FR 10464 - Applications for New Awards; Alaska Native Education ProgramPDF
80 FR 10515 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Evaluation of Round 4 of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants ProgramPDF
80 FR 10516 - Proposed Information Collection Request (ICR) for the Survey of Working Women; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 10566 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Comment Request; Registration of Mortgage Loan OriginatorsPDF
80 FR 10500 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, MAPDF
80 FR 10463 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2016-2017 (MGLS:2017) Recruitment for Item Validation and Operational Field TestsPDF
80 FR 10463 - Personal Authentication Service (PAS) for FSA ID; Agency Contact Information, Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses, Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours and the Abstract; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 10365 - Great Lakes Pilotage Rates-2015 Annual Review and AdjustmentPDF
80 FR 10516 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Coke Oven EmissionsPDF
80 FR 10518 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Vertical Tandem Lifts for Marine TerminalsPDF
80 FR 10563 - Determination by the Secretary of State Relating to Iran SanctionsPDF
80 FR 10523 - Submission for OMB Review; Comments RequestPDF
80 FR 10462 - U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Visitors Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 10462 - US Air Force Exclusive Patent LicensePDF
80 FR 10462 - US Air Force Partially Exclusive Patent LicensePDF
80 FR 10522 - Submission for OMB Review; Comments RequestPDF
80 FR 10468 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge ReservationPDF
80 FR 10392 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Resources of the South Atlantic; Trip Limit ReductionPDF
80 FR 10325 - Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit DisclosuresPDF
80 FR 10455 - Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 10566 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 10475 - Western Area Power Administration; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 10470 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 10479 - Centralized Capacity Markets in Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators; Winter 2013-2014 Operations and Market Performance in Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators; Notice Allowing Public CommentPDF
80 FR 10480 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Architectural Coatings (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 10481 - Notice of Issuance of Final Air Permits to Anadarko Petroleum CorporationPDF
80 FR 10398 - Exportation of Live Animals, Hatching Eggs, and Animal Germplasm From the United StatesPDF
80 FR 10521 - Notice of Determinations Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance and Alternative Trade Adjustment AssistancePDF
80 FR 10520 - Investigations Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Worker Adjustment AssistancePDF
80 FR 10519 - Leased Workers From Aerospace Logistic Services, Butler Service, Global Contract Professionals, Iqnavigator, PDS Technical Services, S.M.A.R.T., Volt Services Group, Comforce Technical Services, Donatech Corp., Five Star Technical Services, Johnson Service Group, Strom Aviation and STS Services Working On-Site at Textron, Inc., Formerly Known as Beechcraft Corporation Wichita, Kansas; Amended Certification Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Worker Adjustment AssistancePDF
80 FR 10476 - Red Horse Wind 2, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 10475 - Balko Wind, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 10476 - California Clean Power Corp.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 10473 - Champion Energy Marketing LLC v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., PJM Settlement, Inc.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 10469 - Bear Swamp Power Company, LLC; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document (Pad), Commencement of Pre-Filing Process, and Scoping; Request for Comments on the Pad and Scoping Document, and Identification of Issues and Associated Study RequestsPDF
80 FR 10474 - Aguirre Offshore GasPort, LLC; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Aguirre Offshore Gasport ProjectPDF
80 FR 10475 - Nashua Hydro Associates, City of Nashua, New Hampshire; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 10477 - South Carolina Electric & Gas Company; Notice of Intent To File License Application, Filing of Pre-Application Document, and Approving Use of the Traditional Licensing ProcessPDF
80 FR 10478 - Notice of Commission or Commission Staff Attendance at Miso MeetingsPDF
80 FR 10473 - BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP America Production Company, and BP Energy Company; Notice of Designation of Commission Staff as Non-DecisionalPDF
80 FR 10475 - Twin Valley Hydroelectric; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 10458 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Herring Fishery; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Scoping Process; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 10518 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Unemployment Insurance Supplemental Budget Request ActivitiesPDF
80 FR 10488 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
80 FR 10442 - Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting ServicesPDF
80 FR 10482 - FCC To Hold Open Commission Meeting Thursday, February 26, 2015PDF
80 FR 10489 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
80 FR 10486 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
80 FR 10487 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 10436 - Request for Information To Improve the Health and Safety of Miners and To Prevent Accidents in Underground Coal MinesPDF
80 FR 10499 - Notice of Public Meeting for the John Day-Snake Resource Advisory CouncilPDF
80 FR 10512 - Certain Vision-Based Driver Assistance System Cameras and Components Thereof; Notice of a Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting Complainant's Motion To Terminate the Investigation Based on a Withdrawal of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 10423 - Airworthiness Directives; GROB-WERKE AirplanesPDF
80 FR 10564 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 10514 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Identification Markings Placed on FirearmsPDF
80 FR 10513 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Extension With Change, of a Previously Approved Collection Americans With Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint FormPDF
80 FR 10493 - Pediatric Stakeholder Meeting; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 10483 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
80 FR 10511 - Silicomanganese From Australia; Institution of Antidumping Duty Investigation and Scheduling of Preliminary Phase InvestigationPDF
80 FR 10328 - Special Conditions: Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Airplane Electronic-System Security Protection From Unauthorized External AccessPDF
80 FR 10326 - Special Conditions: Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Isolation or Protection of Airplane Electronic-System Security From Unauthorized Internal AccessPDF
80 FR 10422 - Special Conditions: Gulfstream Model GVII Series Airplanes; Limit Pilot Forces for Side-Stick ControllerPDF
80 FR 10524 - Order Granting Limited Exemptions From Exchange Act Rule 10b-17 and Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M to AccuShares S&P GSCI Spot Fund, AccuShares S&P GSCI Agriculture and Livestock Spot Fund, AccuShares S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Spot Fund, AccuShares S&P GSCI Crude Oil Spot Fund, AccuShares S&P GSCI Brent Oil Spot Fund, AccuShares S&P GSCI Natural Gas Spot Fund, and AccuShares Spot CBOE VIX Fund, Pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 10b-17(b)(2) and Rules 101(d) and 102(e) of Regulation MPDF
80 FR 10553 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fee Schedule Under Exchange Rule 7018(a) With Respect to Transactions in Securities Priced at $1 or More per SharePDF
80 FR 10562 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Postpone Implementation of Changes to Rules 4751(h) and 4754(b) Relating to the Closing ProcessPDF
80 FR 10551 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit, LLC; Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on Proposed Rule Change To Revise the ICC Risk Management FrameworkPDF
80 FR 10538 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Order Instituting Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt FINRA Rule 2242; Debt Research Analysts and Debt Research ReportsPDF
80 FR 10528 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Order Instituting Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt FINRA Rule 2241 (Research Analysts and Research Reports) in the Consolidated FINRA RulebookPDF
80 FR 10556 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of Shares of the SPDR® DoubleLine Total Return Tactical ETF Under NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600PDF
80 FR 10536 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Extend the Pilot Program Regarding Exchange Rule 1047(f)(v)PDF
80 FR 10551 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Chapter V, Regulation of Trading on NOM, To Extend the Pilot Program Under Section 3(d)(iv)PDF
80 FR 10549 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; International Securities Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Limit Up-Limit Down Obvious Error PilotPDF
80 FR 10526 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the BX Options Rules To Extend the Pilot Program Under Chapter V, Section 3(d)(iv)PDF
80 FR 10392 - Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; California Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery; Vessel Monitoring System and Pre-Trip Notification RequirementsPDF
80 FR 10359 - Suspension of Community EligibilityPDF
80 FR 10564 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 10491 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial ReviewPDF
80 FR 10565 - Notice of Final Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 10491 - Future Directions for the Surveillance of Agricultural Injuries; Public Meeting; Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 10498 - Accreditation and Approval of Inspectorate America Corporation, as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
80 FR 10523 - Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 10435 - Health Insurance Providers FeePDF
80 FR 10333 - Health Insurance Providers FeePDF
80 FR 10460 - Renewal of Department of Defense Federal Advisory CommitteesPDF
80 FR 10497 - Clinical Center; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 10496 - National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 10497 - National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 10496 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 10497 - National Eye Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 10495 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 10496 - National Institute of Nursing Research; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 10330 - Medical Devices; Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices; Classification of the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment SystemPDF
80 FR 10455 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 10494 - Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 10492 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 10480 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Source Categories: Gasoline Distribution Bulk Terminals, Bulk Plants, Pipeline Facilities, and Gasoline Dispensing Facilities (Renewal)PDF
80 FR 10497 - Missouri River Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) Study; Public Listening SessionPDF
80 FR 10477 - Belle Fourche Pipeline Company, Bridger Pipeline LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
80 FR 10473 - NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC v. California Independent System Operator Corporation; Notice of ComplaintPDF
80 FR 10472 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 10417 - Submission of Credit Card Agreements Under the Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z)PDF
80 FR 10487 - Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of New System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 10335 - Army Privacy ProgramPDF
80 FR 10390 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Technical AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 10452 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Acquisition of the American Flag (DFARS Case 2015-D005)PDF
80 FR 10389 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Deletion of Obsolete Text Relating to Acquisition of Commercial Items (DFARS Case 2015-D002)PDF
80 FR 10391 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Domestic Source Restrictions on Certain Naval Vessel Components (DFARS Case 2014-D022)PDF
80 FR 10513 - Trade and Investment Policies in India, 2014-2015PDF
80 FR 10357 - Approval of Other Solid Waste Incineration Units State Plan for Designated Facilities and Pollutants: IndianaPDF
80 FR 10441 - Approval of Other Solid Waste Incinerator Units State Plan for Designated Facilities and Pollutants: IndianaPDF
80 FR 10426 - Third-Party Provision of Primary Frequency Response ServicePDF
80 FR 10432 - Social Security Number Card ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 10352 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revision to Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds; Alternative Leak Detection and Repair Work PracticePDF
80 FR 10441 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revision to Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds; Alternative Leak Detection and Repair Work PracticePDF

Issue

80 38 Thursday, February 26, 2015 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service NOTICES Meetings: Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, 10455 2015-04022 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Air Force Air Force Department NOTICES Exclusive Patent License, 10462 2015-04028 Meetings: Academy Board of Visitors, 10462 2015-04029 Partially Exclusive Patent License, 10462-10463 2015-04027 Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation Requirements for Ruminants from Mexico: Cattle Fever Tick, 10323-10325 2015-04074 PROPOSED RULES Exportation of Live Animals, Hatching Eggs, and Animal Germplasm From the United States, 10398-10417 2015-04013 Army Army Department RULES Privacy Programs, 10335-10352 2015-03862 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection PROPOSED RULES Submission of Credit Card Agreements Under the Truth In Lending Act, 10417-10422 2015-03879 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10488-10491 2015-03989 2015-03985 Meetings: Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel; Correction, 10491 2015-03952 Future Directions for the Surveillance of Agricultural Injuries, 10491-10492 2015-03949 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Youth Education and Relationship Services Descriptive Study, 10492-10493 2015-03924 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Great Lakes Pilotage Rates: 2015 Annual Review and Adjustment, 10365-10389 2015-04036 NOTICES Meetings: Missouri River Waterways Analysis and Management System Study, 10497-10498 2015-03914 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10455-10456 2015-03933
Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Registration of Mortgage Loan Originators, 10566-10568 2015-04046 Defense Acquisition Defense Acquisition Regulations System RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations: Deletion of Obsolete Text Relating to Acquisition of Commercial Items; Supplement, 10389-10390 2015-03856 Domestic Source Restrictions on Certain Naval Vessel Components; Supplement, 10391-10392 2015-03855 Technical Amendments; Supplement, 10390 2015-03858 PROPOSED RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations: The American Flag; Supplement, 10452-10454 2015-03857 Defense Department Defense Department See

Air Force Department

See

Army Department

See

Defense Acquisition Regulations System

NOTICES Charter Renewals: Department of Defense Federal Advisory Committees, 10460-10462 2015-03942
Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Middle Grades Longitudinal Study Recruitment for Item Validation and Operational Field Tests, 10463 2015-04038 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals; Corrections, 10463-10464 2015-04037 Applications for New Awards: Alaska Native Education Program, 10464-10468 2015-04052 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Worker Adjustment Assistance; Amended Certifications: Aerospace Logistic Services, et al., Wichita, KS, 10519-10520 2015-04007 Worker Adjustment Assistance; Investigations, 10520-10521 2015-04008 Worker and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance; Determinations, 10521-10522 2015-04009 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge Reservation, 10468-10469 2015-04025
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Solid Waste Incineration Units; Indiana, 10357-10359 2015-03792 Texas; Revisions to Control of Air Pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds, etc., 10352-10357 2015-03588 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Solid Waste Incinerator Units; Indiana, 10441-10442 2015-03790 Texas; Revisions to Control of Air Pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds, etc., 10441 2015-03587 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Architectural Coatings, 10480-10481 2015-04017 NESHAP for Source Categories: Gasoline Distribution Bulk Terminals, Bulk Plants, Pipeline Facilities, and Gasoline Dispensing Facilities; Renewal, 10480 2015-03919 Final Air Permits: Anadarko Petroleum Corp., 10481-10482 2015-04016 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration RULES Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit, 10325-10326 2015-04023 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Special Conditions: Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Airplane Electronic-system Security Protection From Unauthorized External Access, 10328-10330 2015-03970 Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Isolation or Protection of Airplane Electronic-System Security From Unauthorized Internal Access, 10326-10328 2015-03969 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: GROB-WERKE Airplanes, 10423-10426 2015-03979 Special Conditions: Gulfstream Model GVII Series Airplanes; Limit Pilot Forces for Side-stick Controller, 10422-10423 2015-03968 NOTICES Meetings: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 10564 2015-03977 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, 10442-10452 2015-03988 NOTICES Meetings: Open Commission Meeting, 10482 2015-03987 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 10482 2015-04124 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency RULES Suspensions of Community Eligibility, 10359-10365 2015-03954 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Third-Party Provision of Primary Frequency Response Service, 10426-10432 2015-03741 NOTICES Applications: Bear Swamp Power Company, LLC, 10469-10470 2015-04001 Combined Filings, 10470-10473 2015-03908 2015-04019 Complaints: Champion Energy Marketing LLC v. PJM Interconnection, LLC and PJM Settlement, Inc., 10473 2015-04002 NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC v. California Independent System Operator Corp., 10473 2015-03909 Designations of Commission Staff as Non-Decisional: BP America Inc., et al., 10473-10474 2015-03995 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Aguirre Offshore GasPort, LLC, 10474 2015-03999 Exemption Transfers: Nashua Hydro Associates to the City of Nashua, NH, 10475 2015-03998 Filings: Twin Valley Hydroelectric, 10475 2015-03994 Western Area Power Administration, 10475 2015-04020 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Balko Wind, LLC, 10475-10476 2015-04004 California Clean Power Corp., 10476-10477 2015-04003 Red Horse Wind 2, LLC, 10476 2015-04005 License Applications: South Carolina Electric and Gas Co., 10477 2015-03997 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: Belle Fourche Pipeline Company; Bridger Pipeline, LLC, 10477-10478 2015-03910 Staff Attendances, 10478-10479 2015-03996 Winter 2013-2014 Operations and Market Performance in Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators: Centralized Capacity Markets in Regional Transmission, 10479-10480 2015-04018 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Final Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in California, 10564-10565 2015-03951 2015-03953 Federal Mine Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 10483 2015-04080 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10483-10486 2015-03973 Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 10486-10487 2015-03984 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 10487 2015-03983 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 10487-10488 2015-03878 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Medical Devices: Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices; Classification of the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System, 10330-10333 2015-03934 NOTICES Meetings: Pediatric Stakeholder, 10493-10494 2015-03974 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Proposed Production Activities: Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (Kitting of Mobile Phones and Tablet Computers), Coppell, TX; Foreign-Trade Zone 168—Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, 10456 2015-04072 Subzone Applications: Red Wing Shoe Co., Inc., Red Wing, MN; Foreign-Trade Zone 119—Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, 10456 2015-04077 Roger Electric Corp., Bayamon, PR; Foreign-Trade Zone 61, San Juan, PR, 10456-10457 2015-04070 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation, 10494 2015-03929 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Health Insurance Providers Fee, 10333-10335 2015-03944 PROPOSED RULES Health Insurance Providers Fee, 10435-10436 2015-03945 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Cased Pencils From the People's Republic of China, 10457-10458 2015-04081 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Silicomanganese from Australia, 10511-10512 2015-03971 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Vision-Based Driver Assistance System Cameras and Components Thereof, 10512-10513 2015-03980 Meetings: Trade and Investment Policies in India; Public Hearings, 10513 2015-03853 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form, 10513-10514 2015-03975 Identification Markings Placed on Firearms, 10514-10515 2015-03976 Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

See

Mine Safety and Health Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10515-10516 2015-04048 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Coke Oven Emissions, 10516 2015-04035 Survey of Working Women, 10516-10518 2015-04047 Unemployment Insurance Supplemental Budget Request Activities, 10518 2015-03991 Vertical Tandem Lifts for Marine Terminals, 10518-10519 2015-04034
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: John Day—Snake Resource Advisory Council, 10499 2015-03981 Legal Legal Services Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 10522 2015-04129 Mine Mine Safety and Health Administration PROPOSED RULES Requests for Information: Improving the Health and Safety of Miners and to Prevent Accidents in Underground Coal Mine, 10436-10441 2015-03982 Mine Safety and Health Federal Review Commission See

Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Human Influenza Surveillance of Health Care Centers in the U.S. and Taiwan, 10494-10495 2015-04069 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 10495 2015-03936 National Eye Institute, 10497 2015-03937 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 10496 2015-03938 National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 10497 2015-03939 National Institute of Mental Health, 10496 2015-03940 National Institute of Nursing Research, 10496 2015-03935 NIH Advisory Board for Clinical Research, 10497 2015-03941 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Snapper-Grouper Resources of the South Atlantic; Trip Limit Reduction, 10392 2015-04024 Fisheries off West Coast States: Highly Migratory Fisheries; California Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery; Vessel Monitoring System and Pre-trip Notification Requirements, 10392-10397 2015-03955 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Atlantic Herring Fishery; Scoping Process, 10458-10460 2015-03992 Whaling Provisions: Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas, 10460 2015-04083 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Inventory Completions: Kerr County Attorney's Office, Kerr County, TX, 10505-10506 2015-04058 Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, 10500-10505 2015-04045 2015-04062 U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC, 10506-10511 2015-04060 Overseas Overseas Private Investment Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10522-10523 2015-04026 2015-04030 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, 10523 2015-03946 Orders: NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 10524-10526 2015-03967 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 10528-10536, 10538-10549 2015-03962 2015-03963 ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 10551 2015-03964 International Securities Exchange, LLC, 10549-10551 2015-03958 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 10526-10528, 10553-10556 2015-03957 2015-03966 NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 10536-10538 2015-03960 NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 10551-10553, 10562-10563 2015-03959 2015-03965 NYSE Arca, Inc., 10556-10562 2015-03961 Social Social Security Administration PROPOSED RULES Social Security Number Card Applications, 10432-10435 2015-03726 State Department State Department NOTICES Determinations: Iran Sanctions, 10563-10564 2015-04033 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Discontinuance of Service Exemptions: Boston and Maine Corp., Essex County, MA, 10566 2015-04106 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Internal Revenue Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10566 2015-04021
Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Commercial Gaugers and Laboratories; Approvals: Inspectorate America Corp., 10498-10499 2015-03948 Reader Aids

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80 38 Thursday, February 26, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 93 [Docket No. APHIS-2012-0073] RIN 0579-AD91 Cattle Fever Tick; Importation Requirements for Ruminants From Mexico AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the regulations to recognize the State of Sonora as a region in Mexico that is free of fever ticks. We are also establishing an exemption from acaricide dipping treatment requirements, and the documentation requirements associated with such dipping, that were formerly applicable to cattle and other ruminants originating from Sonora as a condition of eligibility for entry to the United States, provided that certain conditions are met. This action will remove restrictions on the importation of cattle and other ruminants from Sonora that we believe are no longer necessary and reduce the costs associated with tick dipping for exporters and importers of ruminants.

DATES:

Effective March 30, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Betzaida Lopez, Senior Staff Veterinarian, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-3300.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 93 prohibit or restrict the importation of certain animals, birds, and poultry into the United States to prevent the introduction of communicable diseases of livestock and poultry. Subpart D of part 93 (§§ 93.400 through 93.436, referred to below as the regulations) governs the importation of ruminants; within subpart D, §§ 93.424 through 93.429 specifically address the importation of various ruminants from Mexico into the United States.

On July 17, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 41652-41656, Docket No. APHIS-2012-0073) a proposal1 to amend the regulations by recognizing the State of Sonora as a region in Mexico that is free of fever ticks. We also proposed to establish an exemption from acaricide dipping treatment requirements, and the documentation requirements associated with such dipping, that have applied to cattle and other ruminants originating from Sonora as a condition of eligibility for entry to the United States, provided that certain conditions are met.

1 To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0073.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending September 15, 2014. We received two comments by that date. They were from a cattle producers' association and an individual. One commenter supported the proposed rule. The other expressed a generalized opposition, but did not address the actual content of the proposed rule. Thus, there is no need to address that comment. Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

In accordance with 5 U.S. C. 604, we have performed a final regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding the economic effects of this rule on small entities. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

We are recognizing the Mexican State of Sonora as a region that is free of fever ticks. Under this rulemaking, importers of cattle from Sonora will have to submit an application either for inspection or dipping, but not both, as was previously required.

From 2009 to 2013, 1.21 million cattle were imported yearly from Mexico. About one-fourth came from Sonora. Cattle imported into the United States from Mexico are generally purchased by stocker operations that background the cattle on pasture before they are shipped to feedlots.

The average unit price of cattle imported from Mexico between 2009 and 2013 was about $440. The average cost of dipping with an acaricide is $3.50 to $10.00 per head. It takes approximately 5 seconds for 3 cattle to cross a dipping vat. For an average 500-head herd, dipping takes about 15 minutes. To inspect a 500-head herd takes from 4 to 12 hours. Depending on the size of the herd and time needed for inspection, some importers may choose to have the cattle dipped rather than inspected. The estimated cost of dipping is equivalent to about 1 to 2 percent of the value of the imported cattle. Any resulting cost savings realized by U.S. cattle importers due to inspection rather than dipping of cattle will depend on the relative price responsiveness of the sellers and buyers of the cattle. APHIS does not expect the rule to result in an increase of any consequence in the number of cattle imported from Mexico.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S. C. 3501 et se.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this final rule, which were filed under 0579-0425, have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When OMB notifies us of its decision, if approval is denied, we will publish a document in the Federal Register providing notice of what action we plan to take.

E-Government Act Compliance

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act compliance related to this rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 93

Animal diseases, Imports, Livestock, Poultry and poultry products, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 93 as follows:

PART 93—IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH, AND POULTRY, AND CERTAIN ANIMAL, BIRD, AND POULTRY PRODUCTS; REQUIREMENTS FOR MEANS OF CONVEYANCE AND SHIPPING CONTAINERS 1. The authority citation for part 93 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1622 and 8301-8317; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

2. In § 93.400, the definition of fever tick is revised to read as follows:
§ 93.400 Definitions.

Fever tick. Rhipicephalus annulatus, Rhipicephalus microplus, and any other species of tick determined by the Administrator to be a vector of bovine babesiosis and specified on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/ourfocus/importexport.

§ 93.423 [Amended]
3. In § 93.423, paragraph (c) is amended by removing the words “splenetic, southern, or tick fever” and adding the words “bovine babesiosis” in their place.
4. In § 93.427, paragraph (b) and the OMB citation at the end of the section are revised to read as follows:
§ 93.427 Cattle and other bovines from Mexico.

(b)(1) Cattle from regions of Mexico that APHIS has determined to be free from fever ticks. APHIS has evaluated certain regions of Mexico in accordance with § 92.2 of this chapter, and determined that they are free from fever ticks; a list of all such regions is found on the Internet http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/ourfocus/importexport. Copies of the list are also available by contacting APHIS at the following address: Regionalization Evaluation Services, National Import Export Services, Veterinary Services, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, 4700 River Road Unit 38, Riverdale, MD 20737. Regions may be removed from the list based on a determination by APHIS that fever ticks exist in the region, on the discovery of tick-infested cattle from the region at a port of entry into the United States, or on information provided by a representative of the government of that region that fever ticks exist in the region. Cattle from regions of Mexico that APHIS has determined to be free from fever ticks may be imported into the United States subject to the following conditions:

(i) The cattle are accompanied by a certificate issued in accordance with § 93.405 that states that the cattle originate from a region of Mexico that APHIS has determined to be free from fever ticks.

(ii) If the cattle will transit to the United States through an area of Mexico that APHIS has not determined to be free from fever ticks, they are moved in a sealed means of conveyance, and that seal remains intact throughout such transit.

(iii) The cattle are presented for entry into the United States at a land border port of entry listed in § 93.403(c).

(iv) The cattle are segregated at the U.S. port of entry from cattle from regions of Mexico that APHIS has not determined to be free from fever ticks.

(v) The importer, or his or her agent, executes and delivers to the inspector at the port of entry an application for inspection or supervised dipping. In this application, the importer, or his or her agent, waive all claims against the United States for any loss or damage to the cattle occasioned by or resulting from inspection or dipping or from the fact that the cattle are later found still to be tick infested, and for any loss or damage to any other cattle in the importer's possession or control that come in contact with the dipped cattle.

(vi) The cattle are either inspected by an APHIS inspector at the port of entry for evidence of tick infestation or are treated with a tickicidal dip that is listed in § 72.13 of this chapter under the supervision of an inspector at the port of entry.

(vii) If any cattle are determined to be infested with fever ticks, the lot of cattle is refused entry and may only be imported into the United States subject to the requirements in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(2) Cattle from regions of Mexico that APHIS has not determined to be free from fever ticks. Cattle from regions of Mexico that APHIS has not determined to be free from fever ticks may only be imported into the United States subject to the following conditions:

(i) The cattle have been inspected by a veterinarian in Mexico and, in the determination of the veterinarian, are free from fever ticks and all evidence of communicable diseases, and have not been exposed to communicable diseases, other than bovine babesiosis, during the 60 days prior to movement to a port of entry into the United States.

(ii) The cattle have been treated in Mexico with a tickicidal dip that is listed in § 72.13 of this chapter within 7 to 14 days before being offered for entry into the United States.

(iii) The cattle are accompanied by a certificate issued in accordance with § 93.405 that states that this inspection and dipping have occurred.

(iv) The cattle are presented for entry into the United States at the port of entry at Santa Teresa, NM, or a port of entry within Texas that is listed in § 93.403(c).

(v) The importer, or his or her agent, executes and delivers to the inspector at the port of entry an application for inspection and supervised dipping. In this application, the importer, or his or her agent, agrees to waive all claims against the United States for any loss or damage to the cattle occasioned by or resulting from this dipping or from the fact that the cattle are later found to still be infested with ticks, and for any loss or damage to any other cattle in the importer's possession or control that come in contact with the dipped cattle.

(vi) When offered for entry, the cattle receive an inspection by an inspector. If free from fever ticks, the cattle are treated once with a tickicidal dip that is listed in § 72.13 of this chapter 7 to 14 days after the dipping required in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section. If found to be infested with fever ticks, the cattle are refused entry and may not be inspected again at a port of entry until they are again dipped and 7 to 14 days have elapsed.

(vii) The cattle are not imported into an area of Texas that is quarantined in accordance with § 72.5 of this chapter for bovine babesiosis, or for tick infestation.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 0579-0040, 0579-0224, 0579-0393, and 0579-0425)
Done in Washington, DC, this 20th day of February 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-04074 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 620 RIN 3052-AD02 Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit Disclosures ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA, we or our) amends our regulations related to Farm Credit System (System) bank and association disclosures to shareholders and investors of senior officer compensation in the Summary Compensation Table (Table). Under the final rule, System banks and associations are not required to report in the Table the compensation of employees who are not senior officers and who would not otherwise be considered “highly compensated employees” but for the payments related to, or change(s) in value of, the employees' qualified pension plans, provided that the plans were available to all employees on the same basis at the time the employees joined the plans.

DATES:

Effective Date: The regulation will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register during which time either one or both Houses of Congress are in session. We will publish a notice of the effective date in the Federal Register.

Compliance Date: System banks and associations must comply with the final rule for compensation reported in the Table for the fiscal year ending 2015, and may implement the final rule retroactively for the fiscal years ended 2014, 2013, and 2012. However, retroactive application is not required, and we would expect footnote disclosure of the change in calculation for the fiscal years to which the final rule was applied.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael T. Wilson, Policy Analyst, Office of Regulatory Policy, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4124, TTY (703) 883-4056, Or

Jeff Pienta, Senior Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4020, TTY (703) 883-4056.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Objective

The objective of this rule is to improve the quality of disclosure information shareholders receive on senior officer and highly compensated employee compensation.

II. Background

Congress explained in section 514 of the Farm Credit Banks and Associations Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 (1992 Act) 1 that disclosures of financial information and compensation paid to senior officers, among other disclosures, provide System shareholders with information necessary to better manage their institution and make informed decisions regarding the operation of their institution. In addition, the FCA Board declared its commitment to support the cooperative business model and structure by encouraging member-borrowers to participate in the management, control, and ownership of their institutions.2 Providing member-borrowers with transparent and complete disclosures regarding the compensation of senior officers and certain other highly compensated employees is essential to fostering an environment wherein member-borrowers can do so effectively.

1 Public Law 102-552, 106 Stat. 4131 (1992).

2See FCA Policy Statement “Cooperative Operating Philosophy—Serving the Members of Farm Credit System Institutions” (FCA-PS-80), dated October 14, 2010.

With this as one of our objectives, we issued a final rule on October 3, 2012, that enhanced disclosure of senior officer compensation and other related topics. Section 620.6(c)(2)(i) requires System Banks and associations to disclose senior officer compensation for the last 3 fiscal years. For purposes of this reporting requirement only, § 620.6(c)(2)(i) extends the regulatory definition of “senior officers” to include any employee whose compensation level was among the five highest paid during the reporting period. The intent of this extension was to ensure that System banks and associations provide shareholders with necessary compensation information on highly compensated employees even though they did not fall within the regulatory definition of “senior officer.” The intent was not to provide compensation information on employees who would only reach the “highly compensated” threshold solely because of payments related to or change(s) in the value of a qualified pension plan that was available to all employees on the same basis at the time they joined the plan. We believe that application of the existing rule could create such an unintended effect and reduce the effectiveness of the disclosure.

Therefore, on November 17, 2014, we proposed amending existing § 620.6(c)(2)(i) to exclude reporting employees' compensation in the Table if the employees were not senior officers and would be considered highly compensated employees solely because of payments related to or change(s) in value of the employees' qualified pension plans provided that the plans were available to all employees on the same basis at the time the employee joined the plan.

III. Comments and Our Response

The comment period for the proposed rule closed on December 17, 2014 (79 FR 68376, Nov. 17, 2014). We received four comment letters on our proposed rule: One comment letter from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), responding on behalf of its members; one comment from a Farm Credit bank (FCB); one comment letter from a System association; and one comment letter from the Farm Credit Council, responding on behalf of its members. Two commenters supported the proposed rule, one supported it with suggested changes, and one opposed the rule. In the discussion below, we address the significant comments. After careful consideration of the comments, the proposed rule is finalized without any changes.

A. Transparency and Quality of Disclosure

The ICBA opposes the proposed rule and urges the FCA to withdraw the proposed rule or adopt the ICBA's recommendations. The ICBA asserts that the proposed rule reduces transparency of pension disclosures to System shareholders and seeks to allow System institutions to hide significant enhancements to pensions and other compensation arrangements by not disclosing them. We agree with the ICBA that employee compensation should be reported in this disclosure item if the employee's compensation reaches the highly compensated employee threshold due to large or significant bonuses and other such payments. As we explained in the proposed rule, however, there would be no reporting requirement for this disclosure item solely for employees who are not senior officers and who would not otherwise be considered “highly compensated employees” but for payments related to or change(s) in the value of the employee's qualified pension plan. Also, the qualified plan must have been available to all employees on the same basis at the time the employee joined the plan. Thus, the proposed rule did not seek to change the current reporting requirement regarding payments such as those concerning the ICBA. Rather, if any such payout to the employee or change(s) in value to their plan is due to a benefit plan that is not a qualified plan and the plan was not offered to all employees on the same basis when the employee joined the plan, then the payout or change(s) in value would be included in determining whether the employee's compensation reached the five highest paid threshold. Thus, we believe that the proposed rule increases the effectiveness and transparency of the disclosure and better achieves the original intent of the rule, which we did not change.

The ICBA also expressed concern that large one-time lump sum payments made to numerous employees at the same time from a qualified pension plan that was available to all employees on the same basis at the time they joined the plan could represent significant cash outlays for the institution during a reporting period. The ICBA believes that System institution owners should be made aware of these payouts. We agree with the ICBA and would expect that such payouts be included in the financial statements or notes thereto or discussed in the management's discussion and analysis section of the annual report if material to the institution's financial condition and results of operations. As discussed above, the intent of this specific disclosure item was not and is not to include such payments in the calculation of the top five highest paid employees.

In its comment letter, the ICBA also makes a number of recommendations, such as to disclose all employees' compensation if that compensation exceeds the average income of the citizens in the surrounding geographic area, or to disclose the compensation for the twenty-five (25) highest paid employees for larger System institutions. We believe these recommendations go beyond the scope of the proposed rule and cannot be addressed in this rulemaking.

B. Explanatory Notes and Method of Compliance

The FCB, the Farm Credit Council, and the System association supported our proposed rule in their comment letters. Furthermore, they expressed that our proposal improves the disclosure language and aligns it with the intended purpose. The FCB also offered two constructive suggestions. The first suggestion was to allow System institutions affected by our proposed rule to disclose in a note to the Table that the calculation formula changed and describe the reason for the change and its effects. Also, because data is reported in the Table for 3 years, the FCB's second suggestion was that each System institution be allowed to choose the method of compliance that works best for that institution's situation. We agree with the suggestion regarding explanatory notes, but do not believe a change to our proposal is necessary. Such disclosure is not prohibited so long as the disclosure is not misleading, incomplete or inaccurate. Whether a System institution opts to restate one or all of the prior years' disclosures or to report the data prospectively beginning for fiscal year ending 2015, we would expect that any change in the method of calculations versus prior years' disclosures be described in a footnote to the Table to the extent needed so that the reported data will not be misleading or incomplete. Therefore, we agree with the FCB's suggestion to the extent that the 3-year reporting period raises issues for affected institutions, but we do not believe that a change to the regulation language is necessary. We have addressed this issue in the compliance date information.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

Pursuant to section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the FCA hereby certifies that the final rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Each of the banks in the Farm Credit System, considered together with its affiliated associations, has assets and annual income in excess of the amounts that would qualify them as small entities. Therefore, Farm Credit System institutions are not “small entities” as defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 620

Accounting, Agriculture, Banks, banking, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, part 620 of chapter VI, title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 620—DISCLOSURE TO SHAREHOLDERS 1. The authority citation for part 620 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Secs. 4.3, 4.3A, 4.19, 5.9, 5.19 of the Farm Credit Act (12 U.S.C. 2154, 2154a, 2207, 2243, 2252, 2254); sec. 424 of Pub. L. 100-233, 101 Stat. 1568, 1656, sec. 514 of Pub. L. 102-552, 106 Stat. 4102.

2. Section 620.6(c)(2)(i) is revised to read as follows:
§ 620.6 Disclosures in the annual report to shareholders relating to directors and senior officers.

(c) * * *

(2) * * *

(i) If applicable, when any employee who is not a senior officer has annual compensation at a level that is among the five highest paid by the institution during the reporting period, include the highly compensated employee(s) in the aggregate number and amount of compensation reported in the Compensation Table. However, exclude any such employee from the Compensation Table if the employee would be considered highly compensated solely because of payments related to or change(s) in value of the employee's qualified pension plan provided that the plan was available to all similarly situated employees on the same basis at the time the employee joined the plan.

Dated: February 19, 2015. Mary Alice Donner, Acting Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.
[FR Doc. 2015-04023 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0710; Special Conditions No. 25-574-SC Special Conditions: Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Isolation or Protection of Airplane Electronic-System Security From Unauthorized Internal Access AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes. These airplanes, as modified by The Boeing Company, will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with airplane electronic-system security protection or isolation from unauthorized internal access. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

This action is effective on The Boeing Company on February 26, 2015. We must receive your comments by April 13, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2014-0710 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register, published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/.

Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Varun Khanna, FAA, Airplane and Flightcrew Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1298; facsimile (425) 227-1320.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions is impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected airplane. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public-comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On January 18, 2010, Boeing applied for an amendment to Type Certificate No. A1NM to include a new Model 767-2CX series airplane, a derivative of the 767-200, which later was renamed 767-2C. Later, Boeing requested, and the FAA approved, an extension to the date of application for FAA amended type certification to December 22, 2010.

The Model 767-2C is a freighter airplane equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines. This freighter has a maximum takeoff weight of 415,000 pounds and can be configured to carry up to 11 supernumeraries (see Exemption No. 10691).

Type-Certification Basis

The regulations listed in the type certificate are commonly referred to as the “original type-certification basis.” The regulations to be listed in A1NM are as follows:

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.101, Boeing must show that the Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane meets the applicable provisions of part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-130, and 14 CFR 25.1316 at Amendment 25-134, except for earlier amendments as agreed upon by the FAA. These regulations will be listed in Type Certificate No. A1NM after type-certification approval of the 767-2C.

14 CFR part 26 as amended by Amendments 26-1 through 26-6, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification per 14 CFR 26.5. For any future part 26 Amendments, the holder of this type certificate must demonstrate compliance with the applicable sections.

14 CFR part 34 as amended by Amendments 34-1 through 34-5A, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification.

14 CFR part 36 as amended by Amendments 36-1 through 36-29, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification.

The certification basis also includes certain special conditions, exemptions, or later amended sections of the applicable part that are not relevant to these special conditions.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model 767-2C series airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or unusual design feature, these special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model 767-2C series airplane must comply with the fuel-vent and exhaust-emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise-certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36. The FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, under § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Feature

The Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature:

The electronic-system network architecture for the Model 767-2C series airplane introduces potential security risks and vulnerabilities not addressed in current regulations and airplane-level or system-level safety-assessment methods.

This network architecture allows connection to previously isolated data networks connected to systems that perform functions required for the safe operation of the airplane. This data network and design integration may result in security vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional internal-connection corruption of data and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane.

Discussion

The Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane design introduces the potential for unauthorized persons to access, from internal connection, airplane-control domain and operator-information-services domain in the passenger-services domain. The Model 767-2C design further introduces the potential for security vulnerabilities related to the introduction of viruses, worms, user mistakes, and intentional sabotage of airplane networks, systems, and databases. As such, these special conditions address these vulnerabilities.

The digital systems architecture for the Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes is composed of several connected networks. This network architecture is used for a diverse set of functions, including:

1. Flight-safety related control and navigation systems,

2. operator business and administrative support, and

3. passenger entertainment.

The existing regulations and guidance material did not anticipate this type of system architecture or electronic access to airplane systems. Furthermore, regulations, and current system safety-assessment policy and techniques, do not address potential security vulnerabilities, which could be caused by unauthorized access to airplane data buses and servers. These special conditions are meant to ensure that security, integrity, and availability of airplane systems are not compromised by certain wired or wireless electronic connections between airplane data busses and networks.

Special conditions have been applied on past airplane programs to require consideration of related security vulnerabilities. These special conditions are similar to those previously applied, except that the scope has been adjusted to be consistent with those features unique to the Model 767-2C series airplane.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions apply to Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes. Should Boeing apply later for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model series of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability.

The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period in several prior instances, and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change from the substance contained herein. Therefore, because a delay would significantly affect the certification of the airplane, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon publication in the Federal Register.

The FAA is requesting comments to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR part 25

Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type-certification basis for Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes.

1. The applicant must ensure that the design provides isolation from, or airplane electronic-system security protection against, access by unauthorized sources internal to the airplane. The design must prevent inadvertent and malicious changes to, and all adverse impacts upon, airplane equipment, systems, networks, or other assets required for safe flight and operations.

2. The applicant must establish appropriate procedures to allow the operator to ensure that continued airworthiness of the airplane is maintained, including all post-type-certification modifications that may have an impact on the approved electronic-system security safeguards.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 19, 2015. John J. Piccola, Jr., Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-03969 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0711; Special Conditions No. 25-575-SC] Special Conditions: Boeing Model 767-2C Series Airplanes; Airplane Electronic-System Security Protection From Unauthorized External Access AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes. These airplanes, as modified by The Boeing Company, will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with airplane electronic-system security protection or isolation from unauthorized external access. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

This action is effective on The Boeing Company on February 26, 2015. We must receive your comments by April 13, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2014-0711 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register, published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/.

Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Varun Khanna, FAA, Airplane and Flightcrew Interface Branch, ANM-111, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057-3356; telephone (425) 227-1298; facsimile (425) 227-1320.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FAA has determined that notice of, and opportunity for prior public comment on, these special conditions is impracticable because these procedures would significantly delay issuance of the design approval and thus delivery of the affected airplane. In addition, the substance of these special conditions has been subject to the public-comment process in several prior instances with no substantive comments received. The FAA therefore finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

Comments Invited

We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

Background

On January 18, 2010, Boeing applied for an amendment to Type Certificate No. A1NM to include a new Model 767-2CX series airplane, a derivative of the 767-200, which later was renamed 767-2C. Later, Boeing requested, and the FAA approved, an extension to the date of application for FAA amended type certification to December 22, 2010.

The Model 767-2C is a freighter airplane equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4062 engines. This freighter has a maximum takeoff weight of 415,000 pounds and can be configured to carry up to 11 supernumeraries (see Exemption No. 10691).

Type-Certification Basis

The regulations listed in the type certificate are commonly referred to as the “original type-certification basis.” The regulations to be listed in A1NM are as follows:

Under the provisions of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 21.101, Boeing must show that the Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane meets the applicable provisions of part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-130, and 14 CFR 25.1316 at Amendment 25-134, except for earlier amendments as agreed upon by the FAA. These regulations will be listed in Type Certificate No. A1NM after type-certification approval of the 767-2C.

14 CFR part 26 as amended by Amendments 26-1 through 26-6, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification per 14 CFR 26.5. For any future part 26 Amendments, the holder of this type certificate must demonstrate compliance with the applicable sections.

14 CFR part 34 as amended by Amendments 34-1 through 34-5A, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification.

14 CFR part 36 as amended by Amendments 36-1 through 36-29, and any later amendments in existence at the time of certification.

The certification basis also includes certain special conditions, exemptions, or later amended sections of the applicable part that are not relevant to these special conditions.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model 767-2C series airplane because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, or should any other model already included on the same type certificate be modified to incorporate the same novel or unusual design feature, these special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the Model 767-2C series airplane must comply with the fuel-vent and exhaust-emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise-certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36. The FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, under § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.101.

Novel or Unusual Design Feature

The Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature:

The electronic-system network architecture for the Model 767-2C series airplane introduces potential security risks and vulnerabilities not addressed in current regulations and airplane-level or system-level safety-assessment methods. This network architecture allows connection to airplane electronic systems and networks, and access from airplane external sources (e.g., operator networks, wireless devices, Internet connectivity, service-provider satellite communications, electronic flight bags, etc.), to the previously isolated airplane electronic assets. Airplane electronic assets include electronic equipment and systems, instruments, networks, servers, software and electronic components, field-loadable software and hardware applications, and databases.

Discussion

The Boeing Model 767-2C series airplane design introduces the potential for unauthorized persons to access airplane-control domain and operator-information-services domain in the passenger-services domain. The 767-2C design further introduces the potential for security vulnerabilities related to the introduction of viruses, worms, user mistakes, and intentional sabotage of airplane networks, systems, and databases. As such, these special conditions address these vulnerabilities.

The digital systems architecture for the Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes is composed of several connected networks. This network architecture is used for a diverse set of functions providing data connectivity between systems, including:

1. Airplane control, communication, display, monitoring and navigation systems,

2. operator business and administrative support systems,

3. passenger entertainment systems, and

4. access by systems external to the airplane.

The Model 767-2C series airplane electronic-system network architecture allows connection to airplane electronic systems and networks, and access from airplane external sources (e.g., operator networks, wireless devices, Internet connectivity, service-provider satellite communications, electronic flight bags, etc.) to the previously isolated airplane electronic assets.

This design may result in network-security vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional corruption of data and systems required for the safety, operations, and maintenance of the airplane. The existing regulations and guidance material did not anticipate this type of system architecture, or external wired and wireless electronic access to airplane electronic systems. Furthermore, regulations, and current system safety-assessment policy and techniques, do not address potential security vulnerabilities, which could be caused by unauthorized access to airplane electronic systems and networks.

Special conditions have been applied on past airplane programs to require consideration of related security vulnerabilities. These special conditions are similar to those previously applied, except that the scope has been adjusted to be consistent with those features unique to the Model 767-2C series airplane.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions apply to Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes. Should Boeing apply later for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model series of airplane. It is not a rule of general applicability.

The substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period in several prior instances, and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. It is unlikely that prior public comment would result in a significant change from the substance contained herein. Therefore, because a delay would significantly affect the certification of the airplane, the FAA has determined that prior public notice and comment are unnecessary and impracticable, and good cause exists for adopting these special conditions upon publication in the Federal Register.

The FAA is requesting comments to allow interested persons to submit views that may not have been submitted in response to the prior opportunities for comment described above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 25

Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type-certification basis for Boeing Model 767-2C series airplanes.

1. The applicant must ensure airplane electronic-system security protection from access by unauthorized sources external to the airplane, including those possibly caused by maintenance activity.

2. The applicant must ensure that electronic-system security threats are identified and assessed, and that effective electronic-system security protection strategies are implemented to protect the airplane from all adverse impacts on safety, functionality, and continued airworthiness.

3. The applicant must establish appropriate procedures to allow the operator to ensure that continued airworthiness of the airplane is maintained, including all post type-certification modifications that may have an impact on the approved electronic-system security safeguards.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 19, 2015. John J. Piccola, Jr., Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-03970 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 884 [Docket No. FDA-2014-M-1957] Medical Devices; Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices; Classification of the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final order.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is classifying the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System into class II (special controls). The special controls that will apply to the device are identified in this order, and will be part of the codified language for the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System classification. The Agency is classifying the device into class II (special controls) in order to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.

DATES:

This order is effective February 26, 2015. The classification was applicable June 6, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Bailey, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. G120, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6530.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

In accordance with section 513(f)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)), devices that were not in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976 (the date of enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976), generally referred to as postamendments devices, are classified automatically by statute into class III without any FDA rulemaking process. These devices remain in class III and require premarket approval, unless and until the device is classified or reclassified into class I or II, or FDA issues an order finding the device to be substantially equivalent, in accordance with section 513(i), to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. The Agency determines whether new devices are substantially equivalent to predicate devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 (21 CFR part 807) of the regulations.

Section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act, as amended by section 607 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (Pub. L. 112-144), provides two procedures by which a person may request FDA to classify a device under the criteria set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. Under the first procedure, the person submits a premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act for a device that has not previously been classified and, within 30 days of receiving an order classifying the device into class III under section 513(f)(1), the person requests a classification under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. Under the second procedure, rather than first submitting a premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act and then a request for classification under the first procedure, the person determines that there is no legally marketed device upon which to base a determination of substantial equivalence and requests a classification under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. If the person submits a request to classify the device under this second procedure, FDA may decline to undertake the classification request if FDA identifies a legally marketed device that could provide a reasonable basis for review of substantial equivalence with the device, or if FDA determines that the device submitted is not of “low-moderate risk”, or that general controls would be inadequate to control the risks and special controls to mitigate the risks cannot be developed.

In response to a request to classify a device under either procedure provided by section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act, FDA will classify the device by written order within 120 days. This classification will be the initial classification of the device.

On August 3, 2012, FDA issued an order classifying the EEVA System into class III, because it was not substantially equivalent to a device that was introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce for commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or a device which was subsequently reclassified into class I or class II. On August 23, 2012, Auxogyn, Inc., submitted a de novo request for classification of the EEVA System under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. The manufacturer recommended that the device be classified into class II (Ref. 1).

In accordance with section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act, FDA reviewed the request in order to classify the device under the criteria for classification set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. FDA classifies devices into class II if general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but there is sufficient information to establish special controls to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use. After review of the information submitted in the request, FDA determined that the device can be classified into class II with the establishment of special controls. FDA believes these special controls, in addition to general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Therefore, on June 6, 2014, FDA issued an order to the requestor classifying the device into class II. FDA is codifying the classification of the device by adding § 884.6195 (21 CFR 884.6195).

Following the effective date of this final classification administrative order, any firm submitting a premarket notification (510(k)) for an Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System will need to comply with the special controls named in the final administrative order.

The device is assigned the generic name Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System, and it is identified as a prescription device that is designed to obtain and analyze light microscopy images of developing embryos. This device provides information to aid in the selection of embryo(s) for transfer when there are multiple embryos deemed suitable for transfer or freezing.

FDA has identified the following risks to health associated with this type of device and the measures required to mitigate these risks in Table 1:

Table 1—Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System Risks and Mitigation Measures Identified risk Mitigation measures Damage or Destruction of the Embryo Non-Clinical Performance Testing. Software Verification, Validation & Hazard Analysis. Clinical Testing. Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing. Electrical Safety Testing. Labeling. Training. Infection (Contamination of Device, Labware, and Incubator) Cleaning and Disinfection Validation.
  • Labeling.
  • Training.
  • Incorrect Embryo Development Prediction Non-Clinical Performance Testing. Software Verification, Validation & Hazard Analysis. Clinical Testing. Labeling. Training. Electromagnetic Interference/Electrical Safety Issues Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing.
  • Electrical Safety Testing.
  • Labeling.
  • Use Error Labeling.
  • Training.
  • FDA believes that the following special controls, in addition to the general controls, address these risks to health and provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness:

    • Clinical performance testing must demonstrate a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device to predict embryo development. Classification performance (sensitivity and specificity) and predictive accuracy (Positive Predictive Value and Negative Predictive Value) must be assessed at the subject and embryo levels. • Software validation, verification, and hazard analysis must be provided. • Non-clinical performance testing data must demonstrate the performance characteristics of the device. Testing must include the following: ○ Total light exposure and output testing; ○ a safety analysis must be performed based on maximum (worst-case) light exposure to embryos, which also includes the safety of the light wavelength(s) emitted by the device; ○ simulated-use testing; ○ Mouse Embryo Assay testing to assess whether device operation impacts growth and development of mouse embryos to the blastocyst stage; ○ cleaning and disinfection validation of reusable components; ○ package integrity and transit testing; ○ hardware fail-safe validation; ○ electrical equipment safety and electromagnetic compatibility testing; and ○ prediction algorithm reproducibility. • Labeling must include the following: ○ A detailed summary of clinical performance testing, including any adverse events; ○ specific instructions, warnings, precautions, and training needed for safe use of the device; ○ appropriate electromagnetic compatibility information; ○ validated methods and instructions for cleaning and disinfection of reusable components; and ○ information identifying compatible cultureware and explain how they are used with the device.

    An Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System is a prescription device restricted to patient use only upon the authorization of a practitioner licensed by law to administer or use the device. (See 21 CFR 801.109 (Prescription devices).)

    Section 510(m) of the FD&C Act provides that FDA may exempt a class II device from the premarket notification requirements under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act, if FDA determines that premarket notification is not necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device. For this type of device, FDA has determined that premarket notification is necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device. Therefore, this device type is not exempt from premarket notification requirements. Persons who intend to market this type of device must submit to FDA a premarket notification, prior to marketing the device, which contains information about the Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System they intend to market.

    II. Environmental Impact

    The Agency has determined under 21 CFR 25.34(b) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    III. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This final administrative order establishes special controls that refer to previously approved collections of information found in other FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in part 807, subpart E regarding premarket notification submissions have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120 and the collections of information in 21 CFR part 801, regarding labeling, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485.

    IV. Reference

    The following reference has been placed on display in the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852, and may be seen by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    1. K120427: De Novo Request from Auxogyn, Inc., dated August 23, 2012. List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 884

    Medical devices, Obstetrical and Gynecological devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 884 is amended as follows:

    PART 884—OBSTETRICAL AND GYNECOLOGICAL DEVICES 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 884 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 371.

    2. Section 884.6195 is added to subpart G to read as follows:
    § 884.6195 Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System.

    (a) Identification. An Assisted Reproduction Embryo Image Assessment System is a prescription device that is designed to obtain and analyze light microscopy images of developing embryos. This device provides information to aid in the selection of embryo(s) for transfer when there are multiple embryos deemed suitable for transfer or freezing.

    (b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special control(s) for this device are:

    (1) Clinical performance testing must demonstrate a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device to predict embryo development. Classification performance (sensitivity and specificity) and predictive accuracy (Positive Predictive Value and Negative Predictive Value) must be assessed at the subject and embryo levels.

    (2) Software validation, verification, and hazard analysis must be provided.

    (3) Non-clinical performance testing data must demonstrate the performance characteristics of the device. Testing must include the following:

    (i) Total light exposure and output testing;

    (ii) A safety analysis must be performed based on maximum (worst-case) light exposure to embryos, which also includes the safety of the light wavelength(s) emitted by the device;

    (iii) Simulated-use testing;

    (iv) Mouse Embryo Assay testing to assess whether device operation impacts growth and development of mouse embryos to the blastocyst stage;

    (v) Cleaning and disinfection validation of reusable components;

    (vi) Package integrity and transit testing;

    (vii) Hardware fail-safe validation;

    (viii) Electrical equipment safety and electromagnetic compatibility testing; and

    (ix) Prediction algorithm reproducibility.

    (4) Labeling must include the following:

    (i) A detailed summary of clinical performance testing, including any adverse events;

    (ii) Specific instructions, warnings, precautions, and training needed for safe use of the device

    (iii) Appropriate electromagnetic compatibility information;

    (iv) Validated methods and instructions for cleaning and disinfection of reusable components; and

    (v) Information identifying compatible cultureware and explain how they are used with the device.

    Dated: February 20, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03934 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 57 [TD 9711] RIN 1545-BM52 Health Insurance Providers Fee AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final and temporary regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains temporary regulations that provide rules for the definition of a covered entity for purposes of the fee imposed by section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended. The temporary regulations are necessary to clarify certain terms in section 9010. The temporary regulations affect persons engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks. The text of the temporary regulations also serves as the text of the proposed regulations (REG-143416-14) published in the Proposed Rules section in this issue of the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: These regulations are effective on February 26, 2015.

    Applicability Date: For dates of applicability, see §§ 57.10 and 57.10T.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rachel S. Smith, (202) 317-6855 (not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Public Law 111-148 (124 Stat. 119 (2010)), as amended by section 10905 of PPACA, and as further amended by section 1406 of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-152 (124 Stat. 1029 (2010)) (collectively, the Affordable Care Act or ACA) imposes an annual fee on covered entities that provide health insurance for United States health risks. All references in this preamble to section 9010 are references to the ACA. Section 9010 did not amend the Internal Revenue Code (Code) but contains cross-references to specified Code sections. Unless otherwise indicated, all other references to subtitles, chapters, subchapters, and sections in this preamble are references to subtitles, chapters, subchapters, and sections in the Code and related regulations. All references to “fee” in this preamble are references to the fee imposed by section 9010.

    On November 27, 2013, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued the Health Insurance Providers Fee regulations as final regulations (TD 9643). On August 12, 2014, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued Notice 2014-47, 2014-35 IRB 522, to provide further guidance for the 2014 fee year on the definition of a covered entity. The temporary regulations provide further guidance on the definition of a covered entity for the 2015 fee year and subsequent fee years.

    General Overview

    Section 9010(a) imposes an annual fee on each covered entity engaged in the business of providing health insurance. The fee is due by the annual date specified by the Secretary, but in no event later than September 30th of each calendar year in which a fee must be paid (fee year).

    Section 9010(b) requires the Secretary to determine the annual fee for each covered entity based on the ratio of the covered entity's net premiums written for health insurance for any United States health risk that are taken into account for the calendar year immediately before the fee year (data year) to the aggregate net premiums written for health insurance of United States health risks of all covered entities that are taken into account during the data year. In calculating the fee, the Secretary must determine each covered entity's net premiums written for United States health risks based on reports submitted to the Secretary by the covered entity and through the use of any other source of information available to the Secretary.

    Section 9010(c)(1) defines a covered entity as any entity that provides health insurance for any United States health risk during each fee year. Section 9010(c)(2) excludes the following entities from being covered entities: (A) Any employer to the extent that the employer self-insures its employees' health risks; (B) any governmental entity; (C) any entity (i) that is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under a State law, (ii) no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in section 501(h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, and (iii) more than 80 percent of the gross revenues of which is received from government programs that target low income, elderly, or disabled populations under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act; and (D) any entity that is described in section 501(c)(9) (a voluntary employees' beneficiary association (VEBA)) and is established by an entity (other than by an employer or employers) for purposes of providing health care benefits.

    Section 9010(c)(3)(A) provides a controlled group rule under which all persons treated as a single employer under section 52(a) or (b) or section 414(m) or (o) are treated as a single covered entity. Section 9010(c)(4) provides that, if more than one person is liable to pay the fee on a single covered entity by reason of the application of the controlled group rule, then all such persons are jointly and severally liable for payment of the fee.

    Section 57.2(c)(1) of the Health Insurance Providers Fee regulations defines the term controlled group to mean a group of two or more persons, including at least one person that is a covered entity, that is treated as a single employer under section 52(a), 52(b), 414(m), or 414(o). Section 57.2(c)(3)(ii) further provides that a person is treated as being a member of the controlled group if it is a member of the group at the end of the day on December 31st of the data year.

    Explanation of Provisions

    Following the publication of the final regulations in TD 9643, the Treasury Department and the IRS received questions about how to apply the exclusions under section 9010(c)(2) to the general definition of a covered entity. The Treasury Department and the IRS also received questions about whether covered entities must report information on net premiums written for certain members of a controlled group. Notice 2014-47 was subsequently issued to resolve those questions for the 2014 fee year. The temporary regulations adopt the general approach of Notice 2014-47 to resolve those questions for the 2015 fee year and each subsequent fee year.

    Application of Exclusions Under Section 9010(c)(2)

    Notice 2014-47 provided that, for the 2014 fee year, the Treasury Department and the IRS would not treat any entity as a covered entity if it would be excluded from the definition of a covered entity because it qualified for one of the exclusions under section 9010(c)(2) either for the entire 2013 data year or for the entire 2014 fee year, which began on January 1, 2014. As described later in this preamble, the controlled group rules under section 9010(c)(3)(A) and § 57.2(c)(1) do not apply for the limited purpose of determining whether an entity qualifies for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2). Notice 2014-47 further provided that the entity should not report its net premiums written for the 2013 data year because the Treasury Department and the IRS would not treat such an entity as a covered entity.

    The temporary regulations amend the rules in the existing Health Insurance Providers Fee regulations to incorporate the general approach in Notice 2014-47. Specifically, the temporary regulations provide that, for the 2015 fee year and each subsequent fee year, an entity qualifies for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2) if it qualifies for an exclusion either for the entire data year ending on the prior December 31st or for the entire fee year beginning on January 1st. An entity that qualifies for an exclusion under this rule is not a covered entity for that fee year and must not report its net premiums written.

    The temporary regulations also impose two additional requirements. First, the temporary regulations generally impose a consistency requirement that binds an entity to its original selection of either the data year or the fee year (its test year) to determine whether it qualifies for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2) for the 2015 fee year and each subsequent fee year. For example, if an entity selects the 2014 data year as its test year for the 2015 fee year, it must use the data year as its test year for the 2016 fee year and each subsequent fee year.

    Second, the temporary regulations impose a special rule for an entity that uses the fee year as its test year. A special rule is important in this context because the fee is due by September 30th of the fee year, and it may not be clear until the end of the fee year whether an entity will in fact qualify for an exclusion. If an entity using the fee year as its test year does not report its net premiums written because it expects to qualify for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2), but the entity ultimately does not qualify for an exclusion, the temporary regulations require the entity to use the data year as its test year in all subsequent fee years. In this circumstance, the entity will necessarily be a covered entity that is required to report its net premiums written for the immediately following fee year. In addition, an entity that does not timely file a report in a fee year, and that is a covered entity for that fee year because it does not qualify for an exclusion, may be subject to penalties, including the failure to report penalty under section 9010(g)(2).

    For example, assume that for the 2015 fee year an entity used the fee year as its test year and reasonably expected to qualify for the section 9010(c)(2)(C) exclusion for that fee year. As a result, the entity did not report its net premiums written and it was not treated as a covered entity for purposes of the 2015 fee calculation. Further assume that as of December 31, 2015, the entity did not satisfy the 80 percent minimum gross revenues requirement of section 9010(c)(2)(C)(iii) and therefore did not qualify for this or any other exclusion under section 9010(c)(2) for the 2015 fee year. Under the temporary regulations, this entity must use the data year for each subsequent fee year to determine whether it qualifies for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2). Thus, for the 2016 fee year, because this entity must determine its eligibility for an exclusion based on the 2015 data year, it would not be eligible for an exclusion under section 9010(c)(2) for the 2016 fee year and must submit a report in that year. This entity must also use the data year as its test year for the 2017 fee year and each subsequent fee year.

    The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments regarding whether there are any circumstances in which an entity should be permitted by the IRS to change its test year, and if so, what conditions and limitations should apply to any such change.

    Reporting for Controlled Group Members

    Notice 2014-47 provided that a controlled group must report net premiums written only for each person who is a controlled group member at the end of the day on December 31st of the data year and who would qualify as a covered entity in the fee year if it were a single-person covered entity (that is, not a member of a controlled group). The temporary regulations incorporate this rule for the 2015 fee year and each subsequent fee year. Therefore, a controlled group must not report net premiums written for any controlled group member who would fail to be a covered entity in the fee year if it were not a member of a controlled group. Although that person's net premiums written are not taken into account, it remains a member of the controlled group and is jointly and severally liable for the fee amount allocated to the controlled group.

    Special Analyses

    It has been determined that this Treasury decision is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It has also been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because these regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, these temporary regulations have been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small businesses.

    Drafting Information

    The principal author of these regulations is Rachel S. Smith, IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries). However, other personnel from the Treasury Department and the IRS participated in their development.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 57

    Health Insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Adoption of Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 57 is amended as follows:

    PART 57—HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS FEE Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 57 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805; sec. 9010, Public Law 111-148 (124 Stat. 119 (2010)).

    Par. 2. Section 57.2 is amended by: 1. Redesignating paragraph (b)(3) as paragraph (b)(4). 2. Adding paragraph (b)(3). 3. Revising paragraph (c)(3)(ii).

    The addition and revision read as follows:

    § 57.2 Explanation of terms.

    (b) * * *

    (3) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 57.2T(b)(3).

    (c) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (ii) [Reserved]. For further guidance see § 57.2T(c)(3)(ii).

    Par. 3. Section 57.2T is added to read as follows:
    § 57.2T Explanation of terms (temporary).

    (a) through (b)(2) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 57.2(a) through (b)(2).

    (3) Application of exclusions—(i) Test year. An entity qualifies for an exclusion described in § 57.2(b)(2)(i) through (iv) if it so qualifies in its test year. The term test year means either the entire data year or the entire fee year.

    (ii) Consistency rule. For purposes of paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, an entity must use the same test year as it used in its first fee year beginning after December 31, 2014, and in each subsequent fee year. Thus, for example, if an entity used the 2014 data year as its test year for the 2015 fee year, that entity must use the data year as its test year for each subsequent fee year.

    (iii) Special rule for fee year as test year. For purposes of paragraph (b)(3) of this section, any entity that uses the fee year as its test year but ultimately does not qualify for an exclusion described in § 57.2(b)(2)(i) through (iv) for that entire fee year must use the data year as its test year for each subsequent fee year.

    (b)(4) through (c)(3)(i) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 57.2(b)(4) through (c)(3)(i).

    (ii) A person is treated as being a member of the controlled group if it is a member of the group at the end of the day on December 31st of the data year. However, a person's net premiums written are included in net premiums written for the controlled group only if the person would qualify as a covered entity in the fee year if the person were not a member of the controlled group.

    (d) through (n) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 52.7(d) through (n).

    Par. 4. Section 57.10 is revised to read as follows:
    § 57.10 Effective/applicability date.

    (a) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (b), §§ 57.1 through 57.9 apply to any fee that is due on or after September 30, 2014.

    (b) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 57.10T(b).

    Par. 5. Section 57.10T is added to read as follows:
    § 57.10T Effective/applicability date (temporary).

    (a) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 57.10(a).

    (b) Paragraphs (b)(3) and (c)(3)(ii) of § 57.2T. Paragraphs (b)(3) and (c)(3)(ii) of § 57.2T apply on February 26, 2015.

    (c) Expiration date. Paragraphs (b)(3) and (c)(3)(ii) of § 57.2T expire on February 23, 2018.

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. Approved: February 19, 2015. Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy).
    [FR Doc. 2015-03944 Filed 2-23-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army 32 CFR Part 505 [USA-2014-0006] RIN 0702-AA65 Army Privacy Program AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Army is amending the Army Privacy Program Regulation. Specifically, Army is reinstating exemptions that were mistakenly deleted when the Army's Privacy Program Regulation was last revised. These rules provide policies and procedures for the Army's implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.

    This direct final rule makes changes to the Department of the Army's Privacy Program rules. These changes will allow the Department to exempt records from certain portions of the Privacy Act. This will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DoD's program by preserving the exempt status of the records when the purposes underlying the exemption are valid and necessary to protect the contents of the records.

    This rule is being published as a direct final rule as the Department of Defense does not expect to receive any adverse comments, and so a proposed rule is unnecessary.

    The revisions to these rules are part of DoD's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed in August 2011. DoD's full plan can be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/other/2011-regulatory-action-plans/departmentofdefenseregulatoryreformplanaugust2011a.pdf.

    DATES:

    The rule will be effective on May 7, 2015 unless comments are received that would result in a contrary determination. Comments will be accepted on or before April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and/or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    • Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive, East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number or RIN for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Tracy Rogers, Chief, FOIA/PA, telephone: 703-428-6513.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Direct Final Rule and Significant Adverse Comments

    DoD has determined this rulemaking meets the criteria for a direct final rule because it involves changes dealing with DoD's management of its Privacy Programs. DoD expects no opposition to the changes and no significant adverse comments. However, if DoD receives a significant adverse comment, the Department will withdraw this direct final rule by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A significant adverse comment is one that explains: (1) Why the direct final rule is inappropriate, including challenges to the rule's underlying premise or approach; or (2) why the direct final rule will be ineffective or unacceptable without a change. In determining whether a comment necessitates withdrawal of this direct final rule, DoD will consider whether it warrants a substantive response in a notice and comment process.

    Executive Summary I. Purpose of This Regulatory Action

    a. These rules provide policies and procedures for Army's implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.

    b. Authority: Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, Stat. 1896 (5 U.S.C. 552a).

    II. Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action

    The Army is reinstating and adding exemption rules in the exemptions section.

    III. Costs and Benefits of This Regulatory Action

    This regulatory action imposes no monetary costs to the Agency or public. The benefit to the public is the accurate reflection of the Agency's Privacy Program to ensure that policies and procedures are known to the public.

    Regulatory Procedures Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”

    It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense are not significant rules. This rule does not (1) have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy; a sector of the economy; productivity; competition; jobs; the environment; public health or safety; or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency; (3) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in these Executive Orders.

    Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. Chapter 6)

    It has been determined that this Privacy Act rule for the Department of Defense does not have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it is concerned only with the administration of Privacy Act within the Department of Defense.

    Public Law 95-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    It has been determined that this Privacy Act rule for the Department of Defense imposes no information collection requirements on the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    Section 202, Public Law 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

    It has been determined that this Privacy Act rulemaking for the Department of Defense does not involve 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 and that such rulemaking will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

    It has been determined that the Privacy Act rule for the Department of Defense does not have federalism implications. The rule does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 505

    Privacy.

    Tracy Rogers, Chief, Privacy and FOIA Office.

    Accordingly 32 CFR part 505 is amended as follows:

    PART 505—ARMY PRIVACY ACT PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 505 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Pub. L. 93-579, Stat. 1896 (5 U.S.C. 552a).

    2. Appendix D to part 505 is revised to read as follows: APPENDIX D TO PART 505—EXEMPTIONS, EXCEPTIONS, AND DOD BLANKET ROUTINE USES

    (a) Special exemption. 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(5)—Denies individual access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.

    (b) General and specific exemptions. The Secretary of the Army may exempt Army systems of records from certain requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974. The two kinds of exemptions that require Secretary of the Army enactment are general and specific exemptions. The general exemption authorizes the exemption of a system of records from most requirements of the Act; the specific exemptions authorize the exemption of a system of record from only a few.

    (c) General exemptions. Only Army activities actually engaged in the enforcement of criminal laws as their principal function may claim the general exemption. See 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2). To qualify for this exemption, a system must consist of:

    (1) Information compiled to identify individual criminal offenders and alleged offenders, which consists only of identifying data and arrest records; type and disposition of charges; sentencing, confinement, and release records; and parole and probation status;

    (2) Information compiled for the purpose of criminal investigation including reports of informants and investigators, and associated with an identifiable individual; or

    (3) Reports identifiable to an individual, compiled at any stage of the process of enforcement of the criminal laws, from arrest or indictment through release from supervision.

    (d) Specific exemptions. The Secretary of the Army has exempted all properly classified information and systems of records that have the following kinds of information listed in this section, from certain parts of the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act exemption reference appears in parentheses after each category.

    (1) Classified information in every Army system of records. Before denying any individual access to classified information, the Access and Amendment Refusal Authority must make sure that it was properly classified under the standards of Executive Orders 11652, 12065, or 12958 and that it must remain so in the interest of national defense of foreign policy (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1)).

    (2) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes (other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if this information has been used to deny someone a right, privilege or benefit to which the individual is entitled by Federal law, or for which an individual would otherwise be eligible as a result of the maintenance of the information, it must be released, unless doing so would reveal the identity of a confidential source. Note: When claimed, this exemption allows limited protection of investigative reports maintained in a system of records used in personnel or administrative actions.

    (3) Records maintained in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals protected pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C., section 3056 (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(3)).

    (4) Records maintained solely for statistical research or program evaluation purposes and which are not used to make decisions on the rights, benefits, or entitlements of individuals, except for census records which may be disclosed under Title 13 U.S.C., section 8 (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(4)).

    (5) Investigatory material compiled solely to determine suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal service, Federal contracts, or access to classified information. This information may be withheld only to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5)).

    (6) Testing or examination material used solely to determine if a person is qualified for appointment or promotion in the Federal service. This information may be withheld only if disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the examination process (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6)).

    (7) Evaluation material used solely to determine promotion potential in the Armed Forces. Information may be withheld, but only to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source (5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7)).

    (e) Procedures. When a system manager seeks an exemption for a system of records, the following information will be furnished to the Chief Information Officer, 107 Army Pentagon, Room 3E608, Washington, DC 20310-0107; applicable system notice, exemptions sought, and justification. After appropriate staffing and approval by the Secretary of the Army, a proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, followed by a final rule 60 days later. No exemption may be invoked until these steps have been completed.

    (f) The Army system of records notices for a particular type of record will state whether the Secretary of the Army has authorized a particular general and specific exemption to a certain type of record. The Army system of records notices are published on the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division's Web site: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/DODComponentArticleList/tabid/6799/Category/278/department-of-the-army.aspx

    (g) Exempt Army records. The following records may be exempt from certain parts of the Privacy Act:

    (1) System identifier: A0020-1 SAIG.

    (i) System name: Inspector General Records.

    (ii) Exemptions: (A) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and(k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d) because access to such records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violations of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information is retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (2) System identifier: A0 025-400-2 0AA.

    (i) System name: Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS)

    (ii) Exemption: During the course of records management, declassification and claims research, exempt materials from other systems of records may in turn become part of the case record in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those “other” systems of records are entered into this system, the Department of the Army hereby claims the same exemptions for the records from those “other” systems.

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a (j)(2) and (k)(1) through (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: Records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised, to protect records used solely as statistical records, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials, and to safeguard evaluation materials used for military promotions when furnished by a confidential source. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records may be exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    (3) System identifier: A0025-55 OAA.

    (i) System name: Freedom of Information Act Program Files.

    (ii) Exemption: During the processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, exempt materials from other systems of records may in turn become part of the case record in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those “other” systems of records are entered into this system, the Department of the Army claims the same exemptions for the records from those “other” systems.

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(1) through (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: Records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised, to protect records used solely as statistical records, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials, and to safeguard evaluation materials used for military promotions when furnished by a confidential source. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records may be exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    (4) System identifier: A0027-1 DAJA.

    (i) System name: General Legal Files.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process.

    (E) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (F) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1) through(k)(7) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(5), (k)(6), and (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d) because access to such records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violations of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information is retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (5) System identifier: A0027-10a DAJA.

    (i) System name: Military Justice Files.

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reason: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment in reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (6) System identifier: A0027-10b DAJA.

    (i) System name: Courts-Martial Records and Reviews.

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment in reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (7) System identifier: A0040-5b DASG.

    (i) System name: Army Public Health Data Repository (APHDR).

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Records maintained solely for statistical research or program evaluation purposes and which are not used to make decisions on the rights, benefits, or entitlement of an individual except for census records which may be disclosed under 13 U.S.C. 8, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(4).

    (C) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(4) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(4)

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violations of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information is retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (8) System identifier: A0190-5 OPMG.

    (i) System name: Vehicle Registration System.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its primary function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (9) System identifier: A0190-9 OPMG.

    (i) System name: Absentee Case Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (10) System identifier: A0190-14 OPMG.

    (i) System name: Registration and Permit Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), is exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violations of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information is retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (11) System identifier: A0190-45 OPMG.

    (i) System name: Military Police Reporting Program Records (MPRP).

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of the system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (12) System identifier: A0190-45a OPMG.

    (i) System name: Local Criminal Intelligence Files.

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (13) System identifier: A0190-45b OPMG.

    (i) System Name: Serious Incident Reporting Files.

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (14) System identifier: A0190-47 DAPM-ACC.

    (i) System Name: Army Corrections System and Parole Board Records.

    (ii) Exemptions: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal or other law enforcement investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would alert the subject as to the nature or existence of the investigation and thereby present a serious impediment to effective law enforcement.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (15) System identifier: A0195-2a USACIDC.

    (i) System name: Source Register.

    (ii) Exemption: (A): Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection

    (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (16) System identifier: A0195-2b USACIDC.

    (i) System name: Criminal Investigation and Crime Laboratory Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsections (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this information be retained since it can aid in establishing patters of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal or other law enforcement investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would alert the subject as to the nature or existence of the investigation and thereby present a serious impediment to effective law enforcement.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsections (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because the requirement that records be maintained with attention to accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness would unfairly hamper the investigative process. It is the nature of law enforcement for investigations to uncover the commission of illegal acts at diverse stages. It is frequently impossible to determine initially what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and least of all complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the notice requirements of this provision could present a serious impediment to criminal law enforcement by revealing investigative techniques, procedures, and the existence of confidential investigations.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (17) System identifier: A0195-2c USACIDC DoD.

    (i) System name: DoD Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency, which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this information be retained since it can aid in establishing patters of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal or other law enforcement investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would alert the subject as to the nature or existence of the investigation and thereby present a serious impediment to effective law enforcement.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because the requirement that records be maintained with attention to accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness would unfairly hamper the investigative process. It is the nature of law enforcement for investigations to uncover the commission of illegal acts at diverse stages. It is frequently impossible to determine initially what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and least of all complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the notice requirements of this provision could present a serious impediment to criminal law enforcement by revealing investigative techniques, procedures, and the existence of confidential investigations.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (18) System identifier: A0195-2d USACIDC DoD.

    (i) System name: Defense Criminal Investigation DNA Database and Sample Repository; CODIS Records.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency that performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (19) System identifier: A0195-6 USACIDC.

    (i) System name: Criminal Investigation Accreditation and Polygraph Examiner Evaluation Files.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), (k)(5), or (k)(7) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), (k)(5), and (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsections (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (20) System identifier: A02107 DAMO.

    (i) System name: Expelled or Barred Person Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency, which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(8), (f) and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (J) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (K) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (21) System identifier: A0340-21 OAA.

    (i) System name: Privacy Case Files.

    (ii) Exemption: During the processing of a Privacy Act request (which may include access requests, amendment requests, and requests for review for initial denials of such requests), exempt materials from other systems of records may in turn become part of the case record in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those `other' systems of records are entered into this system, the Department of the Army hereby claims the same exemptions.

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), and (k)(1) through (k)(7).

    (iv) Records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised, to protect records used solely as statistical records, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, and to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal evaluation materials. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records may be exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    (22) System identifier: A0351-12 DAPE.

    (i) System name: Applicants/Students, U.S. Military Academy Prep School.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) It is imperative that the confidential nature of evaluation material on individuals, furnished to the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School under an express promise of confidentiality, be maintained to ensure the candid presentation of information necessary in determinations involving admission to or retention at the United States Military Academy and suitability for commissioned military service.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) and (k)(7) subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) and (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsections (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (23) System identifier: A0351-17a USMA.

    (i) System name: U.S. Military Academy Candidate Files.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process.

    (C) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), (k)(6) or (k)(7) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), (k)(6) and (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsections (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (24) System identifier: A0351-17b USMA.

    (i) System name: U.S. Military Academy Management System Records.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) It is imperative that the confidential nature of evaluation and investigatory material on candidates, cadets, and graduates, furnished to the United States Military Academy under a promise of confidentiality be maintained to ensure the candid presentation of information necessary in determinations involving admissions to the Military Academy and suitability for commissioned service and future promotion.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) or (k)(7) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) and (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsections (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (25) System identifier: A0380-67 DAMI.

    (i) System name: Personnel Security Clearance Information Files.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I) and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (26) System identifier: A0381-20b DAMI.

    (i) System name: Foreign Intelligence/Counterintelligence/Information Operations/Security Files

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2) and (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (E) To the extent that copies of exempt records from external systems of records are entered into A0381-10b DAMI, the Army hereby claims the same exemptions for those records as claimed for the original primary system of which they are a part.

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), and (k)(1) through (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (G) For records that are copies of exempt records from external systems of records, such records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised, to protect records used solely as statistical records, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials, and to safeguard evaluation materials used for military promotions when furnished by a confidential source. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records are exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    (27) System identifier: A0381-100a DAMI.

    (i) System name: Intelligence/Counterintelligence Source Files.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), and (k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (28) System identifier: A0381-100b DAMI.

    (i) System name: Technical Surveillance Index.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2) or (k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (29) System identifier: A0600-20 DCSG-1.

    (i) System name: Sexual Assault (SADMS) and Sexual Harassment (SHARP) Program Records.

    (ii) Exemptions: This system of records is a compilation of information from other Department of Defense/Army systems of records. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those other systems of records are entered into this system of records, the Army G-1 hereby claims the same exemptions for the records from those other systems.

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), and (k)(1) through (k)(7).

    (iv) Reasons: Records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised, to protect records used solely as statistical records, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials, and to safeguard evaluation materials used for military promotions when furnished by a confidential source. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records may be exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    (30) System identifier: A0601-141 DASG.

    (i) System name: Applications for Appointment to Army Medical Department.

    (ii) Exemption: Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source. Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (31) System identifier: A0601-210a USAREC.

    (i) System name: Enlisted Eligibility Files.

    (ii) Exemption: Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (32) System identifier: A0601-222 USMEPCOM.

    (i) System name: Armed Services Military Accession Testing.

    (ii) Exemption: Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service or military service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process. Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), from subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(d).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6).

    (iv) Reasons: An exemption is required for those portions of the Skill Qualification Test system pertaining to individual item responses and scoring keys to preclude compromise of the test and to ensure fairness and objectivity of the evaluation system.

    (33) System identifier: A0608-18 DASG.

    (i) System name: Army Family Advocacy Program Files.

    (ii) Exemptions: (A) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Investigative material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Therefore, portions of the system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) or (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I) and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(5).

    (iv) Reason: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because the requirements in those subsections are inapplicable to the extent that portions of this system of records may be exempt from subsection (d), concerning individual access.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (34) System identifier: A0614-115 DAMI.

    (i) System name: Department of the Army Operational Support Activities.

    (ii) Exemption: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (D) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), or (k)(5) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I) and (f).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), and (k)(5).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (d), because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) From subsection (e)(1) because in the course of criminal investigations, information is often obtained concerning the violation of laws or civil obligations of others not relating to an active case or matter. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is necessary that this valuable information be retained since it can aid in establishing patterns of activity and provide valuable leads for other agencies and future cases that may be brought.

    (D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d), making these subsections not applicable.

    (E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (F) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (35) System identifier: A0025-2 PMG (DFBA) DoD

    (i) System name: Defense Biometrics Identification Records System

    (ii) Exemptions: (A) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Exempt materials from other sources listed above may become part of the case records in this system of records. To the extent that copies of exempt records from other sources listed above are entered into these case records, the Department of the Army hereby claims the same exemptions, (j)(2) and (k)(2), for the records as claimed by the source systems, specifically to the extent that copies of exempt records may become part of these records from JUSTICE/FBI-019 Terrorist Screening Records System, the Department of the Army hereby claims the same exemptions for the records as claimed at their source (JUSTICE/FBI-019, Terrorist Screening Records System).

    (C) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(2) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

    (iii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and(k)(2).

    (iv) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), making this subsection not applicable.

    (C) From subsection (d) because access to such records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (D) From subsection (e)(1) because the nature of the criminal and/or civil investigative function creates unique problems in prescribing a specific parameter in a particular case with respect to what information is relevant or necessary. Also, information may be received which may relate to a case under the investigative jurisdiction of another agency. The maintenance of this information may be necessary to provide leads for appropriate law enforcement purposes and to establish patterns of activity that may relate to the jurisdiction of other cooperating agencies.

    (E) From subsection (e)(2) because in a criminal investigation, the requirement that information be collected to the greatest extent possible from the subject individual would present a serious impediment to law enforcement in that the subject of the investigation would be placed on notice of the existence of the investigation and would therefore be able to avoid detection.

    (F) From subsection (e)(3) because the requirement that individuals supplying information be provided with a form stating the requirements of subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

    (G) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (e)(4)(H) because the requirements in those subsections are inapplicable to the extent that portions of this system of records may be exempt from subsection (d), concerning individual access.

    (H) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

    (I) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes, it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment in reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

    (J) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

    (K) From subsection (f) because portions of this system of records have been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

    (L) From subsection (g) because portions of this system of records are compiled for law enforcement purposes and have been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

    (h) Exempt OPM records. Three Office of Personnel Management systems of records apply to Army employees, except for non-appropriated fund employees. These systems, the specific exemptions determined to be necessary and proper, the records exempted, provisions of the Privacy Act from which exempt, and justification are set forth below:

    (1) Personnel Investigations Records (OPM/CENTRAL-9).

    (i) Exemptions: (A) Information specifically authorized to be classified under E.O. 12958, as implemented by DoD 5200.1-R, may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1).

    (B) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (C) Records maintained in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C., section 3056 may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(3).

    (D) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (E) Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process.

    (F) Evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the Military Services may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7), but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (G) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(5), (k)(6), or (k)(7) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (d).

    (ii) Reasons: (A) Personnel investigations may obtain from another Federal agency, properly classified information which pertains to national defense and foreign policy. Application of exemption (k)(1) may be necessary to preclude the data subject's access to an amendment of such classified information under 5 U.S.C. 552a(d) in order to protect such information.

    (B) Personnel investigations may contain investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes other than material within the scope of 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), e.g., investigations into the administration of the merit system. Application of exemption (k)(2) may be necessary to preclude the data subject's access to or amendment of such records, under 552a(c)(3) and (d) because otherwise, it would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

    (C) Personnel investigations may obtain from another Federal agency, information that relates to providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to section 3056 of title 18. Application of exemption (k)(3) may be necessary to preclude the data subject's access to or amendment of such records under 5 U.S.C. 552a(d) to ensure protective services provided to the President and others are not compromised.

    (D) All information about individuals in these records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (d) in order to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to determinations of suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations.

    (E) All material and information in the records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6) is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), relating to access to and amendment of records by the data subject in order to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials.

    (F) All material and information in the records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(7) is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), relating to access to and amendment of records by the data subject in order to safeguard evaluation materials used for military promotions when furnished by a confidential source.

    (2) Recruiting, Examining, and Placement Records (OPM/GOVT-5).

    (i) Exemptions: (A) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

    (B) Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process.

    (C) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), or (k)(6) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (d).

    (ii) Reasons: (A) All information about individuals in these records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (d) in order to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to determinations of suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations. These exemptions are also claimed because this system contains investigative material compiled solely for the purpose of determining the appropriateness of a request for approval of an objection to an eligible individual's qualification for employment in the Federal service.

    (B) All material and information in these records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6) are exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), relating to access and amendment of records by the subject, in order to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials.

    (3) Personnel Research Test Validation Records (OPM/GOVT-6).

    (i) Exemptions: Testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6), if the disclosure would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the test or examination process. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6) from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(d).

    (ii) Reasons: All material and information in these records that meets the criteria stated in 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(6) is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), relating to access to an amendment of the records by the data subject, in order to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal testing materials.

    (i) Twelve Exceptions to the “No Disclosure without Consent” rule of the Privacy Act.

    (1) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(1)—To DoD officers and employees who have a need for the record in the performance of their official duties. This is the “official need to know” concept.

    (2) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2)—FOIA requires release of the information pursuant to 5. U.S.C. 552.

    (3) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3)—For an authorized Routine Use, i.e. the “Routine Use Exception.” The Routine Use must be listed in the applicable system of records notice published in the Federal Register and the purpose of the disclosure must be compatible with the purpose for the published Routine Use.

    (4) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(4)—To the Bureau of the Census to plan or carry out a census or survey, or related activity pursuant to Title 13 of the U.S. Code.

    (5) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(5)—To a recipient who has provided the Department of the Army or DoD with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable.

    (6) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(6)—To the National Archives and Records Administration as a record that has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the U.S. Government, or for evaluation by the Archivist of the United States or the designee of the Archivist to determine whether the record has such value. Note: Records transferred to the Federal Records Centers for storage remain under the control of the Department of the Army and no accounting for disclosure is required under the Privacy Act.

    (7) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(7)—To another agency or instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity, if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the Department of the Army or DoD specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought.

    (8) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(8)—To a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure, notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual.

    (9) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(9)—To either House of Congress, or, to the extent the matter is within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, or any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee. Requests from a Congressional member acting on behalf of a constituent are not included in this exception, but may be covered by a routine use exception to the Privacy Act (See applicable Army system of records notice).

    (10) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(10)—To the Comptroller General or authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the Government Accountability Office.

    (11) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(11)—Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The order must be signed by a judge.

    (12) 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12)—To a consumer reporting agency in accordance with section 3711(e) of Title 31 of the U.S. Code. The name, address, SSN, and other information identifying the individual; amount, status, and history of the claim; and the agency or program under which the case arose may be disclosed. However, before doing so, agencies must complete a series of steps designed to validate the debt and to offer the individual an opportunity to repay it.

    (j) DoD Blanket Routine Uses. In addition to specific routine uses which are listed in the applicable Army system of records notices, certain “Blanket Routine Uses” may apply to all DoD maintained systems of records. These are listed on the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division's Web site http://dpcld.defense.gov/. These “Blanket Routine Uses” are not specifically listed in each system of records notice as the specific routine uses are. The current DoD “Blanket Routine Uses” are as follows—

    (1) Law Enforcement Routine Use. If a system of records maintained by a DoD component to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the agency concerned, whether federal, state, local, or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation or order issued pursuant thereto.

    (2) Disclosure When Requesting Information Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use to a federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement information or other pertinent information, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain information relevant to a DoD Component decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant or other benefit.

    (3) Disclosure of Requested Information Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed to a Federal agency, in response to its request, in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the information is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.

    (4) Congressional Inquiries Disclosure Routine Use. Disclosure from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual.

    (5) Private Relief Legislation Routine Use. Relevant information contained in all systems of records of DoD published on or before August 22, 1975, may be disclosed to Office of Management and Budget in connection with the review of private relief legislation, as set forth in OMB Circular A-19, at any stage of the legislative coordination and clearance process as set forth in that Circular.

    (6) Disclosures Required by International Agreements Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed to foreign law enforcement, security, investigatory, or administrative authorities in order to comply with requirements imposed by, or to claim rights conferred in, international agreements and arrangements including those regulating the stationing and status in foreign countries of DoD military and civilian personnel.

    (7) Disclosure to State and Local Taxing Authorities Routine Use. Any information normally contained in Internal Revenue Service Form W-2, which is maintained in a record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component, may be disclosed to state and local taxing authorities with which the Secretary of the Treasury has entered into agreements pursuant to 5 U.S.C.s 5516, 5517, and 5520 and only to those state and local taxing authorities for which an employee or military member is or was subject to tax regardless of whether tax is or was withheld. This routine use is in accordance with Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual Bulletin 76-07.

    (8) Disclosure to the Office of Personnel Management Routine Use. A record from a system of records subject to the Privacy Act and maintained by a DoD Component may be disclosed to the Office of Personnel Management concerning information on pay and leave, benefits, retirement deductions, and any other information necessary for the Office of Personnel Management to carry out its legally authorized government-wide personnel management functions and studies.

    (9) Disclosure to the Department of Justice for Litigation Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use to any component of the Department of Justice for the purpose of representing the DoD, or any officer, employee, or member of the Department in pending or potential litigation to which the record is pertinent.

    (10) Disclosure to Military Banking Facilities Overseas Routine Use. Information as to current military addresses and assignments may be provided to military banking facilities who provide banking services overseas and who are reimbursed by the Government for certain checking and loan losses. For personnel separated, discharged, or retired from the Armed Forces, information as to last known residential or home of record address may be provided to the military banking facility upon certification by a banking facility officer that the facility has a returned or dishonored check negotiated by the individual or the individual has defaulted on a loan and that if restitution is not made by the individual, the U.S. Government will be liable for the losses the facility may incur.

    (11) Disclosure of Information to the General Services Administration Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use to the General Services Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. Sections 2904 and 2906.

    (12) Disclosure of Information to National Archives and Records Administration Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use to National Archives and Records Administration for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C.s 2904 and 2906.

    (13) Disclosure to the Merit Systems Protection Board Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use to the Merit Systems Protection Board, including the Office of the Special Counsel for the purpose of litigation, including administrative proceedings, appeals, special studies of the civil service and other merit systems, review of the Office of Personnel Management or component rules and regulations, investigation of alleged or possible prohibited personnel practices, including administrative proceedings involving any individual subject of a DoD investigation, and such other functions, promulgated in 5 U.S.C.s 1205 and 1206, or as may be authorized by law.

    (14) Counterintelligence Purposes Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a DoD component may be disclosed as a routine use outside the DoD or the U.S. Government for the purpose of counterintelligence activities authorized by U.S. Law or Executive Order or for the purpose of enforcing laws which protect the national security of the United States.

    (15) Data Breach Remediation Purposes Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a Component may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:

    (1) The Component suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of the information in the system of records has been compromised;

    (2) The Component has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Component or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and

    (3) The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Component's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    (16) Information Sharing Environment Routine Use. A record from a system of records maintained by a Component consisting of, or relating to, terrorism information (6 U.S.C. 485(a)(4)), homeland security information (6 U.S.C. 482(f)(1)), or law enforcement information (Guideline 2 Report attached to White House Memorandum, “Information Sharing Environment Reports,” November 22, 2006) may be disclosed to a Federal, State, local, tribal, territorial, foreign governmental and/or multinational agency, either in response to its request or upon the initiative of the Component, for purposes of sharing such information as is necessary and relevant for the agencies to the detection, prevention, disruption, preemption, and mitigation of the effects of terrorist activities against the territory, people, and interests of the United States of America as contemplated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-458) and Executive Order 13388 (October 25, 2005).

    [FR Doc. 2015-03862 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710-08-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2010-0611; FRL-9923-24-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revision to Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds; Alternative Leak Detection and Repair Work Practice AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve a Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision for control of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from fugitive sources that was submitted to EPA on July 2, 2010. The SIP revision allows for a voluntary alternative work practice to detect fugitive emission leaks using optical gas imaging instruments under the EPA federal Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) requirements. The EPA is approving this SIP revision pursuant to section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and consistent with EPA's guidance and regulations.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on April 27, 2015 without further notice, unless EPA receives relevant adverse comment by March 30, 2015. If EPA receives such comment, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket No. EPA-R06-OAR-2010-0611, by one of the following methods:

    www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions.

    Email: Jennifer Huser at [email protected]

    Mail or delivery: Mr. Guy Donaldson, Chief, Air Planning Section (6PD-L), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R06-OAR-2010-0611. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information the disclosure of which is restricted by statute. Do not submit information through http://www.regulations.gov or email, if you believe that it is CBI or otherwise protected from disclosure. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means that EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment along with any disk or CD-ROM submitted. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters and any form of encryption and should be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available at either location (e.g., CBI).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Huser, (214) 665-7347, [email protected] To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment with Ms. Huser or Mr. Bill Deese at (214) 665-7253.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background II. EPA's Evaluation III. Final Action IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background A. CAA and SIPs

    Section 110 of the CAA requires states to develop and submit to EPA a SIP to ensure that state air quality meets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These NAAQS standards currently address six criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, lead, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. Each federally-approved SIP protects air quality primarily by addressing air pollution at its point of origin through air pollution regulations and control strategies. EPA-approved SIPs, including control strategies are federally enforceable. As needed, States revise the SIP and submit revisions to EPA for approval.

    B. SIP Revision Submitted on July 2, 2010

    On July 2, 2010, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) submitted revisions to the Texas SIP LDAR rules to allow a voluntary alternative work practice to detect fugitive emission leaks using optical gas imaging. The submitted SIP revisions amended Texas Administrative Code (TAC) at 30 TAC Chapters 115.322-115.326, 115.352-115.357, 115.781, 115.782, and 115.768-788, and added new 30 TAC Chapter 115.358 and 30 TAC Chapter 115.784, Control of Air Pollution from Volatile Organic Compounds. The federal and state LDAR program is a fundamental aspect of air pollution control by reducing emissions from leaking piping components and instrumentation.

    Section 172(c)(1) and 182 of the CAA require ozone nonattainment areas that are classified as moderate and above for ozone nonattainment to adopt Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirement for sources that are subject to Control Technique Guidelines (CTGs) issued by EPA and for “major sources” of VOCs and nitrogen oxides (NOX). Major sources are defined as the following for each affected nonattainment area: In areas classified as moderate, those sources that the potential to emit at least 100 tons per year (tpy) of VOCs or NOX; for areas classified as serious, those that have the potential to emit 50 tpy of VOCs or NOX; and in areas classified as severe, those sources that have the potential to emit at least 25 tons per year of VOCs or NOX. See Section 182(c) of the CAA. The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) ozone nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard consists of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant Counties. The DFW area was reclassified as serious ozone nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard (75 FR 79302, December 20, 2010). The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) ozone nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard consists of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties. The HGB area was classified as a severe ozone nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS (73 FR 56983, October 1, 2008). The Beaumont Port Arthur (BPA) area of the 1997 8-hour ozone standard consists of Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange Counties.

    The fugitive emission LDAR rules in 30 TAC Chapter 115 (denoted as 30 TAC 115), referenced above, fall under two general categories, and are incorporated into the SIP: 1) 30 TAC 115, Subchapter D, Divisions 2 and 3 cover general VOC fugitive emission LDAR rules and were adopted to satisfy reasonably available control technology (RACT) requirements of the CAA (see 73 FR 10383, March 28, 2008 for Division 2 and 73 FR 40972, September 15, 2008 for Division 3); and 2) the highly-reactive volatile organic compounds (HRVOC) fugitive emission LDAR rules, in 30 TAC 115, Subchapter H, Division 3 were adopted as part of the HGB attainment demonstration for the one-hour ozone NAAQS (see 71 FR 52655, December 6, 2006). The revision incorporates the voluntary alternative work practice for both categories consistent with the alternative work practice adopted by the EPA on December 22, 2008 (73 FR 78199). For the first category, Subchapter D, Division 2 applies to petroleum refineries in Gregg, Nueces, and Victoria counties and 30 TAC Chapter 115, Subchapter D, Division 3 applies to the following facility types in the BPA, DFW, El Paso, and HGB areas as defined in 30 TAC 115.10: petroleum refineries; synthetic organic chemical, polymer, resin, or methyl-tert-butyl ether manufacturing processes; or natural gas/gasoline processing operations. For the second category, 30 TAC 115, Subchapter H, Division 3 applies to the following facility types in the HGB area as defined in 30 TAC 115.10 that have HRVOC as raw material, intermediate, final product, or in a waste stream: petroleum refineries; synthetic organic chemical, polymer, resin, or methyl-tert-butyl ether manufacturing processes; or natural gas/gasoline processing operations.

    The SIP revision submitted by Texas is provided in the docket for this rulemaking.

    C. What criteria must be met for EPA to approve this SIP revision?

    The primary CAA requirements pertaining to the SIP revision submitted by Texas are found in CAA sections 110(l) and 182(b)(2). CAA section 110(l) requires that a SIP revision submitted to EPA be adopted after reasonable notice and public hearing. Section 110(l) also requires that we not approve a SIP revision if the revision would interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the CAA. CAA section 182(b)(2) requires that ozone nonattainment areas classified as moderate or above implement RACT controls on all major VOC and NOX emission sources and on all sources and source categories covered by a control technique guideline (CTG) issued by EPA. RACT is defined as the lowest emissions limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting by the application of control technology that is reasonably available considering technological and economic feasibility (44 FR 53762, September 17, 1979). The CTG and Alternative Control Technique (ACT) documents that we issue provide states with guidance concerning what types of controls could constitute RACT for a given source category. The documents we have issued pertaining to fugitive emissions from equipment leaks are (1) Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Petroleum Refinery Equipment (EPA-450/2-78-036, June 1978), (2) Control of Volatile Organic Compound Equipment Leaks from Natural Gas/Gasoline Processing Plants (EPA-450/3-83-007, December 1983), and (3) Control of Volatile Organic Compound Leaks from Synthetic Organic Chemical and Polymer Manufacturing Equipment EPA-450/3-83-006, March 1984). These documents are accessible online at www.epa.gov/airquality/ozonepollution/SIPToolkit/ctgs.html. Because the DFW area was classified as a serious ozone nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard, a major source is a source having the potential to emit 50 tpy of VOC or more (CAA § 182(c)). Because the HGB area is classified as a severe ozone nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone standard, a major source is a source having the potential to emit 25 tpy of VOC or more (CAA § 182(d)).

    II. EPA's Evaluation

    The alternative work practice is a voluntary alternative to hydrocarbon analyzers required by EPA Method 21 (See the technical support document (TSD) for more detail) 1 to detect volatile organic compound leaks from equipment such as valves, pumps, connectors, compressors, pressure relief valves, etc. While EPA demonstrated that the use of optical gas imaging in the alternative work practice is equivalent to using a hydrocarbon analyzer in EPA Method 21, the optical gas imaging technology available today is generally not capable of measuring concentration and has a higher detection limit than the hydrocarbon analyzers. Therefore, the methods are not interchangeable and therefore the alternative work practice cannot simply be included as an alternate method. The fundamental premise behind EPA's rule in allowing the alternative work practice is that more frequent monitoring with the optical gas imaging device will detect larger leaks sooner resulting in a more expedient repair of the leaks. While smaller leaks may not be detected using the optical gas imaging device, the overall control level under the optical gas imaging alternative work practice is considered equivalent, or in some cases superior to, the traditional LDAR work practice using Method 21. This makes the alternative work practice more similar to an alternate means of control rather than an alternative test method. EPA's rationale in approving the alternate work practice is further discussed in the December 22, 2008 Federal Register (73 FR 78199). While EPA adopted the use of the alternative work practice for numerous federal LDAR rules, many facilities will not be able to make use of the alternative work practice until the fugitive emission LDAR rules are revised in the Texas SIP. Additionally, the proposed SIP revision does not change the New Source Review (NSR) permit requirements, and therefore sources choosing to implement the alternative work practice will need to change the facility's permit LDAR requirements through the SIP-approved NSR permit amendment process.

    1 The TSD is in the docket for this rulemaking.

    In its adopted rule, TCEQ made several substantive changes that were not required by the federal alternative work practice in 40 CFR part 60.18. These additional requirements were added by TCEQ to ensure that personnel using optical gas imaging instruments have adequate training and to address quality assurance and enforcement concerns with the federal alternative work practice in 40 CFR part 60.18. These changes include:

    • Each person operating an optical gas imaging instrument for the purposes of the alternative work practice will be required to conduct the daily instrument check. [30 TAC 115.358(c)(2)]

    • Owners or operators electing to use the alternative work practice will be required to submit notification to the appropriate TCEQ regional office at least 30 days prior to implementation. [30 TAC 115.358(g)]

    • Operator training will be required for personnel performing the alternative work practice. [30 TAC 115.358(h)]

    • A specific subset of components (e.g., blind flanges, heat exchanger heads, sight glasses, etc.) subject to 30 TAC 115.781(b)(3) may be sampled at alternate frequencies for the annual Method 21 test required under the alternative work practice if the components are not subject to a federal LDAR Method 21 requirement under 40 CFR parts 60, 61, 63, or 65 [30 TAC 115.781(h)(6)].

    TCEQ also added provisions to the federal alternative work practice specifically to ensure there would be no backsliding for the HRVOC fugitive emission LDAR rules in 30 TAC 115, Subchapter H, Division 3. Those changes include:

    • For leaks greater than 10,000 part per million by volume (ppmv), rapid repair times are required under 30 TAC 115.782(b) and extraordinary efforts must be undertaken within a shorter time period to qualify for delay of repair under 30 TAC 115.782(c). The rulemaking will require any leak detected using the alternative work practice to meet the more stringent repair time limits of 30 TAC 115.782(b) and (c) unless a Method 21 test is done to demonstrate that the leak is 10,000 ppmv or less.

    • The rule will retain the third-party audit requirements of 30 TAC 115.788; however, an alternative audit procedure will be required if the company is using the alternative work practice.

    • Consistent with EPA guidance, Protocol for Equipment Leak Emission Estimates, EPA-453/R-95-017, November 1995, 30 TAC 115.782(c) requires companies to use EPA correlation equations for calculating emissions. For leaks detected using the alternative work practice, a company will be required to use the 100,000 ppmv pegged emission rates from the same section of the EPA guidance document currently referenced in the rule at 30 TAC 115.782(c)(1)(i)(II).

    The SIP revision is approvable as it is consistent with the EPA federal LDAR rule that provides an alternative to required monitoring for fugitive components to ensure facilities identify and repair leaking equipment in a timely and effective manner to reduce fugitive air emissions. In addition the SIP revision improves upon the SIP-approved rules in that it provides for this voluntary alternative method for the detection of fugitive emissions from leaking components, as detailed in our TSD. Approval of this SIP revision would not interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or any other applicable requirement of the CAA. Lastly, EPA's review indicates that the Texas AWP provisions are as stringent as or more stringent than the federal AWP and provide no relaxation of the state's rules for leak detection and repair.

    III. Final Action

    We are taking direct final action to approve revisions to the Texas SIP that pertain to the control of air pollution from VOCs alternative LDAR work practice, adopted by the TCEQ on June 2, 2010, and submitted to the EPA on July 2, 2010. EPA is approving these revisions in accordance with sections 110, 173 and 182 of the CAA and consistent with EPA's guidance and regulations.

    EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if relevant adverse comments are received. This rule will be effective on April 27, 2015 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse comment by March 30, 2015. If we receive relevant adverse comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so now. Please note that if we receive relevant adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, we may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. 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 CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by April 27, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action 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, Alternative work practice, Incorporation by reference, Leak detection and repair, Optical gas imaging, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: February 9, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart SS—Texas 2. In § 52.2270 (c), the table titled “EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP” is amended by: a. Revising the entries for sections 115.322 through 115.326, 115.352 through 115.357, 115.781, 115.782, and 115.786 through 115.788; and b. Adding in sequential order entries for sections 115.358 and 115.784.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 52.2270 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA Approved Regulations in the Texas SIP State citation Title/subject State approval/
  • submittal date
  • EPA approval date Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Chapter 115 (Reg 5)—Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds *         *         *         *         *         *         * Subchapter D—Petroleum Refining, Natural Gas Processing, and Petrochemical Processes *         *         *         *         *         *         * Division 2: Fugitive Emission Control in Petroleum Refineries in Gregg, Nueces, and Victoria Counties Section 115.322 Control Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.323 Alternate Control Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.324 Inspection Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.325 Testing Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.326 Recordkeeping Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Division 3: Fugitive Emission Control in Petroleum Refining, Natural Gas/Gasoline Processing, and Petrochemical Processes in Ozone Nonattainment Areas Section 115.352 Control Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.353 Alternate Control Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.354 Monitoring and Inspection Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.355 Approved Test Methods 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.356 Recordkeeping Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115. 357 Exemptions 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.358 Alternative Work Practice 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Subchapter H—Highly-Reactive Volatile Organic Compounds *         *         *         *         *         *         * Division 3: Fugitive Emissions *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 115.781 General Monitoring and Inspection Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.782 Procedures and Schedule for Leak Repair and Follow-up 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         * Section 115.784 Alternate Control Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.786 Recordkeeping Requirements 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.787 Exemptions 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] Section 115.788 Audit Provisions 6/2/2010 2/26/2015 [Insert Federal Register citation] *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2015-03588 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 62 [EPA-R05-OAR-2009-0554; FRL-9923-35-Region 5] Approval of Other Solid Waste Incineration Units State Plan for Designated Facilities and Pollutants: Indiana AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving Indiana's State Plan to control air pollutants from “Other Solid Waste Incineration” (OSWI) units. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) submitted the State Plan to EPA on November 27, 2007. The State Plan is consistent with Emission Guidelines (EG) promulgated by EPA on December 16, 2005. This approval means that EPA finds that the State Plan meets applicable Clean Air Act (Act) requirements for OSWI units for which construction commenced on or before December 4, 2004. Once effective, this approval also makes the State Plan Federally enforceable.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule will be effective April 27, 2015, unless EPA receives adverse comments by March 30, 2015. If adverse comments are received, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2009-0554, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (312) 692-2543.

    4. Mail: Carlton T. Nash, Chief, Integrated Air Toxics Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

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

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2009-0554. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This Facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Margaret Sieffert, Environmental Engineer, at (312) 353-1151 before visiting the Region 5 office.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

    On December 16, 2005, in accordance with sections 111 and 129 of the Act, EPA promulgated OSWI EGs and compliance schedules for the control of emissions from existing OSWI units. See 70 FR 74870. EPA codified these regulations at 40 CFR part 60, subpart FFFF. They include a model rule at 40 CFR 60.3000 through 60.3078. “OSWI units” are very small municipal waste combustors and institutional waste incinerators. See 40 CFR 60.3078.

    Under section 111(d) of the Act, EPA is required to develop regulations for existing sources of noncriteria pollutants (i.e., a pollutant for which there is no national ambient air quality standard) whenever EPA promulgates a standard for a new source. These would include OSWI units. Section 111(d) plans are subject to EPA review and approval.

    Under section 129(b)(2) of the Act and the regulations at Subpart FFFF, states with OSWI units must submit to EPA plans that implement the EGs. The plans must be at least as protective as the EGs, which are not Federally enforceable until EPA approves a State Plan (or promulgates a Federal Plan for implementation and enforcement).

    40 CFR part 60, subpart B contains general provisions applicable to the adoption and submittal of State Plans for subject facilities under section 111(d), which would include OSWI units. On November 27, 2007, Indiana submitted its OSWI State Plan to EPA. This submission followed public hearings for preliminary adoption of the State Plan on December 6, 2006 and for final adoption on February 7, 2007. The State adopted the final Plan on February 7, 2007, and became effective on August 9, 2007. The Plan includes State rule 326 IAC 11-9, which establishes emission standards for existing OSWI. EPA was sued and subsequently State Plan submittals were put on hold. See Sierra Club v. EPA, D.C. Cir. Nos. 06-1066, 07-1063 On March 17, 2014, EPA notified IDEM that it could now process the State Plan, but that IDEM needed to submit an Attorney General's Opinion regarding the State's legal authority to “Incorporate By Reference” the EG's. The AG's Opinion was sent on November 13, 2014.

    II. What does the State Plan contain?

    The State submittal is based on the OSWI EGs (§§ 60.2980-60.3078) and incorporates by reference significant portions of that rule. As prescribed by section 129 of the Act and in 40 CFR part 60, subparts B and FFFF, the State Plan addresses the nine required elements in 40 CFR 60.2983 as follows:

    1. An inventory of affected OSWI units, including those that have ceased operation but have not been dismantled. Indiana has provided this.

    2. An inventory of the emissions from each of the OSWI units. Indiana has provided this.

    3. A compliance schedule for each affected incineration unit. Indiana has provided a compliance schedule and a compliance date of August 9, 2010.

    4. For each affected incineration unit, emission limitations, operator training and qualification requirements, a waste management plan, and operating parameter requirements that are at least as protective as the emission guidelines contained in 40 CFR 60.2983. Indiana has accomplished this, through the incorporation by reference (IBR) in 326 IAC 11-9.

    5. Stack testing, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. Indiana has accomplished this, through the IBR in 326 IAC 11-9.

    6. A transcript of the public hearing on the State Plan. Indiana has certified that such a hearing was held, and that there were no comments.

    7. A provision for State progress reports to EPA. Indiana has stated that it will submit data and information using the EPA Aerometric Emissions Information Retrieval System. The manner and form of reporting will be coordinated with EPA, Region 5.

    8. An identification of enforceable State mechanisms selected for implementing the EGs. Indiana has provided a detailed list which identified the enforceable mechanisms.

    9. A demonstration of the State's legal authority to carry out sections 111(d) and 129 of the Act in its State Plan. Indiana has provided a detailed list which demonstrated that it has such legal authority. This includes the legal authority to incorporate by reference Federal EG provisions, as confirmed by an Indiana Attorney General's Opinion dated November 10, 2014.

    III. Does the State Plan meet the EPA requirements?

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

    IV. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is approving the State Plan which Indiana submitted on November 27, 2007, for the control of emissions from existing OSWI sources in the State. EPA is publishing this action without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a non-controversial action and anticipates no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, EPA is publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the State Plan in the event adverse comments are filed. This rule will be effective April 27, 2015 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse written comments by March 30, 2015. If we receive such comments, we will withdraw this action before the effective date by publishing a subsequent document that will withdraw the final action. All public comments received will then be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed action. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. If we do not receive any comments, this action will be effective April 27, 2015.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

    Under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011), this action is not a “significant regulatory action” and therefore is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, this action is also not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). This action merely approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. Accordingly, the Administrator certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this rule approves pre-existing requirements under state law and does not impose any additional enforceable duty beyond that required by state law, it does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4). This rule is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action also does not have Federalism implications because it does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). This action merely approves a state rule implementing a Federal requirement, and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Act. This rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it approves a state rule implementing a Federal standard.

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

    B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

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

    C. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under Section 307(b)(1) of the Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by April 27, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action approving Indiana's section 111(d)/129 plan revision for SSI sources may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 62

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Administrative practice and procedure, Intergovernmental relations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Waste treatment and disposal.

    Dated: February 12, 2015. Bharat Mathur, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5.

    40 CFR part 62 is amended as follows:

    PART 62—APPROVAL AND PROMULGATION OF STATE PLANS FOR DESIGNATED FACILITIES AND POLLUTANTS 1. The authority citation for part 62 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart P—Indiana 2. Add an undesignated center heading and §§ 62.3680, 62.3681, and 62.3682 to subpart P to read as follows: Control of Air Emissions From Existing Other Solid Waste Incinerator Units
    § 62.3680 Identification of plan.

    On November 27, 2007, Indiana submitted the State Plan for implementing the Other Solid Waste Incineration Units (OSWI). The enforceable mechanism for this State Plan is a State rule codified in 326 Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) 11-9. The rule was adopted on February 7, 2007, and became effective on August 9, 2007.

    § 62.3681 Identification of sources.

    The Indiana State Plan for existing Other Solid Waste Incineration (OSWI) units applies to all OSWI units as defined in § 60.3078 for which construction commenced on or before December 9, 2004 to comply with this subpart.

    § 62.3682 Effective date.

    The Federal effective date of the Indiana State Plan for existing Sewage Sludge Incinerators is April 27, 2015.

    [FR Doc. 2015-03792 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency 44 CFR Part 64 [Docket ID FEMA-2014-0002; Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-8371] Suspension of Community Eligibility AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule identifies communities where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that are scheduled for suspension on the effective dates listed within this rule because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) receives documentation that the community has adopted the required floodplain management measures prior to the effective suspension date given in this rule, the suspension will not occur and a notice of this will be provided by publication in the Federal Register on a subsequent date. Also, information identifying the current participation status of a community can be obtained from FEMA's Community Status Book (CSB). The CSB is available at http://www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

    DATES:

    The effective date of each community's scheduled suspension is the third date (“Susp.”) listed in the third column of the following tables.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you want to determine whether a particular community was suspended on the suspension date or for further information, contact Bret Gates, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4133.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NFIP enables property owners to purchase Federal flood insurance that is not otherwise generally available from private insurers. In return, communities agree to adopt and administer local floodplain management measures aimed at protecting lives and new construction from future flooding. Section 1315 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits the sale of NFIP flood insurance unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed in this document no longer meet that statutory requirement for compliance with program regulations, 44 CFR part 59. Accordingly, the communities will be suspended on the effective date in the third column. As of that date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the community. We recognize that some of these communities may adopt and submit the required documentation of legally enforceable floodplain management measures after this rule is published but prior to the actual suspension date. These communities will not be suspended and will continue to be eligible for the sale of NFIP flood insurance. A notice withdrawing the suspension of such communities will be published in the Federal Register.

    In addition, FEMA publishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that identifies the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) in these communities. The date of the FIRM, if one has been published, is indicated in the fourth column of the table. No direct Federal financial assistance (except assistance pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act not in connection with a flood) may be provided for construction or acquisition of buildings in identified SFHAs for communities not participating in the NFIP and identified for more than a year on FEMA's initial FIRM for the community as having flood-prone areas (section 202(a) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4106(a), as amended). This prohibition against certain types of Federal assistance becomes effective for the communities listed on the date shown in the last column. The Administrator finds that notice and public comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), are impracticable and unnecessary because communities listed in this final rule have been adequately notified.

    Each community receives 6-month, 90-day, and 30-day notification letters addressed to the Chief Executive Officer stating that the community will be suspended unless the required floodplain management measures are met prior to the effective suspension date. Since these notifications were made, this final rule may take effect within less than 30 days.

    National Environmental Policy Act. This rule is categorically excluded from the requirements of 44 CFR part 10, Environmental Considerations. No environmental impact assessment has been prepared.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Administrator has determined that this rule is exempt from the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, Section 1315, 42 U.S.C. 4022, prohibits flood insurance coverage unless an appropriate public body adopts adequate floodplain management measures with effective enforcement measures. The communities listed no longer comply with the statutory requirements, and after the effective date, flood insurance will no longer be available in the communities unless remedial action takes place.

    Regulatory Classification. This final rule is not a significant regulatory action under the criteria of section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review, 58 FR 51735.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism. This rule involves no policies that have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132.

    Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule meets the applicable standards of Executive Order 12988.

    Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule does not involve any collection of information for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    List of Subjects in 44 CFR Part 64

    Flood insurance, Floodplains.

    Accordingly, 44 CFR part 64 is amended as follows:

    PART 64—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for Part 64 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.; Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp.; p. 329; E.O. 12127, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979 Comp.; p. 376.

    § 64.6 [Amended]
    2. The tables published under the authority of § 64.6 are amended as follows: State and location Community No. Effective date authorization/cancellation of sale of flood insurance in community Current effective map date Date certain Federal
  • assistance no longer available in SFHAs
  • Region II New York: Albany, City of, Albany County 360001 November 1, 1974, Emerg; April 15, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp March 16, 2015 March 16, 2015. Altamont, Village of, Albany County 360002 November 6, 1975, Emerg; August 15, 1983, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do *   Do. Berne, Town of, Albany County 360003 June 4, 1975, Emerg; August 1, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bethlehem, Town of, Albany County 361540 October 29, 1974, Emerg; June 15, 1983, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Coeymans, Town of, Albany County 360005 July 31, 1974, Emerg; August 3, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Cohoes, City of, Albany County 360006 May 25, 1973, Emerg; December 4, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Colonie, Town of, Albany County 360007 February 25, 1974, Emerg; September 5, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Green Island, Village of, Albany County 360009 December 3, 1974, Emerg; June 4, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Guilderland, Town of, Albany County 360010 October 9, 1974, Emerg; January 6, 1983, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Knox, Township of, Albany County 360011 October 26, 1979, Emerg; August 13, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Menands, Village of, Albany County 360012 July 25, 1974, Emerg; March 18, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Scotland, Town of, Albany County 360013 July 31, 1975, Emerg; December 1, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Ravena, Village of, Albany County 361346 October 29, 1979, Emerg; April 2, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Rensselaerville, Town of, Albany County 360014 May 13, 1977, Emerg; August 27, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Voorheesville, Village of, Albany County 360015 June 11, 1975, Emerg; December 1, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Watervliet, City of, Albany County 360016 November 29, 1974, Emerg; January 2, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Westerlo, Town of, Albany County 360017 June 17, 1975, Emerg; August 3, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region III Delaware: Bethany Beach, Town of, Sussex County 105083 November 12, 1971, Emerg; April 6, 1973, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bethel, Town of, Sussex County 100055 January 22, 1976, Emerg; January 16, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Blades, Town of, Sussex County 100031 May 30, 1975, Emerg; January 16, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bridgeville, Town of, Sussex County 100032 May 13, 1975, Emerg; January 7, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Dewey Beach, Town of, Sussex County 100056 June 18, 1982, Emerg; June 18, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Fenwick Island, Town of, Sussex County 105084 November 19, 1971, Emerg; March 23 1973, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Frankford, Town of, Sussex County 100037 July 17, 1975, Emerg; September 16, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Georgetown, Town of, Sussex County 100062 N/A, Emerg; May 5, 2003, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Greenwood, Town of, Sussex County 100039 July 30, 1975, Emerg; February 24, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lewes, City of, Sussex County 100041 March 23, 1973, Emerg; March 15, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Milford, City of, Kent and Sussex Counties 100042 June 5, 1974, Emerg; June 1, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Millsboro, Town of, Sussex County 100043 May 28, 1974, Emerg; September 1, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Millville, Town of, Sussex County 100044 October 2, 1978, Emerg; September 25, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Ocean View, Town of, Sussex County 100046 July 1, 1975, Emerg; September 3, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Rehoboth Beach, City of, Sussex County 105086 February 11, 1972, Emerg; March 30, 1973, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Seaford, City of, Sussex County 100048 October 2, 1974, Emerg; February 1, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Selbyville, Town of, Sussex County 100038 February 12, 1990, Emerg; July 16, 1991, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Slaughter Beach, Town of, Sussex County 100050 May 28, 1974, Emerg; July 2, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. South Bethany, Town of, Sussex County 100051 September 15, 1972, Emerg; October 6, 1976, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sussex County, Unincorporated Areas 100029 April 16, 1971, Emerg; October 6, 1976, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Maryland: Brookview, Town of, Dorchester County 240097 March 17, 1976, Emerg; January 7, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Cambridge, City of, Dorchester County 240098 August 12, 1975, Emerg; January 16, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Church Creek, Town of, Dorchester County 240101 N/A, Emerg; July 25, 1995, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Dorchester County, Unincorporated Areas 240026 January 23, 1974, Emerg; October 15, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Eldorado, Town of, Dorchester County 240105 November 11, 1975, Emerg; December 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Galestown, Town of, Dorchester County 240106 June 2, 2004, Emerg; May 24, 2011, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Hurlock, Town of, Dorchester County 240112 September 18, 1975, Emerg; January 16, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Secretary, Town of, Dorchester County 240123 June 13, 1975, Emerg; December 19, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Vienna, Town of, Dorchester County 240127 December 12, 1975, Emerg; December 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Pennsylvania: Bedminster, Township of, Bucks County 421049 February 5, 1976, Emerg; December 1, 1983, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bensalem, Township of, Bucks County 420181 December 15, 1972, Emerg; July 17, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bridgeton, Township of, Bucks County 420182 December 10, 1971, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bristol, Borough of, Bucks County 420183 September 15, 1972, Emerg; December 18, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bristol, Township of, Bucks County 420984 November 10, 1972, Emerg; September 29, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Buckingham, Township of, Bucks County 420985 January 15, 1974, Emerg; March 15, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Chalfont, Borough of, Bucks County 420184 February 25, 1972, Emerg; December 28, 1976, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Doylestown, Borough of, Bucks County 421410 February 17, 1977, Emerg; June 1, 1984, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Doylestown, Township of, Bucks County 420185 December 22, 1972, Emerg; September 29, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Durham, Township of, Bucks County 420186 September 8, 1972, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. East Rockhill, Township of, Bucks County 420187 January 26, 1973, Emerg; August 1, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Falls, Township of, Bucks County 420188 July 21, 1972, Emerg; September 30, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Haycock, Township of, Bucks County 421127 July 28, 1975, Emerg; September 3, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Hilltown, Township of, Bucks County 420189 October 6, 1972, Emerg; January 30, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Hulmeville, Borough of, Bucks County 420190 August 16, 1973, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Langhorne, Borough of, Bucks County 421074 January 24, 1975, Emerg; July 2, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Langhorne Manor, Borough of, Bucks County 422336 October 5, 1976, Emerg; February 15, 1984, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lower Makefield, Township of, Bucks County 420191 December 1, 1972, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lower Southampton, Township of, Bucks County 420192 September 15, 1972, Emerg; March 15, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Middletown, Township of, Bucks County 420193 October 6, 1972, Emerg; December 4, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Milford, Township of, Bucks County 422337 June 17, 1975, Emerg; June 1, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Morrisville, Borough of, Bucks County 420194 September 1, 1972, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Britain, Borough of, Bucks County 420986 December 6, 1973, Emerg; April 2, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Britain, Township of, Bucks County 420987 April 18, 1973, Emerg; September 30, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. New Hope, Borough of, Bucks County 420195 January 19, 1973, Emerg; December 15, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Newtown, Borough of, Bucks County 420196 February 5, 1975, Emerg; December 18, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Newtown, Township of, Bucks County 421084 March 16, 1976, Emerg; December 18, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Nockamixon, Township of, Bucks County 420197 February 2, 1973, Emerg; November 2, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Northampton, Township of, Bucks County 420988 September 26, 1973, Emerg; February 15, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Penndel, Borough of, Bucks County 422678 September 27, 1996, Emerg; June 20, 2001, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Perkasie, Borough of, Bucks County 420198 September 8, 1972, Emerg; March 1, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Plumstead, Township of, Bucks County 420199 February 25, 1973, Emerg; September 29, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Quakertown, Borough of, Bucks County 420200 February 2, 1973, Emerg; July 5, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Richland, Township of, Bucks County 421095 May 15, 1974, Emerg; June 15, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Riegelsville, Borough of, Bucks County 420201 August 25, 1972, Emerg; April 17, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Silverdale, Borough of, Bucks County 422338 February 17, 1977, Emerg; January 5, 1984, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Solebury, Township of, Bucks County 420202 October 29, 1971, Emerg; April 15, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Springfield, Township of, Bucks County 420204 June 14, 1973, Emerg; January 3, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Tinicum, Township of, Bucks County 420205 November 12, 1971, Emerg; February 1, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Tullytown, Borough of, Bucks County 420206 August 15, 1974, Emerg; February 1, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Upper Makefield, Township of, Bucks County 420207 December 3, 1971, Emerg; October 17, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Warminster, Township of, Bucks County 420990 October 4, 1973, Emerg; March 1, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Warrington, Township of, Bucks County 420208 August 18, 1972, Emerg; September 29, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Warwick, Township of, Bucks County 420209 February 18, 1972, Emerg; September 29, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. West Rockhill, Township of, Bucks County 421123 June 1, 1979, Emerg; July 5, 1984, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Wrightstown, Township of, Bucks County 421045 February 5, 1974, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Yardley, Borough of, Bucks County 420210 December 10, 1971, Emerg; August 1, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region IV Florida: Martin County, Unincorporated Areas 120161 May 19, 1972, Emerg; June 15, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Ocean Breeze, Town of, Martin County 120163 April 15, 1976, Emerg; June 15, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sewall's Point, Town of, Martin County 120164 July 26, 1973, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Stuart, City of, Martin County 120165 May 14, 1973, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Georgia: Effingham County, Unincorporated Areas 130076 November 28, 1975, Emerg; March 18, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Guyton, City of, Effingham County 130456 February 27, 1995, Emerg; June 1, 2005, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Rincon, City of, Effingham County 130426 November 5, 1976, Emerg; February 19, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Springfield, City of, Effingham County 130427 January 16, 1976, Emerg; March 18, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Kentucky: Barbourville, City of, Knox County 210132 November 23, 1973, Emerg; December 1, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Bell County, Unincorporated Areas 210010 March 28, 1975, Emerg; February 18, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Benham, City of, Harlan County 210099 February 5, 1975, Emerg; September 5, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Corbin, City of, Knox and Whitley Counties 210227 August 16, 1976, Emerg; December 18, 1986, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Cumberland, City of, Harlan County 210100 November 5, 1971, Emerg; March 15, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Evarts, City of, Harlan County 210101 March 5, 1975, Emerg; November 19, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Harlan, City of, Harlan County 210102 October 29, 1971, Emerg; January 17, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Harlan County, Unincorporated Areas 210098 January 12, 1973, Emerg; August 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Knox County, Unincorporated Areas 210131 July 29, 1975, Emerg; May 17, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Laurel County, Unincorporated Areas 210134 N/A, Emerg; February 8, 2005, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Letcher County, Unincorporated Areas 210289 September 15, 2003, Emerg; August 1, 2005, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. London, City of, Laurel County 210396 September 6, 2004, Emerg; August 2, 2006, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Loyall, City of, Harlan County 215189 December 3, 1971, Emerg; April 6, 1973, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lynch, City of, Harlan County 210104 January 14, 1975, Emerg; July 2, 1979, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. McCreary County, Unincorporated Areas 210343 November 19, 1996, Emerg; September 2, 2009, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Middlesboro, City of, Bell County 215190 December 4, 1970, Emerg; May 28, 1971, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Pineville, City of, Bell County 210012 November 21, 1973, Emerg; June 1, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Wallins Creek, City of, Harlan County 215192 December 7, 1971, Emerg; March 2, 1973, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Whitesburg, City of, Letcher County 210140 June 4, 1975, Emerg; December 3, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Whitley County, Unincorporated Areas 210226 July 9, 1975, Emerg; January 5, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Williamsburg, City of, Whitley County 210228 March 6, 1975, Emerg; January 5, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Mississippi: Forrest County, Unincorporated Areas 280052 March 6, 1975, Emerg; April 2, 1990, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Hattiesburg, City of, Forrest and Lamar Counties 280053 April 3, 1970, Emerg; April 3, 1970, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Petal, City of, Forrest County 280260 September 27, 1974, Emerg; April 15, 1980, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Tennessee: Claiborne County, Unincorporated Areas 470212 April 16, 1974, Emerg; May 4, 1988, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region V Illinois: Cedarville, Village of, Stephenson County 170842 N/A, Emerg; April 11, 2011, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Freeport, City of, Stephenson County 170640 January 28, 1973, Emerg; May 16, 1977, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lena, Village of, Stephenson County 171340 N/A, Emerg; August 4, 2011, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Orangeville, Village of, Stephenson County 170641 October 25, 1996, Emerg; March 3, 2011, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Ridott, Village of, Stephenson County 170643 N/A, Emerg; April 5, 2011, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Stephenson County, Unincorporated Areas 170639 March 17, 1972, Emerg; February 15, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Winslow, Village of, Stephenson County 170644 June 30, 1975, Emerg; November 17, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Michigan: Arenac, Township of, Arenac County 260251 August 16, 1974, Emerg; July 3, 1986, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Au Gres, City of, Arenac County 260012 July 26, 1973, Emerg; May 17, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Au Gres, Township of, Arenac County 260013 May 15, 1973, Emerg; May 17, 1989, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Deep River, Township of, Arenac County 260350 March 10, 1982, Emerg; August 19, 1985, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Lincoln, Township of, Arenac County 260014 February 21, 1996, Emerg; November 5, 2009, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Omer, City of, Arenac County 260622 February 7, 2014, Emerg; N/A, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Sims, Township of, Arenac County 260015 May 7, 1973, Emerg; June 1, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Standish, City of, Arenac County 260016 September 4, 1975, Emerg; September 27, 1985, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Standish, Township of, Arenac County 260017 May 25, 1973, Emerg; August 4, 1987, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Turner, Township of, Arenac County 260351 October 29, 1998, Emerg; N/A, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Turner, Village of, Arenac County 260550 October 22, 1987, Emerg; September 30, 1988, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Whitney, Township of, Arenac County 260018 May 25, 1973, Emerg; June 1, 1978, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Region VII Kansas: Manhattan, City of, Pottawatomie and Riley Counties 200300 January 30, 1974, Emerg; April 1, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Ogden, City of, Riley County 200301 June 26, 1975, Emerg; October 15, 1981, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Pottawatomie County, Unincorporated Areas 200621 August 5, 1975, Emerg; February 17, 1988, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. Riley County, Unincorporated Areas 200298 June 23, 1975, Emerg; April 1, 1982, Reg; March 16, 2015, Susp ......do   Do. * -do- =Ditto. Code for reading third column: Emerg.—Emergency; Reg.—Regular; Susp.—Suspension.
    Dated: February 6, 2015. David L. Miller, Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03954 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-12-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 46 CFR Part 401 [Docket No. USCG-2014-0481] RIN 1625-AC22 Great Lakes Pilotage Rates—2015 Annual Review and Adjustment AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is adjusting rates for pilotage services on the Great Lakes, which were last amended in March 2014. The adjustments establish new base rates made in accordance with a full ratemaking procedure. Additionally, the Coast Guard exercises the discretion provided by Step 7 of the Appendix A methodology. The result is an upward adjustment to close the gap between revenues projected by this rulemaking and those collected by the pilot associations. Our proposed rates planned to maintain parity with the Canadian Great Lakes Pilotage Authority. While this continues to be our goal, we have since discovered a more significant challenge demonstrated by the recently completed revenue audits. This is a more pressing concern for the operation of safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service on the Great Lakes than maintaining parity because it demonstrates that the pilot associations are unable to properly fund their operations. Also, we are implementing temporary surcharges to accelerate recoupment of necessary and reasonable training and investment costs for the pilot associations. This final rule promotes the Coast Guard's strategic goal of maritime safety.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective August 1, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket USCG-2014-0481 and are available for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet by going to http://www.regulations.gov, inserting USCG-2014-0481 in the “Keyword” box, and then clicking “Search.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Todd Haviland, Director, Great Lakes Pilotage, Commandant (CG-WWM-2), Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-2037, email [email protected], or fax 202-372-1914. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents for Preamble I. Abbreviations II. Regulatory History III. Basis and Purpose IV. Background V. Discussion of Comments and Changes A. Ratemaking Methodology B. AMOU Contracts C. Surcharge D. Revenue Audits E. Pilot Boats VI. Summary of the Rule and Discussion of Methodology A. Summary of the Rule B. Discussion of the Methodology VII. Regulatory Analyses A. Regulatory Planning and Review B. Small Entities C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Collection of Information E. Federalism F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act G. Taking of Private Property H. Civil Justice Reform I. Protection of Children J. Indian Tribal Governments K. Energy Effects L. Technical Standards M. Environment I. Abbreviations AMOU American Maritime Officers Union APA American Pilots Association CFR Code of Federal Regulations CPA Certified public accountant CPI Consumer Price Index E.O. Executive Order FR Federal Register GLPA Great Lakes Pilotage Association MISLE Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement MOA Memorandum of Arrangements MOU Memorandum of Understanding NAICS North American Industry Classification System NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking OMB Office of Management and Budget ROI Return on investment § Section symbol U.S.C. United States Code WGLPA Western Great Lakes Pilots Association II. Regulatory History

    On September 4, 2014, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Great Lakes Pilotage Rates—2015 Annual Review and Adjustment” in the Federal Register (79 FR 52602). We received 10 submissions on the NPRM from multiple sources, including pilotage associations, pilots, pilot organizations, and shippers. No public meeting was requested and none was held.

    On December 1, 2014, we published the recently completed revenue audits of the pilot associations and reopened the public comment period in the Federal Register (79 FR 71082). We received 5 submissions on the revenue audits.

    III. Basis and Purpose

    The basis of this final rule is the Great Lakes Pilotage Act of 1960 (“the Act”) (46 U.S.C. Chapter 93), which requires U.S. vessels operating “on register” 1 and foreign vessels to use U.S. or Canadian registered pilots while transiting the U.S. waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes system. 46 U.S.C. 9302(a)(1). The Act requires the Secretary to “prescribe by regulation rates and charges for pilotage services, giving consideration to the public interest and the costs of providing the services.” 46 U.S.C. 9303(f). Rates must be established or reviewed and adjusted each year, not later than March 1. Base rates must be established by a full ratemaking at least once every 5 years, and in years when base rates are not established, they must be reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted. Id. The Secretary's duties and authority under the Act have been delegated to the Coast Guard. Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, paragraph (92)(f). Coast Guard regulations implementing the Act appear in parts 401 through 404 of Title 46, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Procedures for use in establishing base rates appear in 46 CFR part 404, Appendix A, and procedures for annual review and adjustment of existing base rates appear in 46 CFR part 404, Appendix C.

    1 “On register” means that the vessel's certificate of documentation has been endorsed with a registry endorsement, and therefore, may be employed in foreign trade or trade with Guam, American Samoa, Wake, Midway, or Kingman Reef. 46 U.S.C. 12105, 46 CFR 67.17.

    The purpose of this final rule is to establish new base pilotage rates, using the methodology found in 46 CFR part 404, Appendix A.

    IV. Background

    The vessels affected by this final rule are those engaged in foreign trade upon the U.S. waters of the Great Lakes. United States and Canadian “lakers,” 2 which account for most commercial shipping on the Great Lakes, are not affected. 46 U.S.C. 9302.

    2 A “laker” is a commercial cargo vessel especially designed for and generally limited to use on the Great Lakes.

    The U.S. waters of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway are divided into three pilotage districts. Pilotage in each district is provided by an association certified by the Coast Guard Director of Great Lakes Pilotage to operate a pilotage pool. It is important to note that we do not control the actual compensation that pilots receive. The actual compensation is determined by each of the three district associations, which use different compensation practices.

    District One, consisting of Areas 1 and 2, includes all U.S. waters of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. District Two, consisting of Areas 4 and 5, includes all U.S. waters of Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and the St. Clair River. District Three, consisting of Areas 6, 7, and 8, includes all U.S. waters of the St. Mary's River, Sault Ste. Marie Locks, and Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior. Area 3 is the Welland Canal, which is serviced exclusively by the Canadian Great Lakes Pilotage Association (GLPA) and, accordingly, is not included in the United States rate structure. Areas 1, 5, and 7 have been designated by Presidential Proclamation, pursuant to the Act, to be waters in which pilots must, at all times, be fully engaged in the navigation of vessels in their charge. Areas 2, 4, 6, and 8 have not been so designated because they are open bodies of water. While working in those undesignated areas, pilots must only “be on board and available to direct the navigation of the vessel at the discretion of and subject to the customary authority of the master.” 46 U.S.C. 9302(a) (1) (B).

    This final rule is a full ratemaking to establish new base pilotage rates, using the methodology found in 46 CFR part 404, Appendix A (hereafter “Appendix A”). The last full ratemaking established the current base rates in March 2014 (79 FR 12084; Mar. 4, 2014). Among other things, the Appendix A methodology requires us to review detailed pilot association financial information, and we contract with independent accountants to assist in that review. We have now completed our review of the independent accountants' 2012 financial reports. The comments by the pilot associations on those reports and the independent accountants' final findings are discussed in our document titled “Summary—Independent Accountant's Report on Pilot Association Expenses, with Pilot Association Comments and Accountant's Responses,” which appears in the docket. In addition, we also use the independent accountant's review of pilot association revenues. The review, contracted by the Coast Guard, confirms the revenues of the pilot associations and it establishes a baseline of comparison between actual collected revenues and those projected by the rulemaking. The revenue reports also appear in the docket.

    V. Discussion of Comments and Changes

    We received 10 public submissions in response to the initial public comment period of our NPRM.

    In the NPRM, the Coast Guard proposed a 2.5 percent across the board rate increase for the three pilotage districts and varying surcharge levels across the three districts. However, due to the completion of the revenue audits during the initial comment period, the Coast Guard extended the comment period for 30 days for the public to comment on the revenue audits. We received an additional five comments to our supplementary comment period focusing on the revenue audits. Of all the comments we received, 10 came from pilots or pilot associations, 3 came from industry groups, and 2 came from the union whose contract data provides benchmark data for pilot compensation.

    Based on the comments and revenue audits, the Coast Guard is implementing a 10 percent across the board rate increase for the three pilotage districts and a 10 percent surcharge for each district. The reasoning behind the changes follows. Any further changes involving the Appendix A methodology will be published for notice and comment in a future rulemaking.

    A. Ratemaking Methodology

    Three commenters questioned various aspects of the ratemaking methodology. First, a pilot from the Western Great Lakes Pilots Association (WGLPA) questioned the application of bridge hours, as well as what the definition should include. We are currently working with the pilots, industry, and the American Pilots Association to finalize a new model to gauge necessary pilot strength. We plan to propose this model in a future rulemaking. We believe this coordinated, thorough process is needed to address the longstanding challenges with pilot recruitment and retention on the Great Lakes. Another pilot suggested that we need to incorporate multiple years of inflation in the rate to compensate for the time lapse between the conduct of the audits and the effective date of the rate. Under Step 1.C of the Appendix A methodology, the adjustment for inflation or deflation is a 1-year adjustment between the reported year (the audit year) and the succeeding navigation season. As we have stated in previous rulemakings, we are unable to incorporate a multiyear adjustment in the current methodology. We will consider changing this step in a future rulemaking.

    Also, the same commenter questioned our application of benefits to the American Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) contract. This is a longstanding issue and the commenter argues that we should multiply first mate wages and benefits by 150 percent to determine designated waters compensation. We disagree and continue to maintain that the 150 percent applies only to wages; benefits are then added to the result. As part of our extensive review of the Appendix A methodology, we are actively seeking alternative compensation benchmarks to the AMOU contracts. Another commenter believes that compensation must exceed that of the AMOU in order to successfully recruit future pilots. We agree that actual pilot compensation should be sufficient to attract and retain U.S. Registered Pilots and we are actively pursuing alternatives to the AMOU contracts for a new pilot compensation standard. Two commenters suggested that the pilot strength called for in the rate is inadequate. As discussed previously, we believe the current bridge hour standard is not an effective means of establishing pilot strength. We plan to continue efforts to develop a new pilot strength model based on feedback from the stakeholders and will provide it for public comment in a future rulemaking. Another commenter questioned the effective date of the rate, saying that the rate should go into effect at the start of the season instead of aligning with the union contract start date of August 1. Since the AMOU contracts are part of the current Appendix A methodology, August 1 continues to be the effective date of the rate. We are open to adjusting the effective date of the rate in a future rulemaking in coordination with our expansive review of the methodology if doing so will enhance the delivery of safe, efficient, and reliable service.

    Additionally, five commenters questioned use of our discretion under Step 7 of the Appendix A methodology. Two of those commenters, a member of industry and a pilot, disagree with our basis for Step 7 adjustments, citing insufficient support for our justification of parity adjustments under the Memorandum of Arrangements/Memorandum of Understanding (MOA/MOU) with Canada and Executive Order (E.O.) 13609. We disagree. The purpose of the MOA/MOU and E.O. 13609 is to work to better align U.S. and Canadian regulatory schemes. We agree that the new MOU has a less strict interpretation of parity, seeking comparable rates over identical ones. However, we believe that the revenue shortfall against projections uncovered in the recently completed audits calls for action. Our actions to seek comparable rates are undercut by overprojections and the inability of the current billing scheme to generate sufficient revenue to operate the pilotage associations. The third commenter, also a member of industry, asserts that the results of our calculations represent a “serious flaw” in the methodology. We plan to address the challenges with the current methodology in a future rulemaking. We neither believe the calculations resulting from the methodology in this rule are representative of economic conditions in the Great Lakes region, nor do they represent increased efficiencies of the pilot organizations. As such, we continue to utilize our Step 7 discretion to adjust them.

    Another commenter stated that the Canadian GLPA is actually raising their rates only 1 percent rather than 2.5 percent as stated in the NPRM. While we continue to strive for comparability with Canadian rates, our greater concern currently is the gap in revenue. Thus, we seek to actively close the confirmed revenue gap between pilot association collections and Coast Guard projections by increasing the rate. The gap highlighted in the revenue audits points to an even greater disparity between U.S. and Canadian rates on the Great Lakes that must be addressed.

    This leads into a discussion of the final commenter on the ratemaking methodology. The remaining commenter highlights the gap between revenues projected in the rate and those actually collected by the pilot association, as well as the second and third order effects of that gap. Based on a review of the recently completed revenue audits, we agree with the commenter that the gap between revenue projections in the rate and the revenues actually collected by the pilot associations presents an untenable situation. The revenue projections in the rate for each pilot association directly impact each association's ability to provide safe, efficient, and reliable service. Since the actual revenues collected by the associations fall well short of our projections, we are utilizing our Step 7 discretion to increase the rates in all areas by 10 percent. This rate increase will begin to address the significant shortfall in pilotage revenue against our projections. We believe that the current shortfall in revenue is a result of both bridge hour projections and a billing scheme that is not properly baselined to collect appropriate revenue. Rate increases to address the shortfall will continue to be separate and distinct from the temporary surcharges applied in the districts for training and investments.

    B. AMOU Contracts

    Five commenters-three pilots or pilots' representatives and two officials from the AMOU-addressed our use of AMOU contracts to estimate average annual compensation for U.S. Registered Pilots in Step 2.A of our Appendix A ratemaking methodology. Since the application of these contracts is currently the subject of pending litigation, we refrain from addressing these comments and will continue to utilize the AMOU contract data as we did in the 2013 and 2014 ratemakings.

    C. Surcharge

    Eight commenters-seven pilots or pilot associations and one member of industry-addressed the proposed surcharges in the NPRM. We received a comment from the Lakes Pilots Association, Inc. supporting the proposed surcharge for District Two. Commenters from both District One and District Three stated that they require two additional pilot applicants each above their authorized strength to deal with personnel turnover. We agree with both commenters. The pilotage associations are facing a wave of retirements, both expected and unexpected, and these additional applicant pilots are necessary to ensure the system continues to operate smoothly. The long lead time for pilot training necessitates that the pilot associations begin training now to address current pilot retirements as well as those projected for the next 24 months. Thus, we are using our surcharge authority to fund applicant pilots that exceed the current authorized pilot strength of the associations. Based on how three associations plan to compensate the applicants and the costs associated with training, we have estimated that a 5 percent surcharge is necessary to fund each applicant pilot. As you will see in the following discussion, we have established a 10 percent surcharge for each district in order to accelerate the costs associated with training 2 applicant pilots.

    In the case of District One, we agree with the need for two applicant pilots above their authorized strength of 11 pilots to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service. To fund these applicant pilots, we will increase their authorized surcharge to 10 percent.

    We also agree with the need for two applicant pilots above their authorized strength of 15 pilots to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service in District Three. Accordingly, we will fund two additional applicants above their authorized pilot strength and increase their authorized surcharge to 10 percent. As mentioned above, in conjunction with stakeholders, we are developing a new pilotage strength model that we will provide for public comment in a future rulemaking.

    Finally, a member of industry questioned the need for pilot training surcharges and the authority to charge for expenses not yet incurred. The Coast Guard has the authority to prescribe rates and charges pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 9303. Temporary surcharge authority was implemented through regulation in the 2014 ratemaking cycle. See 78 FR 48376. The surcharges include funds for professional training, investments in pilotage technology, and the costs to train and fund six new applicant pilots across the system. These applicants will all be in place for the 2015 shipping season and thus, through the temporary surcharge, the Coast Guard is accelerating recoupment of these important expenses. We fully support investments in professional development and technology to enhance the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the system. Further, we believe the recruitment, funding, and training of applicant pilots before the retirement of current registered pilots is essential to the stability of the system and to achieve and maintain acceptable levels of service. Any overages in surcharge collection against the actual costs will be adjusted in the next year's rate. We discuss surcharges further in Part VI after our discussion of other comments.

    D. Revenue Audits

    We received three comments on the revenue audits—two from pilots and one from industry. Both pilot commenters approved of the revenue audits and asked the Coast Guard to adjust for the differences between actual and projected revenues. We agree with these comments and have adjusted our rate increase to 10 percent across all districts to begin aligning actual and projected revenues. Our discussion in Step 7 provides additional discussion on this topic. It is clear that the audits for the 2013 Appendix A rulemaking demonstrate a significant shortfall. Since we only have a single data point, we plan to increase the base rate to fill this gap over a multi-year period. Ten percent is reasonable because this is greater than inflation and begins to align the revenues needed to provide safe, efficient, and reliable service with the actual revenues that our rulemakings generate. We will also work to address this discrepancy in a future rulemaking regarding the methodology. We discuss this further in Step 7 of the methodology. The industry commenter disapproves of the open-ended nature of the comment period, seeking further clarity regarding our plan for use of the revenue audits and a better explanation of our use of discretion. We disagree. The comment period was set up to allow access by all parties to the revenue audits and to provide feedback to the Coast Guard regarding their review and incorporation into the ratemaking methodology. The revenue audits clearly point to a shortcoming in the billing scheme and methodology that significantly reduces actual revenue. Failure to act on the revenue audits would ignore the point “and other supportable economic factors” in Step 7 of the methodology. While we do not propose a solution for the methodology in this rulemaking, we are working to develop new proposals to address the significant hindrances of the current methodology. The discretion exercised in Step 7 seeks to maintain safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service while we prepare a future rulemaking to address the current methodology.

    E. Pilot Boats

    We received two comments regarding purchase of new pilot boats. District Two submitted information regarding the purchase of a new boat for use in Detroit for consideration in the rate. However, based on the documents submitted, the pilots have reached an agreement with the Canadian GLPA and industry to fund the pilot boat through usage fees, not through the rate. As a result, the expenses associated with the new pilot boat will not be included in the 2015 rate. Similarly, a pilot from the WGLPA believes that infrastructure investment in a new dock and new pilot boat near Sault Sainte Marie, MI should be included in the rate. We disagree. Like District Two, the letter of intent signed between the WGLPA and the Canadian GLPA plans to recoup the cost of their infrastructure improvement through levied pilot boat fees, not the pilotage rate. We support and encourage the investment of both associations in badly needed infrastructure and capital assets but cannot allow recoupment of expenses already marked to be paid by industry separately.

    VI. Summary of the Rule and Discussion of Methodology A. Summary of the Rule

    We are establishing new base pilotage rates in accordance with the methodology outlined in Appendix A to 46 CFR part 404. The new rates will be established by March 1, 2015 and become effective August 1, 2015. Our calculations under Steps 1 through 6 of Appendix A would result in an average 12 percent rate decrease. This rate decrease is not the result of increased efficiencies in providing pilotage services but rather is a result of changes to AMOU contract data.

    Additionally, the recently completed revenue audits demonstrate a significant shortfall between revenues projected by the Coast Guard using the Appendix A methodology and those actually captured by the current billing scheme. This gap, explained further in our Step 7 discussion, demonstrates that a more significant rate increase is necessary to promote a standard safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service by ensuring the pilot associations have sufficient actual revenue to continue operations. Therefore, we will continue to exercise the discretion outlined in Step 7, increasing rates by 10 percent to begin closing the gap between projected revenues and those actually collected by the pilot associations. Table 1 shows the percent change for the new rates for each area.

    Secondly, we are implementing temporary surcharges for the pilot associations to recoup necessary and reasonable training and investment expenses incurred or that are expected to be incurred prior to the required March 1, 2015 publication of the final rule. Normally, these expenses would not be recognized until the 2016 annual ratemaking or later. By authorizing the temporary surcharges now, this action will accelerate the reimbursement for necessary and reasonable training and investment expenses. The surcharge will be authorized for the duration of the 2015 shipping season, which begins in March 2015. The value of the surcharges is based on the audited revenues of the pilot associations and the identified need to train two additional pilot applicants per District. This action will merely accelerate the recoupment of these expenses. At the conclusion of the 2015 shipping season, we would account for the monies generated by the surcharge and make adjustments as necessary to the operating expenses for the following year.

    In District One, we are implementing a temporary surcharge of 10 percent to compensate pilots for $28,028.91 that the District One pilot association spent on training in 2013 and early 2014, as well as the anticipated $300,000 cost to train two new applicant pilots and prepare replacements for retiring pilots. We believe this training is necessary and reasonable to promote safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage on the Great Lakes and support the St. Lawrence Seaway Pilots Association's continued commitment to the training and professional development of their pilots.

    Additionally, we are implementing a temporary surcharge of 10 percent in District Two to compensate pilots for $300,000 that the District Two pilot association spent training two applicant pilots in 2014. This is necessary and reasonable to allow the association to bring on new pilots in the face of upcoming retirements without adjusting the pilotage needs as determined by the ratemaking methodology. This surcharge will also accelerate the repayment of the association's investment in upgraded technology ($25,829.80) to enhance the situational awareness of pilots on the bridge. We believe this needed technology will assist in the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the system.

    Next, we are implementing a temporary surcharge of 10 percent in District Three to compensate pilots for $26,950 that the District Three pilot association plans to spend on training at the conclusion of the 2014 shipping season. We believe this training is necessary and reasonable for the provision of safe pilotage service. This also compensates District Three for the anticipated $300,000 cost of training two additional pilot applicants to increase pilot strength and advance safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service in the district.

    All figures in the tables that follow are based on calculations performed either by an independent accountant or by the Director's 3 staff. In both cases, those calculations were performed using common commercial computer programs. Decimalization and rounding of the audited and calculated data affects the display in these tables but does not affect the calculations. The calculations are based on the actual figures, which are rounded for presentation in the tables.

    3 “Director” is the Coast Guard Director, Great Lakes Pilotage, which is used throughout this rule.

    Table 1—Summary of Rate Adjustments Based on Step 7 Discretion If pilotage service is required in: Then the percent change over the current rate is: Area 1 (Designated waters) 10 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) 10 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) 10 Area 5 (Designated waters) 10 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) 10 Area 7 (Designated waters) 10 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) 10 B. Discussion of the Methodology

    The Appendix A methodology provides seven steps, with sub-steps, for calculating rate adjustments. The following discussion describes those steps and sub-steps, and includes tables showing how we have applied them to the 2012 financial information supplied by the pilots association.

    Step 1: Projection of Operating Expenses. In this step, we project the amount of vessel traffic annually. Based on that projection, we forecast the amount of necessary and reasonable operating expenses that pilotage rates should recover.

    Step 1.A: Submission of Financial Information. This sub-step requires each pilot association to provide us with detailed financial information in accordance with 46 CFR part 403. The associations complied with this requirement, supplying 2012 financial information in 2013. This is the most current and complete data set we have available.

    Step 1.B: Determination of Recognizable Expenses. This sub-step requires us to determine which reported association expenses will be recognized for ratemaking purposes, using the guidelines shown in 46 CFR 404.5. We contracted with an independent accountant to review the reported expenses and submit findings recommending which reported expenses should be recognized. The accountant also reviewed which reported expenses should be adjusted prior to recognition or disallowed for ratemaking purposes. The accountant's preliminary findings were sent to the pilot associations, they reviewed and commented on those findings, and the accountant then finalized the findings. The Director reviewed and accepted the final findings, resulting in the determination of recognizable expenses. The preliminary findings, the associations' comments on those findings, and the final findings are all discussed in the “Summary—Independent Accountant's Report on Pilot Association Expenses, with Pilot Association Comments and Accountant's Responses,” which appears in the docket. Tables 2 through 4 show each association's recognized expenses.

    Table 2—Recognized Expenses for District One Reported expenses for 2012 Area 1 St. Lawrence River Area 2 Lake Ontario Total Operating Expenses: Other Pilotage Costs: Pilot subsistence/Travel $227,199 $137,315 $364,514 License insurance 0 0 0 Payroll taxes 62,038 48,452 110,490 Other 596 549 1,145 Total Other Pilotage Costs 289,833 186,316 476,149 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat expense 108,539 95,405 203,944 Dispatch expense 0 0 0 Payroll taxes 13,429 11,804 25,233 Total Pilot and Dispatch Costs 121,968 107,209 229,177 Administrative Expenses: Legal—general counsel 1,369 1,281 2,650 Legal—lobbying 3,957 3,478 7,435 Insurance 21,907 18,998 40,905 Employee benefits 21,281 18,509 39,790 Payroll taxes 0 0 0 Other taxes 18,491 15,801 34,292 Travel 473 416 889 Depreciation/Auto leasing/Other 38,346 33,705 72,051 Interest 15,484 13,610 29,094 Dues and subscriptions 13,740 10,240 23,980 Utilities 4,549 3,897 8,446 Salaries 48,837 42,927 91,764 Accounting/Professional fees 4,683 4,317 9,000 Pilot Training 26,353 21,961 48,314 Other 10,689 8,974 19,663 Total Administrative Expenses 230,159 198,114 428,273 Total Operating Expenses 641,960 491,639 1,133,599 Adjustments (Independent certified public accountant (CPA)): Pilotage subsistence/Travel (887) (779) (1,666) Payroll taxes (13,719) (12,058) (25,777) Dues and subscriptions (13,740) (10,240) (23,980) TOTAL CPA ADJUSTMENTS (28,346) (23,077) (51,423) Adjustments (Director): American Pilots Association (APA) Dues 11,679 8,704 20,383 Pilot Training (surcharge) (26,353) (21,961) (48,314) Legal—lobbying (3,957) (3,478) (7,435) TOTAL DIRECTOR ADJUSTMENTS (18,631) (16,735) (35,366) Total Operating Expenses 594,983 451,827 1,046,810 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding. Table 3—Recognized Expenses for District Two Reported Expenses for 2012 Area 4 Lake Erie Area 5 Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI Total Operating Expenses: Other Pilotage Costs: Pilot subsistence/Travel 86,947 130,421 217,368 License insurance 6,168 9,252 15,420 Payroll taxes 42,218 63,328 105,546 Other 23,888 35,833 59,721 Total Other Pilotage Costs 159,221 238,834 398,055 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat expense 131,285 196,930 328,215 Dispatch expense 6,600 9,900 16,500 Employee Benefits 48,310 72,465 120,775 Payroll taxes 7,412 11,119 18,531 Total Pilot and Dispatch Costs 193,607 290,414 484,021 Administrative Expenses: Legal—general counsel 2,054 3,082 5,136 Legal—lobbying 2,704 4,055 6,759 Legal—litigation 6,488 9,733 16,221 Office rent 26,275 39,413 65,688 Insurance 10,682 16,024 26,706 Employee benefits 16,452 24,678 41,130 Payroll taxes 4,143 6,216 10,359 Other taxes 12,546 18,819 31,365 Depreciation/Auto leasing/Other 9,074 13,610 22,684 Interest 2,989 4,483 7,472 Utilities 13,917 20,876 34,793 Salaries 36,252 54,377 90,629 Accounting/Professional fees 11,764 17,646 29,410 Pilot Training 0 0 0 Other 9,405 14,108 23,513 Total Administrative Expenses 164,745 247,120 411,865 Total Operating Expenses 517,573 776,368 1,293,941 Adjustments (Independent CPA): Pilot subsistence/Travel (1,982) (2,974) (4,956) Employee benefits (3,585) (5,378) (8,963) TOTAL CPA ADJUSTMENTS (5,567) (8,352) (13,919) Adjustments (Director): Federal Tax Allowance (5,200) (7,800) (13,000) APA Dues 7,344 11,016 18,360 Legal—lobbying (2,704) (4,055) (6,759) Legal—litigation (6,488) (9,733) (16,221) TOTAL DIRECTOR ADJUSTMENTS (7,048) (10,572) (17,620) Total Operating Expenses 504,958 757,444 1,262,402 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding. Table 4—Recognized expenses for District Three Reported expenses for 2012 Area 6 Lakes Huron and Michigan Area 7 St. Mary's River Area 8 Lake Superior Total Operating Expenses: Other Pilotage Costs: Pilot subsistence/Travel $180,316 $77,278 $110,398 $367,992 License insurance 8,859 3,797 5,424 18,080 Payroll taxes 0 0 0 0 Other 2,875 1,232 1,760 5,867 Total Other Pilotage Costs 192,050 82,307 117,582 391,939 Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs: Pilot boat expense 261,937 112,259 160,370 534,566 Dispatch expense 81,958 35,125 50,178 167,261 Payroll taxes 8,203 3,515 5,022 16,740 Total Pilot Boat and Dispatch Costs 352,098 150,899 215,570 718,567 Administrative Expenses: Legal—lobbying 4,304 1,845 2,635 8,784 Office rent 4,851 2,079 2,970 9,900 Insurance 6,469 2,773 3,961 13,203 Employee benefits 77,348 33,149 47,356 157,854 Payroll taxes 5,404 2,316 3,309 11,029 Other taxes 941 403 576 1,920 Depreciation/Auto leasing 17,462 7,484 10,691 35,637 Interest 2,692 1,154 1,648 5,494 Utilities 20,950 8,979 12,827 42,756 Salaries 54,003 23,144 33,063 110,210 Accounting/Professional fees 13,157 5,639 8,055 26,851 Pilot Training 0 0 0 0 Other 4,657 1,996 2,851 9,504 Total Administrative Expenses 212,238 90,961 129,942 433,141 Total Operating Expenses 756,386 324,167 463,094 1,543,647 Adjustments (Independent CPA): Pilot subsistence/travel (5,303) (2,273) (3,247) (10,823) Payroll taxes 44,613 19,120 27,314 91,046 Other taxes (1,761) (755) (1,078) (3,594) Other (637) (273) (390) (1,300) TOTAL CPA ADJUSTMENTS 36,912 15,819 22,599 75,329 Adjustments (Director): APA dues 11,695 5,012 7,160 23,868 Legal—lobbying (4,304) (1,845) (2,635) (8,784) TOTAL DIRECTOR ADJUSTMENTS 7,391 3,167 4,525 15,084 Total Operating Expenses 800,689 343,153 490,218 1,634,060 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    Step 1.C: Adjustment for Inflation or Deflation. In this sub-step, we project rates of inflation or deflation for the succeeding navigation season. Because we used 2012 financial information, the “succeeding navigation season” for this ratemaking is 2013. We based our inflation adjustment of 1.4 percent on the 2013 change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Midwest Region of the United States, which can be found at http://www.bls.gov/xg_shells/ro5xg01.htm. This adjustment appears in Tables 5 through 7.

    The Coast Guard is aware that the current annual adjustment for inflation does not account for the value of money over time. We are working on a solution to allow for a better approximation of actual costs.

    Table 5—Inflation Adjustment, District One Reported expenses for 2012 Area 1 St. Lawrence River Area 2 Lake Ontario Total Total Operating Expenses: $594,983 $451,827 $1,046,810 2013 change in the CPI for the Midwest Region of the United States × .014 × .014 × .014 Inflation Adjustment = $8,330 = $6,326 = $14,655 Table 6—Inflation Adjustment, District Two Reported expenses for 2012 Area 4 Lake Erie Area 5 Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI Total Total Operating Expenses $504,958 $757,444 $1,262,402 2013 change in the CPI for the Midwest Region of the United States × .014 × .014 × .014 Inflation Adjustment = $7,069 = $10,604 = $17,674 Table 7—Inflation adjustment, District Three Reported expenses for 2012 Area 6 Lakes Huron and Michigan Area 7 St. Mary's River Area 8 Lake Superior Total Total Operating Expenses $800,689 $343,153 $490,218 $1,634,060 2013 change in the CPI for the Midwest Region of the United States × .014 × .014 × .014 × .014 Inflation Adjustment = $11,210 = $4,804 = $6,863 = $22,877

    Step 1.D: Projection of Operating Expenses. In this final sub-step of Step 1, we project the operating expenses for each pilotage area on the basis of the preceding sub-steps and any other foreseeable circumstances that could affect the accuracy of the projection.

    For District One, the projected operating expenses are based on the calculations from Steps 1.A through 1.C. Table 8 shows these projections.

    Table 8—Projected Operating Expenses, District One Reported expenses for 2012 Area 1 St. Lawrence River Area 2 Lake Ontario Total Total operating expenses $594,983 $451,827 $1,046,810 Inflation adjustment 1.4% + $8,330 + $6,326 + $14,655 Total projected expenses for 2015 pilotage season = $603,313 = $458,153 = $1,061,465 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    In District Two the projected operating expenses are based on the calculations from Steps 1.A through 1.C. Table 9 shows these projections.

    Table 9—Projected Operating Expenses, District Two Reported expenses for 2012 Area 4 Lake Erie Area 5 Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI Total Total Operating Expenses $504,958 $757,444 $1,262,402 Inflation adjustment 1.4% + 7,069 + 10,604 + 17,674 Total projected expenses for 2015 pilotage season = 512,027 = 768,048 = 1,280,076

    In District Three, projected operating expenses are based on the calculations from Steps 1.A through 1.C. Table 10 shows these projections.

    Table 10—Projected Operating Expenses, District Three Reported expenses for 2012 Area 6 Lakes Huron and Michigan Area 7 St. Mary's River Area 8 Lake Superior Total Total Expenses $800,689 $343,153 $490,218 $1,634,060 Inflation adjustment 1.4% + 11,210 + 4,804 + 6,863 + 22,877 Total projected expenses for 2015 pilotage season = 811,899 = 347,957 = 497,081 = 1,656,937

    Step 2: Projection of Target Pilot Compensation. In Step 2, we project the annual amount of target pilot compensation that pilotage rates should provide in each area. These projections are based on our latest information on the conditions that will prevail in 2015.

    Step 2.A: Determination of Target Rate of Compensation. Target pilot compensation for pilots in undesignated waters approximates the average annual compensation for first mates on U.S. Great Lakes vessels. Compensation is determined based on the most current union contracts and includes wages and benefits received by first mates. We calculate target pilot compensation on designated waters by multiplying the average first mates' wages by 150 percent and then adding the average first mates' benefits.

    We rely upon union contract data provided by the AMOU, which has agreements with three U.S. companies engaged in Great Lakes shipping. We derive the data from two separate AMOU contracts—we refer to them as Agreements A and B—and apportion the compensation provided by each agreement according to the percentage of tonnage represented by companies under each agreement. Agreement A applies to vessels operated by Key Lakes, Inc., and Agreement B applies to vessels operated by American Steamship Co. and Mittal Steel USA, Inc.

    Agreements A and B both expire on July 31, 2016. The AMOU has set the daily aggregate rate, including the daily wage rate, vacation pay, pension plan contributions, and medical plan contributions effective August 1, 2015, as follows: (1) In undesignated waters, $632.12 for Agreement A and $624.34 for Agreement B; and (2) In designated waters, $870.05 for Agreement A and $856.42 for Agreement B.

    Because we are interested in annual compensation, we must convert these daily rates. We use a 270-day multiplier which reflects an average 30-day month, over the 9 months of the average shipping season. Table 11 shows our calculations using the 270-day multiplier.

    Table 11—Projected Annual Aggregate Rate Components Aggregate Rate-Wages and Vacation, Pension, and Medical Benefits Pilots on undesignated waters Agreement A: $632.12 daily rate × 270 days $170,672.40 Agreement B: $624.34 daily rate × 270 days 168,571.80 Pilots on designated waters Agreement A: $870.05 daily rate × 270 days 234,913.50 Agreement B: $856.42 daily rate × 270 days 231,233.40

    We apportion the compensation provided by each agreement according to the percentage of tonnage represented by companies under each agreement. Agreement A applies to vessels operated by Key Lakes, Inc., representing approximately 30 percent of tonnage, and Agreement B applies to vessels operated by American Steamship Co. and Mittal Steel USA, Inc., representing approximately 70 percent of tonnage. Table 12 provides details.

    Table 12—Shipping Tonnage Apportioned by Contract Company Agreement A Agreement B American Steamship Company 815,600 Mittal Steel USA, Inc 38,826 Key Lakes, Inc 361,385 Total tonnage, each agreement 361,385 854,426 Percent tonnage, each agreement 361,385 ÷ 1,215,811 = 29.7238% 854,426 ÷ 1,215,811 = 70.2762%

    We use the percentages from Table 12 to apportion the projected compensation from Table 11. This gives us a single tonnage-weighted set of figures. Table 13 shows our calculations.

    Table 13—Tonnage-Weighted Wage and Benefit Components Undesignated waters Designated waters Agreement A: Total wages and benefits $170,672.40 $234,913.50 Percent tonnage × 29.7238% × 29.7238% Total = $50,730 = $69,825 Agreement B: Total wages and benefits $168,571.80 $231,233.40 Percent tonnage × 70.2762% × 70.2762% Total = $118,466 = $162,502 Projected Target Rate of Compensation: Agreement A total weighted average wages and benefits $50,730 $69,825 Agreement B total weighted average wages and benefits + $118,466 + $162,502 Total = $169,196 = $232,327

    Step 2.B: Determination of the Number of Pilots Needed. Subject to adjustment by the Director to ensure uninterrupted service or for other reasonable circumstances, we determine the number of pilots needed for ratemaking purposes in each area through dividing projected bridge hours for each area by either the 1,000 (designated waters) or 1,800 (undesignated waters) bridge hours specified in Step 2.B. We round the mathematical results and express our determination as a whole number of pilots.

    According to 46 CFR part 404, Appendix A, Step 2.B(1), bridge hours are the number of hours a pilot is aboard a vessel providing pilotage service. For that reason, and as we explained most recently in the 2011 ratemaking's final rule (76 FR 6351 at 6352 col. 3 (Feb. 4, 2011)), we do not include, and never have included, pilot delay, detention, or cancellation in calculating bridge hours. Projected bridge hours are based on the vessel traffic that pilots are expected to serve. We use historical data, input from the pilots and industry, periodicals and trade magazines, and information from conferences to project demand for pilotage services for the coming year.

    In our 2014 final rule, we determined that 36 pilots would be needed for ratemaking purposes. For 2015, we project 36 pilots is still the proper number to use for ratemaking purposes. The total pilot authorization strength includes five pilots in Area 2, where rounding up alone would result in only four pilots. For the same reasons we explained at length in the 2008 ratemaking final rule (74 FR 220 at 221-22 (Jan. 5, 2009)), we have determined that this adjustment is essential for ensuring uninterrupted pilotage service in Area 2. Table 14 shows the bridge hours we project will be needed for each area and our calculations to determine the whole number of pilots needed for ratemaking purposes.

    Table 14—Number of Pilots Needed Pilotage area Projected 2015 bridge hours Divided by 1,000 (designated waters) or 1,800
  • (undesignated
  • waters)
  • Calculated value of pilot demand Pilots needed (total = 36)
    Area 1 (Designated waters) 5,116 ÷ 1,000 = 5.116 6 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) 5,429 ÷ 1,800 = 3.016 5 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) 5,814 ÷ 1,800 = 3.230 4 Area 5 (Designated waters) 5,052 ÷ 1,000 = 5.052 6 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) 9,611 ÷ 1,800 = 5.339 6 Area 7 (Designated waters) 3,023 ÷ 1,000 = 3.023 4 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) 7,540 ÷ 1,800 = 4.189 5

    Step 2.C: Projection of Target Pilot Compensation. In Table 15, we project total target pilot compensation separately for each area by multiplying the number of pilots needed in each area, as shown in Table 14, by the target pilot compensation shown in Table 13.

    Table 15—Projection of Target Pilot Compensation by Area Pilotage area Pilots needed (total = 36) Target rate
  • of pilot
  • compensation
  • Projected
  • target pilot
  • compensation
  • Area 1 (Designated waters) 6 × $232,327 = $1,393,964 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) 5 × 169,196 = 845,981 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) 4 × 169,196 = 676,785 Area 5 (Designated waters) 6 × 232,327 = 1,393,964 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) 6 × 169,196 = 1,015,177 Area 7 (Designated waters) 4 × 232,327 = 929,309 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) 5 × 169,196 = 845,981 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    Steps 3 and 3.A: Projection of Revenue. In Steps 3 and 3.A., we project the revenue that would be received in 2015 if demand for pilotage services matches the bridge hours we projected in Table 14, and if 2014 pilotage rates are left unchanged. Table 16 shows this calculation.

    Table 16—Projection of Revenue by Area Pilotage area Projected 2015 bridge hours 2014 Pilotage rates Revenue
  • projection
  • for 2015
  • Area 1 (Designated waters) 5,116 × $472.50 = $2,417,285 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) 5,429 × 291.96 = 1,585,032 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) 5,814 × 210.40 = 1,223,262 Area 5 (Designated waters) 5,052 × 521.64 = 2,635,314 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) 9,611 × 204.95 = 1,969,800 Area 7 (Designated waters) 3,023 × 495.01 = 1,496,427 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) 7,540 × 191.34 = 1,442,677 Total 12,769,797 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    Step 4: Calculation of Investment Base. In this step, we calculate each association's investment base, which is the recognized capital investment in the assets employed by the association to support pilotage operations. This step uses a formula set out in 46 CFR part 404, Appendix B. The first part of the formula identifies each association's total sources of funds. Tables 17 through 19 follow the formula up to that point.

    Table 17—Total Sources of Funds, District One Area 1 Area 2 Recognized Assets: Total Current Assets $532,237 $467,833 Total Current Liabilities 61,808 54,329 Current Notes Payable + 23,413 + 20,579 Total Property and Equipment (NET) + 445,044 + 391,191 Land 11,727 10,308 Total Other Assets + 0 + 0 Total Recognized Assets = 927,159 = 814,966 Non-Recognized Assets: Total Investments and Special Funds + 6,452 + 5,672 Total Non-Recognized Assets = 6,452 = 5,672 Total Assets: Total Recognized Assets 927,159 814,966 Total Non-Recognized Assets + 6,452 + 5,672 Total Assets = 933,611 = 820,638 Recognized Sources of Funds: Total Stockholder Equity 659,141 579,380 Long-Term Debt + 262,785 + 230,986 Current Notes Payable + 23,413 + 20,579 Advances from Affiliated Companies + 0 + 0 Long-Term Obligations—Capital Leases + 0 + 0 Total Recognized Sources = 945,339 = 830,945 Non-Recognized Sources of Funds: Pension Liability 0 0 Other Non-Current Liabilities + 0 + 0 Deferred Federal Income Taxes + 10,675 + 9,383 Other Deferred Credits + 0 + 0 Total Non-Recognized Sources = 10,675 = 9,383 Total Sources of Funds: Total Recognized Sources 945,339 830,945 Total Non-Recognized Sources + 10,675 + 9,383 Total Sources of Funds = 956,014 = 840,328 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding. Table 18—Total Sources of Funds, District Two Area 4 Area 5 Recognized Assets: Total Current Assets 498,456 747,683 Total Current Liabilities 494,410 741,614 Current Notes Payable + 33,962 + 50,942 Total Property and Equipment (NET) + 436,063 + 654,094 Land 0 0 Total Other Assets + 60,418 + 90,627 Total Recognized Assets = 534,488 = 801,733 Non-Recognized Assets: Total Investments and Special Funds + 0 + 0 Total Non-Recognized Assets = 0 = 0 Total Assets: Total Recognized Assets 534,488 801,733 Total Non-Recognized Assets + 0 + 0 Total Assets = 534,488 = 801,733 Recognized Sources of Funds: Total Stockholder Equity 85,846 128,768 Long-Term Debt + 414,681 + 622,022 Current Notes Payable + 33,962 + 50,942 Advances from Affiliated Companies + 0 + 0 Long-Term Obligations—Capital Leases + 0 + 0 Total Recognized Sources = 534,488 = 801,733 Non-Recognized Sources of Funds: Pension Liability 0 0 Other Non-Current Liabilities + 0 + 0 Deferred Federal Income Taxes + 0 + 0 Other Deferred Credits + 0 + 0 Total Non-Recognized Sources = 0 = 0 Total Sources of Funds: Total Recognized Sources 534,488 801,733 Total Non-Recognized Sources + 0 + 0 Total Sources of Funds = 534,488 = 801,733 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding. Table 19—Total Sources of Funds, District Three Area 6 Area 7 Area 8 Recognized Assets: Total Current Assets 656,459 281,340 401,914 Total Current Liabilities 82,775 35,475 50,679 Current Notes Payable + 7,730 + 3,313 + 4,733 Total Property and Equipment (NET) + 19,611 + 8,405 + 12,007 Land 0 0 0 Total Other Assets + 490 + 210 + 300 Total Recognized Assets = 601,515 = 257,793 = 368,275 Non-Recognized Assets: Total Investments and Special Funds + 0 + 0 + 0 Total Non-Recognized Assets = 0 = 0 = 0 Total Assets: Total Recognized Assets 601,515 257,793 368,275 Total Non-Recognized Assets + 0 + 0 + 0 Total Assets = 601,515 = 257,793 = 368,275 Recognized Sources of Funds: Total Stockholder Equity 586,300 251,271 358,959 Long-Term Debt + 7,485 + 3,208 + 4,583 Current Notes Payable + 7,730 + 3,313 + 4,733 Advances from Affiliated Companies + 0 + 0 + 0 Long-Term Obligations - Capital Leases + 0 + 0 + 0 Total Recognized Sources = 601,515 = 257,793 = 368,275 Non-Recognized Sources of Funds: Pension Liability 0 0 0 Other Non-Current Liabilities + 0 + 0 + 0 Deferred Federal Income Taxes + 0 + 0 + 0 Other Deferred Credits + 0 + 0 + 0 Total Non-Recognized Sources = 0 = 0 = 0 Total Sources of Funds: Total Recognized Sources 601,515 257,792 368,275 Total Non-Recognized Sources + 0 + 0 + 0 Total Sources of Funds = 601,515 = 257,792 = 368,275 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    Tables 17 through 19 also relate to the second part of the formula for calculating the investment base. The second part establishes a ratio between recognized sources of funds and total sources of funds. Since non-recognized sources of funds (sources we do not recognize as required to support pilotage operations) only exist for District One for this year's rulemaking, the ratio between recognized sources of funds and total sources of funds is 1:1 (or a multiplier of 1) for Districts Two and Three. District One has a multiplier of 0.99. Table 20 applies the multiplier of 0.99 and 1 as necessary and shows the investment base for each association. Table 20 also expresses these results by area, because area results will be needed in subsequent steps.

    Table 20—Investment Base by Area and District District Area Total
  • recognized
  • assets
  • ($)
  • Recognized sources of funds
  • ($)
  • Total sources of funds
  • ($)
  • Multiplier (ratio of recognized to total sources) Investment base
  • ($) 1
  • One 1 927,159 945,339 956,014 0.99 916,806 2 814,966 830,945 840,328 0.99 805,866 Total 1,722,672 Two 2 4 534,488 534,488 534,488 1 534,488 5 801,733 801,733 801,733 1 801,733 Total 1,336,221 Three 6 601,515 601,515 601,515 1 601,515 7 257,793 257,792 257,792 1 257,793 8 368,275 368,275 368,275 1 368,275 Total 1,227,581 1 “Investment base” = “Total recognized assets” × “Multiplier (ratio of recognized to total sources)”. 2 The pilot associations that provide pilotage services in Districts One and Three operate as partnerships. The pilot association that provides pilotage service for District Two operates as a corporation. Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    Step 5: Determination of Target Rate of Return. We determine a market-equivalent return on investment (ROI) that will be allowed for the recognized net capital invested in each association by its members. We do not recognize capital that is unnecessary or unreasonable for providing pilotage services. There are no non-recognized investments in this year's calculations. The allowed ROI is based on the preceding year's average annual rate of return for new issues of high-grade corporate securities. For 2013, the preceding year, the allowed ROI was 4.24 percent, based on the average rate of return for that year on Moody's AAA corporate bonds, which can be found at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/AAA/downloaddata?cid=119.

    Step 6: Adjustment Determination. The first part of the adjustment determination requires an initial calculation, applying a formula described in Appendix A. The formula uses the results from Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 to project the ROI that can be expected in each area if no further adjustments are made. This calculation is shown in Tables 21 through 23.

    Table 21—Projected ROI, Areas in District One Area 1 Area 2 Revenue (from Step 3) $2,417,285 $1,585,032 Operating Expenses (from Step 1) $603,313 $458,153 Pilot Compensation (from Step 2) $1,393,964 $845,981 Operating Profit/(Loss) = $420,009 = $280,899 Interest Expense (from audits) $15,484 $13,610 Earnings Before Tax = $404,525 = $267,289 Federal Tax Allowance $0 $0 Net Income = $404,525 = $267,289 Return Element (Net Income + Interest) $420,009 $280,899 Investment Base (from Step 4) ÷ $916,806 ÷ $805,866 Projected Return on Investment = 0.46 = 0.35 Table 22—Projected ROI, Areas in District Two Area 4 Area 5 Revenue (from Step 3) $1,223,262 $2,635,314 Operating Expenses (from Step 1) $512,027 $768,048 Pilot Compensation (from Step 2) $676,785 $1,393,964 Operating Profit/(Loss) = $34,450 = $473,302 Interest Expense (from audits) $2,989 $4,483 Earnings Before Tax = $31,461 = $468,819 Federal Tax Allowance $5,200 $7,800 Net Income = $26,261 = $461,019 Return Element (Net Income + Interest) $29,250 $465,502 Investment Base (from Step 4) ÷ $534,488 ÷ $801,733 Projected Return on Investment = 0.05 = 0.58 Table 23—Projected ROI, Areas in District Three Area 6 Area 7 Area 8 Revenue (from Step 3) $1,969,800 $1,496,427 $1,442,677 Operating Expenses (from Step 1) $811,899 $347,957 $497,081 Pilot Compensation (from Step 2) $1,015,177 $929,309 $845,981 Operating Profit/(Loss) = $142,724 = $219,161 = $99,615 Interest Expense (from audits) $2,692 $1,154 $1,648 Earnings Before Tax = $140,032 = $218,007 = $97,967 Federal Tax Allowance $0 $0 $0 Net Income = $140,032 = $218,007 = $97,967 Return Element (Net Income + Interest) $142,724 $219,161 $99,615 Investment Base (from Step 4) ÷ $601,515 ÷ $257,793 ÷ $368,275 Projected Return on Investment = 0.24 = 0.85 = 0.27

    The second part required for Step 6 compares the results of Tables 21 through 23 with the target ROI (4.24 percent) we obtained in Step 5 to determine if an adjustment to the base pilotage rate is necessary. Table 24 shows this comparison for each area.

    Table 24—Comparison of projected ROI and Target ROI, by Area1 Area 1 St. Lawrence River Area 2 Lake Ontario Area 4 Lake Erie Area 5 Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI Area 6 Lakes Huron and Michigan Area 7 St. Mary's River Area 8 Lake Superior Projected return on investment 0.4581 0.3486 0.0547 0.5806 0.2373 0.8501 0.2705 Target return on investment 0.0424 0.0424 0.0424 0.0424 0.0424 0.0424 0.0424 Difference in return on investment 0.4157 0.3062 0.0123 0.5382 0.1949 0.8077 0.2281 1Note: Decimalization and rounding of the target ROI affects the display in this table but does not affect our calculations, which are based on the actual figure.

    Because Table 24 shows a significant difference between the projected and target ROIs, an adjustment to the base pilotage rates is necessary. Step 6 now requires us to determine the pilotage revenues that are needed to make the target return on investment equal to the projected return on investment. This calculation is shown in Table 25. It adjusts the investment base we used in Step 4, multiplying it by the target ROI from Step 5, and applies the result to the operating expenses and target pilot compensation determined in Steps 1 and 2.

    Table 25—Revenue Needed To Recover Target ROI, by Area Pilotage area Operating
  • expenses
  • (Step 1)
  • Target pilot
  • compensation
  • (Step 2)
  • Investment base (Step 4) × 4.24%
  • (Target ROI
  • Step 5)
  • Federal tax
  • allowance
  • Revenue needed
    Area 1 (Designated waters) $603,313 + 1,393,964 + 38,873 + 0 = 2,036,149 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) $458,153 + 845,981 + 34,169 + 0 = 1,338,302 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) $512,027 + 676,785 + 22,662 + 5,200 = 1,216,674 Area 5 (Designated waters) $768,048 + 1,393,964 + 33,993 + 7,800 = 2,203,805 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) $811,899 + 1,015,177 + 25,504 + 0 = 1,852,580 Area 7 (Designated waters) $347,957 + 929,309 + 10,930 + 0 = 1,288,197 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) $497,081 + 845,981 + 15,615 + 0 = 1,358,677 Total $3,998,479 + 7,101,160 + 181,747 + 13,000 = 11,294,385
    The “Revenue Needed” column of Table 25 is less than the revenue we projected in Table 16.

    Step 7: Adjustment of Pilotage Rates. Finally, we calculate rate adjustments by dividing the Step 6 revenue needed (Table 25) by the Step 3 revenue projection (Table 16), to give us a rate multiplier for each area. These rate adjustments are subject to adjustment based on the requirements of agreements between the United States and Canada and adjustment for other supportable circumstances. Tables 26 through 28 show these calculations.

    Table 26—Rate Multiplier, Areas in District One Ratemaking projections Area 1 St. Lawrence
  • River
  • Area 2 Lake Ontario
    Revenue Needed (from Step 6) $2,036,149 $1,338,302 Revenue (from Step 3) ÷ $2,417,285 ÷ $1,585,032 Rate Multiplier = 0.8423 = 0.8443
    Table 27—Rate Multiplier, Areas in District Two Ratemaking projections Area 4 Lake Erie Area 5 Southeast Shoal
  • to Port Huron, MI
  • Revenue Needed (from Step 6) $1,216,674 $2,203,805 Revenue (from Step 3) ÷ $1,223,262 ÷ $2,635,314 Rate Multiplier = 0.9946 = 0.8363
    Table 28—Rate Multiplier, Areas in District Three Ratemaking projections Area 6 Lakes Huron and
  • Michigan
  • Area 7 St. Mary's River Area 8 Lake Superior
    Revenue Needed (from Step 6) $1,825,580 $1,288,197 $1,358,677 Revenue (from Step 3) ÷ $1,969,800 ÷ $1,496,427 ÷ $1,442,677 Rate Multiplier = 0.9405 = 0.8608 = 0.9418 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    We calculate a rate multiplier for adjusting the basic rates and charges described in 46 CFR 401.420 and 401.428, and it is applicable in all areas. We divide total revenue needed (Step 6, Table 25) by total projected revenue (Steps 3 and 3.A, Table 16). Table 29 shows this calculation.

    Table 29—Rate Multiplier for Basic Rates and Charges in 46 CFR 401.420 and 401.428 Ratemaking Projections: Total Revenue Needed (from Step 6) $11,294,385 Total revenue (from Step 3) ÷ $12,769,797 Rate Multiplier = 0.884

    Using this table, we calculate rates for cancellation, delay, or interruption in rendering services (46 CFR 401.420) and basic rates and charges for carrying a U.S. pilot beyond the normal change point, or for boarding at other than the normal boarding point (46 CFR 401.428). The result is a decrease by 11.55 percent in all areas.

    Without further action, the existing rates we established in our 2014 final rule would then be multiplied by the rate multipliers from Tables 29 through 31 to calculate the area by area rate changes for 2015. The resulting 2015 rates across the Great Lakes, on average, would then decrease by approximately 12 percent from the 2014 rates. This decrease is not due to increased efficiencies in pilotage services but rather a result of adjustments to AMOU contract data.

    We decline to impose this decrease because recently completed independent audits of pilot association revenues detail a significant gap between revenues projected by the Coast Guard and those actually collected by the pilot associations. Implementing a rate decrease would further widen this disparity and adversely impact the provision of safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service on the Great Lakes. In light of the revenue studies, our initial proposal in the NPRM to raise rates 2.5 percent in order to gain parity with the Canadian GLPA now appears insufficient to ensure the funding of safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service. In 46 U.S.C. 9303(f), the statute states “The Secretary shall prescribe by regulation rates and charges for pilotage services, giving consideration to the public interest and the costs of providing the services.” We believe the public interest is best served through promotion of safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service. Sufficient revenue to fund safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage operations are considered integral to the public interest. Table 30 demonstrates the results of the revenue audits compared to our projections.

    Table 30—Revenue Gap District Ratemaking
  • projections
  • (2015)
  • Actual revenue
  • revenue audits
  • (2013)
  • Revenue shortfall
  • (projections
  • minus actual)
  • 1 $4,002,317 $3,406,164 $596,153 2 3,858,576 3,169,377 689,199 3 4,908,904 4,323,965 584,939

    Further, the gap captured in Table 30 actually underestimates the revenue gap because the projections of the current rulemaking rely on the alterations of proprietary union contracts. Table 31 illustrates the average U.S. Registered Pilot compensation, assuming all revenue remaining after expenses is distributed as compensation.

    Table 31—2013 Average Actual Compensation * District Revenues Expenses Total
  • available for
  • compensation
  • Number
  • of pilots **
  • Approximate compensation per pilot
    1 $3,406,164 $1,272,365 $2,133,799 11 $193,982 2 3,169,377 1,461,438 1,707,939 10 170,794 3 4,323,965 1,778,118 2,545,847 17 149,756 Total 10,899,506 4,511,921 6,387,585 38 168,094 * The Coast Guard does not establish pay procedures for the pilot associations, rather we set a target rate of compensation for general compensation calculation. ** The District Three Association actually employed 13 pilots during this timeframe; their approximate compensation per pilot is higher than this table depicts. Seventeen pilots were authorized in the rate.

    These figures demonstrate the significant shortfall in pilot compensation compared to an estimated present value of 2011 compensation (the last figures are not in dispute) of approximately $260,000. We believe $260,000 is a fair estimate of what pilot compensation should be based on uncontested figures from previous AMOU contracts. The gap of almost $90,000 between approximate actual compensation and our estimates of where pilot compensation should stand place the pilot associations in an untenable position. We believe it is imperative to act quickly to raise the revenue needed to sustain pilot association operations and compensate pilots in a fair and reasonable manner. This gap also highlights a significant discrepancy in the actual salaries of U.S. Registered Pilots compared to the Canadian Registered Pilots of the GLPA, estimated to be approximately ($US) 250,000. We must work quickly to rebaseline the billing scheme and raise the revenue necessary to continue to sustain safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service on the Great Lakes. We believe the shortfalls in revenue are caused by an overprojection of bridge hours and to a larger extent, an inadequate billing scheme. To this end, we will adjust our proposal to raise rates in all areas by 10 percent in a concerted effort to begin closing the established gap between compensation of U.S. and Canadian Registered Pilots, as well as the gap between actual salaries and previous estimates. This percentage increase is high enough above inflation to begin closing the revenue gap without being unduly burdensome to industry. We believe sustained, steady rate increases to close the gap are more responsible than a one-time action. This replaces our initial projections of a 2.5 percent increase in all areas. We will seek to address the underlying methodology challenges in a future rulemaking.

    Therefore, we rely on the discretionary authority we have under Step 7 to further adjust rates and begin closing the gap between revenues projected by the Coast Guard and those collected by the pilot associations. Table 32 compares the impact, area by area, that an average decrease of 12 percent would have, relative to the impact each area would experience if United States rates increase.

    Table 32—Impact of Exercising Step 7 Discretion Area Percent change in rate without exercising Step 7 discretion Percent change in rate with exercise of Step 7 discretion Area 1 (Designated waters) −15.77 10 Area 2 (Undesignated waters) −15.57 10 Area 4 (Undesignated waters) −0.54 10 Area 5 (Designated waters) −16.37 10 Area 6 (Undesignated waters) −5.95 10 Area 7 (Designated waters) −13.92 10 Area 8 (Undesignated waters) −5.82 10

    The following tables reflect our rate adjustments of 10 percent across all areas.

    Tables 33 through 35 show these calculations.

    Table 33—Adjustment of Pilotage Rates, Areas in District One 2014 Rate Rate multiplier Adjusted rate for 2015 Area 1
  • St. Lawrence River
  • Basic Pilotage $19.22/km, $34.02/mi × 1.1 = $21.14/km, $37.42/mi Each lock Transited $426 × 1.1 = $469 Harbor movage 1,395 × 1.1 = 1,535 Minimum basic rate, St. Lawrence River 931 × 1.1 = 1,024 Maximum rate, through trip 4,084 × 1.1 = 4,492 Area 2 Lake Ontario 6-hour period 872 × 1.1 = 959 Docking or Undocking 832 × 1.1 = 915 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    In addition to the rate charges in Table 33, as we explain in the Summary section of Part VI of this preamble, we are authorizing District One to implement a temporary supplemental 10 percent charge on each source form (the “bill” for pilotage service) for the duration of the 2015 shipping season, which begins in March 2015. District One will be required to provide us with monthly status reports once this surcharge becomes effective for the duration of the 2015 shipping season. We will exclude these expenses from future rates and any surcharge surplus/deficit from the 2014 season would impact the final authorized surcharge for the 2015 season.

    Table 34—Adjustment of Pilotage Rates, Areas in District Two 2014 Rate Rate multiplier Adjusted rate for 2015 Area 4
  • Lake Erie
  • 6-hour period $849 × 1.1 = $934 Docking or undocking 653 × 1.1 = 718 Any point on Niagara River below Black Rock Lock 1,667 × 1.1 = 1,834 Area 5 Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI between any point on or in Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal 1,417 × 1.1 = 1,559 Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal & Southeast Shoal 2,397 × 1.1 = 2,637 Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal & Detroit River 3,113 × 1.1 = 3,424 Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal & Detroit Pilot Boat 2,397 × 1.1 = 2,637 Port Huron Change Point & Southeast Shoal (when pilots are not changed at the Detroit Pilot Boat) 4,176 × 1.1 = 4,594 Port Huron Change Point & Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal (when pilots are not changed at the Detroit Pilot Boat) 4,837 × 1.1 = 5,321 Port Huron Change Point & Detroit River 3,137 × 1.1 = 3,451 Port Huron Change Point & Detroit Pilot Boat 2,441 × 1.1 = 2,685 Port Huron Change Point & St. Clair River 1,735 × 1.1 = 1,909 St. Clair River 1,417 × 1.1 = 1,559 St. Clair River & Southeast Shoal (when pilots are not changed at the Detroit Pilot Boat) 4,176 × 1.1 = 4,594 St. Clair River & Detroit River/Detroit Pilot Boat 3,137 × 1.1 = 3,451 Detroit, Windsor, or Detroit River 1,417 × 1.1 = 1,559 Detroit, Windsor, or Detroit River & Southeast Shoal 2,397 × 1.1 = 2,637 Detroit, Windsor, or Detroit River & Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal 3,113 × 1.1 = 3,424 Detroit, Windsor, or Detroit River & St. Clair River 3,137 × 1.1 = 3,451 Detroit Pilot Boat & Southeast Shoal 1,735 × 1.1 = 1,909 Detroit Pilot Boat & Toledo or any point on Lake Erie W. of Southeast Shoal 2,397 × 1.1 = 2,637 Detroit Pilot Boat & St. Clair River 3,137 × 1.1 = 3,451 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    In addition to the rate charges in Table 34, and for the reasons we discussed in the Summary section of Part VI of this preamble, we are authorizing District Two to implement a temporary supplemental 10 percent charge on each source form for the duration of the 2015 shipping season, which begins in March 2015. District Two will be required to provide us with monthly status reports once this surcharge becomes effective for the duration of the 2015 shipping season. We will exclude these expenses from future rates.

    Table 35—Adjustment of Pilotage Rates, Areas in District Three 2014 Rate Rate multiplier Adjusted rate for 2015 Area 6
  • Lakes Huron and Michigan
  • 6-hour Period $708 × 1.1 = $779 Docking or undocking 672 × 1.1 = 739 Area 7 St. Mary's River between any point on or in Gros Cap & De Tour 2,648 × 1.1 = 2,913 Algoma Steel Corp. Wharf, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. & De Tour 2,648 × 1.1 = 2,913 Algoma Steel Corp. Wharf, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. & Gros Cap 997 × 1.1 = 1,097 Any point in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., except the Algoma Steel Corp. Wharf & De Tour 2,219 × 1.1 = 2,441 Any point in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., except the Algoma Steel Corp. Wharf & Gros Cap 997 × 1.1 = 1,097 Sault Ste. Marie, MI & De Tour 2,219 × 1.1 = 2,441 Sault Ste. Marie, MI & Gros Cap 997 × 1.1 = 1,097 Harbor movage 997 × 1.1 = 1,097 Area 8 Lake Superior 6-hour period 601 × 1.1 = 661 Docking or undocking 571 × 1.1 = 628 Note: Numbers may not total due to rounding.

    In addition to the rate charges in Table 35, and for the reasons we discussed in the Summary section of Part VI of this preamble, we are authorizing District Three to implement a temporary supplemental 10 percent charge on each source form for the duration of the 2015 shipping season, which begins in March 2015. District Three will be required to provide us with monthly status reports once this surcharge becomes effective for the duration of the 2015 shipping season. We will exclude these expenses from future rates.

    VII. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and E.O.s related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes or E.O.s.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility.

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866 as supplemented by E.O. 13563, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of E.O. 12866. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not reviewed it under E.O. 12866. Nonetheless, we developed an analysis of the costs and benefits of the rule to ascertain its probable impacts on industry.

    The Coast Guard is required to review and adjust pilotage rates on the Great Lakes annually. See Parts III and IV of this preamble for detailed discussions of the Coast Guard's legal basis and purpose for this rulemaking and for background information on Great Lakes pilotage ratemaking. Based on our annual review for this rulemaking, we are adjusting the pilotage rates for the 2015 shipping season to generate sufficient revenue to cover allowable expenses, and to target pilot compensation and returns on pilot associations' investments. The rate adjustments in this rule will, if codified, lead to an increase in the cost per unit of service to shippers in all three districts, and result in an estimated annual cost increase to shippers of approximately $1,276,980 across all three districts over 2014 rates—an increase of 10 percent.

    In addition to the increase in payments that will be incurred by shippers in all three districts from the previous year as a result of the discretionary rate adjustments, we are authorizing temporary, supplemental surcharges to traffic across all three districts in order for the pilotage associations to recover training expenses and technology improvements that were incurred throughout the 2013 and 2014 shipping seasons. These temporary surcharges will be authorized for the duration of the 2015 shipping season, which begins in March. The additional revenue due to the temporary surcharges was calculated by multiplying the surcharge percentage by the projected revenue needed in 2015 for each district (Table 37). We estimate that these temporary surcharges will generate a combined $1,404,678 in revenue for the pilotage associations across all three districts. In District One, the 10 percent surcharge is expected to generate an additional $440,255 in revenue. In District Two, the 10 percent surcharge is expected to generate $424,443 in additional revenue. In District Three, the 10 percent surcharge is expected to generate an additional $539,979 in revenue. At the end of the 2015 shipping season, we will account for the monies the surcharges generate and make adjustments (debits/credits) to the operating expenses for the following year.

    Therefore, after accounting for the implementation of the temporary surcharges on traffic across all three districts, the payments made by shippers during the 2015 shipping season are estimated to be approximately $2,681,657 more than the payments that were made in 2014.4

    4 Total payments across all three districts are equal to the increase in payments incurred by shippers as a result of the rate changes plus the temporary surcharges applied to traffic in Districts One, Two, and Three.

    A regulatory assessment follows.

    The final rule applies the 46 CFR part 404, Appendix A, full ratemaking methodology, including the exercise of our discretion to increase Great Lakes pilotage rates, on average, approximately 10 percent overall from the current rates set in the 2014 final rule. The Appendix A methodology is discussed and applied in detail in Part VI of this preamble. Among other factors described in Part VI, it reflects audited 2012 financial data from the pilotage associations (the most recent year available for auditing), projected association expenses, and regional inflation or deflation. The last full Appendix A ratemaking was concluded in 2014 and used financial data from the 2011 base accounting year. The last annual rate review, conducted under 46 CFR part 404, Appendix C, was completed early in 2011.

    The shippers affected by these rate adjustments are those owners and operators of domestic vessels operating on register (employed in foreign trade) and owners and operators of foreign vessels on a route within the Great Lakes system. These owners and operators must have pilots or pilotage service as required by 46 U.S. C. 9302. There is no minimum tonnage limit or exemption for these vessels. The statute applies only to commercial vessels and not to recreational vessels.

    Owners and operators of other vessels that are not affected by this final rule, such as recreational boats and vessels operating only within the Great Lakes system, may elect to purchase pilotage services. However, this election is voluntary and does not affect our calculation of the rate and is not a part of our estimated national cost to shippers.

    We used 2011-2013 vessel arrival data from the Coast Guard's Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) system to estimate the average annual number of vessels affected by the rate adjustment. Using that period, we found that approximately 114 different vessels journeyed into the Great Lakes system annually. These vessels entered the Great Lakes by transiting at least one of the three pilotage districts before leaving the Great Lakes system. These vessels often made more than one distinct stop, docking, loading, and unloading at facilities in Great Lakes ports. Of the total trips for the 114 vessels, there were approximately 353 annual U.S. port arrivals before the vessels left the Great Lakes system, based on 2011-2013 vessel data from MISLE.

    The impact of the rate adjustment to shippers is estimated from the District pilotage revenues. These revenues represent the costs that shippers must pay for pilotage services. The Coast Guard sets rates so that revenues equal the estimated cost of pilotage for these services.

    We estimate the additional impact (cost increases or cost decreases) of the rate adjustment in this rule to be the difference between the total projected revenue needed to cover costs in 2014, based on the 2014 rate adjustment, and the total projected revenue needed to cover costs in 2015, as set forth in this rule, plus any temporary surcharges authorized by the Coast Guard. Table 36 details projected revenue needed to cover costs in 2015 after making the discretionary adjustment to pilotage rates as discussed in Step 7 of Part V of this preamble. Table 37 summarizes the derivation for calculating the revenue expected to be generated as a result of the temporary surcharges applied to traffic in all three districts as discussed in Step 7 of Part V of this preamble. Table 38 details the additional cost increases to shippers by area and district as a result of the rate adjustments and temporary surcharges on traffic in Districts One, Two, and Three.

    5 2014 Pilotage Rates are described in Table 16 of this rule.

    6 The estimated rate changes are described in Table 32 of this rule.

    7 2015 Pilotage Rates—2014 Pilotage Rates × Rate Change.

    8 Projected 2015 Bridge Hours are described in Table 14 of this rule.

    9 Projected Revenue Needed in 2015—2015 Pilotage Rates × Projected 2015 Bridge Hours.

    Table 36—Rate Adjustment by Area and District [$U.S.; Non-discounted] 2014 Pilotage rates 5 Rate change 6 2015 Pilotage rates 7 Projected 2015 bridge hours 8 Projected
  • revenue
  • needed in 2015 9
  • Area 1 $472.50 1.10 $519.74 5,116 $2,659,014 Area 2 291.96 1.10 321.15 5,429 1,743,536 Total, District One 4,402,549 Area 4 210.40 1.10 231.44 5,814 1,345,588 Area 5 521.64 1.10 573.80 5,052 2,898,845 Total, District Two 4,244,433 Area 6 204.95 1.10 225.45 9,611 2,166,780 Area 7 495.01 1.10 544.52 3,023 1,646,070 Area 8 191.34 1.10 210.47 7,540 1,586,945 Total, District Three 5,399,795 * Some values may not total due to rounding.
    Table 37—Derivation of Temporary Surcharge Area 1 Area 2 Area 4 Area 5 Area 6 Area 7 Area 8 Projected Revenue Needed in 2015 $2,659,014 $1,743,536 $1,345,588 $2,898,845 $2,166,780 $1,646,070 $1,586,945 Surcharge Rate 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% Surcharge Raised $265,901 $174,354 $134,559 $289,885 $216,678 $167,607 $158,694 Total Surcharge $440,255 $424,443 $539,979 Table 38—Impact of the Rule by Area and District [$U.S.; Non-discounted] Projected
  • revenue
  • needed
  • in 2014 10
  • Projected
  • revenue
  • needed
  • in 2015 11
  • Temporary surcharge Additional
  • revenue or
  • costs 2015
  • (2015-2014)
  • Total costs or savings of this final rule
  • (additional
  • revenue
  • or costs
  • 2015+temporary
  • surcharge)
  • Area 1 $2,417,285 $2,659,014 $265,901 $241,729 $507,630 Area 2 1,585,032 1,743,536 174,354 158,503 332,857 Total, District One 4,002,318 4,402,549 440,255 400,232 840,487 Area 4 1,223,262 1,345,588 134,559 122,326 256,885 Area 5 2,635,314 2,898,845 289,885 263,531 553,416 Total, District Two 3,858,576 4,244,433 424,443 385,858 810,301 Area 6 1,969,800 2,166,780 216,678 196,980 413,658 Area 7 1,496,427 1,646,070 164,607 149,643 314,250 Area 8 1,442,677 1,586,945 158,694 144,268 302,962 Total, District Three 4,908,904 5,399,795 539,979 490,890 1,030,870 System Total 12,769,797 14,046,777 1,404,678 1,276,980 2,681,657 * Some values may not total due to rounding.

    After applying the discretionary rate change in this rule, the resulting difference between the projected revenue in 2014 and the projected revenue in 2015 is the annual change in payments from shippers to pilots after accounting for market conditions (i.e., a decrease in demand for pilotage services) and the change to pilotage rates as a result of this final rule. This figure is equivalent to the total additional payments or reduction in payments from the previous year that shippers will incur for pilotage services from this rule.

    10 Projected revenue needed in 2014 is described in Table 16 of this rule.

    11 Projected revenue needed in 2015 is described in Table 36 of this rule.

    The impact of the discretionary rate adjustment on shippers varies by area and district in this final rule. The discretionary rate adjustments will lead to affected shippers operating in District One, District Two, and District Three experiencing an increase in payments of $400,232, $385,858, and $490,890, respectively, from the previous year.

    In addition to the rate adjustments, temporary surcharges on traffic in District One, District Two, and District Three will be applied for the duration of the 2015 season in order for the pilotage associations to recover training expenses and technology investments incurred during the 2013 and 2014 shipping seasons. We estimate that these surcharges will generate an additional $440,255, $424,443, and $539,979 in revenue for the pilotage associations in District One, District Two, and District Three, respectively. At the end of the 2015 shipping season, we will account for the monies the surcharges generate and make adjustments (debits/credits) to the operating expenses for the following year.12

    12 Our projections indicate in the 2016 rulemaking we will apply a surcharge of $112,226 for District One shippers at the end of the 2015 season in order to account for the difference between the total surcharges collected ($440,255) and the actual expenses incurred by the District One pilot association ($328,029 for training expenses), District Two shippers $98,614 (calculation: $424,443 (total surcharges collected) minus $300,000 to train two applicant pilots and ($25,829.80 for technology improvements)), and District Three shippers $213,029 (calculation: $539,979 (total surcharges collected) minus $326,950 (actual training expenses incurred)).

    To calculate an exact cost or savings per vessel is difficult because of the variation in vessel types, routes, port arrivals, commodity carriage, time of season, conditions during navigation, and preferences for the extent of pilotage services on designated and undesignated portions of the Great Lakes system. Some owners and operators will pay more and some would pay less, depending on the distance travelled and the number of port arrivals by their vessels. However, the increase in costs reported earlier in this rule does capture the adjustment in payments that shippers will experience from the previous year. The overall adjustment in payments, after taking into account the increase in pilotage rates and the addition of temporary surcharges will be an increase in payments by shippers of approximately $2,681,657 across all three districts.

    This rule will allow the Coast Guard to meet the requirements in 46 U.S. C. 9303 to review the rates for pilotage services on the Great Lakes, thus ensuring proper pilot compensation.

    Alternatively, if we imposed the new rates based on the new contract data from AMOU, instead of using the discretionary rate adjustment described in Step 7, there would be an approximately 12 percent decrease in rates across the system. Instead of shippers experiencing an increase in payments of approximately $1,276,980 13 from the previous year, as a result of the rate adjustments, shippers would instead experience a reduction in payments of approximately $1,475,412.14 Table 39 details projected revenue needed to cover costs in 2015 if the discretionary adjustment to pilotage rates as discussed in Step 7 of Part V of this preamble is not made. Table 40 details the additional costs or savings by area and district as a result of this alternative proposal.

    13 This figure is the total costs or savings of the final rule minus the surcharges.

    14 This figure does not include the additional payments incurred by shippers as a result of the temporary surcharges applied to traffic in all three districts. The figure is equal to the total additional costs or savings of this final rule minus the temporary surcharges (see Table 40).

    15 The estimated rate changes are described in Table 32 of this final rule.

    Table 39—Alternative Rate Adjustment by Area and District [$U.S.; Non-discounted] 2014 Pilotage rates Rate change 15 2015 Pilotage rates Projected 2015 bridge hours Projected revenue needed in 2015 Area 1 $472.50 0.8423 $398.00 5,116 $2,036,149 Area 2 291.96 0.8443 246.51 5,429 1,338,302 Total, District One 3,374,451 Area 4 210.40 0.9946 209.27 5,814 1,216,674 Area 5 521.64 0.8363 436.22 5,052 2,203,805 Total, District Two 3,420,480 Area 6 204.95 0.9405 192.76 9,611 1,852,580 Area 7 495.01 0.8608 426.13 3,023 1,288,197 Area 8 191.34 0.9418 180.20 7,540 1,358,677 Total, District Three 4,499,454 System Total 11,294,385 * Some values may not total due to rounding. Table 40—Alternative Impact of the Rule by Area and District [$U.S.; Non-discounted] Projected
  • revenue needed in 2014
  • Projected
  • revenue needed in 2015
  • Temporary
  • surcharge
  • Additional costs or savings of this rule
    Area 1 $2,417,285 $2,036,149 $203,615 ($177,521) Area 2 1,585,032 1,338,302 133,830 (112,900) Total, District One 4,002,318 3,374,451 337,445 (290,421) Area 4 1,223,262 1,216,674 121,667 115,080 Area 5 2,635,314 2,203,805 220,381 (211,128) Total, District Two 3,858,576 3,420,480 342,048 (96,048) Area 6 1,969,800 1,852,580 185,258 68,038 Area 7 1,496,427 1,288,197 128,820 (79,411) Area 8 1,442,677 1,358,677 135,868 51,868 Total, District Three 4,908,904 4,499,454 449,945 40,495 System Total 12,769,797 11,294,385 1,129,439 (345,974) * Some values may not total due to rounding.

    We reject this alternative, however, because independent audits of pilot association revenues details a nearly $2 million gap between Coast Guard revenue projections and the amount of revenues actually collected. A rate decrease would only further widen this disparity, and would also jeopardize the ability of pilotage associations to provide safe, efficient, and reliable pilotage service. A rate increase of 10 percent in all areas will lessen the gap between revenues projected by the Coast Guard and those collected by pilot associations, and the gap between the actual salaries of U.S. Registered Pilots and Canadian Registered Pilots of the GLPA. See our discussion of Step 7 in Part VI of this preamble for further explanation.

    B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, we have considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000 people.

    We expect that entities affected by the final rule will be classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code subsector 483-Water Transportation, which includes the following 6-digit NAICS codes for freight transportation: 483111—Deep Sea Freight Transportation, 483113—Coastal and Great Lakes Freight Transportation, and 483211—Inland Water Freight Transportation. According to the Small Business Administration's definition, a U.S. company with these NAICS codes and employing less than 500 employees is considered a small entity.

    For the final rule, we reviewed recent company size and ownership data for the period 2011 through 2013 in the Coast Guard's MISLE database, and we reviewed business revenue and size data provided by publicly available sources such as MANTA and Reference USA. We found that large, foreign-owned shipping conglomerates or their subsidiaries owned or operated all vessels engaged in foreign trade on the Great Lakes. We assume that new industry entrants would be comparable in ownership and size to these shippers.

    There are three U.S. entities affected by this rule that receive revenue from pilotage services. These are the three pilot associations that provide and manage pilotage services within the Great Lakes districts. Two of the associations operate as partnerships and one operates as a corporation. These associations are designated with the same NAICS industry classification and small-entity size standards described above, but they have fewer than 500 employees; combined, they have approximately 65 total employees. We expect no adverse impact to these entities from this rule because through this rulemaking, all the pilot associations are provided with additional revenue to offset some of the projected expenses associated with the projected number of bridge hours and pilots, and to keep them on par with their Canadian counterparts.

    Therefore, the Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offered to assist small entities in understanding this rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

    D. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). This rule does not change the burden in the collection currently approved by the OMB under OMB Control Number 1625-0086, Great Lakes Pilotage Methodology.

    E. Federalism

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

    Congress directed the Coast Guard to establish “rates and charges for pilotage services.” 46 U.S.C. 9303(f). This regulation is issued pursuant to that statute and is preemptive of state law as specified in 46 U.S.C. 9306. Under 46 U.S.C. 9306, a “State or political subdivision of a State may not regulate or impose any requirement on pilotage on the Great Lakes.” As a result, States or local governments are expressly prohibited from regulating within this category. Therefore, this rule is consistent with the principles of federalism and preemption requirements in E.O. 13132.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    G. Taking of Private Property

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

    H. Civil Justice Reform

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

    I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under E.O. 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this rule under E.O. 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under E.O. 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under E.O. 13211.

    L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (15 U.S.C. 272, note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the OMB, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    M. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A final environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the ADDRESSES section of this preamble. This final rule involves regulations that are editorial or procedural and fall under section 2.B.2, figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(a) of the Instruction.

    List of Subjects in 46 CFR Part 401

    Administrative practice and procedure, Great Lakes, Navigation (water), Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seamen.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 46 CFR part 401 as follows:

    Title 46—Shipping PART 401—GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 401 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    46 U.S.C. 2104(a), 6101, 7701, 8105, 9303, 9304; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; 46 CFR 401.105 also issued under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 3507.

    2. In § 401.405, revise paragraphs (a) and (b), including the footnote to Table (a), to read as follows:
    § 401.405 Basic rates and charges on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

    (a) Area 1 (Designated Waters):

    Service St. Lawrence River Basic Pilotage $21.13 per kilometer or $37.42 per mile.1 Each Lock Transited $469.1 Harbor Movage $1,535.1 1 The minimum basic rate for assignment of a pilot in the St. Lawrence River is $1,024, and the maximum basic rate for a through trip is $4,492.

    (b) Area 2 (Undesignated Waters):

    Service Lake Ontario 6-hour Period $959 Docking or Undocking 915
    3. In § 401.407, revise paragraphs (a) and (b), including the footnote to Table (b), to read as follows:
    § 401.407 Basic rates and charges on Lake Erie and the navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI.

    (a) Area 4 (Undesignated Waters):

    Service Lake Erie (East of
  • Southeast Shoal)
  • Buffalo
    6-hour Period $934 $934 Docking or Undocking 718 718 Any point on the Niagara River below the Black Rock Lock N/A 1,834

    (b) Area 5 (Designated Waters):

    Any point on or in Southeast Shoal Toledo or any point on Lake Erie west of Southeast Shoal Detroit River Detroit Pilot Boat St. Clair River Toledo or any port on Lake Erie west of Southeast Shoal $2,637 $1,559 $3,424 $2,637 N/A Port Huron Change Point 1 4,594 1 5,321 3,451 2,685 1,909 St. Clair River 1 4,594 N/A 3,451 3,451 1,559 Detroit or Windsor or the Detroit River 2,637 3,424 1,559 N/A 3,451 Detroit Pilot Boat 1,909 2,637 N/A N/A 3,451 1 When pilots are not changed at the Detroit Pilot Boat.
    4. In § 401.410, revise paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) to read as follows:
    § 401.410 Basic rates and charges on Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior; and the St. Mary's River.

    (a) Area 6 (Undesignated Waters):

    Service Lakes Huron and Michigan 6-hour Period $779 Docking or Undocking 739

    (b) Area 7 (Designated Waters):

    Area De tour Gros cap Any harbor Gros Cap $2,913 N/A N/A Algoma Steel Corporation Wharf at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario 2,913 $1,097 N/A Any point in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, except the Algoma Steel Corporation Wharf 2,441 1,097 N/A Sault Ste. Marie, MI 2,441 1,097 N/A Harbor Movage N/A N/A $1,097

    (c) Area 8 (Undesignated Waters):

    Service Lake Superior 6-hour Period $661 Docking or Undocking 628
    § 401.420 [Amended]
    5. Amend § 401.420 as follows: a. In paragraph (a), remove the text “$129” and add, in its place, the text “$142”; and remove the text “$2,021” and add, in its place, the text “$2,223”; b. In paragraph (b), remove the text “$129” and add, in its place, the text “$142”; and remove the text “$2,021” and add, in its place, the text “$2,223”; and c. In paragraph (c)(1), remove the text “$763” and add, in its place, the text “$839”; in paragraph (c)(3), remove the text “$129” and add, in its place, the text “$142”; and remove the text “$2,021” and add, in its place, the text “$2,223”.
    § 401.428 [Amended]
    6. In § 401.428, remove the text “$763” and add, in its place, the text “$839”.
    Dated: February 23, 2015. Gary C. Rasicot, Director, Marine Transportation Systems, U.S. Coast Guard.
    [FR Doc. 2015-04036 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Part 212 RIN 0750-AI50 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Deletion of Obsolete Text Relating to Acquisition of Commercial Items (DFARS Case 2015-D002) 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 delete obsolete text relating to acquisition of commercial items.

    DATES:

    Effective February 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Janetta Brewer, telephone 571-372-6104.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On March 12, 2012, the DFARS was amended to implement a recommendation made by the Panel on Contracting Integrity and included in its 2009 Report to Congress concerning compliance with the DFARS documentation requirements for commercial item determinations. DFARS subpart 212.1 was revised to require the contracting officer to determine that an acquisition exceeding $1 million and using FAR part 12 procedures either meets the commercial item definition at FAR 2.101 or the criteria at FAR 12.102(g)(1). The DFARS reference to FAR 12.102(g)(1), however, is no longer necessary since the FAR criteria only apply to contracts and task orders entered on or before November 24, 2013. Accordingly, DFARS 212.102(a)(i)(A) is being revised to remove the statement “or meets the criteria at FAR 12.102(g)(1)”.

    On November 1, 2004, DFARS subpart 212.70 was amended to implement section 847 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which authorized DoD to carry out a pilot program that permitted the use of streamlined contracting procedures for the production of items or processes begun as prototype projects under other transaction agreements. Since the authority for this program expired on September 30, 2010, the associated text at DFARS subpart 212.70 is being removed.

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

    “Publication of proposed regulations”, 41 U.S.C. 1707, is the statute which applies to the publication of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. 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 deletes from the DFARS obsolete authorities for a program that expired September 30, 2010, and removes an outdated reference to the FAR. As such, these DFARS updates have no significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of the Government and do not impose a significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors.

    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

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

    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 212

    Government procurement.

    Manuel Quinones, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR part 212 is amended as follows:

    PART 212—ACQUISITION OF COMMERCIAL ITEMS 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 212 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR Chapter 1.

    212.102 [Amended]
    2. Amend section 212.102, paragraph (a)(i)(A) by removing the phrase “or meets the criteria at FAR 12.102(g)(1)”.
    Subpart 212.70 [Removed and Reserved] 3. Remove and reserve subpart 212.70 (consisting of sections 212.7000, 212.7001, 212.7002, 212.7002-1, 212.7002-2, 212.7002-3, and 212.7003).
    [FR Doc. 2015-03856 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Parts 218, 225, and 242 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Technical Amendments AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD is making technical amendments to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to provide needed editorial changes.

    DATES:

    Effective February 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Manuel Quinones, Defense Acquisition Regulations System, OUSD(AT&L)DPAP(DARS), Room 3B941, 3060 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3060. Telephone 571-372-6088; facsimile 571-372-6094.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This final rule amends the DFARS as follows:

    1. Directs contracting officers to additional procedures and guidance by adding a reference to DFARS Procedures, Guidance, and Information PGI 218.272 at DFARS 218.272. A cross reference to DFARS 218.272 is also added at DFARS 225.7405.

    2. Directs contracting officers to additional procedures and guidance by adding a reference to DFARS Procedures, Guidance, and Information PGI 242.7502 at DFARS 242.7502.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 218, 225, and 242

    Government procurement.

    Manuel Quinones, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR parts 218, 225, and 242 are amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 218, 225, and 242 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

    PART 218-EMERGENCY ACQUISITIONS 2. Add section 218.272 to read as follows:
    218.272 Use of electronic business tools.

    When supporting a contingency operation or humanitarian or peacekeeping operation, follow the procedures at PGI 218.272 concerning the use of electronic business tools.

    PART 225-FOREIGN ACQUISITION 3. Add section 225.7405 to read as follows:
    225.7405 Use of electronic business tools.

    See 218.272 concerning the use of electronic business tools in support of a contingency operation or humanitarian or peacekeeping operation.

    PART 242-CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION AND AUDIT SERVICES 4. Amend section 242.7502 by revising paragraph (g)(2) introductory text to read as follows:
    242.7502 Policy.

    (g) * * *

    (2) The contracting officer responsible for negotiation of a proposal generated by an accounting system with an identified deficiency shall evaluate whether the deficiency impacts the negotiations. See also PGI 242.7502(g)(2). If it does not, the contracting officer should proceed with negotiations. If it does, the contracting officer should consider other alternatives, e.g.

    [FR Doc. 2015-03858 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System 48 CFR Part 225 RIN 0750-AI36 Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Domestic Source Restrictions on Certain Naval Vessel Components (DFARS Case 2014-D022) 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 implement the statutory domestic source restrictions on acquisition of certain naval vessel components.

    DATES:

    Effective February 26, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    DoD published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 79 FR 56333 on September 19, 2014, to implement the domestic source restrictions in 10 U.S.C. 2534 on gyrocompasses, electronic navigation chart systems, steering controls, pumps, propulsion and machinery control systems, and totally enclosed lifeboats, to the extent they are unique to marine applications.

    One respondent submitted a public comment in response to the proposed rule.

    II. Discussion and Analysis

    DoD reviewed the public comment in the development of the final rule. A discussion of the comment is provided, as follows:

    A. Significant Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There is no change from the proposed rule to the final rule.

    B. Analysis of Public Comment

    Comment: The respondent stated that the rule should require manufacture of the naval vessel components in the United States.

    Response: In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2534, the rule requires manufacture of the naval vessel components in the United States or Canada. 10 U.S.C. 2534(b) requires the manufacturer of the items to be a part of the national technology and industrial base. The term “national technology and industrial base” is defined at 10 U.S.C. 2500 to mean “the persons and organizations that are engaged in research, development, production, integration, services, or information technology activities conducted within the United States and Canada.” Therefore, it is necessary to allow manufacture in Canada, as well as the United States.

    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 certifies that this final rule will not 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 law has been implemented in the Defense Logistics Agency and Department of Navy regulations for many years, and moving the regulations to the DFARS will have no impact on the public.

    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 225

    Government procurement.

    Manuel Quinones, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System.

    Therefore, 48 CFR part 225 is amended as follows:

    PART 225—FOREIGN ACQUISITION 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 225 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR chapter 1.

    2. Amend section 225.7008 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    225.7008 Waiver of restrictions of 10 U.S.C. 2534.

    (b) In accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section, the USD(AT&L) has waived the restrictions of 10 U.S.C. 2534(a) for certain items manufactured in the United Kingdom, including air circuit breakers for naval vessels (see 225.7006) and the naval vessel components listed at 225.7010-1.

    3. Add sections 225.7010, 225.7010-1, 225.7010-2, 225.7010-3, and 225.7010-4 to read as follows:
    225.7010 Restriction on certain naval vessel components.
    225.7010-1 Restriction.

    In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2534, do not acquire the following components of naval vessels, to the extent they are unique to marine applications, unless manufactured in the United States or Canada:

    (a) Gyrocompasses.

    (b) Electronic navigation chart systems.

    (c) Steering controls.

    (d) Pumps.

    (e) Propulsion and machinery control systems.

    (f) Totally enclosed lifeboats.

    225.7010-2 Exceptions.

    This restriction does not apply to—

    (a) Contracts or subcontracts that do not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold; or

    (b) Acquisition of spare or repair parts needed to support components for naval vessels manufactured outside the United States. Support includes the purchase of spare gyrocompasses, electronic navigation chart systems, steering controls, pumps, propulsion and machinery control systems, or totally enclosed lifeboats, when those from alternate sources are not interchangeable.

    225.7010-3 Waiver.

    (a) The waiver criteria at 225.7008(a) apply to this restriction.

    (b) The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) has waived the restriction of 10 U.S.C. 2534 for certain items manufactured in the United Kingdom, including the items listed in section 225.7010-1. See 225.7008.

    225.7010-4 Implementation.

    (a) 10 U.S.C. 2534(h) prohibits the use of contract clauses or certifications to implement this restriction.

    (b) Agencies shall accomplish implementation of this restriction through use of management and oversight techniques that achieve the objectives of this section without imposing a significant management burden on the Government or the contractor involved.

    [FR Doc. 2015-03855 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 130312235-3658-02] RIN 0648-XD733 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Resources of the South Atlantic; Trip Limit Reduction AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; trip limit reduction.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS reduces the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight. This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the South Atlantic vermilion snapper resource.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 2, 2015, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Britni LaVine, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The snapper-grouper fishery includes vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council prepared the FMP and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

    The commercial quota for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic is divided into two 6-month time periods, January through June and July through December. For the January 1 through June 30, 2015, fishing season, the commercial quota is 394,829 lb (179,091 kg), gutted weight (438,260 lb (198,791 kg), round weight), as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(i)(C).

    Under 50 CFR 622.191(a)(6)(ii), NMFS is required to reduce the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper from 1,000 lb (454 kg), gutted weight (1,110 lb (503 kg), round weight), to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight (555 lb (252 kg), round weight), when 75 percent of the fishing season quota is reached or projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register, as implemented by the final rule for Regulatory Amendment 18 (78 FR 47574, August 6, 2013). Based on current information, NMFS has determined that 75 percent of the available commercial quota for the January 1 through June 30, 2015, fishing season for vermilion snapper will be reached by March 2, 2015. Accordingly, NMFS is reducing the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight (555 lb (252 kg), round weight), in or from the South Atlantic EEZ at 12:01 a.m., local time, on March 2, 2015. This 500-lb (227-kg), gutted weight, trip limit will remain in effect until July 1, 2015, or until the quota is reached and the commercial sector closes, whichever occurs first.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of South Atlantic vermilion snapper and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.191(a)(6)(ii) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

    This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this commercial trip limit reduction constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), because prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this temporary rule is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary, because the rule establishing the trip limit has already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the trip limit reduction. They are contrary to the public interest, because there is a need to immediately implement this action to protect the vermilion snapper resource since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action would require time and would increase the probability that the commercial sector could exceed the quota.

    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 23, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-04024 Filed 2-23-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 140528460-5122-02] RIN 0648-BE25 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Fisheries; California Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery; Vessel Monitoring System and Pre-Trip Notification Requirements AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is issuing regulations that require use of a NMFS-approved vessel monitoring system (VMS) and institute a pre-trip notification requirement for West Coast large-mesh swordfish drift gillnet (DGN) vessel owners and operators. The DGN fishery operates under the authority of the Federal Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP). Installing and operating VMS on vessels in this fishery will provide NMFS and law enforcement personnel with the ability to monitor the DGN fishery for compliance with conservation measures, efficiently deploy agents to inspect vessels, and provide the ability to more closely examine and compare the distribution of observed and unobserved fishing effort. The pre-trip notification will assist NMFS with timely and efficient placement of NMFS-trained observers on board DGN vessels. This action implements the recommendations of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and satisfies terms and conditions of the NMFS' 2013 Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Biological Opinion (Opinion).

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on March 30, 2015, except for the amendments to paragraphs (l), (o), and (p) of § 660.705 and paragraphs (f)(2) through (g)(5) of § 660.713. Those paragraphs contain collection-of-information requirements that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not yet approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act. NMFS will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of these amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of supporting documents that were prepared for this final rule, including the Regulatory Impact Review and the proposed rule, are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2014-0116. A summary of the regulatory flexibility analysis was included in the proposed rule. These documents are also available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, West Coast Regional Office, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, Seattle, WA. 98115-0070, or [email protected] Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to the West Coast Region and by email to [email protected], or fax to (202) 395-7285.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amber Rhodes, NMFS, (562) 980-3231, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The DGN fishery is managed under the HMS FMP, which was prepared by the Council and is implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq., by regulations at 50 CFR part 660.

    Background

    On September 15, 2014, NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (79 FR 54950) that would add regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subpart K, to require use of a NMFS-approved VMS and institute a 48-hour pre-trip call-in notification requirement for DGN vessel owners and operators. The proposed rule was open to public comment through September 30, 2014. The comments that were received are addressed in this rule.

    The proposed rule incorporated additional background information on the basis for the new regulations, including recommendations of the Council and information on temporary rules (78 FR 54548, September 4, 2013, and 79 FR 29377, May 22, 2014) that, among other measures, required the use of VMS and the pre-trip notification components being implemented with this rule, as well as the status of the DGN fishery's compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and ESA.

    New Regulations

    This final rule establishes regulations requiring DGN vessel owners and operators to use a NMFS-approved VMS and to notify NMFS prior to making a fishing trip that will use DGN gear. Installing and operating VMS on vessels in this fishery will allow NMFS and law enforcement personnel to monitor the DGN fishery for compliance with conservation measures, efficiently deploy personnel to inspect vessels, and more closely examine and compare the distribution of observed and unobserved fishing effort. The pre-trip notification will assist NMFS with timely and efficient placement of NMFS-trained observers on board DGN vessels. This final rule implements the recommendations of the Council and satisfies key terms and conditions of NMFS' 2013 ESA Section 7 Opinion. Additional information regarding this Opinion can be found in the proposed rule (79 FR 54950).

    Pre-Trip Notification Requirements

    DGN vessel owners or operators will be required to notify the NMFS or the NMFS-designated observer provider at least 48 hours prior to departing on each fishing trip. The vessel owners or operators must provide their name, contact information, vessel name, port of departure, and estimated date and time of departure to the observer provider. Upon receipt of a pre-trip notification, the observer provider will notify the DGN vessel owner/operator whether their fishing trip has been selected for observer coverage. Additionally, DGN vessel owners and operators must provide the NMFS West Coast Division Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) with a declaration report before the vessel leaves port to fish with DGN gear in state or Federal waters. (See the regulatory text for pre-trip notification and declaration reporting schedules and contact information.)

    VMS Requirements and Costs

    Vessel owners may choose the OLE type-approved VMS unit that best fits their needs. The unit cost, physical size, available features, transmission fees, and service packages vary among the different type-approved VMS mobile transceiver units (VMS unit). Current information on OLE type-approved VMS units can be obtained by contacting: OLE, 1315 East West Hwy, Suite 3301, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282; telephone: (888) 210-9288; fax: (301) 427-0049. Or, by contacting NMFS OLE VMS Helpdesk: telephone: (888) 219-9228; email: [email protected] The business hours of the VMS Helpdesk are: Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

    The vessel owner is responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation, and maintenance of the VMS unit, and for all charges levied by the mobile communications service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission of automatic position reports to NMFS. Federal funds are currently available for reimbursement of type-approved VMS units—up to $3,100 or as determined by the VMS Reimbursement Program. The availability of funds for reimbursement of the cost of purchasing a VMS unit is not guaranteed; rather, funds are available on a first-come first-served basis. To be eligible to receive reimbursement, the owner must submit proof of professional installation of the VMS unit to OLE in compliance with the requirements of the VMS Reimbursement Program. More information on the VMS Reimbursement Program can be obtained by calling the NMFS OLE VMS Helpdesk: telephone: (888) 219-9228, and online: http://www.psmfc.org/program/vessel-monitoring-system-reimbursement-program-vms?pid=17.

    Prior to fishing, the vessel owner, or the vessel operator on the owner's behalf, is required to send an activation report to OLE. Activation of a VMS unit is required any time the unit is installed or reinstalled, any time the mobile communications service provider has changed, and any other time as directed by NMFS. Activation involves submitting a report to NMFS via mail, facsimile or email with information about the vessel, its fishing strategy, its owner or operator, and the VMS unit, as well as receiving confirmation from NMFS that the VMS unit is transmitting position reports properly. (See the regulatory text for more information regarding day-to-day operation of VMS units, including activation reports, declaration reports, exemption reports, repairing and replacing units, and contact information for OLE and the Special Agent-in-Charge.)

    Public Comments and Responses

    Three written public comments were submitted during the proposed rulemaking stage. One comment came in the form of an Enforcement Consultants Report to the Council during the Council's September 2014 meeting. The other comments included suggestions for additional restrictions on the DGN fleet that are beyond the scope of this action and are not addressed further. The summarized comments that pertained to this rulemaking and NMFS' responses are below.

    Comment 1: Small-boat DGN fishermen based out of San Diego, CA, are being unfairly punished and should be exempted from this rule as they do not venture into the Pacific Leatherback Closure Area or other closed areas that are further offshore.

    Response: The VMS requirements provide assurance that permitted DGN vessels are complying with the regulations found at 50 CFR 660.713. Without VMS coverage for the entire fleet, it would be difficult to monitor compliance with important conservation measures such as closed areas. Furthermore, some of these closed areas, like the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, which was effective in 2014 (79 FR 43268, July 25, 2015), occur in near-shore southern California waters, including areas close to San Diego, CA.

    Comment 2: We request that NMFS modify the rule to include a continuous transit requirement when operating in closed areas and increase the frequency of the signal transimission rate to 15 minutes for the VMS, consistent with the Enforcement Consultants Report to the Council at its September 2014 meeting.

    Response: NMFS recognizes the Enforcement Consultants' recommendation to increase the VMS signal transmission rate to 15 minutes in conjunction with a continuous transit requirement to improve the ability of NMFS to monitor vessel activity in closed areas. NMFS examined VMS tracks of DGN vessels in consideration of continuous transit requirements and found that an addition of continuous transit provisions to this final rule would likely have impacts to the fleet that were not considered during the proposed rule stage. Additionally, following the presentation of the Enforcement Consultants Report, the Council recommended that the VMS signal transmission rate for the DGN fishery not be further enhanced. The maker of the motion contended that such an enhancement was not the right tool for monitoring the DGN fishery since fishing with DGN gear takes several hours to execute once the net is set (e.g., 8 to 12 hour soak times), and further recommended that the Council consider other types of equipment better tailored to the monitoring needs of the fishery. The motion carried unanimously. This final rule is consistent with the Council's recommendation during their September 2014 meeting.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    No substantive changes have been made to this rule since the proposed rule stage. To further clarify the specific contents, reporting frequency, and process for confirmation of receipt of declaration reports, additional information was provided at § 660.713, including paragraphs (f)(2)(i) and (f)(2)(ii), and paragraphs (g)(4)(ii) and (g)(4)(ii)(A).

    Classification

    The Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, has determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the DGN fishery for swordfish and is consistent with MSA and other applicable laws.

    Executive Order 12866

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

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification and no other information has been received that would impact this determination. As a result, a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required and none was prepared.

    Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This final rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to the PRA. The pre-trip notification requirement has been approved by the OMB under OMB Control Number 0648-0593. Public reporting burden for the pre-trip notification requirement is estimated to average 5 minutes 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 VMS requirement is still pending approval by OMB under OMB Control Number 0648-0498. Public reporting burden for compliance with the VMS requirements are estimated to include a one-time, 4-hour response time for installing a VMS unit and a 1-hour response time annually to maintain and repair a unit. Activation and on-off reports are estimated to average 5 minutes per response, including time to review instructions, prepare, and submit the reports. Send comments regarding burden estimates or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to [email protected], or fax to 202-395-7285.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection-of-information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection-of-information displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: February 13, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 660 continues to read as follows:

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

    2. In § 660.702, the definitions for “Regional Administrator,” “Special-Agent-In-Charge (SAC),” and “Vessel monitoring system unit (VMS unit)” are revised to read as follows:
    § 660.702 Definitions.

    Regional Administrator means the Regional Administrator for the West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, or a designee.

    Special Agent-In-Charge (SAC) means the Special Agent-In-Charge, NMFS, Office of Enforcement, West Coast Division, or a designee of the Special Agent-In-Charge.

    Vessel monitoring system unit (VMS unit) means an automated, remote system and mobile transceiver unit that is approved by NMFS and provides information about a vessel's identity, location, and activity for the purposes of routine monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement of area and time restrictions and other fishery management measures.

    3. In § 660.705, paragraphs (l), (o), and (p) are revised and paragraphs (rr) and (ss) are added to read as follows:
    § 660.705 Prohibitions.

    (l) Fail to install, activate, repair, replace, carry, operate or maintain a VMS unit as required under § 660.712 and § 660.713.

    (o) Fish for, catch, or harvest HMS with longline or drift gillnet gear without an operating VMS unit on board the vessel after installation of the VMS unit.

    (p) Possess on board a vessel without an operating VMS unit HMS harvested with longline or drift gillnet gear after installation of the VMS unit.

    (rr) Fail to notify NMFS or the NMFS-designated observer provider at least 48 hours prior to departure on a fishing trip using drift gillnet gear as required under § 660.713.

    (ss) Fail to submit a declaration report to the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement prior to departure on a fishing trip using drift gillnet gear as required under § 660.713.

    4. In § 660.713, paragraphs (f) and (g) are added to read as follows:
    § 660.713 Drift gillnet fishery.

    (f) Pre-trip notification requirements. (1) Drift gillnet vessel owners or operators are required to notify NMFS or the NMFS-designated observer provider at least 48 hours prior to departing on each fishing trip. The vessel owners or operators must communicate to the observer provider: the owner's or operator's name, contact information, vessel name, port of departure, estimated date and time of departure, and a telephone number at which the owner or operator may be contacted during the business day (Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Time) to indicate whether an observer will be required on the subject fishing trip. Contact information for the current observer provider can be obtained by calling the NMFS West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries Division at 562-980-4025.

    (2) Drift gillnet vessel owners or operators must provide the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement for the West Coast Region (OLE) with a declaration report before the vessel leaves port to fish for thresher shark/swordfish with large-mesh drift gillnet gear in state and federal waters between 0 and 200 nautical miles offshore of California, Oregon, or Washington. Declaration reports will include: The vessel name and/or identification number, and gear type.

    (i) Upon receipt of a declaration report, OLE will provide a confirmation code or receipt to confirm that a valid declaration report was received for the vessel. Retention of the confirmation code or receipt to verify that a valid declaration report was filed and the declaration requirement was met is the responsibility of the vessel owner or operator.

    (ii) The vessel operator must send a new declaration report before leaving port on a trip during which the fishing gear that will be used is different from the gear type most recently declared for the vessel. A declaration report will be valid until another declaration report revising the existing gear declaration is received by OLE.

    (iii) OLE's declaration hotline is 1-888-585-5518. The business hours for the OLE are Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Time; voice messages left on the hotline will be retrieved at the start of the next business day.

    (g) Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) requirements. Drift gillnet vessel owners are required to install an OLE type-approved VMS mobile transceiver unit (VMS unit) and to arrange for a OLE type-approved communications service provider to receive and relay transmissions to the OLE prior to fishing for thresher shark/swordfish with large-mesh drift gillnet gear.

    (1) What is a VMS? A VMS consists of an OLE type-approved VMS unit that automatically determines the vessel's position and transmits it to an OLE type-approved communications service provider. The communications service provider receives the transmission and relays it to the OLE.

    (2) What vessels are required to have a VMS? Any vessel registered for use with both a limited-entry California state large-mesh thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet permit and a federal highly migratory species permit that fishes in state or federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, or Washington (0-200 nm offshore).

    (3) How are VMS units and communications dervice providers approved by OLE?

    (i) VMS unit manufacturers or communication service providers will submit products or services to the OLE for evaluation based on the published specifications.

    (ii) The OLE will publish a list of OLE type-approved VMS units and communication service providers for the DGN fishery in the Federal Register or notify the public through other appropriate media; and the OLE may publish amendments to the list as necessary.

    (4) What are the vessel owner's responsibilities? If you are a vessel owner that must participate in the VMS program, you or the vessel operator on your behalf must:

    (i) Obtain an OLE type-approved VMS unit and have it installed on board your vessel in accordance with the instructions provided by the OLE. You may obtain a copy of the VMS installation and operation instructions from the Special-Agent-In-Charge (SAC).

    (ii) Activate the VMS unit, submit an activation report and an initial declaration report, and receive confirmation from the OLE that the VMS transmissions are being received at least 72 hours prior to leaving port on a fishing trip for which VMS is required. Instructions for submitting an activation report may be obtained from the SAC. An activation report must again be submitted to the OLE following reinstallation of a VMS unit or change in service provider before the vessel may be used to fish in a fishery requiring the VMS.

    (A) Activation reports. If you are a vessel owner who must use VMS and you are activating a VMS unit for the first time, or reactivating a VMS unit following a reinstallation or change in service provider, you or the vessel operator on your behalf must fax to the OLE an activation report that includes: vessel name, vessel owner's name, address and telephone number, vessel operator's name, address and telephone number, USCG vessel documentation number/state registration number; and, if applicable, the relevant state and federal permit numbers for which vessel or owner is registered, VMS unit manufacturer, VMS communications service provider, VMS unit identification, and a statement signed and dated by the vessel owner confirming compliance with the installation procedures provided by the SAC and identifying whether the VMS unit is primary or backup. Immediately following submission of an activation report, submit an initial declaration report as described in paragraph (f)(2) of this section using the OLE's declaration hotline included in paragraph (f)(2)(iii) of this section.

    (B) Transferring ownership of the VMS unit. Ownership of the VMS unit may be transferred from one vessel owner to another vessel owner if all of the following documents are provided to the OLE: a new activation report, which identifies that the VMS unit was previously registered to another vessel, a notarized bill of sale showing proof of ownership of the VMS unit, and documentation from the communications service provider showing proof that the service agreement for the previous vessel was terminated and that a service agreement was established for the new vessel.

    (iii) Continuously operate and maintain the VMS unit in good working order 24 hours a day throughout the fishing year. The VMS unit must accurately transmit a signal indicating the vessel's position at least once every hour, 24 hours a day throughout the year, unless a valid exemption report, as described in paragraph (g)(4)(iv)(F) of this section, has been confirmed by the OLE. A reduced signal transmission rate, at least once every 4 hours, may be authorized by the OLE when a vessel remains in port for an extended period of time.

    (iv) Submit an exemption report to be confirmed by the OLE as valid, as described at paragraph (g)(4)(iv)(F) of this section, and comply with all conditions and requirements of the VMS exemption identified in this section and specified in the exemption report for a vessel to be exempted from the requirement of continuously operating and maintaining the VMS unit 24 hours a day throughout the fishing year.

    (A) Haul out exemption. When it is anticipated that a vessel will be continuously out of the water for more than 7 consecutive days and the OLE has confirmed a valid exemption report has been received for the vessel, electrical power to the VMS unit may be removed and transmissions may be discontinued. Under this exemption, VMS transmissions can be discontinued from the time the vessel is removed from the water until the time that the vessel is placed back in the water.

    (B) Outside areas exemption. When the vessel will be continuously operating seaward of the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ; beyond 200 nm) off the coasts of California, Oregon, or Washington for more than 7 consecutive days and the OLE has confirmed a valid exemption report has been received for the vessel, the VMS unit transmissions may be reduced or discontinued from the time the vessel leaves the EEZ off the coasts of California, Oregon, or Washington until the time that the vessel re-enters the EEZ off the coasts of California, Oregon, or Washington. If the vessel is equipped with a VMS unit that OLE has approved for this exemption and after the OLE has received an exemption report for the vessel, the vessel owner or operator can request that the OLE reduce or discontinue the VMS transmissions.

    (C) Long-term departure exemption. A vessel participating in the DGN fishery that is required to have VMS under paragraph (g) of this section may be exempted from VMS provisions after the end of the fishing season in which it fished, provided that a completed exemption report including a statement signed by the vessel owner indicating that the vessel will not be used to take and retain or possess or land swordfish taken in state or federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, or Washington during the upcoming fishing year is submitted to the OLE.

    (D) Emergency exemption. Vessels required to have VMS under paragraph (g) of this section may be exempted from VMS provisions in emergency situations that are beyond the vessel owner's control, including but not limited to: fire, flooding, or extensive physical damage to critical areas of the vessel. A vessel owner may request an emergency exemption from the VMS requirements specified in paragraph (g) of this section for his/her vessel by contacting the OLE and submitting the following information in writing: the reasons for seeking an exemption including any supporting documents (e.g., repair invoices, photographs showing damage to the vessel, insurance claim forms, etc.), the time period for which the exemption is requested, and the location of the vessel while the exemption is in effect. The OLE will issue a written determination granting or denying the emergency exemption request. A vessel will not be covered by the emergency exemption until the OLE issues a determination granting the exemption. If an exemption is granted, the duration of the exemption will be specified in the OLE determination.

    (E) Submission of exemption reports. Long-term departure exemption reports must be signed by the vessel owner and submitted by fax or by emailing an electronic copy of the actual report to the OLE. If an emergency exemption request will be submitted, initial contact with the OLE must be made by telephone, fax or email within 24 hours from when the emergency incident occurred. All emergency exemption requests must be submitted in writing within 72 hours from when the incident occurred. Submission methods for exemption reports, except long-term departures and emergency exemption requests, may include email, facsimile, or telephone. The OLE will provide, through appropriate media, instructions to the public on submitting exemption reports. Instructions and other information needed to make exemption reports may be mailed to the vessel owner's address of record. Owners of vessels required to use the VMS who do not receive instructions by mail are responsible for contacting OLE during business hours at least 3 days before the exemption is needed to obtain information necessary for exemption reports. The OLE must be contacted during business hours (Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Pacific Time). Any other categories of exemptions that have not been specified in paragraph (g) of this section may be submitted to the OLE through the VMS unit or another method deemed appropriate by the OLE. Before a request for a new category of exemption can be approved by OLE, it must be announced in the Federal Register.

    (F) Valid exemption reports. For an exemption report to be valid, the OLE must receive and confirm it at least 2 hours and not more than 24 hours before the exempted activities defined at paragraphs (g)(4)(iv)(A) through (D) of this section. An exemption report is valid until NMFS receives a report canceling the exemption. An exemption cancellation must be received at least 2 hours before the vessel re-enters the EEZ following an outside areas exemption; at least 2 hours before the vessel is placed back in the water following a haul-out exemption; or at least 2 hours before a vessel resumes fishing with a large-mesh drift gillnet after a long-term departure exemption. If a vessel is required to submit an activation report under paragraph (g)(4)(ii) of this section before returning to fish, that report may substitute for the exemption cancellation. After an emergency situation occurs that disrupts the VMS transmission, initial contact must be made with the OLE within 24 hours and a written emergency exemption request submitted within 72 hours from when the incident occurred. If the emergency situation, upon which an emergency exemption is based, is resolved before the exemption expires, an exemption cancellation must be received by OLE at least 2 hours before the vessel resumes fishing.

    (v) When aware that transmission of automatic position reports has been interrupted, or when notified by OLE that automatic position reports are not being received, contact OLE and follow the instructions provided to you. Such instructions may include, but are not limited to, manually communicating the vessel's position to a location designated by the OLE or returning to port until the VMS unit is operable.

    (vi) After a fishing trip during which interruption of automatic position reports has occurred, the vessel's owner or operator must replace or repair the VMS unit prior to the vessel's next fishing trip. Repair or reinstallation of a VMS unit or installation of a replacement unit, including any changes in communications service providers shall be in accordance with the instructions provided by the OLE.

    (vii) Make the VMS units available for inspection by OLE personnel, USCG personnel, state enforcement personnel or any authorized officer.

    (viii) Ensure that the VMS unit is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, operated, or maintained improperly.

    (ix) Pay all charges levied by the communication service provider as necessary to ensure continuous operation of the VMS units.

    (5) What is the contact information for the OLE SAC? For issues related to day-to-day operation of VMS units, including declaration reports, activation reports and exemption reports, the SAC's designee is the OLE VMS Program Manager's office located at 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-6349; phone: (888) 585-5518; fax: (206) 526-6528); and email: [email protected]

    [FR Doc. 2015-03955 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 38 Thursday, February 26, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 91 [Docket No. APHIS-2012-0049] RIN 0579-AE00 Exportation of Live Animals, Hatching Eggs, and Animal Germplasm From the United States AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are proposing to revise the regulations pertaining to the exportation of livestock from the United States. Among other things, we propose to remove most of the requirements for export health certifications, tests, and treatments from the regulations, and instead would direct exporters to follow the requirements of the importing country regarding such processes and procedures. We propose to retain only those export health certification, testing, and treatment requirements that we consider necessary to have assurances regarding the health and welfare of livestock exported from the United States. We also propose to allow pre-export inspection of livestock to occur at facilities other than an export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, under certain circumstances, and propose to replace specific standards for export inspection facilities and ocean vessels with performance standards. These changes would provide exporters and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service with more flexibility in arranging for the export of livestock from the United States while continuing to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock. Additionally, if a country is known to require an export health certificate for any animal other than livestock, including pets, or for any hatching eggs or animal germplasm, we propose to require that the animal, hatching eggs, or animal germplasm have an export health certificate to be eligible for export from the United States. This change would help ensure that all animals, hatching eggs, and animal germplasm exported from the United States meet the health requirements of the countries to which they are destined. Finally, we are proposing editorial amendments to the regulations to make them easier to understand and comply with.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0049.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2012-0049, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0049 or in our reading room, which is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Jack Taniewski, Director for Animal Export, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3300.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Under the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA, 7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the exportation of any animal, article, or means of conveyance if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the dissemination of any pest or disease of livestock from or within the United States. The AHPA also authorizes the Secretary to prohibit: (1) The exportation of any livestock if the Secretary determines that the livestock is unfit to be moved; (2) the use of any means of conveyance or facility in connection with the exportation of any animal or article if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the dissemination of any pest or disease of livestock from or within the United States; and (3) the use of any means of conveyance in connection with the exportation of livestock if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary because the means of conveyance has not been maintained in a clean and sanitary condition or does not have accommodations for the safe and proper movement and humane treatment of livestock.

    The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Pursuant to this authority, APHIS has issued the regulations in 9 CFR part 91, “Inspection and Handling of Livestock for Exportation” (“the regulations”).

    The regulations contain requirements for the inspection and handling of cattle (including American bison), horses, captive cervids, sheep, goats, and swine (referred to below collectively as livestock) intended for export from the United States. Among other things:

    • The livestock must be accompanied to a port of embarkation or land border port by an export health certificate.

    • The export health certificate must contain test results and certifications required by the country to which the animals are destined, as well as certain test results and certifications required by APHIS, regardless of the destination country.

    • If tests for brucellosis are required, the tests must be conducted in a cooperating State-Federal laboratory in accordance with the Brucellosis Uniform Methods and Rules.

    • Except for livestock exported through land border ports, the livestock must be inspected within 24 hours of embarkation by an APHIS veterinarian at an export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation.

    • Except for livestock exported through land border ports, the livestock must be allowed to rest at least 5 hours at an export inspection facility at the port of embarkation prior to embarkation. The livestock must be given food and water during this time unless they had food and water in the carrier that transported them to the export inspection facility and they will reach the destination country within 36 hours after they were last fed and watered in the United States, or, if they are under 30 days of age, within 24 hours after they were last fed and watered in the United States.

    • Ports of embarkation for animals to be exported by air or sea must meet standards set out in the regulations for construction, space, equipment, access, feed, and water.

    • Ocean vessels used to export livestock must meet standards specified in the regulations for construction, ventilation, space, fittings, equipment, attendants, cleaning, and disinfection.

    We have not substantively amended these regulations for many years. Some provisions, such as those that require pre-export inspection of livestock at an export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation and those that set forth specific construction and maintenance standards for export inspection facilities and ocean vessels, sometimes interfere with exports. Other requirements, particularly those that require certain tests and certifications for all livestock intended for export from the United States, are not always required by importing countries or necessary for us to have assurances regarding the health and welfare of the livestock at the time of export.

    For these reasons, we are proposing to remove requirements that we have determined to be unnecessary or overly prescriptive from the regulations in order to provide exporters and APHIS with more options for inspecting and handling livestock intended for export. The proposed changes would continue to ensure that livestock intended for export are humanely transported and that all livestock exported from the United States meet the import health requirements of the countries to which they are destined.

    Additionally, although our authority under the AHPA allows us to issue export health certificates for animals other than livestock, as well as for hatching eggs and germplasm, the regulations currently do not contain provisions for such issuance.

    However, as a signatory on the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), the United States has agreed to respect the measures that other countries impose on the importation of animals other than livestock, hatching eggs, or animal germplasm from the United States, when these countries demonstrate the need to impose the measures in order to protect animal health. Several countries have entered into export protocols with the United States in which they demonstrate such a need and require export health certificates to be issued in order for animals other than livestock, hatching eggs, or animal germplasm to be exported to their country.

    Accordingly, we would revise part 91 so that, when an importing country is known to require an export health certificate for any animal other than livestock or for any animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes intended for export to that country, the animal or other commodity must have an export health certificate in order to be eligible for export from the United States.

    Finally, in order to make the regulations easier to follow, we are proposing to group certain provisions that are currently located in disparate sections of the regulations, and to make certain other editorial changes to make the regulations easier to read.

    We discuss our proposed revision to the regulations, by section, below.

    Definitions (§ 91.1)

    The regulations in current § 91.1 contain definitions of the following terms: Accredited veterinarian, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, animals, APHIS representative, Department, horses, inspector, miniature swine, official brucellosis vaccinate, origin health certificate, premises of origin, roofing paper, State of origin, and Veterinary Services.

    In proposed § 91.1, we would omit the definitions of Department, miniature swine, official brucellosis vaccinate, and Veterinary Services, as the terms would not be used in the revised regulations. We would also remove the definitions of origin health certificate and premises of origin and replace these terms with two other terms, export health certificate and premises of export, respectively.

    We would replace origin health certificate with export health certificate because the latter term is more commonly used. We would define the term export health certificate as “an official document issued in the United States that certifies that animals or other commodities listed on the certificate meet the export requirements of this part and the importing country.” Whereas the definition of origin health certificate contains provisions regarding the content and issuance of origin health certificates, the definition of export health certificate would not. This is because we have determined that these provisions are more accurately characterized as regulatory requirements, and would thus place them in proposed § 91.3. That section would contain requirements regarding the information that must be contained on an export health certificate and the manner in which the certificate must be issued in order for us to consider it valid.

    We would replace premises of origin with premises of export for a different reason. The term premises of origin is often used in common speech to mean the premises where animals were born and/or raised. We mean, instead, the premises where the animals are assembled for pre-export isolation (if such isolation is required by the importing country) or, if the importing country does not require pre-export isolation, the premises where the animals are assembled for pre-export inspection and/or testing, or the germplasm is collected and stored, before being moved to a port of embarkation or land border port. This could be the premises where the animals were born and/or raised, but could also be another location where the animals were assembled for isolation, testing, and/or inspection prior to movement. This nuance is currently reflected in the definition of premises of origin, which is defined in a manner that includes the premises where animals are assembled immediately before movement for export. However, the term premises of origin itself does not necessarily capture the nuance. We think the term premises of export better expresses our intent.

    By replacing the term premises of origin with the term premises of export, we would also revise the definition of State of origin, which currently uses the term premises of origin.

    We would also revise the definitions of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, animal, APHIS representative, and inspector.

    We currently define Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as “The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (APHIS or Service).” The revised regulations would no longer use the term “Service” as a synonym for APHIS; thus, we would remove a reference to “Service” from this definition.

    As we mentioned above, the regulations currently apply only to horses, cattle (including American bison), captive cervids, sheep, swine, and goats. As a result, the definition of animal in current § 91.1 only includes those species. However, because this proposed rule would contain provisions for export certification of animals other than those six species, when we use the term animal in this preamble and proposed rule, it has the common meaning of any member of the animal kingdom, except a human. (This revised definition would be identical to the definition of animal within the AHPA itself.)

    Certain provisions of the revised regulations would only pertain to horses, cattle (including American bison), captive cervids, sheep, swine, and goats, however. To differentiate between those provisions that would be generally applicable to all animals, and those that would pertain only to those species, we would refer to horses, cattle (including American bison), captive cervids, sheep, swine, and goats collectively as livestock within the revised regulations, and would include such a definition of livestock within proposed § 91.1.

    Currently, we define APHIS representative as “an individual employed by APHIS who is authorized to perform the function involved” and inspector as “an inspector of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.” However, as we have expanded our export certification services to animals other than livestock, we have occasionally authorized individuals who are not employed by APHIS to serve as APHIS representatives and inspectors. This usually occurs when we do not have the specialized expertise necessary to assess the disease status of a particular animal intended for export. For example, APHIS sometimes authorizes employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior to provide inspection and/or certification of certain species of aquaculture intended for export. To reflect these operational practices, we would revise the definition of APHIS representative to “an individual who is authorized by APHIS to perform the function involved” and the definition of inspector to “an individual authorized by APHIS to inspect animals and/or animal products intended for export from the United States.”

    Finally, we would add definitions of the following terms to the regulations: Date of export, export inspection facility, export isolation facility, program diseases, and Program Handbook.

    We would define date of export as “the date animals intended for export are loaded onto an ocean vessel or aircraft or, if moved by land to Canada or Mexico, the date the animals cross the border.” We would include such a definition within the revised regulations because, as in the current regulations, we would require animals to be inspected in order for their export to be authorized, and this inspection would have to occur within a set period of time prior to the date of export.

    We would define export isolation facility as “a facility where animals intended for export are isolated from other animals for a period of time immediately before being moved for export,” and would define export inspection facility as “a facility that is affiliated with a port of embarkation and that has been approved by the Administrator as the location where APHIS will conduct health inspections of livestock before they are loaded onto ocean vessels or aircraft for export from the United States.” We would include a definition of export isolation facility because we would authorize pre-export inspection of livestock at export isolation facilities, under certain conditions. We would include a definition of export inspection facility in order to clarify how such facilities differ from export isolation facilities.

    We would define program diseases to mean diseases for which there are cooperative State-Federal programs and domestic regulations in subchapter C of the APHIS' regulations in 9 CFR. As we mentioned earlier in this document, we are proposing to remove most testing requirements from the regulations, and instead would direct exporters to follow the testing requirements of the importing country. However, many countries require tests for diseases for which we have established domestic State-Federal quarantine programs, such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and pseudorabies. Such diseases are commonly referred to as program diseases. We would require testing for such program diseases to occur according to the standards and protocols established domestically for these diseases.

    We would define Program Handbook to mean a document that contains guidance and other information related to the regulations. The definition would provide that the Program Handbook is available on APHIS' import-export Web site, and would provide the address for that Web site. We discuss the role that the Program Handbook would play in relation to the proposed regulations at greater length in the discussion of subsequent sections of the proposed regulations.

    Applicability (§ 91.2)

    Current § 91.2 requires livestock to be exported from the United States in accordance with the regulations. We would retain this requirement. However, since the revised regulations would also pertain to the export of animals other than livestock and to animal germplasm, proposed § 91.2 would specify that such animals and animal germplasm must also be exported in accordance with the regulations.

    General Requirements (§ 91.3)

    Proposed § 91.3 would provide general requirements for the export of livestock, animals other than livestock, and animal germplasm.

    Proposed paragraph (a)(1) of § 91.3 would provide that livestock must have an export health certificate in order to be eligible for export from the United States. We recognize that a country could elect to allow livestock to be imported into that country without an export health certificate. However, even in such instances, pursuant to our authority under the AHPA, we would need assurances that the livestock were fit to be moved for export from their premises of export at the time that movement occurred. The export health certificate would provide such assurances.

    The current regulations do not contain export health certification or other export-health requirements for animals other than livestock or for animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes. However, as we mentioned above, some foreign countries have entered into export protocols with the United States for species of animals other than livestock, including dogs, cats, and aquatic animals in which these countries require export health certificates to be issued in order for the animal to be exported from the United States to their country. Likewise, some foreign countries require export health certificates for animal germplasm, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes exported from the United States. Consistent with the SPS Agreement and our authority under the AHPA, it is APHIS policy to require export health certificates for the export of such animals and germplasm from the United States to such countries.

    Accordingly, proposed paragraph (a)(2) of § 91.3 would provide that, if an importing country is known to require an export health certificate for any animal other than livestock or for any animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes intended for export to that country, the animal or other commodity must have an export health certificate in order to be eligible for export from the United States.

    Proposed paragraph (b) of § 91.3 would contain minimum requirements regarding the information that must be contained on an export health certificate. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) of § 91.3 would specify that regardless of the requirements of the importing country, an export health certificate for livestock must contain:

    • The species of each animal.

    • The breed of each animal.

    • The sex of each animal.

    • The age of each animal.

    • The individual identification used to identify the animals. (Identification requirements would be contained in proposed § 91.5.)

    • The importing country.

    • The consignor.

    • The consignee.

    • A certification that an accredited veterinarian inspected the livestock and found them to be fit for export.

    • A signature and date by an accredited veterinarian.

    • An endorsement by the APHIS veterinarian responsible for the State of origin.

    These information requirements, many of which are included in the current definition of origin health certificate, represent the minimal categories of information that we require in order for us to consider an export health certificate to have been validly issued.

    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) of § 91.3 would also require export certificates for livestock to meet any other information or issuance requirements specified by the importing country. This provision would be substantively similar to an existing provision in current § 91.3 that requires origin health certificates for livestock to include all test results, certifications, or other statements required by the country of destination.

    Proposed paragraph (b)(3) of § 91.3 would set forth requirements for export health certificates for animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes. For such animals and commodities, we propose to require that their export health certificates meet any information requirements specified by the importing country.

    As we mentioned above, we issue export health certificates for animals other than livestock and animal germplasm when such certificates are required by the importing country. For these reasons, we consider it reasonable to require that such certificates meet the information requirements specified by the importing country.

    Current paragraph (a) of § 91.3 requires the origin health certificate to certify that the livestock were inspected within 30 days prior to the date of export, with certain exceptions. The Administrator may allow inspection to be done more than 30 days prior to the date of export if required or allowed by the importing country. Proposed paragraph (c) of § 91.3 would require that livestock be inspected within the timeframe required by the importing country. If the importing country does not specify a timeframe, we propose to require that the livestock be inspected within 30 days prior to the date of export. These requirements would be similar to the current requirements, but would place a greater emphasis on meeting the requirements of the importing country.

    Current paragraph (c) of § 91.3 sets forth general requirements for sampling and testing for livestock intended for export. It requires species-specific samples and tests, which are currently listed in § 91.5 through § 91.9, to be taken by an inspector or accredited veterinarian in the State of origin. It further requires the samples to be taken and tests made within 30 days prior to the date of export, except when the importing country requires or allows such sampling and testing to be conducted more than 30 days prior to the date of export and the Administrator agrees to this different timeframe. It further allows tuberculin tests to be conducted 90 days prior to export. Finally, it requires tests for brucellosis to be conducted in a cooperative State-Federal laboratory in accordance with the Brucellosis Uniform Methods and Rules.

    We consider substantial revisions to these testing requirements to be necessary. First, although most testing is conducted by accredited veterinarians or APHIS inspectors, on certain occasions the samples and tests are administered by APHIS employees, such as animal health technicians, who are neither inspectors nor accredited veterinarians, but who have been trained by APHIS to conduct such sampling and testing. Such individuals function as APHIS representatives, as we are proposing to define that term.

    Second, while the intent of §§ 91.3 through 91.9 is to require that, if an importing country requires livestock intended for export to be tested for a program disease, the livestock are tested for the disease, and are tested in the same manner and under the same conditions as domestic livestock are tested for that disease prior to interstate movement, this intent is not readily apparent. Similarly, current § 91.3 could be construed to suggest that brucellosis is the only program disease for which approved laboratories exist; this is not the case.

    Finally, consistent with other changes that we are proposing to the regulations, we believe that greater emphasis must be put on meeting the requirements of the importing country.

    Accordingly, proposed paragraph (d) of § 91.3 would set forth revised testing requirements for livestock intended for export. All samples for tests of livestock that are required by the importing country would have to be taken by an APHIS representative or accredited veterinarian. The samples would have to be taken and tests made within the timeframe allowed by the importing country, and, if specified, at the location required by the importing country. Consistent with the current regulations, if the importing country does not specify a timeframe, the samples would have to be taken and tests made within 30 days prior to the date of export, except that tuberculin tests could be conducted within 90 days prior to the date of export. All tests for program diseases would have to be made in laboratories and using methods approved by the Administrator for those diseases. The Program Handbook would provide access to a list of approved laboratories; approved methods would be those specified or otherwise incorporated within the domestic regulations in subchapter C of 9 CFR chapter I.

    These proposed requirements, in conjunction with our proposed general requirement that all certification requirements of the importing country be met, would eliminate the need to specify species-specific testing requirements in part 91. Thus we would not retain the provisions contained in current §§ 91.5 through 91.9.

    Proposed paragraph (e) of § 91.3 would set forth conditions for movement from the premises of export for livestock, animals other than livestock, and animal germplasm with an export health certificate.

    Proposed paragraph (e)(1) of § 91.3 would set forth movement requirements for livestock moving from the premises of export under an export health certificate. It would require that an export health certificate be issued and endorsed before the livestock move from the premises of export. Additionally, except when the certificate has been issued and endorsed electronically, the original signed export health certificate would have to accompany the livestock for the entire duration of movement from the premises of export to the port of embarkation or land border port.

    Proposed paragraph (e)(2) of § 91.3 would set forth movement requirements for animals other than livestock and animal germplasm moving from a premises of export under an export health certificate. (It would pertain to animals other than livestock and animal germplasm only when export health certificates are required for such animals or commodities.) It would require that, when an export health certificate is required by the importing country for any animal other than livestock or for animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes, it must be issued and, if required by the importing country, endorsed by an APHIS representative prior to the arrival of the animal or other commodity at the port of embarkation or land border port.

    When presented for endorsement, the health certificate would have to be accompanied by reports for all laboratory tests specifically identified on the certificate. To preclude tampering, we would require either the original reports prepared by the laboratory that performed the tests to accompany the certificate or a copy of the reports that is annotated by the laboratory to indicate how the originals may be obtained.

    Finally, except when an export health certificate has been issued and endorsed electronically, the original signed export health certificate would have to accompany the animals or animal germplasm to the port of embarkation or land border port.

    Proposed paragraph (f)(1) of § 91.3 would provide that, unless specified by the importing country, an export health certificate for livestock is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance, provided that the inspection and tests results under paragraphs (c) and (d) of § 91.3 are still valid. Similarly, proposed paragraph (f)(2) of § 91.3 would provide that, unless specified by the importing country, an export health certificate for animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

    Prohibited Exports (§ 91.4)

    We are proposing to prohibit the export of any animal, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes under Federal, State, or local government quarantine or movement restrictions for animal health reasons unless the importing country issues an import permit or other written instruction allowing that animal or other commodity to enter its country and APHIS concurs with the export of the animal, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes. This restriction, together with any export health certifications required by an importing country, would ensure that animals, hatching eggs, and animal germplasm exported from the United States meet the health requirements of importing countries and are free from serious diseases.

    Identification of Livestock Intended for Export (§ 91.5)

    Proposed § 91.5 would contain identification requirements for livestock intended for export. With one exception, we would require such livestock to be identified in accordance with 9 CFR part 86. That part contains national identification standards for livestock moving in interstate commerce. We consider this requirement to be necessary in order to align our export requirements with our domestic regulations, and to facilitate the interstate movement of animals intended for export from their premises of export to an export inspection facility, port of embarkation, or land border port.

    We would also require the livestock to bear any additional form of identification required by the importing country.

    Finally, while part 86 requires that, if a horse is identified by an individual animal tattoo, the horse must be accompanied by a written description of the horse, we would allow horses intended for export to be identified by individual animal tattoos alone, if allowed by the importing country. The United States has long-standing export protocols with several countries that allow horses to be identified solely by an animal tattoo, and we have not encountered problems with the orderly export of horses to those countries that would suggest the need to modify the protocols to specify an alternate means of identification.

    Cleaning and Disinfection of Means of Conveyance, Containers, and Facilities Used During Movement; Approved Disinfectants (§ 91.6)

    Current paragraph (d) of § 91.3 requires export health certificates to certify that the means of conveyance or container used to move livestock from their premises of export has been cleaned and disinfected since last used for animals with a disinfectant approved under § 71.10 of 9 CFR prior to loading, or to certify that the carrier or container has not previously been used in transporting animals. Similarly, current paragraph (e) of § 91.3 requires that facilities where animals are unloaded during movement to ports of embarkation or border ports be cleaned and disinfected with a disinfectant approved under § 71.10 before the animals are unloaded into that facility.

    Section 71.10 lists disinfectants permitted for use on means of conveyance, containers, and facilities associated with the movement of livestock in commerce. However, the list of permitted disinfectants in § 71.10 has not been updated in many years. Additionally, § 71.10 does not provide for a mechanism to add or remove disinfectants from the list, as warranted.

    Therefore, while proposed § 91.6 would substantively retain the regulatory provisions currently located in paragraphs (d) and (e) of § 91.3, it would no longer require use of a disinfectant listed in § 71.10. Instead, disinfectants approved by the Administrator for the purposes of fulfilling these regulatory requirements would be listed online, at a Web address provided in the Program Handbook.

    We would also provide a mechanism for additional disinfectants to be added to the list of approved disinfectants. The Administrator would approve a disinfectant upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals intended for export. Additionally, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, it would have to be registered or exempted for the specified use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Under the authority of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 135 et seq., FIFRA), EPA requires chemical disinfectants used for animal pathogens to be registered with their Agency, unless they have granted an exemption from such registration for the specified use. Criteria for exemptions are specified in sections 18, 24, and 25 of FIFRA.

    There would also be a mechanism for removing disinfectants from the list of approved disinfectants. The Administrator would remove a disinfectant from the list if it no longer meets the conditions for approval specified above.

    Pre-Export Inspection (§ 91.7)

    Currently, paragraph (a) of § 91.15 requires animals offered for exportation to any country other than Mexico or Canada to be inspected by an APHIS veterinarian within 24 hours of embarkation of the animals at an export inspection facility associated with a port designated as a port of embarkation by the Administrator. Current paragraph (b) of § 91.17 requires that owners, masters, or operators of ocean vessels must refuse for transportation any livestock that are unfit to withstand the rigors of such transportation. This paragraph also provides that an APHIS veterinarian must make this determination.

    The paragraphs are intended to work in tandem to describe APHIS' usual processes regarding pre-export inspection of livestock destined for export aboard an ocean vessel: The animals are moved to an export inspection facility and an APHIS veterinarian examines the livestock to determine whether they are fit to travel. If any of the livestock are deemed unfit to travel, the veterinarian requires them to be segregated from the rest of the livestock intended for export, and prohibits them from being loaded onto the ocean vessel at the point of embarkation.

    This intent, however, is not readily apparent. Nor do the current regulations in part 91 specify that APHIS has in place parallel processes for livestock intended for export via aircraft. Finally, exporters have from time to time requested the criteria that lead a veterinarian to determine an animal is unfit for travel.

    To clarify both the nature and intent of the pre-export inspection, proposed paragraph (a) of § 91.7 would require all livestock intended for export by air or sea to receive a visual health inspection from an APHIS veterinarian within 48 hours prior to embarkation. (We discuss why we are proposing to increase the allowed duration between this inspection and the embarkation of the animals from 24 to 48 hours later in this document). Paragraph (a) would also provide that the purpose of the inspection is to determine whether the livestock are sound, healthy, and fit to travel. The paragraph would further state that an APHIS veterinarian will reject for export any livestock that he or she finds to be unfit to travel.

    The paragraph would specify that it is the responsibility of the owner of the animals or his or her agent to make arrangements for any livestock found unfit to travel. The purpose of this requirement, which is not found in the current regulations, would be to give notice to owners and their agents that it is their responsibility to take appropriate, effective, and humane care of animals that are judged unfit to travel.

    Finally, proposed paragraph (a) of § 91.7 would provide a list of conditions that make an animal unfit to travel. The list is not intended to be exhaustive or all-inclusive, but would cover the most common situations that we encounter. The list would include:

    • Livestock that are sick, injured, weak, disabled, or fatigued.

    • Livestock that are unable to stand unaided or bear weight on each leg.

    • Livestock that are blind in both eyes.

    • Livestock that cannot be moved without causing additional suffering.

    • Newborn livestock with an unhealed navel.

    • Livestock that have given birth within the previous 48 hours and are traveling without their offspring.

    • Pregnant livestock that would be in the final 10 percent of their gestation period at the planned time of unloading in the importing country.

    • Livestock with unhealed wounds from recent surgical procedures, such as dehorning.

    As we mentioned earlier in this document, the regulations currently require pre-export inspection to occur at an export inspection facility associated with a port that has been designated as a port of embarkation by the Administrator.

    Currently, many countries require livestock intended for export to be kept isolated from other animals for a period of time immediately prior to movement for export. This isolation usually occurs at the premises of export, although, in certain instances, it occurs at another facility specifically designed for isolation of livestock. After the period of isolation ends, if the livestock will be exported by air or sea, they are shipped from the export isolation facility to an export inspection facility at a designated port of embarkation for pre-export inspection.

    In recent years, APHIS has received several requests from exporters to allow pre-export inspection of livestock at export isolation facilities. These requests have usually been made when the export isolation facility was closer to the nearest designated port of embarkation than it was to the export inspection facility, or when the exporter expressed concern that moving the livestock to the export inspection facility would cause undue hardship to the animals.

    Similarly, from time to time, we also have received requests from exporters to allow pre-export inspection of livestock at an export inspection facility other than the facility associated with the port of embarkation for the livestock. These usually have occurred when the export inspection facility requested by the exporter can more easily accommodate the lot of animals to be inspected, or has additional resources or personnel to conduct inspections.

    As a result, proposed paragraph (b) of § 91.7 would provide that an APHIS veterinarian must conduct pre-export inspection at either an export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, or, when authorized by the Administrator, at an export isolation facility or another export inspection facility. The conditions under which the Administrator would authorize inspection of the livestock at an export isolation facility or an export inspection facility not associated with the port of embarkation would be described in paragraphs (c) and (d) of § 91.7.

    Proposed paragraph (b) of § 91.7 would also provide that, unless APHIS has authorized otherwise, any sorting, grouping, identification, or other handling of the livestock by the exporter must be done before the inspection. It would further provide that the APHIS veterinarian may also conduct clinical examination of any of the livestock during or after this inspection if he or she deems it necessary in order to determine the animal's health. Any testing or treatment related to this clinical examination would have to be performed by an APHIS veterinarian or an accredited veterinarian. (In this context, testing refers to discretionary tests performed on animals exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness, not to tests required by APHIS or the importing country.) Finally, the paragraph would specify that if the facility used to conduct the inspection is a facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, it must be located within 28 hours driving distance under normal driving conditions from the port of embarkation. While we have determined that there are certain instances where it makes sense to authorize pre-export inspection of livestock at export isolation facilities or export inspection facilities other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, none of these instances would suggest authorizing inspections at an export isolation facility or export inspection facility located more than 28 hours driving distance from the port of embarkation. We are proposing a maximum driving distance of 28 hours because, pursuant to the 28 hour law (49 U.S.C. 80502), the maximum time that livestock may be transported in interstate commerce without rest, feed, and water is 28 hours.

    To help ensure that livestock moved from a facility located a significant distance from the port of embarkation are well-rested and fit for travel, we would require livestock to be afforded at least 48 hours rest, with sufficient feed and water during that time period, prior to movement from the facility. Inspection of the livestock would occur during this rest period, which could also be concurrent with any isolation period required by the exporting country.

    As we mentioned above, proposed paragraph (c) of § 91.7 would contain conditions under which the Administrator would authorize pre-export inspection of the livestock at an export isolation facility, rather than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation. Proposed paragraph (c)(1) would state that the Administrator may allow pre-export inspection of livestock to be conducted at an export isolation facility, rather than at an export inspection facility, when the exporter can show to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the livestock would suffer undue hardship if they had to be inspected at the export inspection facility, when the distance from the export isolation facility to the port of embarkation is significantly less than the distance from the export isolation facility to the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, when inspection at the export isolation facility would be a more efficient use of APHIS resources, or for other reasons acceptable to the Administrator. In other words, generally speaking, we would authorize pre-export inspection of livestock at an export isolation facility when we determine that it would further our goal under the AHPA to ensure the health and humane treatment of animals exported from the United States, or when it would be more practical for the parties involved in the inspection to have it at the export isolation facility as long as the livestock would not suffer any undue hardship.

    Proposed paragraph (c)(2) of § 91.7 would specify that the Administrator's approval of an export isolation facility as the location where pre-export inspection takes place is contingent upon APHIS having personnel available to provide services at that location. It would further specify that approval is also contingent upon the Administrator determining that the facility has space, lighting, and humane means of handling livestock sufficient for the APHIS personnel to safely conduct required inspections.

    The Program Handbook would provide guidance for isolation facilities regarding ways to meet these performance standards. Isolation facility owners or operators who follow the guidance set forth in the Program Handbook would be assured of APHIS approval of their facilities as locations for pre-export inspection. Owners and operators could submit alternate plans for meeting the performance standards to APHIS for evaluation and approval. In order for us to approve these alternate plans, however, they would have to be at least as effective in meeting the performance standards as those described in the Program Handbook. We would have to approve these alternate plans before the facility could be used for purposes of proposed § 91.7.

    Proposed paragraph (d) of § 91.7 would contain conditions under which the Administrator would authorize inspection of livestock at an export inspection facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation. It would state that the Administrator may allow pre-export inspection of livestock to be conducted at an export inspection facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation when the exporter can show to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the livestock would suffer undue hardship if they had to be inspected at the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, when inspection at this different export inspection facility would be a more efficient use of APHIS resources, or for other reasons acceptable to the Administrator.

    These conditions would be very similar to the conditions under which we would allow pre-export inspection at an export isolation facility. However, while we can foresee instances when an export isolation facility may be closer to the port of embarkation from which the livestock will be shipped than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, we cannot foresee instances when the export inspection facility associated with a different port would be closer to the port of embarkation than the export inspection facility associated with that port.

    If this rule is finalized, we anticipate approving several export isolation facilities and authorizing pre-export inspection of livestock at those facilities pursuant to paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of § 91.7. We also anticipate authorizing pre-export inspection of livestock at export inspection facilities other than those associated with the port of embarkation pursuant to paragraph (d) of § 91.7 from time to time.

    If such authorization occurs, there could be certain instances when it would be difficult, if not impossible, for an animal to be inspected within 24 hours prior to embarkation. Even when pre-export inspection of livestock is conducted at an export inspection facility located at the port of embarkation, it can take more than 24 hours to load a large lot of animals safely into an ocean vessel. If pre-export inspection were to occur at an export isolation facility or an export inspection facility other than the facility associated with the port of embarkation, the time spent en route to the port of embarkation would count towards the 24 hour period. This could result in hastened loading of the animals and increased likelihood of their injury or distress. For these reasons, as we mentioned above, we are proposing to allow pre-export inspections to occur up to 48 hours prior to embarkation. Allowing the inspection to occur up to 48 hours in advance would provide additional time for thorough inspections and orderly loading of the livestock, while still keeping the final inspection close to the time of departure.

    That being said, we recognize that some countries have import requirements that specify that livestock must be inspected within a shorter period of time prior to export. In such instances, the inspection would have to take place within the timeframe specified by the importing country.

    Paragraph (e) of § 91.7 would provide that the APHIS veterinarian will maintain an inspection record that includes the date and place of the pre-export inspection, species and number of animals inspected, the number of animals rejected, a description of those animals, and the reasons for rejection. In the event of a dispute regarding whether a particular animal was considered fit for travel during pre-export inspection, we would have recourse to these records to help resolve the dispute.

    For similar reasons, proposed paragraph (f) of § 91.7 would provide that, at the request of the importing country or an exporter, the APHIS veterinarian who inspects the livestock will issue a certificate of inspection for livestock he or she finds to be sound, healthy, and fit for travel.

    Rest, Feed, and Water Prior to Export (§ 91.8)

    Currently, paragraph (c) of § 91.15 requires all livestock intended for export from the United States by sea or air to be allowed a period of at least 5 hours for rest at the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, with adequate feed and water available, before movement to an ocean vessel or aircraft for loading for export. The paragraph allows this rest period to occur during pre-export inspection, and provides that feed and water is not required if the animals were transported to the export inspection facility in a carrier in which adequate feed and water was provided and if sufficient evidence is presented to an APHIS veterinarian that the animals, if under 30 days of age, will arrive in the import country within 24 hours after they were last fed and watered in the United States, or in the case of other animals, within 36 hours after they were last fed and watered in the United States.

    Proposed § 91.8 would revise these requirements. We are proposing to eliminate any exemptions from the rest, feed, and water requirement for livestock intended for export by sea or air. We are proposing to do so because, once an animal leaves the territorial limits of the United States, it is no longer subject to our oversight, and because it is not uncommon for travel to a foreign region to take significantly longer than expected because of adverse climatic conditions and other reasons.

    We are, however, proposing to reduce the rest period that must be afforded to livestock intended for export from 5 hours to 2 hours. In our experience, livestock moved for export are usually not taxed by such movement to the extent that would warrant a 5 hour rest period.

    However, they do tend to stiffen as a result of such movement. Based on our experience, it takes the animals 2 hours to become limber once again and prepared for the rigors of sea or air travel.

    Out of recognition that there could be circumstances where 2 hours would be an insufficient period of time for such rest, however, we would allow an inspector to extend the duration of the rest period up to 5 hours, at his or her discretion and based on a determination that more rest is necessary in order to have assurances that the animals are fit to travel prior to loading.

    Finally, we are proposing to remove the provision from the current regulations allowing this rest period to be concurrent with pre-export inspection. Based on our experience, it is difficult for an animal to rest during pre-export inspection. However, if pre-export inspection has occurred at a facility other than the export inspection facility associated at the port of embarkation, we are proposing to require that the livestock be visually observed at the end of the rest period for fitness to travel.

    Ports (§ 91.9)

    In accordance with current paragraph (a) of § 91.14, all livestock intended for export from the United States by air or sea must be exported through designated ports of embarkation. As provided in § 91.14(a) and (b), the Administrator will not designate a port of embarkation for livestock—even temporarily—unless the port has an approved export inspection facility permanently associated with it.

    We are proposing to allow the Administrator to temporarily approve ports without export inspection facilities under certain circumstances. Specifically, proposed § 91.9 would provide that such ports could be approved on a temporary basis for a specific shipment of livestock when pre-export inspection of that shipment has occurred at an export isolation facility or an export inspection facility not associated with the port of embarkation, as provided in proposed § 91.7. This change would allow temporary use of ports that do not have export inspection facilities permanently associated with them for specific shipments of livestock. Unlike ports of embarkation with export inspection facilities permanently associated with them, which would be listed in the Program Handbook, these ports would not be listed in the Program Handbook. Their use would be limited to the specific shipment(s) for which they were approved by the Administrator.

    Export Inspection Facilities (§ 91.10)

    Currently, § 91.14 sets out standards that facilities have to meet in order to be approved as export inspection facilities. The standards are often very prescriptive. For example, paragraph (c)(10), lighting, states that: “The facility shall be equipped with artificial lighting to provide not less than 70 foot candle power in the inspection area and not less than 40 foot candle power in the remainder of the facility.”

    Proposed § 91.10 would remove the prescriptive standards for export inspection facilities that are currently in § 91.14 from the regulations. Instead, proposed § 91.10 would require the export inspection facilities to be constructed, equipped, and managed in a manner that: (1) Prevents transmission of disease to and from livestock in the facilities; (2) provides for the safe and humane handling and restraint of livestock; and (3) provides sufficient offices, space, and lighting for APHIS veterinarians to safely conduct required health inspections of livestock and related business.

    The Program Handbook that accompanies this proposed rule provides guidance on ways to comply with these requirements. This guidance is substantively similar to the requirements currently in the regulations in § 91.14. Owners and operators of facilities that follow the guidance provided in the Program Handbook are assured of meeting our proposed requirements.

    That said, while the Program Handbook provides one way of meeting the requirements in proposed § 91.10, we recognize that there could also be other ways of meeting the requirements. To that end, owners and operators could submit alternative plans for meeting the requirements to APHIS for our evaluation and approval. Any alternatives submitted would have to be at least as effective in meeting the requirements as the methods described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. APHIS approval would be required before alternatives could be used for the purpose described in the regulations.

    We would retain in proposed § 91.10(b) the requirements currently in the regulations in § 91.14(c)(6) and (c)(9) that facilities allow APHIS representatives access to all parts of the facility, and that applications for approval of an export inspection facility be accompanied by a certification that the facility meets all applicable environmental laws and regulations. However, we would limit the current scope of § 91.14(c)(6) somewhat in proposed § 91.10(b)(2). While we currently require facilities to provide access to all parts of the facility at all times for the purpose of assessing compliance with the regulations, we only exercise this authority during the facility's business hours, that is, while the facility is in operation. To reflect this, we would require access to the facility during the facility's business hours. Additionally, while the current requirement does not specify why APHIS needs such broad access to the facility, our proposed requirement would clarify that the access is needed in order for us to evaluate whether the facility is in compliance with the requirements of the regulations for the purposes of approval or a subsequent audit.

    We also propose to substantively retain in proposed paragraph (c) of § 91.10 the provisions currently in the regulations in § 91.14(d) regarding approval and denial or revocation of approval of export inspection facilities. We do, however, propose to add two conditions that would trigger the need for reapproval of an export inspection facility that we have previously approved: Change of ownership of the facility or significant damage or structural changes to the facility. In these instances, we would need assurances that the facility continues to meet the standards under which it was approved in light of these changes.

    Export Isolation Facilities (§ 91.11)

    As we mentioned earlier in this document, many countries currently require livestock intended for export to be kept isolated from other animals for a period of time immediately prior to movement for export. Often, the importing countries require this period of isolation to be “officially approved” or “APHIS-approved.” Proposed § 91.11 would contain standards for APHIS approval of such facilities. In those instances, APHIS inspects the facility prior to any isolation in order to ensure that the facility has measures in place that will protect the animals there from exposure to diseased livestock during the isolation period.

    We are proposing to add to the regulations requirements pertaining to APHIS approval of export isolation facilities. Specifically, proposed § 91.11 requires that, if an importing country requires livestock to undergo USDA-approved export isolation, APHIS must approve the export isolation facility used for the livestock prior to each isolation. APHIS would approve the facility only if the Administrator determines, upon APHIS inspection of the facility, that the facility meets the standards identified by the importing country. If the importing country does not identify specific standards, APHIS would approve the facility only if the Administrator determines, upon inspection of the facility, that the facility has adequate measures in place to protect the livestock in the facility from exposure to animals of different health status and fomites in order to prevent transmission of disease of livestock during the isolation period. Additionally, export isolation conducted at the facility would have to be supervised by an accredited veterinarian or, if requested by the importing country, by an APHIS veterinarian.

    The Program Handbook that accompanies this proposed rule provides guidance on measures that a facility can implement in order to comply with the proposed requirement that the facility have adequate measures in place to protect livestock at the facility from exposure to animals of different disease status during the isolation period. Owners and operators that follow the guidance provided in the Program Handbook are assured of meeting this proposed requirement.

    That said, while the Program Handbook provides one way of adequately meeting the requirement, we recognize that there could also be other ways of adequately meeting the requirement. To that end, owners and operators could submit alternate measures to APHIS for evaluation and approval. Alternatives would have to be at least as effective in meeting the requirement as those described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. Alternatives would have to be approved by APHIS before being used for purposes of meeting the regulations.

    Ocean Vessels (§ 91.12)

    Current subpart D of part 91 (§§ 91.17-91.30) applies to the ocean vessels on which livestock are exported from the United States, and sets forth requirements that the vessels must meet with regard to construction, ventilation, space, fittings, equipment, and attendants. In a similar manner to the standards for export inspection facilities that are currently in the regulations, these standards are often very detailed and prescriptive. For example, current § 91.23 requires ramps connecting one deck of an ocean vessel to another to “have a clear width of 3 feet and a clear height of not less than 6 feet 6 inches. The incline of the ramps shall not exceed 1:2 (261/2°) between the ramps and the horizontal plane. The ramps shall be fitted with footlocks of approximately 2″X2″ lumber and spaced no more than one foot apart. The ramps shall have side fencing not less than 5 feet in height. Side doors in ship's shell plating through which livestock are to be loaded shall have a height of not less than 6 feet for cattle and 6 feet 6 inches for horses.”

    These requirements are based on performance standards that are sometimes articulated, but more often implied, in the current regulations. At the time the regulations were issued, we considered the requirements to be the only means of meeting those performance standards. However, since that time, alternate means of meeting certain of the standards have arisen. Accordingly, proposed § 91.12 would require ocean vessels used to transport livestock intended for export to be designed, constructed, and managed to reasonably assure the livestock are protected from injury and remain healthy during loading and transport to the importing country.

    To meet this overall performance standard for ocean vessels, we propose the following requirements for ocean vessels:

    Pens. All pens, including gates and portable rails used to close access ways, would have to be designed and constructed of a material of sufficient strength to securely contain the livestock. They would have to be properly formed, closely fitted, and rigidly secured in place. They would also have to have smooth finished surfaces free from sharp protrusions, and not have worn, decayed, unsound, or otherwise defective parts. Flooring would have to be strong enough to support the livestock to be transported and provide a satisfactory non-slip foothold. Pens on exposed upper decks would have to protect the livestock from the weather. Boiler rooms or similar sources of heat next to pens would have to be fitted to protect the livestock from injury due to transfer of heat. Any fittings or protrusions from the vessel's sides that abut pens would have to be covered in order to protect the livestock from injury. Finally, pens would have to be of appropriate size for the species, size, weight, and condition of the livestock being transported and take into consideration the vessel's route.

    We recognize that a number of these requirements are themselves performance-based, and potentially allow for a variety of means or methods in order to meet them. To that end, we provide guidance in the Program Handbook regarding means that may be used to meet the requirements. Owners and operators of ocean vessels who follow the guidance provided in the Program Handbook would be assured of meeting these and other performance-based requirements regarding ocean vessels. Owners and operators could submit alternate means and methods for meeting the requirements to APHIS for evaluation and approval. All alternate means and methods would have to be approved by APHIS before being used for purposes of complying with the regulations.

    Positioning. Livestock would have to be positioned during transport so that an animal handler or other responsible person can observe each animal regularly and clearly to ensure the livestock's safety and welfare.

    Resources for sick or injured animals. The vessel would have to have an adequate number of appropriately sized and located pens set aside to segregate livestock that become sick or injured from other animals. It would also have to have adequate veterinary medical supplies, including medicines, for the species, condition, and number of livestock transported.

    Ramps, doors, and passageways. Ramps, doors, and passageways used for livestock would have to be of sufficient width and height for their use and allow the safe passage of the species transported. They would have to have secure, smooth fittings free from sharp protrusions and non-slip flooring, and could not have worn, decayed, unsound, or otherwise defective parts. Ramps could not have an incline that is excessive for the species of livestock transported and would have to be fitted with foot battens to prevent slippage at intervals suitable for the species. The sides of ramps would have to be of sufficient height and strength to prevent escape of the species of livestock that is transported.

    Feed and water. The feeding and watering system would have to be designed to permit all livestock in each pen adequate access to feed and water. The system would also have to be designed to minimize soiling of pens and to prevent animal waste from contaminating feed and water. Similarly, feed would have to be loaded and stored aboard the vessel in a manner that protects it from weather and sea water and, if kept under animal transport spaces, protects it from spillage from animal watering and feeding and from animal waste. If the normal means of tending, feeding, and watering of livestock on board the ocean vessel is wholly or partially by automatic means, the vessel would have to have alternate arrangements for the satisfactory tending, feeding, and watering of the animals in the event of a malfunction of the automatic means.

    Ventilation. Ventilation during loading, unloading, and transport must provide fresh air and remove excessive heat, humidity, and noxious fumes (such as ammonia and carbon dioxide). Ventilation would have to be adequate for variations in climate and weather and to meet the needs of the livestock being transported. Ventilation would have to be effective both when the vessel is stationary and when it is moving and would have to be turned on when the first animal is loaded. The vessel would be required to have on board a back-up ventilation system (including emergency power supply) in good working order or replacement parts and the means, including qualified personnel, to make the repairs or replacements.

    Waste management. The vessel would have to have a system or arrangements, including a backup system in working order or alternate arrangements, for managing waste to prevent excessive buildup in livestock transport spaces during the voyage.

    Lighting. The vessel would have to have adequate illumination to allow clear observation of livestock during loading, unloading, and transport.

    Bedding. Bedding would have to be loaded and stored aboard the vessel in a manner that protects it from weather and sea water and, if kept under animal transport spaces, protects it from spillage from animal watering and feeding and from animal waste.

    Cleaning. The vessel would have to be designed and constructed to allow thorough cleaning and disinfection and to prevent feces and urine from livestock on upper levels from soiling livestock or their feed or water on lower levels.

    Halters and ropes. Halters, ropes, or other equipment provided for the handling and tying of horses or other livestock would have to be satisfactory to ensure the humane treatment of the livestock.

    Personnel. The owner or operator of the ocean vessel would be required to have on board during loading, transport, and unloading at least 3 persons (or at least 1 person if fewer than 800 head of livestock will be transported) with previous experience with ocean vessels that have handled the kind(s) of livestock to be carried, as well as a sufficient number of attendants with the appropriate experience to be able to ensure proper care of the livestock.

    Vessel stability. The vessel would be required to have adequate stability, taking into consideration the weight and distribution of livestock and fodder, as well as effects of high winds and seas. If requested by APHIS, the owner or operator of the vessel would have to present stability calculations for the voyage that have been independently verified for accuracy.

    Additional conditions. The vessel would have to meet any other condition the Administrator determines is necessary for approval, as dictated by specific circumstances and communicated to the owner and operator of the vessel, to protect the livestock and keep them healthy during loading, unloading, and transport to the importing country.

    These performance standards have the same goal of ensuring the humane transport of livestock as stated in current § 91.17 and, with the exception of a few proposed new standards, discussed immediately below, cover the same aspects of ocean vessels as addressed by current § 91.17 and §§ 91.20 through 91.30.

    The proposed requirement that livestock must be positioned during transport so that an animal handler or other responsible person can observe each animal regularly and clearly to ensure the livestock's safety and welfare is new. This is needed, since, if animals are positioned in a manner that consistently obscures them from view, their handler or responsible person may not be able to detect signs or symptoms of distress or illness in a timely manner. For a similar reason, we are requiring ocean vessels to have sufficient illumination to allow clear observation of the animals during loading, unloading, and transport.

    The proposed requirement for animal waste systems is also new. This is necessary, along with adequate ventilation, to ensure livestock are not harmed by build-up of waste in transport spaces. There is a similar rationale for the proposed new requirement that the vessel be designed and constructed to allow thorough cleaning and disinfection and to prevent feces and urine from livestock on upper levels from soiling livestock on lower levels or their feed or water, as well as for the requirement that water and feeding systems be designed to minimize the soiling of pens.

    The proposed requirements that ventilation be effective when the vessel is stationary as well as when it is moving, and that it be turned on when the first animal is loaded, are also new. As we mentioned earlier in this document, it can take a day or longer to load and unload a large shipment of livestock destined for export, and these requirements would ensure that the livestock have adequate fresh air during loading and unloading.

    Additionally, we are proposing that the vessel have adequate stability, taking into consideration the weight and distribution of the livestock and fodder, and effects of high winds and seas. One of the factors that APHIS needs to consider in approving a vessel for the transport of livestock is stability, particularly as the vessel's stability may be affected by the way feed and livestock will be arranged on the vessel. A vessel arranged to carry large animals on upper decks and small animals on lower decks, for instance, would be top heavy and more prone to capsize, resulting in likely loss of life. If APHIS has questions about a vessel's stability for a particular voyage, independently verified stability calculations would help resolve them, so APHIS would request such calculations as needed.

    Lastly, we are proposing that the vessel meet any other condition the Administrator determines is necessary for approval, as dictated by specific circumstances and communicated to the owner or operator of the vessel, to protect the livestock and keep them healthy during loading, unloading, and transport to the importing country. We propose to include this provision in the event that unforeseen circumstances make it necessary to require additional safeguards to protect the health of the livestock.

    In many instances, ocean vessels that transport livestock for export from the United States are constructed specifically for that purpose. On occasion, however, livestock are transported in shipping containers on ocean vessels that are not constructed specifically to transport livestock. In those instances, while some of the above requirements would almost always be applicable—for example, we would still want to know whether the vessel has adequate stability to transport the livestock without risk of capsizing—others, such as those pertaining to pen size, construction, and placement on the vessel, as well as positioning of livestock within a pen, would almost always not be applicable. Additionally, other standards, such as those pertaining to cleaning, could be applicable in certain instances, but not in others, depending on the construction and location of the container.

    Accordingly, proposed § 91.12 would provide that an inspector may exempt an ocean vessel that uses shipping containers to transport livestock to an importing country from any of the above requirements that he or she specifies, if the inspector determines that the containers themselves are designed, constructed, and managed in a manner to reasonably assure the livestock are protected from injury and remain healthy during loading, unloading, and transport to the importing country. The Program Handbook provides guidance regarding the considerations that may lead an inspector to exempt a vessel from a specific requirement.

    Inspection of vessels would occur in a manner very similar to the existing requirements. Currently, § 91.19, headed “Inspection of ocean vessels prior to loading,” directs owners or masters of ocean vessels intended for use in exporting livestock to present the vessel to an inspector at a U.S. port of embarkation or, in some cases, at a foreign port, for an inspection to determine if the fittings aboard the vessel comply with the regulations. We propose to require inspection of an ocean vessel to determine whether it meets the above standards for ocean vessels only prior to initial use to transport any livestock from the United States. If we determine that the ocean vessel meets the standards, we would certify the vessel to transport livestock from the United States. (As an exception, if a vessel that would use shipping containers to transport livestock has been granted an exemption from certain requirements pursuant to proposed paragraph (e) of § 91.12, we would not require the vessel to meet those particular requirements in order to be certified or recertified.) This initial certification would specify the species of livestock for which the vessel is approved.

    Thereafter, in most instances, the vessel would only need to be recertified every 3 years. The only other occasions when the vessel would need to be recertified would be when circumstances dictate that a recertification occur before the vessel is again used to transport livestock. These circumstances would be when significant changes are made to the vessel, including to livestock transport spaces or life support systems; when there is a failure of any major life support system; when species of livestock not covered by the existing certification are to be transported; and when the owner or operator of the ocean vessel changes.

    To aid us in determining whether the vessel meets the above standards and can be certified to transport livestock from the United States, we would request the following information prior to the initial certification inspection of the vessel (as well as prior to subsequent inspections for recertification, upon our request):

    • General information about the vessel, including the year built, length and breadth, vessel name history, port of registry, call sign, maximum and average speed, fresh water tank capacity and fresh water generation rate, and feed silo capacity (if the vessel has a silo).

    • A notarized statement from an engineer concerning the rate of air exchange in each compartment of the vessel.

    • The species of livestock that the vessel would transport.

    • Scale drawings that provide details of the design, materials, and methods of construction and arrangement of fittings for the containment and movement of livestock; provisions for the storage and distribution of feed and water; drainage arrangements; primary and secondary sources of power; and lighting.

    • A photograph of the rails and gates of any pens.

    • A description of the flooring surface on livestock decks.

    • The following measurements: Width of the ramps; the clear height from the ramps to the lowest overhead structures; the incline between the ramps and the horizontal plane; the distance between footlocks on the ramps; the height of side fencing on the ramps; the height of the vessel's side doors through which livestock are loaded; the width of alleyways running fore and aft between livestock pens; and the distance from the floor of the livestock pens to the beams of lowest structures overhead.

    We recognize that, if a vessel intends to use shipping containers to transport livestock to an importing country, some of this information may not be applicable. The Program Handbook provides guidance for owners and operators of ocean vessels regarding how to indicate this non-applicability on their submission in a manner that is clear to APHIS, and that triggers an evaluation of the shipping containers themselves pursuant to proposed paragraph (e) of § 91.12.

    We propose to modify the current requirement for providing feed and water to livestock aboard ocean vessels. The regulations currently require ocean vessels to provide livestock with feed and water immediately after the livestock are loaded onto the vessel unless an APHIS representative determines that all of the livestock are 30 days of age or older and the vessel will arrive in the country of destination within 36 hours after the livestock were last fed and watered within the United States, or, if any of the livestock in the shipment are younger than 30 days, that the vessel will arrive in the country of destination within 24 hours after the livestock were last fed and watered within the United States.

    We issued these provisions on the presupposition that 36 hours is the maximum amount of time that livestock 30 days of age or older can go without feed and water before suffering duress, and 24 hours is the maximum amount of time that livestock younger than 30 days can go without feed and water before suffering duress.

    We have since determined that, in certain instances, with adequate food, water, and rest beforehand, livestock can go a longer period without food and water before suffering duress. On the other hand, we have also encountered several occasions since the regulations were issued where allowing livestock aboard an ocean vessel to go 36 hours without food and water adversely impacted the well-being of the animals. These situations usually arose when the ocean vessel carrying the livestock was subject to particularly adverse climatic conditions, such as high winds, heavy seas, or driving precipitation; the livestock were unaccustomed to eating and drinking while under duress; and the amount of feed and water aboard the vessel did not take into sufficient consideration the livestock's species, body weight, and eating and watering tendencies.

    As a result, instead of providing a maximum time period at sea that livestock may go without feed and water, proposed paragraph (c) of § 91.12 would require the ocean vessel to provide sufficient feed and water to the livestock aboard the vessel, taking into consideration the livestock's species, body weight, the expected duration of the voyage, and the likelihood of adverse climatic conditions during export. Guidance regarding this proposed requirement is found in the Program Handbook.

    We propose to retain the current requirements in § 91.18 for cleaning and disinfection of ocean vessels, with some clarifications. Current § 91.18 requires that all fittings, utensils, and equipment, unless new, to be used in the loading, stowing, or handling of animals aboard ocean vessels be cleaned and disinfected under the supervision of an inspector before being used for, or in conjunction with, the transportation of any animals from any U.S. port. In proposed paragraph (b) of § 91.12, we propose to require cleaning and disinfection of any vessel intended for use in exporting livestock, and all fittings, utensils, containers, and equipment (unless new) used for loading, stowing, or other handling of livestock aboard the vessel, and provide guidance regarding which surfaces need to be cleaned in the Program Handbook. Our intent is to ensure that all surfaces where livestock are kept are cleaned and disinfected prior to loading, as well as any other surface where the crew walks in the same footwear that is worn in the livestock cargo areas. Likewise, all rails, gates, water troughs, and other equipment and utensils used for livestock would have to be cleaned and disinfected prior to the loading of the livestock.

    Additionally, we propose that this cleaning and disinfection be done to the satisfaction of an APHIS representative, rather than under the supervision of an APHIS inspector. We also propose to remove the list of approved disinfectants from the regulations and to instead use the Program Handbook to provide access to the list, which we would maintain online. Similar to other provisions regarding approval of disinfectants in this proposed rule, the Administrator would approve a disinfectant for use to disinfect ocean vessels upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals and, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, that it is registered or exempted for the specified use by the EPA. Proposed paragraph (b) of § 91.12 would also contain provisions for approving additional disinfectants, as well as withdrawing approval.

    We would also add a new requirement that all ocean vessels, upon docking at a U.S. port to load livestock, have disinfectant foot baths at entryways where persons board and exit the ship, and require such baths before allowing any person to disembark. Many countries have diseases of livestock that are not known to exist in the United States or that are not widely prevalent, and that can be spread by soil and other ground contaminants. This requirement would mitigate against the introduction of such diseases through such fomites.

    We would continue to inspect ocean vessels prior to each voyage to ensure that the vessel has been properly cleaned and disinfected. The inspection would also be to ensure that there is sufficient food and water for the voyage, and continues to meet the standards for ocean vessels.

    To ensure that we have sufficient notice and information to conduct the inspection in a timely manner, we propose to require that the owner or operator provide us with the following information at least 72 hours before the vessel will be available for inspection:

    • The name of the ocean vessel.

    • The port, date, and time the ocean vessel will be available for inspection, and the estimated time that loading will begin.

    • A description of the livestock to be transported, including the type, number, and estimated average weight of the livestock.

    • Stability data for the ship with the livestock on board.

    • The port of discharge.

    • The route and expected length of the voyage.

    Finally, we are proposing to require that the owner or operator of an ocean vessel used to export livestock from the United States, including vessels that use shipping containers, submit a written report to APHIS within 5 business days after completing the voyage. This report would include the name of the ocean vessel, the name and address of all exporters of livestock transported on the vessel, the port of embarkation, the dates of the voyage, the port where the livestock were discharged, the number of each species of livestock loaded, and the number of each species that died and an explanation for those mortalities. Additionally, the report would have to document any failure of any major life support system for the livestock, including, but not limited to, systems for providing feed and water, ventilation systems, and livestock waste management systems. Any such failure would have to be documented, regardless of the duration or whether the failure resulted in any harm to the livestock. Additionally, if an ocean vessel used to export livestock experiences such a failure of a major life support system for livestock during the voyage, we propose to require that the owner or operator of the vessel would have to notify APHIS immediately by telephone, facsimile, or other electronic means. Contact numbers and addresses would be provided in the Program Handbook.

    The report itself would have to include the name and contact information of the person who prepared the report, and would have to be submitted to APHIS by facsimile or email. Contact numbers and addresses for the report itself, as well as an optional template for the report, would also be provided in the Program Handbook.

    There currently are no requirements for owners or operators of ocean vessels to report livestock deaths or serious system failures on ocean vessels that could affect the health of any livestock transported. Having this information would allow APHIS to better determine whether a particular vessel meets our performance standards or whether any of our guidance for meeting performance standards should be adjusted. Requiring that APHIS be notified immediately of any major system failures would alert APHIS to the potential need for additional food or other resources for the livestock, or a potential stop at another port.

    APHIS would also be able to notify animal health officials in the importing country about any expected delays or animal health issues they may have to deal with as a result of system failures, including mortalities. In the absence of these requirements, APHIS may not learn of problems affecting animals during a voyage until those problems are reported by animal health officials in the importing country, or may have to scramble to make last minute arrangements in the event of a problem. We propose that failure to provide timely reports as required could result in us disapproving future livestock shipments by the owner or operator or revoking the vessel's certification to transport livestock for export.

    Aircraft (§ 91.13)

    We are proposing to substantially retain the requirements in current § 91.41 for cleaning and disinfection of aircraft. We are, however, proposing to remove specific approved disinfectants from the regulations, and instead, to list approved disinfectants in the Program Handbook. The requirements for cleaning and disinfection of aircraft are in paragraphs (a) through (d) of proposed § 91.13.

    Proposed paragraph (a)(1) of § 91.13 provides that the Administrator will approve a disinfectant for the purposes of that section upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals and, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, that it is registered or exempted for the specified use by the EPA. Proposed paragraph (a)(2) of § 91.13 states that the Program Handbook provides access to a list of approved disinfectants, and contains provisions for approving additional disinfectants. Proposed paragraph (a)(3) of § 91.13 contains provisions for withdrawing approval.

    Proposed paragraphs (b) through (d) would retain, with non-substantive editorial revisions, the other existing requirements in the regulations governing cleaning and disinfection of aircraft.

    Finally, we are also proposing two new requirements for livestock exported from the United States via aircraft, which would be contained in paragraph (e) of § 91.13. We are proposing that any cargo containers used to ship the livestock would have to be designed and constructed of a material of sufficient strength to securely contain the animals, as determined by APHIS. We are doing so because, in the absence of such requirements, exporters have sometimes constructed containers out of materials, such as plywood, that are not adequate to prevent the livestock from escaping during transit. We are also proposing that the containers must provide sufficient space for the species being transported given the duration of the trip, as determined by APHIS, in order to prevent overcrowding of animals.

    Other Movements and Conditions (§ 91.14)

    Finally, we propose to retain the provision in current § 91.4 by which the Administrator may, upon request in specific cases, permit the export of livestock not otherwise provided for in part 91 under such conditions as the Administrator may prescribe in each specific case to prevent the spread of livestock diseases and to ensure the humane treatment of the animals during transport to the importing country. This flexibility ensures that the Administrator can make appropriate exceptions in unforeseen or unusual situations.

    Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 603, we have performed an initial regulatory flexibility analysis, which is summarized below, regarding the economic effects of this proposed rule on small entities. Copies of the full analysis are available by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).

    Based on the information we have, there is no reason to conclude that adoption of this proposed rule would result in any significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. However, we do not currently have all of the data necessary for a comprehensive analysis of the effects of this proposed rule on small entities. Therefore, we are inviting comments on potential effects. In particular, we are interested in determining the number and kind of small entities that may incur benefits or costs from the implementation of this proposed rule.

    This proposed rule would amend 9 CFR part 91, which contains requirements for the inspection and handling of live animals (cattle, horses, captive cervids, sheep, goats, and swine) to be exported from the United States. Among other things, the proposed rule would remove some prescriptive requirements applicable to livestock, either completely or by replacing them with performance standards, and would make other adjustments in inspection and handling requirements to assist exporters. These changes would provide APHIS and exporters more flexibility in arranging for the export of livestock from the United States while continuing to ensure the animals' health and welfare.

    The proposed rule would also add requirements for individual identification of livestock intended for export, use of methods and laboratories approved by APHIS when livestock must be tested for certain diseases, and obtaining export health certificates for non-livestock animals, hatching eggs, and animal germplasm when such certificates are required by the importing country. These changes would help ensure that all live animals, hatching eggs, and animal germplasm exported from the United States meet the health requirements of the countries to which they are destined.

    Entities directly affected by this rule would include exporters of live animals, hatching eggs, and animal germplasm. While we do not know the size distribution of these exporters, we expect that the majority are small by Small Business Administration standards, given the prevalence of small entities among livestock producers. Operators of export inspection facilities, export isolation facilities, aircraft, and ocean vessels would also be directly affected. These industries are also largely composed of small businesses. The provisions of the proposed rule would facilitate the export process for affected parties.

    Executive Order 12372

    This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

    Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. If this proposed rule is adopted: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) administrative proceedings will not be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this proposed rule have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Please send written comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for APHIS, Washington, DC 20503. Please state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-2012-0049. Please send a copy of your comments to: (1) APHIS, using one of the methods described under ADDRESSES at the beginning of this document, and (2) Clearance Officer, OCIO, USDA, Room 404-W, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250. A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this proposed rule.

    Revising our regulations governing the export of live animals from the United States will require information collection activities, including the issuance of export health certificates, official identification of exported animals, and reports filed by the owners or operators of ocean vessels that export livestock.

    We are soliciting comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our proposed information collection and recordkeeping requirements. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper performance of our agency's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection, 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 information collection on those who are to respond (such as 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).

    Estimate of burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.54 hours per response.

    Respondents: Veterinarians, exporters, owners, owners/operators of ocean vessels.

    Estimated annual number of respondents: 10,183.

    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2.91.

    Estimated annual number of responses: 29,614.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 15,950 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

    E-Government Act Compliance

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is committed to compliance with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies, to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. For information pertinent to E-Government Act compliance related to this proposed rule, please contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

    List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 91

    Animal diseases, Animal welfare, Exports, Livestock, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

    Accordingly, we propose to revise 9 CFR part 91 to read as follows:

    PART 91—EXPORTATION OF LIVE ANIMALS, HATCHING EGGS OR OTHER EMBRYONATED EGGS, ANIMAL SEMEN, ANIMAL EMBRYOS, AND GAMETES FROM THE UNITED STATES Subpart A—General Provisions Sec. 91.1 Definitions. 91.2 Applicability. 91.3 General requirements. 91.4 Prohibited exports. Subpart B—Livestock 91.5 Identification of livestock intended for export. 91.6 Cleaning and disinfection of means of conveyance, containers, and facilities used during movement; approved disinfectants. 91.7 Pre-export inspection. 91.8 Rest, feed, and water prior to export. 91.9 Ports. 91.10 Export inspection facilities. 91.11 Export isolation facilities. 91.12 Ocean vessels. 91.13 Aircraft. 91.14 Other movements and conditions. Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 8301-8317; 19 U.S.C. 1644a(c); 21 U.S.C. 136, 136a, and 618; 46 U.S.C. 3901 and 3902; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

    Subpart A—General Provisions
    § 91.1 Definitions.

    As used in this part, the following terms will have the meanings set forth in this section:

    Accredited veterinarian. A veterinarian approved by the Administrator in accordance with part 161 of this chapter to perform functions specified in parts 1, 2, 3, and 11 of subchapter A, and subchapters B, C, and D of this chapter, and to perform functions required by cooperative State-Federal disease control and eradication programs.

    Administrator. The Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or any person authorized to act for the Administrator.

    Animal. Any member of the animal kingdom (except a human).

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.

    APHIS representative. An individual who is authorized by APHIS to perform the function involved.

    Date of export. The date animals intended for export are loaded onto an ocean vessel or aircraft or, if moved by land to Canada or Mexico, the date the animals cross the border.

    Export health certificate. An official document issued in the United States that certifies that animals or other commodities listed on the certificate meet the export requirements of this part and the importing country.

    Export inspection facility. A facility that is affiliated with a port of embarkation and that has been approved by the Administrator as the location where APHIS will conduct health inspections of livestock before they are loaded onto ocean vessels or aircraft for export from the United States.

    Export isolation facility. A facility where animals intended for export are isolated from other animals for a period of time immediately before being moved for export.

    Horses. Horses, mules, and asses.

    Inspector. An individual authorized by APHIS to inspect animals and/or animal products intended for export from the United States.

    Livestock. Horses, cattle (including American bison), captive cervids, sheep, swine, and goats, regardless of intended use.

    Premises of export. The premises where the animals intended for export are isolated as required by the importing country prior to export or, if the importing country does not require pre-export isolation, the farm or other premises where the animals are assembled for pre-export inspection and/or testing, or the germplasm is collected or stored, before being moved to a port of embarkation or land border port.

    Program diseases. Diseases for which there are cooperative State-Federal programs and domestic regulations in subchapter C of this chapter.

    Program Handbook. A document that contains guidance and other information related to the regulations in this part. The Program Handbook is available on APHIS' import-export Web site (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml).

    State of origin. The State in which the premises of export is located.

    § 91.2 Applicability.

    You may not export any animal or animal germplasm from the United States except in compliance with this part.

    § 91.3 General requirements.

    (a) Issuance of export health certificates. (1) Livestock must have an export health certificate in order to be eligible for export from the United States.

    (2) If an importing country is known to require an export health certificate for any animal other than livestock or for any animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes intended for export to that country, the animal or other commodity must have an export health certificate in order to be eligible for export from the United States.

    (b) Content of export health certificates. (1) Livestock; minimum requirements. Regardless of the requirements of the importing country, at a minimum, the following information must be contained on an export health certificate for livestock:

    (i) The species of each animal.

    (ii) The breed of each animal.

    (iii) The sex of each animal.

    (iv) The age of each animal.

    (v) The individual identification of the animals as required by § 91.5.

    (vi) The importing country.

    (vii) The consignor.

    (viii) The consignee.

    (ix) A certification that an accredited veterinarian inspected the livestock and found them to be fit for export.

    (x) A signature and date by an accredited veterinarian.

    (xi) An endorsement by the APHIS veterinarian responsible for the State of origin.

    (2) Livestock; additional requirements. In addition to the minimum requirements in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the export health certificate must meet any other information or issuance requirements specified by the importing country.

    (3) Animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes. Export health certificates for animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes must meet any information requirements specified by the importing country.

    (c) Inspection requirements for livestock. In order to be eligible for export, livestock must be inspected within the timeframe required by the importing country. If the importing country does not specify a timeframe, the livestock must be inspected within 30 days prior to the date of export.

    (d) Testing requirements for livestock. All samples for tests of livestock that are required by the importing country must be taken by an APHIS representative or accredited veterinarian. The samples must be taken and tests made within the timeframe allowed by the importing country and, if specified, at the location required by the importing country. If the importing country does not specify a timeframe, the samples must be taken and tests made within 30 days prior to the date of export, except that tuberculin tests may be conducted within 90 days prior to the date of export. All tests for program diseases must be made in laboratories and using methods approved by the Administrator for those diseases. The Program Handbook contains a link to an APHIS Web site that lists laboratories approved to conduct tests for specific diseases. Approved methods are those specified or otherwise incorporated within the domestic regulations in subchapter C of this chapter.

    (e) Movement of livestock, animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes with an export health certificate. (1) Livestock. An export health certificate for livestock must be issued and endorsed before the livestock move from the premises of export. The original signed export health certificate must accompany the livestock for the entire duration of movement from the premises of export to the port of embarkation or land border port, except when the export health certificate has been issued and endorsed electronically.

    (2) Animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes. When an export health certificate is required by the importing country for any animal other than livestock or for animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes, it must be issued and, if required by the importing country, endorsed by an APHIS representative prior to the arrival of the animal or other commodity at the port of embarkation or land border port. When presented for endorsement, the health certificate must be accompanied by reports for all laboratory tests specifically identified on the certificate. The laboratory reports must either be the originals prepared by the laboratory that performed the tests or must be annotated by the laboratory that performed the test to indicate how the originals may be obtained. Except when an export health certificate has been issued and endorsed electronically, the original signed export health certificate must accompany the animals, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes to the port of embarkation or land border port.

    (f) Validity of export health certificate. (1) Livestock. Unless specified by the importing country, the export health certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance, provided that the inspection and test results under paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section are still valid.

    (2) Animals other than livestock, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, and gametes. Unless specified by the importing country, the export health certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

    § 91.4 Prohibited exports.

    No animal, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes under Federal, State, or local government quarantine or movement restrictions for animal health reasons may be exported from the United States unless the importing country issues an import permit or other written instruction allowing entry of the animal, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes, and APHIS concurs with the export of the animal, animal semen, animal embryos, hatching eggs, other embryonated eggs, or gametes.

    Subpart B—Livestock
    § 91.5 Identification of livestock intended for export.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, livestock that are intended for export must be identified in accordance with part 86 of this chapter. If the importing country requires an additional form of identification, the livestock must also bear that form of identification.

    (b) Horses may be identified by an individual animal tattoo alone, without an accompanying description of the horse, if allowed by the importing country.

    § 91.6 Cleaning and disinfection of means of conveyance, containers, and facilities used during movement; approved disinfectants.

    (a) All export health certificates for livestock must be accompanied by a statement issued by an APHIS representative and/or accredited veterinarian that the means of conveyance or container in which the livestock will be transported from the premises of export has been cleaned and disinfected prior to loading the livestock with a disinfectant approved by the Administrator for purposes of this section or by a statement that the means of conveyance or container was not previously used to transport animals.

    (b) Livestock moved for export may be unloaded only into a facility which has been cleaned and disinfected in the presence of an APHIS representative or an accredited veterinarian prior to such unloading with a disinfectant approved by the Administrator for purposes of this section. A statement certifying to such action must be attached to the export health certificate by the APHIS representative or accredited veterinarian.

    (c) Approved disinfectants. The Administrator will approve a disinfectant for the purposes of this section upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals intended for export and, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, that it is registered or exempted for the specified use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Program Handbook provides access to a list of disinfectants approved by the Administrator for use as required by this section. Other disinfectants may also be approved by the Administrator in accordance with this paragraph. The Administrator will withdraw approval of a disinfectant, and remove it from the list of approved disinfectants, if the disinfectant no longer meets the conditions for approval in this section.

    § 91.7 Pre-export inspection.

    (a) All livestock intended for export by air or sea must receive a visual health inspection from an APHIS veterinarian within 48 hours prior to embarkation, unless the importing country specifies otherwise. The purpose of the inspection is to determine whether the livestock are sound, healthy, and fit to travel. The APHIS veterinarian will reject for export any livestock that he or she finds unfit to travel. The owner of the animals or the owner's agent must make arrangements for any livestock found unfit to travel. Livestock that are unfit to travel include, but are not limited to:

    (1) Livestock that are sick, injured, weak, disabled, or fatigued;

    (2) Livestock that are unable to stand unaided or bear weight on each leg;

    (3) Livestock that are blind in both eyes;

    (4) Livestock that cannot be moved without causing additional suffering;

    (5) Newborn livestock with an unhealed navel;

    (6) Livestock that have given birth within the previous 48 hours and are traveling without their offspring;

    (7) Pregnant livestock that would be in the final 10 percent of their gestation period at the planned time of unloading in the importing country; and

    (8) Livestock with unhealed wounds from recent surgical procedures, such as dehorning.

    (b) The APHIS veterinarian must conduct the inspection at the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation of the livestock; at an export isolation facility approved in accordance with § 91.11, when authorized by the Administrator in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section; or at an export inspection facility other than the facility associated with the port of embarkation, when authorized by the Administrator in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. Unless APHIS has authorized otherwise, any sorting, grouping, identification, or other handling of the livestock by the exporter must be done before this inspection. The APHIS veterinarian may also conduct clinical examination of any livestock during or after this inspection if he or she deems it necessary in order to determine the animal's health. Any testing or treatment related to this clinical examination must be performed by an APHIS veterinarian or an accredited veterinarian. Finally, if the facility used to conduct the inspection is a facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, it must be located within 28 hours driving distance under normal driving conditions from the port of embarkation, and livestock must be afforded at least 48 hours rest, with sufficient feed and water during that time period, prior to movement from the facility.

    (c) Conditions for approval of pre-export inspection at an export isolation facility.

    (1) The Administrator may allow pre-export inspection of livestock to be conducted at an export isolation facility, rather than at an export inspection facility, when the exporter can show to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the livestock would suffer undue hardship if they had to be inspected at the export inspection facility, when the distance from the export isolation facility to the port of embarkation is significantly less than the distance from the export isolation facility to the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, when inspection at the export isolation facility would be a more efficient use of APHIS resources, or for other reasons acceptable to the Administrator.

    (2) The Administrator's approval is contingent upon APHIS having personnel available to provide services at that location. Approval is also contingent upon the Administrator determining that the facility has space, lighting, and humane means of handling livestock sufficient for the APHIS personnel to safely conduct required inspections. The Program Handbook contains guidance on ways to meet these requirements. Owners and operators may submit alternative plans for meeting the requirements to APHIS for evaluation and approval. Alternatives must be at least as effective in meeting the requirements as those described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. Alternate plans must be approved by APHIS before the facility may be used for purposes of this section.

    (d) The Administrator may allow pre-export inspection of livestock to be conducted at an export inspection facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation when the exporter can show to the satisfaction of the Administrator that the livestock would suffer undue hardship if they had to be inspected at the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, when inspection at this different export inspection facility would be a more efficient use of APHIS resources, or for other reasons acceptable to the Administrator.

    (e) The APHIS veterinarian will maintain an inspection record that includes the date and place of the pre-export inspection, species and number of animals inspected, the number of animals rejected, a description of those animals, and the reasons for rejection.

    (f) If requested by the importing country or an exporter, the APHIS veterinarian who inspects the livestock will issue a certificate of inspection for livestock he or she finds to be sound, healthy, and fit to travel.

    § 91.8 Rest, feed, and water prior to export.

    All livestock intended for export by air or sea must be allowed a period of at least 2 hours rest prior to being loaded onto an ocean vessel or aircraft for export. Adequate food and water must be available to the livestock during the rest period. An inspector may extend the required rest period up to 5 hours, at his or her discretion and based on a determination that more rest is needed in order for the inspector to have assurances that the animals are fit to travel prior to loading. Finally, if livestock have been inspected for export at a facility other than the export inspection facility associated with the port of embarkation, they must be visually observed at the end of this rest period for fitness to travel.

    § 91.9 Ports.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, livestock exported by air or sea may be exported only through ports designated as ports of embarkation by the Administrator. Any port that has an export inspection facility that meets the requirements of § 91.10 permanently associated with it is designated as a port of embarkation. The Program Handbook contains a list of designated ports of embarkation. A list may also be obtained from a Veterinary Services area office. Information on area offices is available on APHIS' import-export Web site (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml).

    (b) The Administrator may approve other ports for the exportation of livestock on a temporary basis with the concurrence of the port director. The Administrator will grant such temporary approvals only for a specific shipment of livestock, and only if pre-export inspection of that shipment has occurred at an export isolation facility or an export inspection facility not associated with the port of embarkation, as provided in § 91.7.

    (c) Temporarily approved ports of embarkation will not be added to the list of designated ports of embarkation and are only approved for the time period and shipment conditions specified by APHIS at the time of approval.

    § 91.10 Export inspection facilities.

    (a) Export inspection facilities must be approved by the Administrator before they may be used for any livestock intended for export. The Administrator will approve an export inspection facility upon determining that it meets the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section. This approval remains in effect unless it is revoked in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, or unless any of the following occur, in which case reapproval must be sought:

    (1) The owner of the facility changes.

    (2) Significant damage to the facility occurs or significant structural changes are made to the facility.

    (b)(1) Export inspection facilities must be constructed, equipped, and managed in a manner that prevents transmission of disease to and from livestock in the facilities, provides for the safe and humane handling and restraint of livestock, and provides sufficient offices, space, and lighting for APHIS veterinarians to safely conduct required health inspections of livestock and related business. The Program Handbook contains guidance on ways to meet these requirements. Owners and operators may submit alternative plans for meeting the requirements to APHIS for evaluation and approval; the address to which to submit such alternatives is contained in the Program Handbook. Alternatives must be at least as effective in meeting the requirements as the methods described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. Alternatives must be approved by APHIS before being used for purposes of this section.

    (2) For the purposes of approval or a subsequent audit, APHIS representatives must have access to all areas of the facility during the facility's business hours to evaluate compliance with the requirements of this section.

    (3) The application for approval of an export inspection facility must be accompanied by a certification from the authorities having jurisdiction over environmental affairs in the locality of the facility. The certification must state that the facility complies with any applicable requirements of the State and local governments, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding disposal of animal wastes.

    (c) The Administrator will deny or revoke approval of an export inspection facility for failure to meet the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (1) APHIS will conduct site inspections of approved export inspection facilities at least once a year for continued compliance with the standards. If a facility fails to pass the inspection, the Administrator may revoke its approval. If the Administrator revokes approval for a facility that serves a designated port of embarkation, the Administrator may also remove that port from the list of designated ports of embarkation.

    (2) APHIS will provide written notice of any proposed denial or revocation to the operator of the facility, who will be given an opportunity to present his or her views on the issues before a final decision is made. The notice will list any deficiencies in detail. APHIS will provide notice of pending revocations at least 60 days before the revocation is scheduled to take effect, but may suspend facility operations before that date and before any consideration of objections by the facility operator if the Administrator determines the suspension is necessary to protect animal health or public health, interest, or safety. The operator of any facility whose approval is denied or revoked may request another inspection after remedying the deficiencies.

    § 91.11 Export isolation facilities.

    (a) If an importing country requires livestock to undergo pre-export isolation approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, APHIS must approve the export isolation facility to be used for the livestock prior to each isolation. APHIS will approve a facility only if the Administrator determines, upon APHIS inspection of the facility, that the facility meets standards identified by the importing country. If the importing country does not identify specific standards, APHIS will approve the export isolation facility only if the Administrator determines, upon APHIS inspection of the facility, that the facility has adequate measures in place to protect the livestock at the facility from exposure to animals of different health status and fomites in order to prevent transmission of diseases of livestock during the isolation period. The Program Handbook contains guidance on measures acceptable to APHIS. Owners and operators may submit alternative measures to APHIS for evaluation and approval; the address to which to submit such an alternative is contained in the Program Handbook. Alternatives must be at least as effective in meeting the requirement as those described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. Alternatives must be approved by APHIS before being used for purposes of this section.

    (b) Isolation must be under the supervision of an accredited veterinarian or, if requested by the importing country, by an APHIS veterinarian.

    § 91.12 Ocean vessels.

    (a) Inspection of the ocean vessel. (1) Certification to carry livestock. Ocean vessels must be certified by APHIS prior to initial use to transport any livestock from the United States. The owner or the operator of the ocean vessel must make arrangements prior to the vessel's arrival at a designated port of embarkation in the United States for an APHIS representative to inspect the vessel while it is at that port of embarkation. Alternatively, at the discretion of the Administrator and upon request of the exporter, transporting company, or their agent, the inspection may be done at a foreign port. If APHIS determines that the ocean vessel meets the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section, APHIS will certify the vessel to transport livestock from the United States. APHIS may certify a vessel that does not meet all of the requirements in paragraph (d), provided that an exemption from the requirements the vessel does not meet has been granted to the vessel pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section. The certification will specify the species of livestock for which the vessel is approved. The certification will be valid for up to 3 years; however, the ocean vessel must be recertified prior to transporting livestock any time significant changes are made to the vessel, including to livestock transport spaces or life support systems; any time a major life support system fails; any time species of livestock not covered by the existing certification are to be transported; and any time the owner or operator of the ocean vessel changes. The owner or operator of the vessel must present the following documentation to APHIS prior to its initial inspection for certification and when requested by APHIS prior to subsequent inspections for recertification:

    (i) General information about the vessel, including year built, length and breadth, vessel name history, port of registry, call sign, maximum and average speed, fresh water tank capacity and fresh water generation rate, and feed silo capacity (if the vessel has a silo);

    (ii) A notarized statement from an engineer concerning the rate of air exchange in each compartment of the vessel;

    (iii) The species of livestock that the vessel would transport;

    (iv) Scale drawings that provide details of the design, materials, and methods of construction and arrangement of fittings for the containment and movement of livestock; provisions for the storage and distribution of feed and water; drainage arrangements; primary and secondary sources of power; and lighting;

    (v) A photograph of the rails and gates of any pens;

    (vi) A description of the flooring surface on the livestock decks; and

    (vii) The following measurements: Width of the ramps; the clear height from the ramps to the lowest overhead structures; the incline between the ramps and the horizontal plane; the distance between footlocks on the ramps; the height of side fencing on the ramps; the height of the vessel's side doors through which livestock are loaded; the width of alleyways running fore and aft between livestock pens; and the distance from the floor of the livestock pens to the beams or lowest structures overhead.

    (2) Prior to each voyage. Prior to loading any livestock intended for export from the United States, an APHIS representative must inspect the vessel to confirm that the ocean vessel has been adequately cleaned and disinfected as required by paragraph (b) of this section, has sufficient food and water for the voyage as required by paragraph (c) of this section, and continues to meet the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section. APHIS will schedule the inspection after the owner or operator of the ocean vessel provides the following information:

    (i) The name of the ocean vessel;

    (ii) The port, date, and time the ocean vessel will be available for inspection, and estimated time that loading will begin;

    (iii) A description of the livestock to be transported, including the type, number, and estimated average weight of the livestock;

    (iv) Stability data for the ocean vessel with livestock on board;

    (v) The port of discharge; and

    (vi) The route and expected length of the voyage.

    (3) The information in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through (a)(2)(vi) must be provided at least 72 hours before the vessel will be available for inspection.

    (b) Cleaning and disinfection. (1) Any ocean vessel intended for use in exporting livestock, and all fittings, utensils, containers, and equipment (unless new) used for loading, stowing, or other handling of livestock aboard the vessel must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to the satisfaction of an APHIS representative prior to any livestock being loaded. The disinfectant must be approved by the Administrator. Guidance on cleaning and disinfecting ocean vessels may be found in the Program Handbook.

    (2) The Administrator will approve a disinfectant for the purposes of this paragraph upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals and, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, that it is registered or exempted for the specified use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Program Handbook provides access to a list of disinfectants approved by the Administrator. Other disinfectants may also be approved by the Administrator in accordance with this paragraph. The Administrator will withdraw approval of a disinfectant, and remove it from the list of approved disinfectants in the Program Handbook, if the disinfectant no longer meets the conditions for approval in this section.

    (3) All ocean vessels, upon docking at a U.S. port to load livestock, must have disinfectant foot baths at entryways where persons board and exit the ocean vessel, and require such baths before allowing any person to disembark.

    (c) Feed and water. Sufficient feed and water must be provided to livestock aboard the ocean vessel, taking into consideration the livestock's species, body weight, the expected duration of the voyage, and the likelihood of adverse climatic conditions during transport. Guidance on this requirement may be found in the Program Handbook.

    (d) Accommodations for the humane transport of livestock; general requirements. Ocean vessels used to transport livestock intended for export must be designed, constructed, and managed to reasonably assure the livestock are protected from injury and remain healthy during loading and transport to the importing country. Except as provided below in paragraph (e) of this section, no livestock may be loaded onto an ocean vessel unless, in the opinion of an APHIS representative, the ocean vessel meets the requirements of this section. The Program Handbook contains guidance on ways to meet the requirements. Owners and operators may submit alternative means and methods for meeting the requirements to APHIS for evaluation and approval. Alternatives must be at least as effective in meeting the requirements as those described in the Program Handbook in order to be approved. Alternatives must be approved by APHIS before being used for purposes of this section.

    (1) Pens. All pens, including gates and portable rails used to close access ways, must be designed and constructed of material of sufficient strength to securely contain the livestock. They must be properly formed, closely fitted, and rigidly secured in place. They must have smooth finished surfaces free from sharp protrusions. They must not have worn, decayed, unsound, or otherwise defective parts. Flooring must be strong enough to support the livestock to be transported and provide a satisfactory non-slip foothold. Pens on exposed upper decks must protect the livestock from the weather. Pens next to engine or boiler rooms or similar sources of heat must be fitted to protect the livestock from injury due to transfer of heat to the livestock or livestock transport spaces. Any fittings or protrusions from the vessel's sides that abut pens must be covered to protect the livestock from injury. Pens must be of appropriate size for the species, size, weight, and condition of the livestock being transported and take into consideration the vessel's route.

    (2) Positioning. Livestock must be positioned during transport so that an animal handler or other responsible person can observe each animal regularly and clearly to ensure the livestock's safety and welfare.

    (3) Resources for sick or injured animals. The vessel must have an adequate number of appropriately sized and located pens set aside to segregate livestock that become sick or injured from other animals. It must also have adequate veterinary medical supplies, including medicines, for the species, condition, and number of livestock transported.

    (4) Ramps, doors, and passageways. Ramps, doors, and passageways used for livestock must be of sufficient width and height for their use and allow the safe passage of the species transported. They must have secure, smooth fittings free from sharp protrusions and non-slip flooring, and must not have worn, decayed, unsound, or otherwise defective parts. Ramps must not have an incline that is excessive for the species of livestock transported and must be fitted with foot battens to prevent slippage at intervals suitable for the species. The sides of ramps must be of sufficient height and strength to prevent escape of the species of livestock transported.

    (5) Feed and water. The feeding and watering system must be designed to permit all livestock in each pen adequate access to feed and water. The system must also be designed to minimize soiling of pens and to prevent animal waste from contaminating feed and water. Similarly, feed must be loaded and stored aboard the vessel in a manner that protects it from weather and sea water and, if kept under animal transport spaces, protects it from spillage from animal watering and feeding and from animal waste. If the normal means of tending, feeding, and watering of livestock on board the ocean vessel is wholly or partially by automatic means, the vessel must have alternative arrangements for the satisfactory tending, feeding, and watering of the animals in the event of a malfunction of the automatic means.

    (6) Ventilation. Ventilation during loading, unloading, and transport must provide fresh air and remove excessive heat, humidity, and noxious fumes (such as ammonia and carbon dioxide). Ventilation must be adequate for variations in climate and weather and to meet the needs of the livestock being transported. Ventilation must be effective both when the vessel is stationary and when it is moving and must be turned on when the first animal is loaded. The vessel must have on board a back-up ventilation system (including emergency power supply) in good working order or replacement parts and the means, including qualified personnel, to make the repairs or replacements.

    (7) Waste management. The vessel must have a system or arrangements, including a backup system in working order or alternate arrangements, for managing waste to prevent excessive buildup in livestock transport spaces during the voyage.

    (8) Lighting. The vessel must have adequate illumination to allow clear observation of livestock during loading, unloading, and transport.

    (9) Bedding. Bedding must be loaded and stored aboard the vessel in a manner that protects it from weather and sea water and, if kept under animal transport spaces, protects it from spillage from animal watering and feeding and from animal waste.

    (10) Cleaning. The vessel must be designed and constructed to allow thorough cleaning and disinfection and to prevent feces and urine from livestock on upper levels from soiling livestock or their feed or water on lower levels.

    (11) Halters and ropes. Halters, ropes, or other equipment provided for the handling and tying of horses or other livestock must be satisfactory to ensure the humane treatment of the livestock.

    (12) Personnel. The owner or operator of the ocean vessel must have on board during loading, transport, and unloading at least 3 persons (or at least 1 person if fewer than 800 head of livestock will be transported) with previous experience with ocean vessels that have handled the kind(s) of livestock to be carried, as well as a sufficient number of attendants with the appropriate experience to be able to ensure proper care of the livestock.

    (13) Vessel stability. The vessel must have adequate stability, taking into consideration the weight and distribution of livestock and fodder, as well as effects of high winds and seas. If requested by APHIS, the owner or operator of the vessel must present stability calculations for the voyage that have been independently verified for accuracy.

    (14) Additional conditions. The vessel must meet any other condition the Administrator determines is necessary for approval, as dictated by specific circumstances and communicated to the owner and operator of the vessel, to protect the livestock and keep them healthy during loading, unloading, and transport to the importing country.

    (e) Accommodations for the humane transport of livestock; vessels using shipping containers. An inspector may exempt an ocean vessel that uses shipping containers to transport livestock to an importing country from requirements in paragraph (d) of this section that he or she specifies, if the inspector determines that the containers themselves are designed, constructed, and managed in a manner to reasonably assure the livestock are protected from injury and remain healthy during loading, unloading, and transport to the importing country. The Program Handbook contains exemption guidance.

    (f) Operator's report. (1) The owner or operator of any ocean vessel used to export livestock (including vessels that use shipping containers) from the United States must submit a written report to APHIS within 5 business days after completing a voyage. The report must include the name of the ocean vessel; the name and address of all exporters of livestock transported on the vessel; the port of embarkation; dates of the voyage; the port where the livestock were discharged; the number of each species of livestock loaded; and the number of each species that died and an explanation for those mortalities. The report must also document any failure of any major life support system for the livestock, including, but not limited to, systems for providing feed and water, ventilation systems, and livestock waste management systems. Any such failure must be documented, regardless of the duration or whether the failure resulted in any harm to the livestock. The report must include the name, telephone number, and email address of the person who prepared the report and the date of the report. The report must be submitted to APHIS by facsimile or email. Contact numbers and addresses, as well as an optional template for the report, are provided in the Program Handbook.

    (2) If an ocean vessel used to export livestock experiences any failure of a major life support system for livestock during the voyage, the owner or operator of the ocean vessel must notify APHIS immediately by telephone, facsimile, or other electronic means. Contact numbers and addresses are provided in the Program Handbook.

    (3) Failure to provide timely reports as required by this section may result in APHIS disapproving future livestock shipments by the responsible owner or operator or revoking the vessel's certification under paragraph (a) of this section to carry livestock.

    § 91.13 Aircraft.

    (a) Prior to loading livestock aboard aircraft, the stowage area of the aircraft and any loading ramps, fittings, and equipment to be used in loading the animals must be cleaned and then disinfected with a disinfectant approved by the Administrator, to the satisfaction of an APHIS representative, unless the representative determines that the aircraft has already been cleaned and disinfected to his or her satisfaction.

    (1) The Administrator will approve a disinfectant for the purposes of this section upon determining that the disinfectant is effective against pathogens that may be spread by the animals and, if the disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant, that it is registered or exempted for the specified use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    (2) The Program Handbook provides access to a list of disinfectants approved by the Administrator for use as required by this section. Other disinfectants may also be approved by the Administrator in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

    (3) The Administrator will withdraw approval of a disinfectant, and remove it from the list of approved disinfectants in the Program Handbook, if the disinfectant no longer meets the conditions for approval in this section.

    (b) The time at which the cleaning and disinfection are to be performed must be approved by the APHIS representative, who will give approval only if he or she determines that the cleaning and disinfection will be effective up to the projected time the livestock will be loaded. If the livestock are not loaded by the projected time, the APHIS representative will determine whether further cleaning and disinfection are necessary.

    (c) The cleaning must remove all garbage, soil, manure, plant materials, insects, paper, and other debris from the stowage area. The disinfectant solution must be applied with a device that creates an aerosol or mist that covers 100 percent of the surfaces in the stowage area, except for any loaded cargo and deck surface under it that, in the opinion of the APHIS representative, do not contain material, such as garbage, soil, manure, plant materials, insects, waste paper, or debris, that may harbor animal disease pathogens.

    (d) After cleaning and disinfection is performed, the APHIS representative will sign and deliver to the captain of the aircraft or other responsible official of the airline involved a document stating that the aircraft has been properly cleaned and disinfected, and stating further the date, the carrier, the flight number, and the name of the airport and the city and state in which it is located. If an aircraft is cleaned and disinfected at one airport, then flies to a subsequent airport, with or without stops en route, to load animals for export, an APHIS representative at the subsequent airport will determine, based on examination of the cleaning and disinfection documents, whether the previous cleaning and disinfection is adequate or whether to order a new cleaning and disinfection. If the aircraft has loaded any cargo in addition to animals, the APHIS representative at the subsequent airport will determine whether to order a new cleaning and disinfection, based on both examination of the cleaning and disinfection documents and on the inspection of the stowage area for materials, such as garbage, soil, manure, plant materials, insects, waste paper, or debris, that may harbor animal disease pathogens.

    (e) Cargo containers used to ship livestock must be designed and constructed of a material of sufficient strength to securely contain the animals and must provide sufficient space for the species being transported given the duration of the trip, as determined by APHIS.

    § 91.14 Other movements and conditions.

    The Administrator may, upon request in specific cases, permit the exportation of livestock not otherwise provided for in this part under such conditions as he or she may prescribe in each specific case to prevent the spread of livestock diseases and to ensure the humane treatment of the animals during transport to the importing country.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 20th day of February 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-04013 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION 12 CFR Part 1026 [Docket No. CFPB-2015-0006] RIN 3170-AA50 Submission of Credit Card Agreements Under the Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z) AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is proposing to amend Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act, and the official interpretation to that regulation. The proposal would temporarily suspend card issuers' obligations to submit credit card agreements to the Bureau for a period of one year (i.e., four quarterly submissions), in order to reduce burden while the Bureau works to develop a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system. Other requirements, including card issuers' obligations to post currently-offered agreements on their own Web sites, would remain unaffected.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2015-0006 or RIN 3170-AA50, by any of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Include Docket No. CFPB-2015-0006 and/or RIN 3170-AA50 in the subject line of the email.

    Mail: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002.

    Instructions: All submissions should include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the Bureau is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically. In general, all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments will be available for public inspection and copying at 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. You can make an appointment to inspect the documents by telephoning (202) 435-7275.

    All comments, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included. Comments generally will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas L. Devlin, Counsel, or Kristine M. Andreassen, Senior Counsel, Office of Regulations, at (202) 435-7700.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Summary of the Proposed Rule

    The Truth in Lending Act (TILA), in section 122(d), requires creditors to post agreements for open-end consumer credit card plans on the creditors' Web sites and to submit those agreements to the Bureau. 15 U.S.C. 1632(d). These provisions are implemented in § 1026.58 of Regulation Z.1 12 CFR 1026.58. The Bureau is proposing to temporarily suspend the requirement in § 1026.58(c) that card issuers submit credit card agreements to the Bureau for a period of one year (i.e., four quarterly submissions), in order to reduce burden while the Bureau works to develop a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system. Specifically, the Bureau is proposing to suspend the submissions that would otherwise be due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016. Beginning with the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, card issuers would resume submitting credit card agreements on a quarterly basis to the Bureau. Other requirements under § 1026.58, including card issuers' obligations to post currently-offered agreements on their own Web sites under § 1026.58(d), would remain unaffected.

    1 Section 1026.58 uses the terms card issuer (or issuer) and credit card agreement (or agreement) in lieu of the terms creditor and open-end consumer credit card plan, respectively, that are used in section 122(d) of TILA.

    II. Background

    In 2009, Congress enhanced protections for credit cards in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act), which it enacted to “establish fair and transparent practices related to the extension of credit” in the credit card market.2 The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) generally implemented the CARD Act's provisions in subpart G of Regulation Z. Section 204 of the CARD Act added new TILA section 122(d) to require creditors to post agreements for open-end consumer credit card plans on the creditors' Web sites and to submit those agreements to the Board for posting on a publicly available Web site established and maintained by the Board. 15 U.S.C. 1632(d).

    2 Public Law 111-24, 123 Stat. 1734 (2009).

    Specifically, TILA section 122(d)(1) requires each creditor to post its credit card agreements on its own Web site, and section 122(d)(2) requires the creditor to provide its agreements to the Bureau (formerly the Board). TILA section 122(d)(3) requires the Bureau (formerly the Board) to establish and maintain on its publicly available Web site a central repository of the agreements it receives under section 122(d)(2). The Board implemented these provisions in 12 CFR 226.58. With the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), authority to implement TILA transferred to the Bureau 3 and the Bureau renumbered this provision in Regulation Z as § 1026.58.4

    3 Public Law 111-203, section 1100A, 124 Stat. 2081 (2010) (codified at 15 U.S.C. 1602 et seq.).

    4 76 FR 79768 (Dec. 22, 2011).

    While TILA section 122(d) requires that creditors provide agreements to the Bureau, it does not specify the frequency or timing for these submissions. The implementing regulations in Regulation Z provide that submission of currently-offered agreements must be made quarterly. See § 1026.58(c)(1). These quarterly submissions must be sent to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31 of each year. The regulation also provides that, except in certain circumstances, card issuers must post and maintain on their publicly available Web sites the credit card agreements that the issuers are required to submit to the Bureau. See § 1026.58(d).

    Under the current process, which has been used by the Bureau since its inception, card issuers submit agreements and agreement information to the Bureau manually via email. The Bureau believes this process may be unnecessarily cumbersome for issuers and may make issuers' own internal tracking of previously submitted agreements difficult. In addition, the current process for Bureau staff to manually review, catalog, and upload new or revised agreements to the Bureau's Web site, and to remove outdated agreements, can extend for several months after the quarterly submission deadline.5 The Bureau is working to develop a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system which would allow issuers to upload agreements directly to the Bureau's database. The Bureau intends for its new submission system to be less burdensome and easier for issuers to use. It also intends for the new system to enable faster posting of new and revised agreements on the Bureau's Web site.

    5 The Bureau's database of credit card agreements is available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/.

    In order to reduce the burden on card issuers of continuing to use manual submission methods while the Bureau works to design, test, and implement a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system, the Bureau is proposing to temporarily suspend issuers' obligations to submit credit card agreements to the Bureau for a period of one year (i.e., four quarterly submissions), as described in more detail in the section-by-section analysis below. Issuers' obligations to post currently-offered agreements on their own Web sites would be unaffected.

    The Bureau recognizes that its proposed temporary suspension of the requirement that card issuers submit credit card agreements to the Bureau would temporarily reduce the access consumers, other external parties, and the Bureau itself would have to a single repository of the agreements that would have been submitted during this one-year period. However, the Bureau believes that this temporary reduction would not impose significant costs on consumers, other external parties, or the Bureau itself for at least two key reasons. First, the Bureau is not proposing to modify the requirement that card issuers post currently-offered agreements on their own Web sites in a manner that is prominent and readily accessible by the public (§ 1026.58(d)) or that card issuers make all open agreements available on their Web sites or to cardholders upon request (§ 1026.58(e)).

    Second, the Bureau intends to manually compile credit card agreements from certain large card issuers' Web sites as of approximately September 2015. Given the longstanding concentration in the credit card market, the Bureau believes that uploading agreements obtained from a relatively small number of issuers' Web sites to the Bureau's own Web site is sufficient to provide the agreement terms available to the overwhelming majority of credit card consumers in the U.S. as of the mid-point of the proposed suspension period.6 This will allow consumers to continue to use the Bureau's Web site to effectively compare agreements offered by various issuers.

    6See, e.g., CFPB, CARD Act Report, at 13-14 (Oct. 1, 2013), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201309_cfpb_card-act-report.pdf.

    Overall, the Bureau anticipates that the marginal costs to consumers and other external parties from interrupted access during the suspension period will be outweighed by the anticipated benefits of increased usability of the agreements and expedited availability of agreements on the Bureau's Web site after the Bureau implements a more streamlined and automated submission system. The Bureau intends to explore potential functionality for the new system that would improve external parties' ability to use the information efficiently and effectively, such as through improved reporting capabilities. In addition, by streamlining the submission process, the Bureau intends for the new system to also reduce burden on card issuers.

    III. Legal Authority

    TILA section 105(a) authorizes the Bureau to prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of TILA. These regulations may contain such classifications, differentiations, or other provisions, and may provide for such adjustments and exceptions for any class of transactions, that in the Bureau's judgment are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of TILA, facilitate compliance with TILA, or prevent circumvention or evasion of TILA. TILA section 122(d)(5) authorizes the Bureau to promulgate regulations to implement section 122(d), including, among other things, establishing exceptions to TILA sections 122(d)(1) and (2) in any case where the administrative burden outweighs the benefits of increased transparency.

    The Bureau proposes to exercise its rulemaking authority pursuant to TILA sections 105(a) and 122(d)(5) to, in effect, change the period for creditors' submission of agreements to the Bureau from quarterly to annually, for a period of one year. The Bureau also proposes to exercise its exception authority under TILA sections 105(a) and 122(d)(5) to temporarily suspend the agreement submission requirements in § 1026.58(c), as it believes the burden to issuers of continuing to submit agreements under the current cumbersome, manual process while the Bureau works to develop a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system outweighs the benefits of transparency to consumers and other external parties of access to those agreements via the Bureau's Web site during the proposed suspension period. Further, the Bureau believes that a temporary suspension would effectuate the purposes of TILA and facilitate compliance therewith.

    IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Proposed Rule Regulation Z Subpart G—Special Rules Applicable to Credit Card Accounts and Open-End Credit Offered to College Students Section 1026.58 Internet Posting of Credit Card Agreements 58(g) Temporary Suspension of Agreement Submission Requirement

    The Bureau is proposing, in § 1026.58(g)(1), to temporarily suspend the quarterly credit card agreement submission requirement in § 1026.58(c) for submissions that would otherwise be due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016. Proposed comment 58(g)-1 would further clarify this provision.

    Proposed comment 58(g)-2 would explain that, beginning with the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, card issuers shall resume submitting credit card agreements on a quarterly basis to the Bureau pursuant to § 1026.58(c). A card issuer shall submit agreements for the prior calendar quarter (that is, the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016), as required by § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii) through (iv) and (c)(3) through (7), to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after April 30, 2016.

    Proposed comment 58(g)-2.i would explain what must be included in the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, as required by § 1026.58(c)(1)(i) through (iv) and (c)(3) through (7). Proposed comment 58(g)-2.ii would explain that, in lieu of providing new and amended agreements, and notice of withdrawn agreements, for the April 30, 2016 submission, § 1026.58(c)(1) and comment 58(c)(1)-3 permit a card issuer to submit to the Bureau a complete, updated set of the credit card agreements the card issuer offered to the public as of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016.

    Section 1026.58(d) requires a card issuer to post and maintain on its publicly available Web site the credit card agreements that the issuer is required to submit to the Bureau under § 1026.58(c). Proposed § 1026.58(g)(2) would provide that the suspended submission requirement in proposed § 1026.58(g)(1) would not affect card issuers' obligations to post agreements on their own Web sites as required by § 1026.58(d) during the temporary suspension period. Proposed comment 58(g)-3 would further explain this provision and provide several examples.

    The Bureau solicits comment on its proposal to temporarily suspend the obligation card issuers would otherwise have under § 1026.58(c) to submit credit card agreements to the Bureau for the four quarterly submissions that would otherwise be due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016.

    For the quarterly submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, card issuers must follow any technical specifications for submission that the Bureau releases. The Bureau shall provide advance notice to card issuers of such technical specifications. The Bureau is not seeking comment on possible technical specifications for the credit card agreement submission process.

    The Bureau notes that annual submission of college credit card agreements and related data pursuant to § 1026.57(d) and the biannual submission of credit card pricing and availability information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1646(b) are not affected by this proposal. At present, the Bureau intends to continue using existing systems and processes to receive those submissions, which are less frequent and involve fewer issuers. At the time the Bureau implements a more streamlined and automated electronic system for submission of quarterly credit card agreements, however, the Bureau expects to review that system's potential suitability for other submissions.7

    7 The Bureau proposed a requirement similar to that of § 1026.58 for prepaid accounts. See 79 FR 77102, 77191 (Dec. 23, 2014). The Bureau noted that it “expects to provide additional details regarding the electronic submission process in connection with the release of its final rule on this subject. Issuers will have no submission obligations until the Bureau has issued technical specifications addressing the form and manner for submission of agreements. The Bureau intends for the streamlined electronic submission process to be operational before proposed § 1005.19(b) becomes effective.” Id. at 77196. The Bureau intends to explore whether the same streamlined electronic submission process can be used to collect agreements from both card issuers and prepaid account issuers.

    V. Proposed Effective Date

    The Bureau proposes that the changes proposed herein take effect immediately upon publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. As discussed above, the Bureau is working to develop a more streamlined and automated electronic submission system which would allow card issuers to upload credit card agreements directly to the Bureau's database. The Bureau is proposing an immediate effective date for its temporary suspension of the requirement that card issuers submit credit card agreements to the Bureau.

    The Bureau seeks comment on whether its proposed changes should take effect immediately upon publication of a final rule in the Federal Register or if a later effective date is more appropriate.

    VI. Section 1022(b)(2) of the Dodd-Frank Act A. Overview

    In developing the proposed rule, the Bureau has considered potential benefits, costs, and impacts.8 The Bureau requests comment on the preliminary analysis presented below as well as submissions of additional data that could inform the Bureau's analysis of the benefits, costs, and impacts. The Bureau has consulted, or offered to consult with, the prudential regulators, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Trade Commission, including regarding consistency with any prudential, market, or systemic objectives administered by such agencies.

    8 Specifically, section 1022(b)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act calls for the Bureau to consider the potential benefits and costs of a regulation to consumers and covered persons, including the potential reduction of access by consumers to consumer financial products or services; the impact on depository institutions and credit unions with $10 billion or less in total assets as described in section 1026 of the Dodd-Frank Act; and the impact on consumers in rural areas.

    Pursuant to TILA section 122(d)(3), the Bureau maintains on its public Web site a repository of the consumer credit card agreements that card issuers submit pursuant to § 1026.58(c). The electronic folders in the repository are organized by quarter, back to the third quarter of 2011, reflecting the transfer of authority to implement TILA from the Board to the Bureau pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. For each quarter, the repository contains a copy of each agreement, in PDF format, that was available to consumers as of the end of that quarter. The repository also contains, for each quarter, a spreadsheet that provides certain identifying information about each agreement and the issuer thereof.

    Proposed § 1026.58(g) would temporarily suspend the requirement in § 1026.58(c) for card issuers to submit credit card agreements to the Bureau. Under the proposed rule, card issuers would not be required to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau for the submissions that would otherwise be due by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016. Consequently, the Bureau would not provide these agreements on its Web site. As discussed previously, however, the Bureau intends to manually compile credit card agreements from certain large card issuer Web sites as of approximately September 2015 and to post those agreements on its Web site. Card issuers would resume submitting agreements on a quarterly basis to the Bureau beginning with the submission due by the first business day on or after April 30, 2016. The Bureau is not proposing to modify the requirement that card issuers post currently-offered agreements on their own Web sites in a manner that is prominent and readily accessible by the public (§ 1026.58(d)) or that card issuers make all open agreements available on their Web sites or to cardholders upon request (§ 1026.58(e)).

    B. Potential Benefits and Costs to Consumers and Covered Persons

    The Bureau is not aware of any significant costs to consumers that might arise from the temporary suspension of the quarterly submission requirement and the absence of these agreements on the Bureau's Web site. While the Bureau's Web site can assist consumers in comparing credit card agreements when shopping for a new card, the Bureau believes that most consumers are not likely to use the repository to identify desirable credit cards, in part because they would not know if they qualified for the cards they identified. The Bureau believes that consumers are more likely to identify a number of cards for which they qualify before comparing the terms and conditions for those cards. These terms and conditions will remain readily available to consumers on the issuers' Web sites. Similarly, a consumer who wanted to replace a lost agreement would likely find it easier to contact the issuer than to search the repository because the agreement might no longer be available to new cardholders, in which case the consumer would need to search across multiple quarters to find the agreement, and even then might lack confidence that she had found the version of the agreement that applied to her.

    On the other hand, the Bureau recognizes that consumers who would qualify for almost any card on the market and who want to learn about the features of a large number of products might find the repository useful. The proposed rule might increase the cost to these consumers of searching for desirable credit cards. The Bureau believes that this cost would be small, however, given that the Bureau is suspending the submission requirement for just four quarters. The Bureau requests comment on this point. Similarly, the Bureau recognizes the possibility that entities may use the information in the repository to develop more competitive products or extract information that they could sell or otherwise provide to consumers or third parties. However, the Bureau believes that this is unlikely given that the agreements, while generally in searchable PDF format, do not contain uniform data or text fields that would provide the same type of information in fixed locations across files. The Bureau requests comment on this point as well.

    The Bureau believes that the proposal would provide issuers with a minor but tangible benefit. For the third quarter of 2014, 446 issuers had 1,833 agreements in the Bureau's database. While 169 issuers had just one agreement, the median number of agreements per issuer was two and the average was four. Four issuers had over 50 agreements. In the third quarter alone, 103 issuers submitted 429 agreements; the median and mean were again two and four, respectively. Three issuers submitted over 25 agreements. All issuers would be able to suspend their submissions for four quarters, which would remove some compliance burden. The Bureau believes that the burden is small on average, although it may be higher for the entities that provide a large number of agreements.9 The Bureau requests comment on this point.

    9 The Bureau notes that card issuers who submit a smaller number of agreements to the Bureau, but that only submit new and amended agreements and notice of withdrawn agreements, may have higher compliance costs than issuers who resubmit each quarter all agreements that are currently available to consumers. Thus, using the number of agreements submitted each quarter does not strictly track compliance cost. However, the Bureau expects that the number of agreements submitted and compliance cost are correlated even for those who submit all available agreements each quarter because they still have to ensure they are not sending agreements that are no longer offered to new customers or are entirely defunct.

    As noted above, the Bureau recognizes the possibility that entities could use the information in the repository to develop more competitive products or extract information that they could sell or otherwise provide to consumers or third parties. However, as mentioned above, the Bureau believes that this is unlikely given the difficulties in using files in PDF format for this purpose. To the extent that entities are inclined to use the files in the repository to extract information, the Bureau believes that manual collection of the credit card agreements from certain large card issuer Web sites as of approximately September 2015 and posting those agreements on the Bureau Web site will mitigate the impact of the proposed rule on these entities.

    As an alternative, the Bureau considered coupling the temporary suspension with a requirement to provide the Bureau, after the suspension expired, with the agreements that they would have been required to submit if not for the suspension. Compared to the proposed rule, this alternative would have imposed smaller costs on consumers and provided smaller benefits to issuers. Since the costs to consumers under the proposed rule are small to begin with, the Bureau believes that the proposed rule is superior to the alternative. The Bureau requests comment on this point.

    C. Impact on Covered Persons With No More Than $10 Billion in Assets

    The majority of banks and credit unions that provide agreements under § 1026.58(c) have no more than $10 billion in assets. Thus, the majority of banks and credit unions that would benefit from the proposed rule have no more than $10 billion in assets. On the other hand, larger banks and credit unions generally provide the Bureau with more agreements each quarter. Thus, the proposed rule would generally provide larger banks and credit unions with a greater reduction in burden compared to that obtained by banks and credit unions with no more than $10 billion in assets.

    D. Impact on Access to Credit

    The Bureau does not believe that there will be an adverse impact on access to credit, or any other consumer financial products or services, resulting from the proposed rule. The proposed rule imposes no direct requirements on consumer financial products or services or providers of consumer financial products or services or on the eligibility of consumers for consumer financial products or services. As discussed above, the proposed rule imposes at most a minor additional cost on certain consumers searching for a credit card.

    As noted above, the Bureau recognizes the possibility that entities could use the information in the repository to develop more competitive products or extract information that they could sell or otherwise provide to consumers or third parties. However, the Bureau believes that this is unlikely given the difficulties in using files in PDF format for this purpose and the fact that the suspension would last for just four quarters. Thus, the proposed rule should not inhibit activities that would improve access to credit such as the development of more competitive credit products or products that would reduce search costs.

    E. Impact on Consumers in Rural Areas

    The Bureau does not believe that the proposed rule would have a unique impact on consumers in rural areas.

    VII. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, requires each agency to consider the potential impact of its regulations on small entities, including small businesses, small governmental units, and small nonprofit organizations. The RFA defines a “small business” as a business that meets the size standard developed by the Small Business Administration pursuant to the Small Business Act.

    The RFA generally requires an agency to conduct an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) and a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) of any rule subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Bureau also is subject to certain additional procedures under the RFA involving the convening of a panel to consult with small business representatives prior to proposing a rule for which an IRFA is required.

    An IRFA is not required here because the proposal, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Bureau does not expect the proposal to impose costs on small entities. As discussed above, the Bureau believes that the proposed rule would cause a small reduction in costs on all issuers, including small entity issuers, who would otherwise be required to submit agreements to the Bureau.

    Accordingly, the undersigned certifies that this proposal, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), Federal agencies are generally required to seek the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for information collection requirements prior to implementation. Under the PRA, the Bureau may not conduct or sponsor and, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless the information collection displays a valid control number assigned by OMB.

    The Bureau is currently seeking a new OMB control number for the information collection in § 1026.58(c).10 The Bureau expects to obtain this control number prior to the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, which is the date on which the information collection in § 1026.58(c) would resume if the proposed rule were finalized.

    10See 79 FR 62421 (Oct. 17, 2014); 80 FR 8291 (Feb. 17, 2015). The OMB control number would also apply to the information collection in § 1026.57.

    The Bureau welcomes comments on any aspect of this proposal for purposes of the PRA. Comments should be submitted as outlined in the ADDRESSES section above. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 1026

    Advertising, Consumer protection, Credit, Credit unions, Mortgages, National banks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Savings associations, Truth in lending.

    Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Bureau proposes to amend 12 CFR part 1026, as follows:

    PART 1026—TRUTH IN LENDING (REGULATION Z) 1. The authority citation for part 1026 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 2601, 2603-2605, 2607, 2609, 2617, 5511, 5512, 5532, 5581; 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.

    Subpart G—Special Rules Applicable to Credit Card Accounts and Open-End Credit Offered to College Students 2. Section 1026.58 is amended by adding paragraph (g) to read as follows:
    § 1026.58 Internet posting of credit card agreements.

    (g) Temporary suspension of agreement submission requirement—(1) Quarterly submissions. The quarterly submission requirement in paragraph (c) of this section is suspended for the submissions that would otherwise be due to the Bureau by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016.

    (2) Posting of agreements offered to the public. Nothing in paragraph (g)(1) of this section shall affect the agreement posting requirements in paragraph (d) of this section.

    3. In Supplement I to Part 1026, under Section 1026.58—Internet Posting of Credit Card Agreements, add subsection 58(g) Temporary Suspension of Agreement Submission Requirement to read as follows: Supplement I to Part 1026—Official Interpretations Section 1026.58—Internet Posting of Credit Card Agreements 58(g) Temporary Suspension of Agreement Submission Requirement

    1. Suspended quarterly submission requirement. Pursuant to § 1026.58(g)(1), card issuers are not required to make quarterly submissions to the Bureau, as otherwise required by § 1026.58(c), for the submissions that would otherwise be due by the first business day on or after April 30, 2015; July 31, 2015; October 31, 2015; and January 31, 2016. Specifically, a card issuer is not required to submit information about the issuer and its agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(i), new credit card agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii), amended agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3), or notification of withdrawn agreements pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iv) and (c)(4) through (7) for those four quarters.

    2. Resuming submission of credit card agreements to the Bureau. Beginning with the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016, card issuers shall resume submitting credit card agreements on a quarterly basis to the Bureau pursuant to § 1026.58(c). A card issuer shall submit agreements for the prior calendar quarter (that is, the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016), as specified in § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii) through (iv) and (c)(3) through (7), to the Bureau no later than the first business day on or after April 30, 2016.

    i. Specifically, the submission due on the first business day on or after April 30, 2016 shall contain, as applicable:

    A. Identifying information about the card issuer and the agreements submitted, including the issuer's name, address, and identifying number (such as an RSSD ID number or tax identification number), pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(i);

    B. The credit card agreements that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016 that the card issuer had not previously submitted to the Bureau as of the first business day on or after January 31, 2015, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(ii);

    C. Any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that was amended since the last business day of the calendar quarter ending December 31, 2014 and that the card issuer offered to the public as of the last business day of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3); and

    D. Notification regarding any credit card agreement previously submitted to the Bureau that the issuer is withdrawing, pursuant to § 1026.58(c)(1)(iv) and (c)(4) through (7).

    ii. In lieu of the submission described in comment 58(g)-2.i.B through D, § 1026.58(c)(1) permits a card issuer to submit to the Bureau a complete, updated set of the credit card agreements the card issuer offered to the public as of the calendar quarter ending March 31, 2016. See comment 58(c)(1)-3.

    3. Continuing obligation to post agreements on a card issuer's own Web site. Section 1026.58(d) requires a card issuer to post and maintain on its publicly available Web site the credit card agreements that the issuer is required to submit to the Bureau under § 1026.58(c). Pursuant to § 1026.58(g)(2), during the temporary suspension period set forth in § 1026.58(g)(1), a card issuer shall continue to post its agreements to its own publicly available Web site as required by § 1026.58(d) using the agreements it would have otherwise submitted to the Bureau under § 1026.58(c). For example, for purposes of § 1026.58(d)(4), a card issuer must continue to update the agreements posted on its own Web site at least as frequently as the quarterly schedule required for submission of agreements to the Bureau set forth in § 1026.58(c)(1), notwithstanding the temporary suspension of submission requirements in § 1026.58(g)(1). Similarly, for purposes of § 1026.58(d)(2), agreements posted by a card issuer on its own Web site must continue to conform to the form and content requirements set forth in § 1026.58(c)(8).

    Dated: February 19, 2015. Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03879 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR part 25 [Docket No. FAA-2014-1079; Notice No. 25-15-01-SC] Special Conditions: Gulfstream Model GVII Series Airplanes; Limit Pilot Forces for Side-Stick Controller AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed special conditions.

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes special conditions for the Gulfstream Model GVII-G500 (GVII series) airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport-category airplanes.

    This design feature is associated with side-stick controllers that require limited pilot force because they are operated by one hand only. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

    DATES:

    Send your comments on or before April 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2014-1079 using any of the following methods:

    Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/ and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

    Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov/, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov/.

    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov/ at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Todd Martin, FAA, Airframe and Cabin Safety Branch, ANM-115, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington, 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1178; facsimile 425-227-1320.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposed special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.

    We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

    Background

    On March 29, 2012, Gulfstream Aerospace applied for a type certificate for their new Model GVII-G500 airplane.

    The Model GVII series airplanes are large-cabin business jets capable of accommodating up to 19 passengers. The GVII series will certify a base configuration GVII-G500, which incorporates a low, swept-wing design with winglets and a T-tail. The airplanes have two aft-fuselage-mounted Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines. Avionics include four primary display units and multiple touchscreen controllers. The flight-control system is a three-axis, fly-by-wire system using active control/coupled side sticks.

    The GVII-G500 has a wingspan of 87 ft and a length of 91 ft. Maximum takeoff weight is 76,850 lbs. Maximum takeoff thrust is 15,135 lbs, maximum range is 5,000 nautical miles (nm), and maximum operating altitude is 51,000 ft.

    The Model GVII series airplanes are equipped with two side-stick controllers instead of the conventional control columns and wheels. This side-stick controller is designed for one-hand operation. The requirement of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 25.397(c), which defines limit pilot forces and torques for conventional wheel or stick controls, is not adequate for a side-stick controller. Special conditions are necessary to specify the appropriate loading conditions for this controller design.

    Type-Certification Basis

    Under 14 CFR 21.17, Gulfstream must show that the Model GVII-G500 airplanes meet the applicable provisions of 14 CFR part 25, as amended by Amendments 25-1 through 25-137.

    The certification of the GVII-G500 airplane is 14 CFR part 25, effective February 1, 1965, including Amendments 25-1 through 25-137; 14 CFR part 34, as amended by Amendments 34-1 through the most current amendment at the time of design approval; and 14 CFR part 36, Amendment 36-29. In addition, the certification basis includes special conditions and equivalent-safety findings related to the flight-control system.

    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 25) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the Model GVII series airplanes because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under § 21.16.

    Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same novel or unusual design feature, these special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and proposed special conditions, the Model GVII series airplanes must comply with the fuel-vent and exhaust-emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34, and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36. The FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

    The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, under § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2) for new type certificates, and § 21.101 for amended type certificates.

    Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The Gulfstream Model GVII series airplanes will incorporate the following novel or unusual design feature:

    A side-stick controller for one-hand operation requiring wrist motion only, not arms.

    Discussion

    Current regulations reference pilot-effort loads for the flight deck pitch-and-roll controls that are based on two-handed effort. Special conditions are being proposed for Gulfstream GVII series airplanes based on similar airplane programs that include side-stick controllers. These proposed special conditions are also appropriate for the Model GVII series airplane's side-stick controller.

    These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

    Applicability

    As discussed above, these proposed special conditions apply to Gulfstream Model GVII series airplanes. Should Gulfstream apply later for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, these proposed special conditions would apply to that model as well.

    Conclusion

    This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on the Gulfstream Model GVII series airplanes. It is not a rule of general applicability.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR part 25

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    The authority citation for these proposed special conditions is as follows:

    Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

    The Proposed Special Conditions

    Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions in lieu of § 25.397(c):

    For the Gulfstream Model GVII series airplanes equipped with side-stick controls designed for forces to be applied by one wrist and not arms, the limit pilot forces are as follows.

    1. For all components between and including the side-stick control-assembly handle and its control stops:

    Pitch Roll Nose up, 200 lbf Nose left, 100 lbf. Nose down, 200 lbf Nose right, 100 lbf.

    2. For all other components of the side-stick control assembly, but excluding the internal components of the electrical sensor assemblies, to avoid damage to the control system as the result of an in-flight jam:

    Pitch Roll Nose up, 125 lbf Nose left, 50 lbf. Nose down, 125 lbf Nose right, 50 lbf. Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 19, 2015. John J. Piccola, Jr., Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03968 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0415; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-001-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; GROB-WERKE Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain GROB-WERKE Models G115EG and G120A airplanes that would supersede AD 2014-26-04. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as a defective starter solenoid. We are issuing this proposed AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    • Fax: (202) 493-2251.

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

    • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Grob Aircraft AG, Customer Service, Lettenbachstrasse 9, D-86874 Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, telephone: + 49 (0) 8268-998-105; fax: + 49 (0) 8268-998-200; email: [email protected]; Internet: grob-aircraft.com. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0415; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karl Schletzbaum, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4123; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-0415; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-001-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    On December 22, 2014, we issued AD 2014-26-04, Amendment 39-18055 (80 FR 155, January 5, 2015). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on certain GROB-WERKE Models G115EG and G120A airplanes and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country.

    AD 2014-26-04, Amendment 39-18055 (80 FR 155, January 5, 2015), was considered an interim action. Since we issued AD 2014-26-04, GROB Aircraft developed a modification to avoid loss of electrical power in case of electrical shortage in the starter solenoid.

    European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued AD No. 2015-0010R1, dated February 4, 2015 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    An operator of a G 115E aeroplane experienced a total loss of electrical power in flight. The investigation found that a defective starter solenoid had caused an internal short circuit which resulted in breakdown of the system voltage.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, GROB Aircraft AG issued Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) MSB1078-196 for G 115 aeroplanes and MSB 1121-144 for G 120 aeroplanes to provide instructions for inspection and corrective action. Consequently, EASA issued AD 2014-0212 to require a one-time inspection of the starter solenoid and, depending on findings, replacement of the starter. In addition, for G 115E aeroplanes, installation of a placard was required.

    More recently, GROB Aircraft AG developed a modification to avoid loss of electrical power in case of electrical shortage in the starter solenoid, which was published in revised GROB MSB1078-196/1 and MSB1121-144/1.

    Prompted by this development, EASA issued AD 2015-0010, retaining the requirements of EASA AD 2014-0212, which was superseded, and required installation of a starter relay.

    Since that AD was issued, operator comments have indicated the existence of a logistical problem, resulting in the unnecessary grounding of aeroplanes.

    For the reason described above, this AD is revised to amend paragraph (3), extending the compliance time for modification.

    You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0415. Relevant Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    GROB Aircraft has issued Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196/1, dated December 1, 2014, and Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/3, dated February 20, 2015. The actions described in this service information are intended to correct the unsafe condition identified in the MCAI. The GROB Aircraft service bulletins describe procedures for inspecting the starter solenoid, replacing damaged starters, and installing a starter relay. This service information is reasonably available; see ADDRESSES for ways to access this service information.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 6 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 4 work-hours per product to comply with the basic starter inspection requirement of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed inspection on U.S. operators to be $2,040, or $340 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary starter replacements would take about 4 work-hours and require parts costing $600, for a cost of $940 per product. We have no way of determining the number of products that may need this replacement.

    We also estimate that it would take about 20 work-hours per product to comply with the starter relay installation requirement of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $1,000 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed installation on U.S. operators to be $16,200, or $2,700 per product

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Amendment 39-18055 (80 FR 155, January 5, 2015), and adding the following new AD: GROB-WERKE: Docket No. FAA-2015-0415; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-001-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by April 13, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes AD 2014-26-04, Amendment 39-18055 (80 FR 155, January 5, 2015) (“AD 2014-26-04”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to GROB-WERKE Model G115EG airplanes, all serial numbers through 82323/E, and Model G120A airplanes, all serial numbers through 85063, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 80: Starting.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct defective starter solenoids, which could cause an internal short circuit and could result in reduced control. We are superseding AD 2014-26-04 requiring installation of a starter relay that will prevent loss of electrical power in case of electrical shortage in the starter solenoid.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the actions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(3) of this AD:

    (1) Within the next 30 days after February 9, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2014-26-04), inspect the starter following Part A of the Accomplishment Instructions in GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196, dated July 14, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196/1, dated December 1, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144, dated July 14, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/1, dated January 12, 2015; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/2, dated February 5, 2015; or GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/3, dated February 20, 2015, as applicable.

    (2) If any damage is found on the starter during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, before further flight, replace the starter with a serviceable part. Do the replacement following Part A of the Accomplishment Instructions in GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196, dated July 14, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196/1, dated December 1, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144, dated July 14, 2014; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/1, dated January 12, 2015; GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/2, dated February 5, 2015; or GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/3, dated February 20, 2015, as applicable.

    (3) Within the next 100 hours time-in-service after the effective date of this AD, install a starter relay following Part B of the Accomplishment Instructions in GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1078-196/1, dated December 1, 2014, or GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/3, dated February 205, 2015, as applicable.

    (g) Credit for Actions Done in Accordance With Previous Service Information

    Actions done before the effective date of this AD following the Accomplishment Instructions specified in GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/1, dated January 12, 2015; or GROB Aircraft Service Bulletin No. MSB1121-144/2, dated February 5, 2015, as applicable, are considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(2) of this AD.

    (h) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Standards Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Karl Schletzbaum, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4146; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

    (i) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2015-0010R1, dated February 4, 2015, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0415. For service information related to this AD, contact Grob Aircraft AG, Customer Service, Lettenbachstrasse 9, D-86874 Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, telephone: + 49 (0) 8268-998-105; fax: + 49 (0) 8268-998-200; email: [email protected]; Internet: grob-aircraft.com. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 19, 2015. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03979 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 [Docket No. RM15-2-000] Third-Party Provision of Primary Frequency Response Service AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to revise its regulations to foster competition in the sale of primary frequency response service. Specifically, the Commission proposes to amend its regulations to revise the regulations governing market-based rates for public utilities pursuant to the Federal Power Act (FPA) to permit the sale of primary frequency response service at market-based rates by sellers with market-based rate authority for energy and capacity.

    DATES:

    Comments are due April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the following ways:

    • Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents created electronically using word processing software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned format.

    • Mail/Hand Delivery: Those unable to file electronically may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment Procedures Section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rahim Amerkhail (General Information), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8266. Gregory Basheda (Market Power Screening Information), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of Energy Market Regulation, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6479. Lina Naik (Legal Information), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of the General Counsel, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8882. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to revise its regulations to foster competition in the sale of primary frequency response service.1 Specifically, the Commission proposes to amend its regulations to revise Subpart H to Part 35 of Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations governing market-based rates for public utilities pursuant to the Federal Power Act (FPA) 2 to permit the sale of primary frequency response service at market-based rates by sellers with market-based rate authority for energy and capacity.

    1 As envisioned in this NOPR, primary frequency response service would be a reserve product that involves dedicating capacity on a generator or other resource for autonomous, automatic, and rapid action to change its output (within seconds) to rapidly dampen large changes in frequency.

    2 16 U.S.C. 824d, 824e (2012).

    2. This NOPR is an extension of the policy reforms the Commission started with Order No. 784,3 in which, among other things, the Commission revised Part 35 of its regulations to reflect reforms to its policy governing the sale of ancillary services at market-based rates to public utility transmission providers. As discussed in more detail below, the reforms proposed herein are in anticipation of the potential interest in purchase of primary frequency response service from third-parties as a result of a new reliability standard that requires a Balancing Authority to maintain a minimum frequency response obligation.

    3Third-Party Provision of Ancillary Services; Accounting and Financial Reporting for New Electric Storage Technologies, Order No. 784, 78 FR 46,178 (July 30, 2013), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,349, at PP 6-7 (2013), order on clarification, Order No. 784-A, 146 FERC ¶ 61,114 (2014).

    I. Background

    3. The Commission in Order No. 888 4 delineated two categories of ancillary services: those that the transmission provider is required to provide to all of its basic transmission customers 5 and those that the transmission provider is only required to offer to provide to transmission customers serving load in the transmission provider's control area.6 With respect to the second category, the Commission reasoned that the transmission provider is not always uniquely qualified to provide the services, and customers may be able to more cost-effectively self-supply them or procure them from other entities. The Commission contemplated that third parties (i.e., parties other than a transmission provider supplying ancillary services pursuant to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) obligation) could provide these ancillary services on other than a cost-of-service basis if such pricing was supported, on a case-by-case basis, by analyses that demonstrated that the seller lacks market power in the relevant product market.7

    4See Promoting Wholesale Competition Through Open Access Non-Discriminatory Transmission Services by Public Utilities; Recovery of Stranded Costs by Public Utilities and Transmitting Utilities, Order No. 888, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,036 (1996), order on reh'g, Order No. 888-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,048, order on reh'g, Order No. 888-B, 81 FERC ¶ 61,248 (1997), order on reh'g, Order No. 888-C, 82 FERC ¶ 61,046 (1998), aff'd in relevant part sub nom. Transmission Access Policy Study Group v. FERC, 225 F.3d 667 (D.C. Cir. 2000), aff'd sub nom. New York v. FERC, 535 U.S. 1 (2002).

    5 The first category consists of Scheduling, System Control and Dispatch service and Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation Sources service.

    6 The second category consists of Regulation and Frequency Response service, Energy Imbalance service, Operating Reserve-Spinning service, and Operating Reserve-Supplemental service. Order No. 890 later added an additional ancillary service to this category: Generator Imbalance service. See Preventing Undue Discrimination and Preference in Transmission Service, Order No. 890, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,241, at P 85, order on reh'g, Order No. 890-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,261 (2007), order on reh'g, Order No. 890-B, 123 FERC ¶ 61,299 (2008), order on reh'g, Order No. 890-C, 126 FERC ¶ 61,228 (2009), order on clarification, Order No. 890-D, 129 FERC ¶ 61,126 (2009).

    7 Order No. 888, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,036 at 31,720-21.

    4. Subsequently, in Avista, 8 the Commission adopted a policy allowing third-party ancillary service providers that could not perform a market power study to sell certain ancillary services at market-based rates with certain restrictions.9

    8Avista Corp., 87 FERC ¶ 61,223, at 61,882, order on reh'g, 89 FERC ¶ 61,136 (1999) (Avista). Outside the markets operated by regional transmission organizations and independent system operators, Avista authorizes suppliers who cannot show a lack of market power with respect to certain ancillary services to nevertheless sell such services, subject to certain restrictions. One such restriction is that the authorization provided by Avista does not apply to sales to a public utility that is purchasing ancillary services to satisfy its own OATT requirements to offer ancillary services to its own customers.

    9 These ancillary services included: Regulation and Frequency Response, Energy Imbalance, Operating Reserve-Spinning, and Operating Reserve-Supplemental. The Commission did not extend this Avista policy to Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation Sources service, which means that third parties wishing to sell this ancillary service at market-based rates would be required to present specific evidence of a lack of market power in the provision of this specific product before the Commission would authorize sales of this service at market-based rates. The Commission also did not extend the Avista policy to Scheduling, System Control and Dispatch service. Because only balancing area operators can provide this ancillary service, it does not lend itself to competitive supply.

    5. The instant proceeding derives from Order No. 784 in which the Commission found that when appropriate intra-hour transmission scheduling practices are in place, the Avista restrictions need not apply to the sale of Energy Imbalance, Generator Imbalance, Operating Reserve-Spinning and Operating Reserve-Supplemental services, because with those practices in place, the results of the existing market power screens for sales of energy and capacity can also be applied to sales of these ancillary services.10

    10 Because energy and generator imbalance services merely require the ability to respond to dispatch within the hour, the Commission found that any sub-hourly transmission scheduling interval would be sufficient. Order No. 784-A, 146 FERC ¶ 61,114 at P 12. Because the operating reserve services require more rapid response within the hour (spinning reserves must be available immediately and supplemental reserves must be available within a short period of time), the Commission required potential sellers of operating reserve services to satisfactorily explain, in their market-based rate applications, how the particular intra-hour transmission scheduling practices or other protocols in their regions permit resources in one balancing area to respond to contingencies in a neighboring balancing area within these tight time frames. Order No. 784-A, 146 FERC ¶ 61,114 at PP 13-15.

    6. However, the Commission also found in Order No. 784 that the record developed to that point did not support expanding these market-based rate authorizations to include sales of Reactive Supply and Voltage Control (under OATT Schedule 2) (Schedule 2 service) and Regulation and Frequency Response (under OATT Schedule 3) services (Schedule 3 service).11 Instead, the Commission allowed market-based rate sales of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 services to a public utility that is purchasing ancillary services to satisfy its OATT requirements, provided the sale is made pursuant to a competitive solicitation that meets certain specified requirements 12 or the sale is made at or below the buying public utility transmission provider's own Schedule 2 or 3 rate, as applicable.13 The Commission further stated its intention to gather more information regarding the technical, economic and market issues concerning the provision of these services in a separate proceeding that considers, among other things, the ease and cost-effectiveness of relevant equipment upgrades, the need for and availability of appropriate special arrangements such as dynamic scheduling or pseudo-tie arrangements, and other technical requirements related to the provision of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 services.14

    11 Order No. 784, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,349 at PP 59-61.

    12Id. PP 99-101.

    13Id. PP 82-85.

    14Id. P 61.

    7. Pursuant to that directive, Commission staff held a workshop on April 22, 2014 to obtain input from interested persons regarding the technical, economic and market issues concerning the provision of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 services.15 Among other things, the workshop explored issues surrounding the sale of these services at market-based rates. Comments submitted in response to the workshop that discussed the characteristics associated with a primary frequency response product indicated that market-based rate sales of such a product are feasible.16

    15See Third-Party Provision of Reactive Supply and Voltage Control and Regulation and Frequency Response Services, Final Agenda, Docket No. AD14-7-000 (Apr. 22, 2014).

    16 For example, most commenters echoed EEI's arguments that virtually all generators can provide primary frequency response, and because it is provided at the interconnection level, balancing authority areas have more flexibility on the location of the resource than they would for other products. See, e.g., Edison Electric Institute Post-Workshop Comments, Docket No. AD14-7-000, at 7-8 (filed June 3, 2014).

    8. Separately, the Commission on January 16, 2014 issued a Final Rule approving reliability standard BAL-003-1 17 under which a Balancing Authority 18 must maintain a minimum frequency response obligation.19 While most Balancing Authorities should be able to meet the new reliability standard using their own resources,20 some may nevertheless be interested in purchasing primary frequency response service from others if doing so would be economically beneficial. Accordingly, the Commission concludes that there could be interest in the near future in voluntary purchases of a primary frequency response product.

    17 Reliability standards proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) are subject to the Commission's jurisdiction under section 215 of the Federal Power Act; 16 U.S.C. 824o(d). The Commission has authority to approve or reject such standards, and to enforce those that are approved.

    18 The NERC Glossary defines a Balancing Authority as “(t)he responsible entity that integrates resource plans ahead of time, maintains load-interchange-generation balance within a Balancing Authority Area, and supports Interconnection frequency in real time.” See http://www.nerc.com/pa/Stand/Glossary%20of%20Terms/Glossary_of_Terms.pdf.

    19See Frequency Response and Frequency Bias Setting Reliability Standard, Order No. 794, 146 FERC ¶ 61,024 (2014).

    20Id. PP 62-63.

    9. For the reasons described more fully below, the Commission finds that sales of primary frequency response service at market-based rates should be authorized for entities granted market-based rate authority for sales of energy and capacity.

    10. With respect to the remainder of the issues discussed at the workshop and in written comments, the Commission does not see sufficient evidence to support pursuing additional reforms on a generic basis.

    II. Discussion A. Primary Frequency Response Service

    11. As explained in Order No. 794, reliable operation of a power system depends on maintaining frequency within predetermined boundaries above and below a scheduled value, which is 60 Hertz (Hz) in North America.21 In order to do that, sufficient amounts of primary and secondary frequency response reserves must be maintained to stabilize frequency within an interconnection immediately following the sudden loss of generation or load.

    21Id. P 6.

    12. Primary frequency response involves the autonomous, automatic, and rapid action of a generator, or other resource, to change its output (within seconds) to rapidly dampen large changes in frequency. Regulation, also known as secondary frequency response, is produced from either manual or automated dispatch from a centralized control system, generally using the communications and control system known as automatic generation control (AGC). In both cases, capacity must be set aside to provide the responses described above.

    13. Mechanically, the BAL-003-1 reliability standard provides interconnection-wide primary frequency response obligations for each of the Eastern, Western, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and Hydro Quebec Interconnections. The interconnection-wide frequency response obligation is then allocated among all of the Balancing Authorities (or Frequency Response Sharing Groups made up of multiple Balancing Authorities) within each interconnection based on the ratio of the Balancing Authority's generation and load to the total interconnection-wide generation and load times the interconnection-wide frequency response obligation, and this value is called the Balancing Authority's Frequency Response Obligation. However, Balancing Authorities are not limited in how they meet the requirements of BAL-003-1; the standard neither prohibits purchases nor requires self-supply.

    14. In Order No. 784, the Commission evaluated, among other things, whether the existing market power screens for sales of energy and capacity could be applied to the sale of Schedule 3 service without significant modification.22 In Order No. 784, the Commission discussed Schedule 3 without making a distinction between primary frequency response and regulation.

    22 Order No. 784, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,349 at PP 59-61.

    15. However, as noted above, primary frequency response is distinct from regulation; and the April 22, 2014 workshop distinguished between these two services for the purpose of discussing market power issues. While the Commission, in Order No. 888, found that primary frequency response did not merit a separate ancillary service given then-standard industry practices,23 we preliminarily find that we can distinguish between primary frequency response and regulation for the purposes of considering how the transmission provider may procure the services it must offer under OATT Schedule 3.

    23 Order No. 888, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,036 at 31,707.

    16. Specifically, following the approval of the new BAL-003-1 Frequency Response and Frequency Bias Setting Reliability Standard, it is now appropriate to consider the possibility that entities may wish to undertake voluntary sales of primary frequency response service as a stand-alone product distinct from regulation service. The Commission anticipates that sales of such a product would involve bilateral transactions by sellers and, while such sales could be made at cost-based rates, many sellers may prefer the administrative ease of market-based rates. Accordingly, provision would need to be made for sales of primary frequency response within the Commission's market-based rate program.

    17. The Commission analyzes below the horizontal market power issues relevant to a primary frequency response product.

    B. The Existing Market Power Analyses

    18. The Commission analyzes horizontal market power 24 for sales of energy and capacity using two indicative screens, the wholesale market share screen and the pivotal supplier screen, to identify sellers that raise no horizontal market power concerns and can otherwise be considered for market-based rate authority.25 The wholesale market share screen measures whether a seller has a dominant position in the relevant geographic market in terms of the number of megawatts of uncommitted capacity owned or controlled by the seller, as compared to the uncommitted capacity of the entire market.26 A seller whose share of the relevant market is less than 20 percent during all seasons passes the wholesale market share screen.27 The pivotal supplier screen evaluates the seller's potential to exercise horizontal market power based on the seller's uncommitted capacity at the time of annual peak demand in the relevant market.28 A seller satisfies the pivotal supplier screen if its uncommitted capacity is less than the net uncommitted supply in the relevant market.29

    24 18 CFR 35.37(b) (2014).

    25See Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at PP 13, 62. See also 18 CFR 35.37(b), (c)(1) (2014).

    26 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 43.

    27Id. PP 43-44, 80, 89.

    28 18 CFR 35.37(c)(1) (2014).

    29 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 42.

    19. Passing both the wholesale market share screen and the pivotal supplier screen creates a rebuttable presumption that the seller does not possess horizontal market power; failing either screen creates a rebuttable presumption that the seller possesses horizontal market power.30 A seller that fails one of the screens may present evidence, such as a delivered price test, to rebut the presumption of horizontal market power.31 In the alternative, a seller may accept the presumption of horizontal market power and adopt some form of cost-based mitigation.32

    30 18 CFR 35.37(c)(1) (2014).

    31 18 CFR 35.37(c)(2) (2014). For purposes of rebutting the presumption of horizontal market power, sellers may use the results of the delivered price test to perform pivotal supplier and market share analyses and market concentration analyses using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). The HHI is a widely accepted measure of market concentration, calculated by squaring the market share of each firm competing in the market and summing the results. The Commission has stated that a showing of an HHI less than 2,500 in the relevant market for all season/load periods for sellers that have also shown that they are not pivotal and do not possess a market share of 20 percent or greater in any of the season/load periods would constitute a showing of a lack of horizontal market power, absent compelling contrary evidence from intervenors. Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 111.

    32 18 CFR 35.37(c)(3) (2014).

    20. Three of the key components of the analysis of horizontal market power are the definition of products, the determination of appropriate geographic scope of the relevant market for each product, and the identification of the uncommitted generation supply within the relevant geographic market. In Order No. 697, the Commission adopted a default relevant geographic market for sales of energy and capacity.33 Specifically, the Commission generally uses a seller's Balancing Authority area plus directly interconnected Balancing Authority areas, or the RTO/ISO market as applicable, as the default relevant geographic market. However, where the Commission has made a specific finding that there is a submarket within an RTO, that submarket becomes the default relevant geographic market for sellers located within the submarket for purposes of the market-based rate analysis. The Commission also provided guidance as to the factors the Commission will consider in evaluating whether, in a particular case, to adopt an alternative larger or smaller geographic market instead of relying on the default geographic market.34

    33 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at P 15.

    34 A necessary condition that must be satisfied to justify an alternative market is a demonstration regarding whether there are frequently binding transmission constraints during historical peak seasons examined in the screens and at other competitively significant times that prevent competing supply from reaching customers within the proposed alternative geographic market. Id. P 268.

    C. Applicability of Existing Indicative Screens to Primary Frequency Response Service

    21. The Commission has considered whether passing the market-based rate screens for energy and capacity described above should create a rebuttable presumption that the seller lacks horizontal market power for sales of primary frequency response service. As discussed below, the Commission believes it should.

    22. As described above, primary frequency response service involves the autonomous, automatic, and rapid reaction of an individual turbine-generator or other resource to change its output to rapidly dampen changes in interconnection-wide frequency. With respect to the technical capability of resources to provide such response, essentially all synchronous resources and some non-synchronous resources have governors or equivalent control equipment capable of autonomous and automatic responses such as those necessary for primary frequency response.35 The only real difference among resources in this regard involves the choice of settings applied to that equipment, where settings can range from those that result in appropriate levels of primary frequency response to those that result in no response at all, or even responses that worsen the situation. However, such settings can be changed on short notice, thus enabling resources that have never provided primary frequency response in the past to quickly begin providing it if there is some reason and incentive to do so. Accordingly, the set of resources technically capable of providing primary frequency response service does not differ significantly from the set of resources represented in the existing market power screens.

    35See, e.g., Kosterev Statement, Docket No. AD14-7-000 Workshop Transcript, at 180 (Apr. 22, 2014) (“. . . every synchronous machine has a governor”).

    23. With respect to the geographic market, the frequency of an interconnection is uniform throughout that interconnection and is determined largely by the dynamic interconnection-wide balance of supply with demand. Large contingency events, such as the unexpected loss of large amounts of generation or load, which happen anywhere within a given interconnection, cause deviations from the target 60Hz frequency that propagate throughout that interconnection. Accordingly, primary frequency response service can be effectively supplied by any resource throughout an interconnection and have the same ability to dampen harmful changes in interconnection-wide frequency.36 Therefore, the geographic market for a primary frequency response product could be the entire interconnection within which the buyer resides, and in any event would be no smaller than the geographic market represented in the existing market power screens.

    36See, e.g., Edison Electric Institute Post-Workshop Comments, Docket No. AD14-7-000, at 8 (filed June 3, 2014).

    24. With respect to potential barriers related to transmission scheduling or reservation, while information sharing arrangements will certainly be necessary between buyers and sellers to enable the buyers to rely on purchased resources to meet their frequency response obligations under BAL-003-1, primary frequency response service should not require any transmission reservation or scheduling, even for sales from resources in a different Balancing Authority area. This is because individual frequency responses, by definition,37 would not be sustained for long enough periods to trigger a need for transmission service or schedule changes. Rather, regulation resources dispatched by balancing authorities would be expected to assume responsibility for returning the system to the target 60Hz frequency as soon as the central dispatch system is able to send appropriate dispatch signals and the dispatched resources are able to respond.

    37 Primary frequency response service would entail the setting aside of some amount of capacity dedicated to providing autonomous frequency response, and the actual autonomous responses to predefined levels of frequency deviation. While the capacity would be set aside for extended periods, the actual autonomous responses would be of very short duration, as explained in the next section of the text.

    25. The AGC signals used for that dispatch are generally issued every 2-6 seconds, and actual response from dispatched resources is a gradual process on a scale of minutes due to the inherent ramping constraints of each resource; for example, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. requires a maximum response time of 5 minutes, and certain regions may allow up to 10 minutes. Accordingly, the expectation would be for primary frequency response to gradually decline over a span of 1 to 10 minutes as regulation resources ramp up to their designated output.38 As such, this short period of time means that transmission scheduling and reservation should not be needed in connection with the provision of the temporary, autonomous changes in output associated with primary frequency response service that would in all normal cases be quickly replaced by regulation service.39

    38 When some event causes a sudden and large drop (or increase) in system frequency across the interconnection in question, all of the frequency-responsive resources maintained by Balancing Authorities in that interconnection will automatically and autonomously begin to respond within fractions of a second to try to arrest the deviation in frequency. Within 2-6 seconds after that, each Balancing Authority's AGC system will begin issuing dispatch instructions to regulation resources to try to reverse the deviation in frequency and return the interconnection-wide system frequency to 60Hz, and those regulation resources, depending upon their ramping capabilities, may take up to 10 minutes or so to reach their full dispatched levels. At this point, they should have fully displaced the autonomous primary frequency response resources that initially reacted to slow and arrest the frequency deviation.

    39 As relevant to the topic of this order, such frequency responsive reserves (resources set aside to provide primary frequency response) may include both resources owned by the Balancing Authorities and resources purchased from other entities anywhere within the same interconnection. For remote resources within the same interconnection, arrangements will have to be made for sharing telemetry data from the resources in order to allow the host Balancing Authority to demonstrate that it met its frequency response obligation, and for ACE accounting purposes, but such telemetry sharing should not pose any significant barrier to the use of remote resources for the purposes of market-based rates here.

    26. Accordingly, there should be no barriers related to transmission scheduling or reservation preventing sellers anywhere within the same interconnection as the buyer from providing effective primary frequency response service to that buyer.

    III. Proposal

    27. For the reasons discussed above, the Commission concludes that passage of the existing market-based rate screens for sales of energy and capacity can adequately demonstrate lack of market power for sales of primary frequency response service.

    28. The Commission, therefore, proposes that sellers passing the existing market power screens should be permitted to sell primary frequency response service at market-based rates. As a result, we propose to revise our regulations governing market-based rate authorizations to provide that sellers passing the existing market-based rate screens in a given geographic market should be granted a rebuttable presumption that they lack horizontal market power for sales of primary frequency response service in that market. Specifically, section 35.37 of the Commission's regulations would be revised to state that a seller would have a rebuttable presumption it lacks market power with respect to sales of energy, capacity, energy imbalance service, generator imbalance service, and primary frequency response service if the seller passes the indicative screens for that geographic market. The Commission preliminarily concludes that expanding the rebuttable presumption adopted in Order No. 697 for energy and capacity to include primary frequency response service provides adequate protection that market-based rates charged by public utilities will be just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential.

    29. Any entity selling primary frequency response service, either at market-based or cost-based rates, will be required to report such sales in the Electric Quarterly Report. Accordingly, the Commission proposes to update its Electric Quarterly Report system to include a specific product name option for primary frequency response service.

    30. The Commission seeks comment on this proposal, including the proposed revisions to section 35.37(c)(1) of our regulations. Comments may address, among other things, any unique technical requirements or limitations that might apply to the provision of primary frequency response service, and the Commission's proposal to extend the rebuttable presumption to primary frequency response service.

    IV. Summary of Compliance and Implementation

    31. In Order No. 697, the Commission provided standard tariff provisions that sellers must include in their market-based rate tariffs to the extent they are applicable based on the services provided by the seller,40 including a provision for sales of ancillary services as a third-party provider.41 The Commission proposes to revise the “Third Party Provider” ancillary services provision filed by utilities in their market-based rate tariffs to change the reference to “Regulation and Frequency Response Service” to “Regulation Service” and to add a reference to “Primary Frequency Response Service.” The proposed new language is as follows:

    40 Order No. 697, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,252 at Appendix C.

    41 In Order No. 784, the Commission revised the standard third party provider provision to reflect the changes adopted in Order No. 784. Order No. 784, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,349 at P 200.

    Third-party ancillary services: Seller offers [include all of the following that the seller is offering: Regulation Service, Reactive Supply and Voltage Control Service, Energy and Generator Imbalance Service, Operating Reserve-Spinning, Operating Reserve-Supplemental, and Primary Frequency Response Service]. Sales will not include the following: (1) Sales to an RTO or an ISO, i.e., where that entity has no ability to self-supply ancillary services but instead depends on third parties; and (2) sales to a traditional, franchised public utility affiliated with the third-party supplier, or sales where the underlying transmission service is on the system of the public utility affiliated with the third-party supplier. Sales of Operating Reserve-Spinning and Operating Reserve-Supplemental will not include sales to a public utility that is purchasing ancillary services to satisfy its own open access transmission tariff requirements to offer ancillary services to its own customers, except where the Commission has granted authorization. Sales of Regulation Service and Reactive Supply and Voltage Control Service will not include sales to a public utility that is purchasing ancillary services to satisfy its own open access transmission tariff requirements to offer ancillary services to its own customers, except at rates not to exceed the buying public utility transmission provider's OATT rate for the same service or where the Commission has granted authorization.

    32. The Commission proposes that a seller that already has market-based rate authority as of the effective date of the Final Rule issued in this proceeding would be authorized as of the effective date of the Final Rule to make sales of primary frequency response service at market-based rates. Such a seller would be required to revise the third-party provider ancillary services provision of its market-based rate tariff to reflect that it wishes to make sales of primary frequency response service at market-based rates. However, while this authorization would be effective for sellers with existing market-based rate authority as of the date specified in a Final Rule in this proceeding, the Commission proposes that such sellers may wait to file this tariff revision until the next time they make a market-based rate filing with the Commission, such as a notice of change in status filing or a triennial update.

    V. Information Collection Statement

    33. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) 42 requires each federal agency to seek and obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval before undertaking a collection of information directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule of general applicability. OMB regulations require approval of certain information collection requirements imposed by agency rules.43 Upon approval of a collection(s) of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents subject to the filing requirements of an agency rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to the collection of information unless the collection of information displays a valid OMB control number.

    42 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

    43See 5 CFR 1320.10 (2014).

    34. The Commission will submit the proposed revised information collection requirements to OMB for its review and approval. The Commission solicits public comments on its need for this information, whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of burden and cost estimates, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected or retained, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the use of automated information techniques.

    35. Burden Estimate and Information Collection Costs: While, to the Commission's knowledge, no entity currently sells primary frequency response service on an unbundled basis,44 there is no reason why primary frequency response service could not be sold today under cost-based rates. Such cost-based sales, if they occurred, would face all of the burdens associated with cost-of-service regulation, including a variety of requirements from which market-based rate sellers frequently seek and are granted waiver.45 Furthermore, just like market-based rate sellers, cost-based rate sellers must report all transactions in the Electric Quarterly Report. Accordingly, the Commission views this NOPR as providing potential market-based rate sellers of primary frequency response service with the opportunity to avoid cost-of-service regulation for such sales and the associated substantial reporting burdens.

    44 It is likely that some customers purchase primary frequency response service along with other services on a bundled basis, such as through full requirements contracts, but this NOPR is focused on unbundled sales of primary frequency response service.

    45 For example, the need to maintain Open Access Transmission Tariffs and Open Access Same-Time Information Systems related to any jurisdictional transmission facilities owned by the entity, the need to adhere to the Commission's standards of conduct, the need to adhere to the detailed cost-of-service related requirements of subparts B and C of Part 35 of the Commission's regulations, the need to adhere to the accounting and reporting requirements of Parts 41, 101, and 141 of the Commission's regulations, and the need to seek separate authorizations for issuances of securities and assumptions of liabilities under FPA section 204 and Part 34 of the Commission's regulations.

    36. Below, we discuss the expected increases in burdens as a result of the proposals in this NOPR, which we expect to be greatly outweighed by the reduction in burden from avoiding cost-of-service regulation. The additional estimated annual public reporting burdens and costs for the requirements in this proposed rule are as follows.

    Changes Proposed in NOPR in RM15-2 46 Number of respondents Annual number of responses per respondent Total number of responses Average burden & cost per
  • response
  • Total annual
  • burden hours &
  • total annual cost
  • Cost per
  • response
  • (a) (b) (a) × (b) = (c) (d) (c) × (d) = (e) (e)/(c) FERC-516 (Electric Rate Schedules and Tariff Filings) (one time, phased in) 1,551 47 48 0.166 258 6, $432 1,548, $111,456 $432 FERC-920 (Electric Quarterly Report) (one-time, phased in) 1,551 49 0.166 258 2, $144 516, $37,152 144

    Action: Proposed changes.

    46 We think that industry staff members are similarly situated to FERC, in terms of hourly cost per full time employee. Therefore, the estimated average hourly cost (salary plus benefits) is $72.00.

    47 The 1,551 respondent universe includes existing sellers (1,965 total market-based rate sellers—697 Category 1 sellers + 70 Category 1 sellers = 1,338 sellers estimated to sell primary frequency response services) plus 213 new market-based rate applicants (as estimated in Docket No. RM14-14). (We estimate that ten percent (or 70, as indicated above) of the Category 1 sellers may choose to sell primary frequency response services.)

    48 We expect respondents to enter the primary frequency response market gradually. For each of the next three years, we expect all 213 new market-based rate applicants per year (or 639 total during Years 1-3), to include the primary frequency response language in their tariffs.

    Additionally, during the three-year period, we expect a total of ten percent of the existing 1,338 respondents (or 134 respondents), to decide to sell primary frequency response services and to make the corresponding FERC-516 rate filing. The corresponding annual estimate is 45 of the existing respondents (an average of 3.3% annually). Therefore, the annual estimate, including both new respondents and existing respondents, is an average of 258 (213 + 45) respondents and responses per year.

    49 As respondents decide to sell primary frequency response services, they would report the new offering in their Electric Quarterly Report (FERC-920), and would continue to report in subsequent EQRs. When a filer adds the new service, we estimate the one-time burden to be two hours. We expect any additional burden associated with reporting the new service in the EQR to be negligible after the first implementation as it would become part of the respondent's normal reporting practice in the EQR and would only involve selecting the `primary frequency response' option from a list of product names. On average, we expect filers of the new primary frequency response service to phase in:

    • Year 1, 258 respondents or 16.6 percent of EQR filers.

    • Year 2, 258 respondents or 16.6 percent of EQR filers.

    • Year 3, 258 respondents or 16.6 percent of EQR filers.

    OMB Control Nos.: 1902-0096 (FERC-516) and 1902-0255 (FERC-920).

    Respondents: Public utilities, FERC licensees.

    Frequency of responses: One-time (FERC-516) and (FERC-920).

    Necessity of the Information: Regarding FERC-516, section 205(c) of the Federal Power Act requires public utilities to file with the Commission schedules showing all rates and charges for any transmission or sale subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. Accordingly, entities wishing to sell primary frequency response service at market-based rates must amend their market-based rate tariffs to include the language included in this NOPR. Regarding FERC-920, the Commission is revising the EQR to ensure that public utilities that may sell primary frequency response service at market-based rates report those sales in the EQR, consistent with their filing obligations under section 205(c).

    Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the requirements associated with the proposed revisions to the information collections and determined they are necessary to ensure that rates remain just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory.

    37. These requirements conform to the Commission's need for efficient information collection, communication, and management within the energy industry. The Commission has assured itself, through internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with the information collection requirements.

    38. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director], email: [email protected], Phone (202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873. Comments on the collections of information and associated burden estimates in the proposed rule should be sent to the Commission in this docket and may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. For security reasons, comments to OMB should be submitted by email to: [email protected] Please refer to OMB Control No. 1902-0096 (FERC-516) and OMB Control No. 1902-0255 (FERC-920).

    VI. Environmental Analysis

    39. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.50 The Commission concludes that neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is required for this Final Rule under section 380.4(a)(15) of the Commission's regulations, which provides a categorical exemption for approval of actions under sections 205 and 206 of the FPA relating to the filing of schedules containing all rates and charges for the transmission or sale subject to the Commission's jurisdiction, plus the classification, practices, contracts, and regulations that affect rates, charges, classifications, and services.51

    50Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47,897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 1986-1990 ¶ 30,783 (1987).

    51 18 CFR 380.4(a)(15) (2014).

    VII. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    40. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 52 generally requires a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    52 5 U.S.C. 601-612 (2012).

    41. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.53 The SBA recently revised its size standard for electric utilities (effective January 22, 2014) from a standard based on megawatt hours to a standard based on the number of employees, including affiliates.54 Under SBA's current size standards, the entities with market-based rates which are affected by this NOPR likely come under the following categories 55 with the indicated thresholds (in terms of number of employees 56 ):

    53 13 CFR 121.101 (2014).

    54 SBA Final Rule on “Small Business Size Standards: Utilities,” 78 FR 77,343 (Dec. 23, 2013).

    55 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities.

    56 SBA's regulations at 13 CFR 121.201 state that “[t]he number of employees . . . indicates the maximum allowed for a concern and its affiliates to be considered small.”

    • Hydroelectric Power Generation, 500 employees • Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation, 750 employees • Nuclear Electric Power Generation, 750 employees • Solar Electric Power Generation, 250 employees • Wind Electric Power Generation, 250 employees • Geothermal Electric Power Generation, 250 employees • Biomass Electric Power Generation, 250 employees • Other Electric Power Generation, 250 employees

    42. The categories for the applicable entities have a size threshold ranging from 250 employees to 750 employees. For the analysis in this proposed rule, we are using the threshold of 750 employees for all categories. We anticipate that a maximum of 82 percent of the entities potentially affected by this NOPR are small. In addition, we expect that not all of those entities will be able to or will choose to offer primary frequency response service.

    43. Based on the estimates above in the Information Collection section, we expect a one-time cost of $576 (including the burden cost related to filing both the tariff and the EQR) for each entity that decides to offer primary frequency response service.

    44. The Commission does not consider the estimated cost per small entity to impose a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, the Commission certifies that this NOPR will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    VIII. Comment Procedures

    45. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due April 27, 2015. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM15-2-000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their comments.

    46. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing formats. Documents created electronically using word processing software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not need to make a paper filing.

    47. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    48. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

    IX. Document Availability

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 35

    Electric power rates; Electric utilities; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Issued: February 19, 2015.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend Part 35, Chapter I, Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows.

    PART 35—FILING OF RATE SCHEDULES AND TARIFFS 1. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 791a-825r, 2601-2645; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. Revise § 35.37(c)(1) to read as follows:
    § 35.37 Market power analysis required.

    (c)(1) There will be a rebuttable presumption that a Seller lacks horizontal market power with respect to sales of energy, capacity, energy imbalance service, generation imbalance service, and primary frequency response service if it passes two indicative market power screens: a pivotal supplier analysis based on annual peak demand of the relevant market, and a market share analysis applied on a seasonal basis. There will be a rebuttable presumption that a Seller lacks horizontal market power with respect to sales of operating reserve-spinning and operating reserve-supplemental services if the Seller passes these two indicative market power screens and demonstrates in its market-based rate application how the scheduling practices in its region support the delivery of operating reserve resources from one balancing authority area to another. There will be a rebuttable presumption that a Seller possesses horizontal market power with respect to sales of energy, capacity, energy imbalance service, generation imbalance service, operating reserve-spinning service, operating reserve-supplemental service, and primary frequency response service if it fails either screen.

    [FR Doc. 2015-03741 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 20 CFR Part 422 [Docket No. SSA-2014-0042] RIN 0960-AH68 Social Security Number Card Applications AGENCY:

    Social Security Administration.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to revise our regulations to allow applicants for a Social Security number (SSN) card to apply by completing a prescribed application and submitting the required evidence, rather than completing a paper Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. We also propose to remove the word “documentary” from our description of certain evidence requirements. These changes would provide flexibility in the ways in which the public may request SSN cards and allow us, in the future, to implement an online SSN replacement card application system, which we are currently developing. In addition, we propose to replace “Immigration and Naturalization Service” with “Department of Homeland Security” to reflect that agency's reorganization.

    DATES:

    To ensure that your comments are considered, we must receive them no later than April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any one of three methods—Internet, fax, or mail. Do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method. Regardless of which method you choose, please state that your comments refer to Docket No. SSA-2014-0042 so that we may associate your comments with the correct regulation.

    Caution: You should be careful to include in your comments only information that you wish to make publicly available. We strongly urge you not to include in your comments any personal information, such as Social Security numbers or medical information.

    1. Internet: We strongly recommend that you submit your comments via the Internet. Please visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Use the “Search” function to find docket number SSA-2014-0042. The system will issue a tracking number to confirm your submission. You will not be able to view your comment immediately because we must post each comment manually. It may take up to a week for your comment to be viewable.

    2. Fax: Fax comments to (410) 966-2830.

    3. Mail: Mail your comments to the Office of Regulations and Reports Clearance, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401.

    Comments are available for public viewing on the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov or in person, during regular business hours, by arranging with the contact person identified below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Arthur LaVeck, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Office of Income Security Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, (410) 966-5665. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The use of the SSN is widespread in today's society. It is necessary for employment, to properly record a person's wages and the taxes paid on those wages, to collect Social Security benefits, and to receive many other government services. Commercial organizations, such as banks and credit companies, also ask individuals for their SSNs for many business transactions. As a result of this widespread use, the issuance of original and replacement SSN cards is one of our most requested services.

    Currently, a person can apply for an SSN by completing Form SS-5 and submitting it, in person or via mail, to his or her local field office (FO) or a Social Security Card Center (SSCC), or by having one of our representatives file an application electronically through the Social Security Number Application Process (SSNAP) during an in-office interview. The applicant must also present, or mail in, supporting documentary evidence.

    In fiscal year 2013, we processed over 10 million replacement SSN card applications at FOs and SSCCs. It takes a field office employee an average of 14 minutes to process a replacement card application. Removing the requirements that applicants complete and submit paper Form SS-5 along with paper documentary evidence would allow us to develop convenient and efficient means to electronically process replacement SSN card applications and obtain acceptable supporting evidence, while retaining the security necessary to protect the integrity of the SSN and the card issuance process. Recent advances in technology provide us with additional, convenient options for the public to request government services. By pursuing the electronic approaches available to us, we expect to provide expanded service options that meet the varied needs of the public in a cost-efficient and environmentally responsible way.

    For example, we are currently developing a new online application that would allow certain members of the public to apply for replacement SSN cards electronically without having to visit one of our offices or mail in the application and supporting evidence. Adult U.S. citizens who are not reporting any changes to their record (for example, name or date of birth) would have the option to file for an SSN replacement card online after registering through the my Social Security portal. Eligible individuals would also be required to have a U.S. mailing address, (including Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office, or Diplomatic Post Office mailing address) and a valid U.S. state-issued driver's license or U.S. state-issued identity card. During the application process, we would securely collect and verify required information electronically (for example, identifying information, mailing address associated with the individual requesting the card), and analyze each request for potential fraud. Moving this service online would allow customers to complete a request at any time, without the need to visit us in person. It would also help the public by allowing our employees to focus on other vital services, such as taking claims for benefits and conducting program integrity work.

    To ensure our SSN regulations support the development of convenient and efficient electronic service delivery options, we propose to update 20 CFR 422.103 and 422.110 to remove the requirement that an individual who seeks a replacement SSN card must file an application at any Social Security office. We also propose to remove references to Form SS-5 because our current process allows us to file an application electronically through SSNAP without the completion of a paper Form SS-5, and our planned online application will not require the completion of a paper Form SS-5. We would replace, in instances where a description is necessary, mention of Form SS-5 with the term “prescribed application.” A prescribed application would simply be the application form—whether a paper form, an online application, or some other method—that we determine to be most efficient and user-friendly at any given time. Information about application procedures would be easily available to applicants on our Internet site and at our offices nationwide.

    We also propose to revise 20 CFR 422.107 to remove the word “documentary” from our description of evidence required to obtain an original or replacement SSN card. We would still require evidence to establish eligibility and identity in order to obtain a new or replacement card. However, we would revise our rules so that applicants may provide or we may obtain other types of evidence to satisfy the requirement, such as through data matches or other agreements with government agencies or other entities that we determine can provide us with appropriate and secure verification of the applicant's true identity and other eligibility factors.

    These changes would provide us with the flexibility we need to adapt our SSN application process as necessity and technology allow. They would allow us to offer the public new, convenient service alternatives for obtaining SSN replacement cards, while maintaining the security and integrity of the SSN card and issuance process. We also expect these changes would reduce the public's need to visit our FOs, resulting in shorter wait times for individuals who choose to visit a FO for service.

    We also propose to update section 422.107(e)(1) to replace references to “Immigration and Naturalization Service” with “Department of Homeland Security” to reflect that agency's restructuring in 2003.

    Regulatory Procedures Executive Order 12866, as Supplemented by Executive Order 13563

    We consulted with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and determined that this proposed rule meets the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, and was reviewed by OMB.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it would affect individuals only. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Although the regulatory changes described below are not subject to OMB clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), the new electronic SSN replacement card application will require OMB PRA approval. We will seek public comment in a separate PRA Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the new electronic process under OMB No. 0960-0066. We will complete the PRA OMB clearance process, including publication of the two standard FRNs, before we implement the electronic SSN replacement card application. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the electronic SSN replacement card application at that time.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 96.001, Social Security—Disability Insurance; 96.002, Social Security—Retirement Insurance; 96.004, Social Security Survivors Insurance; 96.006, Supplemental Security Income; 96.020, Special Benefits for Certain World War II Veterans.) List of Subjects in 20 CFR Part 422

    Administrative practice and procedure, Organization and functions (Government agencies), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social security.

    Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend 20 CFR chapter III part 422 subpart B as set forth below:

    PART 422—ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURES Subpart B—General Procedures 1. The authority citation for subpart B of part 422 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 205, 232, 702(a)(5), 1131, and 1143 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405, 432, 902(a)(5), 1320b-1, and 1320b-13), and sec. 7213(a)(1)(A) of Pub. L. 108-458.

    2. Amend § 422.103 by revising paragraphs (b), (c)(1), and (e)(1) to read as follows:
    § 422.103 Social security numbers.

    (b) Applying for a number—(1) Application. An individual needing a Social Security number may apply for one by completing a prescribed application and submitting the required evidence. An individual outside the United States (U.S.) may apply for a Social Security number card at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines, at any U.S. Foreign Service post, or at a U.S. military post outside the United States. (See § 422.106 for special procedures for filing applications with other government agencies.) Additionally, a U.S. resident may apply for a Social Security number for a nonresident dependent when the number is necessary for U.S. tax purposes or some other valid reason, the evidence requirements of § 422.107 are met, and we determine that a personal interview with the dependent is not required.

    (2) Birth registration document. We may enter into an agreement with officials of a State, including, for this purpose, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New York City, to establish, as part of the official birth registration process, a procedure to assist us in assigning Social Security numbers to newborn children. Where an agreement is in effect, a parent, as part of the official birth registration process, need not complete a prescribed application and may request that we assign a Social Security number to the newborn child.

    (3) Immigration form. We may enter into an agreement with the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist us by collecting enumeration data as part of the immigration process. Where an agreement is in effect, an alien need not complete a prescribed application and may request, through DOS or DHS, as part of the immigration process, that we assign a Social Security number and issue a Social Security number card to him or her. An alien will request the assignment of a Social Security number through this process in the manner provided by DOS and DHS.

    (c) How numbers are assigned—(1) Application. If you complete a prescribed application, we will require you to furnish evidence, as necessary, to assist us in establishing your age, U.S. citizenship or alien status, true identity, and previously assigned Social Security number(s), if any. (See § 422.107 for evidence requirements.) We may require you to undergo a personal interview before we assign a Social Security number. If you request evidence to show that you have filed a prescribed application for a Social Security number card, we may furnish you with a receipt or equivalent document. We will electronically screen the data from the prescribed application against our files. If we find that you have not been assigned a Social Security number previously, we will assign one to you and issue a Social Security number card. However, if we find that you have been assigned a Social Security number previously, we will issue a replacement Social Security number card.

    (e) Replacement of Social Security number card—(1) When we may issue you a replacement card. We may issue you a replacement Social Security number card, subject to the limitations in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. You must complete a prescribed application to receive a replacement Social Security number card. We follow the evidence requirements in § 422.107 when we issue you a replacement Social Security number card.

    3. Amend § 422.107 by: a. Revising paragraphs (a) and (c); b. In paragraph (e)(1), removing each instance of “Immigration and Naturalization Service” and adding in its place, “Department of Homeland Security”; and c. Revising paragraph (g).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 422.107 Evidence requirements.

    (a) General. To obtain an original Social Security number card, you must submit convincing evidence of your age, U.S. citizenship or alien status, and true identity, as described in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section. If you apply for a replacement Social Security number card, you must submit convincing evidence of your true identity, as described in paragraph (c) of this section, and you may also be required to submit convincing evidence of your age and U.S. citizenship or alien status, as described in paragraphs (b), (d), and (e) of this section. If you apply for an original or replacement Social Security number card, you are also required to submit evidence to assist us in determining the existence and identity of any previously assigned Social Security number(s). We will not assign a Social Security number or issue an original or replacement card unless we determine that you meet all of the evidence requirements. We require an in-person interview if you are age 12 or older and are applying for an original Social Security number, unless you are an alien who requests a Social Security number as part of the immigration process described in § 422.103(b)(3). We may require an in-person interview of other applicants. All paper or other tangible documents submitted as evidence must be originals or copies of the original documents certified by the custodians of the original records and are subject to verification. We may also verify your eligibility factors, as described in paragraphs (b)-(e) of this section, through other means, including but not limited to data matches or other agreements with government agencies or other entities that we determine can provide us with appropriate and secure verification of your eligibility factors.

    (c) Evidence of identity. (1) If you apply for an original Social Security number or a replacement Social Security number card, you are required to submit convincing evidence of your identity. Evidence of identity may consist of a driver's license, identification card, school record, medical record, marriage record, passport, Department of Homeland Security document, or other similar evidence serving to identify you. The evidence must contain sufficient information to identify you, including your name and:

    (i) Your age, date of birth, or parents' names; or

    (ii) Your photograph or physical description.

    (2) A birth record is not sufficient evidence to establish identity for these purposes.

    (g) Inability to verify eligibility factors. We will not issue an original or replacement Social Security number card when you present invalid or expired documents or when we are unable to verify the required evidence through other means, as described in paragraph (a) of this section. Invalid documents are either forged documents that supposedly were issued by the custodian of the record, or properly issued documents that were improperly changed after they were issued. An expired document is one that was valid for only a limited time and that time has passed.

    4. Amend § 422.110 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 422.110 Individual's request for change in record.

    (a) Application. If you wish to change the name or other personal identifying information you previously submitted in connection with an application for a Social Security number card, you must complete a prescribed application, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section. You must prove your identity, and you may be required to provide other evidence. (See § 422.107 for evidence requirements.) You may complete a request for change in records in the manner we designate, including at any Social Security office, or, if you are outside the U.S., to the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines, or to any U.S. Foreign Service post or U.S. military post. If your request is for a change of name on the card (that is, verified legal changes to the first name or surname, or both), we may issue you a replacement Social Security number card bearing the same number and the new name. We will grant an exception to the limitations specified in § 422.103(e)(2) for replacement Social Security number cards representing a change in name or, if you are an alien, a change to a restrictive legend shown on the card. (See § 422.103(e)(3) for the definition of a change to a restrictive legend.)

    [FR Doc. 2015-03726 Filed 2-24-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4191-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 57 [REG-143416-14; RIN 1545-BM51] Health Insurance Providers Fee AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking by cross-reference to temporary regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains proposed regulations that provide rules for the definition of a covered entity for purposes of the fee imposed by section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended. In the Rules and Regulations section of this issue of the Federal Register, the IRS is issuing temporary regulations. The text of those temporary regulations also serves as the text of these proposed regulations. The proposed regulations are necessary to clarify certain terms in section 9010. The proposed regulations affect persons engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks.

    DATES:

    Comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by May 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-143416-14), Room 5203, Internal Revenue Service, PO Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-143416-14), Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, or sent electronically, via the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-143416-14).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Concerning the proposed regulations, Rachel S. Smith, (202) 317-6855; concerning submissions of comments and request for a hearing, Regina Johnson, (202) 317-6901 (not toll-free numbers).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Temporary regulations in the Rules and Regulations section of this issue of the Federal Register amend the Health Insurance Providers Fee Regulations (26 CFR part 57) and serve as the text for these proposed regulations.

    Special Analyses

    It has been determined that these proposed regulations are not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because the regulation does not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, these regulations have been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Comments and Requests for a Public Hearing

    Before the proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely to the IRS as prescribed in this preamble under the ADDRESSES heading. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on all aspects of the proposed regulations. All comments will be available at www.regulations.gov or upon request. A public hearing will be scheduled if requested in writing by any person that timely submits written comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the public hearing will be published in the Federal Register.

    Drafting Information

    The principal author of these proposed regulations is Rachel S. Smith, IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries). However, other personnel from the Treasury Department and the IRS participated in their development.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 57

    Health insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 57 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 57—HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS FEE Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 57 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805; sec. 9010, Pub. L. 111-148 (124 Stat. 119 (2010)).

    Par. 2. Section 57.2 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(3) and (c)(3)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 57.2 Explanation of terms.

    (b) * * *

    (3) [The text of proposed § 57.2(b)(3) is the same as the text of § 57.2T(b)(3) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register].

    (c) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (ii) [The text of proposed § 57.2(c)(3)(ii) is the same as the text of § 57.2T(c)(3)(ii) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register].

    Par. 3. Section 57.10 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 57.10 Effective/applicability date.

    (b) [The text of proposed § 57.10(b) is the same as the text of § 57.10T(b) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register].

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03945 Filed 2-23-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration 30 CFR Part 75 RIN 1219-AB85 Request for Information To Improve the Health and Safety of Miners and To Prevent Accidents in Underground Coal Mines AGENCY:

    Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

    ACTION:

    Request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is requesting information on mine ventilation and roof control plans; atmospheric monitoring systems and new technology for remote monitoring systems; methods to suppress the propagation of coal dust explosions; and criteria and procedures for certification, recertification, and decertification of persons qualified to conduct mine examinations. These issues were raised in reports on the coal dust explosion that occurred at the Upper Big Branch Mine on April 5, 2010. After reviewing the recommendations in these reports and related National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research, MSHA is seeking information and data that will help improve the health and safety of underground coal miners. Submitted information will assist MSHA in determining appropriate regulatory actions.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by midnight Eastern Standard Time on April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by “RIN 1219-AB85”, by any of the following methods:

    Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments for Docket Number MSHA-2014-0029.

    Electronic mail: [email protected] Include “RIN 1219-AB85” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Agency name “MSHA” and Docket Number “MSHA-2014-0029” or “RIN 1219-AB85.” All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket Number MSHA-2014-0029, and on http://www.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp. Review comments in person at the Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st floor.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sheila A. McConnell, Acting Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at [email protected] (email); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 (facsimile). These are not toll-free numbers.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Availability of Information

    MSHA maintains a mailing list that enables subscribers to receive an email notification when the Agency publishes rulemaking documents in the Federal Register. To subscribe, go to http://www.msha.gov/subscriptions/subscribe.aspx.

    I. Background

    On April 5, 2010, a coal dust explosion occurred at the Upper Big Branch Mine-South (UBB) in Montcoal, West Virginia. MSHA initiated an accident investigation on April 7, 2010 under the authority of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act). MSHA issued an accident investigation report on December 11, 2011, titled, “A Report of Investigation, Fatal Underground Mine Explosion, April 5, 2010, Upper Big Branch Mine-South, Performance Coal Company, Montcoal, Raleigh County, West Virginia, ID No. 46-08436.”

    In addition to MSHA's accident investigation report, MSHA announced on May 4, 2010, a separate internal review of MSHA's actions prior to the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. On March 6, 2012, MSHA issued the Internal Review (IR) report of the Agency's enforcement actions titled “Internal Review of MSHA's Actions at the Upper Big Branch Mine-South, Performance Coal Company, Montcoal, Raleigh County, West Virginia”. The IR report compared MSHA's actions with the requirements of the Mine Act and MSHA's standards, regulations, policies, and procedures. The report recommended changes to regulations and standards that would improve the health and safety of underground coal miners by protecting them from the hazards that caused or contributed to the explosion. The IR report included recommendations to improve regulations and standards regarding mine ventilation; atmospheric mine monitoring systems; rock dusting; and certification, re-certification, and decertification of persons certified to conduct mine examinations in underground coal mines. Both the IR and Accident Investigation (AI) reports recommended that the Assistant Secretary consider rulemaking to improve mine health and safety. The combined recommendations were listed in the IR report.

    Following the explosion at UBB, the Secretary of Labor, on April 16, 2010, requested that NIOSH independently assess MSHA's internal review of its enforcement actions at UBB. NIOSH identified and appointed a panel to conduct an independent assessment (the Independent Panel). On March 22, 2012, the Independent Panel issued its report titled ”An Independent Panel Assessment of an Internal Review of MSHA Enforcement Actions at the Upper Big Branch Mine South Requested by The Honorable Hilda L. Solis, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor” (IP Assessment). In its report, the Independent Panel recommended that MSHA address the technical deficiencies in current mining practices that could compromise safety.

    II. Information Request

    This request for information is based on recommendations in the AI, IR, and IP Assessment reports. MSHA seeks input from industry, labor, and other interested parties to assist the Agency in determining whether regulatory action is needed and, if so, what type of regulatory changes would be appropriate to improve health and safety in underground coal mines. The reports on the UBB mine explosion identified several areas where additional rulemaking could be used to improve health and safety in underground coal mines.

    In section A, MSHA is requesting information on issues related to the requirements for developing and implementing roof control and mine ventilation plans in underground coal mines. In section B, MSHA is requesting information on issues related to the use, calibration, and maintenance of atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS) and new technology for remote monitoring systems. In section C, MSHA is requesting information on whether specifications contained in the definition of rock dust could be changed to improve its effectiveness in suppressing the propagation of coal dust explosions. In section D, the Agency is seeking information on whether surface moisture should be excluded from the determination of total incombustible content (TIC) of mixed dust. In section E, MSHA is requesting information on mine operator experiences with the coal dust explosibility meter (CDEM), the cleanup program under 30 CFR 75.400-2, and rock dusting. MSHA is also requesting information on the experiences of mine operators who have used other methods of testing for the explosibility of the dust in their mines. In section F, the Agency is seeking information on the use of active and passive explosion barriers. Finally, in section G, MSHA is requesting information on criteria and procedures for certification, recertification, and decertification of certified persons. MSHA is particularly interested in information regarding persons who conduct examinations and tests in accordance with MSHA's ventilation standards.

    When responding, please address your comments to the topic and question number. For example, the response to section A. Requirements for Developing and Implementing Roof Control and Mine Ventilation Plans, Question 1, would be identified as “A.1.” Please explain the rationale supporting your views and, where possible, include specific examples to support your rationale. Provide sufficient detail in your responses to enable proper Agency review and consideration. Identify the information on which you rely and include applicable experiences, data, models, calculations, studies and articles, standard professional practices, availability of technology, and costs.

    MSHA invites comment in response to the specific questions posed below and encourages commenters to include any related cost and benefit data, and any specific issues related to the impact on small mines.

    A. Requirements for Developing and Implementing Roof Control and Mine Ventilation Plans

    MSHA standards require the submission and approval of roof control and ventilation plans prior to their implementation, but do not require the operator to designate a person to be responsible for the mine's plans. The IP Assessment recommended that mine operators hire in-house plan specialists who would be certified roof control and ventilation officers to oversee plan implementation and to coordinate day-to-day actions.

    MSHA is considering changes to regulatory requirements to improve roof control plans (30 CFR 75.220 and 75.223) and mine ventilation plans (30 CFR 75.370 and 75.371). These changes could add requirements that would provide mine operators, miners, and MSHA personnel with increased assurance that plans are developed, implemented, and maintained according to the conditions at the mine. These changes could improve roof control and ventilation plans, and in conjunction with additional requirements for mine monitoring, would give mine operators information needed to evaluate mine conditions. To assist MSHA in determining how the ventilation and roof control standards could be improved, please respond to the following questions.

    1. What health and safety benefit could result from requiring mine operators to designate a mine management employee, who is a credentialed professional, to be responsible for development and implementation of approved roof control and ventilation plans?

    2. What knowledge, skills, abilities, or licensure would this credentialed professional need in order to develop, implement, and monitor roof control and ventilation plans?

    The following recommendations were made in MSHA's reports to improve the ventilation in underground coal mines:

    • Consider rulemaking to require that the minimum quantity of air be at least 75,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) reaching the working face of each longwall mechanized mining unit (MMU).

    • Establish progressive increases in the minimum quantity of air according to the mine methane liberation rate or the established schedule for spot inspections at 103(i) mines, such as 15, 10, and 5-day spot inspections. A 103(i) mine is a mine that has experienced, within the last 5 years, an ignition or explosion of methane or other gases that resulted in a fatality or in a permanently disabling injury.

    • Consider respirable dust compliance as an additional factor for increasing the intake air quantity approved in the ventilation plan.

    • Consider rulemaking to require the use of equipment doors in lieu of permanent stoppings, or to control ventilation within an air course, subject to approval in the mine ventilation plan.

    • To maintain the separation of air courses, consider rulemaking to require that all equipment doors installed in travelways use an interlock system to ensure that only one door can be opened at a time.

    3. Please comment on the recommendation to increase the minimum quantity of air. What are the advantages, disadvantages, impact on miner health and safety, and costs associated with an increase in the minimum quantity of air for longwall mines? How could this minimum quantity of air be determined and where would it be measured?

    4. What is the most effective way to control methane, oxygen, and respirable dust levels to assure the health and safety of miners?

    5. Please comment on equipment doors: Their use, location, approval, advantages, disadvantages and impact on miner health and safety. Also comment on the use of equipment doors in travelways, including the use of an interlock system. What are the advantages, disadvantages, impact on miner health and safety, and costs of using interlock systems on equipment doors?

    B. Atmospheric Monitoring Systems and New Technology for Remote Monitoring Systems

    Atmospheric Monitoring Systems (AMS) are a reliable method for early detection of fires along belt conveyors and for monitoring several other mine-ventilation-related parameters. Hand-held and machine-mounted gas detectors are used extensively underground, primarily to monitor methane and oxygen concentrations. MSHA is exploring the expanded use of coordinated monitoring systems to monitor methane and carbon monoxide levels, air velocities and directions, pressure differentials, and other parameters at critical locations to help mine operators maintain effective ventilation and diagnose system failures or deficiencies.

    The following recommendations were in the IR report:

    • Modify 30 CFR 75.342(a)(2) to require additional methane sensors to be installed along the longwall face and to be tied into an AMS for the mine. These sensors should be placed along the face at various distances and heights to aid in the detection of methane during normal mining and in the event of a methane inundation. These additional sensor locations should be approved by the District Manager in the mine ventilation plan; and

    • Require an AMS to provide real-time monitoring of methane and carbon monoxide levels and airflow direction, and to record the quality and quantity of air at specific points in the mine. For example, monitor where air reversals are likely to impact the ventilation system, outby loading points, where air courses split, and at certain intervals along the belt.

    6. Continuous remote monitoring systems, such as AMS and tube bundle systems, can be used to detect unexpected ventilation system changes or methane inundations. Please comment, including rationale, on whether and under what circumstances MSHA should require the use of a continuous remote monitoring system. Please include impact on miner health and safety, impact on mining method, and any other related impact. What would be the costs to add monitoring systems or to extend existing systems in mines?

    7. Where should continuous remote monitoring systems be installed in underground coal mines? Please be specific as to locations and provide rationale, including the impact on miner health and safety.

    8. Under what conditions should additional gas monitoring sensors and sensors that measure air velocity and direction be used to monitor the longwall face and its tailgate corner to minimize accumulations of methane, other gases, and dust? Where should these sensors be located?

    9. What are the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of continuously monitoring the underground coal mine environment for accumulations of gases, air velocity, and airflow direction?

    10. How could continuous remote monitoring technology be linked to communication and tracking technology to form an integrated monitoring system? Please explain.

    11. How can integrated monitoring systems be linked to machine-mounted monitors? What are the advantages, disadvantages, impact on miner health and safety, and costs of integrated monitoring systems?

    12. What types of continuous remote monitoring systems can continue to safely operate and function after an explosion, fire, or any other mine accident? How long can such systems operate after an explosion or fire, since power is likely to be deenergized due to the emergency? What can be done to improve the survivability and reliability of continuous remote monitoring systems after an explosion or fire?

    13. What types of technologies exist to remotely determine methane-air mixtures and other gas, dust, and fume levels in bleeders and bleederless ventilation systems, other than traditional AMS and tube-bundle systems? Please be specific and note if this technology is practical and feasible.

    14. MSHA is aware that fiber optic systems are being developed that would transmit data to a central location on the surface of the mine. Please provide system capabilities, specifications, and cost information on these systems, as well as any other relevant technologies.

    15. If fiber optic technology is capable of operation when electrical power is deenergized underground, how long can such systems remain operable after power is deenergized? What is the maximum distance such technology is capable of transmitting data to the mine surface?

    16. Please describe how fiber optic technology can be used in areas of the mine that require the use of permissible or intrinsically safe equipment.

    C. Rock Dust

    Mine operators are required to use rock dust that meets the definition of rock dust in 30 CFR 75.2. This standard specifies that rock dust material be pulverized limestone, dolomite, gypsum, anhydrite, shale, adobe, or other inert material, preferably light colored. In addition, 100 percent of the particles must pass through a sieve having 20 meshes per linear inch and 70 percent or more must pass through a sieve having 200 meshes per linear inch. The definition specifies that rock dust particles, when wetted and dried, will not cohere to form a cake that is not dispersed into separate particles by a light blast of air. In addition, the definition specifies that rock dust must not contain more than 5 percent combustible matter or more than a total of 4 percent free and combined silica or, where the Secretary finds that such silica concentrations are not available, must not contain more than 5 percent of free and combined silica.

    MSHA has worked cooperatively with NIOSH on rock dust research and on the development and field testing of the CDEM. NIOSH completed development of the CDEM and field-tested it with MSHA's assistance beginning in December 2009. NIOSH researchers published a report, titled “MSHA CDEM Survey and Results,” that summarized the results of this CDEM field study (Harris et al., 2011). MSHA inspectors used the NIOSH-developed prototype CDEM in conjunction with routine dust compliance surveys (conducted under 30 CFR 75.403) to collect the data shown in the report. MSHA inspectors also collected rock dust samples as part of the CDEM field study.

    NIOSH analyzed the rock dust samples and reported in Hazard ID 16—Non-Conforming Rock Dust (October 2011), that the investigation of rock dust revealed two significant concerns with the supply of rock dust used in U.S. mines: Insufficient quantity of particles finer than 200 mesh (75 μm) and the tendency of rock dust to form a cake when wetted and subsequently dried.

    MSHA issued PIB No. P11-50 on October 27, 2011, titled “Rock Dust Composition, 30 CFR 75.2” that reiterated information contained in NIOSH Hazard ID 16 (October 2011). MSHA stated in PIB No. P11-50 that the particle size issue and the caking issue indicate a possible lack of product quality control.

    To assist MSHA in making determinations with respect to rock dust, please respond to the following questions.

    17. What specific tests should be performed to monitor the quality of rock dust to assure that the rock dust will effectively suppress an explosion in the mine environment?

    18. What materials produce the most effective rock dust?

    19. What are the advantages, disadvantages, impact on miner health and safety, and costs of limiting rock dust to light-colored inert materials, such as limestone and dolomite?

    20. Please provide information on the types of impurities that could degrade rock dust performance. What tests or methods can be used to detect the presence of impurities?

    21. What particle size distribution for rock dust would most effectively inert coal dust? What should be the maximum particle size? What should be the minimum particle size? Please explain and provide the rationale for your answer.

    22. Determination of fine particle size of rock dust by sieving may be complicated by static agglomeration. What test methods should be used to measure the size distribution of rock dust to ensure consistent quality? What are the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of these test methods?

    23. How can the potential of rock dust to cake be minimized? Are objective and practical tests available to determine the caking potential of rock dust? If so, please explain and provide documentation.

    24. Please provide information on how fine particles (less than 10 μm) may increase the likelihood of caking in rock dust.

    25. Can rock dust be treated with additives that would reduce caking? Would the additive enhance or diminish the ability of the rock dust particles to quench a coal dust explosion and, therefore, impact the effectiveness of the rock dust to inert coal dust? Please provide information on the chemical composition of any suggested additives, the quantities needed, costs, and potential impact on miner health and safety. If available, what areas of an underground coal mine would need to be treated with non-caking rock dust? Please explain and provide the rationale for your answer.

    26. Applied rock dust must be dispersible to inert an explosion. What in-mine tests can be used to determine the caking resistance (i.e., dispersibility) of applied rock dust?

    27. How does combustible material degrade the performance of rock dust? How should MSHA modify the existing specification in the definition of rock dust? Please explain and provide documentation.

    28. How should MSHA modify the existing requirement for free and combined silica in the definition of rock dust? Please explain and provide documentation.

    29. How can the respirable particle size fraction of rock dust, i.e., less than 10 μm, be limited, while maintaining the effectiveness of the dust to suppress the propagation of a coal dust explosion? Please explain.

    D. Surface Moisture and Total Incombustible Content

    The IR report recommended that MSHA amend existing standards to exclude surface moisture from the determination of TIC. (See 30 CFR 75.403 and 75.403-1). In addition, Harris et al. (2010) recommended that surface moisture be excluded from the measurement of TIC due to the potential variability in moisture content of the combined coal dust, rock dust, and other dust within a mine.

    30. What are the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of excluding surface moisture from the definition of TIC?

    E. Operator Experiences With the Coal Dust Explosibility Meter (CDEM), Cleanup Program, and Rock Dusting

    MSHA has worked cooperatively with NIOSH on the development and field testing of the CDEM. NIOSH completed development of the CDEM and field-tested it with MSHA's assistance beginning in December 2009. NIOSH researchers published a report, titled “MSHA CDEM Survey and Results,” that summarized the results of this CDEM field study (Harris et al., 2011). MSHA inspectors used the NIOSH-developed prototype CDEM in conjunction with routine dust compliance surveys (conducted under 30 CFR 75.403) to collect the data shown in the report.

    MSHA stated in the final rule on “Maintenance of Incombustible Content of Rock Dust in Underground Coal Mines,” published on June 21, 2011 (76 FR 35968, at 35972), that—

    . . . [t]he CDEM is intended to be used by mine operators and MSHA as a screening tool inside the mine to assess the explosion hazard potential in real time and take prudent actions to mitigate the hazard. The CDEM is not intended to replace the current MSHA laboratory analysis of coal mine dust samples for incombustible content, but to serve as a supplemental device for enhancing mine safety through improved rock dusting practices.

    In addition, the IR report recommended that MSHA should consider rulemaking to require mine operators to regularly determine the adequacy of rock dusting using a method approved by the Secretary. The IR report stated that this could be achieved by requiring mine operators to sample mine dust for analysis or conduct CDEM testing at sufficient locations and intervals to determine if any area of the mine needs re-dusting. The IR report further recommended that the rule should consider requirements for certification, recordkeeping (including a map of sample locations), and corrective actions similar to examination standards.

    In light of this recommendation, MSHA requests the following information from mine operators:

    31. What experience do you have with CDEMs, including use, maintenance, calibration, and costs? Based on your experience, how can CDEMs be used to help prevent coal dust explosions? What benefits have you experienced? What limitations have you encountered?

    32. To what extent are mine operators using other methods to assess explosibility (i.e., laboratory TIC or volumeter testing)? How long does it take to get results from these test methods?

    33. What are the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of these methods? What are the benefits and limitations of each of these methods?

    34. How often should mine operators test for explosibility? Where should mine operators test for explosibility in mines?

    35. How should mine operators assess their rock dust applications?

    36. What records should mine operators be required to retain to verify that they have tested for explosibility?

    The IR report also recommended that MSHA consider rulemaking to revise 30 CFR 75.402 to require the use of:

    • High-pressure rock-dusting machines to continuously apply rock dust into the air stream at the tailgate end of the longwall face whenever cutting coal; and

    • Rock-dusting machines to regularly apply rock dust at the outby edges of active pillar lines on retreating continuous mining machine sections and at approaches to inaccessible areas downwind of coal dust generating sources.

    In light of these recommendations, MSHA requests the following information from mine operators:

    37. In what additional areas of underground coal mines should the operator apply rock dust continuously or regularly?

    38. What conditions necessitate the reapplication of rock dust to previously treated areas?

    F. Active and Passive Explosion Barriers Used To Suppress the Propagation of a Coal Dust Explosion

    The IP Assessment recommended that MSHA determine the relative merits of applying passive or active explosion barriers in specific circumstances. Explosion barriers remove heat from an explosion by engulfing the area of the barrier in an incombustible cloud of inert material like rock dust or water. These barriers are not used in underground coal mines in the United States. However, other countries allow the use of explosion barriers in underground coal mines.

    These explosion barriers are designed to be activated by the pressure wave in front of a coal dust explosion. The barriers flood the area with either water or rock dust which renders any suspended coal dust inert (Cain 2003). Passive barriers quench coal dust explosions when the explosion shock wave traveling in advance of the explosion flame disturbs the barrier. Active barriers contain sensors that detect the approach of the flame and trigger a positive pressure system to flood the area with water or rock dust to quench the flame (Cain 2003).

    39. What types of active or passive explosion barriers could be used and where could they be used in underground coal mines? How does the movement of equipment and personnel affect the effectiveness of explosion barriers to quench a coal dust explosion?

    40. What are the advantages, disadvantages, impact on miner health and safety, and costs of installing and maintaining active and passive explosion barriers?

    G. Certification, Recertification, and Decertification of Persons Certified To Conduct Mine Examinations in Underground Coal Mines

    MSHA's standards at 30 CFR 75.360, 75.361, 75.362, and 75.364 require that preshift, on-shift, supplemental, and weekly examinations be performed by persons who have been certified by MSHA or a State. A certified person, defined in 30 CFR 75.2 and addressed in 30 CFR 75.100, is a person who has been certified as a mine foreman (mine manager), an assistant mine foreman (section foreman), or a preshift examiner (mine examiner). Under 30 CFR 75.100, a person can become certified through an MSHA-administered program or a State-administered program. A person must satisfy the criteria specified in 30 CFR 75.100 to obtain an MSHA certification.

    Most State certifications are conditional on age and mining experience, specified training, and an examination. The criteria for certification and the types of certification, however, vary across States. The IR report recommended that MSHA supplement the recent rulemaking on Examinations of Work Areas in Underground Coal Mines, published on April 6, 2012 (77 FR 20700), as follows:

    . . . to require federal certification requirements, procedures, and time limits for re-certification of certified persons (including mine superintendents). . . . [and] provide procedures and criteria for the revocation of certifications (decertification of certified persons) for certain violations, including knowing and willful violations, advance notice of inspections, making any false statement, and smoking or carrying smoking materials.

    In response to these recommendations, MSHA is considering changing existing certification criteria and establishing criteria and procedures for renewal, decertification, and recertification of persons certified under 30 CFR 75.100 to conduct mine examinations in underground coal mines.

    If your State administers a program to certify persons to conduct mine examinations in underground coal mines, please respond to the following questions:

    41. What criteria and procedures does the State use for certifying persons to perform mine examinations?

    42. If the State requires that certified persons renew their certifications, what procedures are used for a renewal of a certification? Does the State recognize or accept other State certifications? Please provide examples.

    43. If the State also has a decertification program, what criteria and procedures are used to suspend or decertify a person's certification? What procedures are used to recertify a person after a suspension or decertification?

    44. How does the State notify mine operators and other States that it has decertified or recertified a person to conduct mine examinations? What types of actions are taken by other States based on your State's decertification?

    In addition, MSHA requests the following information:

    45. What criteria should a miner meet to be a certified person to conduct mine examinations under 30 CFR 75.100, e.g., minimum age, years of experience, education, knowledge, training, and other skills?

    46. What criteria and procedures would you recommend for the suspension or decertification (revocation) of a person's certification? What criteria and procedures would you recommend for recertification? Please, include time frames for recertification.

    47. What are the advantages, disadvantages, and administrative costs of having uniform criteria and procedures for the certification, decertification, and recertification of persons to conduct mine examinations in underground coal mines?

    III. Request for Information

    Please provide any other data or information that you think would be useful to MSHA in evaluating the effectiveness of its regulations and standards as they relate to the recommendations included in the IR and AI reports and those contained in the IP Assessment report.

    List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 75

    Coal mines, Mine safety and health, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Safety, Underground mining.

    Authority:

    30 U.S.C. 811.

    Dated: February 23, 2015. Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03982 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-43-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2010-0611; FRL 9923-23-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas; Revision to Control of Air Pollution From Volatile Organic Compounds; Alternative Leak Detection and Repair Work Practice AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision for control of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from fugitive sources that was submitted to EPA on July 2, 2010. The SIP revision allows for a voluntary alternative work practice to detect fugitive emission leaks using optical gas imaging instruments under the EPA federal Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) requirements. The EPA adopted through rulemaking the use of this voluntary alternative work practice for federal leak detection and repair of fugitive emissions sources. EPA has evaluated the SIP revision and determined that it is consistent with the federal LDAR regulations. EPA is approving this action under Section 110 of the Clean Air Act.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be received on or before March 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be mailed to Mr. Guy Donaldson, Chief, Air Planning Section (6PD-L), Environmental Protection Agency, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733. Comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Huser, (214) 665-7347, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the final rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State's SIP submittal as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time.

    For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: February 9, 2015. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03587 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 62 [EPA-R05-OAR-2009-0554; FRL-9923-34-Region 5] Approval of Other Solid Waste Incinerator Units State Plan for Designated Facilities and Pollutants: Indiana AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve, through direct final procedure, Indiana's State Plan to control air pollutants from “Other Solid Waste Incineration” (OSWI) Units. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management submitted the State Plan on November 27, 2007, following the required public process. The State Plan is consistent with Emission Guidelines promulgated by EPA on December 16, 2005. This approval means that EPA finds that the State Plan meets applicable Clean Air Act requirements for OSWI units for which construction commenced on or before December 4, 2004. Once effective, this approval also makes the State Plan Federally enforceable.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2009-0554, by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: nash.carlton @epa.gov.

    Fax: (312) 692-2543.

    Mail: Carlton T. Nash, Chief, Integrated Air Toxics Section, Air Toxics and Assessment Branch (AT-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

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

    Please see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register for detailed instructions on how to submit comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Rules section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving the State Plan as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this rule, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: February 12, 2015. Bharat Mathur, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2015-03790 Filed 2-25-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 73 [MB Docket No. 07-294, MD Docket. No. 10-234; FCC 15-19] Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) proposes improvements to the collection of data reported on FCC Form 323, Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations, and also to FCC Form 323-E, Ownership Report for Non Commercial Broadcast Stations, through the development of a new functionality in the Commission's Registration System (CORES) for issuing FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs). Specifically the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to create a new mechanism for an individual to obtain an FRN that is usable only for broadcast ownership reporting purposes through CORES.

    DATES:

    The Commission must receive written comments on or before March 30, 2015 and reply comments on or before April 13, 2015. Written comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act proposed information collection requirements must be submitted by the public, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other interested parties on or before April 27, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No 07-294 and/or MD Docket No 10-234, by any of the following methods:

    Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jake Riehm, Industry Analysis Division, Media Bureau, FCC, (202) 418-2330. For additional information concerning the PRA proposed information collection requirements contained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918, or via the Internet at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Seventh Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second FNPRM and Seventh FNPRM) in MB Docket Nos. 07-294 and 10-234; FCC 15-19, adopted February 11, 2015, and released February 12, 2015. The complete text of this document is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    Summary I. Introduction

    1. The Commission has a long-standing goal of promoting ownership diversity in broadcast stations to ensure that diverse viewpoints and perspectives are available to the American people in the content they receive over the broadcast airwaves. In pursuit of this goal, the Commission has a long history of promulgating rules and regulations designed to foster diversity in terms of minority and female ownership. A necessary foundation for the Commission's rulemaking efforts is the collection of comprehensive, reliable data reflecting the race, gender, and ethnicity of the owners and other interest holders in broadcast stations. Such data are essential to study and analyze ownership trends effectively, to assess the impact of Commission rules, and to determine whether rule changes would be in the public interest. To be useful for these purposes, to the greatest extent possible the data must be capable of being read, verified, searched, aggregated, and cross-referenced electronically.

    2. As a part of these efforts, the Commission herein proposes improvements to the collection of data reported on FCC Form 323, Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Stations, and also to FCC Form 323-E, Ownership Report for Noncommercial Broadcast Stations, through the development of a new functionality in the Commission's Registration System (CORES) for issuing FCC Registration Numbers (FRNs). Specifically, we seek comment on a proposal to create a new mechanism for obtaining an FRN through CORES. Use of this FRN would be restricted to the reporting of individual attributable interest holders in commercial and noncommercial broadcast stations on ownership reports. This “Restricted Use” FRN (RUFRN) would be supported by identifying information for attributable individuals that does not include full Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and that would be housed securely on the Commission's servers and not made available to the public. This proposal is intended to address some of the privacy and data security concerns that commenters raised with respect to prior proposals while still enabling the Commission to uniquely identify reported individuals, obtain data reflecting a more useful, accurate, and thorough assessment of minority and female broadcast station ownership in the United States and reduce certain filing burdens. Ultimately, such changes to the Commission's system could assist future initiatives promoting diverse ownership.

    II. Background

    3. The Commission is engaged in ongoing efforts to improve the quality, utility, and reliability of its broadcast ownership data. As part of this endeavor, in 2009 the Commission substantially revised Form 323. The changes to the filing requirements and the modifications to the form were intended to facilitate long-term comparative studies of broadcast station ownership and to address flaws in the data collection process identified by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and by researchers. “To further improve the ability of researchers and other users of the data to cross-reference information and construct ownership structures,” filers were required to provide a CORES FRN for all reported interest holders.1 To obtain a CORES FRN, with some limited exceptions, a party must submit a Tax Identification Number (TIN) to the Commission via CORES. In the case of an individual, a TIN is his or her SSN. Because a CORES FRN is backed by a TIN/SSN, it can serve as a unique identifier in most instances, which is crucial to the quality and utility of the Commission's broadcast ownership data and the ability of the Commission and outside parties to search, aggregate, and cross-reference that data electronically.

    1See generally 323 Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 5903 para. 12. See Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, 74 FR 56135, Oct. 30, 2009; Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, 74 FR 56136, Oct. 30, 2009 (Federal Register notices announcing OMB approval and effective date of revised Form 323). On October 16, 2009, the Commission sent a subsequent letter to OMB acknowledging the Commission's action in the 323 Order to eliminate the reporting of certain nonattributable interest holders. Letter from Walter Boswell, Acting Assoc. Managing Director, PERM, OMD, FCC, to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB (Oct. 16, 2009).

    4. OMB Review and Approval of 2009 Form 323. On August 11, 2009, the Commission submitted the revised Form 323, which included the CORES FRN requirement, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requirements and published the Federal Register notice initiating a 60-day comment period.2 Many of the comments to OMB objected to having to report CORES FRNs for individuals holding attributable interests, arguing that in order to obtain a CORES FRN for these individuals, they would need to provide SSNs to the Commission, a requirement that they claimed triggers privacy, data security, and identity theft concerns. Commenters also suggested that obtaining and reporting CORES FRNs for these individuals would be onerous for filers, and that in some cases, filers might be unable to obtain a CORES FRN for all individual attributable interest holders because the individuals are unwilling either to obtain the FRN themselves or provide their SSN to the filer for the purpose of obtaining an FRN. Additionally, commenters criticized the Commission for failing to seek comment on requiring these individuals to obtain CORES FRNs prior to including this requirement on the revised form submitted for OMB approval.

    2Public Information Collection Requirement Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval, Comments Requested, MB Docket No. 07-294, 74 FR 40188, Aug. 11, 2009.

    5. On October 6, 2009, the Office of the Managing Director (OMD) at the Commission submitted a letter to OMB addressing the comments filed in response to the revised Form 323. OMD explained that requiring CORES FRNs on Form 323 is an integral part of the Commission's effort to “improve the quality, reliability, and usability of the collected data by eliminating inconsistencies and inadequacies in the data submitted.” Noting that the CORES FRN is a key tool for ensuring that ownership data is matched to specific owners, OMD explained that, without the CORES FRNs, it would be unable to accurately determine an interest holder's identity when variations of a single name or other spelling irregularities appear from form to form. The Reply Letter also responded to comments that the Commission erred in concluding that the revised Form 323 did not implicate the Privacy Act. OMD stated that because sole proprietors, officers, and directors are acting in an entrepreneurial role with respect to broadcast stations, these persons are not individuals for purposes of the Privacy Act. OMD added that, to the extent that the revisions raise any privacy concerns, the Commission created a Privacy Act System of Records (SORN) for Form 323 that would address them.3 The Reply Letter also rejected allegations that the Commission failed to comply with the notice requirements of the PRA. OMD also disputed commenters' objections that the CORES FRN requirement raised security and identity theft concerns. OMD noted that “none of the commenters identify a single instance of a security breach” of the CORES system. The Commission utilizes a “robust security architecture . . . for CORES that exceeds Federal guidelines and recommendations” and has deployed operational controls that comply with National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance. OMD stated that its servers are securely located, that its databases are behind several firewalls, and that all servers and communications are monitored. The Reply Letter also notes that administrative access to the CORES application is limited and that all transmission of non-public data is encrypted.

    3Id. at 7-8. The Commission issued a System of Records Notice to cover the data contained in responses to Form 323 that became effective on December 21, 2009. Privacy Act System of Records, 74 FR 59978, Nov. 19, 2009 (system of records FCC/MB-1).

    6. On October 19, 2009, OMB approved the revised Form 323, including the requirement that filers provide a CORES FRN for all individuals and entities holding an attributable interest in the licensee.4 After several delayed filing deadlines, the Commission set July 8, 2010 as the first biennial filing deadline using the revised Form 323. In response to industry concerns about filers' ability to obtain CORES FRNs for all individual interest holders due to individuals' concerns about privacy, security, and identity theft, the Media Bureau allowed filers, as an interim measure, to obtain a “Special Use” FRN (SUFRN) for one or more reported individuals in lieu of obtaining a CORES FRN. When clicking a button on the electronic version of Form 323 to generate a SUFRN, filers were advised via a pop-up box that “[i]f, after using diligent and good-faith efforts” a filer is unable to obtain a social security number from an individual that must be reported on Form 323 in order to generate a CORES FRN, the filer may elect to automatically generate in the electronic Form 323 a SUFRN for that individual. The respondents were also informed that those who use a SUFRN on Form 323 would be deemed to be fully compliant with the filing obligations and the lack of a CORES FRN would not subject a filer to enforcement action. An individual does not submit an SSN, or any other identifying information, to the Commission when he or she generates a SUFRN, and SUFRNs are not stored within CORES. Each individual must obtain only one SUFRN and must use it consistently on all broadcast ownership reports. Filers submitted reports on the revised version of Form 323 during the 2009, 2011, and 2013 biennial filing periods, and SUFRNs were available to filers during all three biennial filing rounds.

    4See Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, 74 FR 56135, Oct. 30, 2009; Promoting Diversification of Ownership in the Broadcasting Services, 74 FR 56136, Oct. 30, 2009 (Federal Register notices announcing OMB approval and effective date of revised Form 323). On October 16, 2009, the Commission sent a subsequent letter to OMB acknowledging the Commission's action in the 323 MO&O to eliminate the reporting of certain nonattributable interest holders. Letter from Walter Boswell, Acting Assoc. Managing Director, PERM, OMD, FCC, to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB (Oct. 16, 2009).

    7. Quality of Data in Form 323 Biennial Reports. In July 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as part of its review of the Commission's media ownership rules, vacated and remanded certain aspects of the Diversity Order; an Order in which the Commission adopted measures intended to promote minority and female ownership of broadcast stations. The Third Circuit concluded that the Commission's decision to adopt a revenue-based eligible entity definition to facilitate ownership diversity was arbitrary and capricious because the Commission did not show how determining eligibility for particular programs and preferences based on such a definition specifically would assist minorities and women, who were among the intended beneficiaries of the action. The court also remanded each of the measures adopted in the Diversity Order that relied on the eligible entity definition. The court found that the eligible entity definition was not supported by “data attempting to show a connection between the definition chosen and the goal of the measures adopted—increasing ownership of minorities and women,” stressing that regulations seeking to increase ownership by women and minorities must be based upon reliable data. The court stated that, “[a]t a minimum, in adopting or modifying its rules, the FCC must `examine the relevant data and articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action[,] including a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made.' ” The court also made plain that “[i]f the Commission requires more and better data . . . it must get the data.” The court stated that the actions taken in the 323 Order and Fourth Diversity Further Notice to reliably analyze minority and female ownership “will, however, lay necessary groundwork for the Commission's actions remand.”

    8. On November 14, 2012, the Media Bureau released the first electronic analysis of commercial broadcast ownership data submitted pursuant to the revised biennial reporting requirements for 2009 and 2011 (2012 323 Report). On June 27, 2014, the Bureau released a similar, second report for 2013 ownership data (2014 323 Report). The data contained in these reports are “snapshots” of the status of minority and female ownership of commercial television, radio, Class A television, and LPTV stations and represent the first three of a planned series of biennial “snapshots” that can be used for trend analysis. Preparation of the reports revealed continued difficulties with, and errors within, the Commission's broadcast ownership data. Many commercial broadcast stations submitted reports with apparently inaccurate or insufficient data to permit electronic calculation of voting interests. Commission staff required numerous broadcasters to correct errors contained in their biennial Form 323 filings via amendments, which allowed stations covered by those reports to be properly categorized for the report. In addition, Commission staff manually analyzed a large number of ownership reports, together with other available information, in order to assign certain stations to the appropriate categories manually for purposes of the report. As the 2012 323 Report stated, many data problems stemmed, in part, from the “complexity of the information required to accurately file” Form 323.

    9. The Media Bureau's Consolidated Database System (CDBS) reflects that for each filing round, more than one quarter of the unique FRNs provided for individuals were SUFRN. Further, a combined analysis of the 2009, 2011, and 2013 filing rounds shows that more than 30 percent of the total unique FRNs reported were SUFRNs and the rate at which filers obtained and reported new SUFRNs for individuals was higher than the rate at which they obtained and reported new CORES FRNS. In addition, it appears that single SUFRNs have been used for multiple individuals and that single individuals have used multiple SUFRNs despite Bureau guidance to the contrary. Because it is possible for filers to improperly report SUFRNs for individuals—either by reporting multiple SUFRNs for a single individual on multiple reports or using the same SUFRN for multiple individuals on multiple reports—the number of unique SUFRNs reported during a given filing period cannot be relied on to determine accurately the number of individuals using a Special Use FRN. The Media Bureau therefore cannot confidently determine the number of individuals reporting a SUFRN.

    10. On December 3, 2012, the Commission issued a Public Notice in the 2010 Quadrennial Regulatory Review proceeding offering parties the opportunity to comment on the 2012 323 Report (2012 323 Report PN). The notice broadly sought “additional comment on data contained in [the 2012 323 Report],” specifically referencing the Commission's efforts “to improve its collection and analysis of broadcast ownership information” and make “improvements to the reliability and utility of the data reported in FCC Form 323.” Some commenters expressed concern that the Commission's incomplete and inaccurate ownership data render it difficult to track broadcast ownership trends from 2009 and 2011 accurately. One commenter suggested that the manner in which the Commission currently provides broadcast ownership data from Form 323 to the public does not meet the objective that such data be capable of being electronically searched, aggregated, or cross-referenced.

    11. On June 27, 2014, the Commission solicited comment concerning the 2014 323 Report as part of its 2014 Quadrennial Review Proceeding. In response, commenters acknowledged that the Commission has taken steps to improve the quality of its broadcast ownership data. Nonetheless, some parties suggested that the Commission should do more to make its broadcast ownership data easier to use, search, aggregate, and cross-reference electronically, for the benefit of studies and analysis. Some commenters supported elimination of the use of SUFRNs to ensure accuracy, reliability, and usefulness of the data.

    12. Proposals Related to Noncommercial Broadcast Stations. The Commission has put forth several proposals that remain pending to improve the broadcast ownership reports focused on making the data more comprehensive, reliable, and less burdensome to collect. For instance, the Fourth Diversity Further Notice, which accompanied the 323 Order, generally sought comment on whether to adopt the same or similar modifications for Form 323-E for noncommercial stations (NCEs) as the 323 Order imposed for commercial stations. The Notice specifically sought comment on the proper definition of “ownership” in the NCE context, asking whether looking at the composition of the board of directors or other governing body of an NCE station would be appropriate for determining “ownership” for Form 323-E purposes. Several commenters support this approach, noting, for example, that board members have legally cognizable duties to the licensees they serve and often are involved in station operations and hiring decisions, have final authority over NCE licensees, and are responsible to the local communities they serve. This approach is consistent with the Commission's attribution standards, which attribute ownership interests to officers and directors of NCE stations. Other commenters argue that dissimilarities between the governance of commercial and NCE stations preclude any definition of “ownership” in the NCE context. These parties note that board members do not have equity stakes in the stations they serve; are often governmental officials, governmental appointees, individuals elected by station members, or volunteers; and often are not involved in day-to-day station operations. The Fourth Diversity Further Notice also asked for input concerning the burden of providing race and gender information on Form 323-E. Several commenters argue that requiring the collection and reporting of such information would be unduly burdensome and might discourage board participation. Other commenters argue that the collection of such information is minimally burdensome and agree that such information is necessary to construct a complete picture of minority and female participation in broadcasting.

    13. On January 3, 2013, the Commission released its Sixth Diversity Further Notice. It specifically proposed extending the CORES FRN requirement to all listed interest holders on Form 323-E if the filing modifications proposed in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are implemented. The Sixth Diversity Further Notice tentatively concluded that obtaining and reporting a CORES FRN for individuals identified on Form 323-E is not burdensome and sought comment. Some commenters believe that the public interest benefits associated with compiling comprehensive data on this segment of the broadcast industry outweigh any burdens associated with such a plan. Several commenters argue that the requirement would be unduly burdensome for NCEs and that it would discourage people from serving on the boards of NCE stations. Parties also state that licensees may have difficulty obtaining SSNs from board members, some of whom are appointed governmental officials. In addition, certain commenters suggest that a CORES FRN is insufficient as a unique identifier because, for example, (1) multiple FRNs can be obtained for a single TIN/SSN, (2) an individual can in certain circumstances obtain a CORES FRN without providing an SSN, (3) an individual may provide an incorrect SSN, either intentionally or inadvertently, and (4) researchers outside the Commission do not have access to the TIN information in CORES to permit them to use it as an underlying unique identifier. Citing the Privacy Act, multiple commenters object to a requirement that noncommercial attributable interest holders obtain a CORES FRN for Form 323-E filings because it requires submission of an SSN.

    14. Use of CORES FRNs Versus Use of SUFRNs. The Sixth Diversity Further Notice also sought comment on the Commission's requirement that commercial entities filing Form 323 provide a CORES FRN for attributable interest holders. The Commission tentatively affirmed its prior determination that the use of CORES FRNs was crucial to unique identification on Form 323 and that such unique identification is essential to providing the kind of searchable and manipulable database needed to support accurate and reliable studies of ownership trends. It tentatively concluded that the reporting of CORES FRNs on Form 323 was superior to the reporting of SUFRNs and proposed eliminating the availability of SUFRNs. The Commission reasoned that SUFRNs do not provide a reliable means of linking a reported interest holder to a unique individual and the continued use of the SUFRN undermines the Commission's efforts to “accurately ascertain the nature and extent of minority and female ownership of broadcast properties.” Acknowledging that the Third Circuit in Prometheus II highlighted the importance of reliable data to support rulemaking initiatives, the Sixth Diversity Further Notice asked for comments on the importance of the CORES FRN as a unique identifier for quality, cross-referencing, and searchability purposes. The Commission also asked whether it should continue to permit filers to use the SUFRN in the event that reportable individuals are unwilling to provide their SSN to a third party or unwilling to obtain and provide a CORES FRN. The Commission encouraged commenters to offer alternative proposals to the SUFRN. The Commission also invited comment on its tentative conclusion that the Privacy Act does not prohibit adoption of the CORES FRN proposal and asked commenters to discuss the degree of the risk to privacy the proposal poses.5

    5Sixth Diversity Further Notice, 28 FCC Rcd at 472, para. 18. The Commission also noted that it has already adopted a Privacy Act System of Records for CORES and with respect to the Form 323 requirement, which applies to any personally identifiable information required by Form 323 and CORES in connection with the CORES FRN registration process. Id.; see also Reply Letter at 7-8; Privacy Act System of Records, 74 FR 59978, Nov. 19, 2009 (system of records FCC/MB-1 for Form 323); Privacy Act System of Records, 71 FR 17234, Apr. 5, 2006 (system of records FCC/OMD-9 for CORES). These System of Records Notices (“SORNS”) can be viewed at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/privacy-act-information#systems (visited Dec. 15, 2014).

    15. In response to the Sixth Diversity Further Notice, some commenters support the Commission's proposal to eliminate the SUFRN, arguing that requiring CORES FRNs “is a necessary step” to compiling complete and searchable data. These commenters also suggest that the availability of the SUFRN contributed to the instances of incomplete data that prevented the Media Bureau from identifying ownership interests in some stations that submitted biennial ownership reports during the 2009 and 2011 reporting periods. No commenters offered any alternative to the CORES FRN other than the SUFRN, and no commenters seriously contend that the SUFRN provides similar data quality as CORES FRNs. Instead, some commenters argue that even a CORES FRN cannot serve as a unique identifier because, for instance, the CORES system allows filers to obtain multiple FRNs and because outside researchers do not have access to the underlying TIN as a unique identifier. Also, while some commenters support the Commission's conclusion that a unique identifier is essential to allow analysis of the data, other commenters dispute that position.

    16. The Sixth Diversity Further Notice also sought input concerning proposed modifications to Form 323 designed to reduce filing burdens in the Commission's Review of Media Bureau Data Practices proceeding. For instance, the Commission sought comment on an NAB suggestion to eliminate a requirement that a filer disclose the other attributable newspaper and broadcast interests of attributable parties listed in the filing, arguing that portion of the submission is particularly burdensome. In comments, NAB reiterates its support and no commenters oppose it.

    17. In December 2010, the Commission initiated a rulemaking proceeding in which it proposed to update CORES in an effort to enhance the Commission's data collection efforts and to improve customer interface with CORES.6 The Commission noted that, “[s]ince the creation of CORES, entities have been able to obtain multiple FRNs in order to permit different members of their corporate family to obtain their own individual FRNs, regardless of whether those entities have different taxpayer identification numbers. . . .” The CORES Notice also stated that the Commission has had difficulty using CORES to identify all FRNs held by the same entity when entities have provided inconsistent TINs. To address these issues, the CORES Notice sought comment on two proposals for requiring entities and individuals to rely primarily upon a single CORES FRN. Under Option 1, an entity would be required to use a single ten-digit FRN for all of its dealings with the FCC, but would have the ability to create an unlimited number of sub-accounts that could be assigned to organizational units, such as a geographic district served by the entity or a distinct line of business conducted by the entity, or even to particular employees. Option 2 would enable entities that currently hold multiple FRNs to retain all of their various FRNs, which would be electronically linked to each other within the Commission's database through the assignment of an identical prefix that would precede each of the entity's ten-digit FRNs. Commenters generally support Option 2 as a mechanism for limiting parties' use of multiple CORES FRNs.

    6See generally CORES Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 17401, para. 1. The CORES Notice was published in the Federal Register on February 11, 2011. See Amendment of Part 1 of the Commission's Rules, Concerning Practice and Procedure, Amendment of CORES Registration System; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MD Docket No. 10-234, FCC 10-192, 76 FR 5652, February 1, 2011. Comments and Reply Comments were due on March 3, 2011 and March 18, 2011, respectively. See id.

    III. Discussion

    18. We propose implementing an RUFRN for use on Form 323 filings. We tentatively conclude that this proposal will provide reasonable assurance of unique identification of individuals within our broadcast ownership report database, which is critical to the improvement of the Commission's data gathering practices. We also tentatively conclude that RUFRNs provide superior data quality to SUFRNs and could enable the Commission to implement a burden-reducing form modification. We next consider ways in which the RUFRN proposal is consistent with other Commission data gathering and policy initiatives. Thereafter we propose to apply RUFRNs to NCE filings if additional Commission action is undertaken with respect to broadcast ownership reporting in the NCE industry segment. We believe that the quality of the Commission's security systems and the Privacy Act are not a barrier to the system proposed. In addition, we tentatively conclude that the RUFRN proposal is not burdensome. We ask for comment on whether SUFRNs should remain available in the case of recalcitrant individuals. We seek comment on the costs and benefits of all the proposals contained herein and any alternatives commenters propose.

    19. RUFRNs Support the Commission's Data Gathering and Policy Making Initiatives. We continue to believe, as described below, that the Commission must be able to identify parties reported on broadcast ownership reports uniquely for purposes of creating reliable and usable data in support of policy initiatives promoting diverse ownership. Our RUFRN proposal is important to the Commission's ongoing mission to improve, streamline, and modernize the way it collects and uses data. We wish, however, to balance these Commission objectives against the privacy, data security, and identity theft concerns of individuals with attributable interests in broadcast stations. The Commission is particularly sensitive to concerns that have been expressed in the existing record in the Diversity proceeding concerning the proposal that individual attributable interest holders of broadcast stations provide an SSN to the Commission for purposes of broadcast ownership reporting.

    20. Accordingly, we propose to establish an alternative mechanism within CORES to identify individuals uniquely that does not require submission of a full SSN to the Commission. This method would allow an individual to obtain an RUFRN from CORES by submitting an alternate set of identifying information—including full name, residential address, date of birth, and last four digits of the individual's SSN. The CORES system will be programmed to verify that the submitted information is complete and does not duplicate any information that is already associated with an RUFRN in CORES. We also propose that when an applicant obtains an RUFRN the individual will be asked to list all CORES FRNs registered to the individual and all SUFRNs that individual previously used in any broadcast ownership report filings since the 2009 biennial reporting cycle. We tentatively conclude that such disclosures will allow the Commission to identify CORES FRNs, RUFRNs, and SUFRNs that identify the same individual, promoting the usefulness of the broadcast ownership data for purposes of electronic searching, aggregating, and cross-referencing and for trend analysis. Once an RUFRN is issued, we propose that any ownership report filing that lists that specific individual would be required to include that RUFRN. We propose that attributable interest holders would not be required to obtain or use an RUFRN for Form 323 (or Form 323-E if the filing obligations proposed in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are extended to NCEs) and could instead opt to use a CORES FRN. Like SUFRNs, we propose that RUFRNs would be usable only on broadcast ownership reporting forms and only for individuals (not entities) reported as attributable interest holders. We seek comment on these proposals and tentative conclusions and on the costs and benefits of using an RUFRN as described herein for broadcast ownership reporting purposes.

    21. The Commission has previously recognized that Sections 257 of the 1996 Act and 309(j) of the Act support its efforts to gather the ownership data contained in Form 323. In the 1998 Biennial Review Order, the Commission concluded that, in order to fulfill its statutory mandates, it must collect race, gender, and ethnicity information from all interest holders reported on Form 323. Collecting these data enables the Commission not only to assess the current state of minority and female ownership of broadcast stations but also to determine the success of programs that are designed to facilitate opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses and to promote a diversity of media voices. Just as it is essential for the Commission to collect these ownership data to fulfill its mandates, it is important that these data be reliable, aggregable, and useful for studies and trend analysis. The Commission has recognized that CORES FRNs offer a unique identifier and therefore play an important role in promoting the integrity of the data collected.

    22. We tentatively find that flaws in the current practices related to the reporting of SUFRNs for individuals listed on Form 323 compromise the integrity of the data and thereby frustrate the Commission's attempts to fulfill its statutory mandates under section 257 and section 309(j). Because our policy initiatives are dependent on the quality of the data collected, we tentatively conclude that requiring an FRN generated by CORES, either through existing mechanisms or via the proposed method to obtain an RUFRN, for all reportable interest holders on Forms 323 (and 323-E if proposals in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are adopted) is essential to improve the quality and usability of the data collected. We seek comment on these tentative conclusions.

    23. We tentatively conclude that having reasonable assurance that attributable interest holders are uniquely identified on ownership reports in a manner that ensures the data can be meaningfully searched, aggregated, and cross-referenced electronically is crucial to data quality and usability. In the Sixth Diversity Further Notice we tentatively concluded that TINs/SSNs within CORES were necessary as underlying unique identifiers of individuals. Would the RUFRN system described provide sufficient assurances that individuals are uniquely identified? For instance, are the specific pieces of identifying information described in our proposal (full name, residential address, date of birth, and last four digits of the individual's SSN) sufficient to provide a reasonable basis for determining that an individual identified is unique within the CORES system? Are there a sufficient number of criteria included in the proposal or are there additional pieces of information that would improve the reliability of the data? Are there additional or different pieces of information that better enable the Commission to ensure that individuals are uniquely identified? If so, what additional or different pieces of information should the Commission require? What risk would remain that the system could not uniquely identify individuals using these pieces of information?

    24. A commenter to the Sixth Diversity Further Notice asserts that unique identification of individuals in ownership data is not necessary to study broadcast ownership trends over time. This argument is not convincing because it presumes incorrectly that the only utility of the data is to track how many stations have minority and/or female owners. Other questions relevant to evaluating trends in minority and female ownership include how many individual minority and/or female owners exist at a given point and how those numbers change over time. The Commission cannot count unique individual owners without a mechanism to identify individuals uniquely. The same commenter also states that the fact that ownership reports are submitted under penalty of perjury is sufficient to ensure that parties report race or gender information on ownership report filings accurately. But, as noted above, examination of ownership reports from 2009, 2011, and 2013 revealed numerous data reporting errors due in part to the complexity of the information required to accurately file the form. We have no reason to believe that these errors were the result of filers attempting to deliberately mislead the Commission. We tentatively conclude that the presence of a unique identifier will improve the quality of our ownership data by permitting errors to be identified and remedied. For example, since an individual's race cannot change over time, the presence of the same individual's FRN on multiple reports, along with inconsistent race information could indicate one or more reporting errors that can then be cured. We seek comment on these positions.

    25. RUFRNs Provide Superior Data Quality to SUFRNs. We tentatively conclude that the RUFRN would provide superior data quality to the SUFRN and we seek comment on that tentative conclusion. The SUFRN was devised as merely a computer generated number created by clicking a button within Form 323 itself and not backed by any identifying information. The Commission collects no information when the system generates a new SUFRN, and there is no database analogous to CORES that contains uniquely identifying information associated with SUFRNs. The SUFRN therefore offers the Commission no way to cross reference or trace back reported information to a single individual. Because the Commission cannot determine whether particular individuals hold one or more SUFRNs or whether a particular SUFRN is being used to identify one or more individuals, it cannot reliably examine the complete attributable holdings of an individual reported with a SUFRN (either at a specific time or over time), or search, aggregate, and cross-reference our ownership data using Commission systems. Any attempt at such analysis would require manual consideration of every single entry where a SUFRN appears together with a subjective analysis of other textual information contained on the form or available from other public sources. Manual, subjective analysis of thousands of Form 323 entries using various sources of information compromises data integrity and data utility. On the other hand, we tentatively conclude that since RUFRNs will be backed by identifying information, and since CORES will not issue multiple RUFRNs for the same identifying information, RUFRNs can be relied upon to identify individuals uniquely. We seek comment on our view that the qualities of the proposed RUFRN provide superior data quality to the SUFRN.

    26. As noted above, some commenters in the Diversity proceeding argued that CORES FRNs cannot serve as unique identifiers because, for example, multiple FRNs can be obtained for a single TIN/SSN, an FRN might be associated with no TIN or an incorrect TIN, and outside researchers do not have access to underlying TIN information within CORES. We observe that the CORES proceeding has proposed several options to resolve some of these issues. Even as the Commission continues to examine those issues through its CORES reform process, we tentatively conclude, for several reasons, that, notwithstanding these possibilities, CORES FRNs and RUFRNs are still superior to SUFRNs for the purpose of broadcast ownership reports. To begin with, exceptions permitting an individual or entity to obtain a CORES FRN without a TIN are legitimately available in a limited number of cases that would not be expected to compromise the overall ownership data submitted. And even though CORES currently permits an individual or entity to obtain multiple FRNs with a single TIN, the Commission can identify all FRNs that relate to a single TIN. Also, we expect that individuals and entities will comply with our rules and provide accurate information during the CORES registration process to the greatest extent possible. While the Commission's obligation to hold the TIN confidential does limit the direct utility of the TIN to outside researchers as a unique identifier, that limitation does not decrease the benefits for data integrity and utility to the Commission. With respect to the RUFRN proposal, we anticipate that the specificity of the identifying information required and the fact that a number of pieces of information are required will be sufficient to provide the Commission with reasonable certainty that the information identifies a unique filer within the CORES system. Based on our experience in the 2009, 2011, and 2013 reporting cycles, we tentatively conclude that the RUFRN proposal will improve the reliability and usability of the broadcast ownership report database, in furtherance of our statutory mandates. We seek comment on these conclusions.

    27. RUFRNs May Enable Burden-Reducing Form Modification. As noted above, the Commission and commenters have identified errors in filings submitted to the Commission over the last three filing periods. We tentatively conclude that some such errors could be reduced by simplifying the form and making it less burdensome to complete and submit. Specifically, the record reflects proposals that would eliminate a filer's obligation to disclose other attributable broadcast interests of attributable parties listed in the filing. We tentatively conclude that in order to implement this burden-reducing form modification without compromising the scope and content of the information collected, the Commission requires a unique identifier to allow the filings to be electronically searched and cross-referenced within a single filing period and over time. We tentatively conclude that the existence of unique identifiers will permit the Commission to make this modification while maintaining the integrity of its ownership data, thereby reducing burdens on filing parties and improving the quality of the information submitted to the Commission. We seek comment on these conclusions.

    28. RUFRN Application in NCE Context. We specifically seek additional comment concerning the proposal to use RUFRNs for Form 323-E if the pending proposal in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice to modify NCE ownership reporting practices to correspond to commercial requirements and the proposal in the Sixth Diversity Further Notice to extend FRN requirements to noncommercial stations are adopted. We tentatively conclude that if the Commission does modify the Form 323-E requirements as described in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice then a CORES-generated FRN, either a traditional SSN-based CORES FRN or the RUFRN proposed herein, is a sufficient and appropriate tool for the unique identification of individuals with attributable interests in NCEs for the same reasons and in the same manner as commercial stations. Accordingly, we propose to permit an individual listed on Form 323-E to obtain and provide an RUFRN, in lieu of a CORES FRN, for use on broadcast ownership filings. We invite comment on these tentative conclusions and on the foregoing proposal. As described above, we note that several commenters to the Sixth Diversity Further Notice argue that the CORES FRN requirement would be unduly burdensome for NCEs because an SSN disclosure requirement would discourage people from serving on the boards of NCE stations and licensees would have difficulty obtaining SSNs from board members who may be government officials. We seek comment on how and whether these concerns would arise if RUFRNs were made available for use in broadcast ownership reports. We note that officers and directors of NCE stations already are reported on Form 323-E and questions related to the propriety of requiring disclosure of race, gender, and ethnicity information on Form 323-E are pending pursuant to the Fourth Diversity Further Notice. Here we seek comment on specifically whether there are unique considerations with respect to NCE stations that would lead to a different conclusion for NCEs than for commercial stations with regard to the information proposed to be included to obtain an RUFRN. If so what are those unique considerations? Are there other alternatives for unique identification of individuals in the NCE context that would improve the quality, usability, and reliability of our broadcast ownership data and/or help ensure that our broadcast ownership data can be searched, aggregated, and cross-referenced electronically? We invite comment on the application of RUFRNs to NCEs in the event that the pending proposals in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are adopted.

    29. Security of Commission Systems. In the Sixth Diversity Further Notice, the Commission sought comment on any security concerns related to the requirement that interest holders submit an SSN, noting that only the FRN is made public and the SSN is not disclosed on any Commission application or form, including Forms 323 and 323-E. Commenters raised concerns that a CORES FRN requirement for individuals will open individuals to threats of identity theft. Some commenters pointed to a system breach described in a GAO report on information security and suggested that the Commission's systems are vulnerable to a security breach.

    30. We agree with commenters that privacy and security with respect to personally identifiable information are paramount, and we believe that the steps taken and the procedures in place assure the security of the Commission's systems. The Commission is not aware of any breaches to CORES. In addressing similar security concerns from commenters, the Commission wrote in 2009 that the CORES architecture exceeds Federal guidelines and that its databases are behind several firewalls. The Commission also explained that administrative access to the CORES application is limited and that all transmission of non-public data is encrypted. Furthermore, the safeguards in place in 2009 have been improved. Certain improvements were underway prior to completion of the Information Security GAO Report, and that report also provided the Commission with additional, valuable recommendations for continuing to strengthen our security environment. We have implemented enhanced perimeter controls, malware protection, and monitoring devices and upgraded workstations to operating systems with improved security. The Commission's security architecture has strict operational controls in place that comply with National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance. As the Commission explained to OMB in 2009, system servers are located behind several firewalls and other security controls to protect CORES data from intrusion by outsiders as well as the general Commission population. Administrative access to CORES remains limited to only certain known internal workstations and all servers are monitored by automated tools and operational procedures. Moreover, the Commission made several upgrades to all of its systems, including CORES, to ensure that its systems remain secure. Security will continue to be one of our highest priorities. In light of the foregoing, we seek comment on whether the elimination of the need for individual attributable interest holders to submit an SSN eliminates the privacy and identity theft concerns existing in the current record. If not, what privacy or identity theft concerns remain and how can they be addressed? Are such concerns outweighed by the importance of the data collection?

    31. Privacy Act. We tentatively conclude that the Privacy Act does not bar the adoption of the RUFRN requirements described herein. The Sixth Diversity Further Notice sought comments on whether the Privacy Act was a barrier to adoption of the CORES FRN requirement. No commenters asserted that the Privacy Act was a barrier to the requirement for individuals with attributable interests in commercial entities. With respect to application of the CORES FRN requirement to Form 323-E if the proposals in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are adopted, several commenters to the Sixth Diversity Further Notice argue that the Privacy Act bars application of the SSN requirement in the NCE context. We find that elimination of the SSN requirement from the list of identifying information that is required in conjunction with broadcast ownership reporting would further ensure that the Privacy Act is not an impediment to the proposed RUFRN requirement. Also as described above, we tentatively conclude that unique identification of individuals is essential for ownership data quality, utility, and reliability, which are critical components of any future policy initiatives to promote ownership diversity consistent with our statutory mandate under the Communications Act. Further, the Commission has already adopted a Privacy Act SORN for CORES and with respect to the Form 323 requirement, which applies to any personally identifiable information required by Form 323 and CORES in connection with the CORES FRN registration process, and to the extent necessary any modifications required by the implementation of the RUFRN system for Form 323 or Form 323-E can be addressed with modifications to the SORN. We request comment on these tentative conclusions.

    32. RUFRNs Are Not Burdensome, and the Benefits Outweigh the Costs. We continue to believe that obtaining a CORES FRN imposes minimal costs and burdens, if any, on individuals or filers. As noted in the Sixth Diversity Further Notice, registering for a CORES FRN is a one-time process that takes a few moments to complete. An individual that already has obtained a CORES FRN may continue to use his or her CORES FRN for Form 323 filings, and need not obtain a RUFRN. Moreover, an individual that wishes to obtain a RUFRN can easily locate previously-registered CORES FRNs through CORES. We tentatively conclude that permitting individuals holding attributable interests in one or more broadcast licensees to obtain a RUFRN in lieu of obtaining a CORES FRN would impose minimal costs or other burdens. We seek comment on these tentative conclusions and on any potential burdens inherent in the RUFRN proposal. We seek input on alternatives that might reduce or eliminate such burdens as well as the costs and benefits of such alternatives. To the extent possible, commenters should quantify any identified costs and benefits. We note that the vast majority of individuals reported on Form 323 have obtained and reported CORES FRNs, and we believe it is likely that will continue to be the case for future broadcast ownership filing obligations. Individuals who already have a CORES FRN need not obtain an RUFRN and may continue to use the existing number. Moreover, any individual that wishes to obtain a CORES FRN instead of an RUFRN will be able to do so. Additionally, as explained above, the existence of a unique identifier that can be cross-referenced may make modifications of the reports possible that could reduce the burdens on all filers and, thereby, further improve the quality of the ownership data submitted to the Commission. As such, we tentatively find that the benefits of improved data collection outweigh any de minimis costs or burdens associated with obtaining an FRN described herein and we seek comment on that conclusion. To the extent possible, commenters should quantify relative costs and benefits.

    33. Limited Availability of SUFRNs. We seek further comment concerning the elimination of the availability of SUFRNs for broadcast ownership reports. The Sixth Diversity Further Notice solicited input on whether to retain the SUFRN in the event that reportable individuals are unwilling to provide their SSNs to third parties or unwilling to obtain and provide CORES FRNs. In the event that a SUFRN is reported for an individual, the Sixth Diversity Further Notice explained that the Commission could use its enforcement authority against individuals who failed to obtain a CORES FRN. Commenters generally support the proposal to retain the SUFRN for this limited purpose and oppose the Commission's use of its enforcement authority. We seek comment on whether the SUFRN should continue to be available to Form 323 filers (and Form 323-E filers if the proposals in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are adopted), in the event that after a filer has used reasonable and good faith efforts, reportable individuals are unwilling to provide their identifying information or unwilling to obtain and provide a CORES FRN or RUFRN themselves. Would this limited availability of SUFRNs appropriately protect the position of filers in the case of recalcitrant interest holders? Should the Commission require filers to take specific steps to substantiate that they have made a reasonable good faith efforts? If so, what steps should be required? For instance, should the Commission expect that a filer will instruct an individual about the obligation to supply a filer with a CORES FRN or RUFRN or to provide the filer with the identifying information sufficient to obtain one of these numbers on the individual's behalf? Should the filer be expected to instruct such an individual about potential enforcement action? Should the filer itself be exempt from enforcement action only if such steps are substantiated? Should an instruction be included on Form 323 (and Form 323-E if the proposals in the Fourth Diversity Further Notice are adopted) informing reportable interest holders of their obligations and alerting them to the risk of enforcement action for the failure to provide a CORES FRN or RUFRN or to permit a CORES FRN or RUFRN to be obtained? We seek comment on these issues.

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Filing Requirements

    34. Ex Parte Rules. The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). 47 CFR 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f), 47 CFR 1.49(f), or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

    35. Comments and Reply Comments. Pursuant to §§ 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    • All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    36. People With Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    37. Availability of Documents. Comments, reply comments, and ex parte submissions will be available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Persons with disabilities who need assistance in the FCC Reference Center may contact Bill Cline at (202) 418-0267 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY), or [email protected] These documents also will be available from the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System. Documents are available electronically in ASCII, Word 97, and Adobe Acrobat. To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-1400 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    38. Information. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Jake Riehm at (202) 418-2166 or Warren Firschein at (202) 418-0844. Press inquiries should be directed to Janice Wise at (202) 418-8165.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    39. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis. This Second FNPRM and Seventh FNPRM seeks comment on potential new or revised information collection requirements with regard to CORES, FCC Form 323, and FCC Form 323-E. The Commission invites the general public, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) and other Federal agencies to comment on the information collection requirements. This Notice may result in new or revised information collection requirements. If the Commission adopts any new or revised information collection requirements, the Commission will publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting additional public comment on the requirements, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.” On October 19, 2009, OMB approved the FCC's proposal to implement a CORES FRN requirement for all individuals holding attributable interests in the licensee reported on Form 323. That requirement went into effect as of October 30, 2009.

    40. In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any PRA comments on the proposed collection requirements contained herein should be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission via email to [email protected] and to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to [email protected] or via fax at 202-395-5167.

    V. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    41. As required by the Regulatory Flex