Federal Register Vol. 80, No.54,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 54 (March 20, 2015)

Page Range14805-15146
FR Document

80_FR_54
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 15035 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 15053 - Notice of Funding Availability and Solicitation of Applications for Magnetic Levitation ProjectsPDF
80 FR 14894 - Amendment to the Commission's Rules Concerning Effective Competition; Implementation of Section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization ActPDF
80 FR 14847 - Tennessee: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program RevisionsPDF
80 FR 14894 - Tennessee: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program RevisionsPDF
80 FR 14999 - Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen SuitPDF
80 FR 15039 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 14981 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 15001 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 14974 - Applications for New Awards; Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions ProgramPDF
80 FR 15028 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities To Assist the HomelessPDF
80 FR 14844 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 14985 - Applications for New Awards; Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education ProgramPDF
80 FR 14844 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Cerritos Channel, Long Beach, CAPDF
80 FR 14943 - Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping DeterminationPDF
80 FR 14907 - Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Negative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty DeterminationPDF
80 FR 15023 - Commercial Fishing Vessel EngineersPDF
80 FR 14906 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 15007 - Regular MeetingPDF
80 FR 14940 - Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 104 (Expansion of Service Area) Under Alternative Site Framework; Savannah, GeorgiaPDF
80 FR 15020 - Notice of Intent To Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research CentersPDF
80 FR 14991 - Applications for New Awards; Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions ProgramPDF
80 FR 14913 - Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 186 Under Alternative Site Framework; Waterville, MainePDF
80 FR 14941 - Patent ReexaminationsPDF
80 FR 14842 - Substances Temporarily Controlled Under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances ActPDF
80 FR 14910 - Post Patent Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents ActPDF
80 FR 14972 - Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 58 Under Alternative Site Framework; Bangor, MainePDF
80 FR 15034 - Controlled Substances: 2015 Proposed Aggregate Production Quotas for Three Temporarily Controlled Synthetic CannabinoidsPDF
80 FR 14968 - Proposed Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Trademark PetitionsPDF
80 FR 14970 - Proposed Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection; Comment Request; Post Registration (Trademark Processing)PDF
80 FR 14999 - Notice of Proposed Settlement Agreement Pursuant to CERCLA Section 122(H)(1) and Opportunity for Public Comment: Millsboro TCE Groundwater Contamination Superfund SitePDF
80 FR 15002 - Notice of Opportunity To Comment on an Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Attributable to Production and Transport of Pennycress (Thlaspi Arvense) Oil for Use in Biofuel ProductionPDF
80 FR 14909 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request; “Fee Deficiency Submissions”PDF
80 FR 15024 - Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Certain Oral Solution ProductsPDF
80 FR 14912 - Higher Initial Maximum Uniform Allowance Rate; Uniform AllowancesPDF
80 FR 14912 - Public Meetings and Request for Comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement Regarding the Makah Tribe's Request To Hunt Eastern North Pacific Gray WhalesPDF
80 FR 14945 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to a Cruise Ship Terminal ProjectPDF
80 FR 14853 - Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, Access to Identifiable Data for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Models & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2015; CorrectionsPDF
80 FR 15017 - Pediatric Stakeholder Meeting; Request for Comments; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 14838 - Advisory Committee; Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee; TerminationPDF
80 FR 15057 - Notice of Rescheduled Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 15057 - Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 15011 - Notice of a Class Deviation To Address Commercial Supplier Agreement Terms Inconsistent With Federal LawPDF
80 FR 15050 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage”PDF
80 FR 14876 - Personnel Access Authorization Requirements for Nuclear Power PlantsPDF
80 FR 14944 - Availability of Draft NOAA Education Strategic PlanPDF
80 FR 14839 - Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Synthetic Iron OxidePDF
80 FR 14973 - Procurement List; Additions and DeletionsPDF
80 FR 14973 - Procurement List; Proposed Additions and DeletionsPDF
80 FR 15050 - Environmental Impact Statement: Orange County and Riverside County, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 15021 - National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 15036 - Federal Employees' Retirement System; Normal Cost PercentagesPDF
80 FR 15030 - Notice of Availability for the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for Long-Term Water Transfers, Central Valley and Bay Area, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 15014 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 15037 - Excepted ServicePDF
80 FR 14999 - Solar Star California XIII, LLC: Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
80 FR 14997 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 14998 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 14870 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management MeasuresPDF
80 FR 14852 - Federal Travel Regulation; Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel Allowances (Taxes); Relocation Allowances (Taxes); Technical AmendmentPDF
80 FR 15008 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Savings and Loan Holding CompanyPDF
80 FR 15008 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 15032 - Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment and Revised Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan; Receipt of Application for Incidental Take Permit Amendment; NiSource Inc.PDF
80 FR 15031 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; ColoradoPDF
80 FR 15030 - Notice of Public Meetings: Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, NevadaPDF
80 FR 15029 - Filing of Plats of Survey: CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 14907 - Marine Mammals; File Nos. 17278 and 17557PDF
80 FR 15014 - Draft Guidance for Industry on Ensuring Safety of Animal Feed Maintained and Fed On-Farm; AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 14879 - Prohibition of Children's Toys and Child Care Articles Containing Specified Phthalates; Notice of Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 15018 - Electronic Cigarettes and the Public Health; Public WorkshopPDF
80 FR 14968 - Marine Mammals; File No. 19133PDF
80 FR 14913 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Seismic Surveys in Cook Inlet, AlaskaPDF
80 FR 15016 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 15051 - Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; BMW of North America, LLCPDF
80 FR 15033 - Certain Silicon Microphone Packages and Products Containing Same: Commission Determination To Grant the Joint Motion To Terminate the Investigation on the Basis of Settlement; Termination of InvestigationPDF
80 FR 15028 - Accreditation and Approval of Intertek USA, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
80 FR 15027 - Accreditation and Approval of AmSpec Services, LLC, as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
80 FR 15026 - Accreditation and Approval of Amspec Services, LLC, as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
80 FR 15027 - Approval of Saybolt, LP, as a Commercial GaugerPDF
80 FR 15023 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Small Vessel Reporting SystemPDF
80 FR 14880 - Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody ProceedingsPDF
80 FR 15013 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request: The Genetic Testing RegistryPDF
80 FR 15033 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air ActPDF
80 FR 14905 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 15009 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 15048 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Y-Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 12.14, Front Running of Block TransactionsPDF
80 FR 15046 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 12.14, Front Running of Block TransactionsPDF
80 FR 15041 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Expiration Date of the Refund Program Under FINRA Rule 3110.15 (Temporary Program To Address Underreported Form U4 Information)PDF
80 FR 15042 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; the Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Concerning the Provision of Clearance and Settlement Services for Energy Futures and Options on Energy FuturesPDF
80 FR 15039 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 14845 - Safety Zone; Pittsburgh, PA; Ice Accumulations; Allegheny River Mile 1.0-72.0PDF
80 FR 15008 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10364, Coastal Bank, Cocoa Beach, FloridaPDF
80 FR 15015 - National Institute on Drug Abuse: Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 15017 - National Institute on Drug Abuse Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 15018 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 15017 - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 15001 - Draft Integrated Science Assessment for Oxides of Nitrogen-Health Criteria; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 14813 - Amendment of Class E Airspace; Coaldale, NVPDF
80 FR 15059 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015PDF
80 FR 14878 - Proposed Amendment of Class D and Class E Airspace; Clarksburg, WVPDF
80 FR 14876 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Dyersburg, TNPDF
80 FR 14815 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 14823 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 14814 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 14822 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 14810 - Airworthiness Directives; GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd AirplanesPDF
80 FR 14808 - Airworthiness Directives; British Aerospace Regional Aircraft AirplanesPDF
80 FR 14828 - Submission of Evidence in Disability ClaimsPDF
80 FR 14805 - Airworthiness Directives; Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company AirplanesPDF
80 FR 15099 - Electronic Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for New Source Performance StandardsPDF

Issue

80 54 Friday, March 20, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14905-14906 2015-06368 2015-06479 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Funding Availability: Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Centers, 15020-15021 2015-06468 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare Programs: Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, Access to Identifiable Data for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Models & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2015; Corrections, 14853-14870 2015-06427 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 15014-15015 2015-06408 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Multi-Site Evaluation of Project LAUNCH, 15016-15017 2015-06385 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Cerritos Channel, Long Beach, CA, 14844 2015-06491 Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA, 14844-14845 2015-06493 Safety Zones: Allegheny River Mile 1.0-72.0, Pittsburgh, PA, Ice Accumulations, 14845-14847 2015-06356 NOTICES Guidance: Commercial Fishing Vessel Engineers, 15023 2015-06480 Meetings: National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, 15021-15022 2015-06413 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 14973-14974 2015-06416 2015-06417 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission PROPOSED RULES Prohibition of Children's Toys and Child Care Articles Containing Specified Phthalates: Extension of Comment Period, 14879-14880 2015-06389 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration RULES Schedules of Controlled Substances: Substances Temporarily Controlled under Schedule I, 14842-14844 2015-06460 NOTICES Controlled Substances: 2015 Proposed Aggregate Production Quotas for Three Temporarily Controlled Synthetic Cannabinoids, 15034-15035 2015-06456 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Applications for New Awards: Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program, 14991-14997 2015-06464 Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, 14974-14981 2015-06501 Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, 14985-14991 2015-06492 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 14981-14985 2015-06503 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Final Authorizations of State Hazardous Waste Management Programs: Tennessee, 14847-14852 2015-06512 PROPOSED RULES Electronic Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements; New Source Performance Standards; Amendments, 15100-15146 2015-05406 Final Authorizations of State Hazardous Waste Management Programs: Tennessee, 14894 2015-06511 NOTICES Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Attributable to Production and Transport of Pennycress (Thlaspi Arvense) Oil for Use in Biofuel Production, 15002-15007 2015-06444 Draft Integrated Science Assessment for Oxides of Nitrogen -- Health Criteria, 15001 2015-06340 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Weekly Receipt, 15001 2015-06502 Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Air Act Citizen Suit, 14999-15001 2015-06508 Proposed Settlement Agreement Pursuant to CERCLA: Millsboro TCE Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site, 14999 2015-06445 Farm Credit System Insurance Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation NOTICES Meetings: Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation Board, 15007-15008 2015-06472 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Airplanes, 14808-14810 2015-06053 GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Airplanes, 14810-14812 2015-06234 Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Airplanes, 14805-14807 2015-05789 Amendment of Class E Airspace: Coaldale, NV, 14813-14814 2015-06325 Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures: Miscellaneous Amendments, 14814-14828 2015-06249 2015-06250 2015-06251 2015-06252 PROPOSED RULES Amendment of Class E Airspace: Dyersburg, TN, 14876-14878 2015-06256 Amendments of Class D and E Airspace: Clarksburg, WV, 14878-14879 2015-06257 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Effective Competition; Implementation of the STELA Reauthorization Act, 14894-14904 2015-06541 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Terminations of Receiverships: Coastal Bank, Cocoa Beach, FL, 15008 2015-06355 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 14997-14998 2015-06403 2015-06404 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Solar Star California XIII, LLC, 14999 2015-06405 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Orange County and Riverside County, CA, 15050-15051 2015-06415 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Funding Availability: Magnetic Levitation Projects, 15053-15057 2015-06542 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 15009-15011 2015-06363 Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Savings and Loan Holding Company, 15008 2015-06399 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 15008-15009 2015-06398 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Assessments; Availability, etc. and Revised Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plans: NiSource, Inc.; Application for Incidental Take Permit; Amendment, 15032-15033 2015-06396 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee Termination, 14838-14839 2015-06425 Listing of Color Additives Exempt from Certification: Synthetic Iron Oxide, 14839-14842 2015-06418 NOTICES Guidance: Ensuring Safety of Animal Feed Maintained and Fed On-Farm, 15014 2015-06390 Meetings: Electronic Cigarettes and the Public Health; Public Workshops, 15018-15020 2015-06388 Pediatric Stakeholders; Correction, 15017 2015-06426 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Reorganizations under Alternative Site Frameworks: Foreign-Trade Zone 104 (Expansion of Service Area), Savannah, GA, 14940-14941 2015-06470 Foreign-Trade Zone 186, Waterville, ME, 14913 2015-06462 Foreign-Trade Zone 58, Bangor, ME, 14972-14973 2015-06457 General Services General Services Administration RULES Federal Travel Regulations: Temporary Duty Travel Allowances; Relocation Allowances (Taxes), 14852 2015-06400 NOTICES Notice of a Class Deviation to Address Commercial Supplier Agreement Terms Inconsistent with Federal Law, 15011-15013 2015-06422 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless, 15028-15029 2015-06495 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau PROPOSED RULES Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings, 14880-14894 2015-06371 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

Reclamation Bureau

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea, 14907-14908 2015-06483 Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey, 14943-14944 2015-06485 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Silicon Microphone Packages and Products Containing Same, 15033 2015-06381 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Air Act, 15033-15034 2015-06369
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, NV, 15030 2015-06394 Plats of Survey: Colorado, 15031 2015-06395 Plats of Surveys: California, 15029-15030 2015-06393 Morris Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 15035 2015-06556 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Exemptions: BMW of North America, LLC, 15051-15053 2015-06384 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Genetic Testing Registry, 15013 2015-06370 Meetings: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 15018 2015-06347 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 15017 2015-06346 National Institute on Drug Abuse, 15015-15018 2015-06348 2015-06349 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management Measures, 14870-14875 2015-06401 NOTICES Availability of Draft NOAA Education Strategic Plan, 14944-14945 2015-06419 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Makah Tribe's Request to Hunt Eastern North Pacific Gray Whales; Meetings, 14912-14913 2015-06432 Permits: Marine Mammals; File No. 19133, 14968 2015-06387 Marine Mammals; File Nos. 17278 and 17557, 14907 2015-06391 Takes of Marine Mammals: Cruise Ship Terminal Project, 14945-14968 2015-06431 Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015, 15060-15097 2015-06261 Seismic Surveys in Cook Inlet, Alaska, 14913-14940 2015-06386 Uniform Allowance Rate; Higher Initial Maximum, 14912 2015-06433 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Personnel Access Authorization Requirements for Nuclear Power Plants, 14876 2015-06420 NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 15035-15036 2015-06575 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Fee Deficiency Submissions, 14909-14910 2015-06442 Patent Reexaminations, 14941-14943 2015-06461 Post Patent Provisions under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, 14910-14911 2015-06459 Post Registration (Trademark Processing), 14970-14972 2015-06446 Trademark Petitions, 14968-14970 2015-06448 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Excepted Service, 15037-15039 2015-06407 Federal Employees' Retirement System: Normal Cost Percentages, 15036-15037 2015-06411 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 15039 2015-06506 Reclamation Reclamation Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Long-Term Water Transfers; Central Valley and Bay Area, CA, 15030-15031 2015-06409 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 15039-15041 2015-06358 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 15046-15048 2015-06361 BATS Y-Exchange, Inc., 15048-15050 2015-06362 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 15041-15042 2015-06360 The Options Clearing Corp., 15042-15045 2015-06359 Social Social Security Administration RULES Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims, 14828-14838 2015-05921 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Arctic Ambitions - Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage, 15050 2015-06421 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Meetings: Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee, 15057 2015-06424 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Small Vessel Reporting System, 15023-15024 2015-06374 Commercial Gaugers and Laboratories; Accreditations and Approvals: AmSpec Services, LLC, 15026-15027 2015-06376 2015-06378 Intertek USA, Inc., 15028 2015-06380 Saybolt, LP, 15027-15028 2015-06375 Final Determinations: Certain Oral Solution Products, 15024-15026 2015-06434 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, 15057-15058 2015-06423 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Commerce Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 15060-15097 2015-06261 Part III Environmental Protection Agency, 15100-15146 2015-05406 Reader Aids

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

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

80 54 Friday, March 20, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0749; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-051-AD; Amendment 39-18118; AD 2015-05-08] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Model 382, 382B, 382E, 382F, and 382G airplanes. This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). This AD requires repetitive inspections of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing to detect cracks propagating from fasteners attaching the fittings to skin panels, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary; and replacement of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing and skin-panel-to-fitting fastener holes, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane and possible separation of the wing from the airplane.

DATES:

This AD is effective April 24, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 24, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this AD, contact Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Airworthiness Office, Dept. 6A0M, Zone 0252, Column P-58, 86 S. Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30063; telephone 770-494-5444; fax 770-494-5445; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ams/tools/TechPubs.html. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0749.

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-2014-0749; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carl Gray, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ACE-117A, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, GA 30337; phone: 404-474-5554; fax: 404-474-5606; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Model 382, 382B, 382E, 382F, and 382G airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2014 (79 FR 62075). The NPRM was prompted by an evaluation by the DAH indicating that the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing are subject to WFD. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing to detect cracks propagating from fasteners attaching the fittings to skin panels, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary; and replacement of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing and skin-panel-to-fitting fastener holes, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane and possible separation of the wing from the airplane.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We have considered the comment received. The commenter supported the NPRM (79 FR 62075, October 16, 2014).

Conclusion

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

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 62075, October 16, 2014) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 62075, October 16, 2014).

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013. The service bulletin describes procedures for inspection and replacement of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing, and corrective actions. This service information is reasonably available; see ADDRESSES for ways to access this service information.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 20 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators ECSS inspection 24 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,040 per inspection cycle $0 $2,040 per inspection cycle $40,800 per inspection cycle. Bolt hole inspection during rainbow fitting replacement 24 work-hours × $85 per hour = $2,040 0 2,040 40,800. Replacement of all four rainbow fittings 2,060 work-hours × $85 per hour = $175,100 28,000 203,100 4,062,000.

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

On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replacement of one rainbow fitting 515 work-hours × $85 per hour = $43,775 $7,000 $50,775

    We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for on-condition actions for cracking of the skin-panel-to-fitting fastener holes specified in this AD.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

    (2) Is not a “significant rule” under 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.

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-05-08 Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company: Amendment 39-18118 ; Docket No. FAA-2014-0749; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-051-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 24, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Model 382, 382B, 382E, 382F, and 382G airplanes; certificated in any category; having any outer wing serial number 4542 and subsequent, or any manufacturing end product (MEP) replacement outer wing except 14Y series.

    (d) Subject

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

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder (DAH) indicating that the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing are subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the upper and lower rainbow fittings on the outer wing and skin-panel-to-fitting fastener holes, which could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane and possible separation of the wing from the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Repetitive Eddy Current Surface Scan (ECSS) Inspections

    At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD: Do an ECSS inspection of the left and right outer wing upper and lower rainbow fitting-to-skin-panel attachments to detect cracks propagating from fasteners attaching the fittings to skin panels, and do all applicable related investigative actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013, except as provided by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative actions before further flight. If any cracking is found during any inspection required by this paragraph, before further flight, repair the cracking, using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD. Repeat the inspection of the left and right outer wing upper and lower rainbow fitting-to-skin-panel attachments thereafter at intervals not to exceed 2,000 flight hours, except as provided by paragraph (l) of this AD.

    (1) Before the accumulation of 30,000 total flight hours on any wing.

    (2) Within 365 days or 600 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD.

    (h) Rainbow Fitting Replacement and Inspections

    At the time specified in paragraph (i) of this AD, do the actions required by paragraph (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Do a detailed inspection of the wing faying structure for damage and cracks, and do an automated bolt hole eddy current inspection on all open fastener holes in the mating structure, stiffeners, webs and angles for cracking, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013, except as provided by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD.

    (i) If any damage is found during any inspection required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, before further flight, repair the damage, using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (ii) If any cracking is found during any inspection required by paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, before further flight, repair the cracking, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013, except as provided by paragraphs (j)(1) and (j)(2) of this AD.

    (2) Replace the left and right upper and lower rainbow fittings of the outer wing with new fittings, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013.

    Note 1 to paragraph (h) of this AD:

    AD 2012-06-09, Amendment 39-16990 (77 FR 21404, April 10, 2012), is related to the rainbow fitting replacement. AD 2012-06-09 references the Lockheed Martin Model 382, 382B, 382E, 382F, and 382G Series Aircraft Service Manual Publication (SMP), Supplemental Structural Inspection Document (SSID), SMP 515-C-SSID, Change 1, dated September 10, 2010; which contains inspections for the entire Model 382B-H airframe, not just the outer wing. Since installing new rainbow fittings, as required by paragraph (g) of this AD, resets the accumulated service life on certain parts to zero, certain compliance times specified in Table 3 of this SSID would be affected by the installation of new outer wing fittings.

    Note 2 to paragraph (h) of this AD:

    AD 2011-15-02, Amendment 39-16749 (76 FR 41647, July 15, 2011), has requirements for fuel system limitations and critical design configuration control limitations, which might include configuration or parts limitations on areas affected by accomplishment of this AD.

    (i) Compliance Times for Paragraph (h) of This AD

    At the later of the times specified in paragraph (i)(1) and (i)(2) of this AD, do the actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD.

    (1) Before the accumulation of 50,000 total flight hours on any wing.

    (2) Within 60 days or 100 flight hours, whichever occurs first, after the effective date of this AD.

    (j) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

    (1) Although Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013, specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement.

    (2) Where Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013, specifies to contact Lockheed for repair instructions, before further flight, repair using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (k) Parts Installation Limitation

    After replacement of the left and right upper and lower rainbow fittings of the outer wing with new fittings, as required by paragraph (h) of this AD, any subsequent rainbow fitting replacements must be done using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (m) of this AD.

    (l) Outer Wing Flight Hours Adjustment

    For any wing on which the left or right upper and lower rainbow fittings of the outer wing have been replaced with new fittings as required by paragraph (h) of this AD: Before the accumulation of 30,000 flight hours after accomplishing the replacement, do the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD and repeat thereafter at the times specified in paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (m) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (n) of this AD.

    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair required by this AD if it is approved by a Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Designated Engineering Representative (DER) that has been authorized by the Manager, Atlanta ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (n) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Carl Gray, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ACE-117A, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, GA 30337; phone: 404-474-5554; fax: 404-474-5606; email: [email protected]

    (o) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Service Bulletin 382-57-95, including Appendix A, dated December 16, 2013.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Lockheed service information identified in this AD, contact Lockheed Martin Corporation/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Airworthiness Office, Dept. 6A0M, Zone 0252, Column P-58, 86 S. Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30063; telephone 770-494-5444; fax 770-494-5445; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.lockheedmartin.com/ams/tools/TechPubs.html.

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

    (5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 6, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-05789 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-1093; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-035-AD; Amendment 39-18119; AD 2015-06-01] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding an airworthiness directive (AD) 2014-06-03 for British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Model Jetstream Series 3101 and Jetstream Model 3201 airplanes. This AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued 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 stress corrosion cracking of the main landing gear spigot housing. We are issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 24, 2015.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the AD as of April 24, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1093; or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    For service information identified in this AD, contact BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd, Customer Information Department, Prestwick International Airport, Ayrshire, KA9 2RW, Scotland, United Kingdom; phone: +44 1292 675207, fax: +44 1292 675704; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.jetstreamcentral.com. You may view this 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. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1093.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Taylor Martin, Aerospace Engineer, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4138; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to add an AD that would apply to British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Model Jetstream Series 3101 and Jetstream Model 3201 airplanes. That NPRM was published in the Federal Register on December 31, 2014 (79 FR 78726), and proposed to supersede AD 2014-06-03, Amendment 39-17807 (79 FR 17395, March 28, 2014).

    The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country. The MCAI states that:

    Several cases of stress corrosion cracking of DTD 5094 standard Main Landing Gear (MLG) cylinders have been reported on Jetstream Series 3200 and 3100 aeroplanes.

    Prompted by these findings, The United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued AD 003-01-86 to require visual and non-destructive testing (NDT) inspections of the MLG assembly cylinder attachment spigot housing in accordance with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd SB 32-A-JA851226. In 2012 an additional occurrence of Jetstream 3100 MLG failure after landing was reported, the subsequent investigation revealed stress corrosion cracking of the yoke pintle housing as a root cause of the MLG failure. Consequently EASA issued EASA AD 2013-0208 to require inspection of the MLG in accordance with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd SB 32-A-JA851226 Revision 5 or later approved revisions to detect any crack, however, SB 32-A-JA851226 did not apply to aeroplanes equipped with MLG cylinders manufactured from L161 material, since that is not susceptible to stress corrosion, BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd issued SB 32-JM7862 to address degradation of the surface protection by placing a special washer over the forward face of the MLG spigot housing, which rotates with the spigot housing. EASA issued AD 2013-0206 to require modification of the left (LH) and right hand (RH) MLG in accordance with this SB.

    In 2014 a further event was reported, where the LH MLG of a Jetstream 3100 aeroplane collapsed during landing, this resulted in the aeroplane departing from the runway. The accident is still under investigation by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch. Preliminary results of the investigation determined that cracking, which caused the MLG collapse, was initiated from a corrosion pit at the top outer edge of the forward spigot housing and extended along the top of the spigot housing. The spigot housing material was DTD 5094. The affected LH MLG had been modified in accordance with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd SB 32-JM7862 Revision 1. Further investigation discovered that the instructions provided in BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd SB 32-JM7862 Revision 1 did not effectively prevent stress corrosion cracking because, under certain circumstances, it allows the rotation of the special washer and consequent damage of the end face of the spigot housing.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to structural failure of the MLG, possibly resulting in loss of control of the aeroplane during take-off or landing runs.

    To address this potential unsafe condition, BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd issued SB 32-JM7862 Revision 2 to clarify the orientation of the spigot bearing cap, later revised to SB 32-JM7862 Revision 3 to ensure the spigot bearing cap is correctly positioned. Additionally, BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd issued SB 32-A-JA140940 to provide inspection instructions to detect migration of the special washer and any potential corrosion resulting from that unwanted migration for MLG installations modified earlier in accordance with BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd SB 32-JM7862 up to Revision 2.

    For the reasons described above, this AD partially retains the requirements of EASA AD 2013-0206, which is superseded, and requires a one-time inspection of pre-SB 32-JM7862 Revision 3 MLG installations and, depending on findings, applicable corrective action(s).

    The MCAI can be found in the AD docket on the Internet at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-1093-0002. Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (79 FR 78726, December 31, 2014) or on the determination of the cost to the public.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD as proposed except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 78726, December 31, 2014) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

    • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (79 FR 78726, December 31, 2014).

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 and 3200 Service Bulletin No. 32-JM7862, Revision 3, dated October 3, 2014; and British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 and 3200 Service Bulletin No. 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014. The service information describes procedures for modifying the LH and RH MLG at the forward spigot and inspecting for migration of the special washer, taking corrective action as necessary. This service information is reasonably available; see ADDRESSES for ways to access this service information.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 44 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it will take about 2 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts will cost about $170 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD to the U.S. operators to be $14,960, or $340 per product.

    We accept modification of the MLG, if done before the effective date of this AD, using earlier versions of the service information. However, the earlier versions of the service information require additional inspections with possible corrective actions.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions that may be required if using an earlier version of the service information would take about 1 work-hour to inspect for special washer migration and corrosion damage and require parts costing $100 for replacement of the special washer and application of witness paint, if necessary, for a cost of $185 per product. We have no way of determining the number of products that may need these actions.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this AD:

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1093; 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 the NPRM, 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.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Amendment 39-17807 (79 FR 17395, March 28, 2014) and adding the following new AD: 2015-06-01 British Aerospace Regional Aircraft: Amendment 39-18119; Docket No. FAA-2014-1093; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-035-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective April 24, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes AD 2014-06-03, Amendment 39-17806 (79 FR 17395; March 28, 2014).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Jetstream Series 3101 and Jetstream Model 3201 airplanes, all serial numbers, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 32: Landing Gear.

    (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. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as stress corrosion cracking of the main landing gear (MLG) spigot housing. We are issuing this AD to prevent corrosion cracking of the MLG spigot housing. This condition, if not corrected, could cause structural failure of the MLG resulting in loss of control of the airplane during take-off or landing.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(11) of this AD, including all subparagraphs, as applicable.

    (1) At the next scheduled MLG removal, modify the installation of the left hand (LH) and right hand (RH) MLG at the forward spigot following British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 and 3200 Service Bulletin No. 32-JM7862, Revision 3, dated October 3, 2014.

    Note to paragraph (f)(1) of this AD:

    The next scheduled MLG removal may be for non-destructive testing or overhaul, as applicable.

    (2) If done before April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), we will accept modification of the LH or RG MLG following British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin SB 32-JM7862, Revision 2, dated June 13, 2014; or British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-JM7862, Revision 1, dated May 7, 2013, for compliance with paragraph (f)(1) of this AD.

    (3) For airplanes that, before April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), have been modified following British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-JM7862, Revision 2, dated June 13, 2014, visually inspect the LH and RH MLG to detect migration of a special washer following the instructions in Part 1 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014, at the compliance time listed in paragraph (f)(3)(i) or (f)(3)(ii) of this AD, as applicable.

    (i) For MLG configuration equipped with DTD5094 cylinder: Within the next 200 flight cycles after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 2 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first.

    (ii) For MLG configuration equipped with L161 cylinder: Within the next 600 flight cycles after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 6 months after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs first.

    (4) If evidence of migration of the special washer was detected during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(3) of this AD, within the applicable compliance time specified in paragraph (f)(3)(i) or (f)(3)(ii) of this AD, do the corrective actions on the LH or RH MLG, as applicable, following Part 2 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014.

    (5) If no evidence of migration of the special washer was detected during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(3) of this AD, before further flight, apply a witness paint over the special washer tab and onto the MLG spigot housing (LH and RH MLG) following Part 1 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014.

    (6) For airplanes that, before April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), have been modified following British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-JM7862, Revision 1, dated May 7, 2013, do all of the actions on the MLG cylinder (LH and/or RH, as applicable) following the instructions in Part 2 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014, at the compliance time listed in paragraph (f)(6)(i) or (f)(6)(ii), as applicable.

    (i) For MLG configuration equipped with DTD5094 cylinder: Within the next 200 flight cycles after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 2 months after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs first.

    (ii) For MLG configuration equipped with L161 cylinder: Within the next 600 flight cycles after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 6 months after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs first.

    (7) If any wear, corrosion, or damage is detected during the inspection required in either paragraph (f)(3) or (f)(6), as applicable, of this AD, before further flight, do all of the corrective actions (including application of the a witness paint) following the instructions in Part 2 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014.

    (8) Between 30 and 45 days after doing the action required in either paragraph (f)(3) or (f)(6) of this AD or between the next 20 to 30 flight cycles after doing the action required in either paragraph (f)(3) or (f)(6) of this AD, whichever occurs first, inspect the witness paint applied as required in either paragraph (f)(5) or (f)(7) of this AD following the instructions in Part 3 of British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014.

    (9) If any damaged paint is detected during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(8) of this AD, before further flight, contact British Aerospace Regional Aircraft to obtain FAA-approved repair instructions approved specifically for this AD and incorporate those instructions. You may find the contact information for British Aerospace Regional Aircraft in paragraph (h) of this AD.

    (10) As of April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), do not install a LH or RH MLG on any of the applicable airplanes unless it has passed all of the inspections required by this AD.

    (11) For all airplanes: The compliance times for paragraphs (f)(3)(i), (f)(3)(ii), (f)(6)(i), (f)(6)(ii), and (f)(8) of this AD are presented in flight cycles (landings). If the total flight cycles have not been kept, multiply the total number of airplane hours time-in-service (TIS) by 0.75 to calculate the cycles. You may use the following as an example for this AD:

    (i) 200 hours TIS × .75 = 150 cycles; or

    (ii) 600 hours TIS × .75 = 450 cycles.

    (g) 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: Taylor Martin, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4138; 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.

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI found in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, AD No. 2014-0239, dated November 3, 2014; and British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin SB 32-JA851226, Revision 5, dated April 30, 2013; British Aerospace Jetstream and British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-JM7862, Revision 1, dated May 7, 2013, for related information. The MCAI can be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-1093-0002.

    (i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 and 3200 Service Bulletin No. 32-JM7862, Revision 3, dated October 3, 2014.

    (ii) British Aerospace Jetstream Series 3100 & 3200 Service Bulletin 32-A-JA140940, Original Issue, dated October 3, 2014.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd, Customer Information Department, Prestwick International Airport, Ayrshire, KA9 2RW, Scotland, United Kingdom; phone: +44 1292 675207, fax: +44 1292 675704; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.jetstreamcentral.com.

    (4) You may view this service information 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. In addition, you can access this service information on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1093.

    (5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 10, 2015. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06053 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-037-AD; Amendment 39-18120; AD 2015-06-02] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Model GA8-TC320 airplanes. This AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued 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 missing required engine mount fire seal washers, which could reduce the engine retention capability in the event of a fire. We are issuing this AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 24, 2015.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in the AD as of April 24, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; or in person at Document Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    For service information identified in this AD, contact GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd, c/o GippsAero Pty Ltd, Attn: Technical Services, P.O. Box 881, Morwell Victoria 3840, Australia; telephone: +61 03 5172 1200; fax: +61 03 5172 1201; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.gippsaero.com/customer-support/technical-publications.aspx. You may view this 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. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to add an AD that would apply to GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd Model GA8-TC320 airplane. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2015 (80 FR 419). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country. The MCAI states:

    A recent review of the engine mount installation on the GA8-TC 320 aircraft has highlighted the omission of engine mount fire seal washers during the assembly process.

    The current engine mount configuration does not meet the certification basis for the aircraft, specifically regulation 23.865 of the Federal Aviation Regulations of the United States of America, where engine mounts located in designated fire zones are required to be suitably shielded so that they are capable of withstanding the effects of a fire.

    The Gippsland Aeronautics GA8-TC 320 aircraft require the installation of an approved steel washer at each of the engine mount locations to address a potential risk of reduced engine retention capability in the event of a fire.

    The MCAI can be found in the AD docket on the Internet at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-1123-0002. Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 419, January 6, 2015) or on the determination of the cost to the public.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD as proposed except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 419, January 6, 2015) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

    • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 419, January 6, 2015).

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014. The GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014 describes procedures for inspecting the orientation of the engine isolator mounts to verify proper installation, re-installing if necessary, and installing steel washers on the forward side of each side of the engine isolator mounts. This service information is reasonably available; see ADDRESSES for ways to access this service information.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD will affect 13 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 5 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $10 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $5,655, or $435 per product.

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

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this AD:

    (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866,

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; 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 the NPRM, 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.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new AD: 2015-06-02 GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd: Amendment 39-18120; Docket No. FAA-2014-1123; Directorate Identifier 2014-CE-037-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This airworthiness directive (AD) becomes effective April 24, 2015.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to GA8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd GA8-TC320 airplanes, all serial numbers affected, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 71: Power Plant.

    (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. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as missing required engine mount fire seal washers, which could reduce the engine retention capability in the event of a fire. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct the omission of steel washers at each isolator mount location, which, if not corrected, could result in reduced engine retention capability in the event of a fire.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, comply with this AD within the compliance times specified in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(4) of this AD:

    (1) Within the next 300 hours time-in-service after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 12 months after April 24, 2015 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs first, inspect the orientation of the engine isolator mounts to verify that the mounts have been installed properly following the Accomplishment Instructions in GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

    (2) Before reinstalling the engine isolator mounts following the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, before further flight, install a part number J-2218-61 steel washer on the forward side of each of the four engine isolator mounts, following the Accomplishment Instructions in GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

    (3) If during the inspection required in paragraph (f)(1) of this AD, any of the engine isolator mounts are found to not comply with the specifications found in the Accomplishment Instructions of GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014, before further flight, re-install the isolators to the correct orientation, or if damage is found, replace with airworthy parts.

    (g) 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: Doug Rudolph, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4059; 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.

    (3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in this AD, a federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) AD No. AD/GA8/8, dated November 24, 2014. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123.

    (i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) GippsAero Mandatory Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2014-115, Issue 1, dated October 6, 2014.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For GippsAero service information identified in this AD, contact GA 8 Airvan (Pty) Ltd, c/o GippsAero Pty Ltd, Attn: Technical Services, P.O. Box 881, Morwell Victoria 3840, Australia; telephone: + 61 03 5172 1200; fax: +61 03 5172 1201; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.gippsaero.com/customer-support/technical-publications.aspx.

    (4) You may view this 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. In addition, you can access this service information on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-1123.

    (5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 12, 2015. Robert Busto, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06234 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0871; Airspace Docket No. 14-AWP-8] Amendment of Class E Airspace; Coaldale, NV AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action modifies Class E airspace at the Coaldale VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range Tactical Air Navigation Aid (VORTAC), Coaldale, NV, to facilitate vectoring of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) aircraft under control of Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). This action also corrects the Title of this rulemaking by classifying this action as an amendment of versus establishment of Class E airspace, as reflected in the NRPM. This action enhances the safety and management of IFR operations within the National Airspace System (NAS).

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, April 30, 2015. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/airtraffic/publications/. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and ATC Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: History

    On December 12, 2014 the FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish Class E en route domestic airspace at the Coaldale VORTAC, Coaldale, NV (79 FR 73854). Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal to the FAA. One comment was received from the National Business Aviation Association in support of the proposal. Subsequent to publication, the FAA found Class E airspace already exists for the Coaldale VORTAC, NV. Therefore, this final rule is an amendment versus establishment of controlled airspace.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6006, of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Y, airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014. FAA Order 7400.9Y is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this final rule. FAA Order 7400.9Y lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Rule

    This amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 modifies Class E en route domestic airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface at the Coaldale VORTAC navigation aid, Coaldale, NV. By this action, aircraft are contained while in IFR conditions under control of Oakland ARTCC by vectoring aircraft from en route airspace to terminal areas. This action enhances the safety and management of controlled airspace within the NAS. The Title heading for this document is changed from Establishment of Class E Airspace to Amendment of Class E Airspace, Coaldale, NV, with minor edits, as Class E airspace already exists for the Coaldale VORTAC, Coaldale, NV.

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore, (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a Regulatory Evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

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

    Environmental Review

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

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6006 En Route Domestic Airspace Areas. AWP NV E6 Coaldale, NV [Modified] Coaldale VORTAC, NV (Lat. 38°00′12″ N., long. 117°46′14″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface within an area bounded by a line beginning at lat. 39°39′28″ N., long. 117°59′55″ W.; to lat. 37°55′11″ N., long. 117°53′37″ W.; to lat. 38°13′30″ N., long. 117°16′30″ W.; to lat. 38°05′00″ N., long. 117°16′00″ W.; to lat. 37°53′00″ N., long. 117°05′41″ W.; to lat. 37°33′00″ N., long. 117°05′41″ W.; to lat. 37°26′30″ N., long. 117°04′33″ W.; to lat. 37°22′00″ N., long. 117°00′30″ W.; to lat. 37°12′00″ N., long. 117°20′00″ W.; to lat. 37°12′02″ N., long. 117°53′49″ W.; to lat. 37°12′00″ N., long. 118°35′00″ W.; to lat. 36°08′00″ N., long. 118°35′00″ W.; to lat. 36°08′00″ N., long. 118°52′00″ W.; to lat. 37°47′57″ N., long. 120°22′00″ W.; to lat. 38°53′30″ N., long. 119°49′00″ W.; thence to the point of beginning.

    Issued in Seattle, Washington, on March 12, 2015. Christopher Ramirez, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, AJV-W2.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06325 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31004; Amdt. No. 3631] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule establishes, amends, suspends, or removes Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs) and associated Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODPs) for operations at certain airports. These regulatory actions are needed because of the adoption of new or revised criteria, or because of changes occurring in the National Airspace System, such as the commissioning of new navigational facilities, adding new obstacles, or changing air traffic requirements. These changes are designed to provide safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace and to promote safe flight operations under instrument flight rules at the affected airports.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Availability of matters incorporated by reference in the amendment is as follows:

    For Examination

    1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Ops-M30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Bldg., Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001.

    2. The FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located;

    3. The office of Aeronautical Navigation Products, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 or,

    4. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    Availability

    All SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs are available online free of charge. Visit the National Flight Data Center at nfdc.faa.gov to register. Additionally, individual SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP copies may be obtained from the FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard A. Dunham III, Flight Procedure Standards Branch (AFS-420), Flight Technologies and Programs Divisions, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK. 73169 (Mail Address: P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125) Telephone: (405) 954-4164.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This rule amends Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97), by establishing, amending, suspending, or removes SIAPS, Takeoff Minimums and/or ODPS. The complete regulatory description of each SIAP and its associated Takeoff Minimums or ODP for an identified airport is listed on FAA form documents which are incorporated by reference in this amendment under 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 1 CFR part 51, and 14 CFR 97.20. The applicable FAA forms are FAA Forms 8260-3, 8260-4, 8260-5, 8260-15A, and 8260-15B when required by an entry on 8260-15A.

    The large number of SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, their complex nature, and the need for a special format make publication in the Federal Register expensive and impractical. Further, airmen do not use the regulatory text of the SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums or ODPs, but instead refer to their graphic depiction on charts printed by publishers of aeronautical materials. Thus, the advantages of incorporation by reference are realized and publication of the complete description of each SIAP, Takeoff Minimums and ODP listed on FAA form documents is unnecessary. This amendment provides the affected CFR sections and specifies the types of SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs with their applicable effective dates. This amendment also identifies the airport and its location, the procedure, and the amendment number.

    Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

    The material incorporated by reference is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    The material incorporated by reference describes SIAPS, Takeoff Minimums and/or ODPS as identified in the amendatory language for part 97 of this final rule.

    The Rule

    This amendment to 14 CFR part 97 is effective upon publication of each separate SIAP, Takeoff Minimums and ODP as Amended in the transmittal. Some SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and textual ODP amendments may have been issued previously by the FAA in a Flight Data Center (FDC) Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) as an emergency action of immediate flight safety relating directly to published aeronautical charts.

    The circumstances that created the need for some SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP amendments may require making them effective in less than 30 days. For the remaining SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, an effective date at least 30 days after publication is provided.

    Further, the SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs contained in this amendment are based on the criteria contained in the U.S. Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). In developing these SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, the TERPS criteria were applied to the conditions existing or anticipated at the affected airports. Because of the close and immediate relationship between these SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, and safety in air commerce, I find that notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest and, where applicable, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), good cause exists for making some SIAPs effective in less than 30 days.

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore—(1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. For the same reason, the FAA certifies that this amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

    Air traffic control, Airports, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97) is amended by establishing, amending, suspending, or removing Standard Instrument Approach Procedures and/or Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures effective at 0901 UTC on the dates specified, as follows:

    PART 97—STANDARD INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 97 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40106, 40113, 40114, 40120, 44502, 44514, 44701, 44719, 44721-44722.

    2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows: Effective 2 April 2015 Algona, IA, Algona Muni, NDB RWY 12, Amdt 6B, CANCELED Olathe, KS, New Century Aircenter, ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 36, Amdt 7 Pittsfield, MA, Pittsfield Muni, LOC/DME RWY 26, Amdt 9A Llano, TX, Llano Muni, VOR-A, Amdt 4 Mineola/Quitman, TX, Wood County, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 1 New Lisbon, WI, Mauston-New Lisbon Union, RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig-A New Lisbon, WI, Mauston-New Lisbon Union, RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig-A Effective 30 April 2015 Palatka, FL, Palatka Muni-Lt. Kay Larkin Field, NDB RWY 9, Amdt 3, CANCELED Kahului, HI, Kahului, LOC/DME BC RWY 20, Amdt 14, CANCELED Charlotte, NC, Charlotte/Douglas Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 18L, Orig-B, CANCELED Charlotte, NC, Charlotte/Douglas Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 18R, Orig-B, CANCELED Charlotte, NC, Charlotte/Douglas Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 36L, Orig-B, CANCELED Charlotte, NC, Charlotte/Douglas Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 36R, Orig-B, CANCELED Las Vegas, NV, Mc Carran Intl, ILS OR LOC RWY 25L, Amdt 4 Bristow, OK, Jones Memorial, RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1 Bristow, OK, Jones Memorial, RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1 Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Muni, NDB RWY 35, Amdt 4, CANCELED Denton, TX, Denton Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 2 Walla Walla, WA, Walla Walla Rgnl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 4A Walla Walla, WA, Walla Walla Rgnl, VOR RWY 20, Orig Rawlins, WY, Rawlins Muni/Harvey Field, RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Amdt 1 Rawlins, WY, Rawlins Muni/Harvey Field, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 4 Rawlins, WY, Rawlins Muni/Harvey Field, VOR/DME RWY 22, Amdt 2A, CANCELED
    [FR Doc. 2015-06250 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31005; Amdt. No. 3632] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule amends, suspends, or removes Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs) and associated Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures for operations at certain airports. These regulatory actions are needed because of the adoption of new or revised criteria, or because of changes occurring in the National Airspace System, such as the commissioning of new navigational facilities, adding new obstacles, or changing air traffic requirements. These changes are designed to provide for the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace and to promote safe flight operations under instrument flight rules at the affected airports.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Availability of matter incorporated by reference in the amendment is as follows:

    For Examination

    1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Ops-M30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Bldg., Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001;

    2. The FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located;

    3. The office of Aeronautical Navigation Products, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 or,

    4. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    Availability

    All SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs are available online free of charge. Visit the National Flight Data Center online at nfdc.faa.gov to register. Additionally, individual SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP copies may be obtained from the FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard A. Dunham III, Flight Procedure Standards Branch (AFS-420)Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 (Mail Address: P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125) telephone: (405) 954-4164.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This rule amends Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97) by amending the referenced SIAPs. The complete regulatory description of each SIAP is listed on the appropriate FAA Form 8260, as modified by the National Flight Data Center (NFDC)/Permanent Notice to Airmen (P-NOTAM), and is incorporated by reference under 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 1 CFR part 51, and 14 CFR 97.20. The large number of SIAPs, their complex nature, and the need for a special format make their verbatim publication in the Federal Register expensive and impractical. Further, airmen do not use the regulatory text of the SIAPs, but refer to their graphic depiction on charts printed by publishers of aeronautical materials. Thus, the advantages of incorporation by reference are realized and publication of the complete description of each SIAP contained on FAA form documents is unnecessary. This amendment provides the affected CFR sections, and specifies the SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs with their applicable effective dates. This amendment also identifies the airport and its location, the procedure and the amendment number.

    Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

    The material incorporated by reference is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    The material incorporated by reference describes SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs as identified in the amendatory language for part 97 of this final rule.

    The Rule

    This amendment to 14 CFR part 97 is effective upon publication of each separate SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP as amended in the transmittal. For safety and timeliness of change considerations, this amendment incorporates only specific changes contained for each SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP as modified by FDC permanent NOTAMs.

    The SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, as modified by FDC permanent NOTAM, and contained in this amendment are based on the criteria contained in the U.S. Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). In developing these changes to SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, the TERPS criteria were applied only to specific conditions existing at the affected airports. All SIAP amendments in this rule have been previously issued by the FAA in a FDC NOTAM as an emergency action of immediate flight safety relating directly to published aeronautical charts.

    The circumstances that created the need for these SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP amendments require making them effective in less than 30 days.

    Because of the close and immediate relationship between these SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, and safety in air commerce, I find that notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest and, where applicable, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), good cause exists for making these SIAPs effective in less than 30 days.

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore—(1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. For the same reason, the FAA certifies that this amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

    Air traffic control, Airports, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, Title 14, Code of Federal regulations, Part 97, (14 CFR part 97), is amended by amending Standard Instrument Approach Procedures and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, effective at 0901 UTC on the dates specified, as follows:

    PART 97—STANDARD INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 97 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40106, 40113, 40114, 40120, 44502, 44514, 44701, 44719, 44721-44722.

    2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows:
    §§ 97.23, 97.25, 97.27, 97.29, 97.31, 97.33, 97.35 [AMENDED]

    By amending: § 97.23 VOR, VOR/DME, VOR or TACAN, and VOR/DME or TACAN; § 97.25 LOC, LOC/DME, LDA, LDA/DME, SDF, SDF/DME; § 97.27 NDB, NDB/DME; § 97.29 ILS, ILS/DME, MLS, MLS/DME, MLS/RNAV; § 97.31 RADAR SIAPs; § 97.33 RNAV SIAPs; and § 97.35 COPTER SIAPs, Identified as follows:

    * * *Effective Upon Publication AIRAC Date State City Airport FDC No. FDC Date Subject 2-Apr-15 MO Cassville Cassville Muni 4/0064 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MO Cassville Cassville Muni 4/0065 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MO Cape Girardeau Cape Girardeau Rgnl 4/0066 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 20, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MN Wadena Wadena Muni 4/0067 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MN Buffalo Buffalo Muni 4/0068 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Alpena Alpena County Rgnl 4/0085 02/02/15 NDB RWY 1, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 MI Alpena Alpena County Rgnl 4/0087 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 1, Amdt 9. 2-Apr-15 MI Alpena Alpena County Rgnl 4/0088 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 MO Potosi Washington County 4/0098 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 20, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 AR Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge Rgnl 4/0132 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 AR Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge Rgnl 4/0143 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 AR Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge Rgnl 4/0147 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MO Cape Girardeau Cape Girardeau Rgnl 4/0160 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MO Cape Girardeau Cape Girardeau Rgnl 4/0170 02/02/15 VOR RWY 10, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 MO Cape Girardeau Cape Girardeau Rgnl 4/0172 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10, Amdt 12. 2-Apr-15 IN Connersville Mettel Field 4/0186 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 IN Connersville Mettel Field 4/0187 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 18, Orig.-B. 2-Apr-15 MN Waseca Waseca Muni 4/0204 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MO Potosi Washington County 4/0214 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 MI Sault Ste Marie Sault Ste Marie Muni/Sanderson Field 4/0215 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Sault Ste Marie Sault Ste Marie Muni/Sanderson Field 4/0235 02/02/15 VOR RWY 32, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 ND Linton Linton Muni 4/0392 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MO Butler Butler Memorial 4/0434 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MO Butler Butler Memorial 4/0435 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MN Waseca Waseca Muni 4/0477 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Kalamazoo Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl 4/0490 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IA Algona Algona Muni 4/0496 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 ND Wahpeton Harry Stern 4/0511 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MN Wadena Wadena Muni 4/0515 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MN Grand Marais Grand Marais/Cook County 4/0546 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MN Cambridge Cambridge Muni 4/0935 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MN Cambridge Cambridge Muni 4/0937 02/02/15 NDB RWY 34, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 MN Cambridge Cambridge Muni 4/0938 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MO Kaiser/Lake Ozark Lee C Fine Memorial 4/0956 02/02/15 VOR RWY 4, Amdt 7A. 2-Apr-15 MO Kaiser/Lake Ozark Lee C Fine Memorial 4/0960 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IA Burlington Southeast Iowa Rgnl 4/6663 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IL Belleville Scott AFB/MidAmerica 5/3904 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 32L, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 IL Belleville Scott AFB/MidAmerica 5/3905 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32L, Orig.-C. 2-Apr-15 IL Belleville Scott AFB/MidAmerica 5/3906 02/02/15 TACAN RWY 32L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IL Cairo Cairo Rgnl 5/3907 02/02/15 NDB RWY 14, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 IL Cairo Cairo Rgnl 5/3908 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IL Cairo Cairo Rgnl 5/3909 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IL Flora Flora Muni 5/3920 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 21, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 IL Galesburg Galesburg Muni 5/3921 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 3, Amdt 10. 2-Apr-15 IL Galesburg Galesburg Muni 5/3922 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 3, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IL Galesburg Galesburg Muni 5/3923 02/02/15 VOR RWY 3, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 IL Kankakee Greater Kankakee 5/3927 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IL Kankakee Greater Kankakee 5/3928 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IN Indianapolis Hendricks County-Gordon Graham Fld 5/3930 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IN Frankfort Frankfort Muni 5/4029 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IN Gary Gary/Chicago Intl 5/4107 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 30, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IN Gary Gary/Chicago Intl 5/4108 02/06/15 NDB RWY 30, Amdt 7C. 2-Apr-15 IN Indianapolis Indianapolis Rgnl 5/4193 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IN Kokomo Kokomo Muni 5/4224 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig. 2-Apr-15 KS El Dorado El Dorado/Captain Jack Thomas Memorial 5/4230 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Metropolitan, Ryan Field 5/4268 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 LA Bogalusa George R Carr Memorial Air Fld 5/4292 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Jonesboro Jonesboro 5/4303 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 LA Jonesboro Jonesboro 5/4304 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 LA Leesville Leesville 5/4308 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Leesville Leesville 5/4309 02/02/15 NDB RWY 36, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 LA Leesville Leesville 5/4310 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 LA Lake Charles Lake Charles Rgnl 5/4313 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 LA Lake Charles Lake Charles Rgnl 5/4314 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Lake Charles Lake Charles Rgnl 5/4315 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 15, Amdt 21. 2-Apr-15 LA Lafayette Lafayette Rgnl 5/4316 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Lafayette Lafayette Rgnl 5/4317 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 LA Lafayette Lafayette Rgnl 5/4318 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 4R, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 LA Lafayette Lafayette Rgnl 5/4319 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 22L, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 MI Niles Jerry Tyler Memorial 5/4327 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Niles Jerry Tyler Memorial 5/4328 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 MI Sault Ste Marie Sault Ste Marie Muni/Sanderson Field 5/4331 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Battle Creek W K Kellogg 5/4333 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Battle Creek W K Kellogg 5/4334 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 23R, Amdt 18. 2-Apr-15 MI Battle Creek W K Kellogg 5/4335 02/02/15 NDB RWY 23R, Amdt 18. 2-Apr-15. MI Romeo Romeo State 5/4351 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 MI Romeo Romeo State 5/4352 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Sturgis Kirsch Muni 5/4355 02/02/15 NDB RWY 18, Amdt 5C. 2-Apr-15 MI Sturgis Kirsch Muni 5/4356 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Menominee Menominee-Marinette Twin County 5/4357 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Howell Livingston County Spencer J Hardy 5/4358 02/02/15 VOR RWY 31, Amdt 11. 2-Apr-15 MI Howell Livingston County Spencer J Hardy 5/4359 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Howell Livingston County Spencer J Hardy 5/4360 02/02/15 NDB RWY 13, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 MI Howell Livingston County Spencer J Hardy 5/4361 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 MI Howell Livingston County Spencer J Hardy 5/4362 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Marshall Brooks Field 5/4364 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Mason Mason Jewett Field 5/4365 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 MI Owosso Owosso Community 5/4366 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 OH Bryan Williams County 5/4368 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Ashland Ashland County 5/4370 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Orig.-B. 2-Apr-15 OH Woodsfield Monroe County 5/4371 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Woodsfield Monroe County 5/4372 01/27/15 VOR/DME RWY 25, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 OH Mount Vernon Knox County 5/4373 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Mount Vernon Knox County 5/4374 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Middlefield Geauga County 5/4375 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Middlefield Geauga County 5/4376 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 29, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Cadiz Harrison County 5/4377 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Tiffin Seneca County 5/4432 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Lima Lima Allen County 5/4466 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Akron Akron-Canton Rgnl 5/4467 02/02/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 5, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 OH Cleveland Cuyahoga County 5/4509 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Cleveland Cuyahoga County 5/4510 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 24, Amdt 15. 2-Apr-15 OH Cleveland Cuyahoga County 5/4511 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Littlefield Littlefield Taylor Brown Muni 5/4603 01/27/15 NDB RWY 1, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Littlefield Littlefield Taylor Brown Muni 5/4605 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Defiance Defiance Memorial 5/4646 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Bellefontaine Bellefontaine Rgnl 5/4652 02/02/15 VOR/DME RWY 7, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 OH Bellefontaine Bellefontaine Rgnl 5/4653 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Fostoria Fostoria Metropolitan 5/4752 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Gallipolis Gallia-Meigs Rgnl 5/4753 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4803 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 21L, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4804 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 3R, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4805 02/04/15 NDB RWY 21L, Amdt 17. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4806 02/04/15 LOC BC RWY 3R, Amdt 8C. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4807 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Cincinnati Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field 5/4808 02/04/15 NDB RWY 25, Amdt 12. 2-Apr-15 OH Mansfield Mansfield Lahm Rgnl 5/4809 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Mansfield Mansfield Lahm Rgnl 5/4810 01/27/15 VOR RWY 14, Amdt 15. 2-Apr-15 OH Mansfield Mansfield Lahm Rgnl 5/4811 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig.-B. 2-Apr-15 OH Middletown Middletown Regional/Hook Field 5/4812 01/27/15 NDB RWY 23, Amdt 9. 2-Apr-15 OH Middletown Middletown Regional/Hook Field 5/4813 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Middletown Middletown Regional/Hook Field 5/4814 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Oxford Miami University 5/4815 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Oxford Miami University 5/4816 02/05/15 NDB RWY 5, Amdt 11. 2-Apr-15 OH Oxford Miami University 5/4817 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Chillicothe Ross County 5/4818 02/05/15 VOR RWY 23, Amdt 3D. 2-Apr-15 OH Chillicothe Ross County 5/4819 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Fremont Sandusky County Rgnl 5/4820 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Wauseon Fulton County 5/4821 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Youngstown/Warren Youngstown-Warren Rgnl 5/4822 02/05/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 14, Amdt 8. 2-Apr-15 OK Clinton Clinton Rgnl 5/4825 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 OK Clinton Clinton Rgnl 5/4826 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 OK Guymon Guymon Muni 5/4827 02/05/15 NDB RWY 18, Amdt 5A. 2-Apr-15 OK Guymon Guymon Muni 5/4828 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OK Guymon Guymon Muni 5/4829 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OK Tulsa Tulsa Intl 5/4832 02/05/15 VOR OR TACAN RWY 26, Amdt 24C. 2-Apr-15 OK Tulsa Tulsa Intl 5/4833 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 26, Amdt 3B. 2-Apr-15 SD Britton Britton Muni 5/4834 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 SD Britton Britton Muni 5/4835 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Lamesa Lamesa Muni 5/4836 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Lamesa Lamesa Muni 5/4837 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Commerce Commerce Muni 5/4838 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Commerce Commerce Muni 5/4839 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Kenedy Karnes County 5/4840 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Kenedy Karnes County 5/4841 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Lakeway Lakeway Airpark 5/4842 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX La Grange Fayette Rgnl Air Center 5/4843 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX La Grange Fayette Rgnl Air Center 5/4844 02/05/15 VOR/DME A, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 TX La Grange Fayette Rgnl Air Center 5/4845 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX San Antonio Boerne Stage Field 5/4846 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Crosbyton Crosbyton Muni 5/4847 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Brenham Brenham Muni 5/4848 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Fort Worth Bourland Field 5/4849 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Lockhart Lockhart Muni 5/4851 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Lockhart Lockhart Muni 5/4852 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Navasota Navasota Muni 5/4853 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Winters Winters Muni 5/4854 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Kountze/Silsbee Hawthorne Field 5/4855 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco Waco Rgnl 5/4856 02/06/15 VOR/DME RWY 32, Amdt 15A. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco Waco Rgnl 5/4857 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig.-C. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco Waco Rgnl 5/4858 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco Waco Rgnl 5/4859 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig.-A. 2-Apr-15 TX Alice Alice Intl 5/4861 02/06/15 VOR RWY 31, Amdt 13C. 2-Apr-15 TX Alice Alice Intl 5/4862 02/06/15 LOC/DME RWY 31, Orig.-C. 2-Apr-15 TX Alice Alice Intl 5/4863 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1D. 2-Apr-15 TX Marshall Harrison County 5/4864 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Marshall Harrison County 5/4865 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Bryan Coulter Field 5/4866 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Cleburne Cleburne Rgnl 5/4871 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Monahans Roy Hurd Memorial 5/4887 01/27/15 VOR/DME RWY 12, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 TX Monahans Roy Hurd Memorial 5/4888 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Monahans Roy Hurd Memorial 5/4889 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Orig. 2-Apr-15 IL Lawrenceville Lawrenceville-Vincennes Intl 5/5084 02/02/15 VOR RWY 36, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 IL Lawrenceville Lawrenceville-Vincennes Intl 5/5085 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 IL Lawrenceville Lawrenceville-Vincennes Intl 5/5086 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 IL Lawrenceville Lawrenceville-Vincennes Intl 5/5087 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 IL Lawrenceville Lawrenceville-Vincennes Intl 5/5088 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 MI Kalamazoo Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl 5/5123 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Kalamazoo Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl 5/5128 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Kalamazoo Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl 5/5140 02/02/15 VOR RWY 23, Amdt 17A. 2-Apr-15 TX Eagle Lake Eagle Lake 5/5262 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Eagle Lake Eagle Lake 5/5263 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Marysville Union County 5/5266 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX San Antonio Boerne Stage Field 5/5267 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5268 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5L, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5269 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 5L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5270 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23R, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5271 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5272 02/04/15 NDB RWY 23L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5273 02/04/15 NDB RWY 5R, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5274 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 23L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Rickenbacker Intl 5/5275 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 5R, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 OH Batavia Clermont County 5/5870 02/02/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 OH Batavia Clermont County 5/5872 02/02/15 NDB RWY 22, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston David Wayne Hooks Memorial 5/5885 01/27/15 LOC RWY 17R, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston David Wayne Hooks Memorial 5/5886 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17R, Amdt 1C. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston David Wayne Hooks Memorial 5/5887 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35L, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 TX Bonham Jones Field 5/5975 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Fort Worth Fort Worth Spinks 5/5992 02/06/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 35L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Fort Worth Fort Worth Spinks 5/5993 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Longview East Texas Rgnl 5/6000 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6001 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6002 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6003 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6007 02/04/15 VOR RWY 14, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6008 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 14, Amdt 12. 2-Apr-15 TX Galveston Scholes Intl At Galveston 5/6009 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Greenville Majors 5/6018 02/04/15 TACAN RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Greenville Majors 5/6019 02/04/15 TACAN RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Greenville Majors 5/6020 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC Z RWY 17, Amdt 7A. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6031 02/04/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 10R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6032 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10R, ILS RWY 10R (SA CAT I & II), Amdt 9A. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6033 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 10R, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6034 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 28L, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6035 02/04/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 10L, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6036 02/04/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 28R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6037 02/04/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 28L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6038 02/04/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 10L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6039 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10L, Amdt 19. 2-Apr-15 OH Columbus Port Columbus Intl 5/6040 02/04/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 28L, Amdt 29. 2-Apr-15 TX San Marcos San Marcos Muni 5/6282 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX San Marcos San Marcos Muni 5/6283 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX San Marcos San Marcos Muni 5/6284 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX San Marcos San Marcos Muni 5/6285 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Dallas Dallas Love Field 5/6326 01/27/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 31R, ILS RWY 31R (SA CAT I), Amdt 5B. 2-Apr-15 TX Dallas Dallas Love Field 5/6327 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 13L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Dallas Dallas Love Field 5/6328 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 13L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Dallas Dallas Love Field 5/6329 01/27/15 ILS OR LOC Y RWY 13L, Amdt 32A. 2-Apr-15 TX Denton Denton Muni 5/6330 01/27/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 18, Amdt 9. 2-Apr-15 TX Denton Denton Muni 5/6331 01/27/15 NDB RWY 18, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 TX Denton Denton Muni 5/6332 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OK Ardmore Ardmore Muni 5/6333 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OK Ardmore Ardmore Muni 5/6334 01/27/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 31, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston William P Hobby 5/6335 01/27/15 VOR/DME RWY 30L, Amdt 18. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston William P Hobby 5/6336 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30L, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston William P Hobby 5/6337 01/27/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 30L, Amdt 6A. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco TSTC Waco 5/6338 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35R, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco TSTC Waco 5/6339 01/27/15 NDB RWY 35R, Amdt 11B. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6344 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17L, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6347 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 35L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6349 01/27/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 35L, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6351 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 31, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6352 01/27/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6353 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 13, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6354 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35R, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6355 01/27/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 13, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6356 01/27/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 17R, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/6357 01/27/15 RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 17R, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Alpena Alpena County Rgnl 5/6390 02/02/15 VOR RWY 1, Amdt 14C. 2-Apr-15 TX Wink Winkler County 5/6394 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston West Houston 5/6447 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston West Houston 5/6448 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 IN Gary Gary/Chicago Intl 5/6451 02/06/15 COPTER ILS RWY 30, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Jacksonville Cherokee County 5/6474 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Gilmer Fox Stephens Field—Gilmer Muni 5/6477 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Gilmer Fox Stephens Field—Gilmer Muni 5/6478 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Lubbock Lubbock Preston Smith Intl 5/6496 02/06/15 VOR/DME OR TACAN RWY 26, Amdt 11. 2-Apr-15 TX Lubbock Lubbock Preston Smith Intl 5/6497 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Lubbock Lubbock Preston Smith Intl 5/6498 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Lubbock Lubbock Preston Smith Intl 5/6499 02/06/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 26, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 AR Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge Rgnl 5/7014 02/06/15 VOR/DME RWY 22, Amdt 13A. 2-Apr-15 AR Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge Rgnl 5/7017 02/06/15 LOC RWY 18, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8746 02/06/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 13, Amdt 21. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8747 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8748 02/06/15 VOR RWY 31, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8749 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8750 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 TX Tyler Tyler Pounds Rgnl 5/8751 02/06/15 VOR/DME RWY 22, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 WI Ashland John F Kennedy Memorial 5/8755 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Ashland John F Kennedy Memorial 5/8756 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Ashland John F Kennedy Memorial 5/8757 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 20, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Ashland John F Kennedy Memorial 5/8758 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Ashland John F Kennedy Memorial 5/8759 02/06/15 LOC/DME RWY 2, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Amery Amery Muni 5/8760 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Amery Amery Muni 5/8761 02/05/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco McGregor Executive 5/8765 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco McGregor Executive 5/8766 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 TX Eastland Eastland Muni 5/8768 02/06/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 2.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06252 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31006; Amdt. No. 3633] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule establishes, amends, suspends, or removes Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs) and associated Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODPs) for operations at certain airports. These regulatory actions are needed because of the adoption of new or revised criteria, or because of changes occurring in the National Airspace System, such as the commissioning of new navigational facilities, adding new obstacles, or changing air traffic requirements. These changes are designed to provide safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace and to promote safe flight operations under instrument flight rules at the affected airports.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Availability of matters incorporated by reference in the amendment is as follows:

    For Examination

    1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Ops—M30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Bldg., Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001.

    2. The FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located;

    3. The office of Aeronautical Navigation Products, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 or,

    4. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    Availability

    All SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs are available online free of charge. Visit the National Flight Data Center at nfdc.faa.gov to register. Additionally, individual SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP copies may be obtained from the FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard A. Dunham III, Flight Procedure Standards Branch (AFS-420), Flight Technologies and Programs Divisions, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 (Mail Address: P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125) Telephone: (405) 954-4164.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This rule amends Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97), by establishing, amending, suspending, or removes SIAPS, Takeoff Minimums and/or ODPS. The complete regulatory description of each SIAP and its associated Takeoff Minimums or ODP for an identified airport is listed on FAA form documents which are incorporated by reference in this amendment under 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 1 CFR part 51, and 14 CFR part § 97.20. The applicable FAA forms are FAA Forms 8260-3, 8260-4, 8260-5, 8260-15A, and 8260-15B when required by an entry on 8260-15A.

    The large number of SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, their complex nature, and the need for a special format make publication in the Federal Register expensive and impractical. Further, airmen do not use the regulatory text of the SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums or ODPs, but instead refer to their graphic depiction on charts printed by publishers of aeronautical materials. Thus, the advantages of incorporation by reference are realized and publication of the complete description of each SIAP, Takeoff Minimums and ODP listed on FAA form documents is unnecessary. This amendment provides the affected CFR sections and specifies the types of SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs with their applicable effective dates. This amendment also identifies the airport and its location, the procedure, and the amendment number.

    Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

    The material incorporated by reference is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    The material incorporated by reference describes SIAPS, Takeoff Minimums and/or ODPS as identified in the amendatory language for part 97 of this final rule.

    The Rule

    This amendment to 14 CFR part 97 is effective upon publication of each separate SIAP, Takeoff Minimums and ODP as Amended in the transmittal. Some SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and textual ODP amendments may have been issued previously by the FAA in a Flight Data Center (FDC) Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) as an emergency action of immediate flight safety relating directly to published aeronautical charts.

    The circumstances that created the need for some SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP amendments may require making them effective in less than 30 days. For the remaining SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, an effective date at least 30 days after publication is provided.

    Further, the SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs contained in this amendment are based on the criteria contained in the U.S. Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). In developing these SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, the TERPS criteria were applied to the conditions existing or anticipated at the affected airports. Because of the close and immediate relationship between these SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, and safety in air commerce, I find that notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest and, where applicable, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), good cause exists for making some SIAPs effective in less than 30 days.

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore—(1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26,1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. For the same reason, the FAA certifies that this amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

    Air traffic control, Airports, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 27, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97) is amended by establishing, amending, suspending, or removing Standard Instrument Approach Procedures and/or Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures effective at 0901 UTC on the dates specified, as follows:

    PART 97—STANDARD INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 97 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40106, 40113, 40114, 40120, 44502, 44514, 44701, 44719, 44721-44722.

    2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows: Effective 2 April 2015 Albertville, AL, Albertville Rgnl-Thomas J Brumlik Fld, NDB-A, Amdt 4A, CANCELED Albertville, AL, Albertville Rgnl-Thomas J Brumlik Fld, RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Amdt 1 Albertville, AL, Albertville Rgnl-Thomas J Brumlik Fld, RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Amdt 2 Sioux City, IA, Sioux Gateway/Col. Bud Day Field, NDB RWY 17, Amdt 2A, CANCELED Sioux City, IA, Sioux Gateway/Col. Bud Day Field, NDB RWY 35, Orig-F, CANCELED New York, NY, La Guardia, RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig New York, NY, La Guardia, RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1C, CANCELED Clarksburg, WV, North Central West Virginia, ILS OR LOC RWY 21, Amdt 4 Clarksburg, WV, North Central West Virginia, RNAV (GPS) RWY 21, Amdt 2 Effective 30 April 2015 Monterey, CA, Monterey Rgnl, RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 28L, Amdt 1 Monterey, CA, Monterey Rgnl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 7 Oakland, CA, Metropolitan Oakland Intl, RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 28L, Amdt 4 Oakland, CA, Metropolitan Oakland Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 28L, Amdt 2 Santa Rosa, CA, Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County, ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 32, Amdt 19 Santa Rosa, CA, Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1 Santa Rosa, CA, Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County, VOR/DME RWY 32, Amdt 20 Watsonville, CA, Watsonville Muni, WATSONVILLE THREE, Graphic DP New Smyrna Beach, FL, Massey Ranch Airpark, NDB OR GPS RWY 18, Amdt 1A, CANCELED New Smyrna Beach, FL, Massey Ranch Airpark, RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig New Smyrna Beach, FL, Massey Ranch Airpark, RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig Orlando, FL, Orlando Intl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 3 Indianapolis, IN, Hendricks County-Gordon Graham Field, RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig-A Norridgewock, ME, Central Maine Arpt of Norridgewock, GPS RWY 3, Orig-A, CANCELED Norridgewock, ME, Central Maine Arpt of Norridgewock, GPS RWY 15, Orig-A, CANCELED Norridgewock, ME, Central Maine Arpt of Norridgewock, RNAV (GPS) RWY 3, Orig Norridgewock, ME, Central Maine Arpt of Norridgewock, RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig Norridgewock, ME, Central Maine Arpt of Norridgewock, VOR/DME RWY 3, Amdt 3 Warrensburg, MO, Skyhaven, RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Amdt 1 Warrensburg, MO, Skyhaven, RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Amdt 1 Warrensburg, MO, Skyhaven, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2 Warrensburg, MO, Skyhaven, VOR/DME-A Amdt 3 Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, GPS RWY 6, Orig, CANCELED Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, GPS RWY 24, Orig-A, CANCELED Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, GPS RWY 33, Orig, CANCELED Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Orig Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Orig Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2 Dunkirk, NY, Chautauqua County/Dunkirk, VOR RWY 6, Amdt 3 Cincinnati, OH, Cincinnati Muni Airport Lunken Field, RNAV (GPS) RWY 3R, Amdt 1 Thomas, OK, Thomas Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig Thomas, OK, Thomas Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig Thomas, OK, Thomas Muni, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Orig Portland, OR, Portland-Hillsboro, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 7 Redmond, OR, Roberts Field, ILS OR LOC RWY 22, Amdt 4 Rockwall, TX, Ralph M Hall/Rockwall Muni, NDB-A, Orig-C Rockwall, TX, Ralph M Hall/Rockwall Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig-C Rockwall, TX, Ralph M Hall/Rockwall Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig-C
    [FR Doc. 2015-06249 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31007; Amdt. No. 3634] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule amends, suspends, or removes Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs) and associated Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures for operations at certain airports. These regulatory actions are needed because of the adoption of new or revised criteria, or because of changes occurring in the National Airspace System, such as the commissioning of new navigational facilities, adding new obstacles, or changing air traffic requirements. These changes are designed to provide for the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace and to promote safe flight operations under instrument flight rules at the affected airports.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

    The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Availability of matter incorporated by reference in the amendment is as follows:

    For Examination

    1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Ops—M30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Bldg., Ground Floor, Washington, DC, 20590-0001;

    2. The FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located;

    3. The office of Aeronautical Navigation Products, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 or,

    4. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    Availability

    All SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs are available online free of charge. Visit the National Flight Data Center online at nfdc.faa.gov to register. Additionally, individual SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP copies may be obtained from the FAA Air Traffic Organization Service Area in which the affected airport is located.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard A. Dunham III, Flight Procedure Standards Branch (AFS-420) Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, 6500 South MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73169 (Mail Address: P.O. Box 25082 Oklahoma City, OK 73125) telephone: (405) 954-4164.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This rule amends Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97 (14 CFR part 97) by amending the referenced SIAPs. The complete regulatory description of each SIAP is listed on the appropriate FAA Form 8260, as modified by the National Flight Data Center (NFDC)/Permanent Notice to Airmen (P-NOTAM), and is incorporated by reference under 5 U.S.C. 552(a), 1 CFR part 51, and 14 CFR 97.20. The large number of SIAPs, their complex nature, and the need for a special format make their verbatim publication in the Federal Register expensive and impractical. Further, airmen do not use the regulatory text of the SIAPs, but refer to their graphic depiction on charts printed by publishers of aeronautical materials. Thus, the advantages of incorporation by reference are realized and publication of the complete description of each SIAP contained on FAA form documents is unnecessary.

    This amendment provides the affected CFR sections, and specifies the SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs with their applicable effective dates. This amendment also identifies the airport and its location, the procedure and the amendment number.

    Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

    The material incorporated by reference is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    The material incorporated by reference describes SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs as identified in the amendatory language for part 97 of this final rule.

    The Rule

    This amendment to 14 CFR part 97 is effective upon publication of each separate SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP as amended in the transmittal. For safety and timeliness of change considerations, this amendment incorporates only specific changes contained for each SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP as modified by FDC permanent NOTAMs.

    The SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, as modified by FDC permanent NOTAM, and contained in this amendment are based on the criteria contained in the U.S. Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). In developing these changes to SIAPs and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, the TERPS criteria were applied only to specific conditions existing at the affected airports. All SIAP amendments in this rule have been previously issued by the FAA in a FDC NOTAM as an emergency action of immediate flight safety relating directly to published aeronautical charts.

    The circumstances that created the need for these SIAP and Takeoff Minimums and ODP amendments require making them effective in less than 30 days.

    Because of the close and immediate relationship between these SIAPs, Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, and safety in air commerce, I find that notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest and, where applicable, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), good cause exists for making these SIAPs effective in less than 30 days.

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore—(1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. For the same reason, the FAA certifies that this amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

    Air traffic control, Airports, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 27, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, Title 14, Code of Federal regulations, Part 97, (14 CFR part 97), is amended by amending Standard Instrument Approach Procedures and Takeoff Minimums and ODPs, effective at 0901 UTC on the dates specified, as follows:

    PART 97—STANDARD INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 97 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40106, 40113, 40114, 40120, 44502, 44514, 44701, 44719, 44721-44722.

    2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows:
    §§ 97.23, 97.25, 97.27, 97.29, 97.31, 97.33, 97.35 [AMENDED]

    By amending: § 97.23 VOR, VOR/DME, VOR or TACAN, and VOR/DME or TACAN; § 97.25 LOC, LOC/DME, LDA, LDA/DME, SDF, SDF/DME; § 97.27 NDB, NDB/DME; § 97.29 ILS, ILS/DME, MLS, MLS/DME, MLS/RNAV; § 97.31 RADAR SIAPs; § 97.33 RNAV SIAPs; and § 97.35 COPTER SIAPs, Identified as follows:

    * * * Effective Upon Publication AIRAC Date State City Airport FDC No. FDC Date Subject 2-Apr-15 MI Lapeer Dupont-Lapeer 4/0291 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 ND Rolla Rolla Muni 4/0303 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Hancock Houghton County Memorial 4/0405 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Hancock Houghton County Memorial 4/0436 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Grand Ledge Abrams Muni 4/0439 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Lapeer Dupont-Lapeer 4/0559 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MI Marlette Marlette 4/0697 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MI Marlette Marlette 4/0698 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MN Perham Perham Muni 4/0802 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig. 2-Apr-15 MN Cook Cook Muni 4/0981 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MN Cook Cook Muni 4/0982 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0213 02/12/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 6, Amdt 6A. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0214 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0215 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 6, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0216 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0217 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 24, Amdt 4B. 2-Apr-15 NY Poughkeepsie Dutchess County 5/0218 02/12/15 VOR A, Amdt 11A. 2-Apr-15 TN Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Muni 5/0816 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 TN Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Muni 5/0817 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 NC Hickory Hickory Rgnl 5/0831 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 24, Orig-D. 2-Apr-15 PA Franklin Venango Rgnl 5/0852 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 3, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 PA Franklin Venango Rgnl 5/0853 02/12/15 VOR RWY 3, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 PA Franklin Venango Rgnl 5/0854 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 21, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 PA Franklin Venango Rgnl 5/0855 02/12/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 21, Amdt 6. 2-Apr-15 TN Morristown Moore-Murrell 5/1167 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 MT Forsyth Tillitt Field 5/1183 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Orig-D. 2-Apr-15 MT Forsyth Tillitt Field 5/1185 02/12/15 NDB RWY 26, Amdt 3C. 2-Apr-15 MT Colstrip Colstrip 5/1191 02/12/15 GPS RWY 24, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 MT Colstrip Colstrip 5/1192 02/12/15 GPS RWY 6, Orig-C. 2-Apr-15 MT Scobey Scobey 5/1228 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 CA Sacramento Sacramento Executive 5/1230 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 KS Wichita Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National 5/1260 02/18/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 19L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 OK Oklahoma City Wiley Post 5/1269 02/18/15 VOR RWY 17L, Amdt 11A. 2-Apr-15 OK Oklahoma City Wiley Post 5/1271 02/18/15 VOR RWY 35R, Amdt 3C. 2-Apr-15 OK Oklahoma City Wiley Post 5/1272 02/18/15 VOR-A, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 WI Burlington Burlington Muni 5/1493 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Burlington Burlington Muni 5/1494 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 29, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Burlington Burlington Muni 5/1495 02/11/15 VOR RWY 29, Amdt 8A. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee Lawrence J Timmerman 5/1497 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22R, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee Lawrence J Timmerman 5/1498 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4L, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee Lawrence J Timmerman 5/1499 02/11/15 VOR RWY 4L, Amdt 9A. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee Lawrence J Timmerman 5/1500 02/11/15 VOR RWY 15L, Amdt 14A. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee Lawrence J Timmerman 5/1501 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15L, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 WI Oconto J. Douglas Bake Memorial 5/1502 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 29, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Oconto J. Douglas Bake Memorial 5/1507 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WV Morgantown Morgantown Muni-Walter L Bill Hart Fld 5/1939 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WV Morgantown Morgantown Muni-Walter L Bill Hart Fld 5/1941 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 GA Fort Stewart (Hinesville) Wright AAF (Fort Stewart)/Midcoast Rgnl 5/1962 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6L, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 OH Kent Kent State Univ 5/2335 02/18/15 NDB RWY 1, Amdt 13. 2-Apr-15 WI Waupaca Waupaca Muni 5/2336 02/19/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Waupaca Waupaca Muni 5/2337 02/19/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Phillips Price County 5/2340 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 WI Phillips Price County 5/2341 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Phillips Price County 5/2342 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2343 02/18/15 NDB RWY 36, Amdt 6. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2344 02/18/15 VOR RWY 36, Amdt 17. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2345 02/18/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 36, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2346 02/18/15 VOR RWY 9, Amdt 10. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2347 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2348 02/18/15 VOR RWY 27, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2349 02/18/15 VOR RWY 18, Amdt 8. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2350 02/18/15 LOC/DME BC RWY 18, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2351 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/2352 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Osceola L O Simenstad Muni 5/2376 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Osceola L O Simenstad Muni 5/2377 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 MT Helena Helena Rgnl 5/2923 02/19/15 ILS OR LOC Z RWY 27, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 DC Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National 5/3144 02/18/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 1, ILS RWY 1 (SA CAT I), ILS RWY 1 (CAT II), Amdt 41A. 2-Apr-15 DC Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National 5/3145 02/18/15 VOR/DME OR GPS RWY 19, Amdt 9B. 2-Apr-15 DC Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National 5/3146 02/18/15 VOR/DME RWY 1, Amdt 14A. 2-Apr-15 OK Norman University Of Oklahoma Westheimer 5/4830 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 OK Norman University Of Oklahoma Westheimer 5/4831 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 3, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Waco Waco Rgnl 5/4860 02/06/15 VOR RWY 14, Amdt 23A. 2-Apr-15 TX Dalhart Dalhart Muni 5/4883 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Dalhart Dalhart Muni 5/4884 02/11/15 VOR/DME RWY 35, Amdt 3. 2-Apr-15 TX Dalhart Dalhart Muni 5/4885 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Dalhart Dalhart Muni 5/4886 02/11/15 VOR RWY 17, Amdt 12C. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston Ellington 5/5257 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 35L, Amdt 6. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston Ellington 5/5258 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 KS Wichita Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National 5/5842 02/24/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 19R, Amdt 5F. 2-Apr-15 TX Hearne Hearne Muni 5/6879 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Levelland Levelland Muni 5/6888 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Levelland Levelland Muni 5/6889 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Laredo Laredo Intl 5/6917 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Laredo Laredo Intl 5/6918 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 17R, Amdt 11. 2-Apr-15 TX Laredo Laredo Intl 5/6919 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35L, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Laredo Laredo Intl 5/6920 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston Pearland Rgnl 5/7016 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 TX Mexia Mexia-Limestone Co 5/7027 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7041 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10, Amdt 16. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7042 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7043 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7044 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7045 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7046 02/11/15 VOR OR TACAN RWY 16R, Amdt 23. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7057 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34L, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7066 02/11/15 VOR/DME OR TACAN RWY 34L, Amdt 10. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Intl 5/7067 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Airpark 5/7158 02/11/15 VOR/DME RWY 25, Amdt 3B. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Airpark 5/7159 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Midland Midland Airpark 5/7160 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Marfa Marfa Muni 5/7170 02/12/15 VOR RWY 31, Amdt 6. 2-Apr-15 TX Marfa Marfa Muni 5/7171 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Nacogdoches A L Mangham Jr Rgnl 5/7175 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 36, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 TX Nacogdoches A L Mangham Jr Rgnl 5/7176 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Olney Olney Muni 5/7179 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 AZ Flagstaff Flagstaff Pulliam 5/7312 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 21, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 TX Pampa Perry Lefors Field 5/7711 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Pampa Perry Lefors Field 5/7712 02/12/15 NDB RWY 17, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 TX Palacios Palacios Muni 5/7715 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston Sugar Land Rgnl 5/8119 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 35, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 TX Houston Sugar Land Rgnl 5/8120 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 SC Darlington Darlington County Jetport 5/8145 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 SC Darlington Darlington County Jetport 5/8146 02/18/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 PA Washington Washington County 5/8148 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 1C. 2-Apr-15 PA Washington Washington County 5/8149 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 PA Washington Washington County 5/8150 02/12/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 27, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 AL Prattville Prattville—Grouby Field 5/8151 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig-C. 2-Apr-15 AL Prattville Prattville—Grouby Field 5/8152 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 2C. 2-Apr-15 AL Prattville Prattville—Grouby Field 5/8153 02/12/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 3A. 2-Apr-15 RI North Kingstown Quonset State 5/8157 02/12/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 16, Amdt 10C. 2-Apr-15 RI North Kingstown Quonset State 5/8158 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 RI North Kingstown Quonset State 5/8159 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 RI North Kingstown Quonset State 5/8160 02/12/15 VOR RWY 34, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 RI North Kingstown Quonset State 5/8161 02/12/15 VOR-A, Amdt 5B. 2-Apr-15 KY Springfield Lebanon-Springfield 5/8166 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 KY Springfield Lebanon-Springfield 5/8167 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 11, Amdt 4A. 2-Apr-15 KY Springfield Lebanon-Springfield 5/8168 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 29, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 TX Sherman Sherman Muni 5/8322 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX La Porte La Porte Muni 5/8324 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Panhandle Panhandle-Carson County 5/8325 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Panhandle Panhandle-Carson County 5/8326 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Wheeler Wheeler Muni 5/8327 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Wheeler Wheeler Muni 5/8328 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Liberty Liberty Muni 5/8329 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 16, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 TX Fredericksburg Gillespie County 5/8330 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Fredericksburg Gillespie County 5/8331 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Victoria Victoria Rgnl 5/8337 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31R, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Victoria Victoria Rgnl 5/8338 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 31R, Amdt 7. 2-Apr-15 WI Boyceville Boyceville Muni 5/8339 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 WI New Holstein New Holstein Muni 5/8340 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI New Holstein New Holstein Muni 5/8341 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI East Troy East Troy Muni 5/8342 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Middleton Middleton Muni—Morey Field 5/8344 02/11/15 VOR RWY 10, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Mason Mason County 5/8493 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 TX Mason Mason County 5/8494 02/12/15 Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle) DP, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 TX Mason Mason County 5/8495 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 TX Mason Mason County 5/8496 02/12/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 NE Omaha Eppley Airfield 5/9012 02/18/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 14R, ILS RWY 14R (SA CAT I), ILS RWY 14R (CAT II & III), Amdt 5A. 2-Apr-15 AR Corning Corning Muni 5/9337 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 AR Corning Corning Muni 5/9338 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 AR Corning Corning Muni 5/9339 02/11/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 WI Grantsburg Grantsburg Muni 5/9515 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Grantsburg Grantsburg Muni 5/9516 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Shawano Shawano Muni 5/9517 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 WI Shawano Shawano Muni 5/9518 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Sweetwater Avenger Field 5/9519 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 22, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Sweetwater Avenger Field 5/9520 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Sweetwater Avenger Field 5/9521 02/12/15 NDB RWY 17, Amdt 4. 2-Apr-15 TX Sulphur Springs Sulphur Springs Muni 5/9522 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Orig. 2-Apr-15 TX Sulphur Springs Sulphur Springs Muni 5/9523 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Wisconsin Rapids Alexander Field South Wood County 5/9524 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Antigo Langlade County 5/9525 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Antigo Langlade County 5/9526 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 WI Antigo Langlade County 5/9527 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 WI Wisconsin Rapids Alexander Field South Wood County 5/9528 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 20, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 WI Wisconsin Rapids Alexander Field South Wood County 5/9529 02/12/15 SDF RWY 2, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 WI Wisconsin Rapids Alexander Field South Wood County 5/9530 02/12/15 NDB RWY 2, Amdt 6. 2-Apr-15 WI Wisconsin Rapids Alexander Field South Wood County 5/9531 02/12/15 NDB RWY 30, Amdt 9. 2-Apr-15 WI Madison Dane County Rgnl-Truax Field 5/9532 02/11/15 VOR/DME OR TACAN RWY 18, Amdt 1C. 2-Apr-15 WI Madison Dane County Rgnl-Truax Field 5/9533 02/11/15 VOR RWY 18, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 WI Madison Dane County Rgnl-Truax Field 5/9534 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 18, Amdt 1C. 2-Apr-15 WI Madison Dane County Rgnl-Truax Field 5/9535 02/11/15 VOR RWY 14, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 WI Madison Dane County Rgnl-Truax Field 5/9536 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 2B. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee General Mitchell Intl 5/9537 02/11/15 LOC RWY 25L, Amdt 5. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee General Mitchell Intl 5/9538 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 25L, Amdt 1B. 2-Apr-15 WI Milwaukee General Mitchell Intl 5/9539 02/11/15 RNAV (RNP) Y RWY 25L, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Mineral Point Iowa County 5/9540 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 4, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Mineral Point Iowa County 5/9541 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Wausau Wausau Downtown 5/9550 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Wausau Wausau Downtown 5/9551 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Reedsburg Reedsburg Muni 5/9552 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Reedsburg Reedsburg Muni 5/9553 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Black River Falls Black River Falls Area 5/9554 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Sparta Sparta/Fort Mc Coy 5/9555 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9556 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9557 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9558 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9559 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 8, Amdt 13. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9560 02/11/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 35, Amdt 2. 2-Apr-15 WI Mosinee Central Wisconsin 5/9561 02/11/15 VOR/DME RWY 35, Amdt 9. 2-Apr-15 WI Baraboo Baraboo Wisconsin Dells 5/9562 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Baraboo Baraboo Wisconsin Dells 5/9563 02/11/15 LOC/DME RWY 1, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 WI Baraboo Baraboo Wisconsin Dells 5/9564 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Amdt 1. 2-Apr-15 WI Medford Taylor County 5/9567 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Medford Taylor County 5/9568 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Marshfield Marshfield Muni 5/9569 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Marshfield Marshfield Muni 5/9570 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Marshfield Marshfield Muni 5/9571 02/11/15 NDB RWY 5, Amdt 14. 2-Apr-15 WI Hartford Hartford Muni 5/9572 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 29, Orig. 2-Apr-15 WI Hartford Hartford Muni 5/9573 02/11/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Orig. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9777 02/12/15 VOR RWY 8, Amdt 6A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9778 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig-B. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9779 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9780 02/12/15 VOR RWY 26, Amdt 6A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9781 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 26, Amdt 1A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9782 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Orig-A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9783 02/12/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 8, Amdt 2A. 2-Apr-15 NE Ogallala Searle Field 5/9784 02/12/15 VOR/DME RWY 8, Amdt 1A
    [FR Doc. 2015-06251 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION 20 CFR Parts 404, 405, and 416 [Docket No. SSA-2012-0068] RIN 0960-AH53 Submission of Evidence in Disability Claims AGENCY:

    Social Security Administration.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are clarifying our regulations to require you to inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to your disability claim, subject to two exceptions for certain privileged communications. This requirement includes the duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim received from any source in its entirety, unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise. We are also requiring your representative to help you obtain the information or evidence that we require you to submit under our regulations. These modifications to our regulations will better describe your duty to submit all evidence that relates to your disability claim and enable us to have more complete case records on which to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective April 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Janet Truhe, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401, (410) 966-7203. 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: Background

    We published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on February 20, 2014 (79 FR 9663). The preamble to the NPRM discussed the changes from our current rules and our reasons for proposing those changes.1 In the NPRM, we proposed to clarify our regulations to require you to inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to your disability claim, subject to two exceptions for certain privileged communications. We explained that this requirement would include the duty to submit all evidence from any source in its entirety, unless subject to one of these exceptions. We also proposed to require your representative to help you obtain the information or evidence that we would require you to submit under our regulations.

    1 The NPRM is available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-02-20/pdf/2014-03426.pdf.

    Public Comments

    We provided 60 days for the public to comment on the NPRM. We received 85 comments. The comments came from members of the public, advocacy groups, legal organizations, members of the disability advocacy community, and several national groups of Social Security claimants' representatives. After carefully considering the comments, we are adopting our proposed rule revisions, with the changes described below, in this final rule.

    We provide summaries of the significant comments that were relevant to this rulemaking and our responses to those comments below. Some commenters supported the proposed changes. We appreciate those comments, but we have not summarized or responded to them because they do not require a response.

    The Submission of Evidence That Relates to Disability Claims

    Comment: Several commenters said our proposal in 20 CFR 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a) for claimants to submit evidence that “relates” to their disability claims is less clear than our current requirement to submit evidence that is “material” to the disability determination. Other commenters said the word “relates” is too vague and claimants will not know, for example, if they must inform us about medical treatment for a physical impairment when they have alleged disability based solely on a mental impairment. Several of these commenters said requiring claimants to submit information that “relates” to their disability claims would be an invasion of privacy, as it could include every matter about a claimant's health history (for example, an abortion or HIV status). Other commenters said it would be difficult for claimants to know whether non-medical information, such as from social media or other types of proceedings (for example, a worker's compensation claim), “relates” to their disability claims.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters. Unless the context indicates otherwise, we generally intend for the words we use in our regulations to be construed according to their ordinary meaning. In final §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a), we intend for the word “relates” to have its ordinary meaning, which is to show or establish a logical or causal connection between two things. Our current rules already incorporate this concept in the definition of evidence. Under our current rules, and under this final rule, we define evidence as “anything you or anyone else submits to us or that we obtain that relates to your claim.” In our experience, neither claimants nor their representatives have had any difficulty determining whether something qualified as “evidence” under this definition.

    Our current regulations, however, describe a claimant's duty to submit evidence in several ways and suggest that claimants must furnish medical and non-medical evidence that is “material” to the disability determination. The issue of what is “material” involves legal judgment. As we explained in the NPRM, by requiring claimants to submit all evidence that “relates” to their disability claims, we are removing the need to make that type of judgment.2

    2 79 FR at 9665.

    In addition, we expect claimants to exercise their reasonable, good faith judgment about what evidence “relates” to their disability claims keeping in mind, however, that the meaning of “relates” is broad and includes anything that has a logical or causal connection whether it is favorable or unfavorable to the claim. It is also important to note that we consider all of a claimant's impairments for which we have evidence, not just the ones alleged,3 and we consider the combined effect of all impairments.4 We are also required, subject to certain exceptions, to develop a complete medical history for at least the 12 months preceding the date of the disability application.5 Therefore, evidence of treatment for conditions other than the one alleged by the claimant could relate to the disability claim. For example, if a claimant alleged a back impairment, the treatment records from health care providers other than the treating orthopedic surgeon (for example, from a family doctor who has rendered treatment for a condition other than the one alleged) may contain related information. Therefore, we may ask the claimant if he or she saw other providers during the period at issue. In addition, if the back impairment arose out of an injury at work, we would expect the claimant, upon our request, to inform us whether he or she filed a worker's compensation claim. If so, we may obtain the records from that claim, because they may contain evidence that “relates” to the claim for disability.

    3See 20 CFR 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a); see also 42 U.S.C. 423(d)(2)(B) and 1382c(a)(3)(G).

    4See 20 CFR 404.1523 and 416.923.

    5See 20 CFR 404.1512(d) and 416.912(d).

    However, we would expect our adjudicators to exercise their reasonable, good faith judgment when requesting information or evidence from claimants. For example, we would not require a claimant to disclose treatment for a health matter such as an abortion, if the claimant alleged disability based on a genetic disorder.

    Comment: Several commenters recommended that we not revise our regulations regarding the submission of evidence, because they believed our current rules work well. Several of these commenters said claimants already have a duty to inform us about all medical treatment received and submit evidence that is “material” to the disability determination. Some of these commenters also said no change was necessary regarding the submission of evidence by representatives, because attorneys have an ethical duty not to withhold evidence. Some of these commenters said our current “Rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives,” which apply to attorney and non-attorney representatives,6 are sufficient to ensure the submission of complete evidence on behalf of claimants. One of these commenters recommended that we impose harsher penalties on representatives who withhold evidence that is unfavorable to the disability claim.

    6See 20 CFR 404.1740 and 416.1540.

    Response: We did not adopt the comments. As we explained in the NPRM, our current regulations describe a claimant's duty to submit medical and non-medical evidence in several ways, and they could be clearer about the duty to submit all evidence (both favorable and unfavorable) that relates to the disability claim.7 Similarly, our current regulations governing the conduct of representatives describe their related duty to submit evidence in several ways; those regulations could also be clearer.8 We provide that greater clarity in this final rule. The need for greater clarification also implicates program integrity because, as we explained in the NPRM, we know that we do not always receive complete evidence from claimants or their representatives.9 Clarifying our rules regarding the duty to submit all evidence that relates to the disability claim will “enable us to obtain more complete case records and adjudicate claims more accurately.” 10

    7 79 FR at 9664.

    8Id.

    9Id.

    10Id. at 9665.

    In addition, as we previously stated, our current regulations suggest that claimants and their representatives must make legal judgments about what is “material” to the disability claim. Our final rule removes the need to make that type of legal judgment.

    Comment: Several commenters questioned how claimants would inform us about all evidence that “relates” to their disability claims and asked whether they will have to volunteer this information or simply respond to our specific requests. Some of these commenters said it would be burdensome and unrealistic to require claimants, particularly those who are unrepresented, homeless, or who have mental impairments, to disclose on a voluntary basis every disability-related statement or activity. Other commenters asked whether claimants should memorialize, and then submit to us, all of the disability-related statements they made to others (for example, to doctors, friends, or family members). One of the commenters asked whether the duty to submit all evidence would require claimants to disclose the names of all people with personal knowledge of the claim. Another commenter asked whether claimants would have a duty to supplement information they previously submitted, if they later become aware of additional responsive information. Another commenter asked if claimants would have to disclose the existence of evidence, which they were unaware of at the time of our initial request, but that they became aware of later. One commenter asked whether the duty to submit all evidence would apply at the Appeals Council level.

    Response: We use a standardized process for obtaining information and evidence from claimants about their disability claims. For example, in the adult disability application process, we ask a variety of questions about the claimant's medical condition, work activity, job history, and medical treatment.11 Under final §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a), we expect claimants to comply with their duty to submit evidence by providing all information known to them that relates to these requests. We may also make other types of requests for information and evidence that we would expect claimants to provide.12

    11See Form SSA-3368-BK, Disability Report—Adult (available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf).

    12 For example, in some cases, we may want to obtain evidence about a claimant's ability to function and perform activities of daily living, and we will ask him or her to complete Form SSA-3373-BK, Function Report—Adult. We would expect the claimant to provide all information known to him or her that relates to the requests on this form.

    Aside from responding fully to our specific requests, claimants also submit other evidence to us. Claimants do not have to memorialize statements made to others or disclose the names of all people with personal knowledge of their claims, unless they would like us to consider that information. Final §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) require only that claimants submit all evidence “received” from another source in its entirety.

    For claimants who need assistance in responding to our requests for information and evidence, we currently provide that assistance. For example, when a claimant submits a disability application, we ask the claimant to provide the name of someone we can contact who knows about the claimant's medical condition and can help the claimant with his or her disability claim. We also provide special procedures for obtaining evidence from homeless claimants 13 and instruct our adjudicators on how to assist claimants with mental impairments when requesting information or evidence from them.14

    13See Program Operations Manual System (POMS) DI 11005.004 (available at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0411005004).

    14 For example, when obtaining evidence from a claimant with a mental impairment, our adjudicators should consider any request for accommodation, such as giving additional time to comply. See POMS DI 23007.005 (available at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0423007005).

    The duty to inform us about or submit all evidence that relates to the disability claim is ongoing, and we have modified proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a) to clarify that claimants must disclose any additional evidence related to their disability claims about which they become aware. Therefore, after we have made a request for a particular type of information or evidence, claimants must supplement their previous response, if they become aware of additional related evidence. Claimants must also disclose the existence of evidence that they were unaware of at the time of our initial request, but become aware of later on. This ongoing duty applies at each level of the administrative review process, including the Appeals Council level if relates to the period which is the subject of the most recent hearing decision.

    Comment: Several commenters recommended that we only require claimants to submit evidence in specific categories (for example, medical records), which was one of several options suggested by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) in its Final Report.15 These commenters said this requirement would be preferable to the more general requirement we proposed in §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a) (for the submission of all evidence that “relates” to the disability claim), because it would minimize the need for claimants or their representatives to make legal judgments about whether evidence is “material” or “relevant.” One of these commenters also said it would be difficult for claimants to know what constitutes related unfavorable evidence.

    15 Administrative Conference of the United States, SSA Disability Benefits Programs: The Duty of Candor and Submission of All Evidence, at 40 (Oct. 15, 2012) (“ACUS Final Report”), available at http://www.acus.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ACUS_Final_Report_SSA_Duty_of_Candor.pdf.

    Response: We did not adopt these comments. We considered ACUS's suggestion that we identify a particular category of documents that a claimant must identify or produce with some reasonable degree of certainty, but we decided that it was not practical for several reasons. First, there is a wide variety of evidence that could relate to a disability claim, and it is difficult to specify all of the potential categories in a regulation (aside from medical records, which we need to determine disability in all cases). Second, as we previously stated, we removed the need for claimants to make any legal judgments about what evidence they should submit. By requiring the submission of all evidence that “relates” to the disability claim in final §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a), claimants will only have to inform us about or submit evidence that has a logical or causal connection with their disability claims; such evidence will necessarily include both favorable and potentially unfavorable evidence. Thus, there will be no need for claimants to determine what constitutes “unfavorable” evidence.

    Comment: Several commenters said we should not require claimants to submit evidence that relates to their disability claims if it is unfavorable. For example, some of these commenters said unfavorable evidence could be inaccurate or unreliable, or it could come from doctors who are biased against claimants or are not knowledgeable about certain impairments. Another commenter said the requirement to submit all evidence that relates to the disability claim would preclude representatives from exercising their professional judgment about what evidence they should submit in support of their clients' disability claims. One commenter expressed concern that the requirement could mean claimants would have to submit statements by those who have a personal grudge (for example, a former spouse). Another commenter believed the requirement to submit unfavorable evidence might deter claimants from seeking medical evaluations that could lead to helpful treatment out of fear they might have to disclose this information later in a disability claim.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters. We proposed to require claimants to submit all evidence (favorable or unfavorable) that relates to their disability claims because we believe a more complete record will give us a fuller picture of the extent of a claimant's impairments and the limitations they impose. As a result, we expect that the changes we are making in this final rule will enable us to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions, consistent with Congress's intent and our responsibility to ensure the proper stewardship of the disability program. Allowing claimants (or their representatives) to inform us about or submit only the evidence that they would like us to consider would undermine that goal. It would also be inconsistent with Congress's intent in enacting section 201 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA),16 which authorizes us to impose a civil monetary penalty on a claimant who should have come forward to notify us of changed circumstances that affect eligibility, but failed to do so. As we previously stated, we expect our adjudicators to exercise their reasonable, good faith judgment when requesting evidence from claimants that relates to the disability claim. Therefore, we do not believe claimants or their representatives will have to respond to requests for information or evidence that are burdensome or pertain to unrelated matters.

    16 42 U.S.C. 1320a-8.

    In addition, it is fair to require the disclosure of related but potentially unfavorable evidence, because claimants (or their representatives) can explain to us why they believe we should give such evidence little or no weight. Claimants and their representatives routinely make arguments for and against certain evidence in other types of cases, and they can also make these arguments in disability cases. Moreover, we do not base our determinations or decisions on only one piece of evidence when we adjudicate a claim. Rather, our adjudicators must base their determinations and decisions on the preponderance of the evidence.17 Because we base our determinations or decisions on a preponderance of the evidence, we do not believe the commenter's concern that unfavorable evidence could be inaccurate or unreliable, or could come from a medical source who is biased or not knowledgeable about certain impairments, requires us to make any revisions to the final rule. In addition, we disagree with one commenter's suggestion that the duty to submit potentially unfavorable evidence might deter people from seeking medical evaluations and treatment out of fear they might have to disclose this evidence in a future disability claim. We believe that view is speculative and contrary to how people behave, which is to act in their best interests by seeking medical treatment when needed.

    17See 20 CFR 404.902 and 416.1402.

    Comment: Several commenters said our proposal to require the submission of all evidence that relates to the disability claim makes the determination process more formal and adversarial. Some of these commenters believed this requirement would be inconsistent with our duty to gather evidence regarding the claim. One of these commenters said that providing claimants with the protections of attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine was inconsistent with the informal and non-adversarial nature of our current disability determination process.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters. In fact, the non-adversarial nature of our disability determination process is what requires us to ensure a high level of cooperation from claimants. Moreover, we did not propose any change to how we determine disability at any level of the administrative review process. In the NPRM, we stated that our disability system is “non-adversarial,” and we reaffirmed our duty to “assist claimants in developing the medical and non-medical evidence we need to determine whether or not they are disabled.” 18 The requirement for claimants to inform us about or submit all evidence that relates to the disability claim does not change the process for how we determine disability. Rather, as we have stated repeatedly, this requirement will simply enable us to make more accurate disability determinations, because we will have more complete case records on which to make those determinations.

    18 79 FR at 9665.

    Comment: Several commenters expressed concern about claimants who conceal evidence from their representatives, either intentionally or by mistake, and asked whether we would penalize the representative in these situations. Some of the commenters also expressed concern about unrepresented claimants who mistakenly withhold evidence from us that we believe relates to the disability claim. These commenters believed it would be unfair for us to penalize these claimants, especially if their mistakes were due to a cognitive difficulty.

    Response: As we previously stated, under our final rule, we expect claimants to exercise their reasonable, good faith judgment about what evidence “relates” to their disability claims consistent, of course, with the meaning of the term “relates,” which could include unfavorable evidence. Our final rule does not broaden or otherwise alter the Commissioner's statutory authority to impose a civil monetary penalty under the SSPA.19 The standard for imposing a civil monetary penalty under the SSPA requires the Commissioner to find that a person withheld “disclosure of, a fact which the person knows or should know is material to the determination of any initial or continuing right to . . . [benefits or payments].” 20 The Commissioner must also find that the person “knows, or should know, that the statement or representation with such omission is false or misleading or that the withholding of such disclosure is misleading.” 21 Given the standard set forth in the SSPA, we do not expect that a claimant who mistakenly withholds evidence due to a cognitive deficit would be subject to a civil monetary penalty. We also do not expect that a representative would be subject to a civil monetary penalty under the SSPA if the representative's client concealed evidence from him or her. It is also important to note, as we previously stated, that we assist any claimant who requests help in responding to our requests for information or evidence, and we have special procedures when requesting information or evidence from homeless claimants and those with mental impairments.

    19 Social Security Protection Act of 2004, section 201, 42 U.S.C. 1320a-8.

    20Id. section 201, 42 U.S.C. 1320a-8(a)(1).

    21Id.

    Comment: Several commenters suggested that rather than revise our regulations regarding the submission of evidence by claimants and their representatives, we should instead do more to obtain the evidence we need to decide disability claims. For example, one of these commenters recommended that we assign a government representative to work with claimants (or their representatives) to ensure the development of needed evidence. Another commenter suggested that we consider expanding our own obligation to assist claimants in obtaining medical records.

    Response: We did not adopt the comments, some of which are outside the scope of this rulemaking proceeding. As we explained in the NPRM, under our current regulations, we assist claimants in developing the medical and non-medical evidence we need to determine disability throughout the administrative review process.22 Representatives (attorney and non-attorney) also assist claimants in submitting evidence and in complying with our requests for evidence.23 Therefore, we do not believe it is necessary to assign an additional government representative to assist claimants or their representatives in the evidence collection process. In any event, such a suggestion is outside the scope of this rulemaking proceeding.

    22 79 FR at 9665. See 20 CFR 404.1512(d) and (e), 416.912(d) and (e).

    23See 20 CFR 404.1740(b)(1) and (2) and 416.1540(b)(1) and (2).

    In addition, we are always striving to find better methods of obtaining medical and other evidence we need to decide disability claims. For example, use of health information technology (HIT) enables us to access and organize a person's complete medical records upon receipt of a claim. We continue to expand our use of HIT and explore ways of improving the medical and non-medical evidence collection process.

    Comment: Several commenters expressed concern about our removal of the term “relevant” in proposed §§ 404.1512(b)(1)(iii) and 416.912(b)(1)(iii). Sections 404.1512(b)(3) and 416.912(b)(3) currently refer to evidence of disability-related statements made by the claimant or others “or any other relevant statements” made by the claimant “to medical sources during the course of examination or treatment, or to us during interviews, on applications, in letters, and in testimony in our administrative proceedings.” Without the term “relevant,” the commenters asked whether there would be any limit on the scope of these “other statements,” which we require claimants to disclose under this final rule.

    Response: We removed the term “relevant” in proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(b)(1)(iii) and 416.912(b)(1)(iii) to avoid confusion with the standard for submission of evidence in this final rule, which is the submission of all evidence that “relates” to the disability claim. These sections must still be read, however, in conjunction with final §§ 404.1512(b) and 416.912(b), where we define the term “evidence” as “anything you or anyone else submits to us or that we obtain that relates to your claim.” (Emphasis added). All of the categories of “evidence” that we go on to define in these sections, such as the “other statements” referred to in final §§ 404.1512(b)(1)(iii) and 416.912(b)(1)(iii), are, therefore, limited in scope to those that relate to the disability claim.

    The Privilege and Work Product Exceptions

    Comment: Two commenters expressed concern about our extension of the protections afforded by attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine in proposed §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(iii) and 416.912(b)(2)(iii) to non-attorney representatives. One of these commenters said non-attorney representatives have no experience or knowledge of what these privileges protect; therefore, the claimants they represent may not have the same protections as claimants who are represented by attorneys. The other commenter said it was not practical or reasonable to require non-attorneys to make legal judgments about what communications would be subject to these privileges. This commenter also said that extension of these privileges to non-attorney representatives would cause confusion and uncertainty, resulting in detriment to claimants.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters for several reasons. First, we defined both types of privileges in plain language and gave examples of what would and would not be covered by each privilege in the NPRM and in this final rule.24 Second, our current “Rules of conduct and standards of responsibility” apply to all representatives,25 and we do not believe there is any basis to distinguish between attorney and non-attorney representatives regarding their duty to help obtain the evidence that claimants must submit. We would disadvantage certain claimants if we did not apply the protections afforded by these privileges to non-attorney representatives. For example, claimants who are represented by non-attorney representatives would have to disclose information that a claimant represented by an attorney representative would not be required to disclose. Finally, as recommended by ACUS, we believe that any changes to our evidence regulations should apply to both attorney and non-attorney representatives because, under the Social Security Act and our rules, a claimant has the right to be represented by either an attorney or a qualified non-attorney representative.26

    24 79 FR at 9665-66.

    25See 20 CFR 404.1740 and 416.1540.

    26 ACUS Final Report at 38.

    Comment: Several commenters said the requirement for attorney representatives to assist claimants in submitting related but unfavorable evidence would violate their state bar ethics rules requiring the preservation of client confidentiality and zealous representation. One of these commenters said this requirement would also violate state bar rules because it would require the submission of attorney work product. Some of the commenters expressed concern about situations where claimants direct their attorneys to withhold unfavorable evidence, which may leave the attorneys with having to choose between following their clients' instructions and complying with a representative's duty to help the claimant obtain the information or evidence that he or she must submit under the final rule.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters. In proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(i) and 416.912(b)(2)(i), we exclude from the definition of evidence oral and written communications between claimants and their representatives (attorney or non-attorney) that are, or would be, subject to the attorney-client privilege, unless the claimant voluntarily discloses them to us. In proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(ii) and 416.912(b)(2)(ii), we also exclude from the definition of evidence the information that is generally subject to the attorney work product doctrine.27 We drafted the requirement for claimants to inform us about or submit all evidence that relates to the disability claim with the attorney client and attorney work product privileges in mind, and believe that the final rule does not require an attorney to violate his or her ethical duty to keep client communications confidential 28 or require the submission of attorney work product.

    27 As we explained in the NPRM, this doctrine protects an attorney's analysis, theories, mental impressions, and notes from disclosure. 79 FR at 9666 (footnote omitted).

    28 As we noted in the NPRM, however, the attorney-client privilege does not protect the disclosure of underlying facts that the claimant communicates to the attorney; it protects only the disclosure of the communication, itself. Id. at 9665.

    In addition, while we acknowledge that state bar rules generally require client confidentiality and zealous representation, we do not believe state bar rules prevent an attorney from complying with our Federal rule, which requires a representative to help a claimant satisfy his or her disclosure obligation. As ACUS noted, the American Bar Association's (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct permit attorneys to disclose otherwise confidential information if “other law” or a “court order” requires the disclosure.29 These rules would constitute such “other law.” In addition, as one leading legal scholar in this area has noted, “none of the opinions” that various State bars have issued on a representative's duty to submit adverse evidence in connection with a disability claim “suggests that an attorney may violate federal law because of a state bar ethics rule.” 30 Moreover, “Even if a state's bar rules did not contain provisions similar to Model Rules 1.6(b)(6) or 8.5(b), the notion that an attorney could be punished by his or her state bar for complying with federal law in a federal forum is antithetical to the Supremacy Clause” of the Constitution and the Supreme Court's decision in Sperry v. Florida ex rel. Florida Bar, 373 U.S. 379 (1963).31 In short, “there is no merit to the argument that an SSA rule mandating that an attorney disclose adverse evidence would subject an attorney to sanctions by his or her state bar.” 32

    29 ACUS Final Report at 33-34 (citing the ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct section 1.6(b)(6) (2012).

    30See Robert Rains, Professional Responsibility and Social Security Representation: The Myth of the State-Bar Bar to Compliance with Federal Rules on Production of Adverse Evidence, 92 Cornell L. Rev. 363, 390 (2007).

    31Id. at 392.

    32Id.

    Furthermore, we are unaware of any other forum that permits attorneys to withhold unfavorable evidence, if it relates to an issue in the case. Under this final rule, we expect all representatives (attorney or non-attorney) to inform the claimants they represent that we do not permit the withholding of any evidence related to the disability claim, even if it is unfavorable. Accordingly, in the situation described by several commenters where the claimant directs the representative to withhold unfavorable evidence, that communication is privileged, but the evidence would still have to be produced.

    Comment: One commenter recommended that we extend the protections afforded by attorney-client privilege to non-authorized representatives, such as physicians, licensed clinical social workers, and other licensed health care providers. The commenter noted that many of these professionals engage in privileged communications with their patients, and they sometimes assist patients with their disability claims. Therefore, the commenter said we should also regard these communications as privileged.

    Response: We did not adopt the comment. When claimants apply for disability benefits, they sign an authorization form that permits all medical and certain other sources to disclose all medical records and other information related to the claimant's ability to perform tasks.33 Therefore, claimants cannot keep these otherwise privileged communications about their physical or mental condition(s) private.

    33See Form SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration.

    Comment: One commenter believed that our exception for privileged communications between claimants and their representatives, unless voluntarily disclosed by the claimant, would permit us to communicate directly and impermissibly with claimants instead of their representatives.

    Response: We disagree with the commenter. In final §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(i) and 416.912(b)(2)(i), we exclude from the definition of “evidence,” 34 oral and written communications between claimants and their representatives, unless the claimant voluntarily discloses them to us. The attorney-client privilege belongs to the client, and only the client can waive this privilege. The exception for voluntary disclosure of otherwise privileged communications in final §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(i) and 416.912(b)(2)(i) is in recognition of this legal principle; it does not mean we intend to communicate directly with claimants who have representatives assisting them with their disability claims.35

    34 We describe what we mean by “evidence” in final 20 CFR 404.1512(b)(1) and 416.912(b)(1).

    35 Under our policy, if a claimant appoints a representative, we make all contacts in connection with that claim or a post-entitlement issue through, or with the permission of, the appointed representative. This policy is subject to exceptions when the representative asks us to deal directly with the claimant, the claimant alleges blindness or a visual impairment and elects to receive notices by first class mail with a follow-up telephone call from us to read the notices, there is an indication that a representative's appointment may have expired, or the contact involves a possible violation by the representative. See POMS GN 03910.050A (available at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0203910050).

    Comment: Several commenters asked why we proposed a more limited version of the work product doctrine in §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(ii) and 416.912(b)(2)(ii) than is recognized under Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Several of these commenters said a more limited version of the work product doctrine would deter representatives from having candid discussions with a claimant's medical sources, due to the potential of having to disclose an unfavorable or inaccurate written report. Some commenters said that representatives would have to disclose written opinions received from medical experts, even if the expert was not going to testify. The commenters recommended we adopt the full scope of the work product doctrine, so representatives could withhold this type of evidence.

    Response: We did not adopt the comments. We proposed a more limited version of the work product doctrine because we believe program integrity requires us to obtain complete medical evidence (favorable or unfavorable) in disability claims. Therefore, we expressly stated in proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(b)(2)(ii) and 416.912(b)(2)(ii) that representatives could not withhold any medical evidence or medical source opinions based on the attorney work product doctrine. As we explained in the NPRM, if a claimant's medical source sends his or her representative medical records or a written opinion about the claimant's medical condition, the representative cannot withhold those records or that opinion based on the work product doctrine adopted under these rules.36 If those records or that opinion contains an inaccuracy or unfavorable information, then claimants or their representatives can explain this to us.

    36 79 FR at 9666.

    In addition, representatives may still protect from disclosure their consultation with any medical source about the claimant's medical condition. As we stated previously, if a representative takes notes during a discussion with a claimant's medical source, those notes are protected from disclosure as work product. Moreover, under the final rule, the representative does not have to request a written opinion from any medical source. Therefore, representatives can fully investigate the merits of any disability claim, and they do not have to disclose the results of their investigation, unless they obtain a medical record or a written opinion from a medical source.

    The Submission of Evidence In Its Entirety

    Comment: Many commenters asked whether our proposal in §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) to require the submission of evidence from a source in its entirety would create a duty on the part of claimants (or their representatives) to request and submit all medical records from all treating sources. Several commenters asked whether claimants (or their representatives) should request all records from a treating source or only those dated after the onset of disability. Some of the commenters noted that medical records could be costly and difficult for some claimants to obtain. One of these commenters said treating sources do not always send all the records requested, and another commenter noted that sometimes a doctor sends records for someone other than the claimant by mistake. Another commenter described the example of a hospital file numbering 1000 pages or more and asked whether a representative could simply request and submit the discharge summary. Other commenters asked whether we would still be requesting and paying for medical records from sources identified by claimants. One commenter asked whether claimants would now have to obtain and submit not only all medical evidence, but also all non-medical evidence that relates to the disability claim. Another commenter recommended that we lower the burden on claimants to submit all related non-medical evidence, because its evidentiary value is less than that of medical evidence. Another commenter suggested we require claimants to submit only medical evidence in its entirety.

    Response: We are modifying proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) to clarify that claimants must submit evidence “received” from another source in its entirety. We did not intend in these sections to impose a duty on claimants or their representatives to request and submit all evidence (medical and non-medical) from all sources, and we believe this clarification makes that intent more clear. For example, if claimants or their representatives request only the discharge summary from a hospital chart, we require them to submit only what they receive in response to that request in its entirety. We would not require them to request and pay for all of the other records from that hospitalization. We would also not require them to submit any record for a person other than the claimant, sent by mistake, because it clearly would not relate to the disability claim.

    Moreover, as we proposed in §§ 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a) and explained in the NPRM, by requiring claimants “to inform us about or submit” all evidence that relates to the disability claim, we are not shifting our responsibility for developing the record to claimants 37 or their representatives.38 For example, we currently request the names and addresses of medical sources in our disability application process.39 Under the final rule, we expect claimants to respond fully by providing that information; we will then obtain the records from those sources. As we previously stated, we also expect claimants to respond fully to any other requests we make for information or evidence related to their disability claims.

    37Id. at 9665 (emphasis added).

    38Id. at 9666.

    39 These are the Form SSA-3368-BK, Disability Report—Adult (available at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf), and the Form SSA-3820-BK, Disability Report—Child (available at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-3820.pdf).

    Comment: Many commenters expressed concern about our requirement for claimants to submit evidence from another source in its entirety, because it would require the submission of potentially duplicative evidence. One of these commenters described the example of when a representative submits medical records from a treating source and then requests updated records; the source sends everything he or she has already provided, plus the updated records. Another commenter noted that our adjudicators sometimes instruct claimants (or their representatives) not to submit duplicative records. The commenters recommended we not require the submission of evidence that is already in the claim file, because that evidence can be costly for claimants to resubmit and time-consuming for our adjudicators to review. To avoid duplicative evidence, one commenter recommended that we not require claimants to submit any evidence previously submitted by them. Other commenters recommended that we simply not require the submission of any duplicative evidence.

    Response: We partially adopted the comments by clarifying in final §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) that evidence from another source must be submitted in its entirety “unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise.”

    For example, in the scenario described above about the receipt of duplicative medical records from a treating source, the representative is only required to submit the updated records; he or she would not have to submit any record duplicative of the one previously submitted. In addition, by “duplicative,” we mean an exact duplicate of a document in the record, and not simply the substance of what is in the record.

    The other exception we provide in final §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) is for when one of our adjudicators directs claimants or their representatives not to submit duplicative evidence; in that case, they would not have to submit that evidence under the final rule. We do not believe it is advisable to preclude the submission of all duplicative evidence, however, because this would impose a duty on claimants to review their files before submitting new evidence. For claimants who do not have representatives, this could be a significant burden in some cases. Not requiring claimants (or their representatives) to resubmit the same evidence they previously submitted is, however, reasonable. We believe the two limited exceptions for duplicative evidence specified in final §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) will underscore the importance of submitting evidence received from another source in its entirety and better ensure our goal of having more complete case records on which to make more accurate disability determinations and decisions.

    Comment: One commenter believed the proposed revisions to our regulations governing the submission of evidence would require claimants to get representatives.

    Response: We disagree with the commenter. We did not propose any change to our regulations that would require claimants to get representatives. In addition, by stating that the claimant's duty to submit evidence now includes the option to simply “inform us about” evidence that relates to the disability claim,40 we believe it will be easier for claimants to comply with their duty to submit evidence. Our responsibility to assist claimants in developing the record also remains unchanged.

    40See final 20 CFR 404.1512(a) and 416.912(a).

    Comment: Many commenters said our requirement in proposed §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) for claimants to submit evidence from another source in its entirety would burden our adjudicators with an excessive amount of potentially irrelevant evidence. Several of these commenters noted, for example, that medical records from some sources (such as the Department of Veterans Affairs) can be voluminous, and the time spent reviewing those records would cause delays in the adjudication of disability claims. Several of these commenters said a provider's medical records could include evidence that is unrelated to the disability claim. Other commenters expressed concern about whether our adjudicators would carefully review voluminous records submitted by claimants (or their representatives). Several commenters said it would be preferable for claimants or their representatives to exercise their own judgment and submit only those records or other evidence that they think is relevant.

    Response: We disagree with the commenters. We do not believe the requirement to submit all evidence received from another source in its entirety will burden our adjudicators with having to review unnecessary evidence in most cases. First, as we previously stated, we did not intend in proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) to require claimants (or their representatives) to request and submit all medical and non-medical evidence from all sources, and we modified these sections to clarify that claimants must only submit evidence “received” from another source in its entirety. We did not adopt the comments recommending that we permit claimants or their representatives to decide what evidence they would like to submit from these other sources, because this would undermine the purpose of the final rule, which is to enable us to have more complete records on which to adjudicate claims more accurately.

    Second, as we previously stated, we modified proposed (now final) §§ 404.1512(c) and 416.912(c) to require the submission of evidence received from another source in its entirety, unless previously submitted by the claimant or otherwise instructed by us in a particular case. We believe these exceptions to the general requirement for submission of evidence in its entirety will reduce the receipt of duplicative and, therefore, unnecessary evidence.

    Finally, we do not share the concerns of the commenters who said the submission of voluminous documents by claimants or their representatives would burden our adjudicators and delay the adjudication of disability claims. For example, when a claimant has had extensive medical treatment, it is already our practice to request complete medical records, unless we can decide the claim based on minimal objective medical evidence, as in the case of a compassionate allowance.41 Our program experience shows that our adjudicators have little difficulty reviewing medical and other evidence expeditiously to find the information they need to decide the claim. We also continue to expand our use of HIT, which enables us to speed our review of medical records, even when they are voluminous. We intend to take full advantage of this technology as it becomes more widespread in the medical community.

    41 For more information about compassionate allowances, see www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

    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 final rule meets the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, OMB reviewed it.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We certify that this final rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects individuals only. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    These rules do not create any new or affect any existing collections and, therefore, do not require Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 96.001, Social Security—Disability Insurance; 96.002, Social Security—Retirement Insurance; and 96.004, Social Security—Survivors Insurance) List of Subjects 20 CFR Part 404

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social Security.

    20 CFR Part 405

    Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance, Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    20 CFR Part 416

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aged, Blind, Disability benefits, Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we amend subparts J, P, and R of part 404, subparts A and D of part 405, and subparts I, N, and O of part 416 as set forth below:

    PART 404—FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE (1950-) Subpart J—[Amended] 1. The authority citation for subpart J of part 404 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 201(j), 204(f), 205(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (j), 221, 223(i), 225, and 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401(j), 404(f), 405(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (j), 421, 423(i), 425, and 902(a)(5)); sec. 5, Pub. L. 97-455, 96 Stat. 2500 (42 U.S.C. 405 note); secs. 5, 6(c)-(e), and 15, Pub. L. 98-460, 98 Stat. 1802 (42 U.S.C. 421 note); sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note).

    2. Amend § 404.900 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 404.900 Introduction.

    (b) Nature of the administrative review process. In making a determination or decision in your case, we conduct the administrative review process in an informal, non-adversarial manner. Subject to the limitations on Appeals Council consideration of additional evidence (see §§ 404.970(b) and 404.976(b)), we will consider at each step of the review process any information you present as well as all the information in our records. You may present the information yourself or have someone represent you, including an attorney. If you are dissatisfied with our decision in the review process, but do not take the next step within the stated time period, you will lose your right to further administrative review and your right to judicial review, unless you can show us that there was good cause for your failure to make a timely request for review.

    3. Revise § 404.935 to read as follows:
    § 404.935 Submitting evidence prior to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

    You should submit information or evidence as required by § 404.1512 or any summary of the evidence to the administrative law judge with the request for hearing or within 10 days after filing the request, if possible. Each party shall make every effort to ensure that the administrative law judge receives all of the evidence (see § 404.1512) or all of the evidence is available at the time and place set for the hearing.

    Subpart P—[Amended]
    4. The authority citation for subpart P of part 404 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 202, 205(a)-(b) and (d)-(h), 216(i), 221(a), (i), and (j), 222(c), 223, 225, and 702(a)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 402, 405(a)-(b) and (d)-(h), 416(i), 421(a), (i), and (j), 422(c), 423, 425, and 902(a)(5)); sec. 211(b), Pub. L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105, 2189; sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note).

    5. In § 404.1512, revise paragraphs (a) through (c) to read as follows:
    § 404.1512 Evidence.

    (a) General. In general, you have to prove to us that you are blind or disabled. You must inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind or disabled. This duty is ongoing and requires you to disclose any additional related evidence about which you become aware. This duty applies at each level of the administrative review process, including the Appeals Council level if the evidence relates to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge hearing decision. We will consider only impairment(s) you say you have or about which we receive evidence.

    (b) What we mean by “evidence.” Evidence is anything you or anyone else submits to us or that we obtain that relates to your claim.

    (1) Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

    (i) Objective medical evidence, that is, medical signs and laboratory findings as defined in § 404.1528(b) and (c);

    (ii) Other evidence from medical sources, such as medical history, opinions, and statements about treatment you have received;

    (iii) Statements you or others make about your impairment(s), your restrictions, your daily activities, your efforts to work, or any other statements you make to medical sources during the course of examination or treatment, or to us during interviews, on applications, in letters, and in testimony in our administrative proceedings;

    (iv) Information from other sources, as described in § 404.1513(d);

    (v) Decisions by any governmental or nongovernmental agency about whether or not you are disabled or blind (see § 404.1504);

    (vi) At the initial level of the administrative review process, when a State agency disability examiner makes the initial determination alone (see § 404.1615(c)(3)), opinions provided by State agency medical and psychological consultants and other program physicians, psychologists, or other medical specialists based on their review of the evidence in your case record (see § 404.1527(e)(1)(ii));

    (vii) At the reconsideration level of the administrative review process, when a State agency disability examiner makes the determination alone (see § 404.1615(c)(3)), findings, other than the ultimate determination about whether or not you are disabled, made by the State agency medical or psychological consultants and other program physicians, psychologists, or other medical specialists at the initial level of the administrative review process, and other opinions they provide based on their review of the evidence in your case record at the initial and reconsideration levels (see § 404.1527(e)(1)(iii)); and

    (viii) At the administrative law judge and Appeals Council levels, findings, other than the ultimate determination about whether or not you are disabled, made by State agency medical or psychological consultants and other program physicians or psychologists, or other medical specialists, and opinions expressed by medical experts or psychological experts that we consult based on their review of the evidence in your case record (see §§ 404.1527(e)(2)-(3)).

    (2) Exceptions. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section, evidence does not include:

    (i) Oral or written communications between you and your representative that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, unless you voluntarily disclose the communication to us; or

    (ii) Your representative's analysis of your claim, unless he or she voluntarily discloses it to us. Your representative's “analysis of your claim,” means information that is subject to the attorney work product doctrine, but it does not include medical evidence, medical source opinions, or any other factual matter that we may consider in determining whether or not you are entitled to benefits (see paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section).

    (iii) The provisions of paragraph (b)(2)(i) apply to communications between you and your non-attorney representative only if the communications would be subject to the attorney-client privilege, if your non-attorney representative were an attorney. The provisions of paragraph (b)(2)(ii) apply to the analysis of your claim by your non-attorney representative only if the analysis of your claim would be subject to the attorney work product doctrine, if your non-attorney representative were an attorney.

    (iv) The attorney-client privilege generally protects confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client that are related to providing or obtaining legal advice. The attorney work product doctrine generally protects an attorney's analysis, theories, mental impressions, and notes. In the context of your disability claim, neither the attorney-client privilege nor the attorney work product doctrine allows you to withhold factual information, medical source opinions, or other medical evidence that we may consider in determining whether or not you are entitled to benefits. For example, if you tell your representative about the medical sources you have seen, your representative cannot refuse to disclose the identity of those medical sources to us based on the attorney-client privilege. As another example, if your representative asks a medical source to complete an opinion form related to your impairment(s), symptoms, or limitations, your representative cannot withhold the completed opinion form from us based on the attorney work product doctrine. The attorney work product doctrine would not protect the source's opinions on the completed form, regardless of whether or not your representative used the form in his or her analysis of your claim or made handwritten notes on the face of the report.

    (c) Your responsibility. You must inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind or disabled. When you submit evidence received from another source, you must submit that evidence in its entirety, unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise. If we ask you, you must inform us about:

    (1) Your medical source(s);

    (2) Your age;

    (3) Your education and training;

    (4) Your work experience;

    (5) Your daily activities both before and after the date you say that you became disabled;

    (6) Your efforts to work; and

    (7) Any other factors showing how your impairment(s) affects your ability to work. In §§ 404.1560 through 404.1569a, we discuss in more detail the evidence we need when we consider vocational factors.

    Subpart R—[Amended]
    6. The authority citation for subpart R of part 404 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 205(a), 206, 702(a)(5), and 1127 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(a), 406, 902(a)(5), and 1320a-6).

    7. In § 404.1740, revise paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2)(i) through (vi) and add paragraph (b)(2)(vii) to read as follows:
    § 404.1740 Rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Act with reasonable promptness to help obtain the information or evidence that the claimant must submit under our regulations, and forward the information or evidence to us for consideration as soon as practicable.

    (2) * * *

    (i) The claimant's medical source(s);

    (ii) The claimant's age;

    (iii) The claimant's education and training;

    (iv) The claimant's work experience;

    (v) The claimant's daily activities both before and after the date the claimant alleges that he or she became disabled;

    (vi) The claimant's efforts to work; and

    (vii) Any other factors showing how the claimant's impairment(s) affects his or her ability to work. In §§ 404.1560 through 404.1569a, we discuss in more detail the evidence we need when we consider vocational factors;

    PART 405—ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESS FOR ADJUDICATING INITIAL DISABILITY CLAIMS 8. The authority citation for part 405 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 201(j), 205(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (s), 221, 223(a)-(b), 702(a)(5), 1601, 1602, 1631, and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401(j), 405(a)-(b), (d)-(h), and (s), 421, 423(a)-(b), 902(a)(5), 1381, 1381a, 1383, and 1383b).

    Subpart A—[Amended]
    9. In § 405.1, revise the first sentence of paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:
    § 405.1 Introduction.

    (c) * * *

    (2) Evidence considered and right to representation. Subject to §§ 405.331 and 405.430, you must submit evidence and information to us (see §§ 404.1512 and 416.912 of this chapter). * * *

    Subpart D—[Amended]
    10. In § 405.331, revise the first two sentences of paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 405.331 Submitting evidence to an administrative law judge.

    (a) When you submit your request for hearing, you should also submit information or evidence as required by §§ 404.1512 or 416.912 of this chapter or any summary of the evidence to the administrative law judge. You must submit any written evidence no later than 5 business days before the date of the scheduled hearing. * * *

    PART 416—SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME FOR THE AGED, BLIND, AND DISABLED Subpart I—[Amended] 11. The authority citation for subpart I of part 416 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 221(m), 702(a)(5), 1611, 1614, 1619, 1631(a), (c), (d)(1), and (p), and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 421(m), 902(a)(5), 1382, 1382c, 1382h, 1383(a), (c), (d)(1), and (p), and 1383b); secs. 4(c) and 5, 6(c)-(e), 14(a), and 15, Pub. L. 98-460, 98 Stat. 1794, 1801, 1802, and 1808 (42 U.S.C. 421 note, 423 note, and 1382h note).

    12. In § 416.912, revise paragraphs (a) through (c) to read as follows:
    § 416.912 Evidence.

    (a) General. In general, you have to prove to us that you are blind or disabled. You must inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind or disabled. This duty is ongoing and requires you to disclose any additional related evidence about which you become aware. This duty applies at each level of the administrative review process, including the Appeals Council level if the evidence relates to the period on or before the date of the administrative law judge hearing decision. We will consider only impairment(s) you say you have or about which we receive evidence.

    (b) What we mean by “evidence.” Evidence is anything you or anyone else submits to us or that we obtain that relates to your claim.

    (1) Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

    (i) Objective medical evidence, that is, medical signs and laboratory findings as defined in § 416.928(b) and (c);

    (ii) Other evidence from medical sources, such as medical history, opinions, and statements about treatment you have received;

    (iii) Statements you or others make about your impairment(s), your restrictions, your daily activities, your efforts to work, or any other statements you make to medical sources during the course of examination or treatment, or to us during interviews, on applications, in letters, and in testimony in our administrative proceedings;

    (iv) Information from other sources, as described in § 416.913(d);

    (v) Decisions by any governmental or nongovernmental agency about whether or not you are disabled or blind (see § 416.904);

    (vi) At the initial level of the administrative review process, when a State agency disability examiner makes the initial determination alone (see § 416.1015(c)(3)), opinions provided by State agency medical and psychological consultants and other program physicians, psychologists, or other medical specialists based on their review of the evidence in your case record (see § 416.927(e)(1)(ii));

    (vii) At the reconsideration level of the administrative review process, when a State agency disability examiner makes the determination alone (see § 416.1015(c)(3)), findings, other than the ultimate determination about whether or not you are disabled, made by the State agency medical or psychological consultants and other program physicians, psychologists, or other medical specialists at the initial level of the administrative review process, and other opinions they provide based on their review of the evidence in your case record at the initial and reconsideration levels (see § 416.927(e)(1)(iii)); and

    (viii) At the administrative law judge and Appeals Council levels, findings, other than the ultimate determination about whether or not you are disabled, made by State agency medical or psychological consultants and other program physicians or psychologists, or other medical specialists, and opinions expressed by medical experts or psychological experts that we consult based on their review of the evidence in your case record (see §§ 416.927(e)(2)-(3)).

    (2) Exceptions. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section, evidence does not include:

    (i) Oral or written communications between you and your representative that are subject to the attorney-client privilege, unless you voluntarily disclose the communication to us; or

    (ii) Your representative's analysis of your claim, unless he or she voluntarily discloses it to us. Your representative's “analysis of your claim,” means information that is subject to the attorney work product doctrine, but it does not include medical evidence, medical source opinions, or any other factual matter that we may consider in determining whether or not you are eligible for benefits (see paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section).

    (iii) The provisions of paragraph (b)(2)(i) apply to communications between you and your non-attorney representative only if the communications would be subject to the attorney-client privilege, if your non-attorney representative were an attorney. The provisions of paragraph (b)(2)(ii) apply to the analysis of your claim by your non-attorney representative only if the analysis of your claim would be subject to the attorney work product doctrine, if your non-attorney representative were an attorney.

    (iv) The attorney-client privilege generally protects confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client that are related to providing or obtaining legal advice. The attorney work product doctrine generally protects an attorney's analysis, theories, mental impressions, and notes. In the context of your disability claim, neither the attorney-client privilege nor the attorney work product doctrine allows you to withhold factual information, medical source opinions, or other medical evidence that we may consider in determining whether or not you are eligible for benefits. For example, if you tell your representative about the medical sources you have seen, your representative cannot refuse to disclose the identity of those medical sources to us based on the attorney-client privilege. As another example, if your representative asks a medical source to complete an opinion form related to your impairment(s), symptoms, or limitations, your representative cannot withhold the completed opinion form from us based on the attorney work product doctrine. The attorney work product doctrine would not protect the source's opinions on the completed form, regardless of whether or not your representative used the form in his or her analysis of your claim or made handwritten notes on the face of the report.

    (c) Your responsibility. You must inform us about or submit all evidence known to you that relates to whether or not you are blind or disabled. When you submit evidence received from another source, you must submit that evidence in its entirety, unless you previously submitted the same evidence to us or we instruct you otherwise. If we ask you, you must inform us about:

    (1) Your medical source(s);

    (2) Your age;

    (3) Your education and training;

    (4) Your work experience;

    (5) Your daily activities both before and after the date you say that you became disabled;

    (6) Your efforts to work; and

    (7) Any other factors showing how your impairment(s) affects your ability to work. In §§ 416.960 through 416.969a, we discuss in more detail the evidence we need when we consider vocational factors.

    Subpart N—[Amended] 13. The authority citation for subpart N of part 416 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 702(a)(5), 1631, and 1633 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5), 1383, and 1383b); sec. 202, Pub. L. 108-203, 118 Stat. 509 (42 U.S.C. 902 note).

    14. Amend § 416.1400 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 416.1400 Introduction.

    (b) Nature of the administrative review process. In making a determination or decision in your case, we conduct the administrative review process in an informal, non-adversarial manner. Subject to the limitations on Appeals Council consideration of additional evidence (see §§ 416.1470(b) and 416.1476(b)), we will consider at each step of the review process any information you present as well as all the information in our records. You may present the information yourself or have someone represent you, including an attorney. If you are dissatisfied with our decision in the review process, but do not take the next step within the stated time period, you will lose your right to further administrative review and your right to judicial review, unless you can show us that there was good cause for your failure to make a timely request for review.

    15. Revise § 416.1435 to read as follows:
    § 416.1435 Submitting evidence prior to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

    You should submit information or evidence as required by § 416.912 or any summary of the evidence to the administrative law judge with the request for hearing or within 10 days after filing the request, if possible. Each party shall make every effort to ensure that the administrative law judge receives all of the evidence (see § 416.912) or all of the evidence is available at the time and place set for the hearing.

    Subpart O—[Amended] 16. The authority citation for subpart O of part 416 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 702(a)(5), 1127, and 1631(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5), 1320a-6, and 1383(d)).

    17. In § 416.1540, revise paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2)(i) through (vi) and add paragraph (b)(2)(vii) to read as follows:
    § 416.1540 Rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Act with reasonable promptness to help obtain the information or evidence that the claimant must submit under our regulations, and forward the information or evidence to us for consideration as soon as practicable.

    (2) * * *

    (i) The claimant's medical source(s);

    (ii) The claimant's age;

    (iii) The claimant's education and training;

    (iv) The claimant's work experience;

    (v) The claimant's daily activities both before and after the date the claimant alleges that he or she became disabled;

    (vi) The claimant's efforts to work; and

    (vii) Any other factors showing how the claimant's impairment(s) affects his or her ability to work. In §§ 416.960 through 416.969a, we discuss in more detail the evidence we need when we consider vocational factors;

    [FR Doc. 2015-05921 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 14 [Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0218] Advisory Committee; Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee; Termination AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the termination of the Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee. This document removes the Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee from the Agency's list of standing advisory committees.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Ortwerth, Advisory Committee Oversight and Management Staff, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 32, Rm. 5129, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-8220, FAX: 301-847-8640, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee was established on October 7, 1980 (see 45 FR 79025, November 28, 1980). The Committee reviews and evaluates available data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational human drug products for use in the treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, human immunodeficiency virus related illnesses, and other viral, fungal and mycobacterial infections. The Committee is no longer needed and was terminated on February 15, 2015.

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) and (d) and 21 CFR 10.40(d) and (e), the Agency finds good cause to dispense with notice and public comment procedures and to proceed to an immediate effective date on this rule. Notice and public comment and a delayed effective date are unnecessary and are not in the public interest as this final rule merely removes the name of the Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee from the list of standing advisory committees in § 14.100 (21 CFR 14.100).

    Therefore, the Agency is amending § 14.100(c) as set forth in the regulatory text of this document.

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 14

    Administrative practice and procedure, Advisory committees, Color additives, Drugs, Radiation protection.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 14 is amended as follows:

    PART 14—PUBLIC HEARING BEFORE A PUBLIC ADVISORY COMMITTEE 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 14 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. App. 2; 15 U.S.C. 1451-1461, 21 U.S.C. 41-50, 141-149, 321-394, 467f, 679, 821, 1034; 28 U.S.C. 2112; 42 U.S.C. 201, 262, 263b, 264; Pub. L. 107-109; Pub. L. 108-155; Pub. L. 113-54.

    § 14.100 [Amended]
    2. Section 14.100 is amended by removing paragraph (c)(3) and redesignating paragraphs (c)(4) through (18) as paragraphs (c)(3) through (17).
    Dated: March 16, 2015. Jill Hartzler Warner, Associate Commissioner for Special Medical Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06425 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 73 [Docket No. FDA-2013-C-1008] Listing of Color Additives Exempt From Certification; Synthetic Iron Oxide AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is amending the color additive regulations to provide for the expanded safe use of synthetic iron oxide as a color additive to include use in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum. This action is in response to a petition filed by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Wrigley).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective April 21, 2015. See section X for further information on the filing of objections. Submit either electronic or written objections and requests for a hearing by April 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit either electronic or written objections and requests for a hearing, identified by Docket No. FDA-2013-C-1008, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic objections in the following way:

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

    Written Submissions

    Submit written objections in the following ways:

    • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2013-C-1008 for this rulemaking. All objections received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For detailed instructions on submitting objections, see the “Objections” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or objections received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura A. Dye, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-265), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740-3835, 240-402-1275.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction

    In a document published in the Federal Register of September 17, 2013 (78 FR 57105), we announced that we had filed a color additive petition (CAP 3C0298) submitted by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, c/o Exponent Inc., 1150 Connecticut Ave. NW., Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036 (petitioner). The petition proposed to amend the color additive regulations in § 73.200 Synthetic Iron Oxide (21 CFR 73.200) by expanding the safe use of synthetic iron oxide as a color additive to include use in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum. The petitioner requested that the proposed uses be permitted at levels consistent with current good manufacturing practice (GMP). The petition also proposed to lower the specification limit for lead in synthetic iron oxide for human food use from 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg; 10 parts per million (ppm)) to 5 mg/kg (5 ppm).

    II. Background

    Currently, synthetic iron oxides and their hydrated forms are approved as color additives for the following direct uses in human food, drugs, and cosmetics: (1) In sausage casings intended for consumption in an amount not exceeding 0.10 percent by weight of the finished food (§ 73.200); (2) in ingested or topically-applied drugs with a limit for ingested drugs of 5 milligrams, calculated as elemental iron, per day for labeled or prescribed dosages (21 CFR 73.1200); and (3) in cosmetics generally, including cosmetics applied to the area of the eye, in amounts consistent with GMP (21 CFR 73.2250).

    Synthetically prepared iron oxides and their hydrated forms include red iron oxide, yellow iron oxide, black iron oxide, and brown iron oxide, which is a blend of various iron oxides. For the subject petition, synthetic iron oxides are intended to be used in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum in amounts consistent with GMP. The maximum GMP use level for iron oxides depends on the color of the iron oxide and the application. We have determined that the amount of the color additive used in these foods is self-limiting (Ref. 1). Therefore, there is no need for a specific upper limit on the percent by weight of iron oxide in hard and soft candies, mints, and chewing gum in the regulation for these foods.

    III. Evaluation of Safety

    Under section 721(b)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 379e(b)(4)), a color additive cannot be listed for a particular use unless the data and information available to FDA establishes that the color additive is safe for that use. FDA's color additive regulations in 21 CFR 70.3(i) define “safe” to mean that there is convincing evidence that establishes with reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the intended use of the color additive. To establish with reasonable certainty that a color additive intended for use in food is not harmful under its intended conditions of use, we consider the estimated human dietary exposure to the additive, the additive's toxicological data, and other relevant information (such as published literature) available to us. We compare an individual's estimated daily intake (EDI) of the additive from all sources to an acceptable daily intake (ADI) established by toxicological data. The EDI is determined by projections based on the amount of the additive proposed for use in particular foods and on data regarding the amount consumed from all sources of the additive. We typically use the EDI for the 90th percentile consumer of a color additive as a measure of high chronic dietary exposure.

    IV. Safety of Petitioned Use of the Additive

    To support the safety of the proposed uses of synthetic iron oxide, Wrigley provided information about iron intake expected to result from the proposed new uses of synthetic iron oxide, as well as intake from other sources of iron. There are many dietary sources of iron, including from food ingredients, dietary supplements, and from food that contains naturally occurring iron. Specifically, Wrigley submitted detailed exposure estimates of iron that took into account the following: (1) The proposed uses of synthetic iron oxide as a color additive in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum based on the maximum anticipated use levels; (2) the current use of synthetic iron oxide to color sausage casings; (3) background iron from conventional food based on the iron content declared on food labels; (4) iron from dietary supplements; and (5) oral exposure to iron oxides from their use as color additives in lipstick. These exposure estimates assumed that all of the iron that is present is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Wrigley also provided exposure estimates to iron that took into account the bioavailability of iron from all current dietary sources, proposed uses, and lipstick. Wrigley compared these intake estimates to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for iron established by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. Based on this and other information, Wrigley concluded that the proposed use of synthetic iron oxide to color soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum is safe.

    A. Estimated Daily Intake of Iron

    Using food consumption data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), Wrigley's estimated exposure to iron from the proposed uses in soft and hard candy, mints and chewing gum for the U.S. population (2 years of age and older) to be 16.3 mg/p/day (d) for the 90th percentile consumer. Wrigley also provided dietary exposure estimates to iron for children 2 to 5 years of age, children 2 to 13 years of age, and adolescents and adults 14 years of age and older. For these population groups, Wrigley estimated the exposure to iron from the proposed uses at the 90th percentile to be 12.2 mg/p/d, 15.6 mg/p/d, and 16.4 mg/p/d, respectively. Wrigley also estimated the cumulative exposure to iron from all food sources (current and proposed) for the U.S. population (2 years of age and older) to be 40.6 mg/p/d for the 90th percentile consumer. Wrigley also provided dietary exposure estimates to iron for children 2 to 5 years of age, children 2 to 13 years of age, and adolescents and adults 14 years of age and older. For these population groups, Wrigley estimated the exposure to iron at the 90th percentile to be 31.2 mg/p/d, 34.6 mg/p/d, and 41.5 mg/p/d, respectively. In addition, Wrigley estimated exposure to iron from all food sources (current and proposed) and lipstick for females 10 to 13 years old, and 14 years of age and older. The exposure at the 90th percentile for these two population groups was 33.8 mg/p/d and 40.2 mg/p/d, respectively. Wrigley noted that these exposure estimates are conservative and assume that all of the iron present is bioavailable. We have no further questions regarding Wrigley's exposure estimates for iron in food and cosmetics and conclude that the petitioner's exposure estimates are sufficiently conservative to account for the use of iron oxides in ingested drugs (Ref. 2). We also conclude that exposure from indirect uses of iron oxides, such as for colorants for food-contact polymers authorized in 21 CFR 178.3297, would not significantly contribute to the overall exposure to iron oxides.

    To address the bioavailability of iron, Wrigley provided information showing approximately 18 percent of iron from conventional foods and dietary supplements is bioavailable, and that about 1 percent of iron from synthetic iron oxide is bioavailable. Based on this information, Wrigley provided exposure estimates that take into account the bioavailability of iron. Wrigley estimated the exposure to bioavailable iron from the proposed uses at the 90th percentile to be 0.16 mg/p/d, 0.12 mg/p/d, 0.16 mg/p/d, and 0.16 mg/p/d for the U.S. population (2 years of age and older), children 2 to 5 years of age, children 2 to 13 years of age, and adolescents and adults 14 years of age and older, respectively. Wrigley estimated the cumulative exposure to bioavailable iron from all food sources (current and proposed) at the 90th percentile to be 6.02 mg/p/d, 4.68 mg/p/d, 4.99 mg/p/d, and 6.21 mg/p/d for the U.S. population (2 years of age and older), children 2 to 5 years of age, children 2 to 13 years of age, and adolescents and adults 14 years of age and older, respectively. For females 10 to 13 years old, and 14 years of age and older, Wrigley estimated exposure to bioavailable iron from all food sources (current and proposed) and lipstick to be 5.07 mg/p/d and 6.12 mg/p/d, respectively (Ref. 2).

    B. Acceptable Intake Level for Iron

    In 2000, the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes of the Food and Nutrition Board at the IOM conducted an extensive review of relevant published scientific literature to determine dietary reference intakes and ULs for iron. The IOM published a detailed report that included a UL for iron of 40 mg/d for children (2 to 5 years of age and 2 to 13 years of age), and a UL of 45 mg/d for adolescents and adults (14 years of age and older) (Ref. 3).

    The IOM considers the UL as the highest daily intake level of a nutrient that poses no risk of adverse effects when the nutrient is consumed over long periods of time. The UL is determined using a risk assessment model developed specifically for nutrients and, generally speaking, may consider intake from such sources as food, water, nutrient supplements, and pharmacological agents. The dose-response assessment, which concludes with an estimate of the UL, is built upon three toxicological concepts commonly used in assessing the risk of exposures to chemical substances: No-observed-adverse-effect level, lowest-observed-effect level, and an uncertainty factor. We considered the ULs established by the IOM relative to the intake estimates as the primary basis for assessing the safety of iron from the proposed uses of synthetic iron oxide. We also reviewed scientific articles on the safety of iron submitted by Wrigley, as well as other relevant published studies available to FDA.

    The exposure estimates to iron from all food sources, including the proposed use of synthetic iron oxide in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum, at the 90th percentile for children 2 to 5 years of age and for children 2 to 13 years of age, without taking into account the bioavailability of the iron, is 31.2 mg/p/d and 34.6 mg/p/d, respectively. Both of these exposure estimates are below the UL for these age groups. The exposure estimate to iron from all food sources (current and proposed) and lipstick for females 10 to 13 years old at the 90th percentile of 33.8 mg/p/d is also below the UL established for this group. For adolescents and adults 14 years of age and older, the exposure estimate for iron at the 90th percentile of 41.5 mg/p/d is below the UL of 45 mg/p/d for adolescents 14 to 18 years of age. Similarly, the exposure estimate to iron from all food sources and lipstick for females 14 years of age and older of 40.2 mg/p/d at the 90th percentile is below the UL of 45 mg/p/d for adolescents and adults (14 years of age and older). Because the EDI of iron from all current and proposed food sources at the 90th percentile for each population group, which was estimated using conservative assumptions, is below the corresponding IOM UL for that population group, even without taking into account the low bioavailability of the iron from the petitioned uses, we conclude that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the proposed use of synthetic iron oxide as a color additive in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum (Ref. 4).

    C. Lead Specification

    As discussed in section I, the petitioner proposed to lower the specification limit for lead in synthetic iron oxide for human food use in 21 CFR 73.200 from 10 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg. To support the lower lead specification, the petitioner submitted data on lead levels from batch analyses of synthetic iron oxide. The data demonstrates that the proposed lead limit of 5 ppm is achievable with the use of good manufacturing practices in the production of the color additive (Ref. 5). Because the lower specification limit is achievable, and also because the lower specification limit is consistent with the safe use of the color additive, we are lowering the lead specification limit for lead in synthetic iron oxide for human food as proposed. The lower specification applies to both the petitioned new use of synthetic iron oxide to color candy, chewing gum, and mints, as well as to the already-approved use of synthetic iron oxide for human food use in the coloring of sausage casings.

    V. Conclusion

    Based on the data and information in the petition and other relevant material, we conclude that the petitioned use of synthetic iron oxide in soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum is safe. We further conclude that the additive will achieve its intended technical effect and is suitable for the petitioned use. Consequently, we are amending the color additive regulations in 21 CFR part 73 as set forth in this document. In addition, based upon the factors listed in 21 CFR 71.20(b), we conclude that batch certification of synthetic iron oxide is not necessary for the protection of public health.

    VI. Public Disclosure

    In accordance with § 71.15 (21 CFR 71.15), the petition and the documents that we considered and relied upon in reaching our decision to approve the petition will be made available for public disclosure (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). As provided in § 71.15, we will delete from the documents any materials that are not available for public disclosure.

    VII. Environmental Impact

    We previously considered the environmental effects of this rule as stated in the September 17, 2013, notice of filing for CAP 3C0298 (78 FR 57105). We stated that we had determined, under 21 CFR 25.32(k), that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment such that neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required. We have not received any new information or comments that would affect our previous determination.

    VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This final rule contains no collection of information. Therefore, clearance by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 is not required.

    IX. Section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act

    Our review of this petition was limited to section 721 of the FD&C Act. This final rule is not a statement regarding compliance with other sections of the FD&C Act. For example, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007, which was signed into law on September 27, 2007, amended the FD&C Act to, among other things, add section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 331(ll)). Section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act prohibits the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food that contains a drug approved under section 505 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 355), a biological product licensed under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 262), or a drug or biological product for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and their existence has been made public, unless one of the exemptions in section 301(ll)(1) to (ll)(4) of the FD&C Act applies. In our review of this petition, we did not consider whether section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act or any of its exemptions apply to food products containing this color additive. Accordingly, this final rule should not be construed to be a statement that a product containing this color additive, if introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce, would not violate section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act. Furthermore, this language is included in all color additive final rules that pertain to food and therefore should not be construed to be a statement of the likelihood that section 301(ll) of the FD&C Act applies.

    X. Objections

    This rule is effective as shown in the DATES section, except as to any provisions that may be stayed by the filing of proper objections. If you will be adversely affected by one or more provisions of this regulation, you may file with the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) either electronic or written objections. You must separately number each objection, and within each numbered objection you must specify with particularity the provision to which you object and the grounds for your objection. Within each numbered objection, you must specifically state whether you are requesting a hearing on the particular provision that you specify in that numbered objection. If you do not request a hearing for any particular objection, you waive the right to a hearing on that objection. If you request a hearing, your objection must include a detailed description and analysis of the specific factual information you intend to present in support of the objection in the event that a hearing is held. If you do not include such a description and analysis for any particular objection, you waive the right to a hearing on the objection.

    It is only necessary to send one set of documents. Identify documents with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document. Any objections received in response to the regulation may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will be posted to the docket at http://www.regulations.gov. We will publish notice of the objections that we have received or lack thereof in the Federal Register.

    XI. References

    The following references have been placed on display in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) and may be seen by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. (FDA has verified the Web site addresses in this reference section, but FDA is not responsible for any subsequent changes to Web sites after this document publishes in the Federal Register.)

    1. Memorandum to the File from A. Zajac, Division of Petition Review, February 27, 2015. 2. Memorandum from D. Doell, Chemistry Review Group, Division of Petition Review, to L. Dye, Regulatory Group II, Division of Petition Review, June 20, 2014. 3. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001. 4. Memorandum from S. Thurmond, Toxicology Team, Division of Petition Review, to L. Dye, Regulatory Group II, Division of Petition Review, September 9, 2014. 5. Memorandum from N. Hepp, Color Technology Team, Office of Cosmetics and Colors, to L. Dye, Division of Petition Review, September 23, 2013. List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 73

    Color additives, Cosmetics, Drugs, and Medical devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, and redelegated to the Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 21 CFR part 73 is amended as follows:

    PART 73—LISTING OF COLOR ADDITIVES EXEMPT FROM CERTIFICATION 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 73 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 341, 342, 343, 348, 351, 352, 355, 361, 362, 371, 379e.

    2. Section 73.200 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (c)(1) to read as follows:
    § 73.200 Synthetic iron oxide.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Synthetic iron oxide for human food use shall conform to the following specifications:

    Arsenic (as As), not more than 3 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) (3 parts per million (ppm)).

    Lead (as Pb), not more than 5 mg/kg (5 ppm).

    Mercury (as Hg), not more than 1 mg/kg (1 ppm).

    (c) * * *

    (1) Synthetic iron oxide may be safely used for human food use subject to the following restrictions:

    (i) In sausage casings intended for human consumption in an amount not exceeding 0.10 percent by weight of the finished food.

    (ii) In soft and hard candy, mints, and chewing gum at levels consistent with good manufacturing practice, except that it may not be used to color foods for which standards of identity have been issued under section 401 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, unless the use of the added color is authorized by such standards.

    Dated: March 17, 2015. Susan M. Bernard, Director, Office of Regulations, Policy and Social Sciences, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06418 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Part 1308 [Docket No. DEA-406] Substances Temporarily Controlled Under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act AGENCY:

    Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; technical amendments.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule makes technical and conforming amendments to the Drug Enforcement Administration regulations listing substances temporarily controlled under schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This final rule eliminates references to 7 substances that were previously subject to temporary control, but which have since been permanently controlled under schedule I, and redesignates 23 other substances that are currently temporarily controlled under schedule I. This action makes no substantive changes to the affected regulation.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Imelda L. Paredes, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration; Mailing Address: 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; Telephone: (202) 598-6812.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Legal Authority

    The DEA implements and enforces titles II and III of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, as amended. Titles II and III are referred to as the “Controlled Substances Act” and the “Controlled Substances Import and Export Act,” respectively, and are collectively referred to as the “Controlled Substances Act” or the “CSA” for the purpose of this action. 21 U.S.C. 801-971. The DEA publishes the implementing regulations for these statutes in title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), chapter II. The CSA and its implementing regulations are designed to prevent, detect, and eliminate the diversion of controlled substances and listed chemicals into the illicit market while providing for the legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States. Controlled substances have the potential for abuse and dependence and are controlled to protect the public health and safety.

    Under the CSA, each controlled substance is classified into one of five schedules based upon its potential for abuse, currently accepted medical use, and the degree of dependence the substance may cause. 21 U.S.C. 812. The initial schedules of controlled substances established by Congress are found at 21 U.S.C. 812(c), and the current list of all controlled substances is published at 21 CFR part 1308. 21 U.S.C. 812(a).

    The CSA provides the Attorney General with the authority to temporarily control a substance under schedule I for two years without regard to the requirements of 21 U.S.C. 811(b) if he/she finds that such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. 21 U.S.C. 811(h). If proceedings to permanently control a substance are initiated pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 811(a)(1), the Attorney General may extend the temporary control for up to one year. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(2). The Attorney General has delegated this authority to the Administrator of the DEA. 28 CFR 0.100.

    Technical Amendments

    The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 (SDAPA) became effective on July 9, 2012.1 SDAPA amended the CSA by permanently controlling “cannabimimetic agents” and 26 other specific substances in schedule I. At that time, some of the 26 permanently controlled substances were temporarily controlled and listed in 21 CFR 1308.11(g), including the following substances: 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018); 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073); 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200); 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-(3-hydroxycyclohexyl)-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol or CP-47,497 C8 homologue); 2 4-methyl-N-methylcathinone (mephedrone); and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).3

    1 Pub. L. 112-144, title XI, subtitle D, sections 1151-1153.

    2See “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Five Synthetic Cannabinoids Into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act,” 76 FR 11075, Mar. 1, 2011 and “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Extension of Temporary Placement of Five Synthetic Cannabinoids Into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act,” 77 FR 12201, Feb. 29, 2012.

    3See “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Three Synthetic Cathinones Into Schedule I,” 76 FR 65371, Oct. 21, 2011.

    On January 4, 2013, the DEA published a final rule permanently placing cannabimimetic agents and all 26 substances specified in SDAPA into schedule I (including the 6 substances noted above that were previously temporarily controlled).4

    4 “Establishment of Drug Codes for 26 Substances,” 78 FR 664, Jan. 4, 2013.

    The substance 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (methylone) was not permanently controlled through SDAPA. However, DEA temporarily controlled methylone on October 21, 2011, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 811(h), and listed it in 21 CFR 1308.11(g)(7).5 On January 4, 2013, subparagraph (g) of 21 CFR 1308.11 was redesignated as subparagraph (h), and methylone was renumbered in section 1308.11(h)(1); it also inadvertently remained on the list of temporarily controlled substances in section 1308.11(h)(7). The DEA permanently controlled methylone in schedule I by a final rule published in the Federal Register on April 12, 2013.6

    5 “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Three Synthetic Cathinones Into Schedule I,” 76 FR 65371, Oct. 21, 2011.

    6 “Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Methylone Into Schedule I,” 78 FR 21818, Apr. 12, 2013.

    Because the above noted substances are permanently controlled in schedule I, the DEA is making technical and conforming amendments to the regulations by removing the above referenced 7 substances (JWH-018; JWH-073; JWH-200; CP-47,497 C8 homologue; mephedrone; MDPV; and methylone) from the list of temporarily controlled substances and redesignating the numerical order of the remaining controlled substances that are currently subject to temporary control.

    Regulatory Analyses The Administrative Procedure Act

    An agency may find good cause to exempt a rule from certain provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), including notice of proposed rulemaking and the opportunity for public comment, if it is determined to be unnecessary, impracticable, or contrary to the public interest under 5 U.S.C. 533(b)(3)(B). This rule provides technical and conforming amendments to the DEA's regulations and imposes no new or substantive requirement on the public or DEA registrants. As such, the DEA has determined that notice and opportunity for public comment on this rule are unnecessary. In addition, because this is not a substantive rule and as the DEA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for the above reasons, this final rule shall take effect upon the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    The Administrator certifies that this is not a significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 and the principles reaffirmed in Executive Order 13563, as it makes only technical amendments to the current regulations. Such actions are exempt from review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    Executive Order 12988

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize litigation, provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct, and promote simplification and burden reduction.

    Executive Order 13132

    This rule does not have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13132. This rule does not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This rule does not involve a collection of information within the meaning of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521.

    Executive Order 13175

    This rule does not have tribal implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13175. The rule does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    Congressional Review Act

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by Section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Congressional Review Act (CRA)). This rule will not result in: An annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets. However, pursuant to the CRA, the DEA has submitted a copy of this final rule to both Houses of Congress and to the Comptroller General.

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 1308

    Administrative practice and procedure, Drug traffic control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set out above, 21 CFR part 1308 is amended as follows:

    PART 1308—SCHEDULES OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 1308 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 811, 812, 871(b), unless otherwise noted.

    § 1308.11 [Amended]
    2. Amend § 1308.11 by removing paragraphs (h)(1) through (8) and redesignating paragraphs (h)(9) through (31) as paragraphs (h)(1) through (23), respectively.
    Dated: March 12, 2015. Michele M. Leonhart, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06460 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0157] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Cerritos Channel, Long Beach, CA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim highway bridge across the Cerritos Channel, mile 4.9 at Long Beach, CA. The deviation is necessary to allow Southern California Edison Company to temporarily disconnect electric service to the bridge while performing circuit switching. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position during the deviation period.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective without actual notice from March 20, 2015 to 2 a.m. on March 23, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 10 p.m. on March 15, 2015, until March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0157], is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email David H. Sulouff, Chief, Bridge Section, Eleventh Coast Guard District; telephone 510-437-3516, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    California Department of Transportation has requested a temporary change to the operation of the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim highway bridge, mile 4.9, over Cerritos Channel, at Long Beach, CA. The drawbridge navigation span provides a vertical clearance of 37 feet above Mean High Water in the closed-to-navigation position and a maximum of 43 feet due to construction falsework over the channel at the bridge. The draw opens on signal; except that, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday except Federal holidays, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels, as required by 33 CFR 117.147(a). Navigation on the waterway is commercial and recreational.

    The drawspan will be secured in the closed-to-navigation position from 10 p.m. on March 15, 2015 to 2 a.m. on March 16, 2015; and from 10 p.m. on March 22, 2015 to 2 a.m. on March 23, 2015 to allow Southern California Edison Company to switch electrical power for the bridge to another source. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with the waterway users. No objections to the proposed temporary deviation were raised.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is an alternate route around Terminal Island for routine and emergency navigation. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterway through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so vessel operators can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: March 11, 2015. D.H. Sulouff, District Bridge Chief, Eleventh Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06491 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0171] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the South Park highway bridge across the Duwamish Waterway, mile 3.8, at Seattle, WA. The deviation is necessary to enable timely completion of drawbridge maintenance. This deviation allows the drawbridge to remain closed to mariners needing a full channel, double bascule leaf drawbridge opening. Vessels that only require a single leaf, half channel drawbridge opening, will be given such an opening upon signal.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective without actual notice from March 20, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. on March 28, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2015, until March 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0171] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Steven M. Fischer, Thirteenth Coast Guard District Bridge Administrator; telephone 206-220-7282, email: [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The South Park highway bridge is a double bascule span drawbridge that requires under bridge maintenance. King County Road Services Division requested a deviation to the published drawbridge operation schedule to enable timely completion of the required bridge maintenance. The South Park highway bridge is located in the Duwamish Waterway, mile 3.8, at Seattle, WA, and provides 34.8 feet of vertical clearance at center span while in the closed position, 30 feet of vertical clearance at the extreme east and west ends of the navigable channel, and unlimited vertical clearance with half of the bascule bridge in the fully open position. Vertical clearances are referenced to mean high-water elevation (MHW). Horizontal clearance is 128 feet. However, horizontal clearance may be restricted by construction barges.

    The normal operation schedule for the bridge is in 33 CFR 117.1041, which specifies that the draws of each bridge across the Duwamish Waterway shall open on signal, except the draw of the South Park highway bridge, mile 3.8, which need not be opened for the passage of vessels from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    The deviation period is effective from 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. on March 28, 2015, and allows the drawbridge to remain closed to mariners needing a full channel double bascule opening. For mariners that only require a single leaf, half channel, drawbridge opening, such an opening will be given upon signal. A drawtender will be present 24 hours a day, 7 days week. To request a single leaf opening, mariners may utilize any of the following methods: (1) Via VHF maritime radio; (2) telephone; (3) one prolonged blast followed quickly by one short blast and one prolonged blast.

    Waterborne traffic on this stretch of the Duwamish waterway consists of vessels ranging from small pleasure craft, sailboats, small tribal fishing boats, and commercial tug and tow, and mega yachts. Vessels able to pass under the bridge in the closed positions may do so at anytime, but are advised to use caution as the area surrounding the bridge has numerous construction craft and equipment occupying half of the navigational channel. The bridge will be able to open half of the bridge for emergencies, and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform users of the waterway of the change in operating schedule for the bridge through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: March 11, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06493 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0126] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Pittsburgh, PA; Ice Accumulations; Allegheny River Mile 1.0-72.0 AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for all waters of the Allegheny River within the Captain of the Port Pittsburgh Zone, which includes mile 1.0 to mile 72.0 on the Allegheny River. This safety zone is needed to protect persons, property, and vessels transiting the area from the hazards associated with ice accumulations on the waterways. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Pittsburgh or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from March 20, 2015 through April 1, 2015, and enforceable through actual notice beginning on February 26, 2015, until April 1, 2015 or ice conditions within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone have improved, whichever occurs earlier.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents mentioned in this preamble are part of docket USCG-2015-0126. To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Jennifer Haggins, Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, U.S. Coast Guard, at telephone (412) 221-0807, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl F. Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Acronyms BNM Broadcast Notices to Mariners CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A. Regulatory History and Information

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary final rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not using the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Process. The Coast Guard, with recommendations from the Pittsburgh Ice Committee (comprised of Army Corps of Engineers—Pittsburgh District, National Weather Service, Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, and Chairperson of the Waterways Navigation Committee), has established a safety zone on all waters of the Allegheny Rivers within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone. This safety zone will remain in effect February 26, 2015, until April 1, 2015 or ice conditions within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone have improved, whichever occurs earlier. This safety zone is the result of significant ice formation within the navigable channels of the Allegheny River, due to extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures. Waterway users will be informed of the decisions by the Pittsburgh Ice Committee during the Industry Teleconference that is hosted by MSU Pittsburgh. This emergent situation does not allow time for the NPRM Process. After full review of information provided by the Pittsburgh Ice Committee, Army Corps of Engineers—Pittsburgh District, and National Weather Service, the Coast Guard has determined that immediate action establishing additional safety measures is necessary to ensure public safety during the next several weeks. Delaying the implementation of this rule by completing the NPRM Process is contrary to public interest. Immediate action is needed to protect persons, property, and vessels transiting into, out of, or within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone during sub-freezing temperatures and resulting ice accumulations.

    For the same reasons discussed above, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Providing 30 days notice would unnecessarily delay the effective date and would be impracticable and contrary to public interest because immediate action is needed to protect persons, property, and vessels transiting into, out of, or within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone.

    B. Basis and Purpose

    The COTP Pittsburgh Zone has recently experienced consecutive weeks of sub-freezing temperatures. Accumulations of ice have formed on the Allegheny River resulting in vessels not being able to transit the river.

    The legal basis and authorities for this rule are found in 33 U.S.C. 1231, 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to establish and define regulatory safety zones.

    C. Discussion of Final Rule

    The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone for all waters of the Allegheny Rivers within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone, which includes mile 1.0 to mile 72.0 on the Allegheny River. Entry into this zone is prohibited to all vessels and persons, except persons and vessels specifically authorized by the COTP Pittsburgh. This rule is effective immediately and will be enforced February 26, 2015, until April 1, 2015 or ice conditions within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone have improved, whichever occurs earlier. As stated in the Basis and Purpose section above, on the recommendation from the Pittsburgh Ice Committee, entry into this zone is prohibited to all vessels and persons, except persons and vessels specifically authorized by the COTP Pittsburgh.

    The COTP Pittsburgh will inform the public through Broadcast Notices to Mariners (BNM) of details regarding enforcement and any changes to this safety zone during ice accumulation conditions.

    D. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes or executive orders.

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

    This rule is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This rule will be in effect during emergency conditions involving ice accumulation on the Allegheny River. While some impacts on routine navigation will be recognized by waterway users, the recommendation for this emergency safety measure came from the Pittsburgh Ice Committee which is comprised of Army Corps of Engineers—Pittsburgh District, National Weather Service, Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, and Chairperson of the Waterways Navigation Committee. The Coast Guard will continue to make notifications to the marine community and local industry contacts that could be operating in the area during these conditions. Additionally, deviation from the rule may be requested and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the COTP or a designated representative.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

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

    This rule will affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit mile 1.0 to mile 72.0 on the Allegheny River, from February 26, 2015, until April 1, 2015 or ice conditions within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone have improved, whichever occurs earlier. This emergency safety zone will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities due to its limited scope and short duration.

    Entry into this zone is prohibited to all vessels and persons, except persons and vessels specifically authorized by the COTP Pittsburgh. The Coast Guard will ensure that that the local marine community is aware of the safety zone through BNMs and other notification. Additionally, deviation from the rule may be requested and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the COTP or a designated representative.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

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

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

    4. Collection of Information

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

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

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

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    8. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    9. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

    10. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    12. Energy Effects

    This action is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

    13. Technical Standards

    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

    14. 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 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule establishes an emergency safety zone for waters of the Allegheny River within the COTP Pittsburgh Zone. This rule is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction an environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T08-0126 to read as follows:
    § 165.T08-0126 Safety Zone; Pittsburgh, PA; Ice Accumulations; Allegheny River Mile 1.0-72.0.

    (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: all waters of the Allegheny River within the Captain of the Port (COTP) Pittsburgh Zone, mile 1.0 to mile 72.0 on the Allegheny River.

    (b) Effective date. This temporary rule is effective from March 20, 2015 through April 1, 2015, and enforceable February 26, 2015, until April 1, 2015 or ice conditions within the Captain of the Port (COTP) Pittsburgh Zone have improved, whichever occurs earlier.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23, entry into this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the COTP Pittsburgh or a designated representative.

    (2) Persons or vessels requiring entry into or passage through the zone must request permission from the COTP Pittsburgh or a designated representative. The COTP Pittsburgh or a representative may be contacted at (412) 221-0807.

    (3) All persons and vessels shall comply with the instructions of the COTP Pittsburgh or their designated representative. Designated COTP representatives include United States Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, and petty officers.

    (d) Informational broadcasts. The COTP Pittsburgh will inform the public through Broadcast Notices to Mariners (BNM) of the safety zone and any changes to the enforcement periods.

    Dated: February 26, 2015. L.N. Weaver, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Pittsburgh.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06356 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 271 [EPA-R04-RCRA-2014-0712; FRL-9924-83-Region-4] Tennessee: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revisions AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Tennessee has applied to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for final authorization of changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA has determined that these changes satisfy all requirements needed to qualify for final authorization, and is authorizing the State's changes through this direct final rule. In the “Proposed Rules” section of this issue of the Federal Register, EPA is also publishing a separate document that serves as the proposal to authorize these changes. EPA believes this action is not controversial and does not expect comments that oppose it. Unless EPA receives written comments that oppose this authorization during the comment period, the decision to authorize Tennessee's changes to its hazardous waste program will take effect. If EPA receives comments that oppose this action, EPA will publish a document in the Federal Register withdrawing this direct final rule before it takes effect, and the separate document published in the “Proposed Rules” section of this issue of the Federal Register will serve as the proposal to authorize the changes.

    DATES:

    This final authorization will become effective on May 19, 2015 unless EPA receives adverse written comment by April 20, 2015. If EPA receives such comment, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of this direct final rule in the Federal Register and inform the public that this authorization will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-RCRA-2014-0712, by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected]

    Fax: (404) 562-9964 (prior to faxing, please notify the EPA contact listed below).

    Mail: Send written comments to Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: EPA must receive your comments by April 20, 2015. Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-RCRA-2014-0712. 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 publicly available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. (For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm).

    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.

    You may view and copy Tennessee's applications and associated publicly available materials from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations: EPA, Region 4, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960; telephone number: (404) 562-8512; and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Solid Waste Management, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 14th Floor, Nashville, Tennessee; telephone number: (615) 532-0825. Interested persons wanting to examine these documents should make an appointment with the office at least a week in advance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960; telephone number: (404) 562-8606; fax number: (404) 562-9964; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. Why are revisions to state programs necessary?

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

    New Federal requirements and prohibitions imposed by Federal regulations that EPA promulgates pursuant to the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA) take effect in authorized States at the same time that they take effect in unauthorized States. Thus, EPA will implement those requirements and prohibitions in Tennessee, including the issuance of new permits implementing those requirements, until the State is granted authorization to do so.

    B. What decisions has EPA made in this rule?

    On March 9, 2010 and January 15, 2013, Tennessee submitted final complete program revision applications seeking authorization of changes to its hazardous waste program that correspond to certain Federal rules promulgated between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2006 (also known as RCRA Clusters XV and XVI). Tennessee supplemented these applications on September 16, 2014. EPA concludes that Tennessee's applications to revise its authorized program meet all of the statutory and regulatory requirements established by RCRA, as set forth in RCRA section 3006(b), 42 U.S.C. 6926(b), and 40 CFR part 271. Therefore, EPA grants Tennessee final authorization to operate its hazardous waste program with the changes described in the authorization applications, and as outlined below in Section G of this document.

    Tennessee has responsibility for permitting treatment, storage, and disposal facilities within its borders and for carrying out the aspects of the RCRA program described in its revised program applications, subject to the limitations of HSWA, as discussed above.

    C. What is the effect of this authorization decision?

    The effect of this decision is that the changes described in Tennessee's authorization applications will become part of the authorized State hazardous waste program, and will therefore be federally enforceable. Tennessee will continue to have primary enforcement authority and responsibility for its State hazardous waste program. EPA retains its authorities under RCRA sections 3007, 3008, 3013, and 7003, including its authority to:

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

    • Enforce RCRA requirements, including authorized State program requirements, and suspend or revoke permits; and

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

    This action does not impose additional requirements on the regulated community because the regulations for which Tennessee is being authorized by this action are already effective and enforceable requirements under State law, and are not changed by this action.

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

    Along with this direct final rule, EPA is publishing a separate document in the “Proposed Rules” section of this issue of the Federal Register that serves as the proposal to authorize these State program changes. EPA did not publish a proposed rule before today because EPA views this as a routine program change and does not expect comments that oppose this approval. EPA is providing an opportunity for public comment now, as described in Section E of this document.

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

    If EPA receives comments that oppose this authorization, EPA will withdraw this direct final rule by publishing a document in the Federal Register before the rule becomes effective. EPA will base any further decision on the authorization of the State program changes on the proposed rule mentioned in the previous section, after considering all comments received during the comment period, and will address all such comments in a later final rule. You may not have another opportunity to comment on these State program changes. If you want to comment on this authorization, you must do so at this time.

    If EPA receives comments that oppose only the authorization of a particular change to the State hazardous waste program, EPA will withdraw that part of this direct final rule, but the authorization of the program changes that the comments do not oppose will become effective on the date specified above. The Federal Register withdrawal document will specify which part of the authorization will become effective, and which part is being withdrawn.

    F. What has Tennessee previously been authorized for?

    Tennessee initially received final authorization on January 22, 1985, effective February 5, 1985 (50 FR 2820), to implement a RCRA hazardous waste management program. EPA granted authorization for changes to Tennessee's program on the following dates: June 12, 1987, effective August 11, 1987 (52 FR 22443); June 1, 1992, effective July 31, 1992 (57 FR 23063); May 8, 1995, effective July 7, 1995 (60 FR 22524); August 24, 1995, effective October 23, 1995 (60 FR 43979); May 23, 1996, effective July 22, 1996 (61 FR 25796); January 30, 1998, effective March 31, 1998 (63 FR 4587); September 15, 1999, effective November 15, 1999 (64 FR 49998); October 26, 2000, effective December 26, 2000 (65 FR 64161); December 26, 2001, effective February 25, 2002 (66 FR 66342); April 11, 2003, effective June 10, 2003 (68 FR 17748); March 14, 2005, effective May 13, 2005 (70 FR 12416); May 11, 2006, effective July 10, 2006 (71 FR 27405); and October 5, 2012, effective December 4, 2012 (77 FR 60919).

    G. What changes is EPA authorizing with this action?

    On March 9, 2010 and January 15, 2013, Tennessee submitted final complete program revision applications seeking authorization of its changes in accordance with 40 CFR 271.21. Tennessee supplemented these applications on September 16, 2014. EPA now makes an immediate final decision, subject to receipt of written comments that oppose this action, that Tennessee's hazardous waste program revisions are equivalent to, consistent with, and no less stringent than the Federal program, and therefore satisfy all of the requirements necessary to qualify for final authorization. Therefore, EPA grants Tennessee final authorization for the following program changes:

    Description of federal requirement Federal Register date and page Analogous State Authority 1 2 206—Nonwastewaters from Dyes and Pigments 70 FR 9138 02/24/05 and 70 FR 35032 06/16/05 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.02(1)(d)2(xii)(I)-(V);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(4)(c)1-4;
  • 0400-12-01-.02(5) (App. VII & VIII); 0400-12-01-.10(2)(k)-(t);
  • 0400-12-01-.10(3)(a) (Table of Treatment Standards for Hazardous Waste); and .10(3)(i)1 (Universal Treatment Standards Table)
  • Checklist 207—Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest Rule 70 FR 10776 03/04/05 and 70 FR 35034 06/16/05 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.01(2)(a);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(1)(g)2(i)(III)I-II;
  • 0400-12-01-.03(3)(a)1(i)-(ii); .03(3)(b)1(a)-(m); .03(3)(h)1-2;
  • 0400-12-01-.03(4)(c)2; .03(4)(d); .03(4)(e)16(i)-(ii); 0400-12-01-.03(7)(e)3 & 5; 0400-12-01-.03(8)(a)3-5; 0400-12-01-.03(13)(a) (App.); 0400-12-01-.04(3)(a)1-3 & 7(i)-(iv); .04(3)(b)2(i)-(ii); 0400-12-01-.06(5)(a)1-2; .06(5)(b)1(i)-(iii); .06(5)(b)2(iv); .06(5)(b)5; .06(5)(c)1-5; .06(5)(c)6(i)-(vii); .06(5)(c)7; .06(5)(g)1-2; 0400-12-01-.05(5)(a)1-2; .05(5)(b)1(i)-(iii); .05(5)(b)2(iv); .05(5)(b)5; .05(5)(c)1-5; .05(5)(c)6(i)-(vii); .05(5)(c)7; and .05(5)(g)1-2. 208—Methods Innovation Rule and SW-846 Final Update IIIB 70 FR 34538 06/14/05 and 70 FR 44150 08/01/05 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.01(2)(b)1-2;
  • 0400-12-01-02(1)(c)1(ii)(V);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(3)(b)1(i); .02(3)(c)1(i)-(ii);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(4)(f)2(ii)(III); 0400-12-01-02(5) (App. I-III); 0400-12-01-.06(10)(a)1; 0400-12-01-.06(14)(o)2; 0400-12-01-.06(30)(e)3(i)(II) & (IV); .06(30)(e)4(i)(III); .06(30)(e)6; 0400-12-01-.06(31)(n)4(ii); 0400-12-01-.06(57)(i) (App. IX); 0400-12-01-.05(10)(a)1; 0400-12-01-.05(14)(o)3; 0400-12-01-.05(27)(e)3(i)(II) & (IV); .05(27)(e)4(i)(III); .05(27)(e)6; 0400-12-01-.05(28)(n)4(ii); 0400-12-01-.05(29)(b); .05(29)(e)1(iii)(II)III; .05(29)(e)1(iii)(III); .05(29)(e)2(iii)(II)III; .05(29)(e)2(iii)(III); .05(29)(e)3(iii)(I); 0400-12-01-.09(8)(a)4(i)(II); .09(8)(a)7(ii); .09(8)(c)2(i); .09(8)(g)1; .09(8)(m)2(i); .09(8)(m)2(ii)(I); 0400-12-01-.09(30) (App. IX); 0400-12-01-.10(3)(a)2; .10(3)(a) (Table of Treatment Standards for Hazardous Waste), footnote 7; .10(3)(i)1 (Universal Treatment Standards Table), footnote 4; 0400-12-01-.07(5)(b)5(iii)(I)III-IV; .07(5)(b)8(i)(II)II.B; 0400-12-01-.07(1)(e)2(ii)(I)III-IV; .07(1)(j)3(ii)(I)-II); 0400-12-01-.11(2)(a)2(i)(II); 0400-12-01-.11(5)(e)3; 0400-12-01-.11(6)(d)3; and 0400-12-01-.11(7)(d)3. 209—Universal Waste Rule: Specific Provisions for Mercury Containing Equipment 70 FR 45508 08/05/05 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.01(2)(a);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(1)(j);
  • 0400-12-01-.06(1)(b)2(x);
  • 0400-12-01-.05(1)(b)2(xii); 0400-12-01-.10(1)(a)6; 0400-12-01-.07(1)(b)4(ix); 0400-12-01-.12(1)(a); .12(1)(a)1(iii); .12(1)(f)1-3; .12(1)(b); 0400-12-01-.12(2)(d)3(i)-(iv); .12(2)(e)4(i)-(ii); 0400-12-01-.12(3)(c)2(iv)-(v); .12(3)(d)3(i)-(iv); and .12(3)(e)4(i)-(ii). 211—Wastewater Treatment Exemptions for Hazardous Waste Mixtures (“Headworks exemptions”) 70 FR 57769 10/04/05 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.02(1)(c)1(ii)(IV)I-II; .02(1)(c)1(ii)(IV)IV; and .02(1)(c)1(ii)(IV)VI-VII.
  • 213—Burden Reduction Initiative 71 FR 16862 04/04/06 Tennessee Revised Code:
  • 0400-12-01-.01(4)(b)2(ii-vii);
  • 0400-12-01-.02(1)(d)1(ix)(III)V; .02(1)(d)6(ix); 0400-12-01-.06(2)(f)2(iv)-(v); .06(2)(g)1(iv); 0400-12-01-.06(4)(c)2; .06(4)(g)9; 0400-12-01-.06(5)(d)2; .06(5)(d)2(i)-(ii), (vi), (viii), (x) & (xviii)-(xix); 0400-12-01-.06(6)(i)4; .06(6)(i)7(ii)-(iii); .06(6)(j)6-7; .06(6)(k)7; 0400-12-01-.06(7)(d)5(v); .06(7)(f) & (k); 0400-12-01-.06(8)(d)4(i); .06(8)(f)4(i); .06(8)(n)5; 0400-12-01-.06(9)(e); 0400-12-01-.06(10)(b)1; .06(10)(b)2(v)(II); .06(10)(c)1-2; .06(10)(d)1(i)-(ii); .06(10)(d)9(ii); .06(10)(f)2-8; .06(10)(g)6; 0400-12-01-.06(12)(b)3; 0400-12-01-.06(13)(k)2; 0400-12-01-.06(14)(o)1-5; 0400-12-01-.06(15)(d)1(ii); .06(15)(h)4; 0400-12-01-.06(22)(e)3(ii); 0400-12-01-.06(26)(b)1-3; .06(26)(d)1(iv)(II); .06(26)(d)7; .06(26)(e)1; 0400-12-01-.06(31)(l)2(i)-(ii); .06(31)(m)1; 0400-12-01-.06(33)(a); .06(33)(b)3(ii); 0400-12-01-.05(2)(f)2(iv); .05(2)(g)1(iv); 0400-12-01-.05(4)(c)2; .05(4)(g)9; 0400-12-01-.05(5)(d)2(i)-(ii), (vi)-(viii) & (xv); 0400-12-01-.05(6)(a)4(i) & (iii); .05(6)(d)4(ii) & (v); 0400-12-01-.05(7)(d)5(v); .05(7)(f); .05(7)(k); 0400-12-01-.05(8)(d)3(i); .05(8)(f)3(i); .05(8)(n)5; 0400-12-01-.05(9)(e); 0400-12-01-.05(10)(b)1; .05(10)(b)2(v)(II); .05(10)(c)1 & 2; .05(10)(d)1(i)-(ii); .05(10)(d)9(ii); .05(10)(f)1-7; .05(10)(g)6; .05(10)(l)3-8; 0400-12-01-.05(11)(b)1; .05(11)(e)1; 0400-12-01-.05(12)(j)1; 0400-12-01-.05(13)(k)5; 0400-12-01-.05(14)(b)1; .05(14)(d)1; .05(14)(o)1-6; 0400-12-01-.05(23)(b)1-3; .05(23)(d)1(iv)(II); .05(23)(d)7; .05(23)(e)1; 0400-12-01-.05(28)(l)2(i)-(ii); .05(28)(m)1; 0400-12-01-.05(30)(a); .05(30)(b)3(ii); 0400-12-01-.09(8)(c)5(x); .09(8)(d)4 & 11; 0400-12-01-.10(1)(g)1(i)-(ii); .10(1)(g)2(vi); .10(1)(i)1 & 4; 0400-12-01-.07(5); .07(5)(b)2(i); .07(5)(b)12(iii)(XV); and 0400-12-01-.07(10)(o). 1 The Tennessee provisions for RCRA Cluster XV (Checklists 206, 207, and 208) and Cluster XVI (Checklists 209, 211, and 213) are from the Tennessee Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, Chapter 0400-12-01, effective November 5, 2013. 2 Chapter 1200-01-11 was renumbered as Chapter 0400-12-01, effective September 17, 2012. The chapter title, “Hazardous Waste Management,” remained the same and the contents of the chapter did not change as a result of the renumbering.
    H. Where are the revised State rules different from the Federal rules?

    We consider Tennessee Hazardous Waste Management Regulations 0400-12-01-.05(5)(d)2 and -.06(5)(d)2 to be more stringent than the Federal counterparts at 40 CFR 265.73(b) and 264.73(b) because the State requires owners and operators of interim status and permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facilities to maintain information in the facility's operating record on site for no less than five (5) years. The Federal requirements at 40 CFR 265.73(b) and 264.73(b) require that owners and operators of the same types of facilities maintain such records for no less than three (3) years. These five-year document retention requirements are part of the Tennessee authorized program and are federally enforceable.

    I. Who handles permits after the authorization takes effect?

    Tennessee will issue permits for all the provisions for which it is authorized and will administer the permits it issues. EPA will continue to administer any RCRA hazardous waste permits or portions of permits which EPA issued prior to the effective date of this authorization until they expire or are terminated. EPA will not issue any more permits or new portions of permits for the provisions listed in the Table above after the effective date of this authorization. EPA will continue to implement and issue permits for HSWA requirements for which Tennessee is not authorized.

    J. What is codification and is EPA codifying Tennessee's hazardous waste program as authorized in this rule?

    Codification is the process of placing the State's statutes and regulations that comprise the State's authorized hazardous waste program into the Code of Federal Regulations. EPA does this by referencing the authorized State rules in 40 CFR part 272. EPA is not codifying the authorization of Tennessee's changes at this time. However, EPA reserves the amendment of 40 CFR part 272, subpart RR, for the authorization of Tennessee's program changes at a later date.

    K. Administrative Requirements

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted this action from the requirements of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), and therefore this action is not subject to review by OMB. This action authorizes State requirements for the purpose of RCRA 3006 and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by State law. Accordingly, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). Because this action authorizes 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 (Pub. L. 104-4). For the same reason, this action also does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Tribal governments, as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). This action will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), because it merely authorizes State requirements as part of the State RCRA hazardous waste program without altering the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established by RCRA. This action also is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant and it does not make decisions based on environmental health or safety risks. This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    Under RCRA section 3006(b), EPA grants a State's application for authorization as long as the State meets the criteria required by RCRA. It would thus be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, when it reviews a State authorization application, to require the use of any particular voluntary consensus standard in place of another standard that otherwise satisfies the requirements of RCRA. 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. As required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996), in issuing this rule, EPA has taken the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct. EPA has complied with Executive Order 12630 (53 FR 8859, March 15, 1988) by examining the takings implications of the rule in accordance with the “Attorney General's Supplemental Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risk and Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings” issued under the executive order. This rule does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this document and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This action will be effective May 19, 2015, unless objections to this authorization are received.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 271

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

    Authority:

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

    Dated: March 2, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06512 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 41 CFR Part 301-11 [FTR Amendment 2015-01; FTR Case 2015-301; Docket No. 2009-0013; Sequence No. 2] RIN 3090-AJ54 Federal Travel Regulation; Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel Allowances (Taxes); Relocation Allowances (Taxes); Technical Amendment AGENCY:

    Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule; technical amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    General Services Administration published in the Federal Register of August 21, 2014, a document amending the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) concerning calculation of reimbursement for taxes on relocation and extended temporary duty (TDY) benefits. Inadvertently, sections pertaining to Employee Responsibilities and Agency Responsibilities in subpart F were not removed. This document removes those sections.

    DATES:

    Effective: This rule is effective on March 20, 2015.

    Applicability date: This rule is applicable for employees who relocated beginning January 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Rick Miller, Office of Government-wide Policy (MAE), U.S. General Services Administration, at 202-501-3822 or email at [email protected] for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at 202-501-4755. Please cite FTR Amendment 2015-01, FTR case 2015-301.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    GSA published a final rule in the Federal Register at 79 FR 49640, August 21, 2014, to update the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) for Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel Allowances and Relocation Allowances (Taxes). Inadvertently the amendment did not include the removal of sections §§ 301-11.621 through 301-11.628, and 301-11.631 through 301-11.640 in part 301-11, subpart F. Therefore, GSA is issuing this amendment correction to the final rule to further amend the FTR by removing those sections.

    List of Subjects in 41 CFR Part 301-11

    Government employees, Income taxes, Travel and transportation.

    Dated: March 16, 2015. Giancarlo Brizzi, Acting Associate Administrator.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, under 5 U.S.C. 5701-5739, GSA is amending 41 CFR part 301-11 as set forth below:

    PART 301-11—PER DIEM EXPENSES 1. The authority for part 301-11 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 5707.

    §§ 301-11.621, 301-11.622, 301-11.623, 301-11.624, 301-11.625, 301-11.626, 301-11.627, and 301-11.628 [Removed]
    2. Remove the undesignated center heading “Employee Responsibilities” and §§ 301-11.621 through 301-11.628.
    §§ 301-11.631, 301-11.632, 301-11.633, 301-11.634, 301-11.635, 301-11.636, 301-11.637, 301-11.638, 301-11.639, and 301-11.640 [Removed]
    3. Remove the undesignated center heading “Agency Responsibilities” and §§ 301-11.631 through 301-11.640.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06400 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Parts 403, 405, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 425, 489, 495, and 498 [CMS-1612-F2] RIN 0938-AS12 Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, Access to Identifiable Data for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Models & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2015; Corrections AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correcting amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    This document corrects technical errors that appeared in the final rule with comment period published in the November 13, 2014 Federal Register (79 FR 67547-68092) entitled, “Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, Access to Identifiable Data for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Models & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2015.” The effective date for the rule was January 1, 2015.

    DATES:

    Effective date: This correcting document is effective March 19, 2015. Applicability date: The corrections indicated in this document are applicable beginning January 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christine Estella, (410) 786-0485, for issues related to the physician quality reporting system. Donta Henson, (410) 786-1947 for all other issues.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    In FR Doc. 2014-26183 (79 FR 67547 through 68092) the final rule entitled, “Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, Access to Identifiable Data for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Models & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2015” (hereinafter referred to as the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period), there were a number of technical errors that are identified and corrected in section IV., Correction of Errors. These corrections are applicable as of January 1, 2015. We note that the Addenda B and C to the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period as corrected by this correction document are available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov/PhysicianFeeSched/.

    II. Summary of Errors A. Summary of Errors in the Preamble

    On page 67559, due to errors made in ratesetting, many of the values contained in Table 4: Calculation of PE RVUs Under Methodology for Selected Codes, are incorrect.

    On page 67562, in Table 8: Codes Affected by Removal of Film Inputs, we inadvertently included CPT codes 93320, 93321, and 93325.

    On page 67591, we incorrectly stated that in section II. G. of the rule, we address the interim final values and establish CY 2015 inputs for the lower gastrointestinal procedures.

    On page 67612, in Table 14: Codes Reviewed by the 2014 Multi-Specialty Refinement Panel, the work RVUs for CPT codes 43204, 43205, and 43233 are incorrect.

    On page 67633, due to a typographical error we referred to CPT code 41391 rather than CPT code 43391.

    On page 67636, due to a technical error, the final work RVU for code 43278 is incorrect.

    On pages 67651 through 67663, in Table 25: CY 2015 Interim Final Work RVUS For New/Revised or Potentially Misvalued Codes, the RUC/HCPAC recommended work RVUs listed on page 67658 for CPT codes 76932 and 76948 are incorrect and entries for CPT codes 76940 and 76965 were inadvertently omitted from the table.

    On page 67660, the RUC/HCPAC recommended work RVU listed for CPT code 92545 is incorrect.

    On page 67668,

    a. We inadvertently omitted G0279 from the list of codes in the title of (13).

    b. Due to a typographical error, G0279 is referred to as G-2079.

    c. We inadvertently omitted the phrase “, whether or not a 2-D mammography is furnished” from the sentence beginning, “In addition, we are creating . . .”

    On page 67669, we inadvertently listed CPT code 93644 in the title of (18).

    On page 67671, in Table 28: CY 2015 Interim Final Codes with Direct PE Input Recommendations Accepted without Refinement, we inadvertently listed CPT code 31620.

    On page 67673, in Table 29: Invoices Received for New Direct PE Inputs we inadvertently listed entries associated with CPT code 31620.

    On page 67674, in Table 30: Invoices Received For Existing Direct PE Inputs, certain PE direct inputs for CPT code 31627 were inadvertently omitted.

    On pages 67678 through 67711, in Table 31: CY 2015 Interim Final Codes With Direct PE Input Recommendations Accepted with Refinements, due to technical errors, on page 67678, entries associated with CPT codes 77061 and 77062 were inadvertently listed; on page 67702, entries associated with CPT codes 93320, 93321, and 93325 were inadvertently omitted and an input code for CPT code 93880 was inadvertently omitted.

    On page 67726, we incorrectly stated that practitioners do not have to use any “specific content exchange standard.”

    On pages 67741 through 67742, we incorrectly stated the CY 2015 PFS conversion factors.

    On page 67742, in Table 45: Calculation of the CY 2015 PFS CF, due to corrections being made in this document, the CY 2014 budget neutrality adjustment, the CY 2015 CFs, and the percentage changes from the CY 2014 CF stated in the table are incorrect.

    On page 67743, due to technical errors, the budget neutrality factor, the anesthesia CF in effect from January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015, and the anesthesia CF in effect from April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 are incorrectly stated. The entries in Table 46: Calculation of the CY 2015 Anesthesia CF for budget neutrality adjustments, CFs and percentage change are inaccurate.

    On pages 67803 and 67804, in Table 52: Individual Quality Cross-Cutting Measures for the PQRS to Be Available for Satisfactory Reporting Via Claims, Registry, and EHR Beginning in 2015, we inadvertently listed the incorrect National Quality Strategy (NQS) domain for Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Measure 131, Pain Assessment and Follow-Up.

    On pages 67848 and 67849, in Table 55: Measures Being Removed from the Existing PQRS Measure Set Beginning in 2015, we inadvertently omitted adding an “X” to the claims reporting option for Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Measure 0091/051: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Spirometry Evaluation, Measure 0102/052: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Inhaled Bronchodilator Therapy, and Measure 0050/109: Osteoarthritis (OA) Function and Pain Assessment.

    On page 67854, in Table 56: Existing Individual Quality Measures and Those Included in Measures Groups for the PQRS for Which Measure Reporting Updates Will Be Effective Beginning in 2015, we inadvertently added an “X” to the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) Web Interface reporting option for Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Measure 0067/006: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Antiplatelet Therapy.

    On page 67877, in Table 56: Existing Individual Quality Measures and Those Included in Measures Groups for the PQRS for Which Measure Reporting Updates Will Be Effective Beginning in 2015, we inadvertently added an “X” to the claims reporting option and omitted adding an “X” to the registry reporting option for Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Measure 0409/205: HIV/AIDS: Sexually Transmitted Disease Screening for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis.

    On page 67988, in Table 93: CY 2015 PFS Final Rule with Comment Period Estimated Impact Table: Impacts of Work, Practice Expense, and Malpractice RVUs, due to ratesetting errors, the values are inaccurate.

    On page 67991 through 67992, in Table 94: Impact of the Final Rule with Comment Period on CY 2014 Payment for Selected Procedures, due to ratesetting errors, the stated payment rates are inaccurate.

    On page 67999, the January 1-March 31, 2015 CF, the CY 2015 national payment amount in the nonfacility setting for CPT code 99203, and the beneficiary coinsurance amount are incorrect.

    B. Summary and Correction of Errors in the Addenda on the CMS Web Site

    Due to the errors identified and summarized in section II.A and B of this correction document, we are correcting errors in the work, PE or MP RVUs (or combinations of these RVUs) in Addendum B: CY 2015 Relative Value Units (RVUs) And Related Information Used In Determining Final Medicare Payments and Addendum C: CY 2015 Interim Final Relative Value Units (RVUs). We note that corrections to the RVUs for codes with identified errors affect additional codes due to the budget neutrality and relativity of the PFS. These errors are corrected in the revised Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    In addition to the errors identified in section II.A. of this correction document, the following errors occur in the addenda.

    Due to a technical error in the creation of the direct PE database, nonfacility PE RVUs were created and displayed in Addendum B (and Addendum C, if applicable) for the following CPT codes: 21811, 21812, 21813, 22858, 33418, 33951, 33952, 33953, 33954, 33955, 33956, 33957, 33958, 33959, 33962, 33963, 33964, 33965, 33966, 33969, 33984, 33985, 33986, 33987, 33988, 33989, 37218, 43180, 44380, 44382, 66179, and 66184. These errors are corrected in the revised Direct PE Input Database available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/. Resulting changes to the PE RVUs are reflected in the corrected Addendum B (and Addendum C, if applicable) available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to technical errors in the creation of the direct PE database, some or all of the PE inputs were inadvertently omitted for CPT codes 22510, 22511, 22512, 22513, 22514, 22515, 31620, 33951, 33952, 33953, 33954, 33955, 33956, 33957, 33958, 33959, 33962, 33963, 33964, 33969, 33984, 33985, 33986, 33988, 33989, 58541, 58542, 58543, 58544, 58570, 58571, 58572, 64486, 64487, 64488, 64489, 70496, 70498, 76700, 76705, 77080, 88348, 93260, 93261, and 93644. These errors are corrected in the revised Direct PE Input Database available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to technical errors in the creation of the direct PE database, the incorrect inputs were used for creating PE RVUs for CPT codes 20982, 31620, 31627, 32998, 33262, 32998, 41530, 50592, 64600, 64605, 64610, 64633, 64634, 64635, 64636, 93925, 93880, and 93990. These errors are corrected in the revised Direct PE Input Database available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, we incorrectly displayed in Addenda B and C PE RVUs in a nonfacility setting for CPT codes 33270, 33271, 33272, and 33273. The PE RVUs for these codes in a non-facility setting have been removed in the corrected Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, HCPCS codes 33330, 33474, 61610, and 61870 were inadvertently left out of Addendum B. These codes are reflected in the corrected Addendum B available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, the average risk factor, and not the specialty risk factor that we indicated that we were using in the preamble, was applied when calculating the MP RVUs for CPT codes 33620 and 33622. As a result, the MP RVUs listed in Addendum B are incorrect for these codes. We have corrected these errors in the corrected Addendum B available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, the incorrect work RVUs were applied in calculating the MP RVUs for CPT codes 33418 and 33419. As a result, the MP RVUs listed in Addenda B and C are incorrect for these codes. We have corrected these errors in the corrected Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, the incorrect CY 2015 work RVUs are included in Addendum B (and Addendum C, if applicable) for the following codes: 43191, 43192, 43193, 43194, 43195, 43196, 43197, 43198, 43200, 43201, 43202, 43204, 43205, 43211, 43212, 43214, 43215, 43229, 43232, 43233, 43235, 43236, 43238, 43239, 43242, 43247, 43253, 43254, 43257, 43266, 43270, 43274, 43276, 43278, 58541, 58542, 58543, 58544, 58570, 58571, 58572, 58573, 71275, 76930, 76932, 76948, 92545, 93315, 93317, 93318, and 95973. The correct CY 2015 work RVUS for these codes are reflected in the corrected Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error in the creation of the direct PE database, PE RVUs for the facility setting were created and are displayed in Addendum B for HCPCS code 77372 and Addenda B and C for HCPCS code G0277. These technical errors are corrected in Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to technical errors in the creation of the direct PE database, direct PE inputs were inadvertently included for CPT code 99183 and are reflected in the PE RVUs shown in Addenda B and C. This error is corrected in the Direct PE Input Database available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/. The corrected PE RVUS are included in Addenda B and C available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, in Addendum B, work and MP RVUs for CPT codes 99487 and 99489 were inadvertently included. The work and MP RVUs for these codes have been removed in the corrected Addendum B available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error in the creation of the direct PE database, PE RVUs were not created for CPT code 99490 in the facility setting. The correct PE RVU for this code is reflected in the corrected Addendum B available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    Due to a technical error, HCPCS codes G9407 through G9472 are inadvertently included in Addendum B. These codes have been removed in the corrected Addendum B available on the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov//PhysicianFeeSched/.

    C. Summary of Errors in the Regulations Text

    On page 68002 of the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period, we made a technical error in § 410.26(b)(5). In this paragraph, we inadvertently omitted language to limit the applicability of the exception that allows general, rather than direct, supervision of transitional care management services furnished incident to a practitioner's professional services to the non-face-to-face aspects of the service.

    III. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking and Delay in Effective Date

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the agency is required to publish a notice of the proposed rule in the Federal Register before the provisions of a rule take effect. Similarly, section 1871(b)(1) of the Act requires the Secretary to provide for notice of the proposed rule in the Federal Register and provide a period of not less than 60 days for public comment. In addition, section 553(d) of the APA, and section 1871(e)(1)(B)(i) of the Act mandate a 30-day delay in effective date after issuance or publication of a rule. Sections 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3) of the APA provide for exceptions from the notice and comment and delay in effective date APA requirements; in cases in which these exceptions apply, sections 1871(b)(2)(C) and 1871(e)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act provide exceptions from the notice and 60-day comment period and delay in effective date requirements of the Act as well. Section 553(b)(B) of the APA and section 1871(b)(2)(C) of the Act authorize an agency to dispense with normal rulemaking requirements for good cause if the agency makes a finding that the notice and comment process are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. In addition, both section 553(d)(3) of the APA and section 1871(e)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act allow the agency to avoid the 30-day delay in effective date where such delay is contrary to the public interest and an agency includes a statement of support.

    In our view, this correction document does not constitute a rulemaking that would be subject to these requirements. This correction document corrects technical errors in the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period and the corresponding addenda posted on the CMS Web site. The corrections contained in this document are consistent with, and do not make substantive changes to, the policies and payment methodologies that were adopted subjected to notice and comment procedures in the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period. As a result, the corrections made through this correction document are intended to ensure that the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period accurately reflects the policies adopted in that rule.

    Even if this were a rulemaking to which the notice and comment and delayed effective date requirements applied, we find that there is good cause to waive such requirements. Undertaking further notice and comment procedures to incorporate the corrections in this document into the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period or delaying the effective date of the corrections would be contrary to the public interest because it is in the public interest to ensure that the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period accurately reflects our final policies as soon as possible following the date they take effect. Further, such procedures would be unnecessary, because we are not altering the payment methodologies or policies, but rather, we are simply correcting the Federal Register document to reflect the policies that we previously proposed, received comment on, and subsequently finalized. This correcting document is intended solely to ensure that the CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period accurately reflects these policies. For these reasons, we believe there is good cause to waive the requirements for notice and comment and delay in effective date.

    IV. Correction of Errors

    In FR Doc. 2014-26183 of November 13, 2014 (79 FR 67547), make the following corrections:

    A. Correction of Errors in the Preamble

    1. On page 67559, in Table 4: Calculation of PE RVUs Under Methodology for Selected Codes, the table is corrected to read as follows:

    Table 4—Calculation of PR RVUs Under Methodology for Selected Codes Factor (CF) (2nd part) Step Source Formula 99213 Office visit, est non-facility 33533 CABG, arterial, single facility 71020 Chest x-ray non-facility 71020-TC Chest x-ray, non-facility 71020-26 Chest x-ray, non-facility 93000 ECG, complete, non-facility 93005 ECG, tracing, non-facility 93010 ECG, report non-facility (1) Labor cost (Lab) Step 1 AMA 13.32 77.52 5.74 5.74 0 5.1 5.1 0 (2) Supply cost (Sup) Step 1 AMA 2.98 7.34 0.53 0.53 0 1.19 1.19 0 (3) Equipment cost (Eqp) Step 1 AMA 0.17 0.58 6.92 6.92 0 0.09 0.09 0 (4) Direct cost (Dir) Step 1 '%=(1)+(2)+(3) 16.48 85.45 13.19 13.19 0 6.38 6.38 0 (5) Direct adjustment (Dir. Adj.) Steps 2-4 See footnote * 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 0.5953 (6) Adjusted Labor Steps 2-4 '%=Labor * Dir Adj '%=(1) * (5) 7.93 46.15 3.42 3.42 0 3.04 3.04 0 (7) Adjusted Supplies Steps 2-4 '%=Eqp * Dir Adj '%=(2) * (5) 1.78 4.37 0.32 0.32 0 0.71 0.71 0 (8) Adjusted Equipment Steps 2-4 '%=Sup * Dir Adj '%=(3) * (5) 0.1 0.35 4.12 4.12 0 0.05 0.05 0 (9) Adjusted Direct Steps 2-4 '%=(6)+(7)+(8) 9.81 50.87 7.85 7.85 0 3.8 3.8 0 (10) Conversion Factor (CF) Step 5 PFS 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 35.8228 (11) Adj. labor cost converted Step 5 '%=(Lab * Dir Adj)/CF '%=(6)/(10) 0.22 1.29 0.1 0.1 0 0.08 0.08 0 (12) Adj. supply cost converted Step 5 '%=(Sup * Dir Adj)/CF '%=(7)/(10) 0.05 0.12 0.01 0.01 0 0.02 0.02 0 (13) Adj. equipment cost converted Step 5 '%=(Eqp * Dir Adj)/CF '%=(8)/(10) 0 0.01 0.11 0.11 0 0 0 0 (14) Adj. direct cost converted Step 5 '%=(11)+(12)+(13) 0.27 1.42 0.22 0.22 0 0.11 0.11 0 (15) Work RVU Setup File PFS 0.97 33.75 0.22 0 0.22 0.17 0 0.17 (16) Dir_pct Steps 6,7 Surveys 0.25 0.17 0.29 0.29 0.29 0.29 0.29 0.29 (17) Ind_pct Steps 6,7 Surveys 0.75 0.83 0.71 0.71 0.71 0.71 0.71 0.71 (18) Ind. Alloc. Formula (1st part) Step 8 See Step 8 (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (14)/(16) * (17) (19) Ind. Alloc. (1st part) Step 8 See 18 0.83 6.73 0.53 0.53 0 0.26 0.26 0 (20) Ind. Alloc. Formula (2nd part) Step 8 See Step 8 −15% −15% %(15+11) −11% −15% %(15+11) −11% −15% (21) Ind. Alloc. (2nd part) Step 8 See 20 0.97 33.75 0.32 0.1 0.22 0.25 0.08 0.17 (22) Indirect Allocator (1st + 2nd) Step 8 '%=(19)+(21) 1.8 40.48 0.85 0.63 0.22 0.52 0.35 0.17 (23) Indirect Adjustment (Ind. Adj.) Steps 9-11 See Footnote * * 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 0.3829 (24) Adjusted Indirect Allocator Steps 9-11 '%=Ind Alloc * Ind Adj 0.69 15.5 0.33 0.24 0.08 0.2 0.13 0.07 (25) Ind. Practice Cost Index (IPCI) Steps 12-16 1.07 0.75 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.91 0.91 0.91 (26) Adjusted Indirect Step 17 '%= Adj.Ind Alloc * PCI '%=(24) * (25) 0.74 11.64 0.32 0.24 0.08 0.18 0.12 0.06 (27) Final PE RVU Step 18 '%=(Adj Dir + Adj Ind) * Other Adj '%=((14)+(26)) * Other Adj) 1.01 12.99 0.54 0.46 0.08 0.29 0.23 0.06 Note: PE RVUs in Table 4, row 27, may not match Addendum B due to rounding. * The direct adj = [current pe rvus * CF * avg dir pct]/[sum direct inputs] = [step2]/[step3] * * The indirect adj = [current pe rvus * avg ind pct]/[sum of ind allocators] = [step9]/[step10] Note: The use of any particular conversion factor (CF) in Table 4 to illustrate the PE Calculation has no effect on the resulting RVUs.

    2. On page 67562, in Table 8: Codes Affected by Removal of Film Inputs, the following listed entries are removed.

    HCPCS Short descriptor 93320 Doppler echo exam heart 93321 Doppler echo exam heart 93325 Doppler color flow add-on

    3. On page 67591, third column, first full paragraph, line 10, the sentence “In section II.G. of this CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period, we address interim final values and establish CY 2015 inputs for the lower gastrointestinal procedures, many of which are also listed in Appendix G.” is corrected to read “In section II.G. of this CY 2015 PFS final rule with comment period, we note that we are delaying the adoption of the new code set for lower gastrointestinal procedures until CY 2016; many of these codes are also listed in Appendix G.”

    4. On page 67612, in Table 14: Codes reviewed by the 2014 Multi-Specialty Refinement Panel, the entries for CPT codes 43204, 43205 and 43233 are corrected to read as follows:

    HCPCS code Descriptor CY 2014
  • interim final
  • work RVU
  • RUC
  • recommended work RVU
  • Refinement
  • panel
  • median rating
  • CY 2015 work RVU
    43204 Injection of dilated esophageal veins using an endoscope 2.40 2.89 2.77 2.43 43205 Tying of esophageal veins using an endoscope 2.51 3.00 2.88 2.54 43233 Balloon dilation of esophagus, stomach, and/or upper small bowel using an endoscope 4.05 4.45 4.26 4.17

    5. On page 67633, third column, first full paragraph, line 14, the phrase “CPT code 41391,” is corrected to read “CPT code 43391,”.

    6. On page 67636, third column, first partial paragraph, lines 24 through 25, the sentence “The final work RVU for CPT code 43278 is 8.” is corrected to read “The final work RVU for CPT code 43278 is 8.02.”

    7. On pages 67651 through 67663, in Table 25: CY 2015 Interim Final Work RVUS For New/Revised or Potentially Misvalued Codes, the listed entries on page 67658 are corrected to read:

    HCPCS code Long descriptor CY 2014 WRVU RUC/HCPAC recommended work RVU CY 2015 work RVU CMS time
  • refinement
  • 76932 Ultrasonic guidance for endomyocardial biopsy, imaging supervision and interpretation C 0.67 0.67 No 76940 Ultrasound guidance for, and monitoring of, parenchymal tissue ablation 2.00 2.00 2.00 No 76948 Ultrasonic guidance for aspiration of ova, imaging supervision and interpretation 0.38 0.38 0.38 No 76965 Ultrasonic guidance for interstitial radioelement application 1.34 1.34 1.34 No

    8. On page 67660, in Table 25: CY 2015 Interim Final Work RVUS For New/Revised or Potentially Misvalued Codes, the listed entry is corrected to read:

    HCPCS code Long descriptor CY 2014 WRVU RUC/HCPAC recommended work RVU CY 2015 work RVU CMS time
  • refinement
  • 92545 Oscillating tracking test, with recording 0.23 0.25 0.25 No

    9. On page 67668,

    a. First column, line 1, the title “(13) Breast Tomosynthesis (CPT codes 77061, 77062, and 77063)” is corrected to read “(13) Breast Tomosynthesis (CPT codes 77061, 77062, 77063 and G2079)”.

    b. Second column, line 19, the phrase “a new code, G-2079” is corrected to read “a new code, G0279”.

    c. Second column, line 27, is corrected by adding “whether or not a 2-D mammography is furnished” after the phrase “diagnostic breast tomosynthesis”.

    10. On page 67669, second column, lines 8 through 11, we are correcting the title “(18) Interventional Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) (CPT Codes 93312, 93313, 93314, 93315, 93316, 93317, 93318, 93355, and 93644)” to read “(18) Interventional Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) (CPT Codes 93312, 93313, 93314, 93315, 93316, 93317, 93318, and 93355).”

    11. On page 67671, in Table 28: CY 2015 Interim Final Codes with Direct PE Input Recommendations Accepted without Refinements, the following listed entry is removed:

    HCPCS Short descriptor 31620 Endobronchial us add-on

    12. On page 67673, in Table 29: Invoices Received for New Direct PE Inputs, the following listed entries for CPT code 31620 are removed:

    CPT/HCPCS codes Item name CMS code Average price Number of invoices Non-facility allowed services for HCPCS codes using this item (or projected services for new CPT codes*) 31620 Flexible dual-channeled EBUS bronchoscope, with radial probe EQ361 $160,260.06 6 107 31620 Video system, Ultrasound (processor, digital capture, monitor, printer, cart) ER099 $13,379.57 6 107 31620 EBUS, single use aspiration needle, 21 g SC102 $145.82 5 107 31620 Balloon for Bronchosopy Fiberscope SD294 $28.68 4 107

    13. On page 67674, Table 30: Invoices Received for Existing Direct PE Inputs, the list entries for CPT code 31627 are corrected by adding the following:

    CPT/HCPCS codes Item name CMS code Current price Updated price % Change Number of
  • invoices
  • Non-facility allowed services for HCPCS codes using this item
    31627 sensor, patch, bronchosopy (for kit, locatable guide) (patient) SD235 $1.10 $3.00 173 2 37 31627 system, navigational bronchoscopy (superDimension) EQ326 $137,800.00 $189,327.66 37 4 37 31627 kit, locatable guide, ext. working channel, w-b-scope adapter SA097 $995.00 $1,063.67 7 3 37

    14. On pages 67678 through 67711, in Table 31: CY 2015 Interim Final Codes With Direct PE Input Recommendations Accepted with Refinements, we are correcting the table by

    a. On page 67687, deleting the following listed entries:

    ER20MR15.015

    b. On page 67702, correcting the bottom half of the table to read:

    ER20MR15.016 ER20MR15.017

    15. On page 67726, first column, second full paragraph, lines 6 through 8, the phrase “with a clarification that practitioners do not have to use any specific content exchange standard in CY 2015.” is corrected to read “with a clarification that practitioners do not have to use any specific exchange or transfer standard in CY 2015.”

    16. On page 67741, first column, first paragraph, we are correcting the entire paragraph to read:

    The CY 2015 PFS CF for January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015 is $35.7547. The CY 2015 PFS CF for April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 is $28.1872. The CY 2015 national average anesthesia CF for January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015 is $22.4968. The CY 2015 national average anesthesia CF for April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 is $17.7454.

    17. On page 67742, third column, first partial paragraph,

    a. Line 3, the phrase “by 0.06 percent” is corrected to read “by 0.19 percent”.

    b. Third column, first full paragraph, line 8, the figure “$35.8013.” is corrected to read “$35.7547.”

    c. Third column, second full paragraph, line 6, the figure “$28.2239.” is corrected to read “$28.1872.”

    d. Third column, second full paragraph, line 9, the phrase “21.2 percent” is corrected to read “21.3 percent”.

    18. On page 67742, in Table 45: Calculation of the CY 2015 PFS CF, the table is corrected to read as follows:

    Table 45—Calculation of the CY 2015 PFS CF January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015 Conversion Factor in effect in CY 2014 $35.8228 Update 0.0 percent (1.00) CY 2015 RVU Budget Neutrality Adjustment −0.19 percent (0.9981) CY 2015 Conversion Factor (1/1/2015 through 3/31/2015) $35.7547 April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 Conversion Factor in effect in CY 2014 $35.8228 CY 2014 Conversion Factor had statutory increases not applied $27.2006 CY 2015 Medicare Economic Index 0.8 percent (1.008) CY 2015 Update Adjustment Factor 3.0 percent (1.03) CY 2015 RVU Budget Neutrality Adjustment −0.19 percent (0.9981) CY 2015 Conversion Factor (4/1/2015 through 12/31/2015) $28.1872 Percent Change in Conversion Factor on 4/1/2015 (relative to the CY 2014 CF) −21.3% Percent Change in Update (without budget neutrality adjustment) on 4/1/2015 (relative to the CY 2014 CF) −21.2%

    19. On page 67743,

    a. First column, first full paragraph, line 5, the sentence “After applying the 0.9994 budget” is corrected to read “After applying the 0.9981 budget”.

    b. Second column, line 2, the figure “$22.5550.” is corrected to read “$22.4968.”

    c. Third column, line 12, the figure “$17.7913.” is corrected to read “$17.7454.”

    d. Table 46: Calculation of the CY 2015 Anesthesia CF is corrected to read as follows:

    Table 46—Calculation of the CY 2015 Anesthesia CF January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015 CY 2014 National Average Anesthesia CF $22.6765 Update 0.0 percent (1.00) CY 2015 RVU Budget Neutrality Adjustment −0.19 percent (0.9981) CY 2015 Anesthesia Fee Schedule Practice Expense Adjustment −0.00494 percent (0.99506) CY 2015 National Average Anesthesia CF (1/1/2015 through 3/31/2015) $22.4968 April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 2014 National Average Anesthesia Conversion Factor in effect in CY 2015 $22.6765 2014 National Anesthesia Conversion Factor had Statutory Increases Not Applied $17.2283 CY 2015 Medicare Economic Index 0.8 percent (1.008) CY 2015 Update Adjustment Factor 3.0 percent (1.03) CY 2015 Budget Neutrality Work and Malpractice Adjustment −0.19 percent (0.9981) CY 2015 Anesthesia Fee Schedule Practice Expense Adjustment −0.00494 percent (0.99506) CY 2015 Anesthesia Fee Schedule Practice Expense Adjustment −0.00494 percent (0.99506) CY 2015 Anesthesia Conversion Factor (4/1/2015 through 12/31/2015) $17.7454 Percent Change from 2014 to 2015 (4/1/2015 through 12/31/2015) −21.7%

    20. On page 67803, last row, in Table 52: Individual Quality Cross-Cutting Measures for the PQRS to Be Available for Satisfactory Reporting Via Claims, Registry, and EHR Beginning in 2015, the listed entry is corrected to read as follows:

    ER20MR15.007 BILLING CODE 4120-01-P

    21. On page 67848, the last two rows, and the first row on page 67849, in Table 55: Measures Being Removed from the Existing PQRS Measure Set Beginning in 2015, the listed are corrected to read as follows:

    ER20MR15.008

    22. On page 67854, the second row, in Table 56: Existing Individual Quality Measures and Those Included in Measures Groups for the PQRS for Which Measure Reporting Updates Will Be Effective Beginning in 2015, the listed entry is corrected to read as follows:

    ER20MR15.009

    23. On page 67877, second row, in Table 56: Existing Individual Quality Measures and Those Included in Measures Groups for the PQRS for Which Measure Reporting Updates Will Be Effective Beginning in 2015, the listed entry is corrected to read as follows:

    BILLING CODE 4120-01-C ER20MR15.010

    24. On page 67988, in Table 93: CY 2015 PFS Final Rule with Comment Period Estimated Impact Table: Impacts of Work, Practice Expense, and Malpractice RVUs, the table is corrected to read as follows:

    ER20MR15.013

    25. On page 67991 through 67992, in Table 94: Impact of Final Rule with Comment Period on CY 2015 Payment for Selected Procedures the table is corrected to read as follows:

    BILLING CODE 4120-01-P ER20MR15.014 ER20MR15.011 ER20MR15.012

    27. On page 67999, third column, first full paragraph,

    a. Line 18, the figure “35.8013,” is corrected to read “35.7547,”.

    b. Line 21, the figure “$109.19,” is corrected to read “$108.18,”.

    c. Line 23, the phrase “this service would be $21.84.” is corrected to read “this service would be $21.74.”

    List of Subjects in 42 CFR Part 410

    Health facilities, Health professions, Kidney diseases, Laboratories, Medicare, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rural areas, X-rays.

    Accordingly, 42 CFR chapter IV is corrected by making the following correcting amendments to part 410:

    PART 410—SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICAL INSURANCE (SMI) BENEFITS 1. The authority citation for part 410 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 1102, 1834, 1871, 1881, and 1893 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1302, 1395m, 1395hh, and 1395ddd.

    2. Section 410.26 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(5) to read as follows:
    § 410.26 Services and supplies incident to a physician's professional services: Conditions.

    (b) * * *

    (5) In general, services and supplies must be furnished under the direct supervision of the physician (or other practitioner). Chronic care management services and transitional care management services (other than the required face-to-face visit) can be furnished under general supervision of the physician (or other practitioner) when they are provided by clinical staff incident to the services of a physician (or other practitioner). The physician (or other practitioner) supervising the auxiliary personnel need not be the same physician (or other practitioner) upon whose professional service the incident to service is based.

    Dated: March 13, 2015. C'Reda Weeden, Executive Secretary to the Department, Department of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06427 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-C
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 140902739-5224-02] RIN 0648-BE49 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Specifications and Management Measures AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is implementing 2015 specifications and management measures for Atlantic mackerel, 2015-2017 specifications for Illex squid, 2015-2017 specifications for longfin squid, and 2015-2017 specifications for butterfish. This action also establishes a simplified butterfish fishery closure mechanism. These specifications set catch levels to prevent overfishing and allocate catch to commercial and recreational fisheries. Additionally, the simplified butterfish closure mechanism makes operation of the fishery more efficient and consistent with the higher catch limit for butterfish. These specifications and management measures are consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan and the recommendations of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

    DATES:

    Effective April 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the specifications document, including the Environmental Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/IRFA) and other supporting documents for the specifications, are available from Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N. State Street, Dover, DE 19901. The specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carly Bari, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281-9224.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Specifications, as referred to in this rule, are the combined suite of commercial and recreational catch levels established for one or more fishing years. The specifications process also allows for the modification of a select number of management measures, such as closure thresholds, gear restrictions, and possession limits. The Council's process for establishing specifications relies on provisions within the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and its implementing regulations, as well as requirements established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Specifically, section 302(g)(1)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) for each Regional Fishery Management Council shall provide its Council ongoing scientific advice for fishery management decisions, including recommendations for acceptable biological catch (ABC), preventing overfishing, maximum sustainable yield, and achieving rebuilding targets. The ABC is a level of catch that accounts for the scientific uncertainty in the estimate of the stock's defined overfishing level (OFL).

    The Council's SSC met on May 7 and 8, 2014, to recommend ABCs for the 2015 Atlantic mackerel specifications, and the 2015-2017 butterfish, Illex squid, and longfin squid specifications. On November 14, 2014, NMFS published a proposed rule for fishing year 2015 for the mackerel, squid, and butterfish fishery specifications and management measures (79 FR 68202); the public comment period for the proposed rule ended December 15, 2014.

    The Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP regulations require the specification of annual catch limits (ACL) and accountability measures (AM) for mackerel and butterfish (both squid species are exempt from the ACL/AM requirements because they have a life cycle of less than 1 year). In addition, the regulations require the specification of domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing (DAP), and total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF), along with joint venture processing for (JVP) commercial and recreational annual catch totals (ACT) for mackerel, the butterfish mortality cap in the longfin squid fishery, and initial optimum yield (IOY) for both squid species. Details concerning the Council's development of these measures were presented in the preamble of the proposed rule and are not repeated here.

    In addition to the specifications, this action simplifies the management measure for the directed buttefish fishery and changes the regulations in regard to possession limits.

    Final 2015 Specifications for Atlantic Mackerel Table 1—2015 Specifications in Metric Tons (mt) for Atlantic Mackerel Overfishing limit
  • (OFL)
  • Unknown
    ABC 40,165 ACL 25,039 Commercial ACT 21,138 Recreational ACT/Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL) 1,397 DAH/DAP 20,872 JVP 0 TALFF 0

    The proposed rule for this action included the details of how the Council derived its recommended mackerel specifications, and NMFS is not including these details in this final rule. This action establishes the mackerel stock-wide ABC of 40,165 mt and the U.S. ABC of 25,039 mt, based on the formula U.S. ABC = Stock-wide ABC−C, where C is the estimated catch of mackerel in Canadian waters (15,126 mt) for the 2014 fishing year. The ACL is set equal to U.S. ABC at 25,039 mt, the commercial ACT is set at 21,138 mt, the DAH and DAP are both set at 20,872 mt, and the recreational ACT is set at 1,397 mt.

    The recreational fishery allocation for mackerel is 1,552 mt (6.2 percent of the U.S. ABC). The recreational ACT of 1,397 mt (90 percent of 1,552 mt) accounts for uncertainty in recreational catch and discard estimates. The Recreational ACT is equal to the Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL), which is the effective cap on recreational catch.

    The commercial fishery allocation for mackerel is 23,487 mt (93.8 percent of the U.S. ABC, the portion of the ACL that was not allocated to the recreational fishery). The commercial ACT of 21,138 mt (90 percent of 23,487 mt) compensates for management uncertainty in estimated Canadian landings, uncertainty in discard estimates, and possible misreporting of mackerel catch. The commercial ACT is further reduced by a discard rate of 1.26 percent to arrive at the DAH of 20,872 mt. The DAH is the effective cap on commercial catch.

    Additionally, this action maintains JVP at zero (the most recent allocation was 5,000 mt of JVP in 2004). In the past, JVP was set greater than zero because it believed U.S. processors lacked the ability to process the total amount of mackerel that U.S. harvesters could land. However, for the past 10 years, the Council has recommended zero JVP because U.S. shoreside processing capacity for mackerel has expanded. The Council concluded that processing capacity was no longer a limiting factor relative to domestic production of mackerel.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides that the specification of TALFF, if any, shall be the portion of the optimum yield (OY) of a fishery that will not be harvested by U.S. vessels. TALFF would allow foreign vessels to harvest U.S. fish and sell their product on the world market, in direct competition with U.S. industry efforts to expand exports. While a surplus existed between ABC and the mackerel fleet's harvesting capacity for many years, that surplus has disappeared due to downward adjustments of the specifications in recent years. Based on analysis of the global mackerel market and possible increases in U.S. production levels, the Council concluded that specifying a DAH/DAP that would result in zero TALFF would yield positive social and economic benefits to both U.S. harvesters and processors, and to the Nation. For these reasons, consistent with the Council's recommendation, the DAH is set at a level that can be fully harvested by the domestic fleet, thereby precluding the specification of a TALFF, in order to support the U.S. mackerel industry. NMFS concurs that it is reasonable to assume that in 2015 the commercial fishery has the ability to harvest 20,872 mt of mackerel.

    2015 Final River Herring and Shad Catch Cap in the Mackerel Fishery

    In order to limit river herring and shad catch, Amendment 14 to the FMP (February 24, 2014; 79 FR 10029) allows the Council to set a river herring and shad cap through annual specifications. For 2015 the cap is set at 89 mt initially, but if mackerel landings surpass 10,000 mt before closure, then the cap will increase to 155 mt. The 89-mt cap represents the median annual river herring and shad catch by all vessels landing over 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of mackerel per trip from 2005-2012. These were years when the fishery caught about 13,000 mt of mackerel. The 155-mt cap is based on the median river herring and shad catch by all vessels landing over 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of mackerel per trip from 2005-2012, adjusted to the 2015 proposed DAH (20,872 mt). The purpose of the two-tier system is to encourage the fishery to avoid river herring and shad regardless of the rate of mackerel catches. If mackerel catch is low, the 89-mt cap would encourage fishermen to avoid catching river herring and shad. If mackerel catch increases, the 155-mt cap should still allow mackerel fishing to occur as long as river herring and shad catch rates remain below the recent median. Once the mackerel fishery catches 95 percent of the river herring and shad cap, we will close the directed mackerel fishery and implement a 20,000-lb (9.08-mt) incidental catch trip limit for the remainder of the year.

    2015-2017 Final Illex Specifications Table 2—2015-2017 Specifications in Metric Ton (mt) for Illex Squid OFL Unknown ABC 24,000 Initial Optimum Yield (IOY) 22,915 DAH/DAP 22,915

    This action establishes the Illex ABC as 24,000 mt for the 2015-2017 fishing years, subject to annual review. The ABC is reduced by the status quo discard rate of 4.52 percent, which results in an IOY, DAH, and DAP of 22,914 mt for the 2015-2017 fishing years. These levels are the same as was specified for the Illex fishery in 2012-2014. The FMP does not authorize the specification of JVP and TALFF for the Illex fishery because of the domestic fishing industry's capacity to harvest and to process the OY from this fishery.

    2015-2017 Final Longfin Squid Specifications Table 3—2015-2017 Specifications in Metric Tons (mt) for Longfin Squid OFL Unknown ABC 23,400 IOY 22,445 DAH/DAP 22,445

    This action establishes the longfin squid ABC of 23,400 mt for the 2015-2017 fishing years, subject to annual review. The ABC is reduced by the status quo discard rate of 4.08 percent, which results in an IOY, DAH, and DAP of 22,445 mt for the 2015-2017 fishing years. The FMP does not authorize the specification of JVP and TALFF for the longfin squid fishery because of the domestic industry's capacity to harvest and process the OY for this fishery.

    Distribution of the Longfin DAH

    As was done in all fishing years since 2007, the 2015-2017 longfin DAH is allocated into trimesters, according to percentages specified in the FMP, as follows:

    Table 4—2015-2017 Trimester Allocation of Longfin Quota Trimester Percent Metric tons I (Jan-Apr) 43 9,651 II (May-Aug) 17 3,816 III (Sep-Dec) 40 8,978 Total 100 22,445 2015-2017 Final Butterfish Specifications Table 5—2015-2017 Specifications in Metric Tons (mt) for Butterfish 2015 2016 2017 OFL 41,092 N/A N/A ABC 33,278 31,412 30,922 Commercial ACT (ABC minus 10-percent buffer) 29,950 28,271 27,830 DAH (ACT minus butterfish cap and discards) 22,530 21,043 20,652 Directed Fishery closure limit (DAH minus 1,411 mt buffer) 21,119 19,631 19,241 Butterfish Cap (in the longfin squid fishery) 3,884 3,884 3,884

    This action establishes the butterfish ABC at 33,278 mt for 2015 (increased dramatically from 9,100 mt in 2014) to account for the increased stock size and estimated expected fishing mortality in 2014. The butterfish ABC is set at 31,412 mt in 2016, and 30,933 mt in 2017 to account for fishing mortality in 2015 and 2016, respectively, with a 60-percent probability of not overfishing as required by the Council risk policy. The butterfish ACL is equal to the ABC, and establishing a 10-percent buffer between ACL and ACT for management uncertainty, results in an ACT of 29,950 mt in 2015, 28,271 mt in 2016, and 27,830 mt in 2017.

    The butterfish cap is set at 3,884 mt for the 2015-2017 fishing years, which is the same level as 2014. This cap has not constrained the longfin fishery and reserves most of the available butterfish quota for the directed butterfish fishery. The DAH is set at 22,530 mt in 2015, 21,042 mt in 2016, and 20,652 in 2017, accounting for the butterfish cap and discards in non-longfin fisheries). Butterfish TALFF is only specified to address bycatch by foreign fleets targeting mackerel TALFF. Because there is no mackerel TALFF, butterfish TALFF would also be set at zero.

    The 2015 butterfish mortality cap is allocated by Trimester, as follows:

    Table 6—Trimester Allocation of Butterfish Mortality Cap on the Longfin Squid Fishery for 2015 Trimester Percent Metric tons I (Jan-Apr) 43 1,670 II (May-Aug) 17 660 III (Sep-Dec) 40 1,554 Total 100 3,844 Butterfish Directed Fishery Closure Mechanism

    This action simplifies butterfish directed fishery closure mechanism to account for the dramatic increase in butterfish availability and increased DAH. Instead of the three-phased butterfish management season, this rule will allow vessels issued longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permits (as specified at § 648.4(a)(5)(i)) to land unlimited amounts of butterfish if using mesh greater than or equal to 3 inches (76 mm) until projected landings reach within 1,411 mt of a given year's DAH. Once landings are within 1,411 mt of the DAH, NMFS will implement a 5,000-lb (2.27-mt) trip limit. Vessels issued a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit fishing with mesh less than 3 inches (76 mm) are currently prohibited from landing more than 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) of butterfish per trip, and there are no changes for those vessels. The Council identified 1,411 mt as the amount that would allow some landings under a 5,000-lb (2.27-mt) trip limit without reaching the DAH. In the unlikely event that projected landings reach the annual DAH, then the trip limit will be reduced to 600 lb (0.27 mt) to prevent an overage of the ACT.

    Corrections

    This final rule also contains a minor adjustment to an existing regulation. The vessel monitoring system (VMS) power-down exemption for vessels that will be at the dock for more than 30 consecutive days, at § 648.10(c)(2)(i)(B), currently lists specific eligible permits. The regulatory text is simplified to clarify that the exemption is available to all permits that are required to have VMS.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received seven comments in response to the proposed rule for this action. Two were from industry groups, including Garden State Seafood Association (GSSA) (a New Jersey fishing industry advocacy group), and The Town Dock (a Rhode Island fishing company and seafood dealer). One comment was from the Herring Alliance, an environmental group, and the remaining four comments were from individuals. Two of the four comments from individuals were unrelated to the action and are not included in this rule, and NMFS provides no response.

    Comment 1: GSSA commented in support of the Council's recommended specifications and management measure with the exception of the butterfish quota reductions in 2016 and 2017. GSSA would like the butterfish quota to remain at the 2015 level for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years.

    Response: NMFS is implementing the specifications as proposed. The SSC determined the 2015-2017 ABCs based on projections from the recently accepted 2014 butterfish assessment (SAW-SARC 58), which concluded that the stock was above target stock size and experiencing low fishing mortality. The ABC projections work in a stepwise fashion and assume average recruitment (fish entering the population). Assuming that the full ABC is caught each year and applying a fishing mortality rate that should result in 60-percent probability of not overfishing, the result is a slightly declining ABC each year from 2015 to 2017. Since the stock is estimated to be above its target, catches fall slightly over time, but as long as the stock remains at or above its target, ABCs would not be expected to fall below 29,000 mt (if the same approach to addressing scientific uncertainty is used and average recruitment occurs).

    Comment 2: The Town Dock and one individual commented that they would like to see an increase in the Trimester II quota for longfin squid. Both commenters would like to see an increase in the rollover quota from Trimester I to Trimester II to prevent the closure of the longfin fishery during Trimester II.

    Response: NMFS has forwarded these comments to the Council for its consideration. NMFS does not have the authority to make this change, and the Council did not consider changes to the Trimester allocations for the 2015-2017 specifications, but may in future actions.

    Comment 3: The Herring Alliance suggested that there should be an incremental increase in butterfish quota starting lower than the proposed 2015 quota and increasing the quota in 2016 and 2017.

    Response: The butterfish ABCs for 2015-2017 were recommended by the SSC based on the best available science including the recently accepted 2014 butterfish assessment (SAW-SARC 58), which concluded that the stock was above the target stock size and experiencing low fishing mortality.

    Comment 4: The Herring Alliance supports the recommended 2015 mackerel ABC, but suggested that NMFS revisit the ABC within one year after a stock update.

    Response: NMFS is implementing the specifications as proposed. There is not a scheduled stock update for 2016, but the SSC hopes to extend analysis that considers the performance of data poor approaches to ABC determination to include highly periodic catch time series. Based on the results of these simulations, the SSC expects to produce a revised 2016 ABC for this stock.

    Comment 5: The Herring Alliance supports the lower river herring and shad cap of 89 mt, but does not support the increased cap option of 155 mt.

    Response: The two-phased approach for the river herring and shad cap creates a strong incentive for the mackerel fishery to avoid river herring and shad when mackerel catch are low or high. The 155 mt river herring and shad cap will allow the fishery to catch the proposed mackerel quota in 2015 if the ratio of river herring and shad catch to total catch is relatively low. If the fishery does not maintain a low ratio of river herring and shad catch, then the fishery will be closed once the 89-mt cap is caught.

    Comment 6: One individual commented that all of the quotas should be reduced by 50 percent.

    Response: The quotas established through this final rule were based on the best available science, as recommended by the SSC.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    The proposed rule presented a table for the 2015-2017 butterfish specifications (Table 5 in the proposed rule). This table incorrectly listed the DAH subtracting the 1,411-mt buffer for 2017. The correct butterfish DAH (minus the 1,411-mt buffer) for 2017 is presented in Table 5 in this final rule, and will be presented to industry in the small entity compliance guide sent to butterfish permit holders after the publication of this final rule. Additionally, a minor wording change was made to § 648.26(d) for consistency.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

    The Council prepared an EA for the 2015-2017 specifications and management measures, and the AA concluded that there will be no significant impact on the human environment as a result of this rule. A copy of the EA is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    NMFS, pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, has prepared a FRFA, included in the preamble of this final rule, in support of the 2015-2017 specifications and management measures. The FRFA describes the economic impact that this final rule, along with other non-preferred alternatives, will have on small entities.

    The FRFA incorporates the economic impacts and analysis summaries in the IRFA, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public in response to the IRFA, and NMFS's responses to those comments. A copy of the IRFA, the RIR, and the EA are available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Statement of Need for This Action

    This action establishes 2015 specifications for mackerel, and 2015-2017 specifications for butterfish, Illex squid, and longfin squid. It also modifies the river herring catch cap in the mackerel fishery and to simplify the closure mechanism in the butterfish fishery. A complete description of the reasons why this action is being considered, and the objectives of and legal basis for this action, are contained in the preamble to this rule and are not repeated here.

    A Summary of the Significant Issues Raised by the Public Comments in Response to the IRFA, a Summary of the Assessment of the Agency of Such Issues, and a Statement of Any Changes Made in the Final Rule as a Result of Such Comments

    None of the public comments raised issues related to the IRFA or the economic impact of the rule on affected entities.

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

    Based on permit data for 2013, the numbers of potential fishing vessels in the 2015 fisheries are as follows: 384 separate vessels hold Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish limited access permits, 287 entities own those vessels, and, based on current Small Business Administration (SBA) definitions, 274 are small entities. Of the 274 small entities, 29 had no revenue in 2013 and those entities with no revenue are listed as small entities for the purposes of this analysis. All of the entities that had revenue fell into the finfish or shellfish categories, and the SBA definitions for those categories for 2014 are $20.5 million for finfish fishing and $5.5 million for shellfish fishing. Many vessels participate in more than one of these fisheries; therefore, the number of permits is not additive. The only proposed alternatives that involve increased restrictions apply to mackerel limited access permits, so those numbers are listed separately (they are a subset of the above entities). This analysis found that 150 separate vessels hold Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish limited access permits, 114 entities own those vessels, and, based on current SBA definitions, 107 are small entities.

    Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    There are no new reporting or record keeping requirements contained in any of the alternatives considered for this action. In addition, there are no Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.

    Description of the Steps the Agency Has Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impacts on Small Entities Consistent With the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes, Including a Statement of the Factual, Policy, and Legal Reasons for Selecting the Alternative Adopted in the Final Rule and Why Each One of the Other Significant Alternatives to the Rule Considered by the Agency Which Affect the Impact on Small Entities Was Rejected

    The mackerel commercial DAH (20,872 mt) represents a reduction from status quo (2014 DAH = 33,821 mt). Despite the reduction, the DAH is above recent U.S. landings; mackerel landings for 2010-2013 averaged 5,873 mt. Thus, the reduction does not pose a constraint to vessels relative to the landings in recent years. Even though the 2015 quota is lower than the 2014 quota, it will still allow more than a tripling of catch compared to any year 2011-2013. This action establishes a Recreational ACT/RHL of 1,552 mt. Because recreational harvest from 2010-2013 averaged 850 mt, it does not appear that the allocation for the recreational fishery will constrain recreational harvest. Overall, this action is not expected to result in any reductions in revenues for vessels that participate in either the commercial or recreational mackerel fisheries.

    The river herring and shad catch cap in the mackerel fishery has the potential to prevent the fishery from achieving its full mackerel quota if the river herring and shad encounter rates are high, but it is very unlikely that the fishery would close before exceeding the levels of landings experienced since 2010, when landings have been less than 11,000 mt. Based on the operation of the cap in 2014 (the first year of the cap), as long as the fishery can maintain relatively low river herring and shad catch rates, this alternative is unlikely to constrain the mackerel fishery. Examination of river herring and shad catch rates in 2011-2013 suggest that the only year that the cap would have been binding would have been 2012. In 2012, relevant trips landed 5,074 mt of mackerel, but the fishery would have closed at approximately 4,439 mt if the 2015 cap had been in place. Given the river herring and shad encounter rate in 2012, approximately 608 mt of mackerel landings would have been forgone. Using the 2013 price of mackerel, 608 mt mackerel would have amounted to $265,105 of potentially forgone ex-vessel revenues. However, based on the operation of the cap in 2014, actual river herring and shad catch rates may be lower under the cap and, therefore, the cap may not be binding.

    The Illex IOY (22,915 mt) renews the status quo for three more years. Though annual Illex landings have approached this amount in some recent years (15,825 mt for 2010, 18,797 mt for 2011, 11,709 mt for 2012, and 3,835 mt for 2013), the landings were lower than the 2015-2017 levels. Thus, implementation of this action should not result in a reduction in revenue or a constraint on expansion of the fishery in 2015-2017.

    The longfin squid IOY (22,445 mt) renews the status quo levels for three more years. Because longfin squid landings from 2010-2013 averaged 10,093 mt, the 2015-2017 IOY provides an opportunity to increase landings, though if recent trends of low landings continue, there may be no increase in landings despite the increase in the allocation. No reductions in revenues for the longfin squid fishery are expected as a result of this action.

    The butterfish DAHs established in this action (21,119 mt in 2015, 19,631 mt in 2016, and 19,241 mt in 2017) represents a 660-percent increase over the 2014 DAH (3,200 mt). Due to market conditions, there has not been a directed butterfish fishery in recent years; therefore, recent landings have been low. The increase in the DAH has the potential to increase revenue for permitted vessels, having a positive economic impact.

    This action also simplifies the closure mechanism for the butterfish fishery. This allows permitted vessels to take butterfish when they are available or when dealers may process them, and should have a positive economic impact on the fishery.

    The 2015-2017 butterfish discard cap of 3,884 mt renews the status quo for three more years. The longfin squid fishery will close during Trimester I, II, or III if the butterfish discards reach the trimester allocation. If the longfin squid fishery is closed in response to butterfish catch before the entire longfin squid quota is harvested, then a loss in revenue is possible. The potential for longfin squid revenue loss is dependent upon the size of the butterfish discard cap. This cap level was in effect for the 2013 and 2014 fishing years, and did not restrict the fishery in either year. For that reason, additional revenue losses are not expected as a result of this proposed action.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: March 17, 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 648 is amended as follows:

    PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 648.10, paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) is revised to read as follows:
    § 648.10 VMS and DAS requirements for vessel owners/operators.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (B) The vessel owner signs out of the VMS program for a minimum period of 30 consecutive days by obtaining a valid letter of exemption pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, the vessel does not engage in any fisheries or move from the dock/mooring until the VMS unit is turned back on, and the vessel complies with all conditions and requirements of said letter;

    3. In § 648.24, paragraph (c)(1) introductory text is revised to read as follows:
    § 648.24 Fishery closures and accountability measures.

    (c) Butterfish AMs—(1) Directed butterfish fishery closure. When butterfish catch reaches the butterfish closure threshold as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 5,000-lb (2.27-mt) possession limit for vessels issued a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit and that are fishing with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches (76 mm). When the butterfish catch is projected to reach the butterfish DAH as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 600-lb (0.27-mt) possession limit for all vessels issued a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium or incidental catch permit.

    4. In § 648.26, paragraph (d) is revised to read as follows:
    § 648.26 Mackerel, squid, and butterfish possession restrictions.

    (d) Butterfish. (1) A vessel issued a longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit (as specified at § 648.4(a)(5)(i)) fishing with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches (76 mm) is authorized to fish for, possess, or land butterfish with no possession restriction in the EEZ per trip, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours, provided that directed butterfish fishery has not been closed and the reduced possession limit has not been implemented, as described in § 648.24(c)(1). When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the threshold for the butterfish fishery (as described in § 648.24(c)(1)), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) of butterfish per trip at any time, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day. When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the DAH limit (as described in § 648.24(c)(1)), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (0.27 mt) of butterfish per trip at any time, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day.

    (2) A vessel issued longfin squid/butterfish moratorium permit fishing with mesh less than 3 inches (76 mm) may not fish for, possess, or land more than 2,500 lb (1.13 mt) of butterfish per trip at any time, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day, provided that butterfish harvest has not reached the DAH limit and the reduced possession limit has not been implemented, as described in § 648.24(c)(1). When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the DAH limit (as described in § 648.24(c)(1)), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (0.27 mt) of butterfish per trip at any time, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day.

    (3) A vessels issued a longfin squid/butterfish incidental catch permit, regardless of mesh size used, may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (0.27 mt) of butterfish per trip at any time, and may only land butterfish once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

    [FR Doc. 2015-06401 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 54 Friday, March 20, 2015 Proposed Rules NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 73 [Docket Nos. PRM-73-16; NRC-2013-0024] Personnel Access Authorization Requirements for Nuclear Power Plants AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Petition for rulemaking; withdrawal by petitioner.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is announcing the withdrawal, without prejudice to a future filing, of a petition for rulemaking (PRM), PRM-73-16, filed with the Commission by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI or the petitioner) on January 25, 2013. The petitioner requested that the Commission amend its regulations to limit the scope of third-party review of licensee decisions denying or revoking an employee's unescorted access at licensee facilities. The petitioner sought to ensure that such decisions could not be overturned by any third party. By letter dated January 22, 2015, the petitioner withdrew its PRM.

    DATES:

    The petition was withdrawn on January 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2013-0024 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0024. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jessica Kratchman, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-5112, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On January 25, 2013, the petitioner filed PRM-73-16 with the Commission requesting that it amend its regulations to limit the scope of third-party review of licensee decisions denying or revoking an employee's unescorted access at their facility (ADAMS Accession No. ML13035A186). The NRC published a notice of receipt and request for public comment on PRM-73-16 in the Federal Register of April 22, 2013 (78 FR 23684). The petition received over 300 individual comments from 212 individual commenters and co-signers. By letter dated January 22, 2015, the petitioner withdrew its PRM (ADAMS Accession No. ML15023A338).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 12th day of March, 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Annette L. Vietti-Cook, Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06420 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0968; Airspace Docket No. 14-ASO-17] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Dyersburg, TN AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class E Airspace at Dyersburg, TN as the Dyersburg VORTAC has been decommissioned, requiring airspace redesign at Dyersburg Regional Airport, formerly Dyersburg Municipal Airport. This action would enhance the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport. This action also would update the geographic coordinates of airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before May 4, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this rule to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001; Telephone: 1-800-647-5527; Fax: 202-493-2251. You must identify the Docket Number FAA-2014-0968; Airspace Docket No. 14-ASO-17, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit and review received comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this proposed incorporation by reference material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fornito, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, Georgia 30320; telephone (404) 305-6364.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to comment on this rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.

    Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. FAA-2014-0968; Airspace Docket No. 14-ASO-17) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management System (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Persons wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2014-0968; Airspace Docket No. 14-ASO-17.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    All communications received before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded from and comments submitted through http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays at the office of the Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, room 350, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia 30337.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRM's should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014. FAA Order 7400.9Y is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this proposed rule. FAA Order 7400.9Y lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is considering an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to amend Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Dyersburg Regional Airport, Dyersburg, TN. Airspace reconfiguration to within a 7.1-mile radius of the airport is necessary due to the decommissioning of the Dyersburg VORTAC and cancellation of the VOR approach, and for continued safety and management of IFR operations at the airport. This action would also recognize the airport's name change from Dyersburg Municipal Airport, to Dyersburg Regional Airport and update the geographic coordinates of the airport to be in concert with the FAAs aeronautical database.

    Class E airspace designations are published in Paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore, (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a Regulatory Evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

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

    This proposal would be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, effective September 15, 2014, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ASO TN E5 Dyersburg, TN [Amended] Dyersburg Regional Airport, TN (Lat. 35°59′53″ N., long. 89°24′24″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 7.1-mile radius of Dyersburg Regional Airport.

    Issued in College Park, Georgia, on March 10, 2015. Gerald E. Lynch, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06256 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2014-1003; Airspace Docket No. 14-AEA-9] Proposed Amendment of Class D and Class E Airspace; Clarksburg, WV AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class D Airspace and Class E Airspace at Clarksburg, WV, as the Clarksburg VOR/DME has been decommissioned, requiring airspace redesign at North Central West Virginia Airport, formerly Benedum Airport. This action would enhance the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport. This action also would update the airport's name and the geographic coordinates.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before May 4, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this rule to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001; Telephone: 1-800-647-5527; Fax: 202-493-2251. You must identify the Docket Number FAA-2014-1003; Airspace Docket No. 14-AEA-9, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit and review received comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this proposed incorporation by reference material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fornito, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, Georgia 30320; telephone (404) 305-6364.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to comment on this rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.

    Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. FAA-2014-1003; Airspace Docket No. 14-AEA-9) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management System (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Persons wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2014-1003; Airspace Docket No. 14-AEA-9.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    All communications received before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded from and comments submitted through http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. An informal docket may also be examined between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays at the office of the Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, room 350, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia 30337.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRM's should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014. FAA Order 7400.9Y is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this proposed rule. FAA Order 7400.9Y lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is considering an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to amend Class E airspace designated as an extension to Class D at North Central West Virginia Airport, formerly known as Benedum Airport. A segment of the airspace would be amended from a 4.1-mile radius of the airport to 11 miles southwest of the airport. Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface would be amended to within an 8.9-mile radius of the airport. Decommissioning of the Clarksburg VOR/DME and cancellation of the VOR approaches has made this action necessary for continued safety and management of IFR operations at the airport. The geographic coordinates of the airport would be adjusted to coincide with the FAAs aeronautical database. The airport name would be changed from Benedum Airport to North Central West Virginia Airport in the Class D and E airspace areas listed above.

    Class D and E airspace designations are published in Paragraphs 5000, 6004, and 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore, (1) is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a Regulatory Evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This proposed rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This proposed regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend Class D and Class E airspace at North Central West Virginia Airport, Clarksburg, WV.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal would be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, effective September 15, 2014, is amended as follows: Paragraph 5000 Class D Airspace. AEA WV D Clarksburg, WV [Amended] North Central West Virginia Airport, WV (Lat. 39°17′56″ N., long. 80°13′39″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface up to and including 3,700 feet within a 4.1-mile radius of North Central West Virginia Airport. This Class D airspace area is effective during specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.

    Paragraph 6004 Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area. AEA WV E4 Clarksburg, WV [Amended] North Central West Virginia Airport, WV (Lat. 39°17′56″ N., long. 80°13′39″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface within 2.7 miles each side of the 220° bearing from North Central West Virginia Airport extending from the 4.1-mile radius of the airport to 11 miles southwest of the airport. This Class E airspace area is effective during specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.

    Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. AEA WV E5 Clarksburg, WV [Amended] North Central West Virginia Airport, WV (Lat. 39°17′56″ N., long. 80°13′39″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an 8.9-mile radius of North Central West Virginia Airport.

    Issued in College Park, Georgia, on March 10, 2015. Gerald E. Lynch, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06257 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 1307 [Docket No. CPSC-2014-0033] Prohibition of Children's Toys and Child Care Articles Containing Specified Phthalates; Notice of Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission or CPSC) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) in the Federal Register on December 30, 2014, proposing to prohibit children's toys and child care articles containing specified phthalates. The NPR invited the public to submit comments; the comment period as set in the NPR ends March 16, 2015. The Commission is extending the comment period until April 15, 2015.

    DATES:

    Submit comments by April 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2014-0033, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through: http://www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

    Written Submissions

    Submit written submissions in the following way:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information electronically. Such information should be submitted in writing.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov and insert the Docket No. CPSC-2014-0033 into the “Search” box and follow the prompts.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On December 30, 2014, the Commission published an NPR in the Federal Register proposing to prohibit children's toys and child care articles containing specified phthalates. (79 FR 78324). The Commission issued the proposed rule under the authority of section 108 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The Commission is extending the comment period until April 15, 2015 to allow additional time for public comment on the NPR.

    Alberta E. Mills, Acting Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06389 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs 25 CFR 23 [K00103 12/13 A3A10; 134D0102DR-DS5A300000-DR.5A311.IA000113] RIN 1076-AF25 Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would add a new subpart to the Department of the Interior's (Department) regulations implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), to improve ICWA implementation by State courts and child welfare agencies. These regulations complement recently published Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings, reflect recommendations made by the Attorney General's Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, and address significant developments in jurisprudence since ICWA's inception. This publication also announces the dates and locations for tribal consultation sessions and public meetings to receive comment on this proposed rule.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before May 19, 2015. Comments on the information collections contained in this proposed regulation are separate from those on the substance of the proposed rule. Comments on the information collection burden should be received by April 20, 2015 to ensure consideration, but must be received no later than May 19, 2015. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document for dates of public meetings and tribal consultation sessions.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal rulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov. The rule is listed under the agency name “Bureau of Indian Affairs” or “BIA.” The rule has been assigned Docket ID: BIA-2015-0001. Email: [email protected] Include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message. Mail or hand-delivery: Ms. Elizabeth Appel, Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., MS 3642, Washington, DC 20240, (202) 273-4680.

    Comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collections contained in this rule are separate from comments on the substance of the rule. Submit comments on the information collection requirements in this rule to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at [email protected] or by facsimile at (202) 395-5806. Please also send a copy of your comments to [email protected]

    See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document for locations of public meetings and tribal consultation sessions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Elizabeth Appel, Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action—Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., MS 3642, Washington, DC 20240, (202) 273-4680; [email protected] You may review the information collection request online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Executive Summary

    Since ICWA was enacted by Congress in 1978, it has improved child welfare practices regarding Indian children. Commentators have asserted, however, that it has not reached its full potential due largely to ineffective or inconsistent implementation in some case. This proposed rule would establish a new subpart to regulations implementing ICWA at 25 CFR 23 to address Indian child welfare proceedings in State courts. This proposed rule is published in response to comments received during several listening sessions, written comments submitted throughout 2014, and recommendations that regulations are needed to fully implement ICWA. See, e.g., Attorney General's Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence: Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive (November 2014), p. 77. This proposed rule would also respond to significant developments in jurisprudence since the regulations were established in 1979 and last substantively updated in 1994.

    This proposed rule would incorporate many of the changes made to the recently revised guidelines into regulations, establishing the Department's interpretation of ICWA as a binding interpretation to ensure consistency in implementation of ICWA across all States. This consistency is necessary to ensure that the goals of ICWA are carried out with each Indian child custody proceeding, regardless of the child welfare worker, judge, and State involved. The proposed rule would establish the following procedures to ensure compliance with ICWA: Determining whether ICWA applies to any child custody proceeding, providing notice to the parents or Indian custodian and Indian tribe(s), requesting and responding to requests to transfer proceedings to tribal court, adjudication of involuntary placements, adoptions, and terminations of parental rights, undertaking voluntary proceedings, identifying and applying placement preferences, and post-proceeding actions.

    The Department requests comment on this proposed rule.

    II. Background

    Congress enacted ICWA in 1978 to address the Federal, State, and private agency policies and practices that resulted in the “wholesale separation of Indian children from their families.” H. Rep. 95-1386 (July 24, 1978), at 9. Congress found “that an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by nontribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions . . . .” 25 U.S.C. 1901(4). Congress determined that cultural ignorance and biases within the child welfare system were significant causes of this problem and that state administrative and judicial bodies “have often failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the cultural and social standards prevailing in Indian communities and families.” 25 U.S.C. 1901(5); H. Rep. 95-1386, at 10. Congress enacted ICWA to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by establishing minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes or institutions which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.” H. Rep. 95-1386, at 8. The ICWA thus articulates a strong “federal policy that, where possible, an Indian child should remain in the Indian community.” Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 37 (1989) (citing H. Rep. 95-1386 at 24).

    Following ICWA's enactment, in July 1979, the Department issued regulations addressing notice procedures for involuntary child custody proceedings involving Indian children, as well as governing the provision of funding for and administration of Indian child and family service programs as authorized by ICWA. See 25 CFR part 23. Those regulations did not address the specific requirements and standards that ICWA imposes upon State court child custody proceedings, beyond the requirements for contents of the notice. Also, in 1979, BIA published guidelines for State courts to use in interpreting many of ICWA's requirements in Indian child custody proceedings. 44 FR 67584 (Nov. 26, 1979).

    In 2014, the Department invited comments to determine whether to update its guidelines and if so, what changes should be made. The Department held several listening sessions, including sessions with representatives of federally recognized Indian tribes, State court representatives (e.g., the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for State Courts' Conference of Chief Justices Tribal Relations Committee), the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and the National Congress of American Indians. The Department received comments from those at the listening sessions and also received written comments, including comments from individuals and additional organizations. An overwhelming proportion of the commenters requested not only that the Department update its ICWA guidelines but that the Department also issue regulations addressing the requirements and standards that ICWA imposes upon State court child custody proceedings. The Department reviewed and considered each comment in developing this proposed rule.

    The Department has examined its authority to interpret and implement ICWA, including through a rulemaking, and has concluded that it possesses authority to implement the statute through rulemaking. ICWA instructs that “[w]ithin [180] days after November 8, 1978, the Secretary shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.” 25 U.S.C. 1952. This is a broad grant of authority to the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to issue rules in order to ensure that the statute is fully and properly implemented. In addition to this express authority in ICWA, the Secretary is charged with “the management of all Indian affairs and of all matters arising out of Indian relations,” 25 U.S.C. 2, and may “prescribe such regulations as [s]he may think fit for carrying into effect the various provisions of any act relating to Indian affairs.” 25 U.S.C. 9. Finally, the United States has long been understood to have a special relationship with Indian nations, which includes the duty and power to protect them. Congress referred to this inherent authority in the opening language of ICWA, which explains that the “United States has a direct interest, as trustee, in protecting Indian children.” 25 U.S.C. 1901(3). These regulations, which are intended to improve the implementation of ICWA, uphold this Federal interest.

    The Department has concluded that these regulations are now necessary to effectively carry out the provisions of ICWA. In issuing the guidelines in 1979, the Department found that primary responsibility for interpreting many of ICWA's provisions rests with the State courts that decide Indian child custody cases. See, e.g., 44 FR 67,584 (November 26, 1979). At the time, the Department opined that the promulgation of regulations was not necessary to carry out ICWA. Since that time, it has become clear that a uniform interpretation of key provisions is necessary to ensure compliance with ICWA. These regulations will provide a stronger measure of consistency in the implementation of ICWA, which has been interpreted in different, and sometimes conflicting, ways by various State courts and agencies and has resulted in different minimum standards being applied across the United States, contrary to Congress' intent. Moreover, conflicting interpretations can lead to arbitrary outcomes, and certain interpretations and applications threaten the rights that ICWA was intended to protect. See, e.g., Holyfield, 490 U.S. at 45-46 (describing the need for uniformity in defining “domicile” under ICWA).

    III. Overview of the Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule addresses ICWA implementation by State courts and child welfare agencies, including updating definitions, and replacing current notice provisions at 25 CFR 23.11 with a proposed new subpart I to 25 CFR part 23. The proposed new subpart also addresses other aspects of ICWA compliance by State courts and child welfare agencies including, but not limited to, other pretrial requirements, procedures for requesting transfer of an Indian child custody proceeding to tribal court, adjudications of involuntary placements, adoptions, and termination of parental rights, voluntary proceedings, dispositions, and post-trial rights. For example, the proposed rule clarifies ICWA applicability and codifies that there is no “Existing Indian Family Exception (EIF)” to ICWA. Since first identification of the EIF in 1982, the majority of State appellate courts that have considered the EIF have rejected it as contrary to the plain language of ICWA. Some State legislatures have also explicitly rejected the EIF within their State ICWA statutes. When Congress enacted ICWA, it intended that an “Indian child” was the threshold for application of ICWA. The Department agrees with the States that have concluded that there is no existing Indian family exception to application of ICWA. The proposed rule also promotes the early identification of ICWA applicability. Such identifications will promote proper implementation of ICWA at an early stage, to prevent—as much as possible—delayed discoveries that ICWA applies.

    We welcome comments on all aspects of this rule. We are particularly interested in the use of “should” versus “must.” The proposed rule makes several of the provisions issued in the recently published Guidelines for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings, 80 FR 10146 (February 25, 2015), binding as regulation. These proposed mandatory provisions (indicating an action “must” be taken, for example) are authorized by ICWA. Some proposed provisions indicate that certain actions “should” be taken. We welcome comment on whether mandatory language is authorized by ICWA in those instances and any appropriate revisions to further promote compliance with ICWA.

    IV. Public Meetings & Tribal Consultation Sessions

    The Department will host both public meetings and tribal consultation sessions on this proposed rule.

    A. Public Meetings

    All are invited to the public meetings. Dates and locations for the public meetings are as follows:

    Date Time Location Venue Wednesday, April 22, 2015 9 a.m.-noon Local Time Portland, Oregon BIA Regional Office, 911 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232*. Thursday, April 23, 2015 1-4 p.m. Local Time Rapid City, South Dakota Best Western Ramkota Hotel, 2111 N Lacrosse St., Rapid City, SD 57701. Tuesday, May 5, 2015 1-4 p.m. Local Time Albuquerque, New Mexico National Indian Programs Training Center, 1011 Indian School Road NW., Suite 254 Albuquerque, NM 87104*. Thursday, May 7, 2015 1-4 p.m. Local Time Prior Lake, Minnesota Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN 55372. Tuesday, May 12, 2015 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Eastern Time Via teleconference 888-730-9138, Passcode: INTERIOR. Thursday, May 14, 2015 1-4 p.m. Local Time Tulsa, Oklahoma Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills, 1902 East 71st, Tulsa, OK 74136. * Please RSVP for the Portland and Albuquerque meetings to [email protected], bring photo identification, and arrive early to allow for time to get through security, as these are Federal buildings. No RSVP is necessary for the other locations. B. Tribal Consultation Sessions

    Tribal consultation sessions are for representatives of currently federally recognized tribes only, to discuss the rule on a government-to-government basis with the Department. These sessions may be closed to the public. The dates and locations for the tribal consultations are as follows:

    Date Time Location Venue Monday, April 20, 2015 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Local Time Portland, Oregon Hilton Portland & Executive Towers, 921 SW. Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204, (at the same location as NICWA conference). Thursday, April 23, 2015 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Local Time Rapid City, South Dakota Best Western Ramkota Hotel, 2111 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City, SD 57701. Tuesday, May 5, 2015 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Local Time Albuquerque, New Mexico National Indian Programs Training Center, 1011 Indian School Road, NW., Suite 254, Albuquerque, NM 87104*. Thursday, May 7, 2015 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Local Time Prior Lake, Minnesota Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN 55372. Monday, May 11, 2015 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Eastern Time Via teleconference Call-in number: 888-730-9138 Passcode: INTERIOR =. Thursday, May 14, 2015 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Local Time Tulsa, Oklahoma Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills, 1902 East 71st, Tulsa, OK 74136. V. Statutory Authority

    The Department is issuing this proposed rule pursuant to ICWA, 25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq., and its authority over the management of all Indian affairs under 25 U.S.C. 2, 9.

    VI. Procedural Requirements 1. Regulatory Planning and Review (E.O. 12866 and 13563)

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

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

    2. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

    3. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. It will not result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year. The rule's requirements will not result in a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions. Nor will this rule have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of the U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

    4. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

    5. Takings (E.O. 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this rule does not affect individual property rights protected by the Fifth Amendment nor does it involve a compensable “taking.” A takings implication assessment is therefore not required.

    6. Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this rule has no 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. The Department has determined that this rule complies with the fundamental Federalism principles and policymaking criteria established in EO 13132. Congress determined that the issue of Indian child welfare is sufficiently national in scope and significance to justify a statute that applies uniformly across States. This rule invokes the United States' special relationship with Indian tribes and children by establishing a regulatory baseline for implementation to further the goals of ICWA. Such goals include protecting the best interests of Indian children and promoting the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by establishing minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes that reflect the unique values of Indian culture. States are required to comply with ICWA even in the absence of this rule, and that requirement has existed since ICWA's passage in 1978. In the spirit of EO 13132, the Department specifically solicits comment on this proposed rule from State officials, including suggestions for how the rule could be made more flexible for State implementation.

    7. Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this rule has been reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and written to minimize litigation; and is written in clear language and contains clear legal standards.

    8. Consultation With Indian Tribes (E.O. 13175)

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments,” Executive Order 13175 (59 FR 22951, November 6, 2000), and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated the potential effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and Indian trust assets. The Department hosted several listening sessions on the ICWA guidelines and notified each federally recognized tribal leader of the sessions. Several federally recognized Indian tribes submitted written comments and many suggested developing regulations. The Department considered each tribe's comments and concerns and have addressed them, where possible, in the proposed rule. The Department will be continuing to consult with tribes during the public comment period on this rule. The dates and locations of consultation sessions are listed in section IV, above.

    9. Paperwork Reduction Act

    OMB Control Number: 1076-NEW

    Title: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Proceedings in State Court

    Brief Description of Collection: This collection addresses the reporting, third-party disclosure, and recordkeeping requirements of ICWA, which requires State courts and agencies to provide notice to tribes and parents/custodians of any child custody proceeding that may involve an “Indian child,” and requires State courts and agencies to document certain actions and maintain certain records regarding the removal and placement of an “Indian child.”

    Type of Review: Existing collection in use without OMB control number.

    Respondents: State governments and individuals.

    Number of Respondents: 5,500 on average (each year).

    Number of Responses: 116,100 on average (each year).*

    * The following table shows estimates of the hour burden above what a State court or agency would do in a child custody proceeding that does not involve ICWA requirements:

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Estimated Time per Response: Ranges from 15 minutes to 12 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 277,276 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Non-Hour Cost: $868,400.**

    ** In many cases, there are no start-up costs associated with these information collections because State courts are agencies are already implementing child custody actions. However, it is possible that some States may not yet have a single location, or electronic database accessible from anywhere, housing all placement records. For this reason, we are estimating a start-up cost of $487,500 (or just under $10,000 per state on average, with the understanding that there will be no start-up costs in some states and up to $20,000 or more in others). The annual cost burden to respondents associated with providing notice by registered mail is $11.95 and the cost of a return receipt green card is $2.70. For each Indian child custody proceeding, at least two notices must be sent—one to the parent and one to the tribe, totaling $29.30. At an annual estimated 13,000 child welfare proceedings that may involve an “Indian child,” this totals: $380,900. Together with the start-up cost, the total non-hour cost burden for all 50 States is $868,400.

    Sec. Information collection Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Frequency of responses Annual
  • number of
  • responses
  • Completion time per
  • response
  • Total annual burden hours
    23.107 Obtain information on whether child is “Indian child” 50 260 13,000 12 156,000 23.109(c)(3) Notify of tribal membership where more than 1 tribe 50 130 6,500 1 6,500 23.111, 23.113 Notify tribe, parents, Indian custodian of child custody proceeding 50 260 13,000 6 78,000 23.113 Document basis for emergency removal/placement 50 260 13,000 0.5 6,500 23.113 Maintain records detailing steps to provide notice 50 260 13,000 0.5 6,500 23.113 Petition for court order authorizing emergency removal/placement (with required contents) 50 260 13,000 0.5 6,500 23.118 Notify tribal court of transfer, provide records 50 5 250 0.25 63 23.120 Document “active efforts” 50 130 6,500 0.5 3,250 23.125 Parental consent to termination or adoption (with required contents) 5,000 1 5,000 0.5 2,500 23.126, 127 Notify placement of withdrawal of consent 50 2 100 0.25 25 23.128 Document each placement (including required documents) 50 130 6,500 0.5 3,250 23.128 Maintain records of placements 50 130 6,500 0.5 3,250 23.132 Notify of petition to vacate 50 5 250 0.25 63 23.135 Notify of change in status quo 50 130 6,500 0.25 1,625 23.136 Notify of final adoption decree/order 50 130 6,500 0.25 1,625 23.137 Maintain records in a single location and respond to inquiries 50 130 6,500 0.25 1,625 116,100 6.75 277,276
    10. National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment because it is of an administrative, technical, and procedural nature. See, 43 CFR 46.210(i). No extraordinary circumstances exist that would require greater review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

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

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

    12. Clarity of This Regulation

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    (a) Be logically organized;

    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;

    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you believe that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the “COMMENTS” section. To better help revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, include the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    13. Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    The Department cannot ensure that comments received after the close of the comment period (see DATES) will be included in the docket for this rulemaking and considered. Comments sent to an address other than those listed above will not be included in the docket for this rulemaking.

    List of Subjects in 25 CFR Part 23

    Administrative practice and procedure, Child welfare, Indians, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, proposes to amend part 23 in Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 23—INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT 1. The authority citation for part 23 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 25 U.S.C. 2, 9, 1901-1952.

    2. In § 23.2: a. Add a definition for “active efforts”; b. Revise the definition of “child custody proceeding”; c. Add definitions for “continued custody”, “custody”, and “domicile”; d. Revise the definition of “extended family member”; e. Add a definition for “imminent physical danger or harm”; f. Revise the definition of “Indian child's tribe”, “Indian custodian”, “parent”, “reservation”, and “Secretary”; g. Add a definition for “status offenses”; h. Revise the definition of “tribal court”; and i. Add definitions for “upon demand” and “voluntary placement”.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    Revise the following definitions to read as follows:

    § 23.2 Definitions.

    Active efforts means actions intended primarily to maintain and reunite an Indian child with his or her family or tribal community and constitute more than reasonable efforts as required by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(15)). Active efforts include, for example:

    (1) Engaging the Indian child, the Indian child's parents, the Indian child's extended family members, and the Indian child's custodian(s);

    (2) Taking steps necessary to keep siblings together;

    (3) Identifying appropriate services and helping the parents to overcome barriers, including actively assisting the parents in obtaining such services;

    (4) Identifying, notifying, and inviting representatives of the Indian child's tribe to participate;

    (5) Conducting or causing to be conducted a diligent search for the Indian child's extended family members for assistance and possible placement;

    (6) Taking into account the Indian child's tribe's prevailing social and cultural conditions and way of life, and requesting the assistance of representatives designated by the Indian child's tribe with substantial knowledge of the prevailing social and cultural standards;

    (7) Offering and employing all available and culturally appropriate family preservation strategies;

    (8) Completing a comprehensive assessment of the circumstances of the Indian child's family, with a focus on safe reunification as the most desirable goal;

    (9) Notifying and consulting with extended family members of the Indian child to provide family structure and support for the Indian child, to assure cultural connections, and to serve as placement resources for the Indian child;

    (10) Making arrangements to provide family interaction in the most natural setting that can ensure the Indian child's safety during any necessary removal;

    (11) Identifying community resources including housing, financial, transportation, mental health, substance abuse, and peer support services and actively assisting the Indian child's parents or extended family in utilizing and accessing those resources;

    (12) Monitoring progress and participation in services;

    (13) Providing consideration of alternative ways of addressing the needs of the Indian child's parents and extended family, if services do not exist or if existing services are not available;

    (14) Supporting regular visits and trial home visits of the Indian child during any period of removal, consistent with the need to ensure the safety of the child; and

    (15) Providing post-reunification services and monitoring.

    Child custody proceeding means and includes any proceeding or action that involves:

    (1) Foster care placement, which is any action removing an Indian child from his or her parent or Indian custodian for temporary placement in a foster home or institution or the home of a guardian or conservator where the parent or Indian custodian cannot have the child returned upon demand, although parental rights have not been terminated;

    (2) Termination of parental rights, which is any action resulting in the termination of the parent-child relationship;

    (3) Preadoptive placement, which is the temporary placement of an Indian child in a foster home or institution after the termination of parental rights, but prior to or in lieu of adoptive placement; or

    (4) Adoptive placement, which is the permanent placement of an Indian child for adoption, including any action resulting in a final decree of adoption.

    Continued custody means physical and/or legal custody that a parent already has or had at any point in the past. The biological mother of a child has had custody of a child.

    Custody means physical and/or legal custody under any applicable tribal law or tribal custom or State law. A party may demonstrate the existence of custody by looking to tribal law or tribal custom or State law.

    Domicile means:

    (1) For a parent or any person over the age of eighteen, physical presence in a place and intent to remain there;

    (2) For an Indian child, the domicile of the Indian child's parents. In the case of an Indian child whose parents are not married to each other, the domicile of the Indian child's mother.

    Extended family member is defined by the law or custom of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of such law or custom, is a person who has reached the age of eighteen and who is the Indian child's grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent.

    Imminent physical damage or harm means present or impending risk of serious bodily injury or death.

    Indian child's tribe means:

    (1) The Indian tribe in which an Indian child is a member or eligible for membership; or

    (2) In the case of an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in more than one tribe, the Indian tribe with which the Indian child has more significant contacts.

    Indian custodian means any Indian person who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom or under State law, or to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the parent of such child. An Indian person may demonstrate that he or she is an Indian custodian by looking to tribal law or tribal custom or State law.

    Parent means any biological parent or parents of an Indian child or any Indian person who has lawfully adopted an Indian child, including adoptions under tribal law or custom. It does not include an unwed father where paternity has not been acknowledged or established.

    Reservation means Indian country as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151, including any lands, title to which is held by the United States in trust for the benefit of any Indian tribe or individual or held by any Indian tribe or individual subject to a restriction by the United States against alienation.

    Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary's authorized representative acting under delegated authority.

    Status offenses mean offenses that would not be considered criminal if committed by an adult; they are acts prohibited only because of a person's status as a minor (e.g., truancy, incorrigibility).

    Tribal court means a court with jurisdiction over child custody proceedings, including a Court of Indian Offenses, a court established and operated under the code or custom of an Indian tribe, or any other administrative body of a tribe vested with authority over child custody proceedings.

    Upon demand means that the parent or Indian custodians can regain custody simply upon request, without any contingencies such as repaying the child's expenses.

    Voluntary placement means a placement that either parent has, of his or her free will, chosen for the Indian child, including private adoptions.

    3. In § 23.11, revise paragraph (d) and remove paragraphs (e), (f), and (g).

    The revision reads as follows:

    § 23.11 Notice.

    (d) Notice to the appropriate BIA Area Director pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section must be sent by registered mail with return receipt requested and must include the information required by § 23.111 of these regulations.

    4. Add subpart I to read as follows: Subpart I—Indian Child Welfare Act Proceedings General Provisions Sec. 23.101 What is the purpose of this subpart? 23.102 What terms do I need to know? 23.103 When does ICWA apply? 23.104 How do I contact a tribe under the regulations in this subpart? 23.105 How does this subpart interact with State laws? Pretrial Requirements 23.106 When does the requirement for active efforts begin? 23.107 What actions must an agency and State court undertake to determine whether a child is an Indian child? 23.108 Who makes the determination as to whether a child is a member of a tribe? 23.109 What is the procedure for determining an Indian child's tribe when the child is a member or eligible for membership in more than one tribe? 23.110 When must a State court dismiss an action? 23.111 What are the notice requirements for a child custody proceeding involving an Indian child? 23.112 What time limits and extensions apply? 23.113 What is the process for the emergency removal of an Indian child? 23.114 What are the procedures for determining improper removal? Procedures for Making Requests for Transfer to Tribal Court 23.115 How are petitions for transfer of proceeding made? 23.116 What are the criteria and procedures for ruling on transfer petitions? 23.117 How is a determination of “good cause” not to transfer made? 23.118 What happens when a petition for transfer is made? Adjudication of Involuntary Placements, Adoptions, or Terminations of Parental Rights 23.119 Who has access to reports or records? 23.120 What steps must a party take to petition a State court for certain actions involving an Indian child? 23.121 What are the applicable standards of evidence? 23.122 Who may serve as a qualified expert witness? Voluntary Proceedings 23.123 What actions must an agency and State court undertake in voluntary proceedings? 23.124 How is consent obtained? 23.125 What information should the consent document contain? 23.126 How is withdrawal of consent achieved in a voluntary foster care placement? 23.127 How is withdrawal of consent to a voluntary adoption achieved? Dispositions 23.128 When do the placement preferences apply? 23.129 What placement preferences apply in adoptive placements? 23.130 What placement preferences apply in foster care or preadoptive placements? 23.131 How is a determination for “good cause” to depart from the placement preferences made? Post-Trial Rights & Recordkeeping 23.132 What is the procedure for petitioning to vacate an adoption? 23.133 Who can make a petition to invalidate an action? 23.134 What are the rights of adult adoptees? 23.135 When must notice of a change in child's status be given? 23.136 What information must States furnish to the Bureau of Indian Affairs? 23.137 How must the State maintain records? 23.138 How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this subpart? General Provisions
    § 23.101 What is the purpose of this subpart?

    These regulations clarify the minimum Federal standards governing implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to ensure that ICWA is applied in all States consistent with the Act's express language, Congress' intent in enacting the statute, and the canon of construction that statutes enacted for the benefit of Indians are to be liberally construed to their benefit. In order to fully implement ICWA, these regulations apply in all proceedings and stages of a proceeding in which ICWA is or becomes applicable.

    § 23.102 What terms do I need to know?

    The following terms and their definitions apply to this subpart. All other terms have the meanings assigned in § 23.2.

    Agency means a private State-licensed agency or public agency and their employees, agents or officials involved in and/or seeking to place a child in a child custody proceeding.

    Indian organization means any group, association, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity owned or controlled by Indians or a tribe, or a majority of whose members are Indians.

    § 23.103 When does ICWA apply?

    (a) ICWA applies whenever an Indian child is the subject of a State child custody proceeding as defined by the Act. ICWA also applies to proceedings involving status offenses or juvenile delinquency proceedings if any part of those proceedings results in the need for placement of the child in a foster care, preadoptive or adoptive placement, or termination of parental rights.

    (b) There is no exception to application of ICWA based on the so-called “existing Indian family doctrine” and, the following non-exhaustive list of factors that have been used by courts in applying the existing Indian family doctrine may not be considered in determining whether ICWA is applicable:

    (1) The extent to which the parent or Indian child

    (i) Participates in or observes tribal customs,

    (ii) Votes in tribal elections or otherwise participates in tribal community affairs,

    (iii) Contributes to tribal or Indian charities, subscribes to tribal newsletters or other periodicals of special interest in Indians,

    (iv) Participates in Indian religious, social, cultural, or political events, or maintains social contacts with other members of the tribe;

    (2) The relationship between the Indian child and his/her Indian parents;

    (3) The extent of current ties either parent has to the tribe;

    (4) Whether the Indian parent ever had custody of the child;

    (5) The level of involvement of the tribe in the State court proceedings; and/or

    (6) Blood quantum.

    (c) Agencies and State courts, in every child custody proceeding, must ask whether the child is or could be an Indian child and conduct an investigation into whether the child is an Indian child.

    (d) If there is any reason to believe the child is an Indian child, the agency and State court must treat the child as an Indian child, unless and until it is determined that the child is not a member or is not eligible for membership in an Indian tribe.

    (e) ICWA and these regulations or any associated Federal guidelines do not apply to:

    (1) Tribal court proceedings;

    (2) Placements based upon an act by the Indian child which, if committed by an adult, would be deemed a criminal offense; or

    (3) An award, in a divorce proceeding, of custody of the Indian child to one of the parents.

    (f) Voluntary placements that do not operate to prohibit the child's parent or Indian custodian from regaining custody of the child upon demand are not covered by ICWA. Such placements should be made pursuant to a written agreement, and the agreement should state explicitly the right of the parent or Indian custodian to regain custody of the child upon demand.

    (g) Voluntary placements in which a parent consents to a foster care placement or seeks to permanently terminate his or her rights or to place the child in a preadoptive or adoptive placement are covered by ICWA.

    § 23.104 How do I contact a tribe under the regulations in this subpart?

    To contact a tribe to provide notice or obtain information or verification under these regulations, you should direct the notice or inquiry as follows:

    (a) Many tribes designate an agent for receipt of ICWA notices. The BIA publishes a list of tribes' designated tribal agents for service of ICWA notice in the Federal Register each year and makes the list available on its Web site at www.bia.gov.

    (b) For tribes without a designated tribal agent for service of ICWA notice, contact the tribe(s) to be directed to the appropriate individual or office.

    (c) If you do not have accurate contact information for the tribe(s) or the tribe(s) contacted fail(s) to respond to written inquiries, you may seek assistance in contacting the Indian tribe(s) from the BIA Regional Office and/or Central Office in Washington, DC (see www.bia.gov).

    § 23.105 How does this subpart interact with State laws?

    (a) These regulations provide minimum Federal standards to ensure compliance with ICWA and are applicable in all child custody proceedings in which ICWA applies.

    (b) In any child custody proceeding where applicable State or other Federal law provides a higher standard of protection to the rights of the parent or Indian custodian than the protection accorded under the Act, ICWA requires that the State court must apply the higher standard.

    Pretrial Requirements
    § 23.106 When does the requirement for active efforts begin?

    (a) The requirement to engage in “active efforts” begins from the moment the possibility arises that an agency case or investigation may result in the need for the Indian child to be placed outside the custody of either parent or Indian custodian in order to prevent removal.

    (b) Active efforts to prevent removal of the child must be conducted while investigating whether the child is a member of the tribe, is eligible for membership in the tribe, or whether a biological parent of the child is or is not a member of a tribe.

    § 23.107 What actions must an agency and State court undertake in order to determine whether a child is an Indian child?

    (a) Agencies must ask whether there is reason to believe a child that is subject to a child custody proceeding is an Indian child. If there is reason to believe that the child is an Indian child, the agency must obtain verification, in writing, from all tribes in which it is believed that the child is a member or eligible for membership, as to whether the child is an Indian child.

    (b) State courts must ask, as a threshold question at the start of any State court child custody proceeding, whether there is reason to believe the child who is the subject of the proceeding is an Indian child by asking each party to the case, including the guardian ad litem and the agency representative, to certify on the record whether they have discovered or know of any information that suggests or indicates the child is an Indian child.

    (1) In requiring this certification, courts may wish to consider requiring the agency to provide:

    (i) Genograms or ancestry charts for both parents, including all names known (maiden, married and former names or aliases); current and former addresses of the child's parents, maternal and paternal grandparents and great grandparents or Indian custodians; birthdates; places of birth and death; tribal affiliation including all known Indian ancestry for individuals listed on the charts, and/or other identifying information; and/or

    (ii) The addresses for the domicile and residence of the child, his or her parents, or the Indian custodian and whether either parent or Indian custodian is domiciled on or a resident of an Indian reservation or in a predominantly Indian community.

    (2) If there is reason to believe the child is an Indian child, the court must confirm that the agency used active efforts to work with all tribes of which the child may be a member to verify whether the child is in fact a member or eligible for membership in any tribe, under paragraph (a) of this section.

    (c) An agency or court has reason to believe that a child involved in a child custody proceeding is an Indian child if:

    (1) Any party to the proceeding, Indian tribe, Indian organization or public or private agency informs the agency or court that the child is an Indian child;

    (2) Any agency involved in child protection services or family support has discovered information suggesting that the child is an Indian child;

    (3) The child who is the subject of the proceeding gives the agency or court reason to believe he or she is an Indian child;

    (4) The domicile or residence of the child, parents, or the Indian custodian is known by the agency or court to be, or is shown to be, on an Indian reservation or in a predominantly Indian community; or

    (5) An employee of the agency or officer of the court involved in the proceeding has knowledge that the child may be an Indian child.

    (d) In seeking verification of the child's status, in a voluntary placement proceeding where a consenting parent evidences a desire for anonymity, the agency or court must keep relevant documents confidential and under seal. A request for anonymity does not relieve the obligation to obtain verification from the tribe(s) or to provide notice.

    § 23.108 Who makes the determination as to whether a child is a member of a tribe?

    (a) Only the Indian tribe(s) of which it is believed a biological parent or the child is a member or eligible for membership may make the determination whether the child is a member of the tribe(s), is eligible for membership in the tribe(s), or whether a biological parent of the child is a member of the tribe(s).

    (b) The determination by a tribe of whether a child is a member, is eligible for membership, or whether a biological parent is or is not a member, is solely within the jurisdiction and authority of the tribe.

    (c) No other entity or person may authoritatively make the determination of whether a child is a member of the tribe or is eligible for membership in the tribe.

    (d) The State court may not substitute its own determination regarding a child's membership or eligibility for membership in a tribe or tribes.

    § 23.109 What is the procedure for determining an Indian child's tribe when the child is a member or eligible for membership in more than one tribe?

    (a) Agencies must notify all tribes, of which the child may be a member or eligible for membership, that the child is involved in a child custody proceeding. The notice should specify the other tribe or tribes of which the child may be a member or eligible for membership.

    (b) If the Indian child is a member or eligible for membership in only one tribe, that tribe should be designated as the Indian child's tribe.

    (c) If an Indian child is a member or eligible for membership in more than one tribe, ICWA requires that the Indian tribe with which the Indian child has the more significant contacts be designated as the Indian child's tribe.

    (1) In determining significant contacts, the following may be considered:

    (i) Preference of the parents for membership of the child;

    (ii) Length of past domicile or residence on or near the reservation of each tribe;

    (iii) Tribal membership of custodial parent or Indian custodian; and

    (iv) Interest asserted by each tribe in response to the notice that the child is involved in a child custody proceeding;

    (2) When an Indian child is already a member of a tribe, but is also eligible for membership in another tribe, deference should be given to the tribe in which the Indian child is a member, unless otherwise agreed to by the tribes. However, if the Indian child is not a member of any tribe, an opportunity should be provided to allow the tribes to determine which of them should be designated as the Indian child's tribe.

    (i) If the tribes are able to reach an agreement, the agreed upon tribe should be designated as the Indian child's tribe.

    (ii) If the tribes do not agree, the following factors should be considered in designating the Indian child's tribe:

    (A) The preference of the parents or extended family members who are likely to become foster care or adoptive placements; and/or

    (B) Tribal membership of custodial parent or Indian custodian; and/or

    (C) If applicable, length of past domicile or residence on or near the reservation of each tribe; and/or

    (D) Whether there has been a previous adjudication with respect to the child by a court of one of the tribes; and/or

    (E) Self-identification by the child; and/or

    (F) Availability of placements.

    (3) Once an Indian tribe is designated as the child's Indian tribe, all tribes which received notice of the child custody proceeding must be notified in writing of the determination and a copy of that document must be filed with the court and sent to each party to the proceeding and to each person or governmental agency that received notice of the proceeding.

    (4) A determination of the Indian child's tribe for purposes of ICWA and these regulations does not constitute a determination for any other purpose or situation.

    (d) The tribe designated as the Indian child's tribe may authorize another tribe to act as a representative for the tribe in a child custody case.

    § 23.110 When must a State court dismiss an action?

    Subject to § 23.113 (emergency procedures), the following limitations on a State court's jurisdiction apply:

    (a) The court must dismiss any child custody proceeding as soon as the court determines that it lacks jurisdiction.

    (b) The court must make a determination of the residence and domicile of the Indian child. If either the residence or domicile is on a reservation where the tribe exercises exclusive jurisdiction over child custody proceedings, the State court must dismiss the State court proceedings, the agency must notify the tribe of the dismissal based on the tribe's exclusive jurisdiction, and the agency must transmit all available information regarding the Indian child custody proceeding to the tribal court.

    (c) If the Indian child has been domiciled or previously resided on an Indian reservation, the State court must contact the tribal court to determine whether the child is a ward of the tribal court. If the child is a ward of a tribal court, the State court must dismiss the State court proceedings, the agency must notify the tribe of the dismissal, and the agency must transmit all available information regarding the Indian child custody proceeding to the tribal court.

    § 23.111 What are the notice requirements for a child custody proceeding involving an Indian child?

    (a) When an agency or court knows or has reason to believe that the subject of a voluntary or involuntary child custody proceeding is an Indian child, the agency or court must send notice of each such proceeding (including but not limited to a temporary custody proceeding, any removal or foster care placement, any adoptive placement, or any termination of parental or custodial rights) by registered mail with return receipt requested to:

    (1) Each tribe where the child may be a member or eligible for membership;

    (2) The child's parents; and

    (3) If applicable, the Indian custodian.

    (b) Notice may be sent via personal service or electronically in addition to the methods required by ICWA, but such alternative methods do not replace the requirement for notice to be sent by registered mail with return receipt requested.

    (c) Notice must be in clear and understandable language and include the following:

    (1) Name of the child, the child's birthdate and birthplace;

    (2) Name of each Indian tribe(s) in which the child is a member or may be eligible for membership;

    (3) A copy of the petition, complaint or other document by which the proceeding was initiated;

    (4) Statements setting out:

    (i) The name of the petitioner and name and address of petitioner's attorney;

    (ii) The right of the parent or Indian custodian to intervene in the proceedings.

    (iii) The Indian tribe's right to intervene at any time in a State court proceeding for the foster care placement of or termination of a parental right.

    (iv) If the Indian parent(s) or, if applicable, Indian custodian(s) is unable to afford counsel based on a determination of indigency by the court, counsel will be appointed to represent the parent or Indian custodian where authorized by State law.

    (v) The right to be granted, upon request, a specific amount of additional time (up to 20 additional days) to prepare for the proceedings due to circumstances of the particular case.

    (vi) The right to petition the court for transfer of the proceeding to tribal court under 25 U.S.C. 1911, absent objection by either parent: Provided, that such transfer is subject to declination by the tribal court.

    (vii) The mailing addresses and telephone numbers of the court and information related to all parties to the proceeding and individuals notified under this section.

    (viii) The potential legal consequences of the proceedings on the future custodial and parental rights of the Indian parents or Indian custodians.

    (d) If the identity or location of the Indian parents, Indian custodians or tribes in which the Indian child is a member or eligible for membership cannot be ascertained, but there is reason to believe the child is an Indian child, notice of the child custody proceeding must be sent to the appropriate Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director (see www.bia.gov). To establish tribal identity, as much information as is known regarding the child's direct lineal ancestors should be provided (see § 23.111 of this subpart regarding notice requirements). The Bureau of Indian Affairs will not make a determination of tribal membership, but may, in some instances, be able to identify tribes to contact.

    (e) The original or a copy of each notice sent under this section should be filed with the court together with any return receipts or other proof of service.

    (f) If a parent or Indian custodian appears in court without an attorney, the court must inform him or her of the right to appointed counsel, the right to request that the proceeding be transferred to tribal court, the right to object to such transfer, the right to request additional time to prepare for the proceeding and the right (if the parent or Indian custodian is not already a party) to intervene in the proceedings.

    (g) If the court or an agency has reason to believe that a parent or Indian custodian possesses limited English proficiency and is therefore not likely to understand the contents of the notice, the court or agency must, at no cost, provide a translated version of the notice or have the notice read and explained in a language that the parent or Indian custodian understands. To secure such translation or interpretation support, a court or agency should contact the Indian child's tribe or the local BIA agency for assistance in locating and obtaining the name of a qualified translator or interpreter.

    (h) No substantive proceedings, rulings or decisions on the merits related to the involuntary placement of the child or termination of parental rights may occur until the notice and waiting periods in this section have elapsed.

    (i) If the child is transferred interstate, regardless of whether the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) applies, both the originating State court and receiving State court must provide notice to the tribe(s) and seek to verify whether the child is an Indian child.

    § 23.112 What time limits and extensions apply?

    (a) No proceedings regarding decisions for the foster care or termination of parental rights may begin until the waiting periods to which the parents or Indian custodians and to which the Indian child's tribe are entitled have passed. Additional extensions of time may also be granted beyond the minimum required by ICWA.

    (b) A tribe, parent or Indian custodian entitled to notice of the pendency of a child custody proceeding has a right, upon request, to be granted an additional 20 days from the date upon which notice was received in accordance with 25 U.S.C. 1912(a) to prepare for participation in the proceeding.

    (c) The proceeding may not begin until all of the following dates have passed:

    (1) 10 days after each parent or Indian custodian (or Secretary where the parent or Indian custodian is unknown to the petitioner) has received notice in accordance with 25 U.S.C. 1912(a);

    (2) 10 days after the Indian child's tribe (or the Secretary if the Indian child's tribe is unknown to the party seeking placement) has received notice in accordance with 25 U.S.C. 1912(a);

    (3) 30 days after the parent or Indian custodian has received notice in accordance with 25 U.S.C. 1912(a), if the parent or Indian custodian has requested an additional 20 days to prepare for the proceeding; and

    (4) 30 days after the Indian child's tribe has received notice in accordance with 25 U.S.C. 1912(a), if the Indian child's tribe has requested an additional 20 days to prepare for the proceeding.

    (d) The court should allow, if it possesses the capability, alternative methods of participation in State court proceedings by family members and tribes, such as participation by telephone, videoconferencing, or other methods.

    § 23.113 What is the process for the emergency removal of an Indian child?

    (a) Any emergency removal or emergency placement of any Indian child under State law must be as short as possible. Each involved agency or court must:

    (1) Diligently investigate and document whether the removal or placement is proper and continues to be necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child;

    (2) Promptly hold a hearing to hear evidence and evaluate whether the removal or placement continues to be necessary whenever new information is received or assertions are made that the emergency situation has ended; and

    (3) Immediately terminate the emergency removal or placement once the court possesses sufficient evidence to determine that the emergency has ended.

    (b) If the agency that conducts an emergency removal of a child whom the agency knows or has reason to believe is an Indian child, the agency must:

    (1) Treat the child as an Indian child until the court determines that the child is not an Indian child;

    (2) Conduct active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family as early as possible, including, if possible, before removal of the child;

    (3) Immediately take and document all practical steps to confirm whether the child is an Indian child and to verify the Indian child's tribe;

    (4) Immediately notify the child's parents or Indian custodians and Indian tribe of the removal of the child;

    (5) Take all practical steps to notify the child's parents or Indian custodians and Indian tribe about any proceeding, or hearings within a proceeding, regarding the emergency removal or emergency placement of the child; and

    (6) Maintain records that detail the steps taken to provide any required notifications under § 23.111.

    (d) A petition for a court order authorizing emergency removal or continued emergency physical custody must be accompanied by an affidavit containing the following information:

    (1) The name, age and last known address of the Indian child;

    (2) The name and address of the child's parents and Indian custodians, if any;

    (3) If such persons are unknown, a detailed explanation of what efforts have been made to locate them, including notice to the appropriate BIA Regional Director (see www.bia.gov);

    (4) Facts necessary to determine the residence and the domicile of the Indian child;

    (5) If either the residence or domicile is believed to be on an Indian reservation, the name of the reservation;

    (6) The tribal affiliation of the child and of the parents and/or Indian custodians;

    (7) A specific and detailed account of the circumstances that led the agency responsible for the emergency removal of the child to take that action;

    (8) If the child is believed to reside or be domiciled on a reservation where the tribe exercises exclusive jurisdiction over child custody matters, a statement of efforts that have been made and are being made to transfer the child to the tribe's jurisdiction;

    (9) A statement of the specific active efforts that have been taken to assist the parents or Indian custodians so the child may safely be returned to their custody; and

    (10) A statement of the imminent physical damage or harm expected and any evidence that the removal or emergency custody continues to be necessary to prevent such imminent physical damage or harm to the child.

    (e) At any court hearing regarding the emergency removal or emergency placement of an Indian child, the court must determine whether the removal or placement is no longer necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child.

    (f) Temporary emergency custody should not be continued for more than 30 days. Temporary emergency custody may be continued for more than 30 days only if:

    (1) A hearing, noticed in accordance with these regulations, is held and results in a determination by the court, supported by clear and convincing evidence and the testimony of at least one qualified expert witness, that custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in imminent physical damage or harm to the child; or

    (2) Extraordinary circumstances exist.

    (g) The emergency removal or placement must terminate as soon as the imminent physical damage or harm to the child which resulted in the emergency removal or placement no longer exists, or, if applicable, as soon as the tribe exercises jurisdiction over the case, whichever is earlier.

    (h) Once an agency or court has terminated the emergency removal or placement, it must expeditiously:

    (1) Return the child to the parent or Indian custodian within one business day; or

    (2) Transfer the child to the jurisdiction of the appropriate Indian tribe if the child is a ward of a tribal court or a resident of or domiciled on a reservation; or

    (3) Initiate a child custody proceeding subject to the provisions of ICWA and these regulations.

    (i) The court should allow, if it possesses the capability, alternative methods of participation in State court proceedings by family members and tribes, such as participation by telephone, videoconferencing, or other methods.

    § 23.114 What are the procedures for determining improper removal?

    (a) If, in the course of any Indian child custody proceeding, any party asserts or the court has reason to believe that the Indian child may have been improperly removed from the custody of his or her parent or Indian custodian, or that the Indian child has been improperly retained, such as after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of custody, the court must immediately stay the proceeding until a determination can be made on the question of improper removal or retention, and such determination must be conducted expeditiously.

    (b) If the court finds that the Indian child was improperly removed or retained, the court must terminate the proceeding and the child must be returned immediately to his or her parents or Indian custodian, unless returning the child to his parent or custodian would subject the child to imminent physical damage or harm.

    Procedures for Making Requests for Transfer to Tribal Court
    § 23.115 How are petitions for transfer of proceeding made?

    (a) Either parent, the Indian custodian, or the Indian child's tribe may request, orally on the record or in writing, that the State court transfer each distinct Indian child custody proceeding to the tribal court of the child's tribe.

    (b) The right to request a transfer occurs with each proceeding.

    (c) The right to request a transfer is available at any stage of an Indian child custody proceeding, including during any period of emergency removal.

    (d) The court should allow, if possible, alternative methods of participation in State court proceedings by family members and tribes, such as participation by telephone, videoconferencing, or other methods.

    § 23.116 What are the criteria and procedures for ruling on transfer petitions?

    (a) Upon receipt of a petition to transfer by a parent, Indian custodian or the Indian child's tribe, the State court must transfer the case unless any of the following criteria are met:

    (1) Either parent objects to such transfer;

    (2) The tribal court declines the transfer; or

    (3) The court determines that good cause exists for denying the transfer.

    (b) The court should expeditiously provide all records related to the proceeding to the tribal court.

    § 23.117 How is a determination of “good cause” not to transfer made?

    (a) If the State court believes, or any party asserts, that good cause not to transfer exists, the reasons for such belief or assertion must be stated on the record or in writing and made available to the parties who are petitioning for transfer.

    (b) Any party to the proceeding must have the opportunity to provide the court with views regarding whether good cause to deny transfer exists.

    (c) In determining whether good cause exists, the court may not consider whether the case is at an advanced stage or whether transfer would result in a change in the placement of the child.

    (d) In addition, in determining whether there is good cause to deny the transfer, the court may not consider:

    (1) The Indian child's contacts with the tribe or reservation;

    (2) Socio-economic conditions or any perceived inadequacy of tribal or BIA social services or judicial systems; or

    (3) The tribal court's prospective placement for the Indian child.

    (e) The burden of establishing good cause not to transfer is on the party opposing the transfer.

    § 23.118 What happens when a petition for transfer is made?

    (a) Upon receipt of a transfer petition the State court must promptly notify the tribal court in writing of the transfer petition and request a response regarding whether the tribal court wishes to decline the transfer. The notice should specify how much time the tribal court has to make its decision; provided that the tribal court must be provided 20 days from the receipt of notice of a transfer petition to decide whether to accept or decline the transfer.

    (b) If the tribal court accepts the transfer, the State court should promptly provide the tribal court with all court records.

    Adjudication of Involuntary Placements, Adoptions, or Terminations or Terminations of Parental Rights
    § 23.119 Who has access to reports or records?

    (a) The court must inform each party to a foster care placement or termination of parental rights proceeding under State law involving an Indian child of his or her right to timely examination of all reports or other documents filed with the court and all files upon which any decision with respect to such action may be based.

    (b) Decisions of the court may be based only upon reports, documents or testimony presented on the record.

    § 23.120 What steps must a party take to petition a State court for certain actions involving an Indian child?

    (a) Any party petitioning a State court for foster care placement or termination of parental rights to an Indian child must demonstrate to the court that prior to, and until the commencement of, the proceeding, active efforts have been made to avoid the need to remove the Indian child from his or her parents or Indian custodians and show that those efforts have been unsuccessful.

    (b) Active efforts must be documented in detail and, to the extent possible, should involve and use the available resources of the extended family, the child's Indian tribe, Indian social service agencies and individual Indian care givers.

    § 23.121 What are the applicable standards of evidence?

    (a) The court may not issue an order effecting a foster care placement of an Indian child unless clear and convincing evidence is presented, including the testimony of one or more qualified expert witnesses, demonstrating that the child's continued custody with the child's parents or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious physical damage or harm to the child.

    (b) The court may not order a termination of parental rights unless the court's order is supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, supported by the testimony of one or more qualified expert witnesses, that continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious physical damage or harm to the child.

    (c) Clear and convincing evidence must show a causal relationship between the existence of particular conditions in the home that are likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the particular child who is the subject of the proceeding.

    (d) Evidence that only shows the existence of community or family poverty, isolation, single parenthood, custodian age, crowded or inadequate housing, substance abuse, or nonconforming social behavior does not by itself constitute clear and convincing evidence that continued custody is likely to result in serious emotional or physical-damage to the child.

    § 23.122 Who may serve as a qualified expert witness?

    (a) A qualified expert witness should have specific knowledge of the Indian tribe's culture and customs.

    (b) Persons with the following characteristics, in descending order, are presumed to meet the requirements for a qualified expert witness:

    (1) A member of the Indian child's tribe who is recognized by the tribal community as knowledgeable in tribal customs as they pertain to family organization and childrearing practices.

    (2) A member of another tribe who is recognized to be a qualified expert witness by the Indian child's tribe based on their knowledge of the delivery of child and family services to Indians and the Indian child's tribe.

    (3) A layperson who is recognized by the Indian child's tribe as having substantial experience in the delivery of child and family services to Indians, and knowledge of prevailing social and cultural standards and childrearing practices within the Indian child's tribe.

    (4) A professional person having substantial education and experience in the area of his or her specialty who can demonstrate knowledge of the prevailing social and cultural standards and childrearing practices within the Indian child's tribe.

    (c) The court or any party may request the assistance of the Indian child's tribe or the BIA agency serving the Indian child's tribe in locating persons qualified to serve as expert witnesses.

    Voluntary Proceedings
    § 23.123 What actions must an agency and State court undertake in voluntary proceedings?

    (a) Agencies and State courts must ask whether a child is an Indian child in any voluntary proceeding under § 23.107 of these regulations.

    (b) Agencies and State courts must provide the Indian tribe with notice of the voluntary child custody proceedings, including applicable pleadings or executed consents, and their right to intervene under § 23.111 of this part.

    § 23.124 How is consent obtained?

    (a) A voluntary termination of parental rights, foster care placement or adoption must be executed in writing and recorded before a court of competent jurisdiction.

    (b) Prior to accepting the consent, the court must explain the consequences of the consent in detail, such as any conditions or timing limitations for withdrawal of consent and, if applicable, the point at which such consent is irrevocable.

    (c) A certificate of the court must accompany a written consent and must certify that the terms and consequences of the consent were explained in detail in the language of the parent or Indian custodian, if English is not the primary language, and were fully understood by the parent or Indian custodian.

    (d) Execution of consent need not be made in open court where confidentiality is requested or indicated.

    (e) A consent given prior to or within 10 days after birth of the Indian child is not valid.

    § 23.125 What information should a consent document contain?

    (a) The consent document must contain the name and birthdate of the Indian child, the name of the Indian child's tribe, identifying tribal enrollment number, if any, or other indication of the child's membership in the tribe, and the name and address of the consenting parent or Indian custodian. If there are any conditions to the consent, the consent document must clearly set out the conditions.

    (b) A consent to foster care placement should contain, in addition to the information specified in paragraph (a) of this section, the name and address of the person or entity by or through whom the placement was arranged, if any, or the name and address of the prospective foster parents, if known at the time.

    § 23.126 How is withdrawal of consent achieved in a voluntary foster care placement?

    (a) Withdrawal of consent must be filed in the same court where the consent document was executed.

    (b) When a parent or Indian custodian withdraws consent to foster care placement, the child must be returned to that parent or Indian custodian immediately.

    § 23.127 How is withdrawal of consent to a voluntary adoption achieved?

    (a) A consent to termination of parental rights or adoption may be withdrawn by the parent at any time prior to entry of a final decree of voluntary termination or adoption, whichever occurs later. To withdraw consent, the parent must file, in the court where the consent is filed, an instrument executed under oath asserting his or her intention to withdraw such consent.

    (b) The clerk of the court in which the withdrawal of consent is filed must promptly notify the party by or through whom any preadoptive or adoptive placement has been arranged of such filing and the child must be returned to the parent or Indian custodian as soon as practicable.

    Dispositions
    § 23.128 When do the placement preferences apply?

    (a) In any preadoptive, adoptive or foster care placement of an Indian child, ICWA's placement preferences apply; except that, if the Indian child's tribe has established by resolution a different order of preference than that specified in ICWA, the agency or court effecting the placement must follow the tribe's placement preferences.

    (b) The agency seeking a preadoptive, adoptive or foster care placement of an Indian child must always follow the placement preferences. If the agency determines that any of the preferences cannot be met, the agency must demonstrate through clear and convincing evidence that a diligent search has been conducted to seek out and identify placement options that would satisfy the placement preferences specified in §§ 23.129 and 23.130 of these regulations, and explain why the preferences could not be met. A search should include notification about the placement proceeding and an explanation of the actions that must be taken to propose an alternative placement to:

    (1) The Indian child's parents or Indian custodians;

    (2) All of the known, or reasonably identifiable, members of the Indian child's extended family members;

    (3) The Indian child's tribe;

    (4) In the case of a foster care or preadoptive placement:

    (i) All foster homes licensed, approved, or specified by the Indian child's tribe; and

    (ii) All Indian foster homes located in the Indian child's State of domicile that are licensed or approved by any authorized non-Indian licensing authority.

    (c) Where there is a request for anonymity, the court should consider whether additional confidentiality protections are warranted, but a request for anonymity does not relieve the agency or the court of the obligation to comply with the placement preferences.

    (d) Departure from the placement preferences may occur only after the court has made a determination that good cause exists to place the Indian child with someone who is not listed in the placement preferences.

    (e) Documentation of each preadoptive, adoptive or foster care placement of an Indian child under State law must be provided to the State for maintenance at the agency. Such documentation must include, at a minimum: The petition or complaint; all substantive orders entered in the proceeding; the complete record of, and basis for, the placement determination; and, if the placement deviates from the placement preferences, a detailed explanation of all efforts to comply with the placement preferences and the court order authorizing departure from the placement preferences.

    § 23.129 What placement preferences apply in adoptive placements?

    (a) In any adoptive placement of an Indian child under State law, preference must be given in descending order, as listed below, to placement of the child with:

    (1) A member of the child's extended family;

    (2) Other members of the Indian child's tribe; or

    (3) Other Indian families, including families of unwed individuals.

    (b) The court should, where appropriate, also consider the preference of the Indian child or parent.

    § 23.130 What placement preferences apply in foster care or preadoptive placements?

    In any foster care or preadoptive placement of an Indian child:

    (a) The child must be placed in the least restrictive setting that:

    (1) Most approximates a family;

    (2) Allows his or her special needs to be met; and

    (3) Is in reasonable proximity to his or her home, extended family, and/or siblings.

    (b) Preference must be given, in descending order as listed below, to placement of the child with:

    (1) A member of the Indian child's extended family;

    (2) A foster home, licensed, approved or specified by the Indian child's tribe, whether on or off the reservation;

    (3) An Indian foster home licensed or approved by an authorized non-Indian licensing authority; or

    (4) An institution for children approved by an Indian tribe or operated by an Indian organization which has a program suitable to meet the child's needs.

    § 23.131 How is a determination for “good cause” to depart from the placement preferences made?

    (a) If any party asserts that good cause not to follow the placement preferences exists, the reasons for such belief or assertion must be stated on the record or in writing and made available to the parties to the proceeding and the Indian child's tribe.

    (b) The party seeking departure from the preferences bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence the existence of “good cause” to deviate from the placement preferences.

    (c) A determination of good cause to depart from the placement preferences must be based on one or more of the following considerations:

    (1) The request of the parents, if both parents attest that they have reviewed the placement options that comply with the order of preference.

    (2) The request of the child, if the child is able to understand and comprehend the decision that is being made.

    (3) The extraordinary physical or emotional needs of the child, such as specialized treatment services that may be unavailable in the community where families who meet the criteria live, as established by testimony of a qualified expert witness; provided that extraordinary physical or emotional needs of the child does not include ordinary bonding or attachment that may have occurred as a result of a placement or the fact that the child has, for an extended amount of time, been in another placement that does not comply with ICWA.

    (4) The unavailability of a placement after a showing by the applicable agency in accordance with § 23.128(b) of this subpart, and a determination by the court that active efforts have been made to find placements meeting the preference criteria, but none have been located. For purposes of this analysis, a placement may not be considered unavailable if the placement conforms to the prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian community in which the Indian child's parent or extended family resides or with which the Indian child's parent or extended family members maintain social and cultural ties.

    (d) The court should consider only whether a placement in accordance with the preferences meets the physical, mental and emotional needs of the child; and may not depart from the preferences based on the socio-economic status of any placement relative to another placement.

    Post-Trial Rights
    § 23.132 What is the procedure for petitioning to vacate an adoption?

    (a) Within two years after a final decree of adoption of any Indian child by a State court, or within any longer period of time permitted by the law of the State, a parent who executed a consent to termination of paternal rights or adoption of that child may petition the court in which the final adoption decree was entered to vacate the decree and revoke the consent on the grounds that consent was obtained by fraud or duress, or that the proceeding failed to comply with ICWA.

    (b) Upon the filing of such petition, the court must give notice to all parties to the adoption proceedings and the Indian child's tribe.

    (c) The court must hold a hearing on the petition.

    (d) Where the court finds that the parent's consent was obtained through fraud or duress, the court must vacate the decree of adoption, order the consent revoked and order that the child be returned to the parent.

    § 23.133 Who can make a petition to invalidate an action?

    (a) Any of the following may petition any court of competent jurisdiction to invalidate an action for foster care placement or termination of parental rights where it is alleged that ICWA has been violated:

    (1) An Indian child who is the subject of any action for foster care placement or termination of parental rights;

    (2) A parent or Indian custodian from whose custody such child was removed; and

    (3) The Indian child's tribe.

    (b) Upon a showing that an action for foster care placement or termination of parental rights violated any provision of 25 U.S.C. 1911, 1912, or 1913, the court must determine whether it is appropriate to invalidate the action.

    (c) There is no requirement that the particular party's rights under ICWA be violated to petition for invalidation; rather, any party may challenge the action based on violations in implementing ICWA during the course of the child custody proceeding.

    (d) The court should allow, if it possesses the capability, alternative methods of participation in State court proceedings by family members and tribes, such as participation by telephone, videoconferencing, or other methods.

    § 23.134 What are the rights of adult adoptees?

    (a) Upon application by an Indian individual who has reached age 18 who was the subject of an adoptive placement, the court that entered the final decree must inform such individual of the tribal affiliations, if any, of the individual's biological parents and provide such other information necessary to protect any rights, which may include tribal membership, resulting from the individual's tribal relationship.

    (b) Where State law prohibits revelation of the identity of the biological parent, assistance of the BIA should be sought to help an adoptee who is eligible for membership in a tribe to become a tribal member without breaching the Privacy Act or confidentiality of the record.

    (c) In States where adoptions remain closed, the relevant agency should communicate directly with the tribe's enrollment office and provide the information necessary to facilitate the establishment of the adoptee's tribal membership.

    (d) Agencies should work with the tribe to identify at least one tribal designee familiar with 25 U.S.C. 1917 to assist adult adoptees statewide with the process of reconnecting with their tribes and to provide information to State judges about this provision on an annual basis.

    § 23.135 When must notice of a change in child's status be given?

    (a) Notice by the court, or an agency authorized by the court, must be given to the child's biological parents or prior Indian custodians and the Indian child's tribe whenever:

    (1) A final decree of adoption of an Indian child has been vacated or set aside; or

    (2) The adoptive parent has voluntarily consented to the termination of his or her parental rights to the child; or

    (3) Whenever an Indian child is removed from a foster care home or institution to another foster care placement, preadoptive placement, or adoptive placement.

    (b) The notice must inform the recipient of the right to petition for return of custody of the child.

    (c) A parent or Indian custodian may waive his or her right to such notice by executing a written waiver of notice filed with the court. The waiver may be revoked at any time by filing with the court a written notice of revocation. A revocation of the right to receive notice does not affect any proceeding which occurred before the filing of the notice of revocation.

    § 23.136 What information must States furnish to the Bureau of Indian Affairs?

    (a) Any state entering a final adoption decree or order must furnish a copy of the decree or order to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chief, Division of Human Services, 1849 C Street NW., Mail Stop 4513 MIB, Washington, DC 20240, along with the following information:

    (1) Birth name of the child, tribal affiliation and name of the child after adoption;

    (2) Names and addresses of the biological parents;

    (3) Names and addresses of the adoptive parents;

    (4) Name and contact information for any agency having files or information relating to the adoption;

    (5) Any affidavit signed by the biological parent or parents asking that their identity remain confidential; and

    (6) Any information relating to tribal membership or eligibility for tribal membership of the adopted child.

    (b) Confidentiality of such information must be maintained and is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended.

    § 23.137 How must the State maintain records?

    (a) The State must establish a single location where all records of every voluntary or involuntary foster care, preadoptive placement and adoptive placement of Indian children by courts of that State will be available within seven days of a request by an Indian child's tribe or the Secretary.

    (b) The records must contain, at a minimum, the petition or complaint, all substantive orders entered in the proceeding, and the complete record of the placement determination (including, but not limited to the findings in the court record and social worker's statement).

    § 23.138 How does the Paperwork Reduction Act affect this subpart?

    The collections of information contained in this part have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and assigned OMB Control Number 1076-XXXX. Response is required to obtain a benefit. A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and you are not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the form or regulation requesting the information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. Send comments regarding this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the Information Collection Clearance Officer—Indian Affairs, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.

    Dated: March 16, 2015. Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06371 Filed 3-18-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4310-6W-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 271 [EPA-R04-RCRA-2014-0712; FRL-9924-82-Region-4] Tennessee: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revisions AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Tennessee has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for final authorization of changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These changes correspond to certain Federal rules promulgated between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2006 (also known as RCRA Clusters XV and XVI). With this proposed rule, EPA is proposing to grant final authorization to Tennessee for these changes.

    DATES:

    Send your written comments by April 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-RCRA-2014-0712, by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected]

    Fax: (404) 562-9964 (prior to faxing, please notify the EPA contact listed below)

    Mail: Send written comments to Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver your comments to Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Please see the direct final rule in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this issue of the Federal Register for detailed instructions on how to submit comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carlos E. Merizalde, RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section, RCRA Cleanup and Brownfields Branch, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303; telephone number: (404) 562-8606; fax number: (404) 562-9964; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Along with this proposed rule, EPA is publishing a direct final rule in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this issue of the Federal Register pursuant to which EPA is authorizing these changes. EPA did not issue a proposed rule before today because EPA believes this action is not controversial and does not expect comments that oppose it. EPA has explained the reasons for this authorization in the direct final rule. Unless EPA receives written comments that oppose this authorization during the comment period, the direct final rule in this issue of the Federal Register will become effective on the date it establishes, and EPA will not take further action on this proposal. If EPA receives comments that oppose this action, EPA will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. EPA will then respond to public comments in a later final rule based on this proposed rule. You may not have another opportunity to comment on these State program changes. If you want to comment on this action, you must do so at this time. For additional information, please see the direct final rule published in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this issue of the Federal Register.

    Dated: March 2, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06511 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 76 [MB Docket No. 15-53; FCC 15-30] Amendment to the Commission's Rules Concerning Effective Competition; Implementation of Section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission asks whether it should adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition. A franchising authority is permitted to regulate basic cable rates only if the cable system is not subject to effective competition. This proceeding will also implement section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined effective competition process for small cable operators.

    DATES:

    Comments are due on or before April 9, 2015; reply comments are due on or before April 20, 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 May 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 15-53, by any of the following methods:

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

    Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: 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.

    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.

    In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act proposed information collection requirements contained herein should be submitted to the Federal Communications Commission via email to [email protected] and to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to [email protected] or via fax at (202) 395-5167. For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information on this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow, [email protected], of the Policy Division, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2120. For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained in this document, send an email to [email protected] or contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 15-30, adopted and released on March 16, 2015. The full text is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. This document will also be available via ECFS at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. The complete text may be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an email to fc[email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    This document contains proposed information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Public and agency comments are due May 19, 2015.

    Comments should address: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimates; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    To view or obtain a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to this OMB/GSA Web page: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, and (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR as shown in the Supplementary Information section below (or its title if there is no OMB control number) and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0550.

    Title: Local Franchising Authority Certification, FCC Form 328; Section 76.910, Franchising Authority Certification.

    Form No.: FCC Form 328.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: State, local or tribal governments; Businesses or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 7 respondents; 13 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One-time reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in sections 4(i) and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 26 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: None.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: On March 16, 2015, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MB Docket No. 15-53; FCC 15-30. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking sought comment on whether the Commission should adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition.

    The proposed information collection requirements consist of: FCC Form 328. Pursuant to section 76.910, a franchising authority must be certified by the Commission to regulate the basic service tier and associated equipment of a cable system within its jurisdiction. To obtain this certification, the franchising authority must prepare and submit FCC Form 328. The NPRM seeks comment on revising section 76.910 to require a franchising authority filing Form 328 to submit specific evidence demonstrating its rebuttal of the proposed presumption in section 76.906 that the cable operator is subject to competing provider effective competition pursuant to section 76.905(b)(2). The franchising authority would bear the burden of rebutting the presumption that effective competition exists with evidence that effective competition, as defined in section 76.905(b)(2), does not exist in the franchise area. Unless a franchising authority has actual knowledge to the contrary, it may continue to presume that the cable operator is not subject to one of the other three types of effective competition.

    Evidence establishing lack of effective competition. If the evidence establishing the lack of effective competition is not otherwise available, the proposed note to section 76.910(b)(4) as set forth in Appendix A of the NPRM provides that franchising authorities may request from a multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”) information regarding the MVPD's reach and number of subscribers. An MVPD must respond to such request within 15 days. Such responses may be limited to numerical totals.

    Franchising authority's obligations if certified. Section 76.910(e) of the Commission's rules currently provides that, unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority otherwise, the certification will become effective 30 days after the date filed, provided, however, that the franchising authority may not regulate the rates of a cable system unless it: (1) Adopts regulations (i) consistent with the Commission's regulations governing the basic tier and (ii) providing a reasonable opportunity for consideration of the views of interested parties, within 120 days of the effective date of the certification; and (2) notifies the cable operator that the franchising authority has been certified and has adopted the required regulations.

    The Commission is seeking OMB approval for the proposed information collection requirements.

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0560.

    Title: Section 76.911, Petition for Reconsideration of Certification.

    Form No.: N/A.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: State, local or tribal governments; Businesses or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 15 respondents; 25 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 2-10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement; Third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. The statutory authority for this collection of information is contained in sections 4(i) and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 130 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: None.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: On March 16, 2015, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, MB Docket No. 15-53; FCC 15-30. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking sought comment on whether the Commission should adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition. Reversing the rebuttable presumption and adopting the procedures discussed in the NPRM could result in changes to the information collection burdens.

    The proposed information collection requirements consist of: petitions for reconsideration of certification, oppositions and replies thereto, cable operator requests to competitors for information regarding the competitor's reach and number of subscribers if evidence establishing effective competition is not otherwise available, and the competitors supplying this information.

    Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking I. Introduction

    1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), we seek comment on how we should improve the effective competition process. Specifically, we ask whether we should adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition. Pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), a franchising authority is permitted to regulate basic cable rates only if the cable system is not subject to effective competition.1 As a result, where effective competition exists, basic cable rates are dictated by the marketplace and not by regulation. In 1993, the Commission adopted a presumption that cable operators are not subject to effective competition, absent a cable operator's demonstration to the contrary.2 Given the changes to the video marketplace that have occurred since 1993, including in particular the widespread availability of Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) service, we now seek comment on whether to reverse our presumption and instead presume that cable operators are subject to effective competition. Such an approach would reflect the fact that today, based on application of the effective competition test in the current market, the Commission grants nearly all requests for a finding of effective competition. If the Commission were to presume that cable operators are subject to effective competition, a franchising authority would be required to demonstrate to the Commission that one or more cable operators in its franchise area is not subject to effective competition if it wishes to regulate cable service rates. We intend to implement policies that are mindful of the evolving video marketplace.

    1See 47 U.S.C. 543(a)(2).

    2See 47 CFR 76.906.

    2. In initiating this proceeding, we are also implementing part of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELAR”), enacted on December 4, 2014. Specifically, section 111 of STELAR directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined effective competition petition process for small cable operators. Through this proceeding, we intend to fulfill Congress' goal that we ease the burden of the existing effective competition process on small cable operators, especially those that serve rural areas, through a rulemaking that shall be completed by June 2, 2015. We seek comment on whether the adoption of a rebuttable presumption of effective competition would reflect the current multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”) marketplace and reduce regulatory burdens on all cable operators—large and small—and on their competitors, while more efficiently allocating the Commission's resources and amending outdated regulations.

    II. Background on Effective Competition Rules

    3. In the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (“1992 Cable Act”), Congress adopted certain requirements for regulation of cable service rates. Specifically, section 623 of the Act indicates a “preference for competition,” pursuant to which a franchising authority may regulate basic cable service rates and equipment only if the Commission finds that the cable system is not subject to effective competition. Section 623(l)(1) of the Act defines “effective competition” to mean that:

    • Fewer than 30 percent of the households in the franchise area subscribe to the cable service of a cable system; 3

    3 This first type of effective competition is referred to as “low penetration effective competition.” 47 U.S.C. 543(l)(1)(A).

    • the franchise area is (i) served by at least two unaffiliated [MVPDs] each of which offers comparable video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area; and (ii) the number of households subscribing to programming services offered by [MVPDs] other than the largest [MVPD] exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area; 4

    4 This second type of effective competition is referred to as “competing provider effective competition.” Id. 543(l)(1)(B).

    • a[n MVPD] operated by the franchising authority for that franchise area offers video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in that franchise area; 5 or

    5 This third type of effective competition is referred to as “municipal provider effective competition.” Id. 543(l)(1)(C).

    • a local exchange carrier or its affiliate (or any [MVPD] using the facilities of such carrier or its affiliate) offers video programming services directly to subscribers by any means (other than direct-to-home satellite services) in the franchise area of an unaffiliated cable operator which is providing cable service in that franchise area, but only if the video programming services so offered in that area are comparable to the video programming services provided by the unaffiliated cable operator in that area.6 Section 623 of the Act does not permit franchising authority regulation of any cable service rates other than the basic service rate.

    6 This fourth type of effective competition is referred to as “local exchange carrier,” or “LEC,” effective competition.” Id. 543(l)(1)(D). In 1996 Congress added LEC effective competition to the statute.

    4. In 1993, the Commission implemented the statute's effective competition provisions. The Commission adopted a presumption that cable systems are not subject to effective competition and it provided that a franchising authority that wanted to regulate a cable operator's basic rates must be certified by the Commission. To obtain such certification, a franchising authority files with the Commission FCC Form 328, in which it indicates its belief that the cable system at issue is not subject to effective competition in the franchise area. Unless the franchising authority has actual knowledge to the contrary, under the current rules, it may rely on the presumption of no effective competition. If a cable operator wishes to prevent the franchising authority from regulating its basic service rate, it may rebut the presumption and demonstrate that it is in fact subject to effective competition. In addition to foreclosing regulation of the cable operator's basic rates, a Commission finding that a cable operator is subject to effective competition also affects applicability of other Commission rules.7

    7See, e.g., id. 47 U.S.C. 543(d) (A cable operator shall have a rate structure, for the provision of cable service, that is uniform throughout the geographic area in which cable service is provided over its cable system. This subsection does not apply to a cable operator with respect to the provision of cable service over its cable system in any geographic area in which the video programming services offered by the operator in that area are subject to effective competition); 47 CFR 76.921(a) (No cable system operator, other than an operator subject to effective competition, may require the subscription to any tier other than the basic service tier as a condition of subscription to video programming offered on a per channel or per program charge basis).

    III. Changes in the Video Programming Landscape Since the 1992 Cable Act

    5. In 1993, when the Commission adopted its presumption that cable systems are not subject to effective competition, incumbent cable operators had approximately a 95 percent market share of MVPD subscribers. Only a single cable operator served the local franchise area in all but “a few scattered areas of the country” 8 and those operators had “substantial market power at the local distribution level.” 9 DBS service had yet to enter the market, and local exchange carriers (“LECs”), such as Verizon and AT&T, had yet to enter the MVPD business in any significant way.

    8Implementation of Section 19 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection & Competition Act of 1992, First Report, 9 FCC Rcd 7442, 7449, ¶ 15 (1994).

    9Id. at 7449, ¶ 13.

    6. Today's MVPD marketplace is markedly different, with cable operators facing dramatically increased competition. The Commission has determined that the number of subscribers to MVPD service has decreased from year-end 2012 to year-end 2013 (from 101.0 million to 100.9 million) and this decrease is entirely due to cable MVPD subscribership, which fell from approximately 55.8 percent of MVPD video subscribers (56.4 million) to approximately 53.9 percent of MVPD video subscribers (54.4 million). In contrast, DBS's market share increased slightly from approximately 33.8 percent of MVPD video subscribers (34.1 million) to approximately 33.9 percent of MVPD video subscribers (34.2 million), and the market share for telephone MVPDs increased significantly from approximately 9.8 percent of MVPD video subscribers (9.9 million) to approximately 11.2 percent of MVPD video subscribers (11.3 million). DIRECTV provides local broadcast channels to 197 markets representing over 99 percent of U.S. homes, and DISH Network provides local broadcast channels to all 210 markets. According to published data, nearly 26 percent of American households in 2013 subscribed to DBS service. Given the 15 percent threshold needed to constitute competing provider effective competition, on a national scale DBS alone has close to double the percentage of subscribers needed for competing provider effective competition. As of year-end 2013, the two DBS MVPDs, DIRECTV and DISH Network, are the second and third largest MVPDs in the United States, respectively.

    7. The current state of competition in the MVPD marketplace is further evidenced by the outcomes of recent effective competition determinations. From the start of 2013 to the present, the Media Bureau granted in their entirety 224 petitions requesting findings of effective competition and granted four such petitions in part; the Commission did not deny any such requests in their entirety. In these decisions, the Commission determined that 1,433 communities (as identified by separate Community Unit Identification Numbers (“CUIDs”)) have effective competition,10 and for the vast majority of these communities (1,150, or over 80 percent) this decision was based on competing provider effective competition.11 Franchising authorities filed oppositions to only 18 (or less than 8 percent) of the 228 petitions. In the four instances in which the Commission partially granted a petition for a finding of effective competition, the Commission denied the request for a total of seven CUIDs, or less than half a percent of the total number of communities evaluated. The Commission has issued affirmative findings of effective competition in the country's largest cities, suburban areas, and rural areas where subscription to DBS is high. To date, the Media Bureau has granted petitions for a finding of effective competition affecting thousands of cable communities, but has found a lack of effective competition for less than half a percent of the communities evaluated since the start of 2013. Against that backdrop, we seek comment on procedures that could ensure the most efficient use of Commission resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on industry.

    10 A CUID is a unique identification code that the Commission assigns a single cable operator within a community to represent an area that the cable operator services. A CUID often includes a single franchise area, but it sometimes includes a larger or smaller area. CUID data is the available data that most closely approximates franchise areas.

    11 Of the total number of CUIDs in which the Commission granted a request for a finding of effective competition during this timeframe, 229 (nearly 16 percent) were granted due to low penetration effective competition, and 54 (nearly 4 percent) were granted due to LEC effective competition. None of the requests granted during this timeframe were based on municipal provider effective competition. Where a finding of effective competition was based on one of the other types of effective competition besides competing provider effective competition, it does not mean that competing provider effective competition was not present. Rather, it means that the pleadings raised one of the other types of effective competition, and the Commission thus evaluated effective competition in the context of one or more of those other tests.

    IV. Discussion A. Presumption That Cable Systems Are Subject to Effective Competition

    8. As noted above, at the time of its adoption, the presumption of no effective competition was eminently supportable. We seek comment on whether market changes over the intervening two decades have greatly eroded, if not completely undercut, the basis for the presumption. Specifically, we ask whether we should adopt a presumption that cable systems are subject to competing provider effective competition, absent a franchising authority's demonstration to the contrary. Would such a presumption be consistent with current market realities, pursuant to which the Commission has found that there is effective competition in nearly all of the communities for which it was asked to make this determination since the start of 2013?

    9. As explained above, a finding of competing provider effective competition requires that (1) the franchise area is “served by at least two unaffiliated [MVPDs] each of which offers comparable video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area;” and (2) “the number of households subscribing to programming services offered by [MVPDs] other than the largest [MVPD] exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area.” 12 We seek comment on whether the facts that over 99.5 percent of effective competition requests are currently granted, that over 80 percent of those grants are based on competing provider effective competition, and that DBS has a ubiquitous presence demonstrate that the current state of competition in the MVPD marketplace supports a rebuttable presumption that the two-part test is met. Is such a rebuttable presumption supported by the market changes since 1993, when the presumption of no effective competition was first adopted?

    12 47 U.S.C. 543(l)(1)(B).

    10. With regard to the first prong of the test, we invite comment on whether we should presume that the ubiquitous nationwide presence of DBS providers, DIRECTV and DISH Network, satisfies the requirement that the franchise area be served by two unaffiliated MVPDs each of which offers comparable programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area. The Commission has held in hundreds of competing provider effective competition decisions that the presence of DIRECTV and DISH Network satisfies the first prong of the test. In fact, the Commission has never determined that the presence of DIRECTV and DISH Network failed to satisfy the first prong of the competing provider test. Moreover, nearly all homes in the U.S. have access to at least three MVPDs. And many areas have access to at least four MVPDs. With respect to the second prong of the competing provider test, we invite comment on whether we should presume that MVPDs other than the largest MVPD have captured more than 15 percent of the households in the franchise area, given that on a nationwide basis competitors to incumbent cable operators have captured approximately 34 percent of U.S. households, or more than twice the percentage needed to satisfy the second prong of the competing provider test.13 Although we recognize that not every franchise area has subscribership approaching 34 percent for MVPDs other than the incumbent cable operator, data show that nationwide subscription to DBS service alone is nearly twice that required to satisfy the second prong of the competing provider test. Further, out of the 1,440 CUIDs for which the Commission has made an effective competition determination since the start of 2013, it found that 1,150 CUIDs (or nearly 80 percent of the CUIDs evaluated) have satisfied the competing provider test. Given these facts, would adopting a presumption of competing provider effective competition be consistent with the current state of the market? 14

    13See supra ¶ 6 ((34.2 million DBS subscribers + 11.3 million telephone MVPD subscribers)/133.8 million U.S. households = 34%, or more than twice the 15% threshold).

    14 The market changes since the adoption of the original presumption do not appear to support a presumption that any of the other effective competition tests (low penetration, municipal provider, or LEC) are met. We seek comment on the accuracy of this observation.

    11. Based on the analysis above, we seek comment on whether we should adopt a presumption that all cable operators are subject to competing provider effective competition. Is such a presumption warranted even though there may be some franchise areas that are not yet subject to effective competition? Based on market developments, is effective competition the norm throughout the United States today even though there still may be pockets of areas that may not be subject to effective competition? Is the most efficient process to establish a nationwide presumption that effective competition does exist, and to address these pocket areas on a case-by-case basis using the procedures we seek comment on below? We also seek comment on any proposals that we should consider in the alternative. For example, are there any areas in which DBS reception is so limited that the Commission should not presume DBS subscribership in excess of 15 percent of households? If there are any areas in which the Commission should not presume the existence of competing provider effective competition, what approach should the Commission take to the effective competition presumption in these areas? Should we retain in certain defined geographic areas the current presumption that cable operators are not subject to effective competition? If commenters support adoption of different rules in certain areas, we ask them to support such differentiated treatment with specific evidence and clear definitions for the areas in which the different rules would apply.

    12. We seek comment on whether reversing the presumption would appropriately implement section 111 of STELAR. In section 111, Congress directed the Commission “to establish a streamlined process for filing of an effective competition petition pursuant to this section for small cable operators,” and reversing the presumption would establish a streamlined process for all cable operators including small operators. Congress also stated that “[n]othing in this subsection shall be construed to have any effect on the duty of a small cable operator to prove the existence of effective competition under this section.” Would changing the presumption fulfill the Commission's responsibilities under section 111? Or, in light of the language in section 111 quoted above, would the Commission need to rely on other statutory authority to change the presumption and thus be required to take action beyond changing the presumption to implement section 111? Does section 111 alter or impose any additional duty on a small cable operator to prove the existence of effective competition? We note that, if this provision were read to restrict the Commission from changing the presumption for small operators, it could have the perverse effect of permitting the Commission, consistent with market realities, to reduce burdens on larger operators but not on smaller ones. We also note that section 111 does not by its own terms preclude the Commission from altering the burden of proof with respect to effective competition. Rather, it simply states that nothing in that particular statutory provision shall be construed as speaking to the issue with respect to small cable operators.

    13. If we find that adopting a presumption of effective competition would not implement STELAR's effective competition provision, then how should we implement section 111? Specifically, we invite comment on what streamlined procedures, if any, we should adopt for small cable operators. We note that STELAR directs us to define a “small cable operator” in this context as “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” If we adopt any streamlined procedures for filing an effective competition petition, should those procedures apply to all cable operators regardless of size? Overall, how can we make the effective competition process more efficient and accessible, particularly for small cable operators?

    B. Procedures and Rule Changes To Implement a New Presumption

    14. In this section, we invite comment on revised procedures and rule changes that would be necessary if we decide to implement a presumption of effective competition. At the outset, we note that many franchising authorities have certified to regulate basic service tier rates and equipment based on the existing presumption of no effective competition. We seek comment on the appropriate treatment of these certifications. If the presumption is ultimately reversed, should these certifications be administratively revoked on the effective date of the new presumption pursuant to sections 623(a)(1) and (2) because their reliance on the presumption of no effective competition would no longer be supportable? If such certifications are administratively revoked, the franchising authority would have to demonstrate that the cable operator is not subject to effective competition pursuant to the procedures we seek comment on below before it could regulate rates in a community. In such instances, we seek comment on whether -section 76.913(a) of our rules, which otherwise directs the Commission to regulate rates upon revocation of a franchising authority's certification, would apply. In this regard, we note that section 76.913(a) states that “the Commission will regulate rates for cable services and associated equipment of a cable system not subject to effective competition,” and here the revocation would be based on a presumption of effective competition. Would a finding that section 76.913(a) does not apply in this context be consistent with section 623(a)(6) of the Act, which requires the Commission to “exercise the franchising authority's regulatory jurisdiction [over the rates for the provision of basic cable service]” if the Commission either (1) disapproves a franchising authority's certification filing under section 623(a)(4) or (2) grants a petition requesting revocation of the franchising authority's jurisdiction to regulate rates under section 623(a)(5)? We note that here we would be administratively revoking the franchising authority's jurisdiction under -sections 623(a)(1) and (2), rather than based on a determination described in section 623(a)(5). Would the one-time revocation of existing certifications following adoption of the order in this proceeding necessitate any revisions to section 76.913(a) or any other Commission rules? 15

    15See, e.g., 47 CFR 76.914(b).

    15. Alternatively, we seek comment on whether certifications should be revoked 90 days after the effective date of the new presumption. During this 90-day period, a franchising authority with an existing certification would have the opportunity to file a new certification demonstrating that effective competition does not exist in a particular franchise area. If a franchising authority did not file such a new certification, then rate regulation would end in that community at the conclusion of the 90-day period. If a franchising authority did file a new certification, we seek comment on whether that franchising authority should retain the authority to regulate rates until the Commission completes its review of that certification. We also seek comment on whether such a transition process would be consistent with -section 76.913(a) of our rules and section 623(a)(6) of the Act and whether implementing it would require any revisions to section 76.913(a).

    16. If we were to reverse the presumption, we seek comment on procedures by which a franchising authority may file a Form 328 demonstrating that effective competition does not exist in a particular franchise area. We seek comment on whether it would be most administratively efficient for franchising authorities, cable operators, and the Commission to incorporate effective competition showings within the certification process, rather than requiring a separate filing. Specifically, when a franchising authority seeks certification to regulate a cable operator's basic service tier and associated equipment, should it continue to file FCC Form 328? Should we revise Question 6 of that form to state the new presumption that cable systems are subject to effective competition, and to require a supplement to Form 328 which contains evidence adequate to satisfy the franchising authority's burden of rebutting the presumption of competing provider effective competition with specific evidence that such effective competition does not exist in the franchise area in question? 16 Unless a franchising authority has actual knowledge to the contrary, should we permit it to continue to presume that the cable operator is not subject to any other type of effective competition in the franchise area? Under such an approach, the franchising authority would not need to submit evidence rebutting the presence of effective competition under those other tests. Except as otherwise discussed herein, should we retain the existing provisions in section 76.910 of our rules, including that a certification will become effective 30 days after the date filed unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority that it has failed to meet one of the specified requirements? 17 Would such an approach be consistent with a presumption of effective competition, and with STELAR's requirement that we streamline the effective competition process for small cable operators? We invite comment on appropriate procedures, and we welcome commenters to propose alternate procedures for the Commission's consideration. For example, we note that section 623(a)(4)(B) of the Act provides that a certification does not become effective if the Commission finds, after notice to the authority and a reasonable opportunity for the authority to comment, that “the franchising authority does not have the legal authority to adopt, or the personnel to administer, such regulations.” Based on a presumption of competing provider effective competition, should the Commission make such a finding of a lack of legal authority, and how could the Commission comply with the required notice and opportunity to comment as stated in the statute if it takes such an approach? Should we make any other changes to FCC Form 328, or to the rules or procedures that apply to franchising authority certifications? We note that the Commission has authority to dismiss a pleading that fails on its face to satisfy applicable requirements, and thus, the Commission on its own motion could deny a certification based on failure to meet the applicable burden. Should the cable operator have an opportunity before the 30-day period expires to respond to the franchising authority's showing?

    16 The form's instructions for completing Question 6 would be revised accordingly. In addition, we note that instruction number 2 to the form has not been updated to reference LEC effective competition, even though the form itself contains such an update. For accuracy and completeness, we propose to revise instruction number 2 to reference LEC effective competition, in addition to making any necessary changes to Question 6.

    17See id. 76.910(e). In practice, it is the Media Bureau that evaluates certifications and related pleadings on behalf of the Commission, and the Media Bureau would continue to do so. This NPRM contains references to the Commission's role in the franchising authority certification process. Although our rules refer to the Commission having these responsibilities, the Media Bureau has delegated authority to act on certification matters under 47 CFR 0.61.

    17. We seek comment on procedures by which a cable operator may oppose a certification. Should we permit a cable operator to file a petition for reconsideration pursuant to section 76.911 of our rules, demonstrating that it satisfies any of the four tests for effective competition? Should the procedures set forth in section 1.106 of our rules continue to govern responsive pleadings thereto? If a franchising authority successfully rebuts a presumption of competing provider effective competition, a cable operator seeking to demonstrate that low penetration, municipal provider, or LEC effective competition exists in the franchise area would bear the burden of demonstrating the presence of such effective competition, whereas we would presume the presence of competing provider effective competition absent a franchising authority's demonstration to the contrary. We ask commenters whether we should retain the requirement in section 76.911(b)(1) that the filing of a petition for reconsideration alleging that effective competition exists would automatically stay the imposition of rate regulation pending the outcome of the reconsideration proceeding. Should we make any revisions to existing section 76.911 of our rules? If the Commission does not act on a section 76.911 petition for reconsideration within six months, should the petition be deemed granted based on the same finding that would underlie a presumption of competing provider effective competition, i.e., that the ubiquitous nationwide presence of DBS providers has made effective competition the norm throughout the United States? We seek comment on whether a deemed granted process can be implemented consistent with the requirements of sections 623(a)(2) and/or 623(a)(4). As with any Commission action, the franchising authority would have the right to file a petition for reconsideration or an application for review to the full Commission of any certification denial or petition for reconsideration grant.18 We seek comment on any other changes to our rules that would best effectuate the process for certification of franchising authorities to regulate the basic service tier and petitions for reconsideration of such certifications.

    18See 47 CFR 1.106 and 1.115. Cable operators would have the same recourse for certification grants.

    18. Our rules currently permit cable operators to request information from a competitor about the competitor's reach and number of subscribers, if the evidence establishing effective competition is not otherwise available. We invite comment on whether we should amend our rules to provide that if a franchising authority filing Form 328 wishes to demonstrate a lack of effective competition and necessary evidence is not otherwise available, the franchising authority may request directly from an MVPD information regarding the MVPD's reach and number of subscribers in a particular franchise area. What would be the costs and benefits of such an approach? As currently required for such requests by cable operators, should we require the MVPD to respond to such a request within 15 days, and should we retain the requirement that such responses may be limited to numerical totals related to subscribership and reach? Existing section 76.907(c), which governs such requests in the context of petitions for a determination of effective competition and which also applies to petitions for reconsideration of certification pursuant to section 76.911(a)(1), would remain in effect.

    19. We ask commenters to indicate whether any other revisions to the rules would be necessary to implement a new effective competition framework in which we presume the existence of competing provider effective competition. In addition, we invite comment on whether the new rules and procedures for effective competition should go into effect once the Commission announces approval by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) of the rules that require such approval.

    20. Similarly, if the Commission adopts an order implementing the presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition, how should we address cable operator petitions seeking findings of effective competition that are pending as of the adoption date? Should any such petitions that are pending as of the effective date of the new rules be granted? Or should such petitions be adjudicated on the merits under the new presumption of competing provider effective competition? Should different procedures apply if a pending petition seeking a finding of effective competition was opposed? We also seek comment on any other appropriate manner in which we should dispose of these pending petitions.

    21. If the Commission adopts a new presumption, we invite comment on whether the new procedures we seek comment on above overall would be less burdensome for cable operators including small operators, and whether fewer effective competition determinations would require Commission adjudication. Approximately how many franchising authorities with current certifications will submit a new FCC Form 328, and for approximately how many CUIDs? We invite comment on whether we should retain section 76.907 of our rules, which governs petitions for a determination of effective competition. If a franchising authority is certified after a presumption of competing provider effective competition is adopted, a cable operator may at a later date wish to file a petition for a determination of effective competition demonstrating that circumstances have changed and one of the four types of effective competition exists. If we retain section 76.907 and adopt a presumption of competing provider effective competition, we would need to revise section 76.907(b) to reflect the new presumption.

    22. We invite comment on whether franchising authorities, including small franchising authorities, would face significant, unreasonable burdens in preparing revised Form 328, including the attachment rebutting a presumption of competing provider effective competition. Would any such burdens be justified given the prevalence of effective competition in the market today? Should we take any actions to mitigate the burdens on franchising authorities, particularly small franchising authorities, or do so few franchising authorities expend the resources needed to regulate basic cable rates that separate procedures are not needed? If commenters seek different rules applicable to small franchising authorities, what rules should we adopt and how should we define “small franchising authority” in this context? For example, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) defines “small governmental jurisdictions” as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.”

    23. What are the costs and benefits that would result from the adoption of a presumption of competing provider effective competition? Would such a presumption ease significant burdens that cable operators currently face in filing effective competition petitions under the current presumption that is inconsistent with market realities? Would such a presumption also conserve Commission resources by significantly reducing the number of effective competition determinations that the Commission needs to adjudicate? While franchising authorities would face the costs of demonstrating a lack of competing provider effective competition, we invite comment on whether these costs would be modest given the small number of affected franchise areas due to the prevalence of effective competition throughout the nation, and whether they would be outweighed by the significant cost-saving benefits of a presumption that is consistent with today's marketplace. Finally, what would be the costs and benefits associated with streamlining the effective competition process for small cable operators?

    V. Procedural Matters A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    24. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”), see 5 U.S.C. 603, the Commission has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) concerning the possible significant economic impact on small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page of the NPRM. The Commission will send a copy of the NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). See 5 U.S.C. 603(a). In addition, the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.

    1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    25. In the NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on how it should improve the effective competition process. Specifically, it asks whether it should adopt a rebuttable presumption that cable operators are subject to effective competition. Pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), a franchising authority is permitted to regulate basic cable rates only if the cable system is not subject to effective competition.19 As a result, where effective competition exists, basic cable rates are dictated by the marketplace and not by regulation. In 1993, the Commission adopted a presumption that cable operators are not subject to effective competition, absent a cable operator's demonstration to the contrary.20 Given the changes to the video marketplace that have occurred since 1993, including in particular the widespread availability of Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) service, we now seek comment on whether to reverse our presumption and instead presume that cable operators are subject to effective competition. Such an approach would reflect the fact that today, based on application of the effective competition test in the current market, the Commission grants nearly all requests for a finding of effective competition. If the Commission were to presume that cable operators are subject to effective competition, a franchising authority would be required to demonstrate to the Commission that one or more cable operators in its franchise area is not subject to effective competition if it wishes to regulate cable service rates. We intend to implement policies that are mindful of the evolving video marketplace.

    19See 47 U.S.C. 543(a)(2).

    20See 47 CFR 76.906.

    26. In initiating this proceeding, we are also implementing part of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELAR”), enacted on December 4, 2014. Specifically, section 111 of STELAR directs the Commission to adopt a streamlined effective competition petition process for small cable operators. Through this proceeding, we intend to fulfill Congress' goal that we ease the burden of the existing effective competition process on small cable operators, especially those that serve rural areas, through a rulemaking that shall be completed by June 2, 2015. We seek comment on whether the adoption of a rebuttable presumption of effective competition would reflect the current multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”) marketplace and reduce regulatory burdens on all cable operators—large and small—and on their competitors, while more efficiently allocating the Commission's resources and amending outdated regulations.

    2. Legal Basis

    27. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), and 543, and section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, Public Law 113-200, section 111, 128 Stat. 2059 (2014).

    3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rules Will Apply

    28. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. Below, we provide a description of such small entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities, where feasible.

    29. Small Governmental Jurisdictions. The term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. We estimate that, of this total, a substantial majority may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    30. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The 2007 North American Industry Classification System (“NAICS”) defines “Wired Telecommunications Carriers” as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services; wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution; and wired broadband Internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for wireline firms within the broad economic census category, “Wired Telecommunications Carriers.” Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    31. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has developed its own small business size standards, for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers, nationwide. According to SNL Kagan, there are 1,258 cable operators. Of this total, all but 10 incumbent cable companies are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,584 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,012 cable systems have fewer than 20,000 subscribers, and 572 systems have 20,000 subscribers or more, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small.

    32. Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) Service. DBS service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic “dish” antenna at the subscriber's location. DBS, by exception, is now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, “Wired Telecommunications Carriers,” which was developed for small wireline firms. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. However, the data we have available as a basis for estimating the number of such small entities were gathered under a superseded SBA small business size standard formerly titled “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” The 2002 definition of Cable and Other Program Distribution provided that a small entity is one with $12.5 million or less in annual receipts. Currently, only two entities provide DBS service, which requires a great investment of capital for operation: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Each currently offers subscription services. DIRECTV and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Because DBS service requires significant capital, we believe it is unlikely that a small entity as defined by the SBA would have the financial wherewithal to become a DBS service provider.

    33. Open Video Systems. The open video system (“OVS”) framework was established in 1996, and is one of four statutorily recognized options for the provision of video programming services by local exchange carriers. The OVS framework provides opportunities for the distribution of video programming other than through cable systems. Because OVS operators provide subscription services, OVS falls within the SBA small business size standard covering cable services, which is “Wired Telecommunications Carriers.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: all such firms having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. In addition, we note that the Commission has certified some OVS operators, with some now providing service. Broadband service providers (“BSPs”) are currently the only significant holders of OVS certifications or local OVS franchises. The Commission does not have financial or employment information regarding the entities authorized to provide OVS, some of which may not yet be operational. Thus, at least some of the OVS operators may qualify as small entities.

    34. Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this present RFA analysis. A “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent local exchange carriers are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have therefore included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

    35. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (“ILECs”). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 3,188 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 2,940 firms had fewer than 100 employees, and 248 firms had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small entities.

    4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements

    36. The NPRM invites comment on whether the Commission should presume that cable operators are subject to competing provider effective competition, with the burden of rebutting this presumption falling on the franchising authority. If such an approach is adopted, a franchising authority seeking certification to regulate a cable system's basic service would file FCC Form 328, including a demonstration that the franchising authority has met its burden. Franchising authorities are already required to file FCC Form 328 to obtain certification to regulate a cable system's basic service, but the demonstration rebutting a presumption of competing provider effective competition would be a new requirement. Cable operators, including small cable operators, would retain the burden of demonstrating the presence of any other type of effective competition, which a cable operator may seek to demonstrate if a franchising authority rebuts the presumption of competing provider effective competition. A cable operator opposing a certification would be permitted to file a petition for reconsideration pursuant to section 76.911 of our rules, as is currently the case, demonstrating that it satisfies any of the four tests for effective competition. The procedures set forth in section 1.106 of our rules would continue to govern responsive pleadings thereto. While a certification would become effective 30 days after the date filed unless the Commission notifies the franchising authority otherwise, the filing of a petition for reconsideration based on the presence of effective competition would automatically stay the imposition of rate regulation pending the outcome of the reconsideration proceeding.

    37. Some franchising authorities have current certifications that will be in place as of the effective date of the new rules. The NPRM asks whether, if the presumption is ultimately reversed, these certifications should be administratively revoked on the effective date of the new presumption. The NPRM also asks how the Commission should address cable operator petitions seeking findings of effective competition that are pending as of the adoption date of a presumption of competing provider effective competition, including whether the Commission should grant any such petitions.

    5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities and Significant Alternatives Considered

    38. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance and reporting requirements under the rule for such small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.”

    39. Overall, the Commission seeks to adopt an approach that will more closely correspond to the current marketplace, and it aims to lessen the number of effective competition determinations addressed by the Commission and thus to reduce regulatory burdens on cable operators and their competitors, and to more efficiently allocate the Commission's resources and amend outdated regulations. In paragraphs 21-23 of the NPRM, the Commission considers the impact of procedures implementing a presumption of competing provider effective competition on all entities, including small entities. The Commission invites comment on whether the new procedures it seeks comment on overall would be less burdensome for cable operators, including small operators, and whether fewer effective competition determinations would require Commission adjudication. The NPRM asks whether franchising authorities, including small franchising authorities, would face significant, unreasonable burdens in preparing revised Form 328, including the attachment rebutting a presumption of competing provider effective competition. The NPRM asks whether any such burdens would be justified given the prevalence of effective competition in the market today, and whether the Commission should take any actions to mitigate the burdens on franchising authorities, particularly small franchising authorities. If commenters seek different rules applicable to small franchising authorities, the Commission asks what rules it should adopt and how it should define “small franchising authority” in this context. Overall, the Commission solicits alternative proposals, and it will welcome those that would alleviate any burdens on small entities. The Commission will consider alternatives to minimize the regulatory impact on small entities. For example, the NPRM seeks comment on any proposals that it should consider in the alternative, including whether there are any areas in which DBS reception is so limited that the Commission should not presume DBS subscribership in excess of 15 percent of households. Additionally, the NPRM asks whether the Commission should implement an alternate approach of presuming that the franchising authority lacks legal authority to adopt rate regulations, based on a presumption of competing provider effective competition.

    6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule

    40. None.

    B. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    41. This document contains proposed new or revised information collection requirements, including the processes that would apply if the Commission adopts a rebuttable presumption of effective competition. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (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.”

    C. Ex Parte Rules

    42. Permit-But-Disclose. This proceeding shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

    D. Filing Requirements

    43. Comments and Replies. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments 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.

    44. 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. These documents will also be available via ECFS. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat.

    45. 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 FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    E. Additional Information

    46. For additional information on this proceeding, contact Diana Sokolow, [email protected], of the Policy Division, Media Bureau, (202) 418-2120.

    VI. Ordering Clauses

    47. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the authority found in sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), and 623 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), and 543, and section 111 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted.

    48. It is further ordered that, the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 76

    Administrative practice and procedure, Cable television, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 76 as follows:

    PART 76—MULTICHANNEL VIDEO AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE 1. The authority citation for part 76 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 302, 302a, 303, 303a, 307, 308, 309, 312, 315, 317, 325, 339, 340, 341, 503, 521, 522, 531, 532, 534, 535, 536, 537, 543, 544, 544a, 545, 548, 549, 552, 554, 556, 558, 560, 561, 571, 572, 573.

    2. Revise § 76.906 to read as follows:
    § 76.906 Presumption of effective competition.

    In the absence of a demonstration to the contrary, cable systems are presumed to be subject to effective competition pursuant to § 76.905(b)(2).

    3. Amend § 76.907 by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 76.907 Petition for a determination of effective competition.

    (b) If the cable operator seeks to demonstrate that effective competition as defined in § 76.905(b)(1), (3) or (4) exists in the franchise area, it bears the burden of demonstrating the presence of such effective competition. Effective competition as defined in § 76.905(b)(2) is governed by the presumption in § 76.906.

    Note to paragraph (b):

    The criteria for determining effective competition pursuant to § 76.905(b)(4) are described in Implementation of Cable Act Reform Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Report and Order in CS Docket No. 96-85, FCC 99-57 (released March 29, 1999).

    4. Amend § 76.910 by revising paragraph (b)(4) to read as follows:
    § 76.910 Franchising authority certification.

    (b) * * *

    (4) The cable system in question is not subject to effective competition. The franchising authority must submit specific evidence demonstrating its rebuttal of the presumption in § 76.906 that the cable operator is subject to effective competition pursuant to § 76.905(b)(2). Unless a franchising authority has actual knowledge to the contrary, the franchising authority may presume that the cable operator is not subject to effective competition pursuant to § 76.905(b)(1), (3) or (4).

    Note to paragraph (b)(4):

    The franchising authority bears the burden of rebutting the presumption that effective competition exists with evidence that effective competition, as defined in § 76.905(b)(2), does not exist in the franchise area. If the evidence establishing the lack of effective competition is not otherwise available, franchising authorities may request from a multichannel video programming distributor information regarding the multichannel video programming distributor's reach and number of subscribers. A multichannel video programming distributor must respond to such request within 15 days. Such responses may be limited to numerical totals.

    [FR Doc. 2015-06541 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    80 54 Friday, March 20, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request March 16, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by April 20, 2015 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    National Agricultural Statistics Service

    Title: Milk and Milk Products.

    OMB Control Number: 0535-0020.

    Summary of Collection: The National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) primary function is to prepare and issue current official state and national estimates of crop and livestock production, prices and disposition, and to collect information on related environmental, land values, farm numbers, and other economic factors. Estimates of milk production and manufactured dairy products are an integral part of this program. Milk and dairy statistics are used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help administer price support programs and by the dairy industry in planning, pricing, and projecting supplies of milk and milk products. The general authority for these data collection activities is granted under U.S. Code title 7, section 2204. The legislative actions which affect these surveys are the “Dairy Market Enhancement Act of 2000,” U.S. Code title 7, section 1621, and Public Law 106-532 which changed the program from voluntary to mandatory for reporting the moisture content of cheddar cheese plus the price and quantity of cheddar cheese, butter, non-fat dry milk, and dry whey.

    In April 2012 the authority for collecting Dairy Product Prices was moved from NASS to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

    Need and Use of the Information: NASS will collect information quarterly with the Milk Production Survey. The monthly Milk and Milk Products surveys obtain basic agricultural statistics on milk production and manufactured dairy products from farmers and processing plants throughout the nation. Data are gathered for milk production, evaporated and condensed milk, dairy products, manufactured dry milk and manufactured whey products. Estimates of total milk production, number of milk cow, and milk production per cow, are used by the dairy industry in planning, pricing, and projecting supplies of milk and milk products. The mandatory dairy product information reporting requires each manufacturer to report the price, quantity and moisture content of dairy products sold and each entity storing dairy products to report information on the quantity of dairy products stored. Collecting data less frequently would prevent USDA and the agricultural industry from keeping abreast of changes at the State and national level.

    Description of Respondents: Farms; Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 14,200.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Quarterly; Monthly; Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 10,035.

    National Agricultural Statistics Service

    Title: Field Crops Objective Yield.

    OMB Control Number: 0535-0088.

    Summary of Collection: The primary function of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is to prepare and issue current official State and national estimates of crop and livestock production. General authority for these data collection activities is granted under U.S. Code title 7, section 2204. This statue specifies the “The Secretary of Agriculture shall procure and preserve all information concerning agriculture which he can obtain . . . by the collection of statistics . . . and shall distribute them among agriculturists”. Data collected provides yield estimates for corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans and winter wheat. The yield estimates are extremely important because they're used in conjunction with price data to estimate production and in making policy decisions in agricultural sectors.

    Need and Use of the Information: NASS will collect information on sample fields of, corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans, and winter wheat. The information will be used by USDA to anticipate loan receipts and pricing of loan stocks for grains. Farmers and businesses use the production estimates in marketing decisions to evaluate expected prices and to determine when to sell.

    Description of Respondents: Farms.

    Number of Respondents: 8,000.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: Monthly during growing season.

    Total Burden Hours: 2,820.

    Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06368 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request March 17, 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by April 20, 2015 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725-17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Title: Endangered Species Regulations and Forfeiture Procedures.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0076.

    Summary of Collection: The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1513 et. seq.) directs Federal departments to utilize their authorities under the Act to conserve endangered and threatened species. Section 3 of the Act specifies that the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to promulgate such regulations as may be appropriate to enforce the Act. The regulations contained in 7 CFR part 355 are intended to carry out the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) division of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is responsible for implementing these regulations. Specifically, Section 9(d) of the Act authorizes 7 CFR 355.11, which requires a general permit to engage in the business of importing or exporting terrestrial plants listed in 50 CFR parts 17 and 23. APHIS will collect information using several PPQ forms.

    Need and Use of the Information: APHIS will use the following information activities to conserve endangered and threatened species of terrestrial plants: Application for Protected Plant Permit (PPQ 621), Appeal of Denial of General Permit, Marketing and Notification Requirements, Notice of Arrival (PPQ 368), Notice of Exportation, Marking Requirements, Validation of Documents, Recordkeeping, Submitting Reports from Records Required to be kept, Waiver of Forfeiture Procedures by Owner of Seized Property (PPQ 623) Petition for Remission or Mitigation of Forfeiture (PPQ 626) and Request for Return of Property. The information provided by these information collection activities is critical to APHIS ability to carry out its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act.

    Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 16,578.

    Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: On occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 7,554.

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Title: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Importation of Animals and Animal Products.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0234.

    Summary of Collection: The Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) of 2002 is the primary Federal law governing the protection of animal health. The law gives the Secretary of Agriculture broad authority to detect, control, or eradicate pests or diseases of livestock or poultry. The Secretary may also prohibit or restrict import or export of any animal or related material if necessary to prevent the spread of any livestock or poultry pest or disease. The AHPA is contained in Title X, Subtitle E, Sections 10401-18 of Public Law 107-171, May 13, 2002, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulates the importation of animals and animal products into the United States to guard against the introduction of animal diseases. The regulations in 9 CFR parts, 91, 93, 94, 95 and 96 govern the importation of certain animals, birds, poultry, meat, other animal products and byproducts, hay, and straw into the United States in order to prevent the introduction of diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle.

    Need and Use of the Information: APHIS will collect the information to prevent BSE incursion into the United States using the following: (1) Import Permit Application (VS Form 16-3); (2) Certificate for Inedible Processed Ovine/Caprine Origin Materials and Products from a Region Not Listed in 9 CFR 95.4; (3) Cooperative Service Agreement; (4) Certification Statement for Ovine/Caprine Products from Regions Listed in 9 CFR 95.4, and for Inedible Processed Animal Proteins Derived from Ovines/Caprines; (5) Seals; (6) Notification of Designation of Persons Authorized to Break Seals; (7) Agreements with Slaughter Facilities Concerning the Use of Seals on Conveyances Transporting Animals from Canada; (8) Notification Regarding Conditions of Sealed Shipments; (9) Animals Imported for Immediate Slaughter (VS Form 17-33); (10) Certification Statement for Ruminants; (11) Ruminants Imported to Designated/Approved Feedlots (VS Form 17-130); and (12) Permit for Movement of Restricted Animals (VS Form 1-27). Failure to collect this information would make it impossible for APHIS to effectively prevent BSE-contaminated animals and animal products from entering the United States.

    Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit; Federal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 5,238.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 231,307.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06479 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD825 Marine Mammals; File Nos. 17278 and 17557 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of applications for permit amendments.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that James Shine, Ph.D., Harvard University School of Public Health, 401 Park Drive, 404H West, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, and the NMFS Forensics Office, 219 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, have applied for amendments to their respective permits, Scientific Research Permit Nos. 17278 and 17557.

    DATES:

    Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before April 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The applications and related documents are available for review by selecting “Records Open for Public Comment” from the “Features” box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 17278 or 17557 from the list of available applications.

    These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.

    Written comments on these applications should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713-0376, or by email to [email protected] Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment.

    Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing would be appropriate.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Skidmore, Amy Sloan, or Malcolm Mohead; phone: (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The subject amendments to these permits are requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226).

    Permit No. 17278, issued on August 29, 2012 (77 FR 54902), authorizes Dr. Shine to import and receive parts from subsistence-collected long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) archived at the Faroese Museum of Natural History, Foroe Islands. The permit holder is requesting the permit be amended to increase the number of samples imported from 15 to 100 animals annually, as well as authorization to conduct analyses of chlorinated and fluorinated organic chemicals using the same samples. No live takes from the wild would be authorized. The permit expires on August 28, 2017.

    Permit No. 17557, issued on August 9, 2013 (78 FR 50395), authorizes the NMFS Forensics Office to receive, import, export, transfer, archive, and conduct analyses marine mammal and endangered species parts. Species include all those covered under the MMPA and ESA under NMFS jurisdiction. Samples are archived at the lab and used to support law enforcement actions, research studies (primarily genetics), and outreach education. The permit holder is requesting the permit be amended to include scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewinia) recently listed under the ESA. No live takes from the wild would be authorized. The permit expires on August 9, 2018.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding a copy of the amendment submitted for Permit No. 17278 to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

    Dated: March 16, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06391 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-580-877] Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Negative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Duty Determination AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) preliminarily determines that de minimis countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of welded line pipe from the Republic of Korea (Korea). The period of investigation is January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Effective March 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebecca Trainor or Reza Karamloo, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4007 or (202) 482-4470, respectively.

    Alignment of Final Countervailing Duty (CVD) Determination With Final Antidumping Duty (AD) Determination

    On the same day the Department initiated this CVD investigation, the Department also initiated a CVD investigation of welded line pipe from the Republic of Turkey (Turkey) and AD investigations of welded line pipe from Korea and Turkey.1 The CVD and AD investigations cover the same merchandise. On February 27, 2015, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (Act), the petitioners 2 requested alignment of the final CVD determination with the final AD determination of welded line pipe from Korea. Therefore, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(4), we are aligning the final CVD determination with the final AD determination. Consequently, the final CVD determination will be issued on the same date as the final AD determination, which is currently scheduled to be issued no later than July 28, 2015, unless postponed.

    1See Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigations, 79 FR 67419 (November 13, 2014). See also Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 79 FR 68213 (November 14, 2014).

    2 The petitioners in this investigation are American Cast Iron Pipe Company, Energex (a division of JMC Steel Group), Maverick Tube Corporation, Northwest Pipe Company, Stupp Corporation (a division of Stupp Bros., Inc.), Tex-Tube Company, TMK IPSCO, and Welspun Tubular LLC USA.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The scope of the investigation covers welded line pipe, which is carbon and alloy steel pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines, not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter. For a complete description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. For discussion of those comments, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.3

    3See Memorandum from Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, regarding “Countervailing Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea: Decision Memorandum for the Negative Preliminary Determination,” dated concurrently with this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this countervailing duty (CVD) investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Determination and Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, we calculated a CVD rate for each individually investigated producer/exporter of the subject merchandise. Consistent with section 703(b)(4)(A) of the Act, we have disregarded de minimis rates and preliminarily determine that countervailable subsides are not being provided with respect to the manufacture, production or exportation of the subject merchandise. Consistent with section 703(d) of the Act, we have not calculated an all-others rate because we have not reached an affirmative preliminarily determination. We preliminarily determine the countervailable subsidy rates to be:

    Company Subsidy rate SeAH Steel Corporation 0.52 percent (de minimis). NEXTEEL Co., Ltd 0.47 percent (de minimis).

    Because we preliminarily determine that the CVD rates in this investigation are de minimis, we will not direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of entries of subject merchandise.

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, we intend to verify the information submitted by the respondents prior to making our final determination.

    International Trade Commission

    In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, we will notify the International Trade Commission (ITC) of our determination. In addition, we are making available to the ITC all non-privileged and non-proprietary information relating to this investigation. We will allow the ITC access to all privileged and business proprietary information in our files, provided the ITC confirms that it will not disclose such information, either publicly or under an administrative protective order, without the written consent of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

    In accordance with section 705(b)(3) of the Act, if our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will make its final determination within 75 days after we make our final determination.

    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement.4 Interested parties may submit case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests.5 For a schedule of the deadlines for filing case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    4See 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    5See 19 CFR 351.309(c)-(d), 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    This determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 703(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: March 16, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is circular welded carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines (welded line pipe), not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter, regardless of wall thickness, length, surface finish, end finish, or stenciling. Welded line pipe is normally produced to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5L, but can be produced to comparable foreign specifications, to proprietary grades, or can be non-graded material. All pipe meeting the physical description set forth above, including multiple-stenciled pipe with an API or comparable foreign specification line pipe stencil is covered by the scope of this investigation.

    The welded line pipe that is subject to this investigation is currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 7305.11.1030, 7305.11.5000, 7305.12.1030, 7305.12.5000, 7305.19.1030, 7305.19.5000, 7306.19.1010, 7306.19.1050, 7306.19.5110, and 7306.19.5150. The subject merchandise may also enter in HTSUS 7305.11.1060 and 7305.12.1060. While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope Comments IV. Scope of the Investigation V. Injury Test VI. Use of Facts Otherwise Available VII. Subsidies Valuation VIII. Analysis of Programs IX. ITC Notification X. Disclosure and Public Comment XI. Verification XII. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-06483 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office Proposed Collection; Comment Request; “Fee Deficiency Submissions” AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before May 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “0651-0070 Fee Deficiency Submissions” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information should be directed to Raul Tamayo, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313- 1450; by telephone at 571-272-7728; or by email at [email protected] with “Paperwork” in the subject line. Additional information about this collection is also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under “Information Collection Review.”

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“Act”) was enacted into law on September 16, 2011. Public Law 112-29, 125 Stat. 283 (2011). Under section 10(b) of the Act, eligible small entities shall receive a 50 percent fee reduction from the undiscounted fees for filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents. The Act further provides that micro entities shall receive a 75 percent fee reduction from the undiscounted fees for filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents.

    This information collection covers the submissions made by patent applicants and patentees to excuse small and micro entity fee payment errors. Specifically, 37 CFR 1.28(c) provides a procedure by which patent applicants and patentees may be excused for erroneous payments of fees in the small entity amount. 37 CFR 1.29(k) provides a procedure by which patent applicants and patentees may be excused for erroneous payments of fees in the micro entity amount.

    This information collection is necessary so that patent applicants and patentees may pay the balance of fees due (i.e., make a fee deficiency payment) when a fee was previously paid in error in a micro or small entity amount. The USPTO needs the information to be able to process and properly record a fee deficiency payment to avoid questions arising later either for the USPTO or for the applicant or patentee as to whether the proper fees have been paid in the application or patent.

    II. Method of Collection

    The items in this collection may be submitted online using EFS-Web, the USPTO's Web-based electronic filing system, or on paper by either mail or hand delivery.

    III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0070.

    IC Instruments: The individual instruments in this collection, as well as their associated forms, are listed in the table below.

    IC No. Information collection instrument Form(s) 1 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.28 (c) • No form. 2 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.29 (k) • No form.

    Type of Review: Regular.

    Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profits; not-for-profit institutions; individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 3,000 responses per year. Of this total, the USPTO expects that 2,910 responses will be submitted electronically through EFS-Web and 90 will be submitted on paper.

    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take the public approximately 2 hours to submit the information in this collection, including the time to gather the necessary information, prepare the appropriate form or petition, and submit the completed request to the USPTO.

    The time per response, estimated annual responses, and estimated annual hour burden associated with each instrument in this information collection is shown in the table below.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 6,000 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Hourly): $2,334,000. The USPTO expects that attorneys will complete the instruments associated with this information collection. The professional hourly rate for an attorney is $389. Using this hourly rate, the USPTO estimates $2,334,000 per year for the total hourly costs associated with respondents.

    IC No. Information collection
  • instrument
  • Estimated time for response
  • (hours)
  • Estimated
  • annual
  • responses
  • Estimated annual burden hours Rate
  • ($/hr)
  • Total cost
  • ($)
  • (a) (b) (a) × (b) = (c) (d) (c) × (d) = (e) 1 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.28(c) 2 2,250 4,500 $389.00 $1,750,500.00 2 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.29(k) 2 750 1,500 389.00 583,500.00 Total 3,000 6,000 2,334,000.00

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Non-Hourly): $504.00. There are no capital startup, maintenance, or operating fees are associated with this collection. There are, however, postage costs associated with this collection. Specifically, customers may incur postage costs when submitting the information in this collection to the USPTO by mail through the United States Postal Service. The USPTO estimates that the average first class postage cost for a mailed one-pound submission will be $5.60 and approximately 90 submissions will be submitted to the USPTO requiring postage.

    No. Information collection instrument Responses
  • (yr)
  • Postage costs Total non-hour cost burden
  • (yr)
  • (a) (b) (a) × (b) = (c) 1 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.28(c) 45 $5.60 $252.00 2 Submissions Under 37 CFR 1.29(k) 45 5.60 252.00 Total 90 504.00

    Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the total annual (non-hour) cost burden for this collection, in the form of postage costs is $504.00 per year.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: March 13, 2015. Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06442 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office Post Patent Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before May 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “0651-0067 Post Patent Provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information should be directed to Raul Tamayo, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-7728; or by email at [email protected] with “Paperwork” in the subject line. Additional information about this collection is also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under “Information Collection Review.”

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required by 35 U.S.C. 131 et seq. to examine an application for patent and, when appropriate, issue a patent. The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 301 and 37 CFR 1.501 govern the ability of a person to submit into the file of an issued patent (i) prior art consisting of patents or printed publications which that person believes to have a bearing on the patentability of any claim of a patent and (ii) written statements of a patent owner filed in a proceeding before a Federal court or the USPTO in which the patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim of the patent.

    The information in this collection can be submitted electronically through EFS-Web, the USPTO's web-based electronic filing system, as well as on paper. The USPTO therefore accounts for both electronic and paper submissions in this collection.

    II. Method of Collection

    Electronically if applicants submit the information using the TEAS forms. By mail or hand delivery if applicants choose to submit the information in paper form.

    III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0067.

    IC Instruments: The individual instruments in this collection, as well as their associated forms, are listed in the table below.

    IC No. Information collection instrument Form(s) 1 Information Disclosure Citation in a Patent (paper and electronic) • PTO/SB/42.

    Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.

    Estimated Responses: The USPTO estimates that it will receive a total of 240 responses to this information collection annually, of which 60 will be filed by small entities. The USPTO estimates that 230 of the 240 responses will be filed electronically.

    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take the public 10 hours to complete the collection of information. This includes time to gather the necessary information, create the document, and submit the completed request to the USPTO. The USPTO calculates that, on balance, it takes the same amount of time to gather the necessary information, create the document, and submit it to the USPTO, whether the applicant submits the information in paper form or electronically.

    The time per response, estimated annual responses, and estimated annual hour burden associated with each instrument in this information collection is shown in the table below.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 2,400 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Hourly): $933,600. The USPTO expects that attorneys will complete the instruments associated with this information collection. The professional hourly rate for attorneys is $389. Using this hourly rate, the USPTO estimates $933,600 per year for the total hourly costs associated with respondents.

    No. Information collection instrument Estimated time
  • for response
  • (minutes)
  • Estimated annual
  • responses
  • Estimated annual
  • burden hours
  • (a) (b) (a) x (b) = (c) 1 Electronic Information Disclosure Citation in a Patent 600 230 2,300 2 Information Disclosure Citation in a Patent 600 10 100 Total 240 2,400

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Non-Hourly): $57.50. There are postage costs associated with information disclosure citations in a patent. Customers may incur postage costs when submitting the information in this collection to the USPTO by mail through the United States Postal Service. The USPTO estimates that the average postage cost for a mailed one-pound submission will be $5.75 and approximately 10 submissions will be submitted to the USPTO requiring postage. The estimated postage cost for this collection will be $57.50.

    No. Information collection instrument Responses
  • (yr)
  • Postage fee
  • ($)
  • Total non-hour
  • cost burden
  • (yr)
  • (a) (b) (a) x (b) = (c) 1 Information Disclosure Citation in a Patent 10 $5.75 $57.50 Total 10 57.50

    Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the total annual (non-hour) cost burden for this collection, in the form of postage is $57.50 per year.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: March 13, 2015. Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06459 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 150114039-5245-02] RIN 0648-XD719 Higher Initial Maximum Uniform Allowance Rate; Uniform Allowances AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The NMFS Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) publishes this notice to announce that it is establishing a higher initial maximum uniform allowance to procure and issue uniform items for its uniformed enforcement officers (EOs). Current OPM regulations allow an agency to establish one or more initial maximum uniform allowance rates greater than the government-wide maximum uniform allowance rate. OLE increases the current annual limit for NMFS EOs in order to maintain the uniform standards and professional image expected of its EOs under its new uniform standards.

    DATES:

    The new uniform allowance is implemented as of April 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Everett Baxter, 301-427-8272.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS is implementing a higher initial maximum uniform allowance to procure and furnish uniform items for its enforcement officers (EOs). The current $800.00 annual limit is inadequate to maintain the uniform standards and professional image expected of NMFS EOs under its new uniform standards. In addition, OLE now has a new uniform policy requiring five classes of uniforms. In the past, EOs only had two classes of uniforms. As a result of these two factors, OLE increases the initial maximum uniform allowance for EOs from $800 to $2,000.

    OLE published a notice with a request for comments in the Federal Register on January 30, 2015 (80 FR 5091) inviting public comments on this planned action. The comment period ended on March 2, 2015. No comments were received. Therefore, NMFS is proceeding with establishing the higher initial maximum uniform allowance rate for its EOs. The effective date of this new uniform allowance is April 1, 2015.

    Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 5903; E.O. 12748, 56 FR 4521, 3 CFR 1991 Comp., p. 316.

    Dated: March 17, 2015. Logan Gregory, Acting Director, Office of Law Enforcement, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06433 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC021 Public Meetings and Request for Comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement Regarding the Makah Tribe's Request To Hunt Eastern North Pacific Gray Whales AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are issuing this notice to advise the public that NMFS has prepared a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in response to the Makah Tribe's request that NMFS waive the take moratorium of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to allow for treaty right hunting of eastern North Pacific (ENP) gray whales in usual and accustomed grounds off the coast of Washington State. We are requesting written comments on the DEIS and announcing the dates and locations of two public meetings regarding the DEIS.

    DATES:

    Two public meetings will be held as follows:

    (1) April 27, 2015, Seattle, Washington; and

    (2) April 29, 2015, Port Angeles, Washington.

    Specific times and locations for each of these meetings are included in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    Written or electronic comments on the DEIS from all interested parties are encouraged and must be received no later than 5 p.m. PDT on June 11, 2015. All comments and material received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2012-0104, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.

    —OR—

    Email: Submit electronic public comments via the following NMFS email site: [email protected].

    —OR—

    Mail: Submit written comments to: Steve Stone, NMFS West Coast Region, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232.

    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Stone, NMFS Northwest Region, (503) 231-2317 or Shannon Bettridge, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, (301) 427-8402.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The DEIS is available in electronic form on the Internet at the following address: http://www.westcoast.fisheries .noaa.gov/protected_species/marine_mammals/cetaceans/whale_hunt.html. The DEIS also may be viewed at various libraries identified at this Internet address or at the following NMFS offices:

    (1) NMFS Protected Resources Division, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. Contact Steve Stone at 503-231-2317; and

    (2) NMFS, Protected Resources Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Building 1, Seattle, WA 98115-6349. Contact Leah Mattox at 206-526- 6150.

    In addition, copies of the DEIS are available on CD by contacting Steve Stone (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Meeting Information

    The public will have the opportunity to provide written and oral comments on the DEIS at two public meetings. Dates, times, and addresses for the public meetings are as follows:

    (1) April 27, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., NOAA Western Regional Center, Building 9 (Kelly C. Sandy III Auditorium), 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115; and

    (2) April 29, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Vern Burton Memorial Community Center, 308 East 4th Street, Port Angeles, WA.

    Background

    On March 13, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the availability of NMFS' DEIS concerning the Makah Indian Tribe's February 2005 request to resume limited hunting of ENP gray whales in the coastal portion of the Tribe's usual and accustomed fishing grounds, off the coast of Washington State, for ceremonial and subsistence purposes. Informed by information received during public scoping, this DEIS contains updates and a new set of alternatives compared to a previous DEIS released on May 9, 2008 (73 FR 26394) and later terminated on May 21, 2012 (77 FR 29967). The Tribe's proposed action stems from the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay, which expressly secures the Makah Tribe's right to hunt whales. To exercise that right, the Tribe is seeking authorization from NMFS under the MMPA and the Whaling Convention Act. The release of this new DEIS is one of several steps NMFS will undertake to evaluate the Tribe's request.

    The DEIS, prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, considers various alternatives to the Tribe's proposed action. To develop the full range of action alternatives—five in total—we considered the principal components associated with a hunt, including: The time when whale hunting would occur; the area where whale hunting would occur; the annual and six-year limits on the number of whales harvested, struck, and struck and lost; cessation of whale hunting if a predetermined number of identified whales (i.e., included in a photographic catalog of whales from the Pacific Coast Feeding Group area) were harvested; and the method of hunting. This DEIS addresses a number of resources identified for review during both internal and public scoping, including: Water quality, marine habitat and species, eastern and western North Pacific gray whales, other wildlife species, economics, environmental justice, social environment, cultural resources, ceremonial and subsistence resources, noise, aesthetics, transportation, public services, public safety, and human health.

    The DEIS provides an important opportunity for the public to formally comment on the Tribe's proposal and the various alternatives. These comments, in conjunction with considerations described in the DEIS, will provide key information to assist NMFS with its final decision on the Tribe's request.

    Access to Government Building

    For access to the Federal government building in Seattle, Washington, the Department of Commerce Western Region Security Office has advised that all attendees must have valid government-issued identification (e.g., driver's license, tribal identification card, or passport). Prospective attendees for the public meeting in the NOAA Auditorium in Seattle, Washington should submit their first and last names and affiliation, if appropriate, via the NMFS email site (See ADDRESSES) by 4 p.m. PDT on April 26, 2015.

    Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations to attend and participate in the public meetings should contact Steve Stone (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). To allow sufficient time to process requests, please call at least 5 business days prior to the relevant meeting(s).

    Dated: March 17, 2015. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06432 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [Order No. 1966] Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 186 Under Alternative Site Framework; Waterville, Maine

    Pursuant to its authority under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of June 18, 1934, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), the Foreign-Trade Zones Board (the Board) adopts the following Order:

    Whereas, the Board adopted the alternative site framework (ASF) (15 CFR Sec. 400.2(c)) as an option for the establishment or reorganization of zones;

    Whereas, the City of Waterville, grantee of Foreign-Trade Zone 186, submitted an application to the Board (FTZ Docket B-65-2014, docketed 09-11-2014) for authority to reorganize under the ASF with a service area of the Counties of Lincoln, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox and Somerset (partial), Maine, within and adjacent to the Belfast Customs and Border Protection port of entry, and FTZ 186's existing Site 1 would be categorized as a magnet site;

    Whereas, notice inviting public comment was given in the Federal Register (79 FR 56057, 09-18-2014) and the application has been processed pursuant to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations; and,

    Whereas, the Board adopts the findings and recommendations of the examiner's report, and finds that the requirements of the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations are satisfied;

    Now, therefore, the Board hereby orders:

    The application to reorganize FTZ 186 under the ASF is approved, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and to the Board's standard 2,000-acre activation limit for the zone.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this March 12, 2015. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance, Alternate Chairman, Foreign-Trade Zones Board. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06462 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD830 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Seismic Surveys in Cook Inlet, Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a request from SAExploration Inc. (SAE) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to a proposed oil and gas exploration seismic survey program in Cook Inlet, Alaska between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to SAE to incidentally take marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, during the specified activity.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than April 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Supervisor, Incidental Take Program, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the Internet at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara Young, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Availability

    An electronic copy of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained by visiting the Internet at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). The following associated documents are also available at the same internet address: Application Packet, Marine Mammal Mitigation and Monitoring Plan, draft Environmental Assessment.

    We are also preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and will consider comments submitted in response to this notice as part of that process. The EA will be posted at the NOAA Fisheries Incidental Take internet site once it is finalized.

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On October 28, 2014, we received a request from SAE for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to seismic surveys in Cook Inlet, Alaska. After further correspondence and revisions by the applicant, we determined that the application was adequate and complete on January 12, 2015.

    SAE proposes to conduct oil and gas exploration seismic surveys. The proposed activity would occur between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, for a period of 160 days. The following specific aspects of the proposed activities are likely to result in the take of marine mammals: Operation of seismic airguns in arrays of 440 in3 and 1,760 in3. Take, by Level B Harassment only, of individuals of beluga whale, harbor porpoise, killer whale, harbor seal, and Steller sea lion is anticipated to result from the specified activity.

    Description of the Specified Activity Overview

    SAE plans to conduct 3D seismic surveys over multiple years in the marine waters of both upper and lower Cook Inlet. This proposed authorization will cover activities occurring between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. The ultimate survey area is divided into two units (upper and lower Cook Inlet). The total potential survey area is 3,934 square kilometers (1,519 square miles); however, only a portion (currently unspecified) of this area will ultimately be surveyed, and no more than 777 square kilometers (300 square miles) in a given year. The exact location of where the 2015 survey will be conducted is not known at this time, and probably will not be known until spring 2015 when SAE's clients have finalized their data acquisition needs.

    The components of the project include laying recording sensors (nodes) on the ocean floor, operating seismic source vessels towing active air gun arrays, and retrieval of nodes. There will also be additional boat activity associated with crew transfer, recording support, and additional monitoring for marine mammals. The primary seismic source for offshore recording consists of a 2 x 880-cubic-inch tri-cluster array for a total of 1,760-cubic-inches (although a 440-cubic-inch array may be used in very shallow water locations as necessary). Each of the arrays will be deployed in a configuration outlined in Appendix A of the application. The arrays will be centered approximately 15 meters (50 feet) behind the source vessel stern, at a depth of 4 meters (12 feet), and towed along predetermined source lines at speeds between 7.4 and 9.3 kilometers per hour (4 and 5 knots). Two vessels with full arrays will be operating simultaneously in an alternating shot mode; one vessel shooting while the other is recharging. Shot intervals are expected to be about 16 seconds for each array resulting in an overall shot interval of 8 seconds considering the two alternating arrays. Operations are expected to occur 24 hours a day, with actual daily shooting to total about 12 hours. An acoustical positioning (or pinger) system will be used to position and interpolate the location of the nodes. A vessel-mounted transceiver calculates the position of the nodes by measuring the range and bearing from the transceiver to a small acoustic transponder fitted to every third node. The transceiver uses sonar to interrogate the transponders, which respond with short pulses that are used in measuring the range and bearing. Several offshore vessels will be required to support recording, shooting, and housing in the marine and transition zone environments. Exact vessels to be used have not been determined.

    Dates and Duration

    The request for incidental harassment authorization is for the 2015 Cook Inlet open water season (April 1 to December 31). All associated activities, including mobilization, survey activities, and demobilization of survey and support crews, would occur between the above dates. The plan is to conduct seismic surveys in the Upper Cook unit sometime between April 1 and December 31. The northern border of the seismic survey area depicted in Figure 1 takes into account the restriction that no activity occur between April 15 to October 15 in waters within 16 kilometers (10 miles) of the Susitna Delta (defined as the nearshore area between the mouths of the Beluga and the Little Susitna rivers). A small wedge of the upper Cook unit falls within 16 kilometers of the Beluga River mouth, but survey here would occur after October 15, taking into account any timing restrictions with nearshore beluga habitat. The seismic acquisition in lower Cook unit would initially begin in late August or mid-September, and run until December 15 taking into account any self-imposed location/timing restrictions to avoid encounters with sea otters or Steller's eiders. The exact survey dates in a given unit will depend on ice conditions, timing restrictions, and other factors. If the upper Cook Inlet seismic surveys are delayed by spring ice conditions, some survey may occur in lower Cook Inlet from March to May to maximize use of the seismic fleet. Actual data acquisition is expected to occur for only 2 to 3 hours at a time during each of the 3 to 4 daily slack tides. Thus, it is expected that the air guns would operate an average of about 8 to 10 total hours per day. It is estimated that it will take 160 days to complete both the upper and lower Cook units, and that no more than 777 square kilometers (300 square miles) of survey area will be shot in 2015.

    Specified Geographic Region

    The area of Cook Inlet that SAE plans to operate in has been divided into two subsections: Upper and Lower Cook Inlet. Upper Cook (2,126 square kilometers; 821 square miles) begins at the line delineating Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) Critical Habitat Area 1 and 2, south to a line approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of both the West Foreland and East Foreland (Figure 1 in SAE application).

    Lower Cook (1,808 square kilometer; 698 square mile) begins east of Kalgin Island and running along the east side of lower Cook Inlet to Anchor Point (Figure 2 in SAE application).

    Detailed Description of Activities Survey Design

    Marine seismic operations will be based on a “recording patch” or similar approach. Patches are groups of six receiver lines and 32 source lines (Figure 3 in SAE application). Each receiver line has submersible marine sensor nodes tethered (with non-kinking, non-floating line) equidistant (50 meters; 165 feet) from each other along the length of the line. Each node is a multicomponent system containing three velocity sensors and a hydrophone (Figure 4 in SAE application). Each receiver line is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) in length, and are spaced approximately 402 meters (1,320 feet) apart. Each receiver patch is 19.4 square kilometers (7.5 square miles) in area. The receiver patch is oriented such that the receiver lines run parallel to the shoreline.

    The 32 source lines, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and spaced 502 meters (1,650 feet) apart, run perpendicular to the receiver lines (and perpendicular to the coast) and, where possible, will extend approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) beyond the outside receiver lines and approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) beyond each of the ends of the receiver lines. The outside dimensions of the maximum shot area during a patch shoot will be 12 kilometers by 16 kilometers (7.5 miles by 10 miles), with an area of 192 square kilometers (754 square miles). All shot areas will be wholly contained within the survey boxes depicted in Figures 1 and 2 of SAE's application. Shot intervals along each source line will be 50 meters (165 feet).

    It may take a period of three three to five days to deploy, shoot, and record a single receiver patch. On average, approximately 49 square kilometers (18.75 square miles) of patch will be shot daily. During recording of one patch, nodes from the previously surveyed patch will be retrieved, recharged, and data downloaded prior to redeployment of the nodes to the next patch. As patches are recorded, receiver lines are moved side to side or end to end to the next patch location so that receiver lines have continuous coverage of the recording area. Autonomous recording nodes lack cables but will be tethered together using a thin rope for ease of retrieval. This non-floating, non-kinking rope will lay on the seabed surface, as will the nodes, and will have no effect on marine traffic. Primary vessel positioning will be achieved using GPS with the antenna attached to the air gun array. Pingers deployed from the node vessels will be used for positioning of nodes. The geometry/patch could be modified as operations progress to improve sampling and operational efficiency.

    Acoustic Sources

    Air guns are the acoustic sources of primary concern and will be deployed from the seismic vessels. However, there are other noise sources to be considered. These include the pingers and transponders associated with locating receiver nodes, as well as propeller noise from the vessel fleet.

    Seismic Source Array

    The primary seismic source for offshore recording consists of a 2 x 880-cubic-inch tri-cluster array for a total of 1,760-cubic-inches (although a 440-cubic-inch array may be used in very shallow water locations as necessary). Each of the arrays will be deployed in a configuration outlined in Appendix A. The arrays will be centered approximately 15 meters (50 feet) behind the source vessel stern, at a depth of 4 meters (12 feet), and towed along predetermined source lines at speeds between 7.4 and 9.3 kilometers per hour (4 and 5 knots). Two vessels with full arrays will be operating simultaneously in an alternating shot mode; one vessel shooting while the other is recharging. Shot intervals are expected to be about 16 seconds for each array resulting in an overall shot interval of 8 seconds considering the two alternating arrays. Operations are expected to occur 24 hours a day, with actual daily shooting to total about 12 hours.

    Based on the manufacturer's specifications, the 1,760-cubic-inch array has a peak-peak estimated sound source of 254.55 dB (decibels) re 1 micropascals (μPa) @ 1 m (53.5 bar-m; Far-field Signature, Appendix A), with a root mean square (rms) sound source of 236.55 dB re 1 μPa. The manufacturer-provided source directivity plots for the three possible air gun arrays are shown in Appendix A of the application. They clearly indicate that the acoustical broadband energy is concentrated along the vertical axis (focused downward), while there is little energy focused horizontally. The spacing between air guns results in offset arrival timing of the sound energy. These delays “smear” the sound signature as offset energy waves partially cancel each other, which reduces the amplitude in the horizontal direction. Thus, marine mammals near the surface and horizontal to the air gun arrays would receive sound levels considerably less than a marine mammal situated directly beneath the array, and likely at levels less than predicted by the acoustical spreading model.

    Air gun arrays typically produce most noise energy in the 10- to 120-hertz range, with some energy extending to 1 kilohertz (kHz) (Richardson et al. 1995). This sound energy is within the hearing range of all of the marine mammal species present in Cook Inlet, although based on available audiograms, pinniped and, especially, odontocete hearing is expected to be less sensitive in this range than mysticete hearing (Au and Hastings 2008; Southall et al 2007). Richardson et al. (1995) found little evidence of pinnipeds and odontocetes reacting to seismic pulses, suggesting pinnipeds are tolerant to these types of noise and odontocetes have difficulty hearing the low frequency energy. It is assumed, however, that SAE's air gun pulses will be audible to local pinnipeds and odontocetes given the high energy involved, but would more likely elicit reaction from baleen whales, such as minke and humpback whales, than the high frequency species.

    Transceivers and Transponders

    An acoustical positioning (or pinger) system will be used to position and interpolate the location of the nodes. A vessel-mounted transceiver calculates the position of the nodes by measuring the range and bearing from the transceiver to a small acoustic transponder fitted to every third node. The transceiver uses sonar to interrogate the transponders, which respond with short pulses that are used in measuring the range and bearing. The system provides a precise location of every node as needed for accurate interpretation of the seismic data. The transceiver to be used is the Sonardyne Scout USBL, while transponders will be the Sonardyne TZ/OBC Type 7815-000-06. Because the transceiver and transponder communicate via sonar, they produce underwater sound levels. The Scout USBL transceiver has a transmission source level of 197 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m (rms) and operates at frequencies between 35 and 55 kHz. The transponder produces short pulses of 184 to 187 dB re 1 μPa (rms) @ 1 m at frequencies also between 35 and 55 kHz.

    Both transceivers and transponders produce noise levels just above or within the most sensitive hearing range of seals (75 Hz to 100 kHz; (Hemilä et al. 2006; Kastelein et al. 2009; Reichmuth et al. 2013) and odontocetes (150 Hz to 180 kHz; Wartzok and Ketten 1999), and the functional hearing range of baleen whales (7 Hz to 30 kHz; Southall et al 2007). However, given the low acoustical output, the range where acoustic-based harassment to marine mammals (for the 197 dB transceiver) could occur extends about 100 meters (328 feet), or significantly less than the output from the air gun arrays, and is not loud enough to reach injury levels in marine mammals beyond 9 meters (30 feet). Marine mammals are likely to respond to pinger systems similar to air gun pulses, but only when very close (a few meters) to the sources.

    Vessels

    SAE will be using a variety of vessels to conduct the seismic survey and related activities. These include: Two source vessels, three node equipment deployment and retrieval vessels, one mitigation and housing vessel, one crew transport vessel, and two bow pickers.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity

    Marine mammals most likely to be found in the upper Cook activity area are the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), and harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). However, these species are found there in low numbers, and generally only during the summer fish runs (Nemeth et al. 2007, Boveng et al. 2012). These species are also found in the Lower Cook survey area along with humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostra), gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus), killer whales (Orcinus orca), Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli), and Steller sea lions (Eumetopia jubatus). Minke whales have been considered migratory in Alaska (Allen and Angliss, 2014) but have recently been observed off Cape Starichkof and Anchor Point year-round (Owl Ridge, 2014). Humpback and gray whales are seasonal in Lower Cook, while the remaining species could be encountered at any time of the year. During marine mammal monitoring conducted off Cape Starichkof between May and August 2013, observers recorded small numbers of humpback whales, minke whales, gray whales, killer whales, and Steller sea lions, and moderate numbers of harbor porpoises and harbor seals (Owl Ridge, 2014). This survey also recorded a single beluga observed 6 kilometers north of Cape Starichkof in August 2013. The stock sizes for marine mammals found in the proposed project area in Cook Inlet are shown in Table 1.

    Table 1—Marine Mammals Inhabiting the Cook Inlet Action Area Species Stock ESA/MMPA
  • status 1;
  • Strategic
  • (Y/N)
  • Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent
  • abundance survey) 2
  • Relative occurrence in Cook Inlet;
  • season of occurrence
  • Humpback whale Central North Pacific E/D;Y 7,469 (0.095;5,833;2000) Occasionally seen in Lower Inlet, summer. Minke whale Alaska —;N 1,233 (0.034;N/A;2003) Infrequently occur but reported year-round. Gray whale Eastern North Pacific —; N 19,126 (0.071; 18,017; 2007) Rare migratory visitor; late winter. Killer whale Alaska Resident —;N 2,347 (N/A; 2,084; 2009) Occasionally sighted in Lower Cook Inlet. Alaska Transient —:N 345 (N/A; 303; 2003) Beluga whale Cook Inlet E/D;Y 312 (0.10; 280; 2012) Use upper Inlet in summer and lower in winter: annual. Harbor porpoise Gulf of Alaska —;Y 31,046 (0.214; 25,987; 1998) Widespread in the Inlet: annual (less in winter). Dall's porpoise Alaska Infrequently found in Lower Inlet. Steller sea lion Western DPS E/D;Y 79,300 (N/A; 45,659; 2012) Primarily found in lower Inlet. Harbor seal Cook Inlet/Shelikof —;N 22,900 (0.053; 21,896; 2006) Frequently found in upper and lower inlet; annual (more in northern Inlet in summer). Source: Allen and Angliss (20142, 2013), Carretta et al. (2013), Zerbini et al. (2006).
    Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    Although there is considerable distributional overlap in the humpback whale stocks that use Alaska, the whales seasonally found in lower Cook Inlet are probably of the Central North Pacific stock. Listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), this stock has recently been estimated at 7,469, with the portion of the stock that feeds in the Gulf of Alaska estimated at 2,845 animals (Allen and Angliss 20143). The Central North Pacific stock winters in Hawaii and summers from British Columbia to the Aleutian Islands (Calambokidis et al. 1997), including Cook Inlet.

    Humpback use of Cook Inlet is largely confined to lower Cook Inlet. They have been regularly seen near Kachemak Bay during the summer months (Rugh et al. 2005a), and there is a whale-watching venture in Homer capitalizing on this seasonal event. There are anecdotal observations of humpback whales as far north as Anchor Point, with recent summer observations extending to Cape Starichkof (Owl Ridge 2014). Humpbacks might be encountered in the vicinity of Anchor Point if seismic operations were to occur off the point during the summer. However, SAE plans, for the most part, to limit seismic activity along the Kenai Peninsula to during the spring and fall.

    Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostra)

    Minke whales are the smallest of the rorqual group of baleen whales reaching lengths of up to 35 feet. They are also the most common of the baleen whales, although there are no population estimates for the North Pacific, although estimates have been made for some portions of Alaska. Zerbini et al. (2006) estimated the coastal population between Kenai Fjords and the Aleutian Islands at 1,233 animals.

    During Cook Inlet-wide aerial surveys conducted from 1993 to 2004, minke whales were encountered only twice (1998, 1999), both times off Anchor Point 16 miles northwest of Homer. A minke whale was also reported off Cape Starichkof in 2011 (A. Holmes, pers. comm.) and 2013 (E. Fernandez and C. Hesselbach, pers. comm.), suggesting this location is regularly used by minke whales, including during the winter. Recently, several minke whales were recorded off Cape Starichkof in early summer 2013 during exploratory drilling conducted there (Owl Ridge 2014). There are no records north of Cape Starichkof, and this species is unlikely to be seen in upper Cook Inlet. There is a chance of encountering this whale during seismic operations along the Kenai Peninsula in lower Cook Inlet.

    Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)

    Each spring, the Eastern North Pacific stock of gray whale migrates 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) northward from breeding lagoons in Baja California to feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas, reversing their travel again in the fall (Rice and Wolman 1971). Their migration route is for the most part coastal until they reach the feeding grounds. A small portion of whales do not annually complete the full circuit, as small numbers can be found in the summer feeding along the Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaskan coasts (Rice et al. 1984, Moore et al. 2007).

    Human exploitation reduced this stock to an estimated “few thousand” animals (Jones and Schwartz 2002). However, by the late 1980s, the stock was appearing to reach carrying capacity and estimated to be at 26,600 animals (Jones and Schwartz 2002). By 2002, that stock had been reduced to about 16,000 animals, especially following unusually high mortality events in 1999 and 2000 (Allen and Angliss 2014). The stock has continued to grow since then and is currently estimated at 19,126 animals with a minimum estimate of 18,017 (Carretta et al. 2013).

    Most gray whales migrate past the mouth of Cook Inlet to and from northern feeding grounds. However, small numbers of summering gray whales have been noted by fisherman near Kachemak Bay and north of Anchor Point. Further, summering gray whales were seen offshore of Cape Starichkof by marine mammal observers monitoring Buccaneer's Cosmopolitan drilling program in 2013 (Owl Ridge 2014). Regardless, gray whales are not expected to be encountered in upper Cook Inlet, where there are no records, but might be encountered during seismic operations along the Kenai Peninsula south of Ninilchik. However, seismic surveys are not planned in this region during the summer months when gray whales would be most expected.

    Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

    The Cook Inlet beluga whale Distinct Population Segment (DPS) is a small geographically isolated population that is separated from other beluga populations by the Alaska Peninsula. The population is genetically (mtDNA) distinct from other Alaska populations suggesting the Peninsula is an effective barrier to genetic exchange (O'Corry-Crowe et al. 1997) and that these whales may have been separated from other stocks at least since the last ice age. Laidre et al. (2000) examined data from more than 20 marine mammal surveys conducted in the northern Gulf of Alaska and found that sightings of belugas outside Cook Inlet were exceedingly rare, and these were composed of a few stragglers from the Cook Inlet DPS observed at Kodiak Island, Prince William Sound, and Yakutat Bay. Several marine mammal surveys specific to Cook Inlet (Laidre et al. 2000, Speckman and Piatt 2000), including those that concentrated on beluga whales (Rugh et al. 2000, 2005a), clearly indicate that this stock largely confines itself to Cook Inlet. There is no indication that these whales make forays into the Bering Sea where they might intermix with other Alaskan stocks.

    The Cook Inlet beluga DPS was originally estimated at 1,300 whales in 1979 (Calkins 1989) and has been the focus of management concerns since experiencing a dramatic decline in the 1990s. Between 1994 and 1998 the stock declined 47 percent which was attributed to overharvesting by subsistence hunting. Subsistence hunting was estimated to annually remove 10 to 15 percent of the population during this period. Only five belugas have been harvested since 1999, yet the population has continued to decline, with the most recent estimate at only 312 animals (Allen and Angliss 2014). NMFS listed the population as “depleted” in 2000 as a consequence of the decline, and as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008 when the population failed to recover following a moratorium on subsistence harvest. In April 2011, NMFS designated critical habitat for the beluga under the ESA (Figure 3).

    Prior to the decline, this DPS was believed to range throughout Cook Inlet and occasionally into Prince William Sound and Yakutat (Nemeth et al. 2007). However the range has contracted coincident with the population reduction (Speckman and Piatt 2000). During the summer and fall beluga whales are concentrated near the Susitna River mouth, Knik Arm, Turnagain Arm, and Chickaloon Bay (Nemeth et al. 2007) where they feed on migrating eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) and salmon (Onchorhyncus spp.) (Moore et al. 2000). Critical Habitat Area 1 reflects this summer distribution (Figure 3). During the winter, beluga whales concentrate in deeper waters in the mid-inlet to Kalgin Island, and in the shallow waters along the west shore of Cook Inlet to Kamishak Bay (Critical Habitat Area 2; Figure 1). Some whales may also winter in and near Kachemak Bay.

    BILLING CODE 3510-22-P EN20MR15.003 BILLING CODE 3510-22-C Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

    Harbor porpoise are small (1.5 meters length), relatively inconspicuous toothed whales. The Gulf of Alaska Stock is distributed from Cape Suckling to Unimak Pass and was most recently estimated at 31,046 animals (Allen and Angliss 2014). They are found primarily in coastal waters less than 100 meters (100 meters) deep (Hobbs and Waite 2010) where they feed on Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), other schooling fishes, and cephalopods.

    Although they have been frequently observed during aerial surveys in Cook Inlet, most sightings are of single animals, and are concentrated at Chinitna and Tuxedni bays on the west side of lower Cook Inlet (Rugh et al. 2005a). Dahlheim et al. (2000) estimated the 1991 Cook Inlet-wide population at only 136 animals. However, they are one of the three marine mammals (besides belugas and harbor seals) regularly seen in upper Cook Inlet (Nemeth et al. 2007), especially during spring eulachon and summer salmon runs. Because harbor porpoise have been observed throughout Cook Inlet during the summer months, including mid-inlet waters, they could be encountered during seismic operations in upper Cook Inlet.

    Dall's Porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)

    Dall's porpoise are widely distributed throughout the North Pacific Ocean including Alaska, although they are not found in upper Cook Inlet and the shallower waters of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas (Allen and Angliss 2014). Compared to harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise prefer the deep offshore and shelf slope waters. The Alaskan population has been estimated at 83,400 animals (Allen and Angliss 2014), making it one of the more common cetaceans in the state. Dall's porpoise have been observed in lower Cook Inlet, including Kachemak Bay and near Anchor Point (Owl Ridge 2014), but sightings there are rare. There is a remote chance that Dall's porpoise might be encountered during seismic operations along the Kenai Peninsula.

    Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

    Two different stocks of killer whales inhabit the Cook Inlet region of Alaska: the Alaska Resident Stock and the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea Transient Stock (Allen and Angliss 2014). The resident stock is estimated at 2,347 animals and occurs from Southeast Alaska to the Bering Sea (Allen and Angliss 2014). Resident whales feed exclusively on fish and are genetically distinct from transient whales (Saulitis et al. 2000). The transient whales feed primarily on marine mammals (Saulitis et al. 2000). The transient population inhabiting the Gulf of Alaska shares mitochondrial DNA haplotypes with whales found along the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea suggesting a common stock, although there appears to be some subpopulation genetic structuring occurring to suggest the gene flow between groups is limited (see Allen and Angliss 2014). For the three regions combined, the transient population has been estimated at 587 animals (Allen and Angliss 2014).

    Killer whales are occasionally observed in lower Cook Inlet, especially near Homer and Port Graham (Shelden et al. 2003, Rugh et al. 2005a). A concentration of sightings near Homer and inside Kachemak Bay may represent high use or may reflect high observer-effort, given most records are from a whale-watching venture based in Homer. The few whales that have been photographically identified in lower Cook Inlet belong to resident groups more commonly found in nearby Kenai Fjords and Prince William Sound (Shelden et al. 2003). Prior to the 1980s, killer whale sightings in upper Cook Inlet were very rare. During aerial surveys conducted between 1993 and 2004, killer whales were observed on only three flights, all in the Kachemak and English Bay area (Rugh et al. 2005a). However, anecdotal reports of killer whales feeding on belugas in upper Cook Inlet began increasing in the 1990s, possibly in response to declines in sea lion and harbor seal prey elsewhere (Shelden et al. 2003). These sporadic ventures of transient whales into beluga summering grounds have been implicated as a possible contributor to decline of Cook Inlet belugas in the 1990s, although the number of confirmed mortalities from killer whales is small (Shelden et al. 2003). If killer whales were to venture into upper Cook Inlet in 2015, they might be encountered during both seismic operations in both upper and lower Cook Inlet.

    Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopia jubatus)

    The Western Stock of the Steller sea lion is defined as all populations west of longitude 144°W to the western end of the Aleutian Islands. The most recent estimate for this stock is 45,649 animals (Allen and Angliss 2014), considerably less than that estimated 140,000 animals in the 1950s (Merrick et al. 1987). Because of this dramatic decline, the stock was listed as threatened under ESA in 1990, and was relisted as endangered in 1997. Critical habitat was designated in 1993, and is defined as a 20-nautical-mile radius around all major rookeries and haulout sites. The 20-nautical-mile buffer was established based on telemetry data that indicated these sea lions concentrated their summer foraging effort within this distance of rookeries and haul outs.

    Steller sea lions inhabit lower Cook Inlet, especially in the vicinity of Shaw Island and Elizabeth Island (Nagahut Rocks) haulout sites (Rugh et al. 2005a), but are rarely seen in upper Cook Inlet (Nemeth et al. 2007). Of the 42 Steller sea lion groups recorded during Cook Inlet aerial surveys between 1993 and 2004, none were recorded north of Anchor Point and only one in the vicinity of Kachemak Bay (Rugh et al. 2005a). Marine mammal observers associated with Buccaneer's drilling project off Cape Starichkof did observe seven Steller sea lions during the summer of 2013 (Owl Ridge 2014).

    The upper reaches of Cook Inlet may not provide adequate foraging conditions for sea lions for establishing a major haul out presence. Steller sea lions feed largely on walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), salmon (Onchorhyncus spp.), and arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) during the summer, and walleye pollock and Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) during the winter (Sinclair and Zeppelin 2002), none which, except for salmon, are found in abundance in upper Cook Inlet (Nemeth et al. 2007). Steller sea lions are unlikely to be encountered during seismic operations in upper Cook Inlet, but they could possibly be encountered along the Kenai Peninsula, especially closer to Anchor Point.

    Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

    With more than 150,000 animals state-wide (Allen and Angliss 2014), harbor seals are one of the more common marine mammal species in Alaskan waters. They are most commonly seen hauled out at tidal flats and rocky areas. Harbor seals feed largely on schooling fish such a walleye pollock, Pacific cod, salmon, Pacific herring, eulachon, and squid. Although harbor seals may make seasonal movements in response to prey, they are resident to Alaska and do not migrate.

    The Cook Inlet/Shelikof Stock, ranging from approximately Anchorage down along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula to Unimak Pass, has been recently estimated at a stable 22,900 (Allen and Angliss 2014). Large numbers concentrate at the river mouths and embayments of lower Cook Inlet, including the Fox River mouth in Kachemak Bay (Rugh et al. 2005a). Montgomery et al. (2007) recorded over 200 haulout sites in lower Cook Inlet alone. However, only a few dozens to a couple hundred seals seasonally occur in upper Cook Inlet (Rugh et al. 2005a), mostly at the mouth of the Susitna River where their numbers vary in concert with the spring eulachon and summer salmon runs (Nemeth et al. 2007, Boveng et al. 2012). In 2012, up to 100 harbor seals were observed hauled out at the mouths of the Theodore and Lewis rivers during monitoring activity associated with SAE's (with Apache) 2012 Cook Inlet seismic program. Montgomery et al. (2007) also found seals elsewhere in Cook Inlet to move in response to local steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) and salmon runs. Harbor seals may be encountered during seismic operations in both upper and lower Cook Inlet.

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that components (e.g., seismic airgun operations, vessel movement) of the specified activity, including mitigation, may impact marine mammals. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document will include a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis” section will include the analysis of how this specific activity will impact marine mammals and will consider the content of this section, the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, the “Proposed Mitigation” section, and the “Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat” section to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of this activity on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and from that on the affected marine mammal populations or stocks.

    Operating active acoustic sources, such as airgun arrays, has the potential for adverse effects on marine mammals. The majority of anticipated impacts would be from the use of acoustic sources.

    Acoustic Impacts

    When considering the influence of various kinds of sound on the marine environment, it is necessary to understand that different kinds of marine life are sensitive to different frequencies of sound. Based on available behavioral data, audiograms have been derived using auditory evoked potentials, anatomical modeling, and other data. Southall et al. (2007) designated “functional hearing groups” for marine mammals and estimate the lower and upper frequencies of functional hearing of the groups. The functional groups and the associated frequencies are indicated below (note that animals are less sensitive to sounds at the outer edge of their functional range and most sensitive to sounds of frequencies within a smaller range somewhere in the middle of their functional hearing range) and have been modified slightly from Southall et al. 2007 to incorporate some newer information:

    • Low frequency cetaceans (13 species of mysticetes): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 7 Hz and 30 kHz; (Ketten and Mountain 2009; Tubelli et al. 2012)

    • Mid-frequency cetaceans (32 species of dolphins, six species of larger toothed whales, and 19 species of beaked and bottlenose whales): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz; (Southall et al. 2007)

    • High frequency cetaceans (eight species of true porpoises, six species of river dolphins, Kogia, the franciscana, and four species of cephalorhynchids): functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 200 Hz and 180 kHz; (Southall et al. 2007)

    • Phocid pinnipeds in Water: functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 75 Hz and 100 kHz; (Hemilä et al. 2006; Mulsow et al. 2011; Reichmuth et al. 2013) and

    • Otariid pinnipeds in Water: Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 100 Hz and 40 kHz. (Reichmuth et al. 2013)

    As mentioned previously in this document, nine marine mammal species (seven cetacean and two pinniped species) are likely to occur in the proposed seismic survey area. Of the seven cetacean species likely to occur in SAE's proposed project area, three classified as a low-frequency cetaceans (humpback, minke, gray whale), two are classified as mid-frequency cetaceans (beluga and killer whales), and two are classified as a high-frequency cetaceans (Dall's and harbor porpoise) (Southall et al., 2007). Of the two pinniped species likely to occur in SAE's proposed project area, one is classified as a phocid (harbor seal), and one is classified as an otariid (Steller sea lion). A species' functional hearing group is a consideration when we analyze the effects of exposure to sound on marine mammals.

    1. Potential Effects of Airgun Sounds on Marine Mammals

    The effects of sounds from airgun pulses might include one or more of the following: tolerance, masking of natural sounds, behavioral disturbance, and temporary or permanent hearing impairment or non-auditory effects (Richardson et al., 1995). As outlined in previous NMFS documents, the effects of noise on marine mammals are highly variable, often depending on species and contextual factors (based on Richardson et al., 1995).

    Tolerance: Numerous studies have shown that pulsed sounds from air guns are often readily detectable in the water at distances of many kilometers. Numerous studies have also shown that marine mammals at distances more than a few kilometers from operating survey vessels often show no apparent response. That is often true even in cases when the pulsed sounds must be readily audible to the animals based on measured received levels and the hearing sensitivity of that mammal group. In general, pinnipeds and small odontocetes (toothed whales) seem to be more tolerant of exposure to air gun pulses than baleen whales. Although various toothed whales, and (less frequently) pinnipeds have been shown to react behaviorally to airgun pulses under some conditions, at other times, mammals of both types have shown no overt reactions. Weir (2008) observed marine mammal responses to seismic pulses from a 24 airgun array firing a total volume of either 5,085 in3 or 3,147 in3 in Angolan waters between August 2004 and May 2005. Weir recorded a total of 207 sightings of humpback whales (n = 66), sperm whales (n = 124), and Atlantic spotted dolphins (n = 17) and reported that there were no significant differences in encounter rates (sightings/hr) for humpback and sperm whales according to the airgun array's operational status (i.e., active versus silent).

    Behavioral Disturbance: Marine mammals may behaviorally react to sound when exposed to anthropogenic noise. These behavioral reactions are often shown as: Changing durations of surfacing and dives, number of blows per surfacing, or moving direction and/or speed; reduced/increased vocal activities; changing/cessation of certain behavioral activities (such as socializing or feeding); visible startle response or aggressive behavior (such as tail/fluke slapping or jaw clapping); avoidance of areas where noise sources are located; and/or flight responses (e.g., pinnipeds flushing into water from haulouts or rookeries).

    The biological significance of many of these behavioral disturbances is difficult to predict. The consequences of behavioral modification to individual fitness can range from none up to potential changes to growth, survival, or reproduction, depending on the context, duration, and degree of behavioral modification. Examples of behavioral modifications that could impact growth, survival or reproduction include: Drastic changes in diving/surfacing/swimming patterns that lead to stranding (such as those associated with beaked whale strandings related to exposure to military mid-frequency tactical sonar); longer-term abandonment of habitat that is specifically important for feeding, reproduction, or other critical needs, or significant disruption of feeding or social interaction resulting in substantive energetic costs, inhibited breeding, or prolonged or permanent cow-calf separation.

    The onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise depends on both external factors (characteristics of noise sources and their paths) and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography) and is also difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007).

    Toothed whales. Few systematic data are available describing reactions of toothed whales to noise pulses. However, systematic work on sperm whales (Tyack et al., 2003) has yielded an increasing amount of information about responses of various odontocetes to seismic surveys based on monitoring studies (e.g., Stone, 2003; Smultea et al., 2004; Moulton and Miller, 2005).

    Seismic operators and marine mammal observers sometimes see dolphins and other small toothed whales near operating airgun arrays, but, in general, there seems to be a tendency for most delphinids to show some limited avoidance of seismic vessels operating large airgun systems. However, some dolphins seem to be attracted to the seismic vessel and floats, and some ride the bow wave of the seismic vessel even when large arrays of airguns are firing. Nonetheless, there have been indications that small toothed whales sometimes move away or maintain a somewhat greater distance from the vessel when a large array of airguns is operating than when it is silent (e.g., Gold, 1996a,b,c; Calambokidis and Osmek, 1998; Stone, 2003). The beluga may be a species that (at least in certain geographic areas) shows long-distance avoidance of seismic vessels. Aerial surveys during seismic operations in the southeastern Beaufort Sea recorded much lower sighting rates of beluga whales within 10-20 km (6.2-12.4 mi) of an active seismic vessel. These results were consistent with the low number of beluga sightings reported by observers aboard the seismic vessel, suggesting that some belugas might have been avoiding the seismic operations at distances of 10-20 km (6.2-12.4 mi) (Miller et al., 2005).

    Captive bottlenose dolphins and (of more relevance in this project) beluga whales exhibit changes in behavior when exposed to strong pulsed sounds similar in duration to those typically used in seismic surveys (Finneran et al., 2002, 2005). However, the animals tolerated high received levels of sound (pk-pk level >200 dB re 1 μPa) before exhibiting aversive behaviors.

    Observers stationed on seismic vessels operating off the United Kingdom from 1997—2000 have provided data on the occurrence and behavior of various toothed whales exposed to seismic pulses (Stone, 2003; Gordon et al., 2004). Killer whales were found to be significantly farther from large airgun arrays during periods of shooting compared with periods of no shooting. The displacement of the median distance from the array was approximately 0.5 km (0.3 mi) or more. Killer whales also appear to be more tolerant of seismic shooting in deeper water.

    Reactions of toothed whales to large arrays of airguns are variable and, at least for delphinids, seem to be confined to a smaller radius than has been observed for mysticetes. However, based on the limited existing evidence, belugas should not necessarily generally be grouped with delphinids in the “less responsive” category.

    Pinnipeds. Pinnipeds are not likely to show a strong avoidance reaction to the airgun sources proposed for use. Visual monitoring from seismic vessels has shown only slight (if any) avoidance of airguns by pinnipeds and only slight (if any) changes in behavior. Monitoring work in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea during 1996-2001 provided considerable information regarding the behavior of Arctic ice seals exposed to seismic pulses (Harris et al., 2001; Moulton and Lawson, 2002). These seismic projects usually involved arrays of 6 to 16 airguns with total volumes of 560 to 1,500 in3. The combined results suggest that some seals avoid the immediate area around seismic vessels. In most survey years, ringed seal sightings tended to be farther away from the seismic vessel when the airguns were operating than when they were not (Moulton and Lawson, 2002). However, these avoidance movements were relatively small, on the order of 100 m (328 ft) to a few hundreds of meters, and many seals remained within 100-200 m (328-656 ft) of the trackline as the operating airgun array passed by. Seal sighting rates at the water surface were lower during airgun array operations than during no-airgun periods in each survey year except 1997. Similarly, seals are often very tolerant of pulsed sounds from seal-scaring devices (Mate and Harvey, 1987; Jefferson and Curry, 1994; Richardson et al., 1995a). However, initial telemetry work suggests that avoidance and other behavioral reactions by two other species of seals, grey and harbor seals, to small airgun sources may at times be stronger than evident to date from visual studies of pinniped reactions to airguns (Thompson et al., 1998). Even if reactions of the species occurring in the activity area are as strong as those evident in the telemetry study, reactions are expected to be confined to relatively small distances and durations, with no long-term effects on pinniped individuals or populations.

    Masking: Masking is the obscuring of sounds of interest by other sounds, often at similar frequencies. Marine mammals use acoustic signals for a variety of purposes, which differ among species, but include communication between individuals, navigation, foraging, reproduction, avoiding predators, and learning about their environment (Erbe and Farmer, 2000; Tyack, 2000). Masking, or auditory interference, generally occurs when sounds in the environment are louder than, and of a similar frequency to, auditory signals an animal is trying to receive. Masking is a phenomenon that affects animals trying to receive acoustic information about their environment, including sounds from other members of their species, predators, prey, and sounds that allow them to orient in their environment. Masking these acoustic signals can disturb the behavior of individual animals, groups of animals, or entire populations.

    Masking occurs when anthropogenic sounds and signals (that the animal utilizes) overlap at both spectral and temporal scales. For the airgun sound generated from the proposed seismic surveys, sound will consist of low frequency (under 500 Hz) pulses with extremely short durations (less than one second). Lower frequency man-made sounds are more likely to affect detection of communication calls and other potentially important natural sounds such as surf and prey noise. There is little concern regarding masking near the sound source due to the brief duration of these pulses and relatively longer silence between air gun shots (approximately 12 seconds). However, at long distances (over tens of kilometers away), due to multipath propagation and reverberation, the durations of airgun pulses can be “stretched” to seconds with long decays (Madsen et al., 2006), although the intensity of the sound is greatly reduced.

    This could affect communication signals used by low frequency mysticetes when they occur near the noise band and thus reduce the communication space of animals (e.g., Clark et al., 2009) and cause increased stress levels (e.g., Foote et al., 2004; Holt et al., 2009); however, no baleen whales are expected to occur within the proposed action area. Marine mammals are thought to be able to compensate for masking by adjusting their acoustic behavior by shifting call frequencies, and/or increasing call volume and vocalization rates. For example, blue whales were found to increase call rates when exposed to seismic survey noise in the St. Lawrence Estuary (Di Iorio and Clark, 2010). The North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) exposed to high shipping noise increase call frequency (Parks et al., 2007), while some humpback whales respond to low-frequency active sonar playbacks by increasing song length (Miller et al., 2000). Additionally, beluga whales have been known to change their vocalizations in the presence of high background noise possibly to avoid masking calls (Au et al., 1985; Lesage et al., 1999; Scheifele et al., 2005). Although some degree of masking is inevitable when high levels of manmade broadband sounds are introduced into the sea, marine mammals have evolved systems and behavior that function to reduce the impacts of masking. Structured signals, such as the echolocation click sequences of small toothed whales, may be readily detected even in the presence of strong background noise because their frequency content and temporal features usually differ strongly from those of the background noise (Au and Moore, 1988, 1990). The components of background noise that are similar in frequency to the sound signal in question primarily determine the degree of masking of that signal.

    Redundancy and context can also facilitate detection of weak signals. These phenomena may help marine mammals detect weak sounds in the presence of natural or manmade noise. Most masking studies in marine mammals present the test signal and the masking noise from the same direction. The sound localization abilities of marine mammals suggest that, if signal and noise come from different directions, masking would not be as severe as the usual types of masking studies might suggest (Richardson et al., 1995). The dominant background noise may be highly directional if it comes from a particular anthropogenic source such as a ship or industrial site. Directional hearing may significantly reduce the masking effects of these sounds by improving the effective signal-to-noise ratio. In the cases of higher frequency hearing by the bottlenose dolphin, beluga whale, and killer whale, empirical evidence confirms that masking depends strongly on the relative directions of arrival of sound signals and the masking noise (Penner et al., 1986; Dubrovskiy, 1990; Bain et al., 1993; Bain and Dahlheim, 1994). Toothed whales and probably other marine mammals as well, have additional capabilities besides directional hearing that can facilitate detection of sounds in the presence of background noise. There is evidence that some toothed whales can shift the dominant frequencies of their echolocation signals from a frequency range with a lot of ambient noise toward frequencies with less noise (Au et al., 1974, 1985; Moore and Pawloski, 1990; Thomas and Turl, 1990; Romanenko and Kitain, 1992; Lesage et al., 1999). A few marine mammal species are known to increase the source levels or alter the frequency of their calls in the presence of elevated sound levels (Dahlheim, 1987; Au, 1993; Lesage et al., 1993, 1999; Terhune, 1999; Foote et al., 2004; Parks et al., 2007, 2009; Di Iorio and Clark, 2009; Holt et al., 2009).

    These data demonstrating adaptations for reduced masking pertain mainly to the very high frequency echolocation signals of toothed whales. There is less information about the existence of corresponding mechanisms at moderate or low frequencies or in other types of marine mammals. For example, Zaitseva et al. (1980) found that, for the bottlenose dolphin, the angular separation between a sound source and a masking noise source had little effect on the degree of masking when the sound frequency was 18 kHz, in contrast to the pronounced effect at higher frequencies. Directional hearing has been demonstrated at frequencies as low as 0.5-2 kHz in several marine mammals, including killer whales (Richardson et al., 1995a). This ability may be useful in reducing masking at these frequencies. In summary, high levels of sound generated by anthropogenic activities may act to mask the detection of weaker biologically important sounds by some marine mammals. This masking may be more prominent for lower frequencies. For higher frequencies, such as that used in echolocation by toothed whales, several mechanisms are available that may allow them to reduce the effects of such masking.

    Threshold Shift (noise-induced loss of hearing)—When animals exhibit reduced hearing sensitivity (i.e., sounds must be louder for an animal to detect them) following exposure to an intense sound or sound for long duration, it is referred to as a noise-induced threshold shift (TS). An animal can experience temporary threshold shift (TTS) or permanent threshold shift (PTS). TTS can last from minutes or hours to days (i.e., there is complete recovery), can occur in specific frequency ranges (i.e., an animal might only have a temporary loss of hearing sensitivity between the frequencies of 1 and 10 kHz), and can be of varying amounts (for example, an animal's hearing sensitivity might be reduced initially by only 6 dB or reduced by 30 dB). PTS is permanent, but some recovery is possible. PTS can also occur in a specific frequency range and amount as mentioned above for TTS.

    The following physiological mechanisms are thought to play a role in inducing auditory TS: effects to sensory hair cells in the inner ear that reduce their sensitivity, modification of the chemical environment within the sensory cells, residual muscular activity in the middle ear, displacement of certain inner ear membranes, increased blood flow, and post-stimulatory reduction in both efferent and sensory neural output (Southall et al., 2007). The amplitude, duration, frequency, temporal pattern, and energy distribution of sound exposure all can affect the amount of associated TS and the frequency range in which it occurs. As amplitude and duration of sound exposure increase, so, generally, does the amount of TS, along with the recovery time. For intermittent sounds, less TS could occur than compared to a continuous exposure with the same energy (some recovery could occur between intermittent exposures depending on the duty cycle between sounds) (Kryter et al., 1966; Ward, 1997). For example, one short but loud (higher SPL) sound exposure may induce the same impairment as one longer but softer sound, which in turn may cause more impairment than a series of several intermittent softer sounds with the same total energy (Ward, 1997). Additionally, though TTS is temporary, prolonged exposure to sounds strong enough to elicit TTS, or shorter-term exposure to sound levels well above the TTS threshold, can cause PTS, at least in terrestrial mammals (Kryter, 1985). In the case of the seismic survey, animals are not expected to be exposed to levels high enough or durations long enough to result in PTS.

    PTS is considered auditory injury (Southall et al., 2007). Irreparable damage to the inner or outer cochlear hair cells may cause PTS; however, other mechanisms are also involved, such as exceeding the elastic limits of certain tissues and membranes in the middle and inner ears and resultant changes in the chemical composition of the inner ear fluids (Southall et al., 2007).

    Although the published body of scientific literature contains numerous theoretical studies and discussion papers on hearing impairments that can occur with exposure to a loud sound, only a few studies provide empirical information on the levels at which noise-induced loss in hearing sensitivity occurs in nonhuman animals. For marine mammals, published data are limited to the captive bottlenose dolphin, beluga, harbor porpoise, and Yangtze finless porpoise (Finneran et al., 2000, 2002b, 2003, 2005a, 2007, 2010a, 2010b; Finneran and Schlundt, 2010; Lucke et al., 2009; Mooney et al., 2009a, 2009b; Popov et al., 2011a, 2011b; Kastelein et al., 2012a; Schlundt et al., 2000; Nachtigall et al., 2003, 2004). For pinnipeds in water, data are limited to measurements of TTS in harbor seals, an elephant seal, and California sea lions (Kastak et al., 1999, 2005; Kastelein et al., 2012b).

    Marine mammal hearing plays a critical role in communication with conspecifics, and interpretation of environmental cues for purposes such as predator avoidance and prey capture. Depending on the degree (elevation of threshold in dB), duration (i.e., recovery time), and frequency range of TTS, and the context in which it is experienced, TTS can have effects on marine mammals ranging from discountable to serious (similar to those discussed in auditory masking, below). For example, a marine mammal may be able to readily compensate for a brief, relatively small amount of TTS in a non-critical frequency range that occurs during a time where ambient noise is lower and there are not as many competing sounds present. Alternatively, a larger amount and longer duration of TTS sustained during time when communication is critical for successful mother/calf interactions could have more serious impacts. Similarly, depending on the degree and frequency range, the effects of PTS on an animal could range in severity, although it is considered generally more serious because it is a permanent condition. Of note, reduced hearing sensitivity as a simple function of aging has been observed in marine mammals, as well as humans and other taxa (Southall et al., 2007), so we can infer that strategies exist for coping with this condition to some degree, though likely not without cost.

    Given the higher level of sound necessary to cause PTS as compared with TTS, it is considerably less likely that PTS would occur during the proposed seismic surveys in Cook Inlet. Cetaceans generally avoid the immediate area around operating seismic vessels, as do some other marine mammals. Some pinnipeds show avoidance reactions to airguns, but their avoidance reactions are generally not as strong or consistent as those of cetaceans, and occasionally they seem to be attracted to operating seismic vessels (NMFS, 2010).

    Non-auditory Physical Effects: Non-auditory physical effects might occur in marine mammals exposed to strong underwater pulsed sound. Possible types of non-auditory physiological effects or injuries that theoretically might occur in mammals close to a strong sound source include stress, neurological effects, bubble formation, and other types of organ or tissue damage. Some marine mammal species (i.e., beaked whales) may be especially susceptible to injury and/or stranding when exposed to strong pulsed sounds.

    Classic stress responses begin when an animal's central nervous system perceives a potential threat to its homeostasis. That perception triggers stress responses regardless of whether a stimulus actually threatens the animal; the mere perception of a threat is sufficient to trigger a stress response (Moberg, 2000; Sapolsky et al., 2005; Seyle, 1950). Once an animal's central nervous system perceives a threat, it mounts a biological response or defense that consists of a combination of the four general biological defense responses: behavioral responses; autonomic nervous system responses; neuroendocrine responses; or immune responses.

    In the case of many stressors, an animal's first and most economical (in terms of biotic costs) response is behavioral avoidance of the potential stressor or avoidance of continued exposure to a stressor. An animal's second line of defense to stressors involves the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system and the classical “fight or flight” response, which includes the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, the exocrine glands, and the adrenal medulla to produce changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and gastrointestinal activity that humans commonly associate with “stress.” These responses have a relatively short duration and may or may not have significant long-term effects on an animal's welfare.

    An animal's third line of defense to stressors involves its neuroendocrine or sympathetic nervous systems; the system that has received the most study has been the hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal system (also known as the HPA axis in mammals or the hypothalamus-pituitary-interrenal axis in fish and some reptiles). Unlike stress responses associated with the autonomic nervous system, virtually all neuroendocrine functions that are affected by stress—including immune competence, reproduction, metabolism, and behavior—are regulated by pituitary hormones. Stress-induced changes in the secretion of pituitary hormones have been implicated in failed reproduction (Moberg, 1987; Rivier, 1995), altered metabolism (Elasser et al., 2000), reduced immune competence (Blecha, 2000), and behavioral disturbance. Increases in the circulation of glucocorticosteroids (cortisol, corticosterone, and aldosterone in marine mammals; see Romano et al., 2004) have been equated with stress for many years.

    The primary distinction between stress (which is adaptive and does not normally place an animal at risk) and distress is the biotic cost of the response. During a stress response, an animal uses glycogen stores that can be quickly replenished once the stress is alleviated. In such circumstances, the cost of the stress response would not pose a risk to the animal's welfare. However, when an animal does not have sufficient energy reserves to satisfy the energetic costs of a stress response, energy resources must be diverted from other biotic functions, which impair those functions that experience the diversion. For example, when mounting a stress response diverts energy away from growth in young animals, those animals may experience stunted growth. When mounting a stress response diverts energy from a fetus, an animal's reproductive success and fitness will suffer. In these cases, the animals will have entered a pre-pathological or pathological state which is called “distress” (sensu Seyle, 1950) or “allostatic loading” (sensu McEwen and Wingfield, 2003). This pathological state will last until the animal replenishes its biotic reserves sufficient to restore normal function. Note that these examples involved a long-term (days or weeks) stress response due to exposure to stimuli.

    Relationships between these physiological mechanisms, animal behavior, and the costs of stress responses have also been documented fairly well through controlled experiment; because this physiology exists in every vertebrate that has been studied, it is not surprising that stress responses and their costs have been documented in both laboratory and free-living animals (for examples see, Holberton et al., 1996; Hood et al., 1998; Jessop et al., 2003; Krausman et al., 2004; Lankford et al., 2005; Reneerkens et al., 2002; Thompson and Hamer, 2000). Although no information has been collected on the physiological responses of marine mammals to anthropogenic sound exposure, studies of other marine animals and terrestrial animals would lead us to expect some marine mammals to experience physiological stress responses and, perhaps, physiological responses that would be classified as “distress” upon exposure to anthropogenic sounds.

    For example, Jansen (1998) reported on the relationship between acoustic exposures and physiological responses that are indicative of stress responses in humans (e.g., elevated respiration and increased heart rates). Jones (1998) reported on reductions in human performance when faced with acute, repetitive exposures to acoustic disturbance. Trimper et al. (1998) reported on the physiological stress responses of osprey to low-level aircraft noise while Krausman et al. (2004) reported on the auditory and physiology stress responses of endangered Sonoran pronghorn to military overflights. Smith et al. (2004a, 2004b) identified noise-induced physiological transient stress responses in hearing-specialist fish (i.e., goldfish) that accompanied short- and long-term hearing losses. Welch and Welch (1970) reported physiological and behavioral stress responses that accompanied damage to the inner ears of fish and several mammals.

    Hearing is one of the primary senses marine mammals use to gather information about their environment and communicate with conspecifics. Although empirical information on the effects of sensory impairment (TTS, PTS, and acoustic masking) on marine mammals remains limited, we assume that reducing a marine mammal's ability to gather information about its environment and communicate with other members of its species would induce stress, based on data that terrestrial animals exhibit those responses under similar conditions (NRC, 2003) and because marine mammals use hearing as their primary sensory mechanism. Therefore, we assume that acoustic exposures sufficient to trigger onset PTS or TTS would be accompanied by physiological stress responses. However, marine mammals also might experience stress responses at received levels lower than those necessary to trigger onset TTS. Based on empirical studies of the time required to recover from stress responses (Moberg, 2000), NMFS also assumes that stress responses could persist beyond the time interval required for animals to recover from TTS and might result in pathological and pre-pathological states that would be as significant as behavioral responses to TTS. Resonance effects (Gentry, 2002) and direct noise-induced bubble formations (Crum et al., 2005) are implausible in the case of exposure to an impulsive broadband source like an airgun array. If seismic surveys disrupt diving patterns of deep-diving species, this might result in bubble formation and a form of the bends, as speculated to occur in beaked whales exposed to sonar. However, there is no specific evidence of this upon exposure to airgun pulses. Additionally, no beaked whale species occur in the proposed seismic survey area.

    In general, very little is known about the potential for strong, anthropogenic underwater sounds to cause non-auditory physical effects in marine mammals. Such effects, if they occur at all, would presumably be limited to short distances and to activities that extend over a prolonged period. The available data do not allow identification of a specific exposure level above which non-auditory effects can be expected (Southall et al., 2007) or any meaningful quantitative predictions of the numbers (if any) of marine mammals that might be affected in those ways. There is no definitive evidence that any of these effects occur even for marine mammals in close proximity to large arrays of airguns. In addition, marine mammals that show behavioral avoidance of seismic vessels, including belugas and some pinnipeds, are especially unlikely to incur non-auditory impairment or other physical effects. Therefore, it is unlikely that such effects would occur during SAE's proposed surveys given the brief duration of exposure and the planned monitoring and mitigation measures described later in this document.

    Stranding and Mortality: Marine mammals close to underwater detonations of high explosive can be killed or severely injured, and the auditory organs are especially susceptible to injury (Ketten et al. 1993; Ketten 1995). Airgun pulses are less energetic and their peak amplitudes have slower rise times. To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death, or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to air gun pulses, even in the case of large air gun arrays.

    However, in past IHA notices for seismic surveys, commenters have referenced two stranding events allegedly associated with seismic activities, one off Baja California and a second off Brazil. NMFS has addressed this concern several times, including in the Federal Register notice announcing the IHA for Apache Alaska's first seismic survey in 2012. Readers are encouraged to review NMFS's response to comments on this matter found in 69 FR 74905 (December 14, 2004), 71 FR 43112 (July 31, 2006), 71 FR 50027 (August 24, 2006), 71 FR 49418 (August 23, 2006), and 77 FR 27720 (May 11, 2012).

    It should be noted that strandings related to sound exposure have not been recorded for marine mammal species in Cook Inlet. Beluga whale strandings in Cook Inlet are not uncommon; however, these events often coincide with extreme tidal fluctuations (“spring tides”) or killer whale sightings (Shelden et al., 2003). For example, in August 2012, a group of Cook Inlet beluga whales stranded in the mud flats of Turnagain Arm during low tide and were able to swim free with the flood tide. No strandings or marine mammals in distress were observed during the 2D test survey conducted by Apache in March 2011, and none were reported by Cook Inlet inhabitants. As a result, NMFS does not expect any marine mammals will incur serious injury or mortality in Cook Inlet or strand as a result of the proposed seismic survey.

    2. Potential Effects From Pingers on Marine Mammals

    Active acoustic sources other than the airguns have been proposed for SAE's oil and gas exploration seismic survey program in Cook Inlet. The specifications for the pingers (source levels and frequency ranges) were provided earlier in this document. In general, pingers are known to cause behavioral disturbance and are commonly used to deter marine mammals from commercial fishing gear or fish farms. Due to the potential to change marine mammal behavior, shut downs described for airguns will also be applied to pinger use.

    Vessel Impacts

    Vessel activity and noise associated with vessel activity will temporarily increase in the action area during SAE's seismic survey as a result of the operation of nine vessels. To minimize the effects of vessels and noise associated with vessel activity, SAE will follow NMFS's Marine Mammal Viewing Guidelines and Regulations and will alter heading or speed if a marine mammal gets too close to a vessel. In addition, vessels will be operating at slow speed (4-5 knots) when conducting surveys and in a purposeful manner to and from work sites in as direct a route as possible. Marine mammal monitoring observers and passive acoustic devices will alert vessel captains as animals are detected to ensure safe and effective measures are applied to avoid coming into direct contact with marine mammals. Therefore, NMFS neither anticipates nor authorizes takes of marine mammals from ship strikes.

    Odontocetes, such as beluga whales, killer whales, and harbor porpoises, often show tolerance to vessel activity; however, they may react at long distances if they are confined by ice, shallow water, or were previously harassed by vessels (Richardson et al., 1995). Beluga whale response to vessel noise varies greatly from tolerance to extreme sensitivity depending on the activity of the whale and previous experience with vessels (Richardson et al., 1995). Reactions to vessels depend on whale activities and experience, habitat, boat type, and boat behavior (Richardson et al., 1995) and may include behavioral responses, such as altered headings or avoidance (Blane and Jaakson, 1994; Erbe and Farmer, 2000); fast swimming; changes in vocalizations (Lesage et al., 1999; Scheifele et al., 2005); and changes in dive, surfacing, and respiration patterns.

    There are few data published on pinniped responses to vessel activity, and most of the information is anecdotal (Richardson et al., 1995). Generally, sea lions in water show tolerance to close and frequently approaching vessels and sometimes show interest in fishing vessels. They are less tolerant when hauled out on land; however, they rarely react unless the vessel approaches within 100-200 m (330-660 ft; reviewed in Richardson et al., 1995).

    Entanglement

    Although some of SAE's equipment contains cables or lines, the risk of entanglement is extremely remote. Additionally, mortality from entanglement is not anticipated. The material used by SAE and the amount of slack is not anticipated to allow for marine mammal entanglements.

    Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The primary potential impacts to marine mammal habitat and other marine species are associated with elevated sound levels produced by airguns and other active acoustic sources. However, other potential impacts to the surrounding habitat from physical disturbance are also possible. This section describes the potential impacts to marine mammal habitat from the specified activity. Because the marine mammals in the area feed on fish and/or invertebrates there is also information on the species typically preyed upon by the marine mammals in the area. As noted earlier, upper Cook Inlet is an important feeding and calving area for the Cook Inlet beluga whale and critical habitat has been designated for this species in the proposed seismic survey area.

    Common Marine Mammal Prey in the Project Area

    Fish are the primary prey species for marine mammals in upper Cook Inlet. Beluga whales feed on a variety of fish, shrimp, squid, and octopus (Burns and Seaman, 1986). Common prey species in Knik Arm include salmon, eulachon and cod. Harbor seals feed on fish such as pollock, cod, capelin, eulachon, Pacific herring, and salmon, as well as a variety of benthic species, including crabs, shrimp, and cephalopods. Harbor seals are also opportunistic feeders with their diet varying with season and location. The preferred diet of the harbor seal in the Gulf of Alaska consists of pollock, octopus, capelin, eulachon, and Pacific herring (Calkins, 1989). Other prey species include cod, flat fishes, shrimp, salmon, and squid (Hoover, 1988). Harbor porpoises feed primarily on Pacific herring, cod, whiting (hake), pollock, squid, and octopus (Leatherwood et al., 1982). In the upper Cook Inlet area, harbor porpoise feed on squid and a variety of small schooling fish, which would likely include Pacific herring and eulachon (Bowen and Siniff, 1999; NMFS, unpublished data). Killer whales feed on either fish or other marine mammals depending on genetic type (resident versus transient respectively). Killer whales in Knik Arm are typically the transient type (Shelden et al., 2003) and feed on beluga whales and other marine mammals, such as harbor seal and harbor porpoise. The Steller sea lion diet consists of a variety of fishes (capelin, cod, herring, mackerel, pollock, rockfish, salmon, sand lance, etc.), bivalves, squid, octopus, and gastropods.

    Potential Impacts on Prey Species

    With regard to fish as a prey source for cetaceans and pinnipeds, fish are known to hear and react to sounds and to use sound to communicate (Tavolga et al., 1981) and possibly avoid predators (Wilson and Dill, 2002). Experiments have shown that fish can sense both the strength and direction of sound (Hawkins, 1981). Primary factors determining whether a fish can sense a sound signal, and potentially react to it, are the frequency of the signal and the strength of the signal in relation to the natural background sound level.

    Fishes produce sounds that are associated with behaviors that include territoriality, mate search, courtship, and aggression. It has also been speculated that sound production may provide the means for long distance communication and communication under poor underwater visibility conditions (Zelick et al., 1999), although the fact that fish communicate at low-frequency sound levels where the masking effects of ambient noise are naturally highest suggests that very long distance communication would rarely be possible. Fishes have evolved a diversity of sound generating organs and acoustic signals of various temporal and spectral contents. Fish sounds vary in structure, depending on the mechanism used to produce them (Hawkins, 1993). Generally, fish sounds are predominantly composed of low frequencies (less than 3 kHz).

    Since objects in the water scatter sound, fish are able to detect these objects through monitoring the ambient noise. Therefore, fish are probably able to detect prey, predators, conspecifics, and physical features by listening to environmental sounds (Hawkins, 1981). There are two sensory systems that enable fish to monitor the vibration-based information of their surroundings. The two sensory systems, the inner ear and the lateral line, constitute the acoustico-lateralis system.

    Although the hearing sensitivities of very few fish species have been studied to date, it is becoming obvious that the intra- and inter-specific variability is considerable (Coombs, 1981). Nedwell et al. (2004) compiled and published available fish audiogram information. A noninvasive electrophysiological recording method known as auditory brainstem response is now commonly used in the production of fish audiograms (Yan, 2004). Popper and Carlson (1998) and the Navy (2001) found that fish generally perceive underwater sounds in the frequency range of 50-2,000 Hz, with peak sensitivities below 800 Hz. Even though some fish are able to detect sounds in the ultrasonic frequency range, the thresholds at these higher frequencies tend to be considerably higher than those at the lower end of the auditory frequency range.

    Fish are sensitive to underwater impulsive sounds due to swim bladder resonance. As the pressure wave passes through a fish, the swim bladder is rapidly squeezed as the high pressure wave, and then the under pressure component of the wave, passes through the fish. The swim bladder may repeatedly expand and contract at the high sound pressure levels, creating pressure on the internal organs surrounding the swim bladder.

    Literature relating to the impacts of sound on marine fish species can be divided into the following categories: (1) Pathological effects; (2) physiological effects; and (3) behavioral effects. Pathological effects include lethal and sub-lethal physical damage to fish; physiological effects include primary and secondary stress responses; and behavioral effects include changes in exhibited behaviors of fish. Behavioral changes might be a direct reaction to a detected sound or a result of the anthropogenic sound masking natural sounds that the fish normally detect and to which they respond. The three types of effects are often interrelated in complex ways. For example, some physiological and behavioral effects could potentially lead to the ultimate pathological effect of mortality. Hastings and Popper (2005) reviewed what is known about the effects of sound on fishes and identified studies needed to address areas of uncertainty relative to measurement of sound and the responses of fishes. Popper et al. (2003/2004) also published a paper that reviews the effects of anthropogenic sound on the behavior and physiology of fishes.

    The level of sound at which a fish will react or alter its behavior is usually well above the detection level. Fish have been found to react to sounds when the sound level increased to about 20 dB above the detection level of 120 dB (Ona, 1988); however, the response threshold can depend on the time of year and the fish's physiological condition (Engas et al., 1993). In general, fish react more strongly to pulses of sound rather than a continuous signal (Blaxter et al., 1981), and a quicker alarm response is elicited when the sound signal intensity rises rapidly compared to sound rising more slowly to the same level.

    Investigations of fish behavior in relation to vessel noise (Olsen et al., 1983; Ona, 1988; Ona and Godo, 1990) have shown that fish react when the sound from the engines and propeller exceeds a certain level. Avoidance reactions have been observed in fish such as cod and herring when vessels approached close enough that received sound levels are 110 dB to 130 dB (Nakken, 1992; Olsen, 1979; Ona and Godo, 1990; Ona and Toresen, 1988). However, other researchers have found that fish such as polar cod, herring, and capelin are often attracted to vessels (apparently by the noise) and swim toward the vessel (Rostad et al., 2006). Typical sound source levels of vessel noise in the audible range for fish are 150 dB to 170 dB (Richardson et al., 1995).

    Carlson (1994), in a review of 40 years of studies concerning the use of underwater sound to deter salmonids from hazardous areas at hydroelectric dams and other facilities, concluded that salmonids were able to respond to low-frequency sound and to react to sound sources within a few feet of the source. He speculated that the reason that underwater sound had no effect on salmonids at distances greater than a few feet is because they react to water particle motion/acceleration, not sound pressures. Detectable particle motion is produced within very short distances of a sound source, although sound pressure waves travel farther.

    Potential Impacts to the Benthic Environment

    SAE's seismic survey requires the deployment of a submersible recording system in the inter-tidal and marine zones. An autonomous “nodal” (i.e., no cables) system would be placed on the seafloor by specific vessels in lines parallel to each other with a node line spacing of 402 m (0.25 mi). Each nodal “patch” would have 32 node lines parallel to each other. The lines generally run perpendicular to the shoreline. An entire patch would be placed on the seafloor prior to airgun activity. As the patches are surveyed, the node lines would be moved either side to side or inline to the next location. Placement and retrieval of the nodes may cause temporary and localized increases in turbidity on the seafloor. The substrate of Cook Inlet consists of glacial silt, clay, cobbles, pebbles, and sand (Sharma and Burrell, 1970). Sediments like sand and cobble dissipate quickly when suspended, but finer materials like clay and silt can create thicker plumes that may harm fish; however, the turbidity created by placing and removing nodes on the seafloor would settle to background levels within minutes after the cessation of activity.

    In addition, seismic noise will radiate throughout the water column from airguns and pingers until it dissipates to background levels. No studies have demonstrated that seismic noise affects the life stages, condition, or amount of food resources (fish, invertebrates, eggs) used by marine mammals, except when exposed to sound levels within a few meters of the seismic source or in few very isolated cases. Where fish or invertebrates did respond to seismic noise, the effects were temporary and of short duration. Consequently, disturbance to fish species due to the activities associated with the seismic survey (i.e., placement and retrieval of nodes and noise from sound sources) would be short term and fish would be expected to return to their pre-disturbance behavior once seismic survey activities cease.

    Based on the preceding discussion, the proposed activity is not expected to have any habitat-related effects that could cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations.

    Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization (ITA) under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (where relevant).

    Mitigation Measures Proposed by SAE

    For the proposed mitigation measures, SAE listed the following protocols to be implemented during its seismic survey program in Cook Inlet.

    1. Operation of Mitigation Airgun at Night

    SAE proposes to conduct both daytime and nighttime operations. Nighttime operations would be initiated only if a “mitigation airgun” (typically the 10 in3) has been continuously operational from the time that PSO monitoring has ceased for the day. Seismic activity would not ramp up from an extended shut-down (i.e., when the airgun has been down with no activity for at least 10 minutes) during nighttime operations, and survey activities would be suspended until the following day. At night, the vessel captain and crew would maintain lookout for marine mammals and would order the airgun(s) to be shut down if marine mammals are observed in or about to enter the established exclusion zones.

    2. Exclusion and Disturbance Zones

    SAE proposes to establish exclusion zones to avoid Level A harassment (“injury exclusion zone”) of all marine mammals and to avoid Level B harassment (“disturbance exclusion zone”) of any beluga whales or groups of five or more killer whales or harbor porpoises detected within the designated zones. The injury exclusion zone will correspond to the area around the source within which received levels equal or exceed 180 dB re 1 µPa [rms] for cetaceans and 190 dB re 1 µPa [rms] for pinnipeds and SAE will shut down or power down operations if any marine mammals are seen approaching or entering this zone (more detail below). The disturbance exclusion zone will correspond to the area around the source within which received levels equal or exceed 160 dB re 1 µPa [rms] and SAE will implement power down and/or shutdown measures, as appropriate, if any beluga whales or group of five or more killer whales or harbor porpoises are seen entering or approaching the disturbance exclusion zone.

    3. Power Down and Shutdown Procedures

    A power down is the immediate reduction in the number of operating energy sources from a full array firing to a mitigation airgun. A shutdown is the immediate cessation of firing of all energy sources. The arrays will be immediately powered down whenever a marine mammal is sighted approaching close to or within the applicable exclusion zone of the full arrays but is outside the applicable exclusion zone of the single source. If a marine mammal is sighted within the applicable exclusion zone of the single energy source, the entire array will be shutdown (i.e., no sources firing). Following a power down or a shutdown, airgun activity will not resume until the marine mammal has clearly left the applicable injury or disturbance exclusion zone. The animal will be considered to have cleared the zone if it: (1) Is visually observed to have left the zone; (2) has not been seen within the zone for 15 minutes in the case of pinnipeds and small odontocetes; or (3) has not been seen within the zone for 30 minutes in the case of large odontocetes, including killer whales and belugas.

    4. Ramp-up Procedures

    A ramp-up of an airgun array provides a gradual increase in sound levels, and involves a step-wise increase in the number and total volume of air guns firing until the full volume is achieved. The purpose of a ramp-up (or “soft start”) is to “warn” cetaceans and pinnipeds in the vicinity of the airguns and to provide the time for them to leave the area and thus avoid any potential injury or impairment of their hearing abilities.

    During the proposed seismic survey, the seismic operator will ramp up the airgun array slowly. NMFS proposes that the rate of ramp-up to be no more than 6 dB per 5-minute period. Ramp-up is used at the start of airgun operations, after a power- or shut-down, and after any period of greater than 10 minutes in duration without airgun operations (i.e., extended shutdown).

    A full ramp-up after a shutdown will not begin until there has been a minimum of 30 minutes of observation of the applicable exclusion zone by PSOs to assure that no marine mammals are present. The entire exclusion zone must be visible during the 30-minute lead-in to a full ramp up. If the entire exclusion zone is not visible, then ramp-up from a cold start cannot begin. If a marine mammal(s) is sighted within the injury exclusion zone during the 30-minute watch prior to ramp-up, ramp-up will be delayed until the marine mammal(s) is sighted outside of the zone or the animal(s) is not sighted for at least 15-30 minutes: 15 minutes for small odontocetes and pinnipeds (e.g. harbor porpoises, harbor seals, and Steller sea lions), or 30 minutes for large odontocetes (e.g., killer whales and beluga whales).

    5. Speed or Course Alteration

    If a marine mammal is detected outside the Level A injury exclusion zone and, based on its position and the relative motion, is likely to enter that zone, the vessel's speed and/or direct course may, when practical and safe, be changed to also minimize the effect on the seismic program. This can be used in coordination with a power down procedure. The marine mammal activities and movements relative to the seismic and support vessels will be closely monitored to ensure that the marine mammal does not approach within the applicable exclusion radius. If the mammal appears likely to enter the exclusion radius, further mitigative actions will be taken, i.e., either further course alterations, power down, or shut down of the airgun(s).

    6. Measures for Beluga Whales and Groups of Killer Whales and Harbor Porpoises

    The following additional protective measures for beluga whales and groups of five or more killer whales and harbor porpoises are proposed. Specifically, a 160-dB vessel monitoring zone would be established and monitored in Cook Inlet during all seismic surveys. If a beluga whale or groups of five or more killer whales and/or harbor porpoises are visually sighted approaching or within the 160-dB disturbance zone, survey activity would not commence until the animals are no longer present within the 160-dB disturbance zone. Whenever beluga whales or groups of five or more killer whales and/or harbor porpoises are detected approaching or within the 160-dB disturbance zone, the airguns may be powered down before the animal is within the 160-dB disturbance zone, as an alternative to a complete shutdown. If a power down is not sufficient, the sound source(s) shall be shut-down until the animals are no longer present within the 160-dB zone.

    Additional Mitigation Measures Proposed by NMFS

    In addition to the mitigation measures above, NMFS proposes implementation of the following mitigation measures.

    SAE will not operate airguns within 10 miles (16 km) of the mean higher high water (MHHW) line of the Susitna Delta (Beluga River to the Little Susitna River) between April 15 and October 15. The purpose of this mitigation measure is to protect beluga whales in the designated critical habitat in this area that is important for beluga whale feeding and calving during the spring and fall months. The range of the setback required by NMFS was designated to protect this important habitat area and also to create an effective buffer where sound does not encroach on this habitat. This seasonal exclusion is proposed to be in effect from April 15-October 15. Activities can occur within this area from October 16-April 14.

    The mitigation airgun will be operated at approximately one shot per minute, only during daylight and when there is good visibility, and will not be operated for longer than 3 hours in duration. In cases when the next start-up after the turn is expected to be during lowlight or low visibility, use of the mitigation airgun may be initiated 30 minutes before darkness or low visibility conditions occur and may be operated until the start of the next seismic acquisition line. The mitigation gun must still be operated at approximately one shot per minute.

    NMFS proposes that SAE must suspend seismic operations if a live marine mammal stranding is reported in Cook Inlet coincident to, or within 72 hours of, seismic survey activities involving the use of airguns (regardless of any suspected cause of the stranding). The shutdown must occur if the animal is within a distance two times that of the 160 dB isopleth of the largest airgun array configuration in use. This distance was chosen to create an additional buffer beyond the distance at which animals would typically be considered harassed, as animals involved in a live stranding event are likely compromised, with potentially increased susceptibility to stressors, and the goal is to decrease the likelihood that they are further disturbed or impacted by the seismic survey, regardless of what the original cause of the stranding event was. Shutdown procedures will remain in effect until NMFS determines and advises SAE that all live animals involved in the stranding have left the area (either of their own volition or following herding by responders).

    Finally, NMFS proposes that if any marine mammal species are encountered, during seismic activities for which take is not authorized, that are likely to be exposed to sound pressure levels (SPLs) greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms), then SAE must alter speed or course, power down or shut-down the sound source to avoid take of those species.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated SAE's proposed mitigation measures and considered a range of other measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measures are expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    1. Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    2. A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of seismic airguns, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    3. A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels of seismic airguns or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    4. A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels of seismic airguns or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    5. Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    6. For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on our evaluation of the applicant's proposed measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammals species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Proposed Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an ITA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking”. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for ITAs must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. SAE submitted information regarding marine mammal monitoring to be conducted during seismic operations as part of the proposed IHA application. That information can be found in Sections 11 and 13 of the application. The monitoring measures may be modified or supplemented based on comments or new information received from the public during the public comment period.

    Monitoring measures proposed by the applicant or prescribed by NMFS should contribute to or accomplish one or more of the following top-level goals:

    1. An increase in our understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammal species in the vicinity of the action, i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and/or density of species.

    2. An increase in our understanding of the nature, scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammal species to any of the potential stressor(s) associated with the action (e.g. sound or visual stimuli), through better understanding of one or more of the following: the action itself and its environment (e.g. sound source characterization, propagation, and ambient noise levels); the affected species (e.g. life history or dive pattern); the likely co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action (in whole or part) associated with specific adverse effects; and/or the likely biological or behavioral context of exposure to the stressor for the marine mammal (e.g. age class of exposed animals or known pupping, calving or feeding areas).

    3. An increase in our understanding of how individual marine mammals respond (behaviorally or physiologically) to the specific stressors associated with the action (in specific contexts, where possible, e.g., at what distance or received level).

    4. An increase in our understanding of how anticipated individual responses, to individual stressors or anticipated combinations of stressors, may impact either: the long-term fitness and survival of an individual; or the population, species, or stock (e.g., through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival).

    5. An increase in our understanding of how the activity affects marine mammal habitat, such as through effects on prey sources or acoustic habitat (e.g., through characterization of longer-term contributions of multiple sound sources to rising ambient noise levels and assessment of the potential chronic effects on marine mammals).

    6. An increase in understanding of the impacts of the activity on marine mammals in combination with the impacts of other anthropogenic activities or natural factors occurring in the region.

    7. An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of mitigation and monitoring measures.

    8. An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals (through improved technology or methodology), both specifically within the safety zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general, to better achieve the above goals.

    Proposed Monitoring Measures 1. Visual Vessel-Based Monitoring

    Vessel-based monitoring for marine mammals would be done by experienced PSOs throughout the period of marine survey activities. PSOs would monitor the occurrence and behavior of marine mammals near the survey vessel during all daylight periods (nautical dawn to nautical dusk) during operation and during most daylight periods when airgun operations are not occurring. PSO duties would include watching for and identifying marine mammals, recording their numbers, distances, and reactions to the survey operations, and documenting observed “take by harassment” as defined by NMFS.

    A minimum number of six PSOs (two per source vessel and two per support vessel) would be required onboard the survey vessel to meet the following criteria: (1) 100 Percent monitoring coverage during all periods of survey operations in daylight (nautical twilight-dawn to nautical twilight-dusk; (2) maximum of 4 consecutive hours on watch per PSO; and (3) maximum of 12 hours of watch time per day per PSO.

    PSO teams would consist of NMFS-approved field biologists. An experienced field crew leader would supervise the PSO team onboard the survey vessel. SAE currently plans to have PSOs aboard three vessels: The two source vessels and one support vessel (M/V Dreamcatcher). Two PSOs would be on the source vessels, and two PSOs would be on the support vessel to observe and implement the exclusion, power down, and shut down areas. When marine mammals are about to enter or are sighted within designated harassment and exclusion zones, airgun or pinger operations would be powered down (when applicable) or shut down immediately. The vessel-based observers would watch for marine mammals during all periods when sound sources are in operation and for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the start of airgun or pinger operations after an extended shut down.

    The observer(s) would watch for marine mammals from the best available vantage point on the source and support vessels, typically the flying bridge. The observer(s) would scan systematically with the unaided eye and 7 x 50 reticle binoculars, assisted by 40 x 80 long-range binoculars.

    All observations would be recorded in a standardized format. When a mammal sighting is made, the following information about the sighting would be recorded:

    • Species, group size, age/size/sex categories (if determinable), sighting cue, behavior when first sighted and after initial sighting, time of sighting, heading (if consistent), bearing and distance from the PSO, direction and speed relative to vessel, apparent reaction to activities (e.g., none, avoidance, approach, paralleling, etc.), closest point of approach, and behavioral pace;

    • Time, location, speed, activity of the vessel (e.g., seismic airguns off, pingers on, etc.), sea state, ice cover, visibility, and sun glare; and

    • The positions of other vessel(s) in the vicinity of the PSO location.

    The ship's position, speed of support vessels, and water temperature, water depth, sea state, ice cover, visibility, and sun glare would also be recorded at the start and end of each observation watch, every 30 minutes during a watch, and whenever there is a change in any of those variables.

    2. Visual Shore-Based Monitoring

    In addition to the vessel-based PSOs, SAE proposes to utilize shore-based monitoring daily in the event of summer seismic activity occurring nearshore to Cook Inlet beluga Critical Habitat Area 1, to visually monitor for marine mammals. The shore-based PSOs would scan the area prior to, during, and after the airgun operations and would be in contact with the vessel-based PSOs via radio to communicate sightings of marine mammals approaching or within the project area. This communication will allow the vessel-based observers to go on a “heightened” state of alert regarding occurrence of marine mammals in the area and aid in timely implementation of mitigation measures.

    Reporting Measures

    Immediate reports will be submitted to NMFS if 25 belugas are detected in the Level B disturbance exclusion zone to evaluate and make necessary adjustments to monitoring and mitigation. If the number of detected takes for any marine mammal species is met or exceeded, SAE will immediately cease survey operations involving the use of active sound sources (e.g., airguns and pingers) and notify NMFS.

    1. Weekly Reports

    SAE would submit a weekly field report to NMFS Headquarters as well as the Alaska Regional Office, no later than close of business each Thursday during the weeks when in-water seismic survey activities take place. The weekly field reports would summarize species detected (number, location, distance from seismic vessel, behavior), in-water activity occurring at the time of the sighting (discharge volume of array at time of sighting, seismic activity at time of sighting, visual plots of sightings, and number of power downs and shutdowns), behavioral reactions to in-water activities, and the number of marine mammals exposed.

    2. Monthly Reports

    Monthly reports will be submitted to NMFS for all months during which in-water seismic activities take place. The monthly report will contain and summarize the following information:

    • Dates, times, locations, heading, speed, weather, sea conditions (including Beaufort sea state and wind force), and associated activities during all seismic operations and marine mammal sightings.

    • Species, number, location, distance from the vessel, and behavior of any sighted marine mammals, as well as associated seismic activity (number of power-downs and shutdowns), observed throughout all monitoring activities.

    • An estimate of the number (by species) of: (i) Pinnipeds that have been exposed to the seismic activity (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms) and/or 190 dB re 1 µPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited; and (ii) cetaceans that have been exposed to the seismic activity (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms) and/or 180 dB re 1 µPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited.

    • A description of the implementation and effectiveness of the: (i) Terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion's Incidental Take Statement (ITS); and (ii) mitigation measures of the IHA. For the Biological Opinion, the report shall confirm the implementation of each Term and Condition, as well as any conservation recommendations, and describe their effectiveness for minimizing the adverse effects of the action on ESA-listed marine mammals.

    3. Annual Reports

    SAE would submit an annual report to NMFS's Permits and Conservation Division within 90 days after the end of operations on the water or at least 90 days prior to requiring a subsequent authorization, whichever comes first. The annual report would include:

    • Summaries of monitoring effort (e.g., total hours, total distances, and marine mammal distribution through the study period, accounting for sea state and other factors affecting visibility and detectability of marine mammals).

    • Analyses of the effects of various factors influencing detectability of marine mammals (e.g., sea state, number of observers, and fog/glare).

    • Species composition, occurrence, and distribution of marine mammal sightings, including date, water depth, numbers, age/size/gender categories (if determinable), group sizes, and ice cover.

    • Analyses of the effects of survey operations.

    • Sighting rates of marine mammals during periods with and without seismic survey activities (and other variables that could affect detectability), such as: (i) Initial sighting distances versus survey activity state; (ii) closest point of approach versus survey activity state; (iii) observed behaviors and types of movements versus survey activity state; (iv) numbers of sightings/individuals seen versus survey activity state; (v) distribution around the source vessels versus survey activity state; and (vi) numbers of animals detected in the 160 dB harassment (disturbance exclusion) zone.

    NMFS would review the draft annual report. SAE must then submit a final annual report to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, within 30 days after receiving comments from NMFS on the draft annual report. If NMFS decides that the draft annual report needs no comments, the draft report shall be considered to be the final report.

    4. Notification of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals

    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this Authorization, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), SAE shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, her designees, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Name and type of vessel involved;

    • Vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS shall work with SAE to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. SAE may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter or email, or telephone.

    In the event that SAE discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), SAE would immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, her designees, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with SAE to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that SAE discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the authorized activities (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), SAE shall report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, her designees, the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline, and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators within 24 hours of the discovery. SAE shall provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident.

    Monitoring Results From Previously Authorized Activities

    While SAE has previously applied for Authorizations for work in Cook Inlet, Alaska, work was not conducted upon receiving the Authorization. SAE has previously conducted work under Incidental Harassment Authorizations in the Beaufort Sea.

    Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment]. Only take by Level B behavioral harassment is anticipated as a result of the proposed seismic survey program with proposed mitigation. Anticipated impacts to marine mammals are associated with noise propagation from the sound sources (e.g., airguns and pingers) used in the seismic survey; no take is expected to result from vessel strikes because of the slow speed of the vessels (4-5 knots).

    SAE requests authorization to take nine marine mammal species by Level B harassment. These nine marine mammal species are: Cook Inlet beluga whale; humpback whale; minke whale; killer whale; harbor porpoise; Dall's porpoise; gray whale; harbor seal; and Steller sea lion.

    For impulse sounds, such as those produced by airgun(s) used in the seismic survey, NMFS uses the 160 dB re 1µPa (rms) isopleth to indicate the onset of Level B harassment. The current Level A (injury) harassment threshold is 180 dB (rms) for cetaceans and 190 dB (rms) for pinnipeds. The NMFS annual aerial survey data from 2002-2012 was used to derive density estimates for each species (number of individuals/km2).

    Applicable Zones for Estimating “Take by Harassment”

    To estimate potential takes by Level B harassment for this proposed authorization, as well as for mitigation radii to be implemented by PSOs, ranges to the 160 dB (rms), 180 dB, and 190 dB isopleths were estimated at three different water depths (5 m, 25 m, and 45 m) . The distances to this threshold for the nearshore survey locations are provided in Table 4 in SAE's application. The distances to the thresholds provided in Table 4 in SAE's application correspond to the broadside and endfire directions.

    Compared to the airguns, the relevant isopleths for the positioning pinger are quite small. The distances to the 190, 180, and 160 dB (rms) isopleths are 1 m, 3 m, and 25 m (3.3, 10, and 82 ft), respectively.

    Estimates of Marine Mammal Density

    SAE used one method to estimate densities for Cook Inlet beluga whales and another method for the other marine mammals in the area expected to be taken by harassment. Both methods are described in this document.

    1. Beluga Whale Density Estimates

    In similar fashion to a previous IHA issued to Apache, SAE used a habitat-based model developed by Goetz et al. (2012a). Information from that model has once again been used to estimate densities of beluga whales in Cook Inlet and we consider it to be the best available information on beluga density. A summary of the model is provided here, and additional detail can be found in Goetz et al. (2012a). To develop NMML's estimated densities of belugas, Goetz et al. (2012a) developed a model based on aerial survey data, depth soundings, coastal substrate type, environmental sensitivity index, anthropogenic disturbance, and anadromous fish streams to predict beluga densities throughout Cook Inlet. The result of this work is a beluga density map of Cook Inlet, which easily sums the belugas predicted within a given geographic area. NMML developed its predictive habitat model from the distribution and group size of beluga whales observed between 1994 and 2008. A 2-part “hurdle” model (a hurdle model in which there are two processes, one generating the zeroes and one generating the positive values) was applied to describe the physical and anthropogenic factors that influence (1) beluga presence (mixed model logistic regression) and (2) beluga count data (mixed model Poisson regression). Beluga presence was negatively associated with sources of anthropogenic disturbance and positively associated with fish availability and access to tidal flats and sandy substrates. Beluga group size was positively associated with tidal flats and proxies for seasonally available fish. Using this analysis, Goetz et al. (2012) produced habitat maps for beluga presence, group size, and the expected number of belugas in each 1 km2 cell of Cook Inlet. The habitat-based model developed by NMML uses a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information; that is, data identified according to location. However, the Goetz et al. (2012) model does not incorporate seasonality into the density estimates. Rather, SAE factors in seasonal considerations of beluga density into the design of the survey tracklines and locations (as discussion in more detail later in this document) in addition to other factors such as weather, ice conditions, and seismic needs.

    2. Non-Beluga Whale Species Density Estimates

    Densities of other marine mammals in the proposed project area were estimated from the annual aerial surveys conducted by NMFS for Cook Inlet beluga whale between 2000 and 2012 in June (Rugh et al., 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004b, 2005b, 2006, 2007; Shelden et al., 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012; Hobbs et al., 2011). These surveys were flown in June to collect abundance data of beluga whales, but sightings of other marine mammals were also reported. Although these data were only collected in one month each year, these surveys provide the best available relatively long term data set for sighting information in the proposed project area. The general trend in marine mammal sighting is that beluga whales and harbor seals are seen most frequently in upper Cook Inlet, with higher concentrations of harbor seals near haul out sites on Kalgin Island and of beluga whales near river mouths, particularly the Susitna River. The other marine mammals of interest for this authorization (humpback whales, gray whales, minke whales, killer whales, harbor porpoises, Dall's porpoises, Steller sea lions) are observed infrequently in upper Cook Inlet and more commonly in lower Cook Inlet. In addition, these densities are calculated based on a relatively large area that was surveyed, much larger than the proposed area for a given year of seismic data acquisition. Furthermore, these annual aerial surveys are conducted only in June (numbers from August surveys were not used because the area surveyed was not provided), so it does not account for seasonal variations in distribution or habitat use of each species.

    Table 5 in SAE's application provides a summary of the results of NMFS aerial survey data collected in June from 2000 to 2012. To estimate density of marine mammals, total number of individuals (other species) observed for the entire survey area by year (surveys usually last several days) was divided by the approximate total area surveyed for each year (density = individuals/km2). As noted previously, the total number of animals observed for the entire survey includes both lower and upper Cook Inlet, so the total number reported and used to calculate density is higher than the number of marine mammals anticipated to be observed in the project area. In particular, the total number of harbor seals observed on several surveys is very high due to several large haul outs in lower and middle Cook Inlet. The table below (Table 2) provides average density estimates for gray whales, harbor seals, harbor porpoises, killer whales, and Steller sea lions over the 2000-2012 period.

    Table 2—Animal Densities in Cook Inlet Species Average density (animals/km2) Humpback whale 0.0024 Gray whale 9.45E-05 Minke whale 1.14E-05 Killer whale 0.0008 Dall's porpoise 0.0002 Harbor porpoise 0.0033 Harbor seal 0.28 Steller sea lion 0.008 Calculation of Takes by Harassment 1. Beluga Whales

    As a result of discussions with NMFS, SAE has used the NMML model (Goetz et al., 2012a) for the estimate of takes in this proposed authorization. SAE has established two zones (Zone 1 and Zone 2) and proposes to conduct seismic surveys within all, or part of these zones; to be determined as weather, ice, and priorities dictate, which can be found in the attached figure which will be posted at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/oilgas.htm.

    Based on information using Goetz et al. model(2012a), SAE derived one density estimate for beluga whales in Upper Cook Inlet (i.e., north of the Forelands) and another density estimate for beluga whales in Lower Cook Inlet (i.e., south of the Forelands). The density estimate for Upper Cook Inlet is 0.0212 and is 0.0056 for Lower Cook Inlet. SAE's seismic operational area would be determined as weather, ice, and priorities dictate. SAE has requested a maximum allowed take for Cook Inlet beluga whales of 30 individuals. SAE would operate in a portion of the total seismic operation area of 3,934 km2 (1,519 mi2), such that when one multiplies the anticipated beluga whale density based on the seismic survey operational area times the area to be ensonified to the 160-dB isopleth of 9.5 km (5.9 mi) and takes the number of days into consideration, estimated takes will not exceed 30 beluga whales.

    In order to estimate when that level is reached, SAE is using a formula based on the total potential area of each seismic survey project zone (including the 160 dB buffer) and the average density of beluga whales for each zone. Daily take is calculated as the product of a daily ensonified area times the density in that area. Then daily take is summed across all the days of the survey until the survey approaches 30 takes.

    Table 3—Expected Beluga Whale Takes, Total Area of Zone, and Average Beluga Whale Density Estimates Expected Beluga takes from NMML model
  • (including the 160 dB buffer)
  • Total area of zone (km2)
  • (including the 160 dB buffer)
  • Average take density
  • (dx)
  • Zone 1—Upper Inlet 28 2,126 d1 = 0.0212 Zone 2—Lower Inlet 29 1,808 d2 = 0.0056

    SAE will limit surveying in the proposed seismic survey area (Zones 1 and 2 presented in Figures 1 and 2 of SAE's application) to ensure a maximum of 30 beluga takes during the open water season. In order to ensure that SAE does not exceed 30 beluga whale takes, the following equation is being used:

    EN20MR15.004

    This formula also allows SAE to have flexibility to prioritize survey locations in response to local weather, ice, and operational constraints. SAE may choose to survey portions of a zone or a zone in its entirety, and the analysis in this proposed authorization takes this into account. Using this formula, if SAE surveys the entire area of Zone 1 (1,319 km2), then essentially none of Zone 2 will be surveyed because the input in the calculation denoted by d2A2 would essentially need to be zero to ensure that the total allotted proposed take of beluga whales is not exceeded. The use of this formula will ensure that SAE's proposed seismic survey will not exceed 30 calculated beluga takes.

    Operations are required to cease once SAE has conducted seismic data acquisition in an area where multiplying the applicable density by the total ensonified area out to the 160-dB isopleth equaled 30 beluga whales, using the equation provided above.

    2. Other Marine Mammal Species

    The estimated takes of other Cook Inlet marine mammals that may be potentially harassed during the seismic surveys was calculated by multiplying the following:

    • Average density estimates (derived from NMFS aerial surveys from 2000-2012 and presented in Table 3 in this document)

    • the area ensonified by levels ≥160 dB re μPa rms in one day (calculated using the total ensonified area per day of 414.92 km2, which is derived by applying the buffer distance to the 160 dB isopleth to the area of 6 survey tracklines),

    • the number of potential survey days (160).

    This equation provides the number of instances of take that will occur in the duration of the survey, but overestimates the number of individual animals taken because not every exposure on every successive day is expected to be a new individual. Especially with resident species, re-exposures of individuals are expected across the months of the survey.

    SAE anticipates that a crew will collect seismic data for 8-10 hours per day over approximately 160 days over the course of 8 to 9 months each year. It is assumed that over the course of these 160 days, no more than 777 km2 will be surveyed in total, but areas can be surveyed more than once. It is important to note that environmental conditions (such as ice, wind, fog) will play a significant role in the actual operating days; therefore, these estimates are conservative in order to provide a basis for probability of encountering these marine mammal species in the project area.

    As noted above, using the above method results in an accurate estimate of the instances of take, but likely significantly overestimates the number of individual animals expected to be taken. With most species, even this overestimated number is still very small, and additional analysis is not really necessary to ensure minor impacts. However, because of the number and density of harbor seals in the area, a more accurate understanding of the number of individuals likely taken is necessary to fully analyze the impacts and ensure that the total number of harbor seals taken is small. Montgomery et al. (2007) surveyed harbor seals in Cook Inlet from spring to fall and found Cook Inlet harbor seals show preference for haulouts away from anthropogenic disturbance and near abundant prey and deep water. In order to estimate the number of individual harbor seals likely taken, we multiplied the total ensonified area of the entire project (1,732 km2) times the average harbor seal density from NMML surveys (2002-2012) to yield a snapshot abundance for the project area, which would represent the number of individuals taken in the project area if one assumed that no new individuals would enter the area during the duration of the project. Since, however, we do believe that some new individual harbor seals will enter the project area during the course of the surveys, this snapshot abundance was adjusted using the concept of turnover factors, from Wood et al. 2012, to account for new animals entering the survey area. Wood derived turnover factors in an open ocean setting, using 1.0 (no turnover) for resident populations, using a very specifically derived 2.5 factor for migratory species, and establishing a 1.25 factor for all other species. We did not use the turnover factor of 1 for harbor seals suggested by Wood, but rather considered a more conservative 2.5 to accommodate for the difference between an ocean environment and the enclosed environment of the Inlet.

    Summary of Proposed Level B Harassment Takes

    Table 4 here outlines the density estimates used to estimate Level B harassment takes, the requested Level B harassment take levels, the abundance of each species in Cook Inlet, the percentage of each species or stock estimated to be taken, and current population trends.

    Table 4—Density Estimates, Proposed Level B Harassment Take Levels, Species or Stock Abundance, Percentage of Population Proposed To Be Taken, and Species Trend Status Species Average density
  • (#individuals/km2)
  • Proposed Level B take Abundance Percentage of population Trend
    Beluga whale Upper=0.0212
  • Lower=0.0056
  • 30 312 9.6 Decreasing.
    Humpback whale 0.0024 158 7,469 2.1 Southeast Alaska increasing. Minke whale 1.14E-05 1 1,233 0.06 No reliable information. Gray whale 5.33E-05 7 19,126 0.033 Stable/increasing. Killer whale 0.00082 55 2,347 (resident)
  • 345 (transient)
  • 2.34
  • 15.9
  • Resident stock possibly increasing Transient stock stable.
    Harbor porpoise 0.0033 219 31,046 0.70 No reliable information. Dall's porpoise 0.0002 14 83,400 0.016 No reliable information. Harbor seal 0.28 1,223 22,900 5.34 Stable. Steller sea lion 0.0082 542 45,649 1.19 Decreasing but with regional variability (some stable or increasing).
    Analyses and Preliminary Determinations Negligible Impact Analysis

    Negligible impact is “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival” (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (critical reproductive time or location, feeding, migration, etc.), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, effects on habitat, and the status of the species.

    Given the proposed mitigation and related monitoring, no injuries or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of SAE's proposed seismic survey in Cook Inlet, and none are proposed to be authorized. Additionally, animals in the area are not expected to incur hearing impairment (i.e., TTS or PTS) or non-auditory physiological effects. The number of takes that are anticipated and proposed to be authorized are expected to be limited to short-term Level B behavioral harassment. The seismic airguns do not operate continuously over a 24-hour period. Rather airguns are operational for a few hours at a time totaling about 10 hours a day.

    Cook Inlet beluga whales, the western DPS of Steller sea lions, and Central North Pacific humpback whales are listed as endangered under the ESA. These stocks are also considered depleted under the MMPA. The estimated annual rate of decline for Cook Inlet beluga whales was 0.6 percent between 2002 and 2012. Steller sea lion trends for the western stock are variable throughout the region with some decreasing and others remaining stable or even indicating slight increases. The Central North Pacific population of humpbacks is known to be increasing, with different techniques predicting abundance increases between 4.9 to 7 percent annually. The other seven species that may be taken by harassment during SAE's proposed seismic survey program are not listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA nor as depleted under the MMPA.

    Odontocete (including Cook Inlet beluga whales, killer whales, and harbor porpoises) reactions to seismic energy pulses are usually assumed to be limited to shorter distances from the airgun(s) than are those of mysticetes, in part because odontocete low-frequency hearing is assumed to be less sensitive than that of mysticetes. Belugas in the Canadian Beaufort Sea in summer appear to be fairly responsive to seismic energy, with few being sighted within 10-20 km (6-12 mi) of seismic vessels during aerial surveys (Miller et al., 2005). However, as noted above, Cook Inlet belugas are more accustomed to anthropogenic sound than beluga whales in the Beaufort Sea. Therefore, the results from the Beaufort Sea surveys do not directly translate to potential reactions of Cook Inlet beluga whales. Also, due to the dispersed distribution of beluga whales in Cook Inlet during winter and the concentration of beluga whales in upper Cook Inlet from late April through early fall, belugas would likely occur in small numbers in the majority of SAE's proposed survey area during the majority of SAE's annual operational timeframe of April through December. For the same reason, as well as mitigation measures, it is unlikely that animals would be exposed to received levels capable of causing injury.

    The addition of nine vessels, and noise due to vessel operations associated with the seismic survey, would not be outside the present experience of marine mammals in Cook Inlet, although levels may increase locally. Given the large number of vessels in Cook Inlet and the apparent habituation to vessels by Cook Inlet beluga whales and the other marine mammals that may occur in the area, vessel activity and noise is not expected to have effects that could cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations. Potential impacts to marine mammal habitat were discussed previously in this document (see the “Anticipated Effects on Habitat” section). Although some disturbance is possible to food sources of marine mammals, the impacts are anticipated to be minor enough as to not affect annual rates of recruitment or survival of marine mammals in the area. Based on the size of Cook Inlet where feeding by marine mammals occurs versus the localized area of the marine survey activities, any missed feeding opportunities in the direct project area would be minor based on the fact that other feeding areas exist elsewhere. Taking into account the mitigation measures that are planned, effects on cetaceans are generally expected to be restricted to avoidance of a limited area around the survey operation and short-term changes in behavior, falling within the MMPA definition of “Level B harassment”. Animals are not expected to permanently abandon any area that is surveyed, and any behaviors that are interrupted during the activity are expected to resume once the activity ceases. Only a small portion of marine mammal habitat will be affected at any time, and other areas within Cook Inlet will be available for necessary biological functions. In addition, NMFS proposes to seasonally restrict seismic survey operations in the area known to be important for beluga whale feeding, calving, or nursing. The primary location for these biological life functions occurs in the Susitna Delta region of upper Cook Inlet. NMFS proposes to implement a 16 km (10 mi) seasonal exclusion from seismic survey operations in this region from April 15-October 15. The highest concentrations of belugas are typically found in this area from early May through September each year. NMFS has incorporated a 2-week buffer on each end of this seasonal use timeframe to account for any anomalies in distribution and marine mammal usage.

    Mitigation measures such as controlled vessel speed, dedicated marine mammal observers, speed and course alterations, and shutdowns or power downs when marine mammals are seen within defined ranges designed both to avoid injury and disturbance will further reduce short-term reactions and minimize any effects on hearing sensitivity. In all cases, the effects of the seismic survey are expected to be short-term, with no lasting biological consequence. Therefore, the exposure of cetaceans to SAE's proposed seismic survey activity, operation is not anticipated to have an effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival of the affected species or stocks, and therefore will have a negligible impact on them.

    Some individual pinnipeds may be exposed to sound from the proposed seismic surveys more than once during the timeframe of the project. Taking into account the mitigation measures that are planned, effects on pinnipeds are generally expected to be restricted to avoidance of a limited area around the survey operation and short-term changes in behavior, falling within the MMPA definition of “Level B harassment”. Animals are not expected to permanently abandon any area that is surveyed, and any behaviors that are interrupted during the activity are expected to resume once the activity ceases. Only a small portion of pinniped habitat will be affected at any time, and other areas within Cook Inlet will be available for necessary biological functions. In addition, the area where the survey will take place is not known to be an important location where pinnipeds haul out. The closest known haul-out site is located on Kalgin Island, which is about 22 km from the McArther River. More recently, some large congregations of harbor seals have been observed hauling out in upper Cook Inlet. However, mitigation measures, such as vessel speed, course alteration, and visual monitoring, and restrictions will be implemented to help reduce impacts to the animals. Therefore, the exposure of pinnipeds to sounds produced by this phase of SAE's proposed seismic survey is not anticipated to have an effect on annual rates of recruitment or survival on those species or stocks.

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total annual marine mammal take from SAE's proposed seismic survey will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers Analysis

    The requested takes proposed to be authorized annually represent 9.6 percent of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population of approximately 312 animals (Allen and Angliss, 2014), 2.34 percent of the Alaska resident stock and 15.9 percent of the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Island and Bering Sea stock of killer whales (1,123 residents and 345 transients), 0.70 percent of the Gulf of Alaska stock of approximately 31,046 harbor porpoises, 2.1 percent of the 7,469 Central North Pacific humpback whales, 0.06 percent of the 1,233 Alaska minke whales, 0.016 percent of the 83,400 Gulf of Alaska Dall's porpoise, and 0.033 percent of the eastern North Pacific stock of approximately 19,126 gray whales. The take requests presented for harbor seals represent 5.34 percent of the Cook Inlet/Shelikof stock of approximately 22,900 animals. The requested takes proposed for Steller sea lions represent 1.19 percent of the U.S. portion of the western stock of approximately 45,649 animals. These take estimates represent the percentage of each species or stock that could be taken by Level B behavioral harassment.

    NMFS finds that any incidental take reasonably likely to result from the effects of the proposed activity, as proposed to be mitigated through this IHA, will be limited to small numbers relative to the affected species or stocks. In addition to the quantitative methods used to estimate take, NMFS also considered qualitative factors that further support the “small numbers” determination, including: (1) The seasonal distribution and habitat use patterns of Cook Inlet beluga whales, which suggest that for much of the time only a small portion of the population would be accessible to impacts from SAE's activity, as most animals are found in the Susitna Delta region of Upper Cook Inlet from early May through September; (2) other cetacean species and Steller sea lions are not common in the seismic survey area; (3) the proposed mitigation requirements, which provide spatio-temporal limitations that avoid impacts to large numbers of belugas feeding and calving in the Susitna Delta and limit exposures to sound levels associated with Level B harassment; (4) the proposed monitoring requirements and mitigation measures described earlier in this document for all marine mammal species that will further reduce the amount of takes; and (5) monitoring results from previous activities that indicated low numbers of beluga whale sightings within the Level B disturbance exclusion zone and low levels of Level B harassment takes of other marine mammals. Therefore, NMFS determined that the numbers of animals likely to be taken are small.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species for Taking for Subsistence Uses Relevant Subsistence Uses

    The subsistence harvest of marine mammals transcends the nutritional and economic values attributed to the animal and is an integral part of the cultural identity of the region's Alaska Native communities. Inedible parts of the whale provide Native artisans with materials for cultural handicrafts, and the hunting itself perpetuates Native traditions by transmitting traditional skills and knowledge to younger generations (NOAA, 2007).

    The Cook Inlet beluga whale has traditionally been hunted by Alaska Natives for subsistence purposes. For several decades prior to the 1980s, the Native Village of Tyonek residents were the primary subsistence hunters of Cook Inlet beluga whales. During the 1980s and 1990s, Alaska Natives from villages in the western, northwestern, and North Slope regions of Alaska either moved to or visited the south central region and participated in the yearly subsistence harvest (Stanek, 1994). From 1994 to 1998, NMFS estimated 65 whales per year (range 21-123) were taken in this harvest, including those successfully taken for food and those struck and lost. NMFS concluded that this number was high enough to account for the estimated 14 percent annual decline in the population during this time (Hobbs et al., 2008). Actual mortality may have been higher, given the difficulty of estimating the number of whales struck and lost during the hunts. In 1999, a moratorium was enacted (Pub. L. 106-31) prohibiting the subsistence take of Cook Inlet beluga whales except through a cooperative agreement between NMFS and the affected Alaska Native organizations. Since the Cook Inlet beluga whale harvest was regulated in 1999 requiring cooperative agreements, five beluga whales have been struck and harvested. Those beluga whales were harvested in 2001 (one animal), 2002 (one animal), 2003 (one animal), and 2005 (two animals). The Native Village of Tyonek agreed not to hunt or request a hunt in 2007, when no co-management agreement was to be signed (NMFS, 2008a).

    On October 15, 2008, NMFS published a final rule that established long-term harvest limits on Cook Inlet beluga whales that may be taken by Alaska Natives for subsistence purposes (73 FR 60976). That rule prohibits harvest for a 5-year interval period if the average stock abundance of Cook Inlet beluga whales over the prior five-year interval is below 350 whales. Harvest levels for the current 5-year planning interval (2013-2017) are zero because the average stock abundance for the previous five-year period (2008-2012) was below 350 whales. Based on the average abundance over the 2002-2007 period, no hunt occurred between 2008 and 2012 (NMFS, 2008a). The Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council, which managed the Alaska Native Subsistence fishery with NMFS, was disbanded by a unanimous vote of the Tribes' representatives on June 20, 2012. At this time, no harvest is expected in 2015 or, likely, in 2016.

    Data on the harvest of other marine mammals in Cook Inlet are lacking. Some data are available on the subsistence harvest of harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and killer whales in Alaska in the marine mammal stock assessments. However, these numbers are for the Gulf of Alaska including Cook Inlet, and they are not indicative of the harvest in Cook Inlet.

    There is a low level of subsistence hunting for harbor seals in Cook Inlet. Seal hunting occurs opportunistically among Alaska Natives who may be fishing or travelling in the upper Inlet near the mouths of the Susitna River, Beluga River, and Little Susitna River. Some data are available on the subsistence harvest of harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and killer whales in Alaska in the marine mammal stock assessments. However, these numbers are for the Gulf of Alaska including Cook Inlet, and they are not indicative of the harvest in Cook Inlet. Some detailed information on the subsistence harvest of harbor seals is available from past studies conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (Wolfe et al., 2009). In 2008, 33 harbor seals were taken for harvest in the Upper Kenai-Cook Inlet area. In the same study, reports from hunters stated that harbor seal populations in the area were increasing (28.6%) or remaining stable (71.4%). The specific hunting regions identified were Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, and Tyonek, and hunting generally peaks in March, September, and November (Wolfe et al., 2009).

    Potential Impacts on Availability for Subsistence Uses

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) also requires NMFS to determine that the taking will not have an unmitigable adverse effect on the availability of marine mammal species or stocks for subsistence use. NMFS has defined “unmitigable adverse impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as an impact resulting from the specified activity: (1) That is likely to reduce the availability of the species to a level insufficient for a harvest to meet subsistence needs by: (i) Causing the marine mammals to abandon or avoid hunting areas; (ii) Directly displacing subsistence users; or (iii) Placing physical barriers between the marine mammals and the subsistence hunters; and (2) That cannot be sufficiently mitigated by other measures to increase the availability of marine mammals to allow subsistence needs to be met.

    The primary concern is the disturbance of marine mammals through the introduction of anthropogenic sound into the marine environment during the proposed seismic survey. Marine mammals could be behaviorally harassed and either become more difficult to hunt or temporarily abandon traditional hunting grounds. However, the proposed seismic survey will not have any impacts to beluga harvests as none currently occur in Cook Inlet. Additionally, subsistence harvests of other marine mammal species are limited in Cook Inlet.

    Plan of Cooperation or Measures To Minimize Impacts to Subsistence Hunts

    Regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(12) require IHA applicants for activities that take place in Arctic waters to provide a Plan of Cooperation or information that identifies what measures have been taken and/or will be taken to minimize adverse effects on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence purposes. The entire upper Cook unit and a portion of the lower Cook unit falls north of 60° N, or within the region NMFS has designated as an Arctic subsistence use area. There are several villages in SAE's proposed project area that have traditionally hunted marine mammals, primarily harbor seals. Tyonek is the only tribal village in upper Cook Inlet with a tradition of hunting marine mammals, in this case harbor seals and beluga whales. However, for either species the annual recorded harvest since the 1980s has averaged about one or fewer of either species (Fall et al. 1984, Wolfe et al. 2009, SRBA and HC 2011), and there is currently a moratorium on subsistence harvest of belugas. Further, many of the seals that are harvested are done incidentally to salmon fishing or moose hunting (Fall et al. 1984, Merrill and Orpheim 2013), often near the mouths of the Susitna Delta rivers (Fall et al. 1984) north of SAE's proposed seismic survey area.

    Villages in lower Cook Inlet adjacent to SAE's proposed seismic area (Kenai, Salamatof, and Ninilchik) have either not traditionally hunted beluga whales, or at least not in recent years, and rarely do they harvest sea lions. Between 1992 and 2008, the only reported sea lion harvests from this area were two Steller sea lions taken by hunters from Kenai (Wolfe et al. 2009). These villages more commonly harvest harbor seals, with Kenai reporting an average of about 13 per year between 1992 and 2008 (Wolfe et al. 2008). According to Fall et al. (1984), many of the seals harvested by hunters from these villages were taken on the west side of the inlet during hunting excursions for moose and black bears (or outside SAE's lower Cook unit).

    Although marine mammals remain an important subsistence resource in Cook Inlet, the number of animals annually harvested are low, and are primarily harbor seals. Much of the harbor seal harvest occurs incidental to other fishing and hunting activities, and at areas outside of the SAE's proposed seismic areas such as the Susitna Delta or the west side of lower Cook Inlet. Also, SAE is unlikely to conduct seismic activity in the vicinity of any of the river mouths where large numbers of seals haul out.

    SAE has identified the following features that are intended to reduce impacts to subsistence users:

    • In-water seismic activities will follow mitigation procedures to minimize effects on the behavior of marine mammals and, therefore, opportunities for harvest by Alaska Native communities.

    SAE and NMFS recognize the importance of ensuring that ANOs and federally recognized tribes are informed, engaged, and involved during the permitting process and will continue to work with the ANOs and tribes to discuss operations and activities.

    Prior to offshore activities SAE will consult with nearby communities such as Nikiski, Tyonek, Ninilchik, Anchor point. SAE plans to attend and present the program description to the different groups listed in Section 3 prior to operations within those areas. During these meetings discussions will include our project description, maps of project area and resolutions of potential conflicts. These meetings will allow SAE to understand community concerns, and requests for communication or mitigation. Additional communications will continue throughout the project. Meetings will also be held with Native Corporation leaders to establish subsistence activities and timelines. Ongoing discussions and meeting with federal and state agencies during the permit process.

    A specific meeting schedule has not been finalized, but meetings with the entities identified in Section 3 will occur between December 2014 and March 2015.

    SAE will document results of all meetings and incorporate to mitigate concerns into the Plan of Cooperation (POC). There shall be a review of permit stipulations and a permit matrix developed for the crews. The means of communications and contacts list will be developed and implemented into the project. The use of PSOs/MMO's on board the vessels will ensure that appropriate precautions are taken to avoid harassment of marine mammals.

    If a conflict does occur with project activities involving subsistence or fishing, the project manager will immediately contact the affected party to resolve the conflict. If avoidance is not possible, the project manager will initiate communication with the Operations Supervisor to resolve the issue and plan an alternative course of action. The communications will involve the Permits Manager and the Anchorage Office of SAE.

    Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Preliminary Determination

    The project will not have any effect on beluga whale harvests because no beluga harvest will take place in 2015. Additionally, the proposed seismic survey area is not an important native subsistence site for other subsistence species of marine mammals, and Cook Inlet contains a relatively small proportion of marine mammals utilizing Cook Inlet; thus, the number harvested is expected to be extremely low. The timing and location of subsistence harvest of Cook Inlet harbor seals may coincide with SAE's project, but because this subsistence hunt is conducted opportunistically and at such a low level (NMFS, 2013c), SAE's program is not expected to have an impact on the subsistence use of harbor seals. Moreover, the proposed survey would result in only temporary disturbances. Accordingly, the specified activity would not impact the availability of these other marine mammal species for subsistence uses.

    NMFS anticipates that any effects from SAE's proposed seismic survey on marine mammals, especially harbor seals and Cook Inlet beluga whales, which are or have been taken for subsistence uses, would be short-term, site specific, and limited to inconsequential changes in behavior and mild stress responses. NMFS does not anticipate that the authorized taking of affected species or stocks will reduce the availability of the species to a level insufficient for a harvest to meet subsistence needs by: (1) Causing the marine mammals to abandon or avoid hunting areas; (2) directly displacing subsistence users; or (3) placing physical barriers between the marine mammals and the subsistence hunters; and that cannot be sufficiently mitigated by other measures to increase the availability of marine mammals to allow subsistence needs to be met. Based on the description of the specified activity, the measures described to minimize adverse effects on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence purposes, and the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures, NMFS has preliminarily determined that there will not be an unmitigable adverse impact on subsistence uses from SAE's proposed activities.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    There are three marine mammal species listed as endangered under the ESA with confirmed or possible occurrence in the proposed project area: the Cook Inlet beluga whale, the western DPS of Steller sea lion, and the Central North Pacific humpback whale. In addition, the proposed action could occur within 10 miles of designated critical habitat for the Cook Inlet beluga whale. NMFS's Permits and Conservation Division has initiated consultation with NMFS' Alaska Region Protected Resources Division under section 7 of the ESA. This consultation will be concluded prior to issuing any final authorization.

    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    NMFS has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the issuance of an IHA to SAE for the proposed oil and gas exploration seismic survey program in Cook Inlet. The Draft EA has been made available for public comment concurrently with this proposed authorization (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will finalize the EA and either conclude with a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) or prepare an Environmental Impact Statement prior to issuance of the final authorization (if issued).

    Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, we propose to issue an IHA to SAExploration Inc. for taking marine mammals incidental to a seismic survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. The proposed IHA language is provided next.

    This section contains a draft of the IHA itself. The wording contained in this section is proposed for inclusion in the IHA (if issued).

    Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analysis, the draft authorization, and any other aspect of the Notice of Proposed IHA for SAExploration Inc. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our final decision on SAE's request for an MMPA authorization.

    Incidental Harassment Authorization

    SAExploration Inc. (SAE), 8240 Sandlewood Place, Anchorage, Alaska 99507, is hereby authorized under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(D)), to harass small numbers of marine mammals incidental to specified activities associated with a marine geophysical (seismic) survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska, contingent upon the following conditions:

    1. This Authorization is valid from April 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

    2. This Authorization is valid only for SAE's activities associated with seismic survey operations that shall occur within the areas denoted as Zone 1 and Zone 2 as depicted in the attached Figures 1 and 2 of SAE's January 2015 application to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

    3. Species Authorized and Level of Take

    (a) The incidental taking of marine mammals, by Level B harassment only, is limited to the following species in the waters of Cook Inlet:

    (i) Odontocetes: See Table 1 (attached) for authorized species and take numbers.

    (ii) Pinnipeds: See Table 1 (attached) for authorized species and take numbers.

    (iii) If any marine mammal species are encountered during seismic activities that are not listed in Table 1 (attached) for authorized taking and are likely to be exposed to sound pressure levels (SPLs) greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms), then the Holder of this Authorization must alter speed or course, power down or shut-down the sound source to avoid take.

    (b) The taking by injury (Level A harassment) serious injury, or death of any of the species listed in Table 1 or the taking of any kind of any other species of marine mammal is prohibited and may result in the modification, suspension or revocation of this Authorization.

    (c) If the number of detected takes of any marine mammal species listed in Table 1 is met or exceeded, SAE shall immediately cease survey operations involving the use of active sound sources (e.g., airguns and pingers) and notify NMFS.

    4. The authorization for taking by harassment is limited to the following acoustic sources (or sources with comparable frequency and intensity) absent an amendment to this Authorization:

    (a) Two airgun arrays, each with a capacity of 880 in3;

    (b) A 440 in3 airgun array;

    (c) A 10 in3 airgun;

    (d) A Scott Ultra-Short Baseline (USBL) transceiver; and

    (e) A Sonardyne TZ/OBC transponder.

    5. The taking of any marine mammal in a manner prohibited under this Authorization must be reported immediately to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS or her designee at (301) 427-8401.

    6. The holder of this Authorization must notify the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, or her designee at least 48 hours prior to the start of seismic survey activities (unless constrained by the date of issuance of this Authorization in which case notification shall be made as soon as possible) at 301-427-8484 or to [email protected]

    7. Mitigation and Monitoring Requirements: The Holder of this Authorization is required to implement the following mitigation and monitoring requirements when conducting the specified activities to achieve the least practicable impact on affected marine mammal species or stocks:

    (a) Utilize a sufficient number of NMFS-qualified, vessel-based Protected Species Visual Observers (PSVOs) (except during meal times and restroom breaks, when at least one PSVO shall be on watch) to visually watch for and monitor marine mammals near the seismic source vessels during daytime operations (from nautical twilight-dawn to nautical twilight-dusk) and before and during start-ups of sound sources day or night. Two PSVOs will be on each source vessel, and two PSVOs will be on the support vessel to observe the exclusion and disturbance zones. PSVOs shall have access to reticle binoculars (7x50) and long-range binoculars (40x80). PSVO shifts shall last no longer than 4 hours at a time. PSVOs shall also make observations during daytime periods when the sound sources are not operating for comparison of animal abundance and behavior, when feasible. When practicable, as an additional means of visual observation, SAE's vessel crew may also assist in detecting marine mammals.

    (b) In addition to the vessel-based PSVOs, utilize a shore-based station to visually monitor for marine mammals. The shore-based station will follow all safety procedures, including bear safety. The location of the shore-based station will need to be sufficiently high to observe marine mammals; the PSOs would be equipped with reticle binoculars (7x50) and long-range binoculars (40x80). The shore-based PSOs would scan the area prior to, during, and after the survey operations involving the use of sound sources, and would be in contact with the vessel-based PSOs via radio to communicate sightings of marine mammals approaching or within the project area.

    (c) Record the following information when a marine mammal is sighted:

    (i) Species, group size, age/size/sex categories (if determinable), behavior when first sighted and after initial sighting, heading (if consistent), bearing and distance from seismic vessel, sighting cue, apparent reaction to the airguns or vessel (e.g., none, avoidance, approach, paralleling, etc., and including responses to ramp-up), and behavioral pace;

    (ii) Time, location, heading, speed, activity of the vessel (including number of airguns operating and whether in state of ramp-up or power-down), Beaufort sea state and wind force, visibility, and sun glare; and

    (iii) The data listed under Condition 7(d)(ii) shall also be recorded at the start and end of each observation watch and during a watch whenever there is a change in one or more of the variables.

    (d) Establish a 180 dB re 1 μPa (rms) and 190 dB re 1 μPa (rms) “exclusion zone” (EZ) for cetaceans and pinnipeds respectively before the full array (2400 in3) is in operation; and a 180 dB re 1 μPa (rms) and 190 dB re 1 μPa (rms) EZ before a single airgun (10 in3) is in operation, respectively.

    (e) Visually observe the entire extent of the EZ (180 dB re 1 μPa [rms] for cetaceans and 190 dB re 1 μPa [rms] for pinnipeds) using NMFS-qualified PSVOs, for at least 30 minutes (min) prior to starting the airgun array (day or night). If the PSVO finds a marine mammal within the EZ, SAE must delay the seismic survey until the marine mammal(s) has left the area. If the PSVO sees a marine mammal that surfaces, then dives below the surface, the PSVO shall wait 30 min. If the PSVO sees no marine mammals during that time, they should assume that the animal has moved beyond the EZ. If for any reason the entire radius cannot be seen for the entire 30 min (i.e., rough seas, fog, darkness), or if marine mammals are near, approaching, or in the EZ, the airguns may not be ramped-up.

    (f) Implement a “ramp-up” procedure when starting up at the beginning of seismic operations or any time after the entire array has been shut down for more than 10 min, which means start the smallest sound source first and add sound sources in a sequence such that the source level of the array shall increase in steps not exceeding approximately 6 dB per 5-min period. During ramp-up, the PSVOs shall monitor the EZ, and if marine mammals are sighted, a power-down, or shutdown shall be implemented as though the full array were operational. Therefore, initiation of ramp-up procedures from shutdown requires that the PSVOs be able to visually observe the full EZ as described in Condition 7(e) (above).

    (g) Alter speed or course during seismic operations if a marine mammal, based on its position and relative motion, appears likely to enter the relevant EZ. If speed or course alteration is not safe or practicable, or if after alteration the marine mammal still appears likely to enter the EZ, further mitigation measures, such as a power-down or shutdown, shall be taken.

    (h) Power-down or shutdown the sound source(s) if a marine mammal is detected within, approaches, or enters the relevant EZ. A shutdown means all operating sound sources are shut down (i.e., turned off). A power-down means reducing the number of operating sound sources to a single operating 10 in3 airgun, which reduces the EZ to the degree that the animal(s) is no longer in or about to enter it.

    (i) Following a power-down, if the marine mammal approaches the smaller designated EZ, the sound sources must then be completely shut down. Seismic survey activity shall not resume until the PSVO has visually observed the marine mammal(s) exiting the EZ and is not likely to return, or has not been seen within the EZ for 15 min for species with shorter dive durations (small odontocetes and pinnipeds) or 30 min for species with longer dive durations (large odontocetes, including killer whales and beluga whales).

    (j) Following a power-down or shutdown and subsequent animal departure, survey operations may resume following ramp-up procedures described in Condition 7(g).

    (k) Marine geophysical surveys may continue into night and low-light hours if such segment(s) of the survey is initiated when the entire relevant EZs can be effectively monitored visually (i.e., PSVO(s) must be able to see the extent of the entire relevant EZ).

    (l) No initiation of survey operations involving the use of sound sources is permitted from a shutdown position at night or during low-light hours (such as in dense fog or heavy rain).

    (m) If a beluga whale is visually sighted approaching or within the 160-dB disturbance zone, survey activity will not commence or the sound source(s) shall be shut down until the animals are no longer present within the 160-dB zone.

    (n) Whenever aggregations or groups of killer whales and/or harbor porpoises are detected approaching or within the 160-dB disturbance zone, survey activity will not commence or the sound source(s) shall be shut-down until the animals are no longer present within the 160-dB zone. An aggregation or group of whales/porpoises shall consist of five or more individuals of any age/sex class.

    (o) SAE must not operate airguns within 10 miles (16 km) of the mean higher high water (MHHW) line of the Susitna Delta (Beluga River to the Little Susitna River) between April 15 and October 15 (to avoid any effects to belugas in an important feeding and breeding area).

    (p) Seismic survey operations involving the use of airguns and pingers must cease if takes of any marine mammal are met or exceeded.

    (q) The mitigation airgun will be operated at approximately one shot per minute and will not be operated for longer than three hours in duration during daylight hours and good visibility. In cases when the next start-up after the turn is expected to be during lowlight or low visibility, use of the mitigation airgun may be initiated 30 minutes before darkness or low visibility conditions occur and may be operated until the start of the next seismic acquisition line.

    8. Reporting Requirements: The Holder of this Authorization is required to:

    (a) Submit a weekly field report, no later than close of business (Alaska time) each Thursday during the weeks when in-water seismic survey activities take place. The field reports will summarize species detected, in-water activity occurring at the time of the sighting, behavioral reactions to in-water activities, and the number of marine mammals taken.

    (b) Submit a monthly report, no later than the 15th of each month, to NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division for all months during which in-water seismic survey activities occur. These reports must contain and summarize the following information:

    (i) Dates, times, locations, heading, speed, weather, sea conditions (including Beaufort sea state and wind force), and associated activities during all seismic operations and marine mammal sightings;

    (ii) Species, number, location, distance from the vessel, and behavior of any marine mammals, as well as associated seismic activity (number of power-downs and shutdowns), observed throughout all monitoring activities;

    (iii) An estimate of the number (by species) of: (A) Pinnipeds that have been exposed to the seismic activity (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) and/or 190 dB re 1 μPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited; and (B) cetaceans that have been exposed to the seismic activity (based on visual observation) at received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) and/or 180 dB re 1 μPa (rms) with a discussion of any specific behaviors those individuals exhibited.

    (iv) A description of the implementation and effectiveness of the: (A) Terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion's Incidental Take Statement (ITS); and (B) mitigation measures of this Authorization. For the Biological Opinion, the report shall confirm the implementation of each Term and Condition, as well as any conservation recommendations, and describe their effectiveness, for minimizing the adverse effects of the action on Endangered Species Act-listed marine mammals.

    (c) Submit a draft Technical Report on all activities and monitoring results to NMFS' Permits and Conservation Division within 90 days of the completion of the seismic survey. The Technical Report will include the following information:

    (i) Summaries of monitoring effort (e.g., total hours, total distances, and marine mammal distribution through the study period, accounting for sea state and other factors affecting visibility and detectability of marine mammals);

    (ii) Analyses of the effects of various factors influencing detectability of marine mammals (e.g., sea state, number of observers, and fog/glare);

    (iii) Species composition, occurrence, and distribution of marine mammal sightings, including date, water depth, numbers, age/size/gender categories (if determinable), group sizes, and ice cover;

    (iv) Analyses of the effects of survey operations; and

    (v) Sighting rates of marine mammals during periods with and without seismic survey activities (and other variables that could affect detectability), such as: (A) Initial sighting distances versus survey activity state; (B) closest point of approach versus survey activity state; (C) observed behaviors and types of movements versus survey activity state; (D) numbers of sightings/individuals seen versus survey activity state; (E) distribution around the source vessels versus survey activity state; and (F) estimates of take by Level B harassment based on presence in the 160 dB harassment zone.

    (d) Submit a final report to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, within 30 days after receiving comments from NMFS on the draft report. If NMFS decides that the draft report needs no comments, the draft report shall be considered to be the final report.

    (e) SAE must immediately report to NMFS if 25 belugas are detected within the 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) disturbance zone during seismic survey operations to allow NMFS to consider making necessary adjustments to monitoring and mitigation.

    9. (a) In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this Authorization, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), SAE shall immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, or her designees by phone or email (telephone: 301-427-8401 or [email protected]), the Alaska Regional Office (telephone: 907-271-1332 or [email protected]), and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators (telephone: 907-586-7248 or [email protected] or [email protected]). The report must include the following information:

    (i) Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    (ii) The name and type of vessel involved;

    (iii) The vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    (iv) Description of the incident;

    (v) Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    (vi) Water depth;

    (vii) Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    (viii) Description of marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    (ix) Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    (x) The fate of the animal(s); and

    (xi) Photographs or video footage of the animal (if equipment is available).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumsta nces of the prohibited take. NMFS shall work with SAE to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. SAE may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter or email, or telephone.

    (b) In the event that SAE discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), SAE will immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, her designees, and the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline (see contact information in Condition 9(a)). The report must include the same information identified in the Condition 9(a) above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with SAE to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    (c) In the event that SAE discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in Condition 2 of this Authorization (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), SAE shall report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, her designees, the NMFS Alaska Stranding Hotline (1-877-925-7773), and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinators within 24 hours of the discovery (see contact information in Condition 9(a)). SAE shall provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident.

    10. SAE is required to comply with the Reasonable and Prudent Measures and Terms and Conditions of the ITS corresponding to NMFS' Biological Opinion issued to both U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NMFS' Office of Protected Resources.

    11. A copy of this Authorization and the ITS must be in the possession of all contractors and PSOs operating under the authority of this Incidental Harassment Authorization.

    12. Penalties and Permit Sanctions: Any person who violates any provision of this Incidental Harassment Authorization is subject to civil and criminal penalties, permit sanctions, and forfeiture as authorized under the MMPA.

    13. This Authorization may be modified, suspended or withdrawn if the Holder fails to abide by the conditions prescribed herein or if the authorized taking is having more than a negligible impact on the species or stock of affected marine mammals, or if there is an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for subsistence uses.

    Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources National Marine Fisheries Service Date Table 1—Authorized Take Numbers for Each Marine Mammal Species in Cook Inlet Species Authorized take in the Cook Inlet
  • action area
  • Mysticetes Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) 158 Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) 7 Minke whale
  • (Balaenoptera acutorostra)
  • 1
    Odontocetes Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) 14 Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) 30 Killer whale (Orcinus orca) 55 Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) 219 Pinnipeds Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) 542 Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) 1,223
    Dated: March 16, 2015. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06386 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [Order No. 1965] Reorganization of Foreign-Trade Zone 104 (Expansion of Service Area) Under Alternative Site Framework; Savannah, Georgia

    Pursuant to its authority under the Foreign-Trade Zones Act of June 18, 1934, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a-81u), the Foreign-Trade Zones Board (the Board) adopts the following Order:

    Whereas, the Board adopted the alternative site framework (ASF) (15 CFR Sec. 400.2(c)) as an option for the establishment or reorganization of zones;

    Whereas, the World Trade Center Savannah, LLC, grantee of FTZ 104, submitted an application to the Board (FTZ Docket B-9-2014, docketed 02-04-2014) for authority to expand the service area of the zone to include the Counties of Burke, Candler, Emanuel, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Washington and Wheeler, as described in the application, adjacent to the Savannah Customs and Border Protection port of entry;

    Whereas, notice inviting public comment was given in the Federal Register (79 FR 7642-7643, 02-10-2014) and the application has been processed pursuant to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations; and,

    Whereas, the Board adopts the findings and recommendations of the examiner's report (including addendum), and finds that the requirements of the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations are satisfied with regard to expanding the service area of FTZ 104 to include Candler, Emanuel, Jenkins, Tattnall, Toombs, and Treutlen Counties, Georgia.

    Now, therefore, the Board hereby orders:

    The application to reorganize FTZ 104 to expand the service area under the ASF is approved with regard to the inclusion of Candler, Emanuel, Jenkins, Tattnall, Toombs, and Treutlen Counties, Georgia, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and to the Board's standard 2,000-acre activation limit for the zone.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this day of March 12, 2015. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Enforcement and Compliance, Alternate Chairman, Foreign-Trade Zones Board. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06470 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Reexaminations AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Proposed collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before May 19, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “0651-0064 Patent Reexaminations” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information should be directed to Raul Tamayo, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450; by telephone at 571-272-7728; or by email to [email protected] with “Paperwork” in the subject line. Additional information about this collection is also available at http://www.reginfo.gov under “Information Collection Review.”

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is required by 35 U.S.C. 131 and 151 to examine applications and, when appropriate, allow applications and issue them as patents. Chapter 30 of Title 35 U.S.C. provides that any person at any time may file a request for reexamination by the USPTO of any claim of a patent on the basis of prior art patents or printed publications. Once initiated, the reexamination proceedings under Chapter 30 are substantially ex parte and do not permit input from third parties. The rules outlining ex parte reexaminations are found at 37 CFR 1.510-1.570.

    35 U.S.C. 257 permits a patent owner to request supplemental examination of a patent by the USPTO to consider, reconsider, or correct information believed to be relevant to the patent. The rules outlining supplemental examination are found at 37 CFR 1.601-1.625.

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act terminated inter partes reexamination effective September 16, 2012. However, inter partes reexamination proceedings based on inter partes reexamination requests filed before September 16, 2012, continue to be prosecuted. Therefore, this collection continues to include items related to the prosecution of inter partes reexamination proceedings. The rules outlining inter partes reexaminations are found at 37 CFR 1.903-1.931.

    Thus, the items included in this collection cover (i) requests for ex parte reexamination, (ii) requests for supplemental examination, and (iii) information that may be submitted by patent owners and third party requesters in relation to the prosecution of an ex parte or inter partes reexamination proceeding. It should be noted that the Requests for Ex Parte Reexamination and Supplemental Examination are distinct collections from the Request for Ex Parte Reexamination and Supplemental Examination Transmittal Forms, respectively. Whereas the transmittal forms are used by a requester (patent owner or third party) as a checklist to ensure compliance with the requirements of the statutes and rules for ex parte reexaminations and supplemental examinations, the requests themselves represent the substantive analysis undertaken by requesters of ex parte reexamination and supplemental examination.

    The public uses this information collection to request ex parte reexamination and supplemental examination, to prosecute reexamination proceedings, and to ensure that the associated documentation is submitted to the USPTO.

    II. Method of Collection

    By mail, facsimile, hand delivery, or electronically to the USPTO.

    III. Data

    OMB Number: 0651-0064.

    Form Number(s): PTO/SB/57 and PTO/SB/59.

    Type of Review: Renewal of an existing collection.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 4,170 responses per year.

    Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take the public from 0.30 hours (18 minutes) to 55 hours to gather the necessary information, prepare the appropriate form or other documents, and submit the information to the USPTO. The time per response, estimated annual responses, and estimated annual hour burden associated with each instrument in this information collection is shown in the table below.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 95,290 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Hourly): $37,067,810 per year. The USPTO expects that the information in this collection will be prepared by attorneys. Using the professional rate of $389 per hour for attorneys in private firms, the USPTO estimates that the respondent cost burden for this collection will be approximately $37,067,810 per year.

    IC No. Information collection instrument Estimated
  • time for
  • response
  • Estimated
  • annual
  • responses
  • Estimated annual burden hours Rate
  • ($/hr)
  • Total cost
    (a) (b) (a) × (b) = (c) (c) × (d) = (e) 1 Request for Supplemental Examination Transmittal Form (PTO/SB/59) 18 minutes 50 15 $389.00 $5,835 2 Request for Supplemental Examination 25 hours 50 1,250 389.00 486,250 3 Request for Ex Parte Reexamination Transmittal Form (PTO/SB/57) 18 minutes 450 135 389.00 52,515 4 Request for Ex Parte Reexamination 55 hours 450 24,750 389.00 9,627,750 5 Petition in a Reexamination Proceeding (except for those specifically enumerated in 37 CFR 1.550(i) and 1.937(d)) 23 hours 1,250 28,750 389.00 11,183,750 6 Patent Owner's 37 CFR 1.530 Statement 8 hours 160 1,280 389.00 497,920 7 Third Party Requester's 37 CFR 1.535 Reply 8 hours 50 400 389.00 155,600 8 Amendment in Ex Parte or Inter Partes Reexamination 33 hours 700 23,100 389.00 8,985,900 9 Third Party Requester's 37 CFR 1.947 Comments in Inter Partes Reexamination 41 hours 10 410 389.00 159,490 10 Response to Final Rejection in Ex Parte Reexamination 17 hours 400 6,800 389.00 2,645,200 11 Patent Owner's 37 CFR 1.951 Response in Inter Partes Reexamination 41 hours 100 4,100 389.00 1,594,900 12 Third Party Requester's 37 CFR 1.951 Comments in Inter Partes Reexamination 41 hours 100 4,100 389.00 1,594,900 13 Petition to Request Extension of Time in Ex Parte or Inter Partes Reexamination 30 minutes 400 200 389.00 77,800 Total 4,170 95,290 37,067,810

    Estimated Total Annual Cost Burden (Non-Hourly): $929.80 per year. There are no capital start-up, recordkeeping, or maintenance costs associated with this information collection. However, this collection does have annual (non-hour) costs in the form of postage costs.

    Postage

    The USPTO expects that approximately 95 percent of the responses in this collection will be submitted electronically. Of the remaining 5 percent, the vast majority—98 percent—will be submitted by mail, for a total of 204 mailed submissions. The documentation for requests for supplemental examination and requests for ex parte reexamination will typically be mailed to the USPTO with the appropriate transmittal form, reducing the number of unique mailings to 180. The USPTO estimates that the average postage cost for a mailed submission will be $0.49 cents for Petitions to Request Extension of Time and $5.75 for all other mailed submissions. Therefore, the USPTO estimates a total postage cost of approximately $929.80 per year.

    The total non-hour respondent cost burden for this collection in the form of postage costs is approximately $929.80 per year.

    Filing Fees

    The fees in 0651-0064 were moved into collection 0651-0072 (America Invents Act Section 10 Patent Fee Adjustments). As a result, this collection no longer includes any filing or processing fees.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: March 13, 2015. Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, USPTO, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-06461 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-489-823] Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Determination AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of welded line pipe from the Republic of Turkey (Turkey). The period of investigation is January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Effective March 20, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth Eastwood or Dennis McClure, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3874 or (202) 482-5973, respectively.

    Alignment of Final Countervailing Duty (CVD) Determination With Final Antidumping Duty (AD) Determination

    On the same day the Department initiated this CVD investigation, the Department also initiated a CVD investigation of welded line pipe from the Republic of Korea (Korea) and AD investigations of welded line pipe from Korea and Turkey.1 The CVD and AD investigations cover the same merchandise. On February 27, 2015, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (Act), the petitioners 2 requested alignment of the final CVD determination with the final AD determination of welded line pipe from Turkey. Therefore, in accordance with section 705(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(4), we are aligning the final CVD determination with the final AD determination. Consequently, the final CVD determination will be issued on the same date as the final AD determination, which is currently scheduled to be issued no later than July 28, 2015, unless postponed.

    1See Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigations, 79 FR 67419 (November 13, 2014) (Initiation Notice). See also Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 79 FR 68213 (November 14, 2014).

    2 The petitioners in this investigation are American Cast Iron Pipe Company, Energex (a division of JMC Steel Group), Maverick Tube Corporation, Northwest Pipe Company, Stupp Corporation (a division of Stupp Bros., Inc.), Tex-Tube Company, TMK IPSCO, and Welspun Tubular LLC USA.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The scope of the investigation covers welded line pipe, which is carbon and alloy steel pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines, not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter. For a complete description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. For discussion of those comments, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.3

    3See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, regarding “Decision Memorandum for the Affirmative Preliminary Determination in the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey,” dated concurrently with this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this CVD investigation in accordance with section 701 of the Act. For each of the subsidy programs found countervailable, we preliminarily determine that there is a subsidy (i.e., a financial contribution by an “authority” that gives rise to a benefit to the recipient) and that the subsidy is specific.4 For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    4See sections 771(5)(B) and (D) of the Act regarding financial contribution; section 771(5)(E) of the Act regarding benefit; and section 771(5A) of the Act regarding specificity.

    The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS).5 ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    5 On November 24, 2014, Enforcement and Compliance changed the name of Enforcement and Compliance's AD and CVD Centralized Electronic Service System (IA ACCESS) to AD and CVD Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). The Web site location was changed from http://iaaccess.trade.gov to http://access.trade.gov. The Final Rule changing the references to the Regulations can be found at 79 FR 69046 (November 20, 2014).”

    Preliminary Determination and Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 703(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, we calculated a CVD rate for each individually-investigated producer/exporter of the subject merchandise. For companies not individually investigated, we have calculated an “all others” rate as described below. We preliminarily determine the countervailable subsidy rates to be:

    Company Subsidy rate
  • (percent)
  • Borusan Istikbal Ticaret, Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., Borusan Mannesmann Boru Yatirim Holding A.S., and Borusan Holding A.S 8.85 Tosçelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S., Tosyali Demir Celik Sanayi A.S., Tosyali Dis Ticaret A.S., Tosyali Elektrik Enerjisi Toptan Satis Ith. Ihr. A.S., and Tosyali Holding A.S.6 3.76 All Others 4.36

    In accordance with sections 703(d)(1)(B) and (2) of the Act, we are directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all entries of welded line pipe from Turkey that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, and to require a cash deposit for such entries of merchandise in the amounts indicated above.

    6 In its December 15, 2014, response, Toscelik stated that Toscelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S. merged with its cross-owned affiliate, Tosyali Metal Ambalaj Sanayi A.S. (Tosyali Metal). Because Tosyali Metal no longer exists as a separate entity, we have not included it in the list of companies above.

    In accordance with sections 703(d) and 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act, for companies not investigated, we apply an “all others” rate, which is normally calculated by weighting the subsidy rates of the individual companies selected as respondents by those companies' exports of the subject merchandise to the United States.7 The “all-others” rate does not include zero and de minimis rates or any rates based solely on the facts available.

    7See Memorandum from Elizabeth Eastwood to the File, “Calculation of the “All Others” Rate in the Preliminary Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey,” dated March 16, 2015, for the details of this calculation. We calculated a weighted average of the rates of Borusan Istikbal Ticaret, Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., Borusan Mannesmann Boru Yatirim Holding A.S., and Borusan Holding A.S (collectively, Borusan) and Toscelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S., Tosyali Demir Celik Sanayi A.S., Tosyali Dis Ticaret A.S,, Tosyali Elektrik Enerjisi Toptan Satis Ith. Ihr. A.S., and Tosyali Holding A.S. (collectively, Toscelik) using publicly-ranged data so as not to disclose the respondents' business proprietary information.

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i)(1) of the Act, we intend to verify the information submitted by the respondents prior to making our final determination.

    U.S. International Trade Commission

    In accordance with section 703(f) of the Act, we will notify the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) of our determination. In addition, we are making available to the ITC all non-privileged and non-proprietary information relating to this investigation. We will allow the ITC access to all privileged and business proprietary information in our files, provided the ITC confirms that it will not disclose such information, either publicly or under an administrative protective order, without the written consent of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

    In accordance with section 705(b)(2) of the Act, if our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will make its final determination within 45 days after the Department makes its final determination.

    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with this preliminary determination within five days of its public announcement.8 Interested parties may submit case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests.9 For a schedule of the deadlines for filing case briefs, rebuttal briefs, and hearing requests, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    8See 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    9See 19 CFR 351.309(c)-(d), 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    This determination is issued and published pursuant to sections 703(f) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: March 16, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary <E T="03">for Enforcement and Compliance.</E> Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is circular welded carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines (welded line pipe), not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter, regardless of wall thickness, length, surface finish, end finish, or stenciling. Welded line pipe is normally produced to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5L, but can be produced to comparable foreign specifications, to proprietary grades, or can be non-graded material. All pipe meeting the physical description set forth above, including multiple-stenciled pipe with an API or comparable foreign specification line pipe stencil is covered by the scope of this investigation.

    The welded line pipe that is subject to this investigation is currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 7305.11.1030, 7305.11.5000, 7305.12.1030, 7305.12.5000, 7305.19.1030, 7305.19.5000, 7306.19.1010, 7306.19.1050, 7306.19.5110, and 7306.19.5150. The subject merchandise may also enter in HTSUS 7305.11.1060 and 7305.12.1060. While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope Comments IV. Scope of the Investigation V. Injury Test VI. Subsidies Valuation VII. Analysis of Programs VIII. ITC Notification IX. Disclosure and Public Comment X. Verification XI. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-06485 Filed 3-19-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 150224177-5177-01] RIN 0648-XD798 Availability of Draft NOAA Education Strategic Plan AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to solicit comments on the draft NOAA Education Strategic Plan (Plan). NOAA received broad legislative authority from Congress through the America COMPETES Act (2007, 2010) to conduct, develop, support, promote, and coordinate formal and informal education activities at all levels to enhance public awareness and understanding of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, and atmospheric science and stewardship by the general public and other coastal stakeholders, including underrepresented groups in ocean and atmospheric science and policy careers. The revision of the Plan establishes the goals for NOAA education programs for the next twenty years with revisions to the Plan every five years. NOAA is seeking broad public review of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan, and encourages all stakeholders and users to review the Plan and provide comments. All comments received will be reviewed and considered in the final drafting of the NOAA Education Strategic Plan.

    DATES:

    Public comments on this document must be received on or before April 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The draft Plan will be available on the following Web site: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/leadership/edcouncil/education_plan.html.

    You may submit comments on this document, following the format guidance below, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected] Include the identifier, “Education Plan Public Comment” in the subject line.

    • Mail: Marissa Jones, NOAA Office of Education, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. Include the identifier, “Education Plan Public Comment,” on the envelope.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marissa Jones, Education Specialist, NOAA Office of Education, (202) 482-4592[email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NOAA's Education Council is soliciting general comments on the NOAA Education Strategic Plan, which describes how NOAA will execute programs and activities to achieve cohesive and strategic education outcomes. The Plan focuses on conducting, developing, supporting, promoting, and coordinating education activities to enhance awareness and understanding of mission-related sciences.

    For over 200 years, NOAA has imparted scientific knowledge of the Earth's natural systems to benefit society and support the agency's mission. During this time, education was guided by the vision of leadership, the findings of researchers, the mandates of legislation for programs within NOAA, and to respond to the needs of society.

    In 2007, Congress officially recognized the role of education in NOAA with the passage of the America COMPETES Act (Pub. L. 110-69). This legislation states:

    “The Administrator, appropriate National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs, ocean atmospheric science and education experts, and interested members of the public shall develop a science education plan s