Federal Register Vol. 80, No.78,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 78 (April 23, 2015)

Page Range22617-22870
FR Document

80_FR_78
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 22658 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for PumpsPDF
80 FR 22867 - National Park Week, 2015PDF
80 FR 22734 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 22617 - National Crime Victims' Rights Week, 2015PDF
80 FR 22761 - ForceField Energy Inc.; Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
80 FR 22777 - Petition for Waiver of CompliancePDF
80 FR 22740 - Notice of Public Meetings: Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, NevadaPDF
80 FR 22748 - Submission for OMB Review; Comments RequestPDF
80 FR 22740 - Indian GamingPDF
80 FR 22739 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Application for Admission to Haskell Indian Nations University and to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic InstitutePDF
80 FR 22730 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board Meeting, Northern New MexicoPDF
80 FR 22731 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, NevadaPDF
80 FR 22706 - Approval of Subzone Status; Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., Red Wing, MinnesotaPDF
80 FR 22705 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 134-Chattanooga, Tennessee; Notification of Proposed Production Activity, Cormetech, Inc. (Selective Catalyst Reduction Catalysts), Cleveland, TNPDF
80 FR 22706 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 93-Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Cormetech, Inc. (Selective Catalyst Reduction Catalysts), Durham, North CarolinaPDF
80 FR 22706 - Steel Wire Garment Hangers From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
80 FR 22708 - Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand From Brazil, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand: Continuation of the Antidumping Duty Finding/Orders and Countervailing Duty OrderPDF
80 FR 22717 - Recruitment of First Responder Network Authority Board MembersPDF
80 FR 22746 - Nuclear Innovation North America LLC; South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4PDF
80 FR 22744 - License Amendment for United Nuclear Corporation, Church Rock Facility, McKinley County, New MexicoPDF
80 FR 22707 - Subsidy Programs Provided by Countries Exporting Softwood Lumber and Softwood Lumber Products to the United States; Request for CommentPDF
80 FR 22762 - Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions ReliefPDF
80 FR 22729 - Proposed Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grant ProgramPDF
80 FR 22763 - The State Department's § 515.582 ListPDF
80 FR 22619 - Importation of Apples From ChinaPDF
80 FR 22764 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Risk Analysis and Management (RAM) OMB Control Number 1405-0204PDF
80 FR 22722 - Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions ProgramPDF
80 FR 22690 - Request for Further Comment on Issues Related to Competitive Bidding Proceeding; Updating Competitive Bidding RulesPDF
80 FR 22655 - Anthropomorphic Test DevicesPDF
80 FR 22654 - Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American SamoaPDF
80 FR 22720 - Office of Economic Adjustment; Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO)PDF
80 FR 22785 - Union Pacific Railroad Company-Lease Exemption-BNSF Railway CompanyPDF
80 FR 22786 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 22648 - Bicyclopyrone; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
80 FR 22645 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Willamette River, Portland, ORPDF
80 FR 22743 - Comment Request for Information Collection for Guam Military Base Realignment Contractor Recruitment Standards, Extension With RevisionsPDF
80 FR 22744 - Comment Request for Information Collection: Self-Employment Assistance for Unemployment Insurance Claimants, Extension With RevisionsPDF
80 FR 22733 - Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee; Notice of Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 22716 - Marine Mammals; File No. 19444PDF
80 FR 22645 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal at Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 22701 - Notice of Intent To Request an Extension of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 22737 - Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, President's Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities; MeetingPDF
80 FR 22732 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
80 FR 22731 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 22733 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 22739 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for CommentsPDF
80 FR 22702 - Notice of Availability of a Treatment Evaluation Document; Hot Water Treatment of Oversized MangoesPDF
80 FR 22642 - Ukraine Guarantees Issued Under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2015, and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014-Standard Terms and ConditionsPDF
80 FR 22785 - Public Availability of the Department of Transportation FY 14 Service Contract InventoryPDF
80 FR 22770 - Beyond Compliance ProgramPDF
80 FR 22773 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; VisionPDF
80 FR 22766 - Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; HearingPDF
80 FR 22768 - Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; HearingPDF
80 FR 22765 - Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; HearingPDF
80 FR 22656 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of AlaskaPDF
80 FR 22656 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Ocean Perch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management AreaPDF
80 FR 22772 - Qualification of Drivers; Application for Exemptions; HearingPDF
80 FR 22736 - Information Collection; Incentive ContractsPDF
80 FR 22735 - Information Collection; Claims and AppealsPDF
80 FR 22655 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of AlaskaPDF
80 FR 22735 - Information Collection; Delivery SchedulesPDF
80 FR 22787 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 22709 - Taking of Threatened or Endangered Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Issuance of PermitPDF
80 FR 22748 - Market Dominant Price AdjustmentPDF
80 FR 22716 - Endangered Species; File No. 18604PDF
80 FR 22638 - Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity ListPDF
80 FR 22738 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 22737 - Draft National Toxicology Program Technical Report; Availability of Document; Request for Comments; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 22718 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 22716 - Marine Mammals; File No. 18662PDF
80 FR 22778 - Hazardous Materials: Information Requirements Related to the Transportation of Trains Carrying Specified Volumes of Flammable LiquidsPDF
80 FR 22781 - Hazardous Materials: Emergency Response Information RequirementsPDF
80 FR 22786 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
80 FR 22719 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 22703 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 22752 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to HGX and OSXPDF
80 FR 22751 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, To Amend Rules 11.6, 11.8, 11.9, 11.10 and 11.11 of EDGA Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 22753 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Designation of Longer Period for Commission Action on a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, To Amend Rules 11.6, 11.8, 11.9, 11.10 and 11.11 of EDGX Exchange, Inc.PDF
80 FR 22754 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Regarding Liquidity Risk ManagementPDF
80 FR 22759 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Modifying the NYSE Amex Options Fee Schedule Relating to the Amex Customer Engagement ProgramPDF
80 FR 22749 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish the MIAX Order FeedPDF
80 FR 22756 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Fee SchedulePDF
80 FR 22762 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Designation of a Longer Period for Commission Action on Proposed Rule Change To Amend NYSE Arca Equities Rule 8.600 To Adopt Generic Listing Standards for Managed Fund SharesPDF
80 FR 22661 - Revisions to the Requirements for Authority To Manufacture and Distribute Postage Evidencing SystemsPDF
80 FR 22701 - Public Quarterly Meeting of the Board of DirectorsPDF
80 FR 22741 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
80 FR 22827 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of the Proposed Rule To List the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-Grouse and Designate Critical HabitatPDF
80 FR 22666 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Pennsylvania; Determination of Attainment of the 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Standard for the Liberty-Clairton Nonattainment AreaPDF
80 FR 22646 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Feather River Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
80 FR 22742 - Notice of Availability of Funds and Funding Opportunity Announcement for Disability Employment Initiative Cooperative AgreementsPDF
80 FR 22671 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Feather River Air Quality Management DistrictPDF
80 FR 22742 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Water ActPDF
80 FR 22672 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Pennsylvania; Redesignation Request and Associated Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown Nonattainment Area for the 1997 Annual and 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Matter StandardPDF
80 FR 22662 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Illinois; Midwest Generation VariancesPDF
80 FR 22780 - Hazardous Materials; Notice of Application for Modification of Special PermitPDF
80 FR 22782 - Hazardous Materials: Actions on Special Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 22779 - Hazardous Materials: Delayed ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 22784 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Application for Special PermitsPDF
80 FR 22661 - State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program; State Supported Employment Services Program; Limitations on Use of Subminimum WagePDF
80 FR 22635 - Airworthiness Directives; Dassault Aviation AirplanesPDF
80 FR 22789 - Medical Examiner's Certification IntegrationPDF

Issue

80 78 Thursday, April 23, 2015 Contents African African Development Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Board of Directors, 22701 2015-09422 Agency Agency for International Development RULES Loan Guarantees: Ukraine, 22642-22645 2015-09466 Agricultural Research Agricultural Research Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Document Delivery Services, 22701 2015-09475 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Research Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

National Agricultural Library

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation of Apples From China, 22619-22635 2015-09508 NOTICES Treatment Evaluation Documents: Hot Water Treatment of Oversized Mangoes, 22702-22703 2015-09468 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa; CFR Correction, 22654-22655 2015-09487 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Lake Washington Ship Canal at Seattle, WA, 22645 2015-09476 Willamette River, Portland, OR, 22645-22646 2015-09481 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22703-22705 2015-09433
Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Meetings: Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Presidents Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, 22737 2015-09473 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22718-22720 2015-09434 2015-09439 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22735-22736 2015-09451 Delivery Schedules, 22735 2015-09449 Incentive Contracts, 22736-22737 2015-09452 Funding Opportunities: Office of Economic Adjustment, 22720-22722 2015-09485 Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES State Vocational Rehabilitation Services and State Supported Employment Services Programs; Limitations on Use of Subminimum Wage; Meetings, 22661 2015-09318 NOTICES Applications for New Awards: Strengthening Institutions Program, 22722-22728 2015-09492 Waivers and Extensions of Project Periods: Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grant Program, 22729-22730 2015-09510 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Guam Military Base Realignment Contractor Recruitment Standards, 22743 2015-09480 Self-Employment Assistance for Unemployment Insurance Claimants, 22744 2015-09479 Funding Availabilities: Disability Employment Initiative Cooperative Agreements, 22742-22743 2015-09407 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

PROPOSED RULES Energy Conservation Programs: Test Procedure for Pumps; correction, 22658-22661 C1--2015--06945 NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Nevada, 22731 2015-09536 Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Northern NM, 22730-22731 2015-09537
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; Feather River Air Quality Management District, 22646-22648 2015-09409 Pesticide Tolerances: Bicyclopyrone, 22648-22654 2015-09482 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; Feather River Air Quality Management District, 22671-22672 2015-09405 Determination of Attainment of the 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Standard for the Liberty-Clairton Nonattainment Area; PA, 22666-22671 2015-09416 Illinois; Midwest Generation Variances, 22662-22666 2015-09365 Pennsylvania; Redesignation Request and Associated Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown Nonattainment Area, etc., 22672-22690 2015-09368 NOTICES Meetings: Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, 22733-22734 2015-09478 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Dassault Aviation Airplanes, 22635-22638 2015-09290 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Competitive Bidding Proceeding; Updating Competitive Bidding Rules, 22690-22700 2015-09489 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 22734-22735 2015-09570 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 22731-22733 2015-09470 2015-09471 2015-09472 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration RULES Medical Examiner's Certification Integration, 22790-22825 2015-09053 NOTICES Beyond Compliance Program, 22770-22772 2015-09463 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Hearing, 22765-22769, 22772-22773 2015-09453 2015-09457 2015-09458 2015-09459 Vision, 22773-22777 2015-09460 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Hazardous Materials: Information Requirements Related to the Transportation of Trains Carrying Specified Volumes of Flammable Liquids, 22778-22779 2015-09437 Petitions for Waivers of Compliance, 22777-22778 2015-09545 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Bi-State Distinct Population Segment of Greater Sage-Grouse; Critical Habitat Designation Withdrawal, 22828-22866 2015-09417 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activities: Cormetech, Inc., Foreign-Trade Zone 134, Chattanooga, TN, 22705-22706 2015-09533 Cormetech, Inc., Foreign-Trade Zone 93, Raleigh-Durham, NC, 22706 2015-09532 Subzone Status Approvals: Red Wing Shoe Co., Inc., Red Wing, MN, 22706 2015-09534 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22735-22736 2015-09451 Delivery Schedules, 22735 2015-09449 Incentive Contracts, 22736-22737 2015-09452 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22739 2015-09469 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Community Living Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Admission to Haskell Indian Nations University and to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, 22739-22740 2015-09538 Indian Gaming: Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact; Extension, 22740 2015-09541 Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity List, 22638-22642 2015-09442 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22786 2015-09435 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Brazil, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, 22708-22709 2015-09528 Steel Wire Garment Hangers from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 22706-22707 2015-09530 Subsidy Programs: Countries Exporting Softwood Lumber and Softwood Lumber Products to the U.S., 22707-22708 2015-09514 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Recombinant Factor VIII Products, 22741-22742 2015-09418 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Water Act, 22742 2015-09382 Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, Nevada, 22740-22741 2015-09543 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Claims and Appeals, 22735-22736 2015-09451 Delivery Schedules, 22735 2015-09449 Incentive Contracts, 22736-22737 2015-09452 National Agricultural National Agricultural Library NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Document Delivery Services, 22701 2015-09475 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration RULES Anthropomorphic Test Devices; CFR Correction, 22655 2015-09488 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Draft National Toxicology Program Technical Report, 22737-22738 2015-09440 Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 22738-22739 2015-09441 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Pacific Cod by Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska, 22656-22657 2015-09456 Pacific Ocean Perch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 22656 2015-09454 Pollock; Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska, 22655-22656 2015-09450 NOTICES Permits: Endangered Species; File No. 18604, 22716 2015-09443 Marine Mammals; File No. 18662, 22716 2015-09438 Marine Mammals; File No. 19444, 22716-22717 2015-09477 Takes of Threatened or Endangered Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations, 22709-22715 2015-09447 National Telecommunications National Telecommunications and Information Administration NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Recruitment of First Responder Network Authority Board Members, 22717-22718 2015-09527 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined License Applications: Nuclear Innovation North America LLC; South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, 22746-22747 2015-09517 License Amendments: United Nuclear Corp., Church Rock Facility, McKinley County, NM, 22744-22746 2015-09516 Overseas Overseas Private Investment Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Political Risk Insurance, 22748 2015-09542 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Hazardous Materials: Emergency Response Information Requirements, 22781-22782 2015-09436 Information Requirements Related to the Transportation of Trains Carrying Specified Volumes of Flammable Liquids, 22778-22779 2015-09437 Special Permit Applications, 22782-22785 2015-09352 2015-09355 Special Permit Applications; Delays, 22779-22780 2015-09354 Special Permit Applications; Modifications, 22780-22781 2015-09356 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Market Dominant Price Adjustments, 22748-22749 2015-09446 Postal Service Postal Service PROPOSED RULES Revisions to the Requirements for Authority to Manufacture and Distribute Postage Evidencing Systems, 22661-22662 2015-09424 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: National Crime Victims' Rights Week (Proc. 9257), 22617-22618 2015-09558 National Park Week (Proc. 9258), 22867-22870 2015-09641 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., 22754-22756 2015-09429 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 22751-22752 2015-09431 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 22753 2015-09430 Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, 22749-22751, 22756-22759 2015-09426 2015-09427 NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 22752-22753 2015-09432 NYSE Arca, Inc., 22762 2015-09425 NYSE MKT, LLC, 22759-22761 2015-09428 Trading Suspension Orders: ForceField Energy, Inc., 22761-22762 2015-09555 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Risk Analysis and Management, 22764-22765 2015-09493 Cuban Goods and Services Eligible for Importation into the United States, 22763-22764 2015-09509 Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief, 22762-22763 2015-09511 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Lease Exemptions: BNSF Railway Co. from Union Pacific Railroad Co.; Union Pacific Railroad Co. from BNSF Railway Co., 22785 2015-09484 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

NOTICES FY 14 Service Contract Inventories, 22785-22786 2015-09464
Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 22786-22787 2015-09448 2015-09483
Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Transportation Department, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 22790-22825 2015-09053 Part III Interior Department, Fish and Wildlife Service, 22828-22866 2015-09417 Part IV Presidential Documents, 22867-22870 2015-09641 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.

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80 78 Thursday, April 23, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS-2014-0003] RIN 0579-AD89 Importation of Apples From China AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of fresh apples (Malus pumila) from China into the continental United States. As a condition of entry, apples from areas in China in which the Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is not known to exist will have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes requirements for registration of places of production and packinghouses, inspection for quarantine pests at set intervals by the national plant protection organization of China, bagging of fruit, safeguarding, labeling, and importation in commercial consignments. Apples from areas in China in which Oriental fruit fly is known to exist may be imported into the continental United States if, in addition to these requirements, the apples are treated with fumigation plus refrigeration. All apples from China will also be required to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that all conditions for the importation of the apples have been met and that the consignment of apples has been inspected and found free of quarantine pests. This action allows for the importation of apples from China into the continental United States while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of quarantine pests.

DATES:

Effective May 26, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. David B. Lamb, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, RPM, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-2018.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-71, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests that are new to or not widely distributed within the United States.

The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of China has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow apples (Malus pumila) from China to be imported into the continental United States.

In response to that request, we prepared a pest risk assessment (PRA) and a risk management document (RMD). Based on the conclusions of the PRA and the RMD, on July 18, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 41930-41934, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0003) a proposal 1 to amend the regulations to authorize the importation of fresh apples into the continental United States, provided that the apples were produced in accordance with a systems approach consisting of the following requirements: Production by a grower who is part of a certification program administered by the NPPO of China; fruit bagging; pre-harvest NPPO inspection; packing in packinghouses that are registered with the NPPO; packinghouse procedures including traceback and box marking; post-harvest washing; waxing; treatment with inspection after packing for quarantine pests; issuance of a phytosanitary certificate; importation in commercial consignments only; sealed boxes; and location of apples in a cold storage facility while awaiting export to the continental United States. For apples from those areas of China south of the 33rd parallel, where the Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is known to exist, we proposed to require treatment in accordance with 7 CFR 305.2, which provides that approved treatment schedules are set out in the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Treatment Manual, found online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf.

1 To view the proposed rule, its supporting documents, or the comments that we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0003.

We note that we are changing the bagging protocol from that which was set out in the proposed rule. The proposed systems approach would have required that bags remain on the fruit until its arrival at the packinghouse. In the final rule, we are requiring that the bags stay on until at least 14 days prior to harvest instead of remaining on the fruit until it reaches the packinghouse. Though we modeled the systems approach on a similar systems approach for the importation of pears from China, bag removal at this stage is a necessary practice among apple growers in countries where bagging protocols are employed as apples must be exposed to sunlight so that they may color up prior to harvest. Pears do not require similar treatment in order to achieve their coloration.

Bagging is an important mitigation; however, we believe that removing the bags for the last 14 days before harvest is unlikely to significantly increase the risk because bagging is only one mitigation out of a number that are part of a systems approach.

Apples produced south of the 33rd parallel will require an APHIS-approved treatment for Oriental fruit fly. Specifically, this is fumigation plus refrigeration. This treatment will effectively mitigate any pests that might be present on the fruit after the removal of the bags.

Most, if not all, of the apple production areas in China are north of the 33rd parallel. All of the Lepidoptera and Coleoptera listed in the PRA as following the pathway of fresh apples from China were assigned a medium risk of doing so. These pests are mitigated by a number of other factors apart from bagging, including commercial production only, culling at the packinghouse, and the required inspection by the NPPO of China.

APHIS does not expect this change to significantly increase the risk of pests from China apples. Growers will still be responsible for maintaining low pest populations of target quarantine pests, with oversight by the NPPO of China and APHIS. These measures and others, including removing fallen fruit, will maintain low pest populations in the production sites. The required culling will also remove pests from the pathway. The biometric sampling rate can be increased, if necessary, in order to look for pests that may be present in smaller numbers in consignments, thus heightening the level of phytosanitary security. In addition, the bags will be removed for 2 weeks in the fall, when temperatures are rapidly declining leading to winter and insects are prone to reduced activity leading to dormancy.

Some of the pests of concern primarily attack the fruit early in the season when the fruit is at a small stage. For example, the Rhynchites spp. adult weevils attack small, newly formed fruit in the spring and early summer and the eggs are laid in those fruit often causing fruit drop. The larvae develop in 3 or 4 weeks after the eggs are laid and the larvae emerge from the fruit and pupate in the soil. There is only one generation per year. Infested fruit are misshapen with feeding damage and can easily be identified and culled. These pests are very unlikely to be present in the fruit in the fall when the bags are removed 2 weeks before the apples are harvested, and any infested, misshapen fruit would be unlikely to be packed and can be easily spotted upon inspection.

Some of the Lepidoptera species do not attack the fruit, and are only present on the fruit as contaminants, for example Cryptoblabes gnidiella primarily attacks fruit that has infestations of Homoptera sp., which produce honey dew. Small larvae feed on the honey dew and do not attack the fruit until they have grown to a larger stage. The larvae initially feed on the surface of the fruit and do not bore into the fruit. Based on the pest damage symptoms, inspection and culling will remove Lepidoptera pests from the pathway.

Carposina sasakii larvae may bore into the fruit near the calyx, but according to a 2014 data sheet from the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, “Infested apples exude a sticky gum, pears turn yellow and apricots ripen unevenly.” 2 These symptoms would allow any infested fruit to be readily detected during culling and inspections. The window for the pests to attack after the bags are removed is also very small; for approximately 90 percent of the time after blossom drop and fruit set, the fruit will be protected by bags.

2 You may view the data sheet on the Internet at https://www.eppo.int/QUARANTINE/insects/Carposina_sasakii/CARSSA_ds.pdf.

The Euzophera spp. may also attack the bark of the trees as well as fruit. These pests build up in unmanaged and backyard fruit trees. Well-managed production sites will rarely have infestations.

Leucoptera malifoliella, the pear leaf blister moth, is a leaf mining species that is only found on the fruit if leaves are attached to the fruit. Leaves and other plant parts are prohibited, so the risk of importing this pest with the fruit is minimal. This pest is an external miner; any leaves or mines should be readily detected and culled or found during inspection.

The eight species of Tortricidae, (Adoxophyes orana, Archips micaceana, Argyrotaenia ljungiana, Cydia funebrana, Ulodemis trigrapha, Grapholita inopinata, Spilonota albicana, and Spilonota prognathana) are leaf rollers. They typically lay eggs on leaves and roll them up and feed on leaf tissue. When fruit are adjacent to leaves, the larvae may attack the fruit, usually leaving external feeding damage and sometimes boring into the fruit leaving visible holes and larval waste. These species are unlikely to be present in any numbers during the fall and are also expected to be controlled by required pest management and standard agricultural best practices. This, combined with the small amount of time that the fruit will be exposed when the bags are removed, will greatly reduce the possibility that these Tortricidae will follow the pathway. In addition APHIS readily inspects for Tortricidae on many commodities. The only time quarantine treatments are required is when high populations and frequent interceptions occur. APHIS does not expect this, but removal of production sites in any problem areas will allow APHIS to mitigate this risk further.

As noted previously, the window for pest attack after the bags are removed is very small (approximately 90 percent of the time after blossom drop and fruit set, the fruit will be protected by bags). Attacks on the fruit by Lepidoptera and Curculionidae pests during this time are unlikely when these pest populations are kept in check by good pest management and agricultural practices, which has been our experience with pears from China and we expect this to be true for apples. All of the Lepidoptera and Curculionidae pests are borers into the fruit from eggs laid externally. Besides inspection for external oviposition, there will be larval holes and feeding damage and larval waste that is readily apparent on inspection. If necessary, APHIS can suspend production sites with pest interceptions until pest populations are mitigated.

We are also adding two post-harvest treatment requirements to those listed in the proposed rule. The RMD that accompanied the proposed rule required apples to undergo washing and waxing. This procedure was included because washing removes hitchhiking, casual, and surface pests associated with smooth-skinned fruit such as apples, and waxing also serves to eliminate many surface pests including Homoptera and mites. Washing and waxing may also remove external spores of plant pathogens.

The two treatments we are adding in this final rule are fruit brushing and spraying with compressed air. Fruit brushing will be required as an additional packinghouse treatment requirement, while spraying with compressed air will be an alternative to waxing. Brushing adds another level of phytosanitary protection against surface pests and external spores and spraying with compressed air serves the same purpose as waxing in removing hitchhiking, casual, and surface pests. While brushing and spraying with compressed air are not widely used in fruit processing in the United States, these treatments are commonly used in the fruit packing industry in China and other Asian countries. For example, in § 319.56-65(c)(2), we require spraying with compressed air as a treatment for pineapples imported from Malaysia.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending September 16, 2014. We received 128 comments by that date. They were from a national organization that represents U.S. apple producers, State departments of agriculture, a State representative, scientific advisory groups, an environmental organization, domestic apple producers, and private citizens. The comments that we received are discussed below, by topic.

General Comments on the Proposed Rule

One commenter asked what sort of outreach APHIS had conducted to publicize the availability of the proposed rule for comment. The commenter claimed that the number of comments received suggested that stakeholders and other interested parties were unaware of its existence.

We disagree with the commenter's assessment. As stated above, we received 128 comments on the proposed rule from a variety of commenters. In addition to notifying members of PPQ's Stakeholder Registry,3 we performed outreach activities to the following industry and trade groups: The U.S. Apple Export Council, the U.S. Apple Association, the Washington Apple Commission, the Northwest Horticultural Council, and the Apple Commodity Committee of Northwest Fruit Exporters.

3 You may sign up for the PPQ Stakeholder Registry on the Internet at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/subscriber/new/.

A number of commenters stated that we produce sufficient apples domestically and should therefore not import apples from China.

Such prohibitions would be beyond the scope of APHIS' statutory authority under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq., referred to below as the PPA). Under the PPA, APHIS may prohibit the importation of a fruit or vegetable into the United States only if we determine that the prohibition is necessary in order to prevent the introduction or dissemination of a plant pest or noxious weed within the United States.

Additionally, as a signatory to the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), the United States has agreed that any prohibitions it places on the importation of fruits and vegetables will be based on scientific evidence related to phytosanitary measures and issues, and will not be maintained without sufficient scientific evidence. The blanket prohibitions requested by the commenters would not be in keeping with this agreement.

Another commenter suggested that we should instead focus on importing fruits and vegetables from Europe instead of China.

APHIS's phytosanitary evaluation process only begins once a country has submitted a formal request for market access for a particular commodity. APHIS does not solicit such requests, nor do we control which countries submit requests.

One commenter said that we should require that every imported apple be labeled as a product of China.

Under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, which is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service, retailers, such as full-time grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores, are required to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain food, including fresh and frozen fruits. Any apples imported from China would be subject to such requirements.

Other commenters stated that, if imported Chinese apples were to be processed into products such as apple juice or applesauce, COOL would be circumvented.

While, as stated above, APHIS does not administer COOL and, as such, these concerns are outside the scope of our authority, we believe that the relatively high price of apples imported from China when compared to domestic apple prices will prevent a situation such as the one described by the commenters. A full explanation of the economic factors associated with this rule, including apple pricing, see the section entitled, “Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act.”

One commenter observed that the importation of apples from China would bypass U.S. regulations regarding plant origins, growing practices, and laborer and produce health standards set out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

While we agree that Chinese producers are not subject to DOL rules and regulations, given that DOL's authority does not extend beyond the United States, we disagree with the assessment that apples from China would not be subject to agricultural standards. The regulations and the operational workplan set out requirements, including requirements regarding sourcing of apples only from registered places of production and growing practices which Chinese producers must meet in order to export apples to the United States. Further, the FDA samples and tests imported fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues. Yearly monitoring reports and information on the program may be found here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Pesticides/UCM2006797.htm.

A number of commenters were concerned about the environmental state of China, citing in particular, heavy metal pollution in the Chinese air, water, and soil as a specific concern. The commenters further suggested that potential Chinese use of pesticides currently banned in the United States would lead to contamination of crops shipped from that country.

While the United States does not have direct control over pesticides that are used on food commodities such as apples in other countries, there are regulations in the United States concerning the importation of food to ensure that commodities do not enter the United States containing illegal pesticide residues. Through section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the EPA has the authority to establish, change, or cancel tolerances for food commodities. These EPA-set tolerances are the maximum levels of pesticide residues that have been determined, through comprehensive safety evaluations, to be safe for human consumption. Tolerances apply to both food commodities that are grown in the United States and food commodities that are grown in other countries and imported into the United States. The EPA tolerance levels are enforced once the commodity enters the United States. Chemicals such as DDT that are banned in the United States do not have tolerances on food commodities. Federal Government food inspectors are responsible for monitoring food commodities that enter the United States to confirm that tolerance levels are not exceeded and that residues of pesticide chemicals that are banned in the United States are not present on the commodities. Tolerance levels for all chemicals that are acceptable for use on apples may be found in EPA's regulations in 40 CFR 180.101 through 180.2020. Tolerance information can also be obtained at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/viewtols.htm. Pesticide use in China is regulated by the Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals (ICAMA) under the current pesticide management law, the “Regulation on Pesticide Administration (RPA)”. Under this authority, all pesticides are required to be registered and all pesticide handlers must be licensed. In addition, the ICAMA restricts or bans the use of any pesticide when evidence shows that the pesticide is an imminent hazard to crops, fish, livestock, the environment, or public health.

One commenter said that the FDA is currently unable to cope with its obligation to safety test the current level of imported food coming into U.S. markets. The commenter asserted that allowing the importation of apples from China would prove overly burdensome.

As stated previously, the FDA samples and tests imported fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues. We have received no indication from the FDA that they are unable to successfully carry out these duties. Furthermore, the commenter provided no support for the assertions regarding the FDA's oversight capabilities.

Comments on APHIS Oversight

Several commenters stated that there exists doubt that APHIS possesses the necessary resources to oversee and monitor the terms of the operational workplan and successfully intercept any quarantine pests as necessary. The commenters cited governmental budget cuts and staffing levels as the reason for these systemic weaknesses.

APHIS has reviewed its resources and believes it has adequate coverage across the United States to ensure compliance with its regulations, including the Chinese apple import program, as established by this rule. In addition, the APHIS International Services Area Director in Beijing serves as APHIS' representative in China in order to assess the operations of the program there.

Two commenters asked how APHIS will regulate apple shipments to avoid the importation of leaves and debris, which, the commenter stated, may pose a risk of introducing pests which may not feed or reproduce in or on the fruit.

APHIS inspectors have the authority to reject consignments that contain contaminants such as leaves and other plant debris, especially if any pests are found to be generally infesting that shipment. As stipulated in § 319.56-3(a), “All fruits and vegetables imported under this subpart, whether in commercial or noncommercial consignments, must be free from plant litter or debris and free of any portions of plants that are specifically prohibited in the regulations in this subpart.”

One commenter stated that APHIS would be unable to directly participate in the Chinese import program until such time as a pest infestation or other problem arose. The commenter suggested that APHIS expand its oversight to allow for action prior to that point.

Contrary to the commenter's assertion, our standard practice is to conduct site visits prior to the initiation of any import program. This is to ensure that all required mitigations are in place and the agreed upon operational workplan is being enforced. Subject matter experts inspect production sites and packinghouses and report their findings to APHIS. Furthermore, the operational workplan authorizes the APHIS International Services Area Director in Beijing to conduct periodic audit visits of production sites.

Comments on Chinese Oversight

A number of commenters expressed distrust in the Chinese NPPO's ability to maintain the program at an acceptable level of compliance. One commenter specifically cited an FDA report that highlights risks associated with China's inadequate enforcement of food safety standards. Another commenter stated that contaminants such as arsenic are of concern, citing a paper entitled “Current Research Problems of Chronic Arsenicosis in China” 4 (June 2006).

4 You may view the paper on the Internet at http://bioline.org.br/pdf?hn06022.

Like the United States, China is a signatory to the SPS Agreement. As such, it has agreed to respect the phytosanitary measures the United States imposes on the importation of plants and plant products from China when the United States demonstrates the need to impose these measures in order to protect plant health within the United States. The PRA that accompanied the proposed rule provided evidence of such a need. That being said, as we mentioned in the proposed rule, APHIS will monitor and audit China's implementation of the systems approach for the importation of apples into the continental United States. If we determine that the systems approach has not been fully implemented or maintained, we will take appropriate remedial action to ensure that the importation of apples from China does not result in the dissemination of plant pests within the United States.

The report referenced by the commenter was prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service 5 utilizing data collected by the FDA. The report found that three broad categories of products—fish and shellfish, fruit products, and vegetable products—combined accounted for 70 to 80 percent of FDA import refusals from China in recent years. Fruit and vegetable products are those that have been processed in China before being shipped to the United States, whereas the main concern when it comes to contamination of unprocessed fruits and vegetables is the presence of plant pests being introduced into the United States via the importation of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Given the findings of the PRA, we are confident that the systems approach required for apples from China will mitigate the risk posed by such apples to introduce these pests. The other paper cited by the other commenter refers only to the effects of arsenic in drinking water and not to food contamination. As stated previously, FDA samples and tests imported fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues as well as other adulterants and additives, such as arsenic.

5 The report, entitled, “Imports From China and Food Safety Issues,” (July 2009) may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/156008/eib52_1_.pdf.

Several commenters expressed concern that the rule gives authority for inspecting for pests to the NPPO of China and therefore U.S. phytosanitary security would be under the purview of a foreign government.

While it is true that after initial APHIS approval of the export program is made, the required regular inspections are the responsibility of the NPPO of China, APHIS may request submission of inspection records at any time. In addition, port of entry inspection is performed by trained agriculture specialists employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

A commenter pointed out that we had modeled the systems approach on a similar systems approach for the importation of pears from China, and that pears imported under this protocol had sometimes been determined to be infested with plant pests. The commenter stated that this calls into question the efficacy of China's ability to employ the systems approach.

The pest interceptions referred to by the commenter were 15 infested pears over a 15 year period. Given the lengthy time period in question and the level of imports during that time, this interception rate does not call into question the efficacy of the systems approach, but rather underscores its quality.

One commenter stated that Chinese producers are not subject to the same regulatory oversight as U.S. producers and therefore would be at a competitive advantage. The commenter said that the United States should not accept any produce or products from China for that reason.

As stated previously, such a prohibition would be beyond the scope of APHIS' statutory authority under the PPA, whereby APHIS may prohibit the importation of a fruit or vegetable into the United States only if we determine that the prohibition is necessary in order to prevent the introduction or dissemination of a plant pest or noxious weed within the United States. Additionally, as a signatory to the World Trade Organization's SPS Agreement, the United States has agreed that any prohibitions it places on the importation of fruits and vegetables will be based on scientific evidence related to phytosanitary measures and issues, and will not be maintained without sufficient scientific evidence. The blanket prohibition requested by the commenters would not be in keeping with this agreement.

One commenter said that, apart from the requirements specifically listed in the regulations and the operational workplan, the methods of growth, harvest, treatment, and export of apples from China are generally unknown. The commenter argued that this makes it difficult for APHIS to ensure that the apples were handled with care, without pesticides banned in the United States, and with the precautions necessary to prevent the introduction of invasive pests. The commenter concluded that, until a more strictly monitored set of requirements are established, APHIS should not allow the importation of apples from China.

We disagree with the commenter's assessment. The commenter is asking for certain requirements that either the mandatory systems approach does require or does not need to address for reasons we have explained above. Further, the commenter's characterization of the extent of the operational workplan is incorrect. While the regulations themselves are written more broadly to allow for programmatic flexibility, operational workplans establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-to-day operations of specific import/export programs. Workplans also establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country and make clear who is responsible for dealing with those issues.

The NPPO of China is expected to maintain program records for at least 1 year and provide them to APHIS upon request. One commenter asked why we only expect the NPPO of China to maintain program records for 1 year. The commenter suggested that we make record maintenance a permanent requirement.

There is no technical justification for keeping records for longer than 1 year. If a pest problem is detected, the immediate past records will likely offer the most valuable information necessary to aid in resolution of the issue. This period of time is the APHIS standard for almost all pest programs and there is no special justification to extend it here.

General Comments on Phytosanitary Security

A commenter expressed concern that apples from China pose a high risk of introducing quarantine pests into the United States. Another commenter asked that APHIS prove that any pests associated with the importation of apples from China would lend themselves to effective control measures if they were to become established in the United States. Another commenter asked if APHIS has experience with the listed pathogens to ensure that the proposed mitigations will be effective in controlling diseases that are not present in the United States. Another commenter said that the RMD's report of 15 pest interceptions in 15 years in the Chinese pear importation program, which features a similar pest complex and mitigation measures as were proposed for Chinese apples, calls the efficacy of the systems approach into question. The commenter concludes that interception records cover only known interceptions and ignores the possibility of infested or diseased fruit that is imported but not detected.

For the reasons explained in the proposed rule, the RMD, and this final rule, we consider the provisions of this final rule adequate to mitigate the risk associated with the importation of apples from China. The commenters did not provide any evidence suggesting that the mitigations are individually or collectively ineffective.

One commenter suggested that past history bears out the fact that invasive species from China may prove to be destructive plant pests. The commenter cited the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, and the vinegar fly, Drosophila suzukii, as two examples that are causing significant damage to American crops.

As stated above, we consider the provisions of this final rule adequate to mitigate against the pests of concern as identified by the PRA. Specific to the commenter's examples, both pests have been present in the United States for many years and originated in Asia, not necessarily China in particular. The brown marmorated stink bug most likely entered the United States as a hitchhiking insect overwintering in a cargo container. Drosophila suzukii possibly made its initial entrance via importation of strawberries. Strawberries have been permitted entry from almost all countries since well before APHIS began requiring PRAs. Neither of these pests has been identified as being associated with a crop that has been permitted importation into the United States subsequent to the preparation of a PRA. Rather they are hazards of international trade, which occur infrequently over the span of decades.

Another commenter stated that APHIS lacks information on the full range of pests associated with apples imported from China as Chinese literature sources have proven deficient or incomplete.

We disagree. The PRA that accompanied the proposed rule provided a list of all pests of apples known to exist in China. This list was prepared using multiple data sources to ensure its completeness. For this same reason, we are confident it is accurate. Further, the pest complex associated with apples from China is very similar to the pest complex associated with pears from China, which have been imported into the United States for 15 years under a very similar systems approach with very few pest interceptions.

Another commenter observed that certain areas in the United States must establish buffer zones to keep non-commercially grown apples separated from high production orchards in order to maintain pest freedom. The commenter stated that phytosanitary treatments or other measures, such as those we proposed to require for apples from China, were insufficient to achieve this separation domestically and therefore a similar quarantine is necessary in China.

APHIS will require bagging and phytosanitary treatment to mitigate risk of fruit flies and other insects in apples imported from China. The bagging is an equivalent measure to a domestic quarantine since, done correctly, bagging excludes pest species from the fruits. We are also requiring additional mitigation measures including fumigation plus refrigeration for those apples grown in areas where the Oriental fruit fly is known to exist. In the United States, bagging is not used as a mitigation measure for fruit because of the labor requirements necessary to bag each fruit. Bagging is used as a mitigation for fruit from China, Japan, and Korea, because it is a culturally indigenous mitigation to those countries and because large scale labor at a lower cost is available to apply the mitigation.

One commenter stated that while the RMD asserts that the designated phytosanitary measures will mitigate the risk presented by the importation of apples from China into the continental United States, the document makes no claim as to a specific amount of risk reduction. The commenter further states that the RMD does not establish an appropriate level of phytosanitary protection, or state that the listed mitigation measures will achieve such a level. The commenter said that the PRA should provide more precise and preferably quantitative information about the likelihood that imported apple fruit would transmit any actionable pest or disease. The commenter concluded that APHIS has never established or published any explicit level, either qualitative or quantitative, by which it consistently judges risk.

APHIS believes that a qualitative analysis is appropriate in this situation. APHIS' evaluations are based on science and conducted according to the factors identified in § 319.5(d), which include biosecurity measures, projected export quantity, and the proposed end use of the imported commodity (e.g., propagation, consumption, milling, decorative, processing, etc.). Most of APHIS' risk assessments have been, and continue to be, qualitative in nature. Contrary to the commenter's assertion that a qualitative analysis should include an explicit level of phytosanitary protection, the relative flexibility afforded by a qualitative analysis allows us to evaluate commodity import programs in a holistic way.

While APHIS believes that quantitative risk assessment models are useful in some rare cases, qualitative risk assessments, when coupled with site visit evaluations, provide the necessary information to assess the risk of pest introduction through importation of commodities such as apples from China. Additionally, there are several disadvantages associated with the use of quantitative risk assessment models. Quantitative models also tend to be data-intensive, and the types of data required by such models are often not available or adequate. Quantitative models are also necessarily developed using a set of assumptions that may not always adequately represent the biological situation in question, thus resulting in a wide range of uncertainty in interpretation of the model outcomes. The models also require constant updating, which is dependent on availability of current research and data, and thus may not always represent the current state of scientific information. Finally, uncertainty in the results or outcomes of quantitative models also arises from a large number of sources, including problem specification, conceptual or computational model construction and model misspecification, estimation of input values, and other model misspecification issues. Neither the regulations in 7 CFR part 319 nor APHIS guidance documents require a quantitative risk analysis or indicate that one is needed here.

The same commenter said that the PRA's assessment that certain of the pests considered were “unlikely” or “highly unlikely” to follow the pathway of importation of apples from China was not the same thing as stating that these pests would never follow the pathway. The commenter went on to say that the PRA provides no quantitative indication of what level of incidence is signified by the determinations “unlikely” and “highly unlikely.” The commenter added that the systems approach specified in the proposed rule could prove ineffective if one of the pests deemed “unlikely” or “highly unlikely” to follow the pathway were imported, as the elements of the systems approach were not developed with those pests in mind.

For the reasons stated previously, APHIS rarely performs quantitative risk assessments. However, just because the risk is not quantified does not mean it cannot be assessed and mitigated. Each organism carries its own risk of following the pathway, and APHIS has been very successful in assessing and mitigating the risks associated with new market access. We have stated in the past that if zero tolerance for pest risk were the standard applied to international trade in agricultural commodities, it is quite likely that no country would ever be able to export a fresh agricultural commodity to any other country. Our pest risk analysis process will identify and assign appropriate and effective mitigations for any identified pest risks. If, based on our PRA, we conclude that the available mitigation measures against identified pest risks are insufficient to provide an appropriate level of protection, then we will not authorize the importation of the particular commodity.

The same commenter claimed that the brevity of the RMD, particularly the portion evaluating the efficacy of the proposed mitigation measures, was of concern given the biologic and economic complexities of the proposed action.

It would be inappropriate for APHIS to include an economic analysis in the RMD. Our economic assessment of this action may be found in both the initial regulatory flexibility analysis that was made available with our July 2014 proposed rule and the final regulatory flexibility analysis prepared for this final rule. Copies of the full analyses are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

We disagree with the commenter's claim that the length of a document is in any way directly correlated to the efficacy of the mitigation measures discussed therein. The bagging requirements for all fruit intended for export will exclude almost all pests. We are confident of this fact because similar pest mitigations have successfully been used to allow for the importation of pears from China, which have a similar pest complex to apples from China. The pear importation program has been highly effective—15 pest interceptions in 15 years—with an import volume of about 10,000 metric tons (MT) annually. Although the bagging requirement differs slightly from that used for pears, we have detailed previously why the phytosanitary protections are expected to be effective.

The same commenter stated that the low interception rate reported in the RMD does not prove the efficacy of the proposed mitigation measures. The commenter argued that interception rates of fruit with a high actual infestation rate may be low or even zero if the inspection procedure has a low sensitivity or sampling rate. The commenter concluded that, because the RMD includes no information about inspection sensitivity or sampling rate, there is not enough information available to determine if the low interception rate truly reflects reality or if it is instead due to low inspection sensitivity or sampling.

Generally, CBP inspectors use a sample rate of 2 percent as a standard sample rate. Specific sampling rates may be adjusted based on various factors including the inspector's experience working with the shipper and the type of fruits or vegetables being imported. The standard sample rate may be increased for smaller shipments, or for a shipper or commodity that the inspector is encountering for the first time. APHIS reserves the right to suspend a program and readjust sampling levels accordingly if unacceptable levels of pests are detected.

The RMD included a description of packinghouse culling, which is a standard industry practice to remove all obviously blemished, diseased, and insect-infested fruits from the importation pathway. The same commenter argued that the RMD's supposition of the efficacy of culling ignores the potential existence of diseased, and insect-infested fruit that are not obviously diseased or insect-infested. The commenter said that, in the projected 10,000 MT of apples imported from China, the likelihood of a number of asymptomatic diseased or insect-infested fruit may not be negligible.

We are confident that packinghouse culling, in concert with the other requirements of the systems approach will be effective in mitigating phytosanitary risk. Any fruit that appeared asymptomatic, as posited by the commenter, would likely be in the early stages of disease or infestation. Given the transit time required to ship apples from China to the United States as well as mandatory port of entry inspections, it is likely that any latent infection or infestation would be detected at this point in the importation process. We have stated in the past that if zero tolerance for pest risk were the standard applied to international trade in agricultural commodities, it is quite likely that no country would ever be able to export a fresh agricultural commodity to any other country and, thus, zero risk is not a realistic standard.

The same commenter cited Article 5.4 of the SPS Agreement, which requires that members institute phytosanitary requirements while simultaneously minimizing negative trade effects; and Article 5.6, which requires that members ensure that any required phytosanitary measures are not more trade-restrictive than necessary, taking into account technical and economic feasibility. The commenter noted that the RMD contains no analysis indicating that the proposal is compliant with these articles and goes on to state that the RMD only evaluates one option, which consists of 14 specific measures. The commenter suggested that, if evaluated individually and in varying combinations, fewer than the 14 measures presented might prove sufficient to mitigate the phytosanitary risk posed by apples from China, a smaller systems approach that would be easier to implement and less trade-restrictive.

APHIS has determined that the listed risk management measures, along with the requirement of a phytosanitary certificate and the port of entry inspection, will mitigate the risk of pest introductions on apples from China into the continental United States. While bagging is the primary mitigation, the other mitigations serve to ensure that no pests will follow the importation pathway. Once the system has been in place and is operational, it may become clear that some mitigations may be reduced or removed. Prior to the program becoming operational, APHIS will not remove mitigations since, as stated previously, a similar systems approach is successfully utilized for the importation of pears from China. Although the bagging requirement differs slightly from that used for pears, we have detailed previously why the phytosanitary protections otherwise remain the same.

The commenter went on to state that the RMD provides no evidence to support the assertion that the 14 phytosanitary measures are sufficient to mitigate the pest risk associated with the importation of apples from China. In particular, the commenter observes that there is no description of apple growing or commercial apple processing in China that would support the claim that standard packinghouse procedures, such as culling and inspection, will prove efficacious. Similarly, another commenter stated that the required inspections do not guarantee that quarantine pests will not be introduced.

APHIS (and its predecessor agencies within the USDA) has been relying on inspection for almost 100 years to remove pests and we are therefore confident in its efficacy as a mitigation. As stated previously, APHIS' evaluations are based on science and conducted according to the factors identified in § 319.5(d). Specifically, paragraph (d)(5) of that section requires that any country requesting market access for a specific commodity to submit a full account of measures currently utilized in-country to mitigate against pests of concern in a domestic setting. We also require references to back up the information supplied by the country. APHIS then conducts its own assessment of the in-country mitigations, which includes multiple site visits in order to assess potential places of production, packinghouses, etc. We are confident that we have fully taken into account the ability of Chinese producers and the NPPO of China to meet the standards set out in the systems approach and the operational workplan.

The same commenter stated that Article 6.3 of the SPS Agreement requires that, “Exporting Members claiming that areas within their territories are pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence shall provide the necessary evidence thereof in order to objectively demonstrate to the importing Member that such areas are, and are likely to remain, pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence, respectively.” The commenter said that APHIS does not provide any information about evidence provided by China concerning pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence within China or within specific regions in China. The commenter concluded that it appears that APHIS never even considered the existence of pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence.

While the section of the SPS Agreement cited by the commenter is accurate concerning official recognition of pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence, the recognition of such areas requires a formal request be made on the part of the exporting country. China did not request that APHIS recognize any such areas. Consequently, APHIS is not establishing formal pest- or disease-free areas or areas of low pest or disease prevalence in relation to the importation of apples from China, nor are such designations a requirement for the importation of commodities into the United States. As stated previously, we are confident that the systems approach provides the necessary pest mitigation for the importation of apples into the continental United States.

The same commenter said that the PRA's lack of information concerning pest and disease prevalence in China calls into question the adequacy of China's pest and disease surveillance programs and added that the PRA does not provide the information necessary for a determination regarding the adequacy of pest and disease surveillance. The commenter stated that there may be pests and diseases of concern not considered by the PRA and RMD due to the potential inadequacy of Chinese phytosanitary surveillance.

As stated previously, APHIS' evaluations are based on science and conducted according to the factors identified in § 319.5(d). Specifically, the requirements of paragraphs (d)(4) and (d)(5) of that section require that any country requesting market access for a specific commodity must submit to APHIS a complete list of pests present in that country that are associated with the commodity in question as well as the measures currently utilized in-country to mitigate against those pests in a domestic setting. We also require references to back up the information supplied by the country. APHIS then conducts its own assessment of the pest complex and in-country mitigations, which includes multiple site visits in order to assess potential places of production, packinghouses, etc.

Another commenter asked if APHIS will require a trapping program be established for the listed pests of concern.

As stated in the proposed rule, paragraph (b)(1) would require the place of production to carry out any phytosanitary measures specified for the place of production under the operational workplan. Depending on the location, size, and plant pest history of the orchard, these measures may include surveying protocols or application of pesticides and fungicides. Trapping programs may be required in the case of fruit fly, key Lepidoptera, and/or weevils. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis, with the details of any such programs laid out in the operational workplan.

Comments on the Pest List

The PRA that accompanied the proposed rule identified 21 pests of quarantine significance present in China that could be introduced into the continental United States through the importation of Chinese apples:

Adoxophyes orana (Fischer von Röslerstamm), summer fruit tortix.

Archips micaceana (Walker), a moth.

Argyrotaenia ljungiana (Thunberg), grape tortix.

Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), Oriental fruit fly.

Carposina sasakii Matsumura, peach fruit moth.

Cenopalpus pulcher (Canestrini & Fanzago), flat scarlet mite.

Cryptoblabes gnidiella (Millière), honeydew moth.

Cydia funebrana (Treitschke), plum fruit moth.

Euzophera bigella (Zeller), quince moth.

Euzophera pyriella Yang, a moth.

Grapholita inopinata Heinrich, Manchurian fruit moth.

Leucoptera malifoliella (Costa), apple leaf miner.

Monilia polystroma van Leeuwen, Asian brown rot.

Monilinia fructigena Honey, brown fruit rot.

Rhynchites auratus (Scopoli), apricot weevil.

Rhynchites bacchus (L.), peach weevil.

Rhynchites giganteus Krynicky, a weevil.

Rhynchites heros Roelofs, a weevil.

Spilonota albicana (Motschulsky), white fruit moth.

Spilonota prognathana Snellen, a moth.

Ulodemis trigrapha Meyrick, a moth.

We received a number of comments regarding these pests as well as suggestions for other pests commenters believed to be of phytosanitary significance that were not included.

One commenter stated that many irrelevant species, such as longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae sp.), were included in the PRA. The commenter said that the PRA should focus only on those pests associated with apple fruit or those that could be transported with the commodity. The commenter said that including a number of species that do not meet those criteria results in a large document, which renders it difficult to assess pests that may be of true significance and thus determine the quality and value of the PRA.

Our task in developing the PRA was to review all pests of apple that are present in China and then assess how likely they are to be associated with harvested fruit. For the sake of transparency, we include those pests that we conclude are not of quarantine significance or unlikely to follow the pathway of importation as we must first identify all pests that exist in China before narrowing the list to the specific pests of concern. This allows stakeholders and other interested parties the fullest degree of access to the pest list.

Another commenter wanted to know whether the reference to “stem” as the plant part affected in the PRA includes the fruit pedicel, which may, in some cases, be attached to the fruit in the marketplace. The commenter said that if the term “stem” refers only to woody tissue, such as an apple branch, then the commenter agrees with many of the assessments made regarding infestation of stems and the likelihood of such a pest following the pathway of importation. The commenter went on to state that many of the pests in the Cerambycidae, Lucanidae, Scolytinae, Tenebrionidae, and Curculionidae species listed in the PRA may infest stems and also the fruit pedicel, which would mean they could potentially pose a phytosanitary risk.

We considered the importation of apple fruit only, with no stem attached. This does not include the fruit pedicel.

Another commenter observed that the PRA did not consider the risks posed by those pests of phytosanitary concern in the United States that may be present in China but are not currently reported or known to be present. The commenter additionally stated that the PRA did not consider the risks posed by those pests that are of phytosanitary concern in the United States that are present in China but not currently reported to be associated with apples.

A second commenter stated that one of the general challenges encountered in reviewing the PRA is in understanding the biology of some of the exotic insect species and the specific risk of early season latent infection or late season infestation that may not be unequivocally obvious at harvest.

We believe that the standard suggested by the commenters would call for APHIS to postulate based on wholly unknowable risk factors. The PRA that accompanied the proposed rule provided a list of all pests of apples known to exist in China. This list was prepared using multiple data sources to ensure its completeness. For this same reason, we are confident it is accurate.

If, however, a new pest of apples is detected in China, APHIS will conduct further risk analysis in order to evaluate the pest to determine whether it is a quarantine pest, and whether it is likely to follow the pathway of apples from China that are imported into the United States. If we determine that the pest is a quarantine pest and is likely to follow the pathway, we will work with the NPPO of China to adjust the pest list and related phytosanitary measures to prevent its introduction into the United States.

Since the Oriental fruit fly is known to exist, in varying population densities, in areas of China south of the 33rd parallel, apples from such areas will be subject to treatment in accordance with 7 CFR part 305. Within part 305, § 305.2 provides that approved treatment schedules are set out in the PPQ Treatment Manual, found online at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf. (The manual specifies that fumigation plus refrigeration schedule T108-a is effective in neutralizing Oriental fruit fly on apples.) The RMD also states that any other treatment subsequently approved by APHIS may be used. One commenter expressed concern at the non-specific nature of those potential alternative treatments.

While APHIS cannot offer specifics on phytosanitary treatments that are not currently approved for use, the language in the RMD is intended to indicate that such treatments may become available in the future. APHIS has a rigorous procedure for approving new quarantine treatments, which includes soliciting comments from stakeholders in accordance with § 305.3. New treatments are tested to a very high standard of efficacy. Generally speaking, that means that an approved treatment is effective in removing 99.99 percent of pests.

Another commenter said that there is a lack of research to support that the systems approach proposed by APHIS will be effective in mitigating the phytosanitary risk posed by the Oriental fruit fly.

We disagree with the commenter's assertion. These mitigations have been used on a similar pest complex for the importation of pears from China. This is a highly successful import program with only 15 interceptions of any quarantine pests in 15 years of operation and no fruit fly interceptions. As most apples in China are grown above the 33rd parallel, the risk of fruit fly interceptions in consignments of apples is small. The commenter provided no specific data to support the argument that apples from China pose a unique pest risk.

One commenter stated that the Oriental fruit fly and the apple leaf miner are of particular concern given that they are high risk pests and Oriental fruit flies have been detected on numerous occasions at U.S. ports of entry.

While it is true that APHIS has made interceptions of Oriental fruit fly at U.S. ports of entry, most of those interceptions were in passenger baggage. Oriental fruit fly is additionally present in Hawaii, which may lead to a higher number of interstate interceptions.

Another commenter said that melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae) and solanum fruit fly (Bactrocera latifrons) are known pests of apple, but the PRA states that non-cucurbit hosts require confirmation. The commenter reasons that, for such severe pests of commodities other than apple, it would make sense to consider both as potential pests of apple. The commenter asked if there are areas of overlap between the flies' distribution areas and apple growing areas. Lastly, the commenter said that the honeydew moth (Cryptoblabes gnidiella) remained on the list in spite of the facts that the pest has a warm climate distribution and that apple is only an occasional host. The commenter said it would therefore be consistent to treat melon fly and solanum fruit fly similarly.

These particular fruit flies are not found in apple producing parts of China and, as the commenter observes, apple is not a primary host. Thus infestations of apple would be unusual and exclusionary mitigations like bagging will help prevent any infestation. We found references indicating the host status of apples (regardless of major or minor status) for the honeydew moth whereas we did not for either melon fly or solanum fruit fly. If, upon inspection, melon fly or solanum fruit fly are found to be generally infesting shipments of apples we will adjust our mitigations as necessary.

One commenter stated that there is an unknown risk of apple leaf miner escaping detection.

We disagree with the commenter's claim that apple leaf miner may easily escape detection. Leaf miners are not typically found on fruit; leaves, which they more readily infest, are not authorized for importation. In addition, leaf miners typically leave a visible tunnel as they mine, which aids in inspection and detection.

Another commenter asked why apple ring rot (Macrophoma kawatsukai) and the fungus, Penicillium diversum, were removed from the pest list when both were present on a draft version of the list. The commenter asked why the genus Penicillium is considered non-actionable at ports of entry.

These pests are post-harvest pathogens. In general, post-harvest pathogens are not considered for analysis because most are cosmopolitan and it is unlikely to impossible for them to be transferred to fruit in the field. Penicillium is a cosmopolitan genus that only causes post-harvest rots. Consequently, it is not actionable. APHIS determines whether a pest is actionable based on its novelty and known prevalence or distribution within and throughout the United States, its potential harm to U.S. agricultural, environmental, or other resources, and the need to mitigate its pest risk, if any.

The same commenter stated that spores from the fungal pathogens Monilia polystroma and Monilinia fructigena might easily go undetected in inspections and present a risk of becoming established on several crops in the State of Florida.

Phytosanitary security is provided by several layers of inspection: Field inspection, packinghouse inspection, and port of entry inspection. As these inspections take place over a period of time, it becomes increasingly likely that any consignments with symptomatic fruit will be identified. As stated previously, these mitigations have been successfully used on a similar pest complex for the importation of pears from China.

The same commenter stated that, contrary to APHIS's assertion in the PRA that interception records indicate no association between Tetranychus species of spider mite and commercially produced and shipped apples, the apple industry has experienced infestations of Tetranychus and Panonychus spider mite species in apple production areas. The commenter added that the hawthorn spider mite (Amphitetranychus viennensis) could present a similar risk given that it is recorded as attacking leaves, fruit, and blossoms. Another commenter stated that, late in the growing season, hawthorn spider mites sometimes collect in the calices of apples, with either motile forms or eggs present. The commenters urged APHIS to reexamine the data in light of this.

While we have made no changes in response to this comment, as the data we have do not support the commenters' assertion, we do note that typical required mitigations for spider mites are packinghouse procedures (i.e., washing, brushing, spraying with compressed air), culling, and inspection. Those measures will be included as requirements in the operational workplan and should mitigate against any unforeseen pests of this nature. If one of these pests is detected upon inspection we will take appropriate measures to prevent its introduction into the United States. The hawthorn spider mite was considered in the PRA. It attacks apple leaves; we found no evidence of it being present on fruit.

The same commenter asked why Eotetranychus sp. mites were listed as being associated with apples in China with actionable or undetermined regulatory status but was not included in the listing of actionable pests reported on apples in any country and present in China on any host.

While Eotetranychus sp. mites are generally actionable, investigation into the Eotetranychus species that are present in China and known to affect apples did not reveal any known species that are considered actionable in the United States, so we did not include them in the second listing. Some non-actionable species from this genus are listed in an appendix to the PRA.

The same commenter expressed concern that multivoltine fruit feeding insects may be able to oviposit on fruit once the bags that are required by the systems approach to be placed over each developing fruit are removed. The commenter further asked that APHIS ensure that the required fruit bags are not applied too late in the spring or removed too early as the fruit matures in the interest of addressing horticultural quality needs and color development at the expense of pest mitigation.

Our requirement, which will be stipulated in the operational workplan, is that the bags must remain on the fruit until at least 14 days before harvest. PPQ will ensure that the bags are in place early enough to exclude insect pests. If infestations of insects such bagging is intended to exclude are found upon inspection, production sites and packinghouses may be suspended from the export program.

The same commenter stated that snout beetles (Curculionidae) can be serious pests of tree fruit with limited control options. While the commenter noted that the PRA lists a number of Curculionidae species as following the importation pathway, the commenter noted the following additional species of weevils for inclusion: Coenorrhynus sp., Enaptorrhinus sinensis Waterhouse, Involvulus sp., Neomyllocerus hedini (Marshall), Rhynchites coreanus Kono, and Rhynchites heros Roelofs.

In particular, the commenter asked why Enaptorrhinus sinensis Waterhouse is listed as infesting fruit, but unlikely to follow the pathway of importation. The commenter observed that Enaptorrhinus sinensis Waterhouse is one of three species on the PRA list of quarantine pests that are likely to follow the pathway that is classed as a fruit feeder. The commenter went on to state that Neomyllocerus hedini (Marshall) is also present on the PRA list of quarantine pests that are likely to follow the pathway.

Finally, the commenter stated that an Australian PRA cites Rhynchites coreanus Kono as a high-risk quarantine pest from China, but was not considered in the APHIS PRA.

The bagging requirement discussed above should effectively exclude Curculionidae. In addition, weevils typically leave feeding damage and holes with frass that are easily visible upon inspection. We would note that we analyzed Rhynchites heros Roelofs and determined that it presents a medium risk of introduction via the importation pathway and that Rhynchites coreanus Kono is a synonym of Rhynchites heros Roelofs.

Contrary to the commenter's assertion, Enaptorrhinus sinensis Waterhouse is not listed in the PRA as affecting fruit: “Adults, which are moderately large beetles (body length: 6.2-6.4 mm, width: 3.2-3.3 mm; Han, 2002), may feed on apple fruit (You, 2004), but are considered unlikely to remain with fruit through harvest and post-harvest processing.” Neomyllocerus hedini (Marshall) is listed as affecting leaves but not fruit.

As for the other weevils cited by the commenter, we found no evidence during our assessment that those pests were likely to follow the pathway.

The same commenter observed that, since members of the Diapididae and Pseudococcidae families of scale insects feed on stems, leaves, and fruit in U.S. apple orchards and are treated as quarantine pests in many countries around the world, the following species should have been included in the PRA: Diaspidiotus (= Quadraspidiotus) slavonicus (Green), Phenacoccus pergandei Cockerell, Spilococcus (= Atrococcus) pacificus (Borchsenius), and Leucoptera malifoliella (Lyonetiidae).

Another commenter said that the PRA's determination of a negligible possibility of Japanese wax scale (Ceroplastes japonicas) following the pathway of importation was based on the idea that Chinese apples will be safely discarded. The commenter stated that, if even a small percentage of imported apples are discarded improperly, there is risk, particularly if they are discarded near host material.

In general, scale insects are excluded via washing, brushing, spraying with compressed air, culling, and inspection. These mandatory measures will be a part of the operational workplan. However, Phenacoccus pergandei Cockerell is found to affect leaves only, Spilococcus (= Atrococcus) pacificus (Borchsenius) is found to affect stems only, and Ceroplastes japonicas is found to affect both leaves and stems. The commenters provided no evidence that these scales were of concern on fruit. Although Leucoptera malifoliella (Lyonetiidae) is not on the pest list, Leucoptera malifoliella (Costa) is listed with a high risk of following the pathway and will be mitigated as described previously. Lyonetiidae is the family name for this pest, Costa is the authority. They are the same pest, notated differently. Finally, in a risk analysis titled, “Phytosanitary Risks Associated with Armored Scales in Commercial Shipments of Fruit for Consumption to the United States” (June 2007) 6 we determined that the likelihood of introduction of armored scales via the specific pathway represented by commercially produced fruit shipped without leaves, stems, or contaminants is low because these scales have a very poor ability to disperse from fruits for consumption onto hosts. Females do not possess wings or legs; legs are also absent in feeding immature forms. Males are capable of flight, however they are short-lived, do not feed, and tend to mate only with nearby females. For this reason, the armored scale Diaspidiotus (= Quadraspidiotus) slavonicus (Green) is not a pest of concern.

6 Copies of the full analysis are available by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

One commenter stated that since the taxonomy of the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea is under active consideration by the research community, the assertion that the Asian Botryosphaeria dothidea is the same species as is found in the United States is not settled science. The commenter argued that they should be considered distinct species until scientists from China provide additional studies demonstrating that they are synonymous.

We disagree. The most recent and conclusive study on this matter 7 found that the causal agent of apple ring spot and apple white rot was the same. The agent was identified as Botryosphaeria dothidea for both diseases. Thus, the pathogen is present in both the United States and China.

7 That study, Phylogenetic and pathogenic analyses show that the causal agent of apple ring rot in China is Botryosphaeria dothidea, may be found on the Internet at http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/pdf/10.1094/PDIS-08-11-0635.

Another commenter stated that there is an unknown risk of fungi of the genus Monilinia escaping detection.

We disagree with the commenter's assertion regarding unknown risk. Monilinia mali is unlikely to be present on mature fruit. Monilinia fructigena is unlikely to come in contact with host material, since spores need to be near actual apple trees. Unless Monilinia fructigena-infected fruit are sporulating in close proximity to host material, they cannot infect it and we consider this possibility unlikely. Other specific members of Monilinia sp. are discussed below.

One commenter said that it needs to be demonstrated, through scientific study and examination of mature fruit taken from orchards which have suffered epidemics at several early seasonal timings, that latent infections of the fungus Monilinia ma/1, which is the causal agent of monilia leaf blight, are not sometimes still present later at harvest on normal appearing fruit.

Field inspection data for Monilinia fructigena and Monilinia polystroma was presented by all orchards inspected in our site visit and certified by the Chinese Entry and Exit Inspection and Quarantine Service. This data shows no report of the diseases, and if there are no disease records, then there can be no latency problem such as the commenter described. In addition, packinghouse inspections show no history of the disease.

The same commenter said that the fungus Monilinia mali, which does not occur in the United States, was not included in the listing of actionable pests reported on apples in any country and present in China on any host and should be added. The commenter additionally stated that the fungus Monilinia polystroma should be added to that list as well, as it has been reported to attack apples in Europe and has been recently reported from China.

Contrary to the commenter's assertion, both pathogens are listed. Currently there is only a single report of Monilinia polystroma on apples. That identification is debatable since it was based on molecular evidence alone. The European report stated that the symptoms disappeared after the initial observation. Thus, the observations have not been replicated outside of this single incident. In Japan and China, where stone fruit (the primary host for the pathogen) and apples are grown in close proximity, there are no reports of Monilinia polystroma on apples. Despite the weak evidence, we did analyze Monilinia polystroma and found it to be high risk. It was therefore considered when we were developing the requirements of the systems approach and will be considered in development of the operational workplan. There is also considerable uncertainty about the presence of Monilinia mali but it was also listed. However, it was not analyzed because it is not found on mature fruit.

The PRA lists certain organisms that APHIS is only able to identify to the genus level and notes that these organisms may prove to have actionable status. One commenter noted this and categorized this as an arbitrary decision by APHIS. The commenter stated that APHIS is incorrect to say that the risk potential of these species should be considered low because APHIS cannot evaluate risk as completely as would be desirable. The commenter appears to suggest that APHIS study these unknown organisms further or that APHIS evaluate risk for genera taken as a whole.

Another commenter requested further information regarding the following fungi, identified only to the genus level, which were listed as being associated with apples in China with actionable or undetermined regulatory status: Cladosporium, Fusarium, Fusidium, Penicillium, and Psuedocercospora. The commenter stated that these may represent novel species and wanted to know if APHIS went back to original sources or voucher specimens to attempt to confirm the specific identity of these fungi.

Another commenter observed that some pest organisms were only identified to the genus level in the PRA and are thus not included in the evaluation. The commenter particularly cited Drosophila sp. as of potential concern, stating that, though many members of the species only attack and reproduce in damaged fruit, the U.S. apple industry has found that the spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) readily attacks and reproduces in intact fruit. The commenter said that this behavior is present in many plant-attacking arthropods and added that the Chinese arthropod fauna is very poorly known and therefore we have no idea of their geographic or host ranges and, consequently, their possible agricultural and ecological impacts.

These commenters ask APHIS to meet an impossible standard of certainty in terms of species knowledge. Further, the SPS Agreement allows for signatory countries to only consider risks that are known and scientifically documented. Under the SPS Agreement, if a country cannot scientifically document the risk associated with a given pest or commodity as a whole, then that country cannot mitigate that unknown risk by imposing phytosanitary requirements or denying market access. We do not have access to any further information on the specific species cited by the commenters as there is no existing research on these species beyond the genus level. While, as stated, we are unable to assess the risk associated with scientifically unknown species, we include the genera in the PRA in case more information is discovered later. In the event of new pest information and research, we will adjust our mitigations as necessary.

Another commenter stated that the sooty blotch and flyspeck complex of fungi, which occurs in China, represents a phytosanitary challenge given that most of these fungi have an extremely long incubation period or latent period before colonies become visible on fruit surfaces. Additionally, the commenter identified three species, Zygophiala cylindrical, Zygophiala qianensis, and Strelitziana mali, which are reported to occur on apples in China but are not included on the pest list.

As with Penicillium, which was discussed previously, these pests are post-harvest pathogens. In general, post-harvest pathogens are not considered for analysis because most are cosmopolitan and it is unlikely to impossible for them to be transferred to fruit in the field.

The same commenter observed that nematodes are often mistakenly considered to be solely root feeders. While root feeders would not likely be expected to be part of the fruit pathway, Aphelenchoides limberi, a shoot feeder, might present a higher risk than assigned in the pest list and therefore be deserving of additional consideration. The commenter asked why no Ditylenchus or Anguina species were included in the PRA, given the regional proximity of seed-gall nematode, Anguina tritici.

As the commenter stated, generally speaking, nematodes inhabit the soil and infest plant roots. While there are a few tissue feeding species, it is highly unlikely that any will be present on apples given that they are shoot feeders and not pathogens of the mature fruit. We are confident that the PRA has captured all fruit feeding pests of concern.

The same commenter observed that the moth Spulerina astaurota, the lace bug (Stephanitis (Stephanitis) nashi Esaki & Takeya, 1931), and the tortricid moths Acleris fimbriana, Adoxophyes orana, and Spilonota lechriaspis are listed as associated with fruit in a 2003 Australian review of pests associated with Chinese pears. The commenter said that this association should prove true for apples from China as well and these pests should therefore be added to the pest list.

We are aware of the review referenced by the commenter but disagree with the commenter's conclusions. Our examination of the source literature for the review as well as other documents did not indicate that any of these pests, with the exception of Adoxophyes orana, is present on apple fruit. Adoxophyes orana was analyzed in the PRA and we determined that it presents a medium likelihood of introduction. It is therefore covered by the mitigations in the systems approach.

Another commenter asked why the summer fruit tortix (Adoxophyes orana) and the plum fruit moth (Cydia funebrana) would not require an approved treatment in regions where these pests are present, as will be required for Oriental fruit fly.

These pests are mitigated by the required bagging protocol that is part of the systems approach. Bagging excludes all Lepidoptera pests. This systems approach has been used for pears from China for the past 15 years, resulting in a very low number of Lepidoptera sp. interceptions.

Another commenter stated that, although there are four species of thrips (Thysanoptera) listed in the PRA, none were considered to follow the pathway of importation since they only damage leaves. The commenter said that many thrips are known to shelter in the calyxes of fruit and could enter the importation pathway in this manner.

We disagree with the commenter's assessment. Apart from principally attacking leaves, thrips are a highly mobile pest. Any thrips that sheltered in the fruit calyx or elsewhere would not do so for long and would be mitigated by the required washing, brushing, and spraying with compressed air at the packinghouse.

The same commenter said that the PRA did not consider the pear fruit borer (Pempelia heringii) as a candidate for risk management based primarily on the fact that it has not been a significant pest in the last 100 years, but that records indicate that it was a pest that bored into the fruit of apples and pears. The commenter stated that a report of this species in Hawaii throws into doubt the restricted host range it is thought to have and therefore the precautionary principle should be applied in including it on the pest list.

One of the risk elements analyzed in the guidelines for risk assessment is damage potential in the endangered area. Considering all available information, the analysis determines whether or not a significant level of damage would be likely to occur in the endangered area (e.g., more than 10 percent yield loss, significant increases in production costs, impacts on threatened or endangered species). As the commenter notes, reports of significant damage in fruit production as a result of Pempelia heringii infestation are over 100 years old. Apple and pear production in China and Japan are economically important aspects of national agriculture; if significant damage was to occur again, it would have been reported in the literature. While there is some uncertainty regarding the cause of the absence of Pempelia heringii infestations, based on available literature, the potential for damage in the United States is considered low.

The same commenter stated that the mealybug Pseudococcus cryptus was not considered a candidate for risk management in the PRA because risk of establishment was considered first, and since that was deemed negligible, the likelihood of introduction was not evaluated. The commenter said the argument regarding negligible establishment is based on the idea that it is unlikely that an infested fruit will be discarded near a potential host, as well as the presumed frailty of the crawlers. The commenter went on to say that, in the event that apples are or become a host, the crawlers of other mealybug species are known to aggregate around the calyx of fruit, which would provide shelter and render them difficult to detect and therefore the absence of any mealybug species from the PRA list for risk management measures should be examined.

The mealybug analysis concludes as follows: “Dispersal by wind is dependent on prevailing wind direction; nymphs have no control over where they are blown. This dispersal strategy relies on a very high number of nymphs, so that a few will arrive serendipitously on a suitable new host. Commercial fruit arriving in the United States is highly unlikely to carry high populations of pregnant females. Crawlers would be unlikely to survive shipment, especially in chilled, low humidity conditions. Some people dispose of inedible fruit in outdoor compost bins, but since only a small number of fruit are likely to be infested, only very rarely would infested fruit be composted. For these reasons, mealybugs arriving on commercial fruit for consumption have a negligible likelihood of dispersing to hosts.” Sufficient evidence to change this has not been presented.

The same commenter observed that the oriental red mite (Eutetranychus orientalis) was dismissed as a risk by the PRA as there were no records indicated in a “thorough National Agricultural Library, Google Scholar, and PestID database search.” The commenter stated that, to the contrary, there is literature that lists Eutetranychus orientalis as a pest of apple and other rosaceous hosts.

This species is a well-known and thoroughly researched pest of citrus. Given the vast amount of literature available on this species, primary records of detections on apple should be available, if extant. Given the lack of such primary records, we consider the listing of apples as a natural host for Eutetranychus orientalis dubious and therefore we did not include it on the pest list.

The same commenter stated that the peach fruit moth (Carposina sasakii) is treated as not meeting the criteria for spread potential in the PRA, but that the PRA also states that the lack of spread is due to strict quarantine regulations. The commenter went on to say that this is a serious pest in infested regions and should be included for risk management.

We concluded in the PRA that the peach fruit moth was likely to cause unacceptable consequences if introduced into the United States. It was assigned a medium likelihood of introduction and is therefore covered by the requirements in the systems approach.

Comments on the Systems Approach

We proposed to require the NPPO of China to provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO would, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of the regulations. An operational workplan is an agreement between PPQ, officials of the NPPO of a foreign government, and, when necessary, foreign commercial entities that specifies in detail the phytosanitary measures that will comply with our regulations governing the import or export of a specific commodity. Operational workplans establish detailed procedures and guidance for the day-to-day operations of specific import/export programs. Workplans also establish how specific phytosanitary issues are dealt with in the exporting country and make clear who is responsible for dealing with those issues. The implementation of a systems approach typically requires an operational workplan to be developed. Two commenters stated that since the operational workplan, in particular the section on required production practices, has not yet been approved by APHIS it was impossible to adequately evaluate the risks of the proposal. Another commenter asked us to present details of the operational workplan.

Generally speaking, APHIS does not finalize an operational workplan until after the rule itself is finalized given that changes may be made to the rule as a result of public comment. However, given the similarity of the systems approaches, we anticipate that the operational workplan associated with the importation of apples from China will be very similar to the workplan for the importation of pears from China, which has been used to mitigate risk successfully for the past 15 years. This will likely include such requirements as field inspection, orchard control, culling, and spraying with compressed air.

We proposed to require that, when any apples destined for export to the continental United States are still on the tree and are no more than 2 centimeters in diameter, double-layered paper bags must be placed wholly over the apples.

We are making a minor change to the requirements as they pertain to when the bags are placed as they were set out in the proposed rule. Instead of requiring that bags be placed over the apples when they are no more than 2 centimeters in diameter, we are requiring that the bags be placed over the apples when they are no more than 2.5 centimeters in diameter. The 2 centimeter diameter specified in the proposed rule was an error and the change to 2.5 centimeters is necessary to keep the regulations in line with bagging protocols for pears from China. The change from 2 centimeters to 2.5 centimeters will have no effect on the phytosanitary safety of the young apple fruit. At this stage in the fruit's growth any attacks made by surface feeding or internally feeding pests will lead to visible deformation of the fruit and to fruit drop. Further, an increase of 0.5 centimeters in fruit diameter at this stage represents generally a week's worth of growth, which is insufficient time for any widespread infestation of young fruit to occur.

Two commenters asked which studies confirm APHIS's assertion that bagging the fruit will mitigate all the pests of concern discussed in the PRA. Another commenter wanted to know whether APHIS can prove the effectiveness of fruit bagging as a phytosanitary mitigation based on the volume of apples that will likely be shipped. Another commenter pointed out that we had modeled the bagging protocol on a similar protocol for the importation of pears from China, and that pears imported under this protocol had sometimes been determined to be infested with plant pests. The commenter stated that this calls into question the efficacy of this mitigation.

We did not claim that the required bagging will serve as sole mitigation for the pests of concern listed in the PRA. The entire systems approach, which comprises a number of requirements working in concert, will provide that mitigation. While we do not possess evidence regarding the efficacy of bagging for apples in particular, the efficacy of bagging as a means of preventing fruit from becoming infested with quarantine insects is well established: The RMD cited several peer-reviewed studies regarding its efficacy. Additionally, we note that bagging is a pest-exclusionary technique that is similar to safeguarding with mesh, tarps, containment structures, and other mitigations APHIS has relied on to prevent pests from following the pathway of fruits for many years.

Fruit bagging has been a required aspect of the systems approach for the importation of pears from China for the past 15 years. This program experiences an extremely low interception rate—15 interceptions in 15 years—with an import volume of about 10,000 MT annually. Although it is not possible to say with absolute certainty, given the structure and past behavior of the Chinese apple industry, which is discussed in detail in the final regulatory flexibility analysis, we expect apples to be imported at a similar rate. Contrary to the third commenter's claim that 15 pest interceptions over a 15-year period is troubling, given the time period in question and the level of imports during that time, this interception rate does not call into question the efficacy of bagging, but rather underscores its efficacy.

We proposed to require the NPPO of China to visit and inspect registered places of production prior to harvest for signs of infestations. One commenter stated that the required interval for inspection was insufficient and would not serve to ensure compliance. Two commenters said that the required inspection frequency was also inadequate to enforce the requirement for removal of fallen fruit at the place of production.

As stated in the proposed rule, this provision is modeled on an existing provision that has been successfully employed as part of the systems approach that used by APHIS for the importation of fragrant pears and sand pears from China. Given our knowledge and experience with the importation of these pears, we are confident that the requirement is adequate. In addition, as with any regulatory program, unannounced inspections and spot checks are often used to ensure compliance. Suspension or expulsion from the export program would also serve to discourage noncompliance. Our approach to any required orchard procedures, such as the removal of fallen fruit, would be the same.

We proposed to set forth requirements for mitigation measures that would have to take place at registered packinghouses. These measures include a requirement that during the time registered packinghouses are in use for packing apples for export to the continental United States, the packinghouses may only accept apples that are from registered places of production and that are produced in accordance with the regulations, tracking and traceback capabilities, establishment of a handling procedure (e.g., culling damaged apples, removing leaves from the apples, wiping the apples with a clean cloth, air blasting, or grading) for the apples that is mutually agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of China, washing, brushing, spraying with compressed air, and box marking. A commenter said that the inspection procedures for packinghouses do not provide sufficient detail. The commenter said that packinghouse inspections must adequately ensure that leaf removal and washing of apples are conducted according to applicable requirements and added that the packinghouse must address the risk associated with apples originating from nonregistered places of production that may have been processed ahead of the packaging of the apples destined for U.S. markets. Several commenters stated that we should require that Chinese packinghouses handling apples intended for export to the United States not accept commodities destined for any other markets given that the phytosanitary standards required to access non-U.S. markets may be weaker. Another commenter pointed out that the size of the required biometric sample was unspecified. Another commenter stated that packinghouse culling and inspection do not eliminate all lepidopteran and curculionid pests in the United States, so APHIS should not assume that they will do so in China.

As stated previously, APHIS inspectors have the authority to reject consignments that contain contaminants such as leaves and other plant debris, especially if any pests are found to be generally infesting that shipment. As stipulated in § 319.56-3(a), “All fruits and vegetables imported under this subpart, whether in commercial or noncommercial consignments, must be free from plant litter or debris and free of any portions of plants that are specifically prohibited in the regulations in this subpart.” Washing of apples will be required under the regulations, with specific washing procedures set out in the operational workplan. We will also stipulate that packinghouses may not be used for packing apples from non-registered places of production simultaneous to packing apples from registered places of production. Requiring a facility be dedicated for shipping only to the United States is not technically justified if that facility can demonstrate and practice effective methods for identifying and segregating fruit destined for different markets.

The specifics of packinghouse inspection procedures are listed in the operational workplan in order to offer the greatest amount of flexibility in responding to any rapidly changing pest issues that may arise. Typically APHIS will require at least 300 fruit be inspected, a number that will detect a 1 percent or greater pest population with 95 percent confidence. APHIS will also require that a portion of the fruit be cut open to look for internally feeding pests. Any fruit with damage or signs of pest presence will be sampled first.

We disagree with the commenter's assessment of the presence of lepidopteran and curculionid pests in the United States post culling and inspection. The commenter did not provide any support for the claim that these pests are evading domestic phytosanitary measures.

One commenter said that, while box labeling and traceback information are vital to prevent the further spread of any plant pest, this information alone does not prevent the establishment of the pest in the United States.

We agree. However, box labeling and traceback are only one aspect of the required systems approach for the importation of apples from China. The systems approach must be considered as a whole with its combined effect of various mitigation measures in order that its pest mitigation capabilities be fully assessed. We are confident that it will prove effective.

We proposed to require treatment of fumigation plus refrigeration for those apples grown south of the 33rd parallel, since Oriental fruit fly is known to exist, in varying population densities, in that region. One commenter stated that it is possible that a mutated gene may eventually allow a number of Oriental fruit flies to resist fumigation.

If Oriental fruit flies were to become resistant to the designated phytosanitary treatment, the import program would be shut down completely until an investigation has been completed and the reason for the program failure resolved.

Several commenters stated that we should require that Chinese cold storage facilities housing apples intended for export to the United States not accept commodities destined for any other markets given that the phytosanitary standards required to access non-U.S. markets may be weaker.

Requiring a facility be dedicated for shipping only to the United States is not technically justified if that facility can demonstrate and practice effective methods for identifying and segregating fruit destined for different markets.

Comments on the Economic Analysis

We prepared an initial regulatory flexibility analysis in connection with the proposed rule regarding the economic effects of the rule on small entities. We invited comments on any potential economic effects and received a number of comments. Those comments are discussed and responded to in detail in the final regulatory flexibility analysis associated with this final rule. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Comments on General Economic Effects

While specific comments on the initial regulatory flexibility analysis are addressed in the final regulatory flexibility analysis as previously stated, we received a number of comments concerning the overall economic effect of the rule as it relates to U.S. trade policies concerning China that are more appropriately addressed here.

One commenter stated that APHIS did not meet those requirements of Executive Order 13563 that specify that agencies must take into account the benefits and costs, both qualitative and quantitative, of the rules they promulgate. The commenter specifically said that APHIS had failed to demonstrate that the proposed rule provided any benefit to U.S. consumers and stakeholders.

We disagree with the commenter's assessment. Executive Order 13563 requires that agencies propose or adopt a regulation upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify). The Executive Order also states that, where appropriate and permitted by law, each agency may consider (and discuss qualitatively) values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts. The Executive Order ultimately leaves the type of analysis to the discretion of the Agency. We have previously explained the reasons for which APHIS conducts qualitative rather than quantitative analyses.

As detailed in the initial regulatory flexibility analysis that accompanied the proposed rule and restated in the final regulatory flexibility analysis associated with this rule, we find it unlikely that the importation of apples from China will represent a cost to the U.S. apple industry or to U.S. consumers. This is due to the relatively small amount of apples that are expected to be exported and qualitative factors associated with consumer demand such as variety, flavor (acids, sugars, aroma), juiciness, crispness, firmness, appearance (color, shape and size), freshness, perceived health benefits, production method (organic or conventional), and product origin (local, regional, domestic or import). Moreover, trade with China represents an opportunity for potential expansion of the U.S. export market and the benefits associated with such an expansion.

One commenter claimed that China is not an open market for fair trade and, as a result, efforts to market U.S. apples in China in return for allowing Chinese apples access to U.S. markets will prove unsuccessful. Another commenter said that, in the past, China claimed that U.S. apples presented unacceptable phytosanitary risk and subsequently halted all importation of apples from the United States into China. The commenter stated that this was done without substantiated claims or investigation as a tactic to force the United States to open its markets to Chinese apples.

We disagree with the claim that China's prohibition on the importation of apples from the United States was without basis and was motivated by bilateral trade concerns. In 2012, the NPPO of China suspended access for red and golden delicious apples from the State of Washington due to repeated interceptions of three apple pests the NPPO considers significant: Speck rot (caused by Phacidiopycnis washingtonensis), bull's-eye rot (caused by four species of Neofabraea), and Sphaeropsis rot (caused by Sphaeropsis pyriputrescens). In response, APHIS worked with the U.S. apple industry to develop additional safeguarding measures to address China's concerns about these pests. As a result, red and golden delicious apples were permitted to be imported from the United States into China beginning in early November 2014.

Another commenter stated that Chinese import competition affects local labor markets by triggering declines in associated wages and employment.

While APHIS is sensitive to the costs its actions may impose on producers in the United States, as detailed in the final regulatory flexibility analysis, apples are not inexpensive to produce in China due, in large part, to differences between the way the apple industry is structured in the United States and China. Most apple growers in China operate on a very small scale and production is labor-intensive, requiring significant labor resources to plant, tend, and harvest the crop.

One commenter urged APHIS to support and encourage consumers in doing business with local farmers. The commenter claimed that the low price of Chinese apples would cause domestic producers economic distress.

We would observe that consumer practices when purchasing fresh apples are influenced by factors other than price. These factors include variety, size, color, flavor, texture, freshness, product origin, and production method. American consumers benefit from a diverse and abundant supply of fresh apples that are locally, regionally, and nationally distributed to them; it is highly unlikely that China will become a dominant supplier.

Comments on Bilateral Trade

Several commenters pointed out that access to Chinese markets for U.S. apples is not currently assured at this point in time. The commenters asked that APHIS make sure that the proposed rule would not be finalized before reciprocal market access is granted. One of the commenters added that, if Chinese apples were able to be imported into the United States, but U.S. apples could not be exported to China, then the underlying assumptions concerning the economic impact of the importation of apples from China would prove incorrect. Another commenter stated that, if China were to allow for the importation of apples from the United States, there is concern that small American producers will not be able to make such market access opportunities profitable. Another commenter suggested that APHIS regulate the amount and variety of apples allowed into the United States from China.

Other countries make decisions as to whether to allow the importation of U.S. products only when formally requested. APHIS formally requested that China allow the importation of U.S. apples, and we worked with the U.S. apple industry to address concerns raised by the NPPO of China, resulting in the successful reopening of the Chinese apple market to U.S. apple growers in November 2014. However, APHIS' primary responsibility with regard to international import trade is now, and has been for many years, to identify and manage the phytosanitary risks associated with importing commodities. When we determine that the risk associated with the importation of a commodity can be successfully mitigated, it is our responsibility under the trade agreements to which we are signatory to make provisions for the importation of that commodity. Moreover, under the PPA, our decisionmaking related to allowing or denying the importation of commodities must be based on phytosanitary considerations rather than the goal of reciprocal market access.

Another commenter stated that the PPA requires that APHIS base its regulations on sound science and that the desire for reciprocal apple trade with China is not science-based. The commenter said that if hope of such mutual access was influential in the development of the proposed rule, then the rule is not compliant with the PPA, and therefore illegal. The same commenter also stated that such a situation violates the conditions of the SPS Agreement, particularly Article 2.2, which requires that signatories base sanitary and phytosanitary regulations on scientific principles, and Article 5.1, which requires that signatories base their actions on a risk assessment. The commenter reiterates that reciprocal trade is neither a scientific principle nor a risk assessment and APHIS's proposed action may therefore be out of compliance with the SPS Agreement.

This action was predicated on several risk assessment documents that provide a scientific basis for potential importation of apples from China. Without these risk assessment documents, which have withstood several reviews and public comment periods, APHIS would not have proposed this action. Political and economic interests may stimulate consideration of the expansion of trade of agricultural commodities between countries, but all decisionmaking concerning phytosanitary restrictions on trade must be science-based. APHIS stands behind the risk assessment documents that support this rule, and believes they are based on sound science.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the changes discussed in this document.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

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

Apples are the second most popular fresh fruit for U.S. consumers and the third most valuable fruit crop produced in the United States. The United States is the world's second largest apple producer and became the world's largest apple exporter in terms of value in 2012, generating a surplus of $909 million in fresh apple trade (exports minus imports). That year, the United States commercially produced 4.1 million metric tons (MT) of apples, valued at $3 billion, of which 3 million MT of apples were sold fresh and 1.1 million MT were used for processing. Although apples are commercially grown in all 50 States, 9 States accounted for 96 percent of production. The State of Washington was by far the largest producer, at more than 2.9 million MT per year (over 70 percent of the U.S. total).

Almost all apple farms are family-owned, and many of these families have been engaged in apple production for many generations. The U.S. apple industry is challenged by relatively flat domestic apple consumption, and its continued growth relies on expanded global trade. Roughly 30 percent of fresh apples produced in the United States were exported in 2012. That year, roughly 8 percent of fresh apples consumed in the United States were imported, totaling 183,000 MT and valued at $164 million. Virtually all imports came from four trading partners: Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and Argentina.

By quantity, China was the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of apples in 2012. (In 2013, Poland became the world's largest exporter of apples in quantity, whereas the United States remained the world's largest exporter of apples in value). Apples are the leading fruit produced in China, with production having increased from 2.3 million MT in 1978, to 38.5 million MT (33.3 million MT for fresh markets and 5.2 million MT for processing) in 2012. China's apple consumption has grown to 37.5 million MT.

In contrast to that of the United States, China's apple industry relies marginally on international trade—in 2012, it exported about 3 percent of fresh apples produced and imported 0.1 percent of fresh apples consumed. China's exports of fresh apples peaked in 2009 at 1.2 million MT and declined to 0.98 million MT in 2012. Most of the 4.3 million apple growers in China operate on a small scale, with farm acreages averaging 1.3 acres. The Fuji variety accounts for about 70 percent of China's apple production. China's heavy dependence on the Fuji variety is in sharp contrast to the many diverse varieties produced in the United States. China's export markets are concentrated in Russia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Chinese fresh apples also have been exported for more than a decade to Canada; however, Canada accounted only for 0.4 percent of China's fresh apple exports in 2012. In fact, China's combined export volume to Canada, European Union (EU) member countries, Australia, and Mexico is very small (0.8 percent of its total fresh apple exports in 2012), and has significantly declined in the last 6 years, from 45,267 MT in 2007 (4.4 percent of Chinese apple exports) to 8,273 MT in 2012. Average export prices of fresh apples from China in 2012 to the aforementioned countries (Canada, $1.50/kilogram (kg); EU, $1.10/kg; Australia, $1.83/kg; and Mexico, $1.55/kg) are consistently higher than the average price paid in all 67 countries to which China exported fresh apples ($0.98/kg). It is reasonable to expect that price for fresh apples exported to the United States will be similar to prices paid in Canada and Mexico. Considering the current availability of relatively low-priced imported apples in the United States and the wide range of domestic varieties, apples imported from China are not likely to compete solely on price in the U.S. market. U.S. consumers make their purchasing decisions for fresh apples based not only on price, but also on intrinsic product attributes such as variety, color, size, flavor, texture, freshness, production method, and product origin.

Based on historic data of China's apple production, consumption, export volumes, and prices, we expect no more than 10,000 MT of fresh apples will be imported from China into the continental United States annually, which represents less than 0.44 percent of the U.S. domestic fresh apple supply and less than 5 percent of U.S. imports in 2012. Most of China's fresh apple exports to the United States will likely be shipped to West Coast ports, primarily ones in California, and are expected to be distributed through Asian ethnic supermarkets mainly to Asian communities.

California is the largest market for Washington State apples; any effects of the rule may be borne mainly by Washington and California apple growers. In particular, U.S. apple growers of the Fuji variety, which comprised about 8 percent of U.S. production in 2011, may be more directly affected by an increase in supply because we expect the majority of fresh apples from China will be of the Fuji variety. However, given the relatively small quantity expected to be imported from China, any negative impacts for U.S. small entities will not be significant.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule allows apples to be imported into the continental United States from China. State and local laws and regulations regarding apples imported under this rule will be preempted while the fruit is in foreign commerce. Fresh fruits are generally imported for immediate distribution and sale to the consuming public, and remain in foreign commerce until sold to the ultimate consumer. The question of when foreign commerce ceases in other cases must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. No retroactive effect will be given to this rule, and this rule will not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection or recordkeeping requirements included in this final rule, which were filed under 0579-0423, have been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). When OMB notifies us of its decision, if approval is denied, we will publish a document in the Federal Register providing notice of what action we plan to take.

E-Government Act Compliance

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

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

2. Section 319.56-72 is added to read as follows:
§ 319.56-72 Apples from China.

Fresh apples (Malus pumila) from China may be imported into the continental United States from China only under the conditions described in this section. These conditions are designed to prevent the introduction of the following quarantine pests: Adoxophyes orana (Fischer von Röslerstamm), summer fruit tortix; Archips micaceana (Walker), a moth; Argyrotaenia ljungiana (Thunberg), grape tortix; Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), Oriental fruit fly; Carposina sasakii Matsumura, peach fruit moth; Cenopalpus pulcher (Canestrini & Fanzago), flat scarlet mite; Cryptoblabes gnidiella (Millière), honeydew moth; Cydia funebrana (Treitschke), plum fruit moth; Euzophera bigella (Zeller), quince moth; Euzophera pyriella Yang, a moth; Grapholita inopinata Heinrich, Manchurian fruit moth; Leucoptera malifoliella (Costa), apple leaf miner; Monilia polystroma van Leeuwen, Asian brown rot; Monilinia fructigena Honey, brown fruit rot; Rhynchites auratus (Scopoli), apricot weevil; Rhynchites bacchus (L.), peach weevil; Rhynchites giganteus Krynicky, a weevil; Rhynchites heros Roelofs, a weevil; Spilonota albicana (Motschulsky), white fruit moth; Spilonota prognathana Snellen, a moth; and Ulodemis trigrapha Meyrick, a moth. The conditions for importation of all fresh apples from China are found in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section; additional conditions for apples imported from areas of China south of the 33rd parallel are found in paragraph (f) of this section.

(a) General requirements. (1) The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of China must provide an operational workplan to APHIS that details the activities that the NPPO of China will, subject to APHIS' approval of the workplan, carry out to meet the requirements of this section.

(2) The apples must be grown at places of production that are registered with the NPPO of China.

(3) Apples from China may be imported in commercial consignments only.

(b) Place of production requirements. (1) The place of production must carry out any phytosanitary measures specified for the place of production under the operational workplan as described in the regulations.

(2) When any apples destined for export to the continental United States are still on the tree and are no more than 2.5 centimeters in diameter, double-layered paper bags must be placed wholly over the apples. The bags must remain intact and on the apples until at least 14 days prior to harvest.

(3) The NPPO of China must visit and inspect registered places of production prior to harvest for signs of infestation and/or infection.

(4) If Monilia polystroma van Leeuwen or Monilinia fructigena is detected at a registered place of production, APHIS may reject the consignment or prohibit the importation into the continental United States of apples from the place of production for the remainder of the season. The exportation to the continental United States of apples from the place of production may resume in the next growing season if an investigation is conducted by the NPPO, and APHIS and the NPPO conclude that appropriate remedial action has been taken.

(c) Packinghouse requirements. (1) Packinghouses must be registered with the NPPO of China, and during the time registered packinghouses are in use for packing apples for export to the continental United States, the packinghouses may only accept apples that are from registered places of production and that are produced in accordance with the requirements of this section.

(2) Packinghouses must have a tracking system in place to readily identify all apples destined for export to the continental United States that enter the packinghouse and be able to trace the apples back to their place of production.

(3) Following the packinghouse inspection, the packinghouse must follow a handling procedure for the apples that is mutually agreed upon by APHIS and the NPPO of China.

(4) The apples must be washed and brushed as well as waxed or sprayed with compressed air prior to shipment.

(5) The apples must be packed in cartons that are labeled with the identity of the place of production and the packinghouse.

(d) Shipping requirements. Sealed containers of apples destined for export to the continental United States must be held in a cold storage facility while awaiting export.

(e) Phytosanitary certificate. Each consignment of apples imported from China into the continental United States must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of China with an additional declaration stating that the requirements of this section have been met and the consignment has been inspected by the NPPO and found free of quarantine pests.

(f) Additional conditions for apples from areas of China south of the 33rd parallel. In addition to the conditions in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section, apples from areas of China south of the 33rd parallel apples must be treated in accordance with 7 CFR part 305. (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0579-0423)

Done in Washington, DC, this 20th day of April 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-09508 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0830; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-024-AD; Amendment 39-18141; AD 2015-08-05] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Dassault Aviation Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2013-26-05 for all Dassault Aviation Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes. AD 2013-26-05 required repetitive weighing of fire extinguisher bottles having a certain part number, and eventual replacement of those bottles to terminate the repetitive weighing. This new AD continues to require repetitive weighing of fire extinguisher bottles having a certain part number, and eventual replacement of those bottles to terminate the repetitive weighing. This AD was prompted by our determination that certain text in the method of compliance language specified in AD 2013-26-05 incorrectly refers to Airbus, instead of “Dassault Aviation.” We are issuing this AD to detect and correct a dormant failure in the fire suppression system, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine, auxiliary power unit (APU), or rear compartment.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective May 8, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of October 20, 2014 (79 FR 54897, dated September 15, 2014).

We must receive comments on this AD by June 8, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

• Fax: 202-493-2251.

• Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

• Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this AD, contact Dassault Falcon Jet, P.O. Box 2000, South Hackensack, NJ 07606; telephone 201-440-6700; Internet http://www.dassaultfalcon.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0830; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1137; fax 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

On August 29, 2014, we issued AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), which applied to all Dassault Aviation Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes. AD 2013-26-05 was prompted by reports of a manufacturing defect in the charge indicator on fire extinguisher bottles. AD 2013-26-05 required repetitive weighing of fire extinguisher bottles having a certain part number, and eventual replacement of those bottles to terminate the repetitive weighing. We issued AD 2013-26-05 to detect and correct a dormant failure in the fire suppression system, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine, APU, or rear compartment.

AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), corresponds to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD 2012-0189, dated September 24, 2012. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0830.

Since we issued AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), we have determined that there is an error in the manufacturer's name in the method of compliance language in certain text in the “Explanation of Change Made to This AD” section and in certain paragraphs of the regulatory text of AD 2013-26-05. AD 2013-26-05 refers to Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA), instead of Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA. In order to refer to the appropriate EASA DOA, this AD replaces “Airbus's” with “Dassault Aviation's” in paragraphs (h)(2), (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii), (h)(2)(iv), (i), (i)(1), (i)(2), (i)(3), (i)(4), (j)(1), (j)(2), (j)(3), (j)(4), and (l)(2) of this AD. The “Explanation of Change Made to This AD” section of AD 2013-26-05 is not restated in this AD.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

We are superseding AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), to correct certain erroneous manufacturer information in the “Explanation of Changes to This AD” section and in certain paragraphs of the regulatory text. No other changes have been made to AD 2013-26-05. Therefore, we determined that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are unnecessary.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-0830; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-024-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 185 airplanes of U.S. registry.

The actions required by AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), and retained in this AD take about 4 work-hours per product, at an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour. Required parts cost about $6,400 per product. Based on these figures, the estimated cost of the actions that were required by AD 2013-26-05 is $1,246,900, or $6,740 per product.

The new requirements of this AD add no additional economic burden.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing airworthiness directive (AD) 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), and adding the following new AD: 2015-08-05 Dassault Aviation: Amendment 39-18141. Docket No. FAA-2015-0830; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-024-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective May 8, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Dassault Aviation Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes, certificated in any category; all serial numbers.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 26, Fire Protection.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of a manufacturing defect in the charge indicator on fire extinguisher bottles and also our determination that certain text in the method of compliance language specified in AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), incorrectly refers to “Airbus” instead of “Dassault Aviation.” We are issuing this AD to detect and correct a dormant failure in the fire suppression system, which could result in the inability to put out a fire in an engine, auxiliary power unit (APU), or rear compartment.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Retained Definitions, With No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), with no changes. For the purposes of this AD, the following definitions apply.

(1) An affected fire extinguisher bottle is any fire extinguisher bottle having a part number included in table 1 to the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD and having a manufacturing batch number 168 through 200 inclusive on the data plate of the charge indicator.

(2) A serviceable fire extinguisher bottle is any fire extinguisher bottle having a manufacturing batch number lower than 168 or higher than 200 on the data plate of the charge indicator.

(h) Retained Determining Charge Indicator Batch Number, With Revised Method of Compliance Language

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), with revised method of compliance language in paragraphs (h)(2), (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii) and (h)(2)(iv) of this AD. Within 30 days or 100 flight hours after October 20, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2013-26-05), whichever occurs first: Determine the manufacturing batch number for the charge indicator installed on each engine and APU fire extinguisher bottle having a part number included in table 1 to the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Dassault Service Bulletin F20-785, also referred to as 785, dated June 11, 2012 (for Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes); or Dassault Service Bulletin F200-131, also referred to as 131, dated June 11, 2012 (for Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes).

Table 1 to the Introductory Text of Paragraph (h) of This AD—Part Numbers of Affected Fire Extinguisher Bottles Type of bottle— Part No.— Engine Fire Extinguisher Bottle 111-1555-324-12A Engine Fire Extinguisher Bottle 811456 Engine Fire Extinguisher Bottle 111-355-32142A APU Fire Extinguisher Bottle 111-011-324-12A APU Fire Extinguisher Bottle 811475

(1) For fire extinguisher bottles with part numbers that are not included in table 1 to the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD, no further action is required by paragraph (h) of this AD.

(2) For any affected charge indicator, as identified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD: Before further flight, weigh each affected fire extinguisher bottle, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Dassault Aviation's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). Weigh the fire extinguishers thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months until the replacement specified in paragraph (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii), (h)(2)(iv), or (j) of this AD is accomplished. If it is determined that the fire extinguisher weighs less than the lowest weight limit indicated on the fire extinguisher's data plate, before further flight, replace any affected fire extinguisher bottle and charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with the applicable method specified in paragraph (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii), or (h)(2)(iv) of this AD.

Note 1 to paragraph (h)(2) of this AD:

The instructions specified in Dassault Maintenance Procedure, “Weighing of Engine Freon Fire Extinguishers,” (page 601, “Inspection/Check”) of Subject 26-20-2, “Extinguishing System—Description and Operation, of Chapter 26, “Fire Protection,” in Book 2 of the Dassault Falcon 20 Maintenance Manual, Phase 50, dated October 2011 (for Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes); or Procedure 2, “Engine and Rear Compartment Extinguisher (14W1-14W2): Weighing” of Falcon 200 Maintenance Requirement Card 171.0, Revised December 2011, of Chapter 26, “Fire Protection,” in Book 1, “Work Cards,” of the Dassault Falcon 200 Maintenance Manual, Revision 30, dated December 2011 (for Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes); provide additional guidance for weighing affected fire extinguisher bottles. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(i) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

Note 2 to paragraphs (h)(2)(i), (i), (i)(1), and (j)(1) of this AD:

The instructions specified in Dassault Maintenance Procedure, “Removal of Pyrotechnical Cartridge for Check/Replacement” (pages 401-403, “Removal/Installation”), of Subject 26-20-2 “Extinguishing System—Description and Operation,” of Chapter 26, “Fire Protection,” in Book 2 of the Dassault Falcon 20 Maintenance Manual, Phase 50, dated October 2011, are a source of guidance for the actions specified in paragraphs (h)(2)(i), (i), (i)(1), and (j)(1) of this AD. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(ii) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(iii) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

Note 3 to paragraphs (h)(2)(iii), (i), (i)(3), and (j)(3) of this AD:

Procedure 3, “Engine and Rear Compartment Extinguisher (14W1-14W2): Check/Replacement of Percussion Cartridge,” of Falcon 200 Maintenance Requirement Card 171.0, Revised December 2011, of Chapter 26, “Fire Protection”, in Book 1, “Work Cards,” of the Dassault Falcon 200 Maintenance Manual, Revision 30, dated December 2011, is a source of guidance for paragraphs (h)(2)(iii), (i), (i)(3), and (j)(3) of this AD. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(iv) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

Note 4 to paragraphs (h)(2)(iv), (i)(4), and (j)(4) of this AD:

Procedure 1, “Removal/Installation,” of Falcon 200 Maintenance Requirement Card 171.0, Revised December 2011, of Chapter 26, “Fire Protection”, in Book 1, “Work Cards,” of the Dassault Falcon 200 Maintenance Manual, Revision 30, dated December 2011, is a source of guidance for replacing the fire extinguisher bottle. This service information is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(i) Retained Repetitive Inspections To Determine if Charge Indicator Cartridge Was Fired, With Revised Method of Compliance Language

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), with revised method of compliance language in paragraphs (i), (i)(1), (i)(2), (i)(3) and (i)(4) of this AD. Within 6 months after October 20, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2013-26-05): Do an inspection to determine if the charge indicator cartridge installed on each engine and APU fire extinguisher bottle, as identified in table 1 to the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD, was fired, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6 months until the replacement specified in paragraph (i)(1), (i)(2), (i)(3), (i)(4), or (j) of this AD is accomplished. If it is determined that any charge indicator cartridge was fired, before further flight, replace the affected fire extinguisher bottle and charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(1) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 2-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(2) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(3) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(4) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(j) Retained Replacement of Fire Extinguisher Bottle and Charge Indicator Cartridge, With Revised Method of Compliance Language

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (j) of AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), with revised method of compliance language specified in paragraphs (j)(1), (j)(2), (j)(3), and (j)(4) of this AD. Unless previously accomplished as specified in paragraph (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iii), (h)(2)(iv), (i)(1), (i)(2), (i)(3), or (i)(4) of this AD: Within 60 months after October 20, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2013-26-05), replace any affected fire extinguisher bottle and charge indicator cartridge, as specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, with a serviceable part, in accordance with the method specified in paragraph (j)(1), (j)(2), (j)(3), or (j)(4) of this AD, as applicable. Replacement of any affected fire extinguisher bottle and charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part terminates the repetitive actions specified in paragraphs (h) and (i) of this AD.

(1) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(2) For Model FAN JET FALCON, FAN JET FALCON SERIES C, D, E, F, and G airplanes; and Model MYSTERE-FALCON 20-C5, 20-D5, 20-E5, and 20-F5 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(3) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the charge indicator cartridge with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(4) For Model MYSTERE-FALCON 200 airplanes: Replace the fire extinguisher bottle with a serviceable part, in accordance with a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Dassault Aviation's EASA DOA.

(k) Retained Parts Installation Prohibition, With No Changes

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (k) of AD 2013-26-05, Amendment 39-17714 (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014), with no changes. As of October 20, 2014 (the effective date of AD 2013-26-05), no person may install, on any airplane, a fire extinguisher bottle having a part number included in table 1 to the introductory text of paragraph (h) of this AD, fitted with a charge indicator having a manufacturing batch number on the data plate of 168 through 200 inclusive.

(l) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Tom Rodriguez, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1137; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

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

(m) Related Information

Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2012-0189, dated September 24, 2012, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0830.

(n) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

(3) The following service information was approved for IBR on October 20, 2014, (79 FR 54897, September 15, 2014).

(i) Dassault Service Bulletin F20-785, also referred to as 785, dated June 11, 2012.

(ii) Dassault Service Bulletin F200-131, also referred to as 131, dated June 11, 2012.

(4) For service information identified in this AD, contact Dassault Falcon Jet, P.O. Box 2000, South Hackensack, NJ 07606; telephone 201-440-6700; Internet http://www.dassaultfalcon.com.

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

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

Issued in Renton, Washington, on April 9, 2015. Jeffrey E. Duven, Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-09290 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 744 [Docket No. 150318286-5286-01] RIN 0694-AG58 Addition of Certain Persons to the Entity List AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding eight persons under nine entries to the Entity List. The eight persons who are added to the Entity List have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. These eight persons will be listed on the Entity List under the destinations of China, Iran, Taiwan, and Turkey. There are nine entries for the eight persons because one person is listed in two locations, resulting in an additional entry. Specifically, the additional entry covers one person that will be listed on the Entity List under the destination of Iran and Turkey.

DATE:

Effective Date: This rule is effective April 23, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the EAR) notifies the public about entities that have engaged in activities that could result in an increased risk of the diversion of exported, reexported or transferred (in-country) items to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. Since its initial publication, grounds for inclusion on the Entity List have expanded to include activities sanctioned by the State Department and activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. Certain exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to entities identified on the Entity List require licenses from BIS and are usually subject to a policy of denial. The availability of license exceptions in such transactions is very limited. The license review policy for each entity is identified in the license review policy column on the Entity List and the availability of license exceptions is noted in the Federal Register notices adding persons to the Entity List. BIS places entities on the Entity List based on certain sections of part 744 (Control Policy: End-User and End-Use Based) and part 746 (Embargoes and Other Special Controls) of the EAR.

The End-User Review Committee (ERC), composed of representatives of the Departments of Commerce (Chair), State, Defense, Energy and, where appropriate, the Treasury, makes all decisions regarding additions to, removals from, or other modifications to the Entity List. The ERC makes all decisions to add an entry to the Entity List by majority vote and all decisions to remove or modify an entry by unanimous vote.

ERC Entity List Decisions Additions to the Entity List

This rule implements the decision of the ERC to add eight persons under nine entries to the Entity List. These eight persons are being added on the basis of § 744.11 (License requirements that apply to entities acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States) of the EAR. The nine entries added to the Entity List consist of one entry in China, four entries in Iran, two entries in Taiwan, and two entries in Turkey.

The ERC reviewed § 744.11(b) (Criteria for revising the Entity List) in making the determination to add these eight persons to the Entity List. Under that paragraph, persons for whom there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in, activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States and those acting on behalf of such persons may be added to the Entity List. Paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of § 744.11 include an illustrative list of activities that could be contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

Pursuant to § 744.11 of the EAR, the ERC determined that Shandong Sheenrun Optics & Electronics Co., Ltd. be added to the Entity List under the destination of China for actions contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Specifically, in April 2014, Shandong Sheenrun Optics & Electronics Co., Ltd. and related parties were indicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for transshipping U.S.-origin items to Iran through China from 2009 through 2012 in violation of the Office of Foreign Assets Control's Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) and the EAR.

In addition, the ERC determined the following seven persons being added to the Entity List under the destinations of Iran, Taiwan, and Turkey have been involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, and meet the criteria listed in § 744.11(b). Specifically, Faratel Company, Arash Servatian, Elaheh Siahpoush, Hosoda Taiwan Limited, Arthur Shyu, Golsad Istanbul Trading (a.k.a. Golsad Import-Export), and Abbas Goldoozan have been involved in actions that could enhance the military capability of or the ability to support terrorism of governments that have been designated by the Secretary of State as having repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. The seven persons described in this paragraph being added to the Entity List were identified during a U.S. Government investigation of a network of companies and individuals involved in the procurement and delivery of items subject to the EAR and the ITSR to Iran, in violation of the EAR and the ITSR. These persons undertook procurement and delivery activities, activities to conceal the procurement and delivery activities, activities to circumvent the EAR and the ITSR license requirements, and/or activities to facilitate the procurement of export restricted items for Iranian military-related and other governmental-related end uses.

Pursuant to § 744.11(b)(5) of the EAR, the ERC determined that the conduct of these eight persons raises sufficient concern that prior review of exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) of items subject to the EAR involving these persons, and the possible imposition of license conditions or license denials on shipments to the persons, will enhance BIS's ability to prevent violations of the EAR.

For the eight persons added to the Entity List, the ERC specified a license requirement for all items subject to the EAR and a license review policy of presumption of denial. The license requirements apply to any transaction in which items are to be exported, reexported, or transferred (in-country) to any of the persons or in which such persons act as purchaser, intermediate consignee, ultimate consignee, or end-user. In addition, no license exceptions are available for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to the persons being added to the Entity List in this rule.

This final rule adds the following eight persons under nine entries to the Entity List:

China

(1) Shandong Sheenrun Optics & Electronics Co., Ltd., a.k.a., the following two aliases:

—China Sheenrun Optics and Electronics Co. Ltd.; and —Jinan Sheenrun Electronics Company Ltd. Room A312, Tower F1 Qilu Software Park, Hi-tech Zone, Jinan, China 250101. Iran

(1) Abbas Goldoozan, No. 86 Negin Tower, Farmaniyeh St., 1937944633 Tehran, Iran (See also alternate address under Turkey);

(2) Arash Servatian, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran;

(3) Elaheh Siahpoush, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran; and

(4) Faratel Company, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran.

Taiwan

(1) Arthur Shyu, 3F-1 No. 52, SEC 2, Chung Shan N. Road, Taipei 104 Taiwan; and

(2) Hosoda Taiwan Limited, 3F-1 No. 52, SEC 2, Chung Shan N. Road, Taipei 104 Taiwan.

Turkey

(1) Abbas Goldoozan, Kimya IC VE Dis Ticaret Ltd., 2nd Floor, No. 2, Istanbul, Turkey; and Yesil Tulumba A, Istanbul, Turkey 34134 (See also alternate address under Iran); and

(2) Golsad Istanbul Trading, a.k.a., the following one alias:

—Golsad Import-Export. Kimya IC VE Dis Ticaret Ltd., 2nd Floor, No. 2, Istanbul, Turkey; and Yesil Tulumba A, Istanbul, Turkey 34134. Savings Clause

Shipments of items removed from eligibility for a License Exception or export or reexport without a license (NLR) as a result of this regulatory action that were en route aboard a carrier to a port of export or reexport, on April 23, 2015, pursuant to actual orders for export or reexport to a foreign destination, may proceed to that destination under the previous eligibility for a License Exception or export or reexport without a license (NLR).

Export Administration Act

Although the Export Administration Act expired on August 20, 2001, the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783 (2002), as amended by Executive Order 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013) and as extended by the Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014), has continued the Export Administration Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. BIS continues to carry out the provisions of the Export Administration Act, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, pursuant to Executive Order 13222 as amended by Executive Order 13637.

Rulemaking Requirements

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

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

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

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

List of Subject in 15 CFR Part 744

Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Terrorism.

Accordingly, part 744 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) is amended as follows:

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

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 12058, 43 FR 20947, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12851, 58 FR 33181, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 608; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of September 17, 2014, 79 FR 56475 (September 19, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of January 21, 2015, 80 FR 3461 (January 22, 2015).

2. Supplement No. 4 to part 744 is amended: a. By adding under China, in alphabetical order, one Chinese entity; b. By adding under Iran, in alphabetical order, four Iranian entities; c. By adding under Taiwan, in alphabetical order, two Taiwanese entities; and d. By adding under Turkey, in alphabetical order, two Turkish entities.

The additions read as follows:

Supplement No. 4 to Part 744—Entity List Country Entity License
  • requirement
  • License
  • review policy
  • Federal Register
  • citation
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * CHINA, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF *         *         *         *         *         * Shandong Sheenrun Optics & Electronics Co., Ltd., a.k.a., the following two aliases:
  • —China Sheenrun Optics and Electronics Co. Ltd.; and
  • —Jinan Sheenrun Electronics Company Ltd.
  • For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015.
    Room A312, Tower F1 Qilu Software Park, Hi-tech Zone, Jinan, China 250101. *         *         *         *         *         * *         *         *         *         *         *         * IRAN *         *         *         *         *         * Abbas Goldoozan, No. 86 Negin Tower, Farmaniyeh St., 1937944633 Tehran, Iran (See also alternate address under Turkey). For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. *         *         *         *         *         * Arash Servatian, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. *         *         *         *         *         * Elaheh Siahpoush, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. *         *         *         *         *         * Faratel Company, 12 Kandovan Alley Enghelab Ave., Opp. Villa (Ostad Nejatollahi) 1131834914 Tehran, Iran. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. *         *         *         *         *         * *         *         *         *         *         *         * TAIWAN Arthur Shyu, 3F-1 No. 52, SEC 2, Chung Shan N. Road, Taipei 104 Taiwan. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. Hosoda Taiwan Limited, 3F-1 No. 52, SEC 2, Chung Shan N. Road, Taipei 104 Taiwan. For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015. *         *         *         *         *         * *         *         *         *         *         *         * TURKEY *         *         *         *         *         * Abbas Goldoozan, Kimya IC VE Dis Ticaret Ltd., 2nd Floor, No. 2, Istanbul, Turkey;
  • and
  • Yesil Tulumba A, Istanbul, Turkey 34134 (See also alternate address under Iran).
  • For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015.
    *         *         *         *         *         * Golsad Istanbul Trading, a.k.a., the following one alias:
  • —Golsad Import-Export.
  • For all items subject to the EAR. (See § 744.11 of the EAR). Presumption of denial. 80 FR [INSERT FR PAGE NUMBER] April 23, 2015.
    Kimya IC VE Dis Ticaret Ltd., 2nd Floor, No. 2, Istanbul, Turkey;
  • and
  • Yesil Tulumba A, Istanbul, Turkey 34134.
  • *         *         *         *         *         * *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    Dated: April 17, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09442 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 22 CFR Part 237 Ukraine Guarantees Issued Under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2015, and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014—Standard Terms and Conditions AGENCY:

    Agency for International Development (USAID).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation prescribes the procedures and standard terms and conditions applicable to loan guarantees to be issued for the benefit of Ukraine pursuant to Title III of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015, and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014.

    DATES:

    Effective April 24, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    D. Bruce McPherson, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC 20523-6601; tel. 202-712-1611, fax 202-216-3055.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to Title III of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (Div. J, Pub. L. 113-235) and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-95), the United States of America, acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development, may issue certain loan guarantees applicable to sums borrowed by Ukraine (the “Borrower”), not exceeding an aggregate total of U.S. $1 billion in principal amount. Upon issuance, the loan guarantees shall ensure the Borrower's repayment of 100% of principal and interest due under such borrowings and the full faith and credit of the United States of America shall be pledged for the full payment and performance of such guarantee obligations.

    This rulemaking document is not subject to rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553 or to regulatory review under Executive Order 12866 because it involves a foreign affairs function of the United States. The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) do not apply.

    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 237

    Foreign aid, Foreign relations, Guaranteed loans, Loan programs-foreign relations.

    Authority and Issuance Accordingly, part 237 is added to title 22, chapter II, of the Code of Federal Regulations, to read as follows: PART 237—UKRAINE LOAN GUARANTEES ISSUED UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 2015, AND THE SUPPORT FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY, INTEGRITY, DEMOCRACY, AND ECONOMIC STABILITY OF UKRAINE ACT OF 2014—STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS Sec. 237.01 Purpose. 237.02 Definitions. 237.03 The Guarantee. 237.04 Guarantee eligibility. 237.05 Non-impairment of the Guarantee. 237.06 Transferability of Guarantee; Note Register. 237.07 Fiscal Agent obligations. 237.08 Event of Default; Application for Compensation; payment. 237.09 No acceleration of Eligible Notes. 237.10 Payment to USAID of excess amounts received by a Noteholder. 237.11 Subrogation of USAID. 237.12 Prosecution of claims. 237.13 Change in agreements. 237.14 Arbitration. 237.15 Notice. 237.16 Governing law. Appendix A to Part 237—Application for Compensation Authority:

    Title III of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (Div. J, Pub. L. 113-235); and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-95).

    § 237.01 Purpose.

    The purpose of the regulations in this part is to prescribe the procedures and standard terms and conditions applicable to loan guarantees issued for the benefit of the Borrower, pursuant to Title III of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (Div. J, Pub. L. 113-235) and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-95). The loan guarantees will be issued as provided herein pursuant to a Loan Guarantee Agreement to be signed in April 2015, between the United States of America and Ukraine (the “Loan Guarantee Agreement”). The loan guarantee will apply to sums borrowed during a period beginning on the date that the Loan Guarantee Agreement enters into force and ending thirty days after such date, not exceeding an aggregate total of one billion United States Dollars ($1,000,000,000) in principal amount. The loan guarantees shall ensure the Borrower's repayment of 100% of principal and interest due under such borrowings. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is pledged for the full payment and performance of such guarantee obligations.

    § 237.02 Definitions.

    Wherever used in the standard terms and conditions set out in this part:

    Applicant means a Noteholder who files an Application for Compensation with USAID, either directly or through the Fiscal Agent acting on behalf of a Noteholder.

    Application for Compensation means an executed application in the form of Appendix A to this part which a Noteholder, or the Fiscal Agent on behalf of a Noteholder, files with USAID pursuant to § 237.08.

    Borrower means Ukraine.

    Business Day means any day other than a day on which banks in New York, NY are closed or authorized to be closed or a day which is observed as a federal holiday in Washington, DC, by the United States Government.

    Date of Application means the date on which an Application for Compensation is actually received by USAID pursuant to § 237.15.

    Defaulted Payment means, as of any date and in respect of any Eligible Note, any Interest Amount and/or Principal Amount not paid when due.

    Eligible Note(s) means [a] Note[s] meeting the eligibility criteria set out in § 237.04.

    Fiscal Agency Agreement means the agreement among USAID, the Borrower and the Fiscal Agent pursuant to which the Fiscal Agent agrees to provide fiscal agency and trust services in respect of the Note[s], a copy of which Fiscal Agency Agreement shall be made available to Noteholders upon request to the Fiscal Agent.

    Fiscal Agent means the bank or trust company or its duly appointed successor under the Fiscal Agency Agreement which has been appointed by the Borrower with the consent of USAID to perform certain fiscal agency and trust services for specified Eligible Note[s] pursuant to the terms of the Fiscal Agency Agreement.

    Further Guaranteed Payments means the amount of any loss suffered by a Noteholder by reason of the Borrower's failure to comply on a timely basis with any obligation it may have under an Eligible Note to indemnify and hold harmless a Noteholder from taxes or governmental charges or any expense arising out of taxes or any other governmental charges relating to the Eligible Note in the country of the Borrower.

    Guarantee means the guarantee of USAID pursuant to this part 237, Title III of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2015 (Div. J, Pub. L. 113-235), and the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-95).

    Guarantee Payment Date means a Business Day not more than three (3) Business Days after the related Date of Application.

    Interest Amount means for any Eligible Note the amount of interest accrued on the Principal Amount of such Eligible Note at the applicable Interest Rate.

    Interest Rate means the interest rate borne by an Eligible Note.

    Loss of Investment means, in respect of any Eligible Note, an amount in Dollars equal to the total of the:

    (1) Defaulted Payment unpaid as of the Date of Application,

    (2) Further Guaranteed Payments unpaid as of the Date of Application, and

    (3) Interest accrued and unpaid at the Interest Rate(s) specified in the Eligible Note(s) on the Defaulted Payment and Further Guaranteed Payments, in each case from the date of default with respect to such payment to and including the date on which full payment thereof is made to the Noteholder.

    Note[s] means any debt securities issued by the Borrower.

    Noteholder means the owner of an Eligible Note who is registered as such on the Note Register.

    Note Register means the register of Eligible Notes required to be maintained by the Fiscal Agent.

    Person means any legal person, including any individual, corporation, partnership, joint venture, association, joint stock company, trust, unincorporated organization, or government or any agency or political subdivision thereof.

    Principal Amount means the principal amount of the Eligible Notes issued by the Borrower. For purposes of determining the principal amount of the Eligible Notes issued by the Borrower, the principal amount of each Eligible Note shall be the stated principal amount thereof.

    USAID means the United States Agency for International Development or its successor.

    § 237.03 The Guarantee.

    Subject to the terms and conditions set out in this part, the United States of America, acting through USAID, guarantees to Noteholders the Borrower's repayment of 100 percent of principal and interest due on Eligible Notes. Under this Guarantee, USAID agrees to pay to any Noteholder compensation in Dollars equal to such Noteholder's Loss of Investment under its Eligible Note; provided, however, that no such payment shall be made to any Noteholder for any such loss arising out of fraud or misrepresentation for which such Noteholder is responsible or of which it had knowledge at the time it became such Noteholder. This Guarantee shall apply to each Eligible Note registered on the Note Register.

    § 237.04 Guarantee eligibility.

    (a) Eligible Notes only are guaranteed hereunder. Notes in order to achieve Eligible Note status:

    (1) Must be signed on behalf of the Borrower, manually or in facsimile, by a duly authorized representative of the Borrower;

    (2) Must contain a certificate of authentication manually executed by the Fiscal Agent whose appointment by the Borrower is consented to by USAID in the Fiscal Agency Agreement; and

    (3) Shall be approved and authenticated by USAID by either:

    (i) The affixing by USAID on the Notes of a guarantee legend incorporating these Standard Terms and Conditions signed on behalf of USAID by either a manual signature or a facsimile signature of an authorized representative of USAID or

    (ii) The delivery by USAID to the Fiscal Agent of a guarantee certificate incorporating these Standard Terms and Conditions signed on behalf of USAID by either a manual signature or a facsimile signature of an authorized representative of USAID.

    (b) The authorized USAID representatives for purposes of the regulations in this part whose signature(s) shall be binding on USAID shall include the USAID Chief and Deputy Chief Financial Officer; Assistant Administrator and Deputy, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment; Director and Deputy Director, Office of Development Credit; and such other individual(s) designated in a certificate executed by an authorized USAID Representative and delivered to the Fiscal Agent. The certificate of authentication of the Fiscal Agent issued pursuant to the Fiscal Agency Agreement shall, when manually executed by the Fiscal Agent, be conclusive evidence binding on USAID that an Eligible Note has been duly executed on behalf of the Borrower and delivered.

    § 237.05 Non-impairment of the Guarantee.

    After issuance of a Guarantee, that Guarantee will be an unconditional, full faith and credit obligation of the United States of America, and will not be affected or impaired by any subsequent condition or event. This non-impairment of the guarantee provision shall not, however, be operative with respect to any loss arising out of fraud or misrepresentation for which the claiming Noteholder is responsible or of which it had knowledge at the time it became a Noteholder. Moreover, the Guarantee shall not be affected or impaired by:

    (a) Any defect in the authorization, execution, delivery or enforceability of any agreement or other document executed by a Noteholder, USAID, the Fiscal Agent or the Borrower in connection with the transactions contemplated by this Guarantee or

    (b) The suspension or termination of the program pursuant to which USAID is authorized to guarantee the Eligible Notes.

    § 237.06 Transferability of Guarantee; Note Register.

    A Noteholder may assign, transfer or pledge an Eligible Note to any Person. Any such assignment, transfer or pledge shall be effective on the date that the name of the new Noteholder is entered on the Note Register. USAID shall be entitled to treat the Persons in whose names the Eligible Notes are registered as the owners thereof for all purposes of this Guarantee and USAID shall not be affected by notice to the contrary.

    § 237.07 Fiscal Agent obligations.

    Failure of the Fiscal Agent to perform any of its obligations pursuant to the Fiscal Agency Agreement shall not impair any Noteholder's rights under this Guarantee, but may be the subject of action for damages against the Fiscal Agent by USAID as a result of such failure or neglect. A Noteholder may appoint the Fiscal Agent to make demand for payment on its behalf under this Guarantee.

    § 237.08 Event of Default; Application for Compensation; payment.

    At any time after an Event of Default, as this term is defined in an Eligible Note, any Noteholder hereunder, or the Fiscal Agent on behalf of a Noteholder hereunder, may file with USAID an Application for Compensation in the form provided in Appendix A to this part. USAID shall pay or cause to be paid to any such Applicant any compensation specified in such Application for Compensation that is due to the Applicant pursuant to the Guarantee as a Loss of Investment not later than the Guarantee Payment Date. In the event that USAID receives any other notice of an Event of Default, USAID may pay any compensation that is due to any Noteholder pursuant to a Guarantee, whether or not such Noteholder has filed with USAID an Application for Compensation in respect of such amount.

    § 237.09 No acceleration of Eligible Notes.

    Eligible Notes shall not be subject to acceleration, in whole or in part, by USAID, the Noteholder or any other party. USAID shall not have the right to pay any amounts in respect of the Eligible Notes other than in accordance with the original payment terms of such Eligible Notes.

    § 237.10 Payment to USAID of excess amounts received by a Noteholder.

    If a Noteholder shall, as a result of USAID paying compensation under this Guarantee, receive an excess payment, it shall refund the excess to USAID.

    § 237.11 Subrogation of USAID.

    In the event of payment by USAID to a Noteholder under this Guarantee, USAID shall be subrogated to the extent of such payment to all of the rights of such Noteholder against the Borrower under the related Note.

    § 237.12 Prosecution of claims.

    After payment by USAID to an Applicant hereunder, USAID shall have exclusive power to prosecute all claims related to rights to receive payments under the Eligible Notes to which it is thereby subrogated. If a Noteholder continues to have an interest in the outstanding Eligible Notes, such a Noteholder and USAID shall consult with each other with respect to their respective interests in such Eligible Notes and the manner of and responsibility for prosecuting claims.

    § 237.13 Change in agreements.

    No Noteholder will consent to any change or waiver of any provision of any document contemplated by this Guarantee without the prior written consent of USAID.

    § 237.14 Arbitration.

    Any controversy or claim between USAID and any Noteholder arising out of this Guarantee shall be settled by arbitration to be held in Washington, DC in accordance with the then prevailing rules of the American Arbitration Association, and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrators may be entered in any court of competent jurisdiction.

    § 237.15 Notice.

    Any communication to USAID pursuant to this Guarantee shall be in writing in the English language, shall refer to the Ukraine Loan Guarantee Number inscribed on the Eligible Note and shall be complete on the day it shall be actually received by USAID at the Office of Development Credit, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, United States Agency for International Development, Washington, DC 20523-0030. Other addresses may be substituted for the above upon the giving of notice of such substitution to each Noteholder by first class mail at the address set forth in the Note Register.

    § 237.16 Governing law.

    This Guarantee shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States of America governing contracts and commercial transactions of the United States Government.

    Appendix A to Part 237—Application for Compensation United States Agency for International Development Washington, DC 20523

    Ref: Guarantee dated as of ____, 20__:

    Gentlemen: You are hereby advised that payment of $___ (consisting of $___ of principal, $___ of interest and $___ in Further Guaranteed Payments, as defined in § 237.02 of the Standard Terms and Conditions of the above-mentioned Guarantee) was due on ______, 20__, on $___ Principal Amount of Notes issued by Ukraine (the “Borrower”) held by the undersigned. Of such amount $___ was not received on such date and has not been received by the undersigned at the date hereof. In accordance with the terms and provisions of the above-mentioned Guarantee, the undersigned hereby applies, under § 237.08 of said Guarantee, for payment of $___, representing $___, the Principal Amount of the presently outstanding Note(s) of the Borrower held by the undersigned that was due and payable on ___ and that remains unpaid, and $___, the Interest Amount on such Note(s) that was due and payable by the Borrower on ___ and that remains unpaid, and $___ in Further Guaranteed Payments,1 plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon from the date of default with respect to such payments to and including the date payment in full is made by you pursuant to said Guarantee, at the rate of __ % per annum, being the rate for such interest accrual specified in such Note. Such payment is to be made at [state payment instructions of Noteholder or Fiscal Agent, as applicable].

    1 In the event the Application for Compensation relates to Further Guaranteed Payments, such Application must also contain a statement of the nature and circumstances of the related loss.

    All capitalized terms herein that are not otherwise defined shall have the meanings assigned to such terms in the Standard Terms and Conditions of the above-mentioned Guarantee.

    [Name of Applicant] By: Name: Title: Dated:
    Date: April 20, 2015. D. Bruce McPherson, Attorney Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09466 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0296] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal at 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 University Bridge, mile 4.3, across Lake Washington Ship Canal at Seattle, WA. The deviation is necessary to accommodate the “Beat the Bridge” foot race event. This deviation allows the bridges to remain in the closed-to-navigation position to allow for the safe movement of event participants.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on May 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0296] 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 Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District; 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 Seattle Department of Transportation has requested a temporary deviation from the operating schedule for the University Bridge, mile 4.3, across the Lake Washington Ship Canal at Seattle, WA, to facilitate safe passage of participants in the “Beat the Bridge” foot race. The University Bridge, mile 4.3, provides a vertical clearance of 30 feet in the closed position; clearances are referenced to the mean water elevation of Lake Washington. The current operating schedule for the bridge is set out in 33 CFR 117.1051. The normal operating schedule for the University Bridge states that the bridge need not open from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays but Columbus Day for vessels less than 1000 tons. The normal operating schedule for the bridge also requires one hour advance notification for bridge openings between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Waterway usage on the Lake Washington Ship Canal ranges from commercial tug and barge to small pleasure craft.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed positions may do so at any time. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: April 14, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09476 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0298] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Willamette River, Portland, OR AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of temporary deviation from regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the upper deck of the Steel Bridge across the Willamette River, mile 12.1, at Portland, OR. The deviation is necessary to accommodate the annual Rock `n' Roll 10K event. This deviation allows the upper deck of the Steel Bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position and need not open for marine traffic.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 8:20 a.m. on May 17, 2015 until 10:35 a.m. on May 17, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0298] 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 Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District; 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 City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has requested that the upper deck of the Steel Bridge remain closed-to-navigation to accommodate the annual Rock `n' Roll 10K event. The Steel Bridge crosses the Willamette River at mile 12.1 and is a double-deck lift bridge with a lower lift deck and an upper lift deck which operate independent of each other. When both decks are in the down position the bridge provides 26 feet of vertical clearance above Columbia River Datum 0.0. When the lower deck is in the up position the bridge provides 71 feet of vertical clearance above Columbia River Datum 0.0. This deviation does not affect the operating schedule of the lower deck which opens on signal. Under normal conditions the upper deck of the Steel Bridge operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.897(c)(3)(ii) which states that from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday one hour advance notice shall be given for draw openings, and at all other times two hours advance notice shall be given to obtain an opening. This deviation period is from 8:20 a.m. on May 17, 2015 until 10:35 a.m. on May 17, 2015. The deviation allows the upper deck of the Steel Bridge across the Willamette River, mile 12.1, to remain in the closed-to-navigation position and need not open for maritime traffic from 8:20 a.m. on May 17, 2015 until 10:35 a.m. on May 17, 2015. Waterway usage on this part of the Willamette River includes vessels ranging from commercial tug and barge to small pleasure craft.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed positions may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09481 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0924; FRL-9924-77-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Feather River Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve revisions to the Feather River Air Quality Management District (FRAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions concern volatile organic compound (VOC), oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from rice straw burning, surface preparation and cleanup for solvents, wood product coating operations, boilers, steam generators, process heaters, and stationary internal combustion engines. We are approving local rules that regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on June 22, 2015 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comments by May 26, 2015. If we receive such comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that this direct final rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0924, by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions.

    2. Email: [email protected].

    3. Mail or deliver: Andrew Steckel (Air-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901.

    Instructions: All comments 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 Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as such and should not be submitted through www.regulations.gov or email. www.regulations.gov is an “anonymous access” system, and EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send email directly to EPA, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the public comment. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., CBI). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kevin Gong, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3073, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to EPA.

    Table of Contents I. The State's Submittal A. What rules did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of these rules? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rules or rule revisions? II. EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is EPA evaluating the rules? B. Do the rules meet the evaluation criteria? C. EPA Recommendations to Further Improve the Rules D. Public Comment and Final Action III. Incorporation by Reference IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The State's Submittal A. What rules did the State submit?

    Table 1 lists the rules addressed by this action with the dates that they were adopted by the local air agency and submitted by the California Air Resources Board.

    Table 1—Submitted Rules Local agency Rule No. Rule title Adopted or
  • amended
  • Submitted
    FRAQMD 10.9 Rice Straw Emission Reduction Credits and Banking 4/6/2009 11/6/2014 FRAQMD 3.14 Surface Preparation and Clean-Up 8/1/2011 2/10/2014 FRAQMD 3.20 Wood Products Coating Operations 8/1/2011 2/10/2014 FRAQMD 3.21 Industrial, Institutional, and Commercial Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters 6/5/2006 2/10/2014 FRAQMD 3.22 Stationary Internal Combustion Engines 10/6/2014 11/6/2014

    On May 5, 2014, EPA determined that the submittal for FRAQMD Rules 3.14, 3.20 and 3.21 met the completeness criteria in 40 CFR part 51, appendix V, which must be met before formal EPA review. On December 18, 2014, EPA determined that the submittal for FRAQMD Rules 10.9 and 3.22 met the completeness criteria.

    B. Are there other versions of these rules?

    There are no previous versions of Rules 10.9, 3.20 and 3.21 in the SIP. We approved an earlier version of Rule 3.14 that had been submitted by the Sutter County Air Pollution Control District (SCAPCD) on May 3, 1982 in 47 FR 118856. SCAPCD is a predecessor agency to FRAQMD and so that version of the rule is enforceable by FRAQMD. We included an earlier version of Rule 3.22 into the SIP on March 1, 2012 in 77 FR 12493 in a limited approval and limited disapproval action.

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted rules or rule revisions?

    VOCs help produce ground-level ozone and smog, which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control VOC emissions. Rule 10.9 establishes standards, processes and procedures for calculating creditable VOC emissions reductions from the curtailment of rice straw burning. Rules 3.14 and 3.20 establish limits and control procedures for reducing VOC emissions resulting from solvent use and wood product coating operations. Rule 3.22 limits VOC emissions from internal combustion engines.

    NOX helps produce ground-level ozone, smog and particulate matter, which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control NOX emissions. Rule 10.9 establishes standards, processes and procedures for calculating creditable NOX emissions reductions from the curtailment of rice straw burning. Rules 3.21 and 3.22 limit NOX emissions from combustion sources including internal combustion engines, boilers, steam generators, and process heaters.

    PM contributes to effects that are harmful to human health and the environment, including premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, decreased lung function, visibility impairment, and damage to vegetation and ecosystems. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control PM emissions. Rule 10.9 establishes standards, processes and procedures for calculating creditable PM emissions reductions from the curtailment of rice straw burning. Rules 3.21 and 3.22 directly limit NOX emissions which are a precursor to PM2.5.

    EPA's technical support documents (TSDs) have more information about these rules.

    II. EPA's Evaluation and Action A. How is EPA evaluating the rules?

    SIP rules must be enforceable (see CAA section 110(a)(2)), must not interfere with applicable requirements concerning attainment and reasonable further progress or other CAA requirements (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not modify certain SIP control requirements in nonattainment areas without ensuring equivalent or greater emissions reductions (see CAA section 193). Additionally, Rule 10.9 includes provisions that generate emission reduction credits for use as offsets in the New Source Review (NSR) program, and must meet the NSR requirement for valid offsets (see CAA section 173(c)). Such rules are also evaluated against EPA's non-binding guidance on economic incentive programs.

    Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate enforceability, revision/relaxation and rule stringency requirements for the applicable criteria pollutants include the following:

    1. “State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” (57 FR 13498, April 16, 1992 and 57 FR 18070, April 28, 1992).

    2. “Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations” (“the Bluebook,” U.S. EPA, May 25, 1988; revised January 11, 1990).

    3. “Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies” (“the Little Bluebook”, EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001).

    4. “State Implementation Plans; Nitrogen Oxides Supplement to the General Preamble; Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 Implementation of Title I; Proposed Rule” (“the NOX Supplement,” 57 FR 55620, November 25, 1992).

    5. “Improving Air Quality with Economic Incentive Programs” (EPA-452/R-01-001, January 2001) http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1/memoranda/eipfin.pdf.

    6. Rice Straw Emission Reduction Credit Model Rule Support Document (White Paper), Sacramento Federal Non-Attainment Area, October 16, 2008.

    7. “Control Technique Guidelines for the Control of VOC Emission from Wood Furniture Manufacturing Operations” (EPA-453/R-96-007, April 1996).

    8. “Control Technique Guidelines for Flat Wood Paneling Coatings” (EPA-453/R-06-004, September 2006).

    9. “Control of Volatile Organic Emissions from Solvent Metal Cleaning” (EPA-450/2-77-022, November 1977).

    10. “Control Techniques Guidelines for Industrial Cleaning Solvents” (EPA-453/R-06-001 September 2006).

    11. “Control Technique Guidelines for Flexible Package Printing” (EPA-453/R-06-003, September 2006)

    12. “Control of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Coating Operations at Aerospace Manufacturing and Rework Operations” (EPA-453/R-97-004, December 1997)

    Generally, SIP rules must require Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) for each category of sources covered by a Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) document as well as each VOC and NOX major source in ozone nonattainment areas classified as moderate or above (see sections 182(b)(2) and 182(f)). 40 CFR 81.305 describes FRAQMD as regulating a portion of the Sacramento Metro Area nonattainment area classified as Severe-15 for the 1997 and 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and classified as Severe-15 for the 1-hour ozone standard. The rest of FRAQMD is classified as a Section 185A Area for the 1-hour ozone standard. These rules must implement RACT, as the District regulates an ozone nonattainment area classified as Severe.

    B. Do the rules meet the evaluation criteria?

    We believe these rules are consistent with the relevant policy and guidance regarding enforceability, RACT or RACM, and SIP relaxations. The TSDs have more information on our evaluation.

    C. EPA Recommendations To Further Improve the Rules

    The TSDs describe additional rule revisions that we recommend for the next time the local agency modifies the rules but are not currently the basis for rule disapproval.

    D. Public Comment and Final Action

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, EPA is fully approving the submitted rules because we believe they fulfill all relevant requirements. We do not think anyone will object to this approval, so we are finalizing it without proposing it in advance. However, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are simultaneously proposing approval of the same submitted rules. If we receive adverse comments by May 26, 2015, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register to notify the public that the direct final approval will not take effect and we will address the comments in a subsequent final action based on the proposal. If we do not receive timely adverse comments, the direct final approval will be effective without further notice on June 22, 2015. This will incorporate these rules into the federally enforceable SIP.

    Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    III. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the FRAQMD rules described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents available electronically through www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by June 22, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: February 27, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Part 52, chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart F—California 2. Section 52.220, is amended by adding paragraphs (c)(442)(i)(E) and (c)(457) to read as follows:
    § 52.220 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (442) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (E) Feather River Air Quality Management District.

    (1) Rule 3.14, “Surface Preparation and Clean-Up,” amended on August 1, 2011.

    (2) Rule 3.20, “Wood Products Coating Operations,” amended on August 1, 2011.

    (3) Rule 3.21, “Industrial, Institutional, and Commercial Boilers, Steam Generators, and Process Heaters,” adopted on June 5, 2006.

    (457) New and amended regulations for the following APCDs were submitted on November 6, 2014 by the Governor's designee.

    (i) Incorporation by reference.

    (A) Feather River Air Quality Management District.

    (1) Rule 10.9, “Rice Straw Emission Reduction Credits and Banking,” amended on October 6, 2014.

    (2) Rule 3.22, “Stationary Internal Combustion Engines,” amended on October 6, 2014.

    [FR Doc. 2015-09409 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0355; FRL-9926-66] Bicyclopyrone; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of bicyclopyrone in or on field corn, forage; field corn, grain; field corn, stover; popcorn, grain; popcorn, stover; sweet corn, forage; sweet corn, ears; sweet corn, stover; sugarcane, stalks; cattle, liver; goat, meat byproducts; sheep, meat byproducts; horse, meat byproducts; and hog, meat byproducts. Syngenta requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective April 23, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before June 22, 2015, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0355, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan Lewis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

    B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of EPA's tolerance regulations at 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Publishing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl

    C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0355 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before June 22, 2015. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0355, by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html.

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of September 5, 2014 (79 FR 53009) (FRL-9914-98), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP 3F8225) by Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC., P.O. Box 18300, Greensboro, NC 27419. The petition requested that 40 CFR part 180 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the herbicide bicyclopyrone, herbicide, in or on field corn, forage at 0.4 parts per million (ppm); field corn, grain at 0.02 ppm; field corn, stover at 0.5 ppm; popcorn, grain at 0.02 ppm; popcorn, stover at 0.5 ppm; sweet corn, forage at 0.4 ppm; sweet corn, ears at 0.02 ppm; sweet corn, stover at 0.5 ppm; sugarcane, stalks at 0.01 ppm; and cattle, liver at 0.06 ppm. That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared by Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC., the registrant, which is available in the docket, http://www.regulations.gov. In the Federal Register of February 11, 2015 (80 FR 7559) (FRL-9921-94), EPA published a corrected notice of filing for the import tolerance on sugarcane petition. Comments were received for both items. EPA's response to these comments is discussed in Unit IV.C.

    Based upon review of the data supporting the petition, EPA has revised the proposed tolerances to corn, field, forage at 0.30 ppm; corn, field, grain at 0.02 ppm; corn, field, stover at 0.40 ppm; corn, pop, grain at 0.02 ppm; corn, pop, stover at 0.40 ppm; corn, sweet, forage at 0.40 ppm; corn, sweet, kernel plus cob with husks removed at 0.03 ppm; corn, sweet, stover at 0.70 ppm; sugarcane, cane at 0.02 ppm; cattle, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; goat, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; sheep, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; horse, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; and hog, meat byproducts at 0.15 ppm. The reasons for these changes are explained in Unit IV.C.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

    Section 408(b)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the tolerance is “safe.” Section 408(b)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue . . .”

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for bicyclopyrone including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with bicyclopyrone follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children.

    The effects of bicyclopyrone are indicative of inhibition of 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD). Plasma tyrosine levels were consistently elevated in rats, rabbits, and dogs (levels in mice were not tested). Consistent with these elevated tyrosine levels, ocular effects (corneal opacity, keratitis) were observed for subchronic and chronic durations through the oral and dermal routes in rats, which was the most sensitive species tested (minor instances in dogs). There were also increased incidences of thyroid follicular hyperplasia and a chronic progressive nephropathy. While minor instances of ocular effects were observed in dogs, different toxicological effects were generally observed. For subchronic oral exposure, clinical signs (moderate hypoactivity, slightly unsteady gait, increased heart rate, regurgitation, and vomiting) were observed, and clinical pathological indicators of toxicity occurred in the eye and the thymus. Following chronic exposure, there was a dose-dependent increase in chromatolysis and swelling of selected neurons in the dorsal root ganglia, and degeneration of nerve fibers in the spinal nerve roots in both sexes. In one female dog at the high dose, corneal opacity and light sensitivity were observed.

    Across the database, there were decreased absolute body weights (the only finding in mice for any duration) and food consumption. There were no signs of immunotoxicity or neurotoxicity in rodents.

    Bicyclopyrone treatment resulted in developmental toxicity in both rats and rabbits, and there was an increased quantitative fetal susceptibility in both species tested. In rats, maternal toxicity was not observed up to 1000 mg/kg/day. Fetal effects occurred at all doses (≥100 mg/kg/day), and manifested as skeletal variations (increased incidences of full or rudimentary supernumerary ribs, pelvic girdle malpositioned caudal, costal cartilage 11 long). In New Zealand White rabbits, maternal effects consisted of mortality/moribundity in conjunction with minimal food consumption at 200 mg/kg/day. Fetal effects once again occurred at all doses tested (≥10 mg/kg/day). The sole fetal effect at the lowest dose tested was the appearance of the 27th presacral vertebrae. There were two studies in Himalayan rabbits. In both studies, maternal effects consisted of macroscopic findings in the stomach wall and an increased incidence of post-implantation loss at the 250 mg/kg/day dose level. In the first study, fetal effects occurred starting at 50 mg/kg/day and consisted of skeletal variations (increased incidence of the 27th prepelvic vertebra and malpositioned pelvic girdle). In the second study, the increased quantitative fetal susceptibility was not observed due to a change in the dose selection. Fetal effects occurred at 250 mg/kg/day and consisted of external, visceral, and skeletal abnormalities, and visceral variations, skeletal, bone and cartilage variations. In total, the effects in these studies are consistent with effects of other chemicals in this class.

    In the two-generation reproductive study in rats, ocular toxicity occurred in parents and offspring and there was no increased offspring susceptibility of any kind. Reproductive effects included changes in sperm parameters, and a decrease of precoital interval.

    To determine the mechanism for the thyroid hyperplasia observed in the chronic/carcinogenicity study in rats, two mode-of-action studies were performed. In the in vitro study, bicyclopyrone was negative for thyroid peroxidase inhibition. The results from the in vivo study suggested that the observed thyroid hyperplasia was the result of increased metabolism of thyroid hormones indicated by (1) decreased plasma T3 and T4 levels, (2) increased thyroid follicular cell hypertrophy, (3) increased liver weights associated, and (4) increased hepatocellular centrilobular hypertrophy and increased hepatic uridine diphosphate glucuronyl transferase (UDPGT) activities.

    Bicyclopyrone is categorized as having low acute lethality via all routes of administration (Categories III and IV). Bicyclopyrone produces minimal eye irritation and mild acute inhalation toxicity (Toxicity Category IV).

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by bicyclopyrone as well as the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document titled “Bicyclopyrone: Human Health Risk Assessment for the Section 3 Registration Action on Corn and the Establishment of Permanent Tolerances for Residues in/on Corn and Imported Sugarcane” at pp. 30-37 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0355.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

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

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

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for Bicyclopyrone for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment Exposure/scenario Point of
  • departure and
  • uncertainty/
  • safety factors
  • RfD, PAD, LOC for risk assessment Study and toxicological effects
    Acute dietary (Females 13-49 years of age) LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF/UFL = 10x
  • Acute RfD = 0.01 mg/kg/day
  • aPAD = 0.01 mg/kg/day
  • Prenatal Developmental Study (New Zealand White Rabbits).
  • Developmental LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day based on skeletal variations (the appearance of the 27th presacral vertebrae).
  • Acute dietary (General population including infants and children) No endpoint attributable to a single dose and appropriate for the U.S. general population was seen in the bicyclopyrone toxicological database; therefore, an acute dietary point of departure for the general U.S. population was not established Chronic dietary (All populations) LOAEL= 10 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF/UFL = 10x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.00028 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.00028 mg/kg/day
  • Carcinogenicity Study (rat).
  • LOAEL = 0.28/0.35 mg/kg/day (Male/Female) based on a dose dependent increase in the incidence of opaque eyes and corneal damage in both sexes compared to controls, an increased incidence of thyroid follicular hyperplasia in males, and an increased incidence of chronic progressive nephropathy in the kidneys of males.
  • Dermal Short- (1-30 days) and Intermediate-Term (1-6 months) LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day
  • DAF = 20.44%
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF/UFL = 10x
  • LOC for MOE = 1000 Prenatal Developmental Study (New Zealand White Rabbits).
  • Developmental LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day based on skeletal variations (the appearance of the 27th presacral vertebrae).
  • Inhalation Short- (1-30 days) and Intermediate-Term (1-6 months) LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF/UFL = 10x
  • LOC for MOE = 1000 Prenatal Developmental Study (New Zealand White Rabbits).
  • Developmental LOAEL = 10 mg/kg/day based on skeletal variations (the appearance of the 27th presacral vertebrae.
  • Cancer (Oral, dermal, inhalation) Classification: “Suggestive evidence of cancer” based on the presence of rare ocular tumors in male rats. Quantification of bicyclopyrone's carcinogenic potential is not required. A non-linear approach (i.e., RfD) will adequately account for all chronic toxicity, including carcinogenicity that could result from exposure to bicyclopyrone FQPA SF = Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor. LOAEL = lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level. LOC = level of concern. mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. MOE = margin of exposure. PAD = population adjusted dose (a = acute, c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies). UFL = use of a LOAEL to extrapolate a NOAEL.
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to bicyclopyrone, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances. EPA assessed dietary exposures from bicyclopyrone in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure. Such effects were identified for bicyclopyrone. In estimating acute dietary exposure, EPA used food consumption information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2003-2008 Nationwide Continuing Surveys of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII). The acute dietary analysis was conducted for bicyclopyrone assuming tolerance level residues, default processing factors, and 100% crop treated (CT) information.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the food consumption data from the USDA 2003-2008 CSFII. The chronic dietary exposure assessment was conducted for bicyclopyrone assuming average field trial residues for crops, tolerance-level residues for livestock commodities, default processing factors, and 100% CT information.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that bicyclopyrone should be classified as “suggestive evidence of cancer” based on the presence of rare ocular tumors in male rats. Quantification of bicyclopyrone's carcinogenic potential is not required. A non-linear approach (i.e., RfD) will adequately account for all chronic toxicity, including carcinogenicity that could result from exposure to bicyclopyrone. Using EPA's non-linear approach, the 1000X combined uncertainty factor used to calculate the cRfD/cPAD for the chronic dietary assessment, generates a dose which is 100,000-fold lower than the dose at which the ocular tumors were observed and is thus protective of their potential formation.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for bicyclopyrone in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of bicyclopyrone. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/models/water/index.htm.

    The Surface Water Concentration Calculator (SWCC) computer model was used to generate surface water Estimated Drinking Water Concentrations (EDWCs), while the Pesticide Root Zone Model for Groundwater (PRZM-GW) and the Screening Concentration in Ground Water (SCI-GROW) models were used to generate groundwater EDWCs.

    The maximum acute and chronic surface water EDWCs associated with bicyclopyrone use on corn were 2.87 and 0.857 µg/L, respectively. For groundwater sources of drinking water, the maximum acute and chronic EDWCs of bicyclopyrone in shallow groundwater from PRZM-GW were 3.76 and 3.23 μg/L, respectively. EDWCs of 0.00376 ppm and 0.00323 ppm were used in the acute and chronic analyses, respectively.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets). Bicyclopyrone is not registered for any specific use patterns that would result in residential exposure.

    4. Cumulative effects from substances with a common mechanism of toxicity. Section 408(b)(2)(D)(v) of FFDCA requires that, when considering whether to establish, modify, or revoke a tolerance, the Agency consider “available information” concerning the cumulative effects of a particular pesticide's residues and “other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity.”

    There are marked differences among species in the ocular toxicity associated with bicyclopyrone's mechanism of toxicity, the inhibition of HPPD. Ocular effects following treatment with HPPD inhibitor herbicides are seen in the rat but not in the mouse. Monkeys also seem to be recalcitrant to the ocular toxicity induced by HPPD inhibition. One explanation for this species-specific response in ocular opacity may be related to species differences in the clearance of tyrosine. A metabolic pathway exists to remove tyrosine from the blood that involves the liver enzyme tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT). In contrast to rats where ocular toxicity is observed following exposure to HPPD-inhibiting herbicides, mice and humans are unlikely to achieve the levels of plasma tyrosine necessary to produce ocular opacities because the activity of TAT in these species is much greater compared to rats.

    HPPD inhibitors (e.g., nitisinone) are used as an effective therapeutic agent to treat patients suffering from rare genetic diseases of tyrosine catabolism. Treatment starts in childhood but is often sustained throughout patient's lifetime. The human experience indicates that a therapeutic dose (1 mg/kg/day dose) of nitisinone has an excellent safety record in infants, children, and adults and that serious adverse health outcomes have not been observed in a population followed for approximately a decade. Rarely, ocular effects are seen in patients with high plasma tyrosine levels; however, these effects are transient and can be readily reversed upon adherence to a restricted protein diet. This observation indicates that an HPPD inhibitor in and of itself cannot easily overwhelm the tyrosine-clearance mechanism in humans.

    Therefore, exposures to environmental residues of HPPD-inhibiting herbicides are unlikely to result in the high blood levels of tyrosine and ocular toxicity in humans due to an efficient metabolic process to handle excess tyrosine. The EPA continues to study the complex relationships between elevated tyrosine levels and biological effects in various species. In the future, assessments of HPPD-inhibiting herbicides may consider more appropriate models and cross species extrapolation methods. EPA has not conducted cumulative risk assessment with other HPPD inhibitors.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

    1. In general. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold (10X) margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the database on toxicity and exposure unless EPA determines based on reliable data that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. This additional margin of safety is commonly referred to as the FQPA Safety Factor (SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    2. The FQPA SF is retained at 10X for all exposure scenarios based on use of a LOAEL for the points of departure. The toxicology database for bicyclopyrone is adequate for characterizing toxicity and quantification of risk for food and non-food uses; however, a LOAEL from the New Zealand white rabbit developmental and chronic/carcinogenicity rat toxicity studies has been used as the POD for several scenarios.

    There is no evidence of neurotoxicity in either of the neurotoxicity screening batteries, but there are effects in the chronic dog study. The level of concern is low, however, since the study and POD chosen for the chronic dietary exposure scenario is protective of these effects. There is evidence of increased quantitative fetal susceptibility following in utero exposure in both rats and rabbits; however, these effects are well characterized and the selected endpoints are protective of the observed fetal effects. Lastly, there are no residual uncertainties in the exposure database.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    EPA determines whether acute and chronic dietary pesticide exposures are safe by comparing aggregate exposure estimates to the acute PAD (aPAD) and chronic PAD (cPAD). For linear cancer risks, EPA calculates the lifetime probability of acquiring cancer given the estimated aggregate exposure. Short-, intermediate-, and chronic-term risks are evaluated by comparing the estimated aggregate food, water, and residential exposure to the appropriate PODs to ensure that an adequate MOE exists.

    Because there are no uses for bicyclopyrone that may result in residential exposures, the aggregate risk consists only of food and water.

    1. Acute risk. Using the exposure assumptions discussed in this unit for acute exposure, the acute dietary exposure from food and water to bicyclopyrone will occupy 2.9% of the aPAD for females 13-49 years old, the population group receiving the greatest exposure.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to bicyclopyrone from food and water will utilize 91% of the cPAD for children 1-2 years old the population group receiving the greatest exposure. There are no residential uses for bicyclopyrone.

    3. Short-term risk. A short-term adverse effect was identified; however, bicyclopyrone is not registered for any use patterns that would result in short-term residential exposure. Short-term risk is assessed based on short-term residential exposure plus chronic dietary exposure. Because there is no short-term residential exposure and chronic dietary exposure has already been assessed under the appropriately protective cPAD (which is at least as protective as the POD used to assess short-term risk), no further assessment of short-term risk is necessary, and EPA relies on the chronic dietary risk assessment for evaluating short-term risk for bicyclopyrone.

    4. Intermediate-term risk. An intermediate-term adverse effect was identified; however, bicyclopyrone is not registered for any use patterns that would result in intermediate-term residential exposure. Intermediate-term risk is assessed based on intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic dietary exposure. Because there is no intermediate-term residential exposure and chronic dietary exposure has already been assessed under the appropriately protective cPAD (which is at least as protective as the POD used to assess intermediate-term risk), no further assessment of intermediate-term risk is necessary, and EPA relies on the chronic dietary risk assessment for evaluating intermediate-term risk for bicyclopyrone.

    5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. A non-linear approach (i.e., RfD) will adequately account for all chronic toxicity, including carcinogenicity that could result from exposure to bicyclopyrone.

    6. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to bicyclopyrone residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy/mass spectroscopy (LC-MS/MS) methods for tolerance enforcement have been developed and independently validated. For all matrices and analytes, the level of quantification (LOQ), defined as the lowest spiking level where acceptable precision and accuracy data were obtained, was determined to be 0.01 ppm for each of the common moieties, SYN503780 and CSCD686480, for a combined LOQ of 0.02 ppm is available to enforce the tolerance expression.

    The method may be requested from: Chief, Analytical Chemistry Branch, Environmental Science Center, 701 Mapes Rd., Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350; telephone number: (410) 305-2905; email address: [email protected]

    B. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level. The Codex has not established a MRL for bicyclopyrone.

    C. Response to Comments

    Seven comments were received in response to the September 5, 2014 notice of filing. Three of the comments were relevant to bicyclopyrone, the other four comments were relevant to other actions that were batched together with bicyclopryone in the same Federal Register document. The commenters noted that pesticides and bicyclopyrone pose a risk to pollinators. The agency has determined that bicyclopyrone is moderately to practically non-toxic to young adult honey bees (Apis mellifera) on an acute exposure basis.

    One comment was received in response to the February 11, 2015 corrected notice of filing for the import tolerance on sugarcane petition. This comment was associated with an action that was batched together with bicyclopyrone in the same Federal Register document and was not relevant to bicyclopyrone.

    D. Revisions to Petitioned-For Tolerances

    The proposed tolerance levels for most corn (field, pop, and sweet) raw agricultural commodities (RAC) differ slightly from those being set by the EPA. Although both the registrant and EPA have used the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) calculation procedures to obtain tolerance levels, EPA only included data from trials conducted according to the proposed label directions. The registrant proposed a tolerance level for sugarcane, cane below the method LOQ (0.01 ppm); the appropriate level is at the LOQ (0.02 ppm). EPA's tolerance levels for livestock meat byproducts were based on the highest tissue-to-feed ratio calculated from the dose closest to maximum dietary burdens. As residues are expected in both liver and kidney, the appropriate RAC is “meat byproducts.” Per EPA policy, tolerances are set for all ruminants, not just cattle. EPA made numerous changes in the commodity definitions and revisions to the tolerance expression in order to conform to current Agency policy.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, tolerances are established for residues of the herbicide bicyclopyrone in or on corn, field, forage at 0.30 ppm; corn, field, grain at 0.02 ppm; corn, field, stover at 0.40 ppm; corn, pop, grain at 0.02 ppm; corn, pop, stover at 0.40 ppm; corn, sweet, forage at 0.40 ppm; corn, sweet, kernel plus cob with husks removed at 0.03 ppm; corn, sweet, stover at 0.70 ppm; sugarcane, cane at 0.02 ppm; cattle, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; goat, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; sheep, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; horse, meat byproducts at 1.5 ppm; and hog, meat byproducts at 0.15 ppm

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerance in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply.

    This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

    This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

    VII. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: April 17, 2015. William Jordan, Acting Director, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

    2. Add § 180.682 to subpart C to read as follows:
    § 180.682 Bicyclopyrone; tolerances for residues.

    (a) General. (1) Tolerances are established for residues of the herbicide bicyclopyrone (4-hydroxy-3-[[2-[(2-methoxyethoxy)methyl]-6-(trifluoromethyl)-3-pyridinyl]carbonyl]bicyclo[3.2.1]oct-3-en-2-one), including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the commodities in the table below. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only the sum of the common moieties SYN503780 (2-[(2-methoxyethoxy)methyl]-6-(trifluoromethyl)-3-pyridinecarboxylic acid) and CSCD686480 (2-[(2-hydroxyethoxy)methyl]-6-(trifluoromethyl)-3-pyridinecarboxylic acid), calculated as the stoichiometric equivalent of bicyclopyrone, in or on the commodities.

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • Corn, field, forage 0.30 Corn, field, grain 0.02 Corn, field, stover 0.40 Corn, pop, grain 0.02 Corn, pop, stover 0.40 Corn, sweet, forage 0.40 Corn, sweet, kernel plus cob with husks removed 0.03 Corn, sweet, stover 0.70 Sugarcane, cane 1 0.02 Cattle, meat byproducts 1.5 Goat, meat byproducts 1.5 Sheep, meat byproducts 1.5 Horse, meat byproducts 1.5 Hog, meat byproducts 0.15 1 There are no U.S. Registrations on Sugarcane as of March 13, 2015.

    (2) [Reserved].

    (b) [Reserved].

    [FR Doc. 2015-09482 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Part 435 Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa CFR Correction

    In Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 430 to 481, revised as of October 1, 2014, on page 198, in § 435.912, revise paragraphs (a) and (b); redesignate paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) as paragraphs (e), (f), and (g), respectively; and add new paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:

    § 435.912 Timely determination of eligibility. [Corrected]

    (a) For purposes of this section—

    (1) “Timeliness standards” refer to the maximum period of time in which every applicant is entitled to a determination of eligibility, subject to the exceptions in paragraph (e) of this section.

    (2) “Performance standards” are overall standards for determining eligibility in an efficient and timely manner across a pool of applicants, and include standards for accuracy and consumer satisfaction, but do not include standards for an individual applicant's determination of eligibility.

    (b) Consistent with guidance issued by the Secretary, the agency must establish in its State plan timeliness and performance standards for, promptly and without undue delay—

    (1) Determining eligibility for Medicaid for individuals who submit applications to the single State agency or its designee.

    (2) Determining potential eligibility for, and transferring individuals' electronic accounts to, other insurance affordability programs pursuant to § 435.1200(e) of this part.

    (3) Determining eligibility for Medicaid for individuals whose accounts are transferred from other insurance affordability programs, including at initial application as well as at a regularly-scheduled renewal or due to a change in circumstances.

    (c)(1) The timeliness and performance standards adopted by the agency under paragraph (b) of this section must cover the period from the date of application or transfer from another insurance affordability program to the date the agency notifies the applicant of its decision or the date the agency transfers the individual to another insurance affordability program in accordance with § 435.1200(e) of this part, and must comply with the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section, subject to additional guidance issued by the Secretary to promote accountability and consistency of high quality consumer experience among States and between insurance affordability programs.

    (2) Timeliness and performance standards included in the State plan must account for—

    (i) The capabilities and cost of generally available systems and technologies;

    (ii) The general availability of electronic data matching and ease of connections to electronic sources of authoritative information to determine and verify eligibility;

    (iii) The demonstrated performance and timeliness experience of State Medicaid, CHIP and other insurance affordability programs, as reflected in data reported to the Secretary or otherwise available; and

    (iv) The needs of applicants, including applicant preferences for mode of application (such as through an internet Web site, telephone, mail, in-person, or other commonly available electronic means), as well as the relative complexity of adjudicating the eligibility determination based on household, income or other relevant information.

    (3) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, the determination of eligibility for any applicant may not exceed—

    (i) Ninety days for applicants who apply for Medicaid on the basis of disability; and

    (ii) Forty-five days for all other applicants.

    (d) The agency must inform applicants of the timeliness standards adopted in accordance with this section.

    [FR Doc. 2015-09487 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 572 Anthropomorphic Test Devices CFR Correction

    In Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 572 to 999, revised as of October 1, 2014, on page 160, in § 572.198, reinstate paragraph (b)(10) to read as follows:

    § 572.198 Pelvis acetabulum.

    (b) * * *

    (10) The dummy's pelvis is impacted at the acetabulum at 6.7 ± 0.1 m/s.

    [FR Doc. 2015-09488 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791-4999-02] RIN 0648-XD908 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the B season allowance of the 2015 total allowable catch of pollock for Statistical Area 630 in the GOA.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 20, 2015, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., June 1, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The B season allowance of the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA is 4,800 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) and inseason adjustment (80 FR 16996, March 31, 2015).

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the B season allowance of the 2015 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 4,300 mt and is setting aside the remaining 500 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.

    After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of April 17, 2015.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09450 Filed 4-20-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 131021878-4158-02] RIN 0648-XD909 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Ocean Perch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific ocean perch in the Central Aleutian district (CAI) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) by vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) of Pacific ocean perch in the CAI allocated to vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 20, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The 2015 TAC of Pacific ocean perch, in the CAI, allocated to vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery was established as a directed fishing allowance of 555 metric tons by the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014).

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific ocean perch in the CAI by vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery.

    After the effective dates of this closure, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA) finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such a requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of the Pacific ocean perch directed fishery in the CAI for vessels participating in the BSAI trawl limited access fishery. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of April 17, 2015. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09454 Filed 4-20-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791-4999-02] RIN 0648-XD910 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to trawl catcher vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), April 20, 2015, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680.

    The A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to trawl catcher vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 9,623 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015).

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season allowance of the 2015 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to trawl catcher vessels in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 8,623 mt and is setting aside the remaining 1,000 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of April 17, 2015.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09456 Filed 4-20-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 78 Thursday, April 23, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Parts 429 and 431 [Docket No. EERE-2013-BT-TP-0055] RIN 1905-AD50 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Pumps Correction

    In proposed rule document 2015-06945 beginning on page 17585 in the issue of Wednesday, April 1, 2015, make the following correction:

    On page 17637, in the first column, beginning with the third paragraph under the section heading “E. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment” and continuing through to the third column, on page 17639 up to the heading entitled “VI. Approval of the Office of the Secretary”, revise the existing text to read as follows:

    (2) DOE requests comment on the proposed definitions for “pump,” “bare pump,” “mechanical equipment,” “driver,” and “control.”

    (3) DOE requests comment on the proposed definitions for “continuous control” and “non-continuous control.”

    (4) DOE also requests comment and information regarding how often pumps with continuous or non-continuous controls are packaged and distributed in commerce, by manufacturers, with integrated sensors and feedback logic that would allow such pumps to automatically actuate.

    (5) DOE also requests comment on the likelihood of pumps with continuous and non-continuous controls being distributed in commerce, but never paired with any sensor or feedback mechanisms that would enable energy savings.

    (6) DOE requests comment on the proposed definition for “basic model” as applied to pumps. Specifically, DOE is interested in comments on DOE's proposal to allow manufacturers the option of rating pumps with trimmed impellers as a single basic model or separate basic models, provided the rating for each pump model is based on the maximum impeller diameter for that model.

    (7) DOE requests comment on the proposed definition for “full impeller.”

    (8) DOE requests comment on the proposal to require that all pump models be rated in a full impeller configuration only.

    (9) DOE requests comment on any other characteristics of pumps that are unique from other commercial and industrial equipment and may require modifications to the definition of “basic model,” as proposed.

    (10) DOE requests comment on the proposed applicability of the test procedure to the five pump equipment classes noted above, namely ESCC, ESFM, IL, RSV, and VTS pumps.

    (11) DOE requests comment on the proposed definitions for end suction pump, end suction frame mounted pump, end suction close-coupled pump, in-line pump, radially split multi-stage vertical in-line casing diffuser pump, rotodynamic pump, single axis flow pump, and vertical turbine submersible pump.

    (12) DOE requests comment on whether the references to ANSI/HI nomenclature are necessary as part of the equipment definitions in the regulatory text, are likely to cause confusion due to inconsistencies, and whether discussing the ANSI/HI nomenclature in this preamble would provide sufficient reference material for manufacturers when determining the appropriate equipment class for their pump models.

    (13) DOE requests comment on whether it needs to clarify the flow direction to distinguish RSV pumps from other similar pumps when determining test procedure and standards applicability.

    (14) DOE requests comment on whether any additional language is necessary in the proposed RSV definition to make the exclusion of immersible pumps clearer.

    (15) DOE requests comment on its proposal to exclude circulators and pool pumps from the scope of this test procedure rulemaking.

    (16) DOE requests comment on the proposed definitions for circulators and dedicated-purpose pool pumps.

    (17) DOE requests comment on the extent to which ESCC, ESFM, IL, and RSV pumps require attachment to a rigid foundation to function as designed.

    Specifically, DOE is interested to know if any pumps commonly referred to as ESCC, ESFM, IL, or RSV do not require attachment to a rigid foundation.

    (18) DOE requests comment on its initial determination that axial/mixed flow and PD pumps are implicitly excluded from this rulemaking based on the proposed definitions and scope parameters. In cases where commenters suggest a more explicit exclusion be used, DOE requests comment on the appropriate changes to the proposed definitions or criteria that would be needed to appropriately differentiate axial/mixed flow and/or PD pumps from the specific rotodynamic pumps equipment classes proposed for coverage in this NOPR.

    (19) DOE requests comment on the proposed definition for “clean water pump.”

    (20) DOE requests comment on its proposal to incorporate by reference the definition for “clear water” in HI 40.6-2014 to describe the testing fluid to be used when testing pumps in accordance with the DOE test procedure.

    (21) DOE requests comment on the proposed definition for “fire pump,” “selfpriming pump,” “prime-assisted pump,” and “sealless pump.”

    (22) Regarding the proposed definition of a self-priming pump, DOE notes that such pumps typically include a liquid reservoir above or in front of the impeller to allow recirculating water within the pump during the priming cycle. DOE requests comment on any other specific design features that enable the pump to operate without manual re-priming, and whether such specificity is needed in the definition for clarity.

    (23) DOE requests comment on the proposed specifications and criteria to determine if a pump is designed to meet a specific Military Specification and if Military Specifications other than MIL-P-17639F should be referenced.

    (24) DOE requests comment on excluding the following pumps from the test procedure: fire pumps, self-priming pumps, prime-assist pumps, sealless pumps, pumps designed to be used in a nuclear facility subject to 10 CFR part 50—Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities, and pumps meeting the design and construction requirements set forth in Military Specification MIL-P-17639F, “Pumps, Centrifugal, Miscellaneous Service, Naval Shipboard Use” (as amended).

    (25) DOE requests comment on the listed design characteristics (power, flow, head, design temperature, design speed, and bowl diameter) as limitations on the scope of pumps to which the proposed test procedure would apply.

    (26) DOE requests comment on the proposed definition for “bowl diameter” as it would apply to VTS pumps.

    (27) DOE requests comment on its proposal to test pumps sold with non-electric drivers as bare pumps.

    (28) DOE requests comment on its proposal that any pump distributed in commerce with a single-phase induction motor be tested and rated in the bare pump configuration, using the calculation method.

    (29) DOE requests comment from interested party on any categories of electric motors, except submersible motors, that: (1) Are used with pumps considered in this rulemaking and (2) typically have efficiencies lower than the default nominal full load motor efficiency for NEMA Design A, NEMA Design B, or IEC Design N motors. . . .

    (30) DOE requests comment on the proposed load points and weighting for PEICL for bare pumps and pumps sold with motors and PEIVL for pumps inclusive of motors and continuous or non-continuous controls.

    (31) DOE requests comments on the proposed PEICL and PEIVL metric architecture.

    (32) DOE requests comment on its proposal to base the default motor horsepower for the minimally compliant pump on that of the pump being evaluated. That is, the motor horsepower for the minimally compliant pump would be based on the calculated pump shaft input power of the pump when evaluated at 120 percent of BEP flow for bare pumps and the horsepower of the motor with which that pump is sold for pumps sold with motors and controls (with or without continuous or non-continuous controls).

    (33) DOE requests comment on using HI 40.6-2014 as the basis of the DOE test procedure for pumps.

    (34) DOE requests comment on its proposal to not incorporate by reference section 40.6.5.3, section A.7, and appendix B of HI 40.6-2014 as part of the DOE test procedure.

    (35) DOE requests comment on its proposal to require that data be collected at least every 5 seconds for all measured quantities.

    (36) DOE requests comment on its proposal to allow dampening devices, as described in section 40.6.3.2.2, but with the proviso noted above (i.e., permitted to integrate up to the data collection interval, or 5 seconds).

    (37) DOE requests comment on its proposal to require data collected at the pump speed measured during testing to be normalized to the nominal speeds of 1,800 and 3,600.

    (38) DOE requests comment on its proposal to adopt the requirements in HI 40.6-2014 regarding the deviation of tested speed from nominal speed and the variation of speed during the test. Specifically, DOE is interested if maintaining tested speed within ±1 percent of the nominal speed is feasible and whether this approach would produce more accurate and repeatable test results.

    (39) DOE requests comment on the proposed voltage, frequency, voltage unbalance, total harmonic distortion, and impedance requirements that are required when performing a wire-to-water pump test or when testing a bare pump with a calibrated motor. Specifically, DOE requests comments on whether these tolerances can be achieved in typical pump test labs, or whether specialized power supplies or power conditioning equipment would be required.

    (40) DOE requests comment on its proposal to test RSV and VTS pumps in their 3- and 9-stage versions, respectively, or the next closest number of stages if the pump model is not distributed in commerce with that particular number of stages.

    (41) DOE requests comment on its proposal to use a linear regression of the pump shaft input power with respect to flow rate at all the tested flow points greater than or equal to 60 percent of expected BEP flow to determine the pump shaft input power at the specific load points of 75, 100, and 110 percent of BEP flow. DOE is especially interested in any pump models for which such an approach would yield inaccurate measurements.

    (42) DOE requests comment on its proposal that for pumps with BEP at run-out, the BEP would be determined at 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 percent of expected BEP flow instead of the seven data points described in section 40.6.5.5.1 of HI 40.6-2014 and that the constant load points for pumps with BEP at run-out shall be 100, 90, and 65 percent of BEP flow, instead of 110, 100, and 75 percent of BEP flow.

    (43) DOE requests comment on the type and accuracy of required measurement equipment, especially the equipment required for electrical power measurements for pumps sold with motors having continuous or noncontinuous controls.

    (44) DOE requests comment on its proposal to conduct all calculations and corrections to nominal speed using raw measured values and that the PERCL and PEICL or PERVL and PEIVL, as applicable, be reported to the nearest 0.01.

    (45) DOE requests comment on its proposal to determine the default motor horsepower for rating bare pumps based on the pump shaft input power at 120 percent of BEP flow. DOE is especially interested in any pumps for which the 120 percent of BEP flow load point would not be an appropriate basis to determine the default motor horsepower (e.g., pumps for which the 120 percent of BEP flow load point is a significantly lower horsepower than the BEP flow load point).

    (46) DOE requests comment on its proposal that would specify the default, minimally compliant nominal full load motor efficiency based on the applicable minimally allowed nominal full load motor efficiency specified in DOE's energy conservation standards for NEMA Design A, NEMA Design B, and IEC Design N motors at 10 CFR 431.25 for all pumps except pumps sold with submersible motors.

    (47) DOE requests comment on the proposed default minimum full load motor efficiency values for submersible motors.

    (48) DOE requests comment on defining the proposed default minimum motor full load efficiency values for submersible motors relative to the most current minimum efficiency standards levels for regulated electric motors, through the use of “bands” as presented in Table III.6.

    (49) DOE requests comment on the proposal to allow the use of the default minimum submersible motor full load efficiency values presented in Table III.6 to rate: (1) VTS bare pumps, (2) pumps sold with submersible motors, and (3) pumps sold with submersible motors and continuous or noncontinuous controls as an option instead of wire-to-water testing.

    (50) DOE requests comment on the development and use of the motor part load loss factor curves to describe part load performance of covered motors and submersible motors including the default motor specified in section III.D.1 for bare pumps and calculation of PERSTD.

    (51) DOE requests comment on its proposal to determine the part load losses of motors covered by DOE's electric motor energy conservation standards at 75, 100, and 110 percent of BEP flow based on the nominal full load efficiency of the motor, as determined in accordance with DOE's electric motor test procedure, and the same default motor part load loss curve applied to the default motor in test method A.1 for the bare pump.

    (52) DOE requests comment on its proposal to determine the PERCL of pumps sold with submersible motors using the proposed default minimum efficiency values for submersible motors and applying the same default motor part load loss curve to the default motor in test method A.1 for the bare pump.

    (53) DOE also requests comment on its proposal that pumps sold with motors that are not addressed by DOE's electric motors test procedure (except submersible motors) would be rated based on a wire-to-water, testing-based approach.

    (54) DOE requests comment on the proposed system curve shape to use, as well as whether the curve should go through the origin instead of the statically loaded offset.

    (55) DOE requests comment on the proposed calculation approach for determining pump shaft input power for pumps sold with motors and continuous controls when rated using the calculation-based method.

    (56) DOE requests comment on the proposal to adopt four part load loss factor equations expressed as a function of the load on the motor (i.e., motor brake horsepower) to calculate the losses of a combined motor and continuous controls, where the four curves would correspond to different horsepower ratings of the continuous control.

    (57) DOE also requests comment on the accuracy of the proposed equation compared to one that accounts for multiple performance variables (speed and torque).

    (58) DOE requests comment on the proposed 5 percent scaling factor that was applied to the measured VSD efficiency data to generate the proposed coefficients of the four part load loss curves. Specifically, DOE seeks comment on whether another scaling factor or no scaling factor would be more appropriate in this context.

    (59) DOE requests comment on the variability of control horsepower ratings that might be distributed in commerce with a given pump and motor horsepower.

    (60) DOE requests comment and data from interested parties regarding the extent to which the assumed default part load loss curve would represent minimum efficiency motor and continuous control combinations.

    (61) DOE requests comment on its proposal to require testing of each individual bare pump as the basis for a certified PEICL or PEIVL rating for one or more pump basic models.

    (62) DOE requests comment on its proposal to limit the use of calculations and algorithms in the determination of pump performance to the calculation-based methods proposed in this NOPR.

    (63) DOE requests comment on its proposal to determine BEP for pumps rated with a testing-based method by using the ratio of input power to the driver or continuous control, if any, over pump hydraulic output. DOE also seeks input on the degree to which this method may yield significantly different BEP points from the case where BEP is determined based on pump efficiency.

    (64) DOE requests comment on the proposed testing-based method for pumps sold with motors and continuous or non-continuous controls.

    (65) DOE requests comment on the proposed testing-based method for determining the input power to the pump for pumps sold with motors and non-continuous controls.

    (66) DOE requests comment on any other type of non-continuous control that may be sold with a pump and for which the proposed test procedure would not apply.

    (67) DOE requests comment on its proposal to establish calculation-based test methods as the required test method for bare pumps and testing-based methods as the required test method for pumps sold with motors that are not regulated by DOE's electric motor energy conservation standards, except for submersible motors, or for pumps sold with any motors and with noncontinuous controls.

    (68) DOE also requests comment on the proposal to allow either testing-based methods or calculation-based methods to be used to rate pumps sold with continuous control-equipped motors that are either (1) regulated by DOE's electric motor standards or (2) submersible motors.

    (69) DOE requests comment on the level of burden to include with any certification requirements the reporting of the test method used by a manufacturer to certify a given pump basic model as compliant with any energy conservation standards DOE may set.

    (70) DOE requests comment on the proposed sampling plan for certification of commercial and industrial pump models.

    (71) DOE requests comment regarding the size of pump manufacturing entities and the number of manufacturing businesses represented by this market.

    (72) DOE requests comment on its assumption that, for most pump models, only physical testing of the underlying bare pump model is required, and subsequent ratings for that bare pump sold with a motor or motor and continuous control can be based on calculations only.

    (73) DOE requests information on the percentage of pump models for which the rating of the bare pump, pump sold with a motor, and pump sold with a motor and controls cannot be based on the same fundamental physical test of the bare pump. For example, DOE is interested in the number of pump models sold with motors that are not covered by DOE's energy conservation standards for electric motors or the number of pump models sold with controls that would not meet DOE's definition of continuous control.

    (74) DOE requests comment on the testing currently conducted by pump manufacturers and the magnitude of incremental changes necessary to transform current test facilities to conduct the DOE test procedure as described in this NOPR.

    (75) DOE requests comment on its assumption that using a non-calibrated test motor and VFD would be the most common and least costly approach for testing bare pumps in accordance with the proposed DOE test procedure.

    (76) DOE requests comment on the estimates of materials and costs to build a pump testing facility as presented.

    (77) DOE requests comment on the test facility description and measurement equipment assumed in DOE's estimate of burden.

    (78) DOE requests comment and information regarding the burden associated with achieving the power quality requirements proposed in the NOPR.

    (79) DOE requests comment on the number of pump models per manufacturer that would be required to use the wire-to-water test method to certify pump performance.

    (80) DOE requests comment on the estimation of the portion of pumps that would need to be newly certified or recertified annually.

    (81) DOE requests comment on the use of annual sales as the financial indicator for this analysis and whether another financial indicator would be more representative to assess the burden upon the pump manufacturing industry.

    (82) DOE requests comment on its conclusion that the proposed rule may have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. DOE is particularly interested in feedback on the assumptions and estimates made in the analysis of burden associated with implementing the proposed DOE test procedure.

    (83) DOE requests comment on the burden estimate to comply with the proposed recordkeeping requirements.

    [FR Doc. C1-2015-06945 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Parts 361, 363, and 397 [Docket ID ED-2015-OSERS-0001] State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program; State Supported Employment Services Program; Limitations on Use of Subminimum Wage AGENCY:

    Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary announces plans to hold two public meetings to seek comments about the proposed regulatory changes contained in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that was published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2015, which would implement statutory changes to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the State Supported Employment Services programs, as well as provisions governing Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage that fall under the Secretary's purview. The statutory changes made by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), form the basis for this NPRM. In addition, the Secretary proposes to update, clarify, and improve the current regulations.

    DATES:

    The meetings will take place on April 30, 2015, and May 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    We will hold two public meetings about the NPRM:

    1. April 30, 2015, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT, Washington-Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), U.S. Department of Education Building, 400 Maryland Ave. SW., Barnard Auditorium, Washington, DC 20202.

    2. May 20, 2015, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. PDT, Sacramento—California Department of Rehabilitation, 721 Capitol Mall, Room 242, Sacramento, CA 95814.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Janet LaBreck, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 5086, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-7488 or by email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (Pub. L. 113-128), signed into law on July 22, 2014, made significant changes to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act). As a result, in the separate NPRM (80 FR 21059, April 16, 2015), the Secretary proposes to amend parts 361 and 363 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These parts, respectively, implement the:

    • State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program; and

    • State Supported Employment Services program.

    In addition, WIOA added section 511 to title V of the Act. Section 511 limits the payment of subminimum wages to individuals with disabilities by employers holding special wage certificates under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although the Department of Labor administers the FLSA, some requirements of section 511 fall under the purview of the Department of Education. Therefore, the Secretary proposes to add a new part 397 to title 34 of the CFR to implement those particular provisions.

    The proposed changes are further described under the Summary of Proposed Changes and Significant Proposed Regulations sections of the separate NPRM related to 34 CFR parts 361, 363, and 397.

    Announcement of Public Meetings: The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services will hold two public meetings during April and May of 2015. The meetings will provide the public with the opportunity to present public comments on only the separate NPRM amending 34 CFR parts 361, 363, and 397, which is the NPRM associated with Docket ID ED-2015-OSERS-0001. It is likely that each participant will be limited to five minutes. Speakers may also submit written comments at the public meetings. In addition, the Department will accept written comments through www.regulations.gov, as explained in the separate NPRM. This notice provides specific information about dates, locations, and times of these meetings in the ADDRESSES section.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities at the Public Meetings: The meeting sites are accessible to individuals with disabilities, and sign language interpreters will be available. If you will need an accommodation or auxiliary aid other than a sign language interpreter in order to participate in the meeting (e.g., other interpreting service such as oral, cued speech, or tactile interpreter; assistive listening device; or materials in accessible format), please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting date. Although we will attempt to meet a request we receive after this date, we may not be able to make available the requested accommodation or auxiliary aid because of insufficient time to arrange it.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature of this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: April 13, 2015. Sue Swenson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09318 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 501 Revisions to the Requirements for Authority To Manufacture and Distribute Postage Evidencing Systems AGENCY:

    Postal Service.TM

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Postal Service is proposing to revise the rules concerning authorization to manufacture and distribute postage evidencing systems to reflect new revenue assurance practices.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Payment Technology, U.S. Postal Service®, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 3500, Washington, DC 20260. You may inspect and photocopy all written comments at the Payment Technology office by appointment only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 1-202-268-7613 in advance. Email and faxed comments are not accepted.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marlo Kay Ivey, Business Systems Analyst, Payment Technology, U.S. Postal Service, (202) 268-7613.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    These proposed changes to the CFR support the ongoing effort of the Postal Service (USPS) to collect the appropriate revenue on mail pieces in a more automated fashion. Presently the system relies on a manual process to weigh and rate pieces and collect at the point of induction or at the point of delivery. The USPS is upgrading mail processing equipment to validate postage paid on individual pieces and working with the PC Postage Providers to make corrections to the postage paid collecting additional revenue when appropriate with an electronic process. The PC Postage Providers will have piece level information and interface with the customers to make the needed postage corrections. Customers will have the opportunity to appeal the process in an electronic format. The USPS will be the final decision maker in all disputes.

    List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 501

    Administrative practice and procedure.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated, 39 CFR part 501 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 501—AUTHORIZATION TO MANUFACTURE AND DISTRIBUTE POSTAGE EVIDENCING SYSTEMS 1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 501 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552(a); 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 410, 2601, 2605, Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (Pub. L. 95-452, as amended); 5 U.S.C. App. 3.

    2. In § 501.1, revise paragraph (g) to read as follows:
    § 501.1 Definitions.

    (g) A customer is a person or entity authorized by the Postal Service to use a Postage Evidencing System as an end user in accordance with Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 604 Postage Payment Methods and Refunds, including 604.4.0 Postage Meters and PC Postage Products (Postage Evidencing Systems).

    3. In § 501.2, revise paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 501.2 Postage Evidencing System Provider authorization.

    (d) Approval shall be based upon satisfactory evidence of the applicant's integrity and financial responsibility, commitment to comply with the Postal Service's revenue assurance practices as outlined in section 501.16, and a determination that disclosure to the applicant of Postal Service customer, financial, or other data of a commercial nature necessary to perform the function for which approval is sought would be appropriate and consistent with good business practices within the meaning of 39 U.S.C. 410(c)(2). The Postal Service may condition its approval upon the applicant's agreement to undertakings that would give the Postal Service appropriate assurance of the applicant's ability to meet its obligations under this section, including but not limited to the method and manner of performing certain financial, security, and servicing functions, and the need to maintain sufficient financial reserves to guarantee uninterrupted performance of not less than 3 months of operation.

    4. In § 501.16, add paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 501.16 PC postage payment methodology.

    (i) Revenue Assurance. To operate PC Postage systems, the provider must support business practices to assure Postal Service revenue and accurate payment from customers. Specifically, the provider is required to notify the customer and adjust the balance in the postage evidencing system or otherwise facilitate postage corrections to address any postage discrepancies as directed by the Postal Service, subject to the applicable notification periods and dispute mechanisms available to customers for these corrections. The Postal Service will supply the provider with the necessary detail to justify the correction and amount of the postage correction to be used in the adjustment process. The provider must supply customers with visibility into the identified postage correction, facilitate a payment adjustment from the customer in the amount equivalent to the identified postage discrepancies to the extent possible, and enable customers to submit electronic disputes of such postage discrepancies to the Postal Service. Further if the Customer does not have funds sufficient to cover the amount of the discrepancies or the postage discrepancies have not been resolved, the provider may be required to temporarily suspend or permanently shut down the customer's ability to print PC Postage as described in the Domestic Mail Manual section 604.4.

    5. In § 501.18, revise paragraph (b)(2) and add paragraph (c)(6) to read as follows:
    § 501.18 Customer information and authorization.

    (b)

    (2) Within five years preceding submission of the information, the customer violated any standard for the care or use of the Postage Evidencing System, including any unresolved identified postage discrepancies that resulted in revocation of that customer's authorization.

    (c)

    (6) The customer has any unresolved postage discrepancies.

    Stanley F. Mires, Attorney, Federal Requirements.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09424 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R05-OAR-2013-0436; EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0663; FRL-9926-26-Region-5] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Illinois; Midwest Generation Variances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve into the Illinois regional haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) variances affecting the following Midwest Generation, LLC facilities: Crawford Generating Station (Cook County), Joliet Generating Station (Will County), Powerton Generating Station (Tazewell County), Waukegan Generating Station (Lake County), and Will County Generating Station (Will County). The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) submitted these variances to EPA for approval on May 16, 2013, and August 18, 2014.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Nos. EPA-R05-OAR-2013-0436 and EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0663, by one of the following methods:

    1. www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (312) 408-2279.

    4. Mail: Doug Aburano, Chief, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

    5. Hand Delivery: Doug Aburano, Chief, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The Regional Office official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID Nos. EPA-R05-OAR-2013-0436 and EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0663. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional instructions on submitting comments, go to Section I of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Kathleen D'Agostino, Environmental Engineer, at (312) 886-1767 before visiting the Region 5 office.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kathleen D'Agostino, Environmental Engineer, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-1767, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. This SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section is arranged as follows:

    I. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA? II. What is the background for this action? III. What is EPA's analysis of the variances for Midwest Generation? IV. What action is EPA taking? V. Incorporation by Reference VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    When submitting comments, remember to:

    1. Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).

    2. Follow directions—EPA may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.

    3. Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes.

    4. Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used.

    5. If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced.

    6. Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives.

    7. Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.

    8. Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified.

    II. What is the background for this action?

    Regional haze is a visibility impairment that is caused by the cumulative emissions of fine particles (PM2.5) (e.g., sulfates, nitrates, organic carbon, elemental carbon and dust) and their precursors (sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), and in some cases ammonia and volatile organic compounds) from numerous sources over a wide geographic area. Fine particulate precursors react in the atmosphere to form PM2.5. Aerosol PM2.5 reduces the clarity and distance one can see by scattering and absorbing light.

    The visibility protection program under sections 169A, 169B, and 110(a)(2)(J) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) is designed to protect visibility in national parks and wilderness areas (Class I areas). On December 2, 1980, EPA promulgated regulations, known as “reasonably attributable visibility impairment (RAVI),” to address visibility impairment in Class I areas that is reasonably attributable to a single source or small group of sources. On July 1, 1999, EPA promulgated the Regional Haze Rule which revised existing visibility regulations to incorporate provisions addressing regional haze impairment. EPA's Regional Haze Rule, as codified in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations part 51.308 (40 CFR 51.308), requires states to submit regional haze SIPs. Among other things, the regional haze SIPs must include provisions requiring certain sources to install and operate best available retrofit technology (BART).

    At 40 CFR 51.308(e)(2), the Regional Haze Rule allows states to meet BART requirements by mandating alternative measures in lieu of mandating source-specific BART, so long as the alternative measures provide better visibility protection. Given the regional nature of visibility impairment, an alternative that results in lower emissions of SO2 and NOX will generally provide better visibility protection. Thus, in the absence of a difference in the spatial distribution of emissions, a modeling analysis is generally not necessary to be able to conclude that an alternative strategy with lower SO2 and NOX emissions provides better visibility protection.

    On June 24, 2011, Illinois submitted a plan to address the requirements of the Regional Haze Rule, as codified at 40 CFR 51.308. EPA approved Illinois' regional haze SIP on July 6, 2012 (77 FR 39943). In its approval, EPA determined that the emission reductions from sources included in the Illinois plan are significantly greater than even conservative definitions of BART applied to BART subject units (77 FR 39945). EPA also addressed whether the Illinois plan, achieving greater emission reductions overall than the application of BART on BART-subject units, can also be expected to achieve greater visibility protection than application of BART on BART-subject units. Given that, in general, the Illinois power plants are substantial distances from any Class I area, and given that the averaging in Illinois' plan is only authorized within the somewhat limited region within which each utility's plants are located, EPA determined that a reallocation of emission reductions from one plant to another is unlikely to change the impact of those emission reductions significantly. Consequently, EPA concluded that the significantly greater emission reductions that Illinois required in its regional haze SIP will yield greater progress toward visibility protection as compared to the benefits of a conservative estimate of BART.

    Among the rules approved in this action to meet BART requirements are Illinois Administrative Code rules: 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225.292: Applicability of the Combined Pollutant Standard; 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225.295 Combined Pollutant Standard: Emissions Standards for NOX and SO2; 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225.296 Combined Pollutant Standard: Control Technology Requirements for NOX, SO2, and PM emissions (except for paragraph 225.296(d)); and 35 Ill. Adm. Code 225 Appendix A.

    Appendix A identifies the Midwest Generation Electric Generating Units (EGUs) specified for purposes of the combined pollutant standard (CPS). Section 225.292 provides that the owner or operator of specified EGUs in the CPS located at Fisk, Crawford, Joliet, Powerton, Waukegan, and Will County power plants may elect for all of those EGUs as a group to demonstrate compliance pursuant to the CPS. Section 225.295(b) establishes CPS group average annual SO2 emissions rates beginning in calendar year 2013 and continuing in each calendar year thereafter. Section 225.296(a)(1) requires Midwest Generation to install and have operational a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system on Unit 7 of the Waukegan Generation Station or shut down the unit on or before December 31, 2013. Section 225.296(c)(1) requires that Midwest Generation replace the hot-side electrostatic precipitator (ESP) on Unit 7 at the Waukegan Generation Station with a cold-side ESP, install an appropriately designed fabric filter, or permanently shut down the unit on or before December 31, 2013. Section 225.296(a)(2) requires Midwest Generation to install and have operational a FGD system on Unit 8 of the Waukegan Generation Station or shut down the unit by December 31, 2014.

    The Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB) granted Midwest Generation variances to Section 225.296(a)(1) and 225.296(c)(1) on August 23, 2012 and to Section 225.295(b) and Section 225.296(a)(2) on April 4, 2013. IEPA submitted these variances as revisions to the Illinois regional haze SIP on May 16, 2013, and August 18, 2014.

    III. What is EPA's analysis of the variances for Midwest Generation?

    The variances granted by the IPCB and submitted by IEPA for approval change the requirements for Midwest Generation under the regional haze SIP as follows:

    1. The IPCB granted Midwest Generation a variance from the average annual SO2 emission rates of 0.28 pounds per million Btu (lb/mmBtu) in 2015 and 0.195 lb/mmBtu in 2016 in Section 225.295(b) subject to numerous conditions including, but not limited to, the following condition: Midwest Generation CPS group must comply with a system-wide average annual SO2 emission rate of 0.38 lb/mmBtu from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. The CPS group continues to be subject to the 2017, 2018, and 2019 system-wide average annual SO2 emission rates of 0.15 lb/mmBtu, 0.13 lb/mmBtu, and 0.11 lb/mmBtu, respectively, set forth in Section 225.295(b).

    2. The IPCB granted Midwest Generation a variance from the December 31, 2013, deadline for installation and operation of control equipment on Unit 7 of the Waukegan Generation Station as required by Section 225.296(a)(1) and (c)(1) subject to, among other things, the following condition: Midwest Generation must either install the required pollution controls or permanently shut down Unit 7 at the Waukegan Generating Station on or before December 31, 2014.

    3. The IPCB granted Midwest Generation a variance from the December 31, 2014 deadline for installation and operation of FGD equipment on Unit 8 at the Waukegan Generating Station as required by Section 225.296(a)(2) subject to, among other things, the following condition: Midwest Generation must install the required pollution controls or permanently shut down Unit 8 at the Waukegan Generating Station by May 31, 2015. Midwest Generation is not allowed to operate Waukegan Unit 8 from January 1, 2015, until completion of the installation of FGD equipment.

    4. In addition to the conditions described above, the variances granted by the IPCB are subject to a number of other conditions including, but not limited to, the following conditions:

    a. Midwest Generation must shut down the coal-fired unit at Fisk Generation Station on or before December 31, 2012.

    b. Midwest Generation must cease operation of the coal-fired units at the Crawford Generating Station by April 4, 2013, and shut down the units on or before December 31, 2014.

    c. Midwest Generation must install and have operational FGD equipment and related ESP upgrades at Powerton Unit 6 by December 31, 2014.

    d. Midwest Generation must limit annual system-wide mass emissions of SO2 to no more than 57,000 tons in 2013, 54,000 tons in 2014, 39,000 tons in 2015, and 37,000 tons in 2016.

    Midwest Generation ceased operation of the coal-fired boiler at Fisk on August 30, 2012, four months earlier than was required by the variance. Midwest Generation ceased operation at Crawford on August 28, 2012, seven months earlier than was required by the variance.

    In evaluating the variances submitted by Illinois, EPA assessed the effect the variances would have on the emissions reductions expected under the CPS as currently approved into the regional haze SIP. Under the conditions of the currently approved regional haze SIP, the Midwest Generation CPS group would be expected to emit 190,181 tons of SO2 for the 2013-2016 time period. Under the variances, the Midwest Generation CPU group would be expected to emit 185,599 tons of SO2 over that same time period; 4,582 tons fewer than would be expected under the current SIP. Further, because Midwest Generation ceased operation at the Fisk and Crawford Generating stations in August of 2012, there were 1,983 tons of SO2 emissions reductions (734 tons at Fisk and 1,249 tons at Crawford) realized in 2012 that were not required by the SIP and an additional 8,563 tons of SO2 emissions reductions from Crawford beyond what was required in the SIP for the 2017-2018 time period. Over the entire 2012-2018 time period it is estimated that the variances result in 15,129 tons fewer SO2 emissions than were expected under the regional haze SIP.

    In addition, under the conditions of the currently approved regional haze SIP, Unit 7 of the Waukegan Generation Station would be required to replace its hot-side ESP with a cold-side ESP, install an appropriately designed fabric filter, or permanently shut down by December 31, 2013. Because the variances allow this unit an additional year to install the required equipment, Unit 7 is projected to emit 157 tons of PM in 2014 rather than the 140 tons that was projected with the installation of a cold-side ESP. However, the variances also require the shutdown of Fisk and Crawford, which results in an estimated 1,579 ton reduction in PM emissions in 2014 from what was allowed at these sources under the CPS. Consequently, when taking into account the delay in the installation of a cold-side ESP at Waukegan Unit 7 and the shutdown of Fisk and Crawford, 1,562 fewer tons of PM emissions are expected in 2012 under the variances than were projected under the SIP. Over the entire 2012-2108 time period it is estimated that the variances result in 7,131 fewer tons of PM emissions than were expected under the regional haze SIP.

    In addition, while the variances only modify the SO2 and PM requirements of the regional haze SIP, reductions in emissions of other pollutants can also be attributed to the variances. The April 4, 2013, IPCB order approving the variance notes that over the 2013-2016 time period, the variance will also result in 11,553 tons fewer of NOX, 183 pounds fewer of mercury and 22,266 tons fewer of greenhouse gasses.

    Because the deadline for implementation of BART level controls is 2017 (within 5 years of approval of Illinois' SIP), EPA also evaluated 2017 emissions under the variance as compared to the 2017 emissions expected under the Illinois regional haze SIP. The variance does not revise the requirements of the Illinois regional haze SIP in 2017 and beyond, except that the current regional haze SIP would have allowed Crawford to operate in 2017 and 2018, thus requiring additional reductions under the variance. Therefore, the determination made in EPA's approval of the Illinois regional haze SIP, that emission reductions from sources included in the Illinois plan are significantly greater than even very conservative definitions of BART applied to BART subject units (77 FR 39945), continues to apply. In addition, for the reasons set forth in EPA's approval of the Illinois regional haze SIP (77 FR 39946) and summarized above, EPA continues to conclude that the significantly greater emission reductions required under the variance will yield greater progress toward visibility protection as compared to the benefits of a conservative estimate of BART.

    In evaluating the approvability of the variances, EPA must also consider whether the SIP revision meets the requirements of section 110(l) of the CAA, 42 U.S.C. 7410(l). To be approved, a SIP revision must not interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment, reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the CAA. Currently, the SIP establishes CPS group average annual SO2 emissions rates for the Midwest Generation CPS group, beginning in 2013. The SIP allows flexibility in achieving these overall emissions rates, not specifying limits for individual sources. The variances will not result in any increase in SO2 emissions, but rather result in less SO2 emissions over the 2012-2018 time period, as well as greater cumulative SO2 emissions reductions every year throughout this time period.

    The SIP does contain control technology requirements at Waukegan Unit 7, specifically the installation of FGD and a cold-side ESP which would be delayed a year under the variances, from December 31, 2013, to December 31, 2014. The Waukegan Generating Station is located in Lake County, which is designated as attainment for both SO2 and PM2.5, and the 12-month delay in the installation of this control equipment would not result in an increase in emissions at the source over current emissions levels. Further, overall SO2 and PM emissions in 2014 are lower under the variances than under the current SIP. In addition, the variances require the installation of FGD on Unit 6 at the Powerton Generation Station four years earlier than is currently required in the SIP. The Powerton Generation Station is located in the portion of Tazewell County that is designated nonattainment as part of the Pekin SO2 nonattainment area. This expedited installation of control equipment will aid in attainment planning for this nonattainment area.

    The variances will not result in an increase in SO2 or PM emissions, but rather will result in lower SO2 and PM emissions overall and in 2017, the year that BART is required to be implemented in Illinois. In addition, reductions in NOX, mercury, and greenhouse gasses can also be attributed to the variances. Therefore, for all of the reasons discussed above, the variances will not interfere with attainment, reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the CAA.

    IV. What action is EPA taking?

    EPA is proposing to approve the Midwest Generation variances submitted by IEPA on May 16, 2013, and August 18, 2014, as revisions to the Illinois regional haze SIP.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference Illinois Pollution Control Board Order PCB 12-121, effective August 23, 2012 and Illinois Pollution Control Board Order PCB 13-24, effective April 4, 2013. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides.

    Dated: April 2, 2015. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09365 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0175; FRL-9926-70-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Pennsylvania; Determination of Attainment of the 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Standard for the Liberty-Clairton Nonattainment Area AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to make a determination of attainment regarding the Liberty-Clairton, Pennsylvania 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) nonattainment area (hereafter “Liberty-Clairton Area” or “the Area”). EPA is proposing to determine that the Liberty-Clairton Area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), based upon quality-assured, quality-controlled and certified ambient air monitoring data for the calendar years 2012-2014. If EPA finalizes this “clean data determination,” the requirement for the Liberty-Clairton Area to submit an attainment demonstration, reasonably available control measures (RACM), reasonable further progress (RFP), and contingency measures related to attainment of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS would be suspended for so long as the Area continues to attain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. If finalized, this determination will not constitute a redesignation to attainment. This proposed action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0175 by one of the following methods:

    A. www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    B. Email: [email protected].

    C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0175, Marilyn Powers, Acting Associate Director, Office of Air Program Planning, Mailcode 3AP30, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

    D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2015-0175. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Emlyn Vélez-Rosa, (215) 814-2038, or by email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Summary of Proposed Actions

    EPA is proposing to make a determination that the Liberty-Clairton Area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. This proposed “clean data determination” is based upon quality assured and certified ambient air monitoring data that show the area has monitored attainment of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. If EPA finalizes this determination, the requirement for the Liberty-Clairton Area to submit an attainment demonstration, RACM, RFP, and contingency measures related to attainment of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS shall be suspended for so long as the area continues to attain that NAAQS. However, if finalized, this determination of attainment will not suspend Pennsylvania's other required statutory obligations including requirements for an emissions inventory and preconstruction permitting program for the Liberty-Clairton Area for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. This final determination will not constitute a redesignation to attainment. The Liberty-Clairton Area will remain designated nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS until such time as EPA determines that the Liberty-Clairton Area meets the CAA requirements for redesignation to attainment, including an approved maintenance plan under section 175A.

    II. Background A. PM2.5 NAAQS History

    On July 16, 1997, EPA established an annual PM2.5 NAAQS at 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) (hereafter referred to as “the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS”), based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations (62 FR 38652, July 18, 1997). At that time, EPA also established a 24-hour standard of 65 μg/m3 (hereafter referred to as “the 1997 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS”). See 40 CFR 50.7. The 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS were based on significant evidence and numerous health studies demonstrating that serious health effects are associated with exposures to particulate matter.

    The process for designating areas following promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS is contained in section 107(d)(1) of the CAA. On January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944), EPA published its nonattainment area designations for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS based upon air quality monitoring data for calendar years 2001-2003. These designations, effective on April 5, 2005, included the Liberty-Clairton Area as a nonattainment area for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The Liberty-Clairton Area is comprised of the following portion of Allegheny County: the boroughs of Lincoln, Glassport, Liberty, and Port Vue and the City of Clairton. See 40 CFR 81.339 (Pennsylvania). The Liberty-Clairton Area is surrounded by, but separate and distinct from, the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley PM2.5 nonattainment area.1

    1 EPA previously made a determination of attainment for the Liberty-Clairton Area for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. 78 FR 63881 (October 25, 2013).

    On September 21, 2006, EPA retained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS at 15.0 μg/m3 (hereby “the 2006 annual PM2.5 NAAQS”) based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations, and promulgated a new 24-hour standard of 35 μg/m3 based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations (71 FR 61144, October 17, 2006). The revised 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard (hereafter “the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS”) became effective on December 18, 2006. See 40 CFR 50.13. The more stringent 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is based on significant evidence and numerous health studies demonstrating that serious health effects are associated with short-term exposures to PM2.5 at this level.

    Many petitioners challenged aspects of EPA's 2006 revisions to the PM2.5 NAAQS. See American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. EPA, 559 F.3d 512 (D.C. Cir. 2009). As a result of this challenge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) remanded the 2006 annual PM2.5 NAAQS to EPA for further proceedings. The 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS was not affected by the remand and remains in effect.

    On November 13, 2009, EPA published designations for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS (74 FR 58688), which became effective on December 14, 2009. In that action, EPA designated the Liberty-Clairton Area as nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, retaining the same geographical boundaries as for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS.

    A nonattainment designation under the CAA triggers additional planning requirements for states to show attainment of the NAAQS in the nonattainment areas by a statutory attainment date, as specified in the CAA. Since 2005, EPA had implemented the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS based on the general implementation provisions of subpart 1 of Part D of Title I of the CAA (subpart 1). On January 4, 2013, in Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA (NRDC v. EPA), the D.C. Circuit determined that EPA should be implementing its PM2.5 pollution standard under additional CAA requirements than those EPA had been following in subpart 1 and remanded to EPA the “Final Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule” (1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule) (72 FR 20586, April 25, 2007) and the “Implementation of the New Source Review (NSR) Program for Particulate Matter Less than 2.5 Micrometers (PM2.5)” final rule (2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule).2 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The D.C. Circuit found that the EPA erred in implementing the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS solely pursuant to subpart 1, without consideration of the particulate matter specific provisions of subpart 4 of Part D of Title I of the CAA (subpart 4).

    2 EPA's 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule relates to requirements for the NSR permitting program required by parts C and D of title I of the CAA. The details and provisions of the 2008 NSR PM2.5 Rule are not relevant to this proposed rulemaking.

    Although the D.C. Circuit declined to establish a deadline for EPA's response, EPA intends to respond promptly to the court's remand and to promulgate new generally applicable implementation regulations for the PM2.5 NAAQS in accordance with the requirements of subparts 1 and 4. In the interim, however, states and EPA still need to proceed with implementation of the PM2.5 NAAQS in a timely and effective fashion in order to meet statutory obligations under the CAA and to assure the protection of public health intended by those NAAQS.

    While the regulatory provisions of EPA's 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule do not explicitly apply to the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, EPA's underlying statutory interpretation has been the same for both standards. On March 2, 2012, EPA provided implementation guidance for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS which reaffirmed and continued the framework and policy approaches of the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule.3 Thus, EPA believes that the Clean Data Policy provisions within the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule are also applicable to the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. See 78 FR 49403 (August 14, 2013) (proposed determination that the Pittsburgh Area attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS which discussed the application of the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule's Clean Data Policy provisions to a determination of attainment for the 2006 standard). In addition, although the D.C. Circuit remanded the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule to EPA, the D.C. Circuit's decision in NRDC v. EPA related to EPA's use of subpart 1 for CAA Part D requirements instead of subpart 1 and subpart 4, and the decision did not cast doubt on EPA's interpretation of certain statutory provisions underlying the Clean Data Policy nor cast any doubt on EPA's Clean Data Policy interpretation in the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule. See NRDC v. EPA, 706 F.3d 428.

    3 EPA subsequently withdrew the implementation guidance on June 6, 2013 subsequent to the D.C. Circuit's decision in NRDC v. EPA. EPA's June 6, 2013 withdrawal memorandum is available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/pm/pdfs/implementationguidancewithdrawmemo.pdf.

    The statutory provisions in subpart 4 require EPA, among other things, to classify nonattainment areas for the PM2.5 NAAQS based on the severity of their pollution problem. Under EPA's prior approach to implementing the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 standards according to subpart 1, EPA was not required to, and thus did not, identify any classifications for areas designated nonattainment. In contrast, subpart 4 of the CAA, at section 188, provides that all areas designated nonattainment are initially classified “by operation of law” as “Moderate” nonattainment areas, and they remain classified as Moderate nonattainment areas unless and until EPA later reclassifies them as Serious nonattainment areas or EPA determines that an area has not attained the PM2.5 NAAQS by the area's applicable attainment date. On April 25, 2014, EPA finalized a rule identifying the classification of all PM2.5 areas currently designated nonattainment for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS as “Moderate,” consistent with subpart 4 of the CAA. See 79 FR 31566 (June 2, 2014). Consequently, the Liberty-Clairton Area was classified as Moderate for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    B. Determination of Attainment of the 2006 24-Hour NAAQS

    Under section 188(c)(1) of the CAA, a Moderate nonattainment area shall attain the PM2.5 NAAQS as expeditiously as practicable but no later than the end of the sixth calendar year after the area's designation to nonattainment. Because the designation of nonattainment areas for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS became effective on December 14, 2009, the presumptive sixth year attainment date for Moderate nonattainment areas would be no later than December 2015.

    To determine attainment with a NAAQS, EPA commonly uses three calendar years of complete air quality data available for the nonattainment area. The criteria for determining if an area is attaining the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS are set out in 40 CFR 50.13 and appendix N. In summary, the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is met when the 24-hour design value is less than or equal to 35 μg/m3. Three years of valid annual 98th percentile 24-hour average PM2.5 concentration values are required to produce a valid 24-hour PM2.5 design value. A year meets data completeness requirements when at least 75 percent of the scheduled sampling days for each quarter have valid data.

    C. EPA's Clean Data Policy

    Under EPA's longstanding Clean Data Policy interpretation, a determination that a nonattainment area has attained the NAAQS suspends the state's obligation to submit attainment-related planning requirements of the CAA for so long as the area continues to attain the standard.4 These include requirements to submit an attainment demonstration, RFP, RACM, and contingency measures, because the purpose of these provisions is to help reach attainment, a goal which has already been achieved.

    4 For an EPA memorandum discussing interpretation that three years of data showing attainment of a NAAQS suspends requirements to submit certain attainment plan SIP requirements including those in section 172 of the CAA, see Reasonable Further Progress, Attainment Demonstration, and Related Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas Meeting the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard, EPA Memorandum from John S. Seitz, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning Standards, May 10, 1995 (Seitz Memorandum), located at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/caaa/t1/memoranda/clean15.pdf.

    EPA incorporated its Clean Data Policy interpretation in both its 8-Hour Ozone Implementation Rule in 40 CFR 51.918 and in its 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule in 40 CFR 51.1004(c). See 72 FR 20585, 20665 (April 25, 2007). While the D.C. Circuit in its January 4, 2013 decision remanded the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, the Court did not address the merits of that regulation regarding our Clean Data Policy in 40 CFR 51.1004(c), nor cast any doubt on EPA's existing interpretation of the statutory provisions for the Clean Data Policy. In this section of the proposed rulemaking action, EPA is addressing the effect of a final determination of attainment under the Clean Data Policy for the Liberty-Clairton Area, as a moderate nonattainment area under subpart 4.

    1. Background on Clean Data Policy

    Over the past two decades, EPA has consistently applied its “Clean Data Policy” interpretation to attainment-related provisions of subparts 1, 2 and 4. The Clean Data Policy is the subject of several EPA memoranda such as the Seitz Memorandum and regulations. In addition, numerous individual rulemakings published in the Federal Register have applied the interpretation to a spectrum of NAAQS, including the 1-hour and 1997 ozone, coarse particulate matter (PM10), PM2.5, carbon monoxide (CO) and lead (Pb) standards. The D.C. Circuit has upheld the Clean Data Policy interpretation as embodied in EPA's 1997 8-Hour Ozone Implementation Rule, 40 CFR 51.918. 5 NRDC v. EPA, 571 F. 3d 1245 (D.C. Cir. 2009). Other U.S. Courts of Appeals that have considered and reviewed EPA's Clean Data Policy interpretation have upheld it and the rulemakings applying EPA's interpretation. Sierra Club v. EPA, 99 F.3d 1551 (10th Cir. 1996); Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F. 3d 537 (7th Cir. 2004); Our Children's Earth Foundation v. EPA, N. 04-73032 (9th Cir. June 28, 2005) (memorandum opinion); and Latino Issues Forum, v. EPA, Nos. 06-75831 and 08-71238 (9th Cir.), Memorandum Opinion, March 2, 2009.

    5 “EPA's Final Rule to implement the 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard-Phase 2 (Phase 2 Final Rule).” See 70 FR 71612, 71645-46 (November 29, 2005).

    In light of the January 4, 2013 D.C. Circuit decision in NRDC v. EPA, EPA's Clean Data Policy interpretation under subpart 4 is set forth here, for the purpose of identifying the effects of a determination of attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the Liberty-Clairton Area. EPA has previously articulated its Clean Data Policy interpretation under subpart 4 in implementing the PM10 standard. See, e.g., 75 FR 27944 (May 19, 2010) (determination of attainment of the PM10 standard in Coso Junction, California); 71 FR 6352 (February 8, 2006) (Ajo, Arizona Area); 71 FR 13021 (March 14, 2006) (Yuma, Arizona Area); 71 FR 40023 (July 14, 2006) (Weirton, West Virginia Area); 71 FR 44920 (August 8, 2006) (Rillito, Arizona Area); 71 FR 63642 (October 30, 2006) (San Joaquin Valley, California Area); 72 FR 14422 (March 28, 2007) (Miami, Arizona Area).

    EPA has recently articulated as well its Clean Data Policy interpretation under subpart 4 in implementing the PM2.5 standard, including specifically the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. See 79 FR 25014 (May 2, 2014) (determination of attainment of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley Area, Pennsylvania) and 78 FR 63881 (October 25, 2013) (determination of attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 standard in Liberty-Clairton Area, Pennsylvania). Thus, EPA has established that, under subpart 4, an attainment determination suspends the obligations to submit an attainment demonstration, RACM, RFP contingency measures, and other measures related to attainment.

    2. Application of the Clean Data Policy to Attainment-Related Provisions of Subpart 4

    EPA initially set forth at length its rationale for applying the Clean Data Policy to PM10 under subpart 4 in EPA's proposed and final rulemaking actions determining that the San Joaquin Valley nonattainment area attained the PM10 standard. The Ninth Circuit upheld EPA's final rulemaking, and specifically EPA's Clean Data Policy, in the context of subpart 4. Latino Issues Forum v. EPA, supra. Nos. 06-75831 and 08-71238 (9th Cir.), Memorandum Opinion, March 2, 2009. In rejecting the petitioner's challenge to the Clean Data Policy under subpart 4 for PM10, the Ninth Circuit stated, “As the EPA explained, if an area is in compliance with PM10 standards, then further progress for the purpose of ensuring attainment is not necessary.”

    The general requirements of subpart 1 apply in conjunction with the more specific requirements of subpart 4, to the extent they are not superseded or subsumed by the subpart 4 requirements. Subpart 1 contains general air quality planning requirements for areas designated as nonattainment. See section 172(c). Subpart 4, itself, contains specific planning and scheduling requirements for PM10 nonattainment areas, and under the Court's January 4, 2013 decision in NRDC v. EPA, these same statutory requirements also apply for PM2.5 nonattainment areas. EPA has longstanding general guidance that interprets the 1990 amendments to the CAA, making recommendations to states for meeting the statutory requirements for SIPs for nonattainment areas. See “State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” (57 FR 13498, April 16, 1992) (General Preamble). In the General Preamble, EPA discussed the relationship of subpart 1 and subpart 4 SIP requirements, and pointed out that subpart 1 requirements were to an extent “subsumed by, or integrally related to, the more specific PM10 requirements.” Id. These subpart 1 requirements include, among other things, provisions for attainment demonstrations, RACM, RFP, emissions inventories, and contingency measures.

    EPA has long interpreted the provisions of subpart 1 (sections 171 and 172) as not requiring the submission of RFP for an area already attaining the ozone NAAQS.6 For an area that is attaining, showing that the state will make RFP towards attainment “will, therefore, have no meaning at that point.” Id. See also 71 FR 40952 and 71 FR 63642 (proposed and final determination of attainment for San Joaquin Valley); 75 FR 13710 and 75 FR 27944 (proposed and final determination of attainment for Coso Junction).

    6See the Seitz Memorandum.

    Section 189(c)(1) of subpart 4 states that:

    Plan revisions demonstrating attainment submitted to the Administrator for approval under this subpart shall contain quantitative milestones which are to be achieved every 3 years until the area is redesignated attainment and which demonstrate reasonable further progress, as defined in section [section 171(1)] of this title, toward attainment by the applicable date.

    With respect to RFP, section 171(1) states that, for purposes of part D, RFP “means such annual incremental reductions in emissions of the relevant air pollutant as are required by this part or may reasonably be required by the Administrator for the purpose of ensuring attainment of the applicable NAAQS by the applicable date.” Thus, whether dealing with the general RFP requirement of section 172(c)(2), the ozone-specific RFP requirements of sections 182(b) and (c), or the specific RFP requirements for PM10 areas of part D, subpart 4, section 189(c)(1), the stated purpose of RFP is to ensure attainment by the applicable attainment date.

    Although section 189(c) states that revisions shall contain milestones which are to be achieved until the area is redesignated to attainment, such milestones are designed to show reasonable further progress “toward attainment by the applicable attainment date,” as defined by section 171. Thus, it is clear that once the area has attained the standard, no further milestones are necessary or meaningful. This interpretation is supported by language in section 189(c)(3), which mandates that a state that fails to achieve a milestone must submit a plan that assures that the state will achieve the next milestone or attain the NAAQS if there is no next milestone. Section 189(c)(3) assumes that the requirement to submit and achieve milestones does not continue after attainment of the NAAQS.

    In the General Preamble, EPA noted with respect to section 189(c) that the purpose of the milestone requirement “is `to provide for emission reductions adequate to achieve the standards by the applicable attainment date' (H.R. Rep.No. 490 101st Cong., 2d Sess. 267 (1990)).” (57 FR 13539, April 16, 1992). If an area has in fact attained the standard, the stated purpose of the RFP requirement will have already been fulfilled.7

    7 Thus, EPA believes that it is a distinction without a difference that section 189(c)(1) speaks of the RFP requirement as one to be achieved until an area is “redesignated attainment,” as opposed to section 172(c)(2), which is silent on the period to which the requirement pertains, or the ozone nonattainment area RFP requirements in sections 182(b)(1) or 182(c)(2), which refer to the RFP requirements as applying until the “attainment date,” since section 189(c)(1) defines RFP by reference to section 171(1) of the CAA. Reference to section 171(1) clarifies that, as with the general RFP requirements in section 172(c)(2) and the ozone-specific requirements of section 182(b)(1) and 182(c)(2), the PM-specific requirements may only be required “for the purpose of ensuring attainment of the applicable national ambient air quality standard by the applicable date.” 42 U.S.C. 7501(1). As discussed in the text of this rulemaking, EPA interprets the RFP requirements, in light of the definition of RFP in section 171(1), and incorporated in section 189(c)(1), to be a requirement that no longer applies once the standard has been attained.

    Similarly, the requirements of section 189(c)(2) with respect to milestones no longer apply so long as an area has attained the standard. Section 189(c)(2) provides in relevant part that:

    Not later than 90 days after the date on which a milestone applicable to the area occurs, each State in which all or part of such area is located shall submit to the Administrator a demonstration . . . that the milestone has been met.

    Where the area has attained the standard and there are no further milestones, there is no further requirement to make a submission showing that such milestones have been met. This is consistent with the position that EPA took with respect to the general RFP requirement of section 172(c)(2) in the April 16, 1992 General Preamble and also in the Seitz Memorandum with respect to the requirements of section 182(b) and (c). In the Seitz Memorandum, EPA also noted that section 182(g), the milestone requirement of subpart 2, which is analogous to provisions in section 189(c), is suspended upon a determination that an area has attained. The Seitz Memorandum, in citing additional provisions related to attainment demonstration and RFP requirements, stated:

    Inasmuch as each of these requirements is linked with the attainment demonstration or RFP requirements of section 182(b)(1) or 182(c)(2), if an area is not subject to the requirement to submit the underlying attainment demonstration or RFP plan, it need not submit the related SIP submission either.

    See Seitz Memorandum at 5.

    With respect to the attainment demonstration requirements of section 172(c) and section 189(a)(1)(B) in subpart 4, an analogous rationale leads to the same result. Section 189(a)(1)(B) requires that the plan provide for “a demonstration (including air quality modeling) that the [SIP] will provide for attainment by the applicable attainment date . . . ” As with the RFP requirements, if an area is already monitoring attainment of the standard, EPA believes there is no need for an area to make a further submission containing additional measures to achieve attainment. This is also consistent with the interpretation of the section 172(c) requirements provided by EPA in the General Preamble, and the section 182(b) and (c) requirements set forth in the Seitz Memorandum. As EPA stated in the General Preamble, no other measures to provide for attainment would be needed by areas seeking redesignation to attainment since “attainment will have been reached.” 57 FR 13564.

    Other SIP submission requirements are linked with these attainment demonstration and RFP requirements, and similar reasoning applies to them. These requirements include the contingency measure requirements of section 172(c)(9). EPA has interpreted the contingency measure requirements of section 172(c)(9) 8 as no longer applying when an area has attained the standard because those “contingency measures are directed at ensuring RFP and attainment by the applicable date.” See 57 FR 13564 and Seitz Memorandum, pp. 5-6.

    8See section 182(c)(9) for ozone.

    Section 172(c)(9) provides that SIPs in nonattainment areas:

    shall provide for the implementation of specific measures to be undertaken if the area fails to make reasonable further progress, or to attain the [NAAQS] by the attainment date applicable under this part. Such measures shall be included in the plan revision as contingency measures to take effect in any such case without further action by the State or [EPA].

    The contingency measure requirement is inextricably tied to the reasonable further progress and attainment demonstration requirements. Contingency measures are implemented if reasonable further progress targets are not achieved, or if attainment is not realized by the attainment date.

    Where an area has already achieved attainment by the attainment date, it has no need to rely on contingency measures to come into attainment or to make further progress to attainment. As EPA stated in the General Preamble: “The section 172(c)(9) requirements for contingency measures are directed at ensuring RFP and attainment by the applicable date.” See 57 FR 13564. Thus these requirements no longer apply when an area has attained the standard.

    Both sections 172(c)(1) and 189(a)(1)(C) require “provisions to assure that reasonably available control measures” (i.e., RACM) are implemented in a nonattainment area. The General Preamble, (57 FR at 13560, April 16, 1992), states that EPA interprets section 172(c)(1) so that RACM requirements are a “component” of an area's attainment demonstration. Thus, for the same reason the attainment demonstration no longer applies by its own terms, the requirement for RACM no longer applies. EPA has consistently interpreted this provision to require only implementation of potential RACM measures that could contribute to reasonable further progress or to attainment. General Preamble, 57 FR 13498. Thus, where an area is already attaining the standard, no additional RACM measures are required.9 EPA is interpreting section 189(a)(1)(C) consistent with its interpretation of section 172(c)(1).

    9 EPA's interpretation that the statute requires implementation only of RACM measures that would advance attainment was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Sierra Club v. EPA, 314 F.3d 735, 743-745 (5th Cir. 2002) and by the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Sierra Club v. EPA, 294 F.3d 155, 162-163 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

    The suspension of the obligations to submit SIP revisions concerning these RFP, attainment demonstration, RACM, contingency measures and other related requirements exists only for as long as the area continues to monitor attainment of the standard. If EPA determines, after notice-and-comment rulemaking, that the area has monitored a violation of the NAAQS, the basis for the requirements being suspended would no longer exist. In that case, the area would again be subject to a requirement to submit the pertinent SIP revision or revisions and would need to address those requirements. Thus, a final determination that the area need not submit one of the pertinent SIP submittals amounts to no more than a suspension of the requirements for so long as the area continues to attain the standard. Only if and when EPA redesignates the area to attainment would the area be relieved of these submission obligations. Attainment determinations under the Clean Data Policy do not shield an area from obligations unrelated to attainment in the area, such as provisions to address nonattainment area permitting requirements, emission inventory requirements, and pollution transport. See 79 FR 77911 (December 29, 2014) (discussion of remaining attainment plan SIP requirements in CAA section 172(c) in the final determination of attainment rulemaking for the Lyons, Pennsylvania lead nonattainment area).

    For this proposed rulemaking action, EPA has evaluated PM2.5 air quality data to propose to determine that the Liberty-Clairton Area is attaining the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    III. EPA's Evaluation of the Liberty-Clairton PM2.5 Air Quality Data

    The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) submitted quality-assured and certified air quality monitoring data into the EPA Air Quality System (AQS) database for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. There are two PM2.5 monitors in the Liberty-Clairton Area—one in Liberty Borough and one in the City of Clairton. Both monitors had complete data for all quarters in the calendar years 2012 through 2014.

    This proposed determination of attainment for the Liberty-Clairton Area is based on EPA's evaluation of quality-controlled, quality assured, certified PM2.5 air quality data for 2012-2014, as summarized in Table 1.

    Table 1—2012-2014 Liberty-Clairton Area Daily PM2.5 Monitoring Data & Completeness Monitor name AQS site ID Location 98th percentile 2012 2013 2014 2012-2014 Design value
  • (μg/m3)
  • Complete data?
    Liberty 42-003-0064 Liberty Borough 42.5 31.1 32.2 35 Yes. Clairton 42-003-3007 City of Clairton 19.2 17.1 31.2 23 Yes.

    As shown, the design values for both monitors in the Liberty-Clairton Area are 35 μg/m3 or less for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. Thus, in accordance with EPA's requirements in 40 CFR part 50, the monitors in the Liberty-Clairton Area are showing attainment of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, based on the 2012-2014 quality-assured and certified air quality data, the most recent three years of data for the Area.

    Based on our review of the Liberty-Clairton Area's PM2.5 ambient air monitoring data, EPA proposes to determine that the Liberty-Clairton Area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS during the 2012-2014 monitoring period, in accordance with 40 CFR part 50. Additional information on air quality data for the Liberty-Clairton Area can be found in the technical support document (TSD) prepared for this proposed action.

    IV. Proposed Actions

    EPA is proposing to determine, based on the most recent three years of complete quality-assured, and certified data for 2012-2014 meeting the requirements of 40 CFR part 50, appendix N, that the Liberty-Clairton Area is currently attaining the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In accordance with our Clean Data Policy, based upon this proposed determination of attainment, EPA also proposes to determine that the obligation to submit the following attainment-related planning requirements for the Liberty-Clairton Area are not applicable for so long as the Area continues to monitor attainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS: Subpart 4 obligations to provide an attainment demonstration pursuant to section 189(a)(1)(B), the RACM provisions of section 189(a)(1)(C), the RFP provisions of section 189(c), and related attainment demonstration, RACM, RFP, and contingency measure provisions requirements of subpart 1, section 172. If in the future, EPA determines after notice-and-comment rulemaking that the Liberty-Clairton Area again violates the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, the basis for suspending these requirements would no longer exist. This proposed rulemaking action, if finalized, would not constitute a redesignation to attainment under CAA section 107(d)(3). In addition, this determination, if finalized, does not relieve the requirement for Pennsylvania to submit for the Liberty-Clairton Area an emissions inventory as required by CAA section 172(c)(3) or to have a nonattainment area permitting program pursuant to CAA sections 172(c)(5) and 173. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this proposed rule, proposing to determine that the Liberty-Clairton Area has attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the State, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: April 10, 2015. William C. Early, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09416 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0924; FRL-9924-78-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Feather River Air Quality Management District AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve revisions to the Feather River Air Quality Management District (FRAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). These revisions concern volatile organic compound (VOC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from rice straw burning, boilers, steam generators, process heaters, stationary internal combustion engines, surfacing preparation and cleanup solvents, and wood product coating operations. We are proposing to approve local rules to regulate these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).

    DATES:

    Any comments on this proposal must arrive by May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments, identified by docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0924, by one of the following methods:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions.

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Mail or deliver: Andrew Steckel (Air-4), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3901.

    Instructions: All comments 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 Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information that you consider CBI or otherwise protected should be clearly identified as such and should not be submitted through www.regulations.gov or email. www.regulations.gov is an “anonymous access” system, and EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send email directly to EPA, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the public comment. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: Generally, documents in the docket for this action are available electronically at www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California 94105-3901. While all documents in the docket are listed at www.regulations.gov, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material, large maps), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., CBI). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kevin Gong, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3073, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposal addresses the following FRAQMD rules: 10.9, 3.14, 3.20, 3.21 and 3.22. In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, we are approving these local rules in a direct final action without prior proposal because we believe these SIP revisions are not controversial. If we receive adverse comments, however, we will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule and address the comments in subsequent action based on this proposed rule. Please note that if we receive adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, we may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    We do not plan to open a second comment period, so anyone interested in commenting should do so at this time. If we do not receive adverse comments, no further activity is planned. For further information, please see the direct final action.

    Dated: February 27, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09405 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52 and 81 [EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902; FRL-9926-71-Region 3] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Pennsylvania; Redesignation Request and Associated Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown Nonattainment Area for the 1997 Annual and 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Matter Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 request to redesignate to attainment the Johnstown nonattainment area (Johnstown Area or Area) for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM2.5) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS or standards). EPA is also proposing to determine that the Area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, EPA is proposing to approve as a revision to the Pennsylvania State Implementation Plan (SIP) the associated maintenance plan that was submitted with the redesignation request, to show maintenance of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS through 2025 for the Area. The maintenance plan includes the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and nitrogen oxides (NOX) motor vehicle emissions budgets (MVEBs) for the Area for both NAAQS, which EPA is proposing to approve for transportation conformity purposes. Furthermore, EPA is proposing to approve as a revision to the Pennsylvania SIP the 2007 emissions inventory that is also included in the maintenance plan for the Area for both NAAQS. This rulemaking action to propose approval of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS redesignation request and associated maintenance plan for the Johnstown Area is based on EPA's determination that Pennsylvania has met the criteria for redesignation to attainment specified in the Clean Air Act (CAA) for both NAAQS.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902 by one of the following methods:

    A. www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    B. Email: [email protected]

    C. Mail: EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902, Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Quality Planning, Mailcode 3AP30, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.

    D. Hand Delivery: At the previously-listed EPA Region III address. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy during normal business hours at the Air Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copies of the State submittal are available at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality Control, P.O. Box 8468, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rose Quinto, (215) 814-2182 or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Background II. EPA's Requirements A. Criteria for Redesignation to Attainment B. Requirements of a Maintenance Plan III. Summary of Proposed Actions IV. Effects of Recent Court Decisions on Proposed Actions A. Effect of the Court Decisions Regarding EPA's CSAPR B. Effect of the D.C. Circuit Court Decision Regarding PM2.5 Implementation Under Subpart 4 of Part D of Title I of the CAA V. EPA's Analysis of Pennsylvania's Submittal A. Redesignation Request B. Maintenance Plan C. Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets VI. Proposed Actions VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    The first air quality standards for PM2.5 were established on July 18, 1997 (62 FR 38652). EPA promulgated an annual standard at a level of 15 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), based on a three-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations (the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS). In the same rulemaking action, EPA promulgated a 24-hour standard of 65 μg/m3, based on a three-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations.

    On January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944), EPA published air quality area designations for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. In that rulemaking action, EPA designated the Johnstown Area as nonattainment for the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. Id. at 1000. The Johnstown Area is comprised of Cambria County and portions of Indiana County (Township of West Wheatfield, Center, East Wheatfield, and Armagh Borough and Homer City Borough). See 40 CFR 81.339.

    On October 17, 2006 (71 FR 61144), EPA retained the annual average standard at 15 μg/m3, but revised the 24-hour standard to 35 μg/m3, based again on the three-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations (the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS). On November 13, 2009 (74 FR 58688), EPA published designations for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, which became effective on December 14, 2009. In that rulemaking action, EPA designated the Johnstown Area as nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The Johnstown Area is comprised of Cambria County and portions of Indiana County. See 40 CFR 81.339.

    On September 25, 2009 (74 FR 48863) and March 29, 2012 (77 FR 18922), EPA made determinations that the Johnstown Area had attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively. Pursuant to 40 CFR 51.1004(c) and based on these determinations, the requirements for the Area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated reasonably available control measures (RACM), a reasonable further progress (RFP) plan, contingency measures, and other planning SIPs related to the attainment of either the 1997 annual or 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS were, and continue to be, suspended until such time as: the Area is redesignated to attainment for each standard, at which time the requirements no longer apply; or EPA determines that the Area has again violated any of the standards, at which time such plans are required to be submitted. On July 29, 2011 (76 FR 45424), EPA also determined, in accordance with section 179(c) of the CAA, that the Johnstown Area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS by its applicable attainment date of April 5, 2010.

    On December 3, 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), formally submitted a request to redesignate the Johnstown Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Concurrently, PADEP submitted a combined maintenance plan for the Area as a SIP revision to ensure continued attainment throughout the Area over the next 10 years. The maintenance plan includes the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs for the Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Also included in the maintenance plan is the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory for both the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for PM2.5, NOX, sulfur dioxide (SO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia (NH3).

    In this proposed rulemaking action, EPA also addresses the effects of several decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit Court) and a decision of the United States Supreme Court: (1) The D.C. Circuit Court's August 21, 2012 decision to vacate and remand to EPA the Cross-State Air Pollution Control Rule (CSAPR); (2) the Supreme Court's April 29, 2014 reversal of the vacature of CSAPR, and remand to the D.C. Circuit Court; (3) the D.C. Circuit Court's October 23, 2014 decision to lift the stay of CSAPR; and (4) the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision to remand to EPA two final rules implementing the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS.

    II. EPA's Requirements A. Criteria for Redesignation to Attainment

    The CAA provides the requirements for redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment. Specifically, section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA allows for redesignation providing that: (1) EPA determines that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS; (2) EPA has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under section 110(k); (3) EPA determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the applicable SIP and applicable Federal air pollution control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions; (4) EPA has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of section 175A of the CAA; and (5) the state containing such area has met all requirements applicable to the area under section 110 and part D. Each of these requirements are discussed in Section V. of today's proposed rulemaking action.

    EPA provided guidance on redesignations in the “SIPs; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the CAA Amendments of 1990,” (57 FR 13498, April 16, 1992) (the General Preamble) and has provided further guidance on processing redesignation requests in the following documents: (1) “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, September 4, 1992 (hereafter referred to as the 1992 Calcagni Memorandum); (2) “SIP Actions Submitted in Response to CAA Deadlines,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, October 28, 1992; and (3) “Part D New Source Review (Part D NSR) Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment,” Memorandum from Mary D. Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, October 14, 1994.

    B. Requirements of a Maintenance Plan

    Section 175A of the CAA sets forth the elements of a maintenance plan for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. Under section 175A, the plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least 10 years after approval of a redesignation of an area to attainment. Eight years after the redesignation, the state must submit a revised maintenance plan demonstrating that attainment will continue to be maintained for the 10 years following the initial 10-year period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain such contingency measures, with a schedule for implementation, as EPA deems necessary to assure prompt correction of any future PM2.5 violations.

    The 1992 Calcagni Memorandum provides additional guidance on the content of a maintenance plan. The Memorandum states that a maintenance plan should address the following provisions: (1) An attainment emissions inventory; (2) a maintenance demonstration showing maintenance for 10 years; (3) a commitment to maintain the existing monitoring network; (4) verification of continued attainment; and (5) a contingency plan to prevent or correct future violations of the NAAQS.

    Under the CAA, states are required to submit, at various times, control strategy SIP revisions for nonattainment areas and maintenance plans for areas seeking redesignation to attainment for a given NAAQS. These emission control strategy SIP revisions (e.g., RFP and attainment demonstration SIP revisions) and maintenance plans also create MVEBs based on onroad mobile source emissions for the relevant criteria pollutants and/or their precursors, where appropriate, to address pollution from onroad transportation sources. The MVEBs are the portions of the total allowable emissions that are allocated to onroad vehicle use that, together with emissions from all other sources in the area, will provide attainment, RFP, or maintenance, as applicable. The budget serves as a ceiling on emissions from an area's planned transportation system. Under 40 CFR part 93, a MVEB for an area seeking a redesignation to attainment is established for the last year of the maintenance plan.

    The maintenance plan for the Johnstown Area, comprised of Cambria County and portions of Indiana County in Pennsylvania, includes the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs for transportation conformity purposes. The transportation conformity determination for the Area is further discussed in Section V.C. of today's proposed rulemaking action and in a technical support document (TSD), “Adequacy Findings for the Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets in the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Area,” dated February 12, 2015, available on line at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902.

    III. Summary of Proposed Actions

    EPA is proposing to take several rulemaking actions related to the redesignation of the Johnstown Area to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA is proposing to find that the Johnstown Area meets the requirements for redesignation of the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS under section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. EPA is thus proposing to approve Pennsylvania's request to change the legal designation of the Johnstown Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA is also proposing to approve the associated maintenance plan for the Johnstown Area as a revision to the Pennsylvania SIP for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, including the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs for the Area for transportation conformity purposes. Approval of the maintenance plan is one of the CAA criteria for redesignation of the Area to attainment for both NAAQS. Pennsylvania's combined maintenance plan is designed to ensure continued attainment of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Area for at least 10 years after redesignation.

    EPA previously determined that the Johnstown Area attained both the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS (see 74 FR 48863 (September 25, 2009) and 77 FR 18922 (March 29, 2012)), and EPA is proposing to find that the Area continues to attain both NAAQS. EPA is also proposing to approve the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory submitted with Pennsylvania's maintenance plan that includes an inventory of PM2.5, SO2, NOX, VOC, and NH3 for the Area as a revision to the Pennsylvania SIP for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in order to meet the requirements of section 172(c)(3) of the CAA. EPA's analysis of the proposed actions is provided in Section V. of today's proposed rulemaking.

    IV. Effects of Recent Court Decisions on Proposed Actions A. Effect of the Court Decisions Regarding EPA's CSAPR 1. Background

    The D.C. Circuit Court and the Supreme Court have issued a number of decisions and orders regarding the status of EPA's regional trading programs for transported air pollution, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and CSAPR, that impact this proposed redesignation action. In 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court initially vacated CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008), but ultimately remanded the rule to EPA without vacatur to preserve the environmental benefits provided by CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 550 F.3d 1176, 1178 (D.C. Cir. 2008). On August 8, 2011 (76 FR 48208), acting on the D.C. Circuit Court's remand, EPA promulgated CSAPR, to address interstate transport of emissions and resulting secondary air pollutants and to replace CAIR.1 CSAPR requires substantial reductions of SO2 and NOX emissions from electric generating units (EGUs) in 28 states in the Eastern United States. Implementation of CSAPR was scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012, when CSAPR's cap-and-trade programs would have superseded the CAIR cap-and-trade programs. Numerous parties filed petitions for review of CSAPR, and on December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court issued an order staying CSAPR pending resolution of the petitions and directing EPA to continue to administer CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 30, 2011), Order at 2.

    1 CAIR addressed the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS and the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. CSAPR addresses contributions from upwind states to downwind nonattainment and maintenance of the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS as well as the ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS addressed by CAIR.

    On August 21, 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court issued its ruling, vacating and remanding CSAPR to EPA and once again ordering continued implementation of CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2012). The D.C. Circuit Court subsequently denied EPA's petition for rehearing en banc. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302, 2013 WL 656247 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 24, 2013), at *1. EPA and other parties then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, and the Supreme Court granted the petitions on June 24, 2013. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 133 S. Ct. 2857 (2013).

    On April 29, 2014, the Supreme Court vacated and reversed the D.C. Circuit Court's decision regarding CSAPR, and remanded that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court to resolve remaining issues in accordance with its ruling. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014). EPA moved to have the stay of CSAPR lifted in light of the Supreme Court decision. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, Case No. 11-1302, Document No. 1499505 (D.C. Cir. filed June 26, 2014). In its motion, EPA asked the D.C. Circuit Court to toll CSAPR's compliance deadlines by three years, so that the Phase 1 emissions budgets apply in 2015 and 2016 (instead of 2012 and 2013), and the Phase 2 emissions budgets apply in 2017 and beyond (instead of 2014 and beyond). On October 23, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court granted EPA's motion and lifted the stay of CSAPR which was imposed on December 30, 2011. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 23, 2014), Order at 3. On December 3, 2014, EPA issued an interim final rule to clarify how EPA will implement CSAPR consistent with the D.C. Circuit Court's order granting EPA's motion requesting lifting the stay and tolling the rule's deadlines. See 79 FR 71663 (December 3, 2014) (interim final rulemaking). Consistent with that rule, EPA began implementing CSAPR on January 1, 2015.

    2. Proposal on This Issue

    Because CAIR was promulgated in 2005 and incentivized sources and states to begin achieving early emission reductions, the air quality data examined by EPA in issuing a final determination of attainment for the Johnstown Area in 2009 (September 25, 2009, 74 FR 48863) and the air quality data from the Area since 2005 necessarily reflect reductions in emissions from upwind sources as a result of CAIR, and Pennsylvania included CAIR as one of the measures that helped to bring the Area into attainment. However, modeling conducted by EPA during the CSAPR rulemaking process, which used a baseline emissions scenario that “backed out” the effects of CAIR, see 76 FR 48223, projected that the counties in the Johnstown Area would have design values below the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for 2012 and 2014 without taking into account emission reductions from CAIR or CSAPR. See Appendix B of EPA's “Air Quality Modeling Final Rule Technical Support Document,” (Pages B-57 and B-86), which is available in the docket for this proposed rulemaking action. In addition, the 2011-2013 quality-assured, quality-controlled, and certified monitoring data for the Johnstown Area confirms that the PM2.5 design values for the Area remained well below the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in 2013.

    The status of CSAPR is not relevant to this redesignation. CSAPR was promulgated in June 2011, and the rule was stayed by the D.C. Circuit Court just six months later, before the trading programs it created were scheduled to go into effect. As stated previously, EPA began implementing CSAPR on January 1, 2015, subsequent to the emission reductions documented in the Commonwealth's December 3, 2014 request for redesignation. Therefore, the Area's attainment of the 1997 annual or the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS cannot have been a result of any emission reductions associated with CSAPR. In summary, neither the status of CAIR nor the current status of CSAPR affects any of the criteria for proposed approval of this redesignation request for the Johnstown Area.

    B. Effect of the D.C. Circuit Court Decision Regarding PM2.5 Implementation Under Subpart 4 of Part D of Title I of the CAA 1. Background

    On January 4, 2013, in NRDC v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit Court remanded to EPA the “Final Clean Air Fine Particle Implementation Rule” (72 FR 20586, April 25, 2007) and the “Implementation of the New Source Review (NSR) Program for PM2.5” final rule (73 FR 28321, May 16, 2008) (collectively, 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule). 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013). The D.C. Circuit Court found that EPA erred in implementing the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS pursuant to the general implementation provisions of subpart 1 of part D of Title I of the CAA (subpart 1), rather than the particulate-matter-specific provisions of subpart 4 of part D of Title I (subpart 4).

    Prior to the January 4, 2013 decision, the states had worked towards meeting the air quality goals of the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in accordance with EPA regulations and guidance derived from subpart 1 of part D of Title I of the CAA. In response to the D.C. Circuit Court's remand, EPA took this history into account by setting a new deadline for any remaining submissions that may be required for moderate nonattainment areas as a result of the D.C. Circuit Court's decision regarding the applicability of subpart 4 of part D of Title I of the CAA.

    On June 2, 2014 (79 FR 31566), EPA issued a final rule, “Identification of Nonattainment Classification and Deadlines for Submission of SIP Provisions for the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS” (the PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule), which identifies the classification under subpart 4 as “moderate” for areas currently designated nonattainment for the 1997 annual and/or 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The rule set a deadline for states to submit attainment plans and meet other subpart 4 requirements. The rule specified December 31, 2014 as the deadline for states to submit any additional attainment-related SIP elements that may be needed to meet the applicable requirements of subpart 4 for areas currently designated nonattainment for the 1997 PM2.5 and/or 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS and to submit SIPs addressing the nonattainment NSR requirements in subpart 4.

    As explained in detail in the following section, since Pennsylvania submitted its request to redesignate the Johnstown Area on December 3, 2014, any additional attainment-related SIP elements that may be needed for the Area to meet the applicable requirements of subpart 4 were not due at the time Pennsylvania submitted its request to redesignate the Area for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    2. Proposal on This Issue

    In this proposed rulemaking action, EPA addresses the effect of the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 ruling and the June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule on the redesignation request for the Area. EPA is proposing to determine that the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision does not prevent EPA from redesignating the Area to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Even in light of the D.C. Circuit Court's decision, redesignation for this Area is appropriate under the CAA and EPA's longstanding interpretations of the CAA's provisions regarding redesignation. EPA first explains its longstanding interpretation that requirements that are imposed, or that become due, after a complete redesignation request is submitted for an area that is attaining the standard, are not applicable for purposes of evaluating a redesignation request. Second, EPA then shows that, even if EPA applies the subpart 4 requirements to the redesignation request of the Area and disregards the provisions of its 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule recently remanded by the D.C. Circuit Court, Pennsylvania's request for redesignation of the Area still qualifies for approval. EPA's discussion also takes into account the effect of the D.C. Circuit Court's ruling and the June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule on the maintenance plan of the Area, which EPA views as approvable even when subpart 4 requirements are considered.

    a. Applicable Requirements Under Subpart 4 for Purposes of Evaluating the Redesignation Request of the Area

    With respect to the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 ruling rejected EPA's reasons for implementing the PM2.5 NAAQS solely in accordance with the provisions of subpart 1, and remanded that matter to EPA, so that it could address implementation of the PM2.5 NAAQS under subpart 4 of part D of the CAA, in addition to subpart 1. For the purposes of evaluating Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 redesignation request for the Area, to the extent that implementation under subpart 4 would impose additional requirements for areas designated nonattainment, EPA believes that those requirements are not “applicable” for the purposes of section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA, and thus EPA is not required to consider subpart 4 requirements with respect to the redesignation of the Area. Under its longstanding interpretation of the CAA, EPA has interpreted section 107(d)(3)(E) to mean, as a threshold matter, that the part D provisions which are “applicable” and which must be approved in order for EPA to redesignate an area include only those which came due prior to a state's submittal of a complete redesignation request. See 1992 Calcagni Memorandum. See also “SIP Requirements for Areas Submitting Requests for Redesignation to Attainment of the Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) NAAQS on or after November 15, 1992,” Memorandum from Michael Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator, Air and Radiation, September 17, 1993 (Shapiro memorandum); Final Redesignation of Detroit-Ann Arbor, (60 FR 12459, 12465-66, March 7, 1995); Final Redesignation of St. Louis, Missouri, (68 FR 25418, 25424-27, May 12, 2003); Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F.3d 537, 541 (7th Cir. 2004) (upholding EPA's redesignation rulemaking applying this interpretation and expressly rejecting Sierra Club's view that the meaning of “applicable” under the statute is “whatever should have been in the plan at the time of attainment rather than whatever actually was in the plan and already implemented or due at the time of attainment”).2 In this case, at the time that Pennsylvania submitted its redesignation request for the Johnstown Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, the requirements under subpart 4 were not due.3

    2 Applicable requirements of the CAA that come due subsequent to the area's submittal of a complete redesignation request remain applicable until a redesignation is approved, but are not required as a prerequisite to redesignation. See section 175A(c) of the CAA.

    3 EPA found Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 submittal for redesignation of the Area complete on January 13, 2015. EPA's complete determination is available in the docket for this rulemaking at regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902.

    EPA's view that, for purposes of evaluating the redesignation of the Area, the subpart 4 requirements were not due at the time Pennsylvania submitted the redesignation request is in keeping with the EPA's interpretation of subpart 2 requirements for subpart 1 ozone areas redesignated subsequent to the D.C. Circuit Court's decision in South Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. v. EPA, 472 F.3d 882 (D.C. Cir. 2006). In South Coast, the D.C. Circuit Court found that EPA was not permitted to implement the 1997 8-hour ozone standard solely under subpart 1, and held that EPA was required under the statute to implement the standard under the ozone-specific requirements of subpart 2 as well. Subsequent to the South Coast decision, in evaluating and acting upon redesignation requests for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard that were submitted to EPA for areas under subpart 1, EPA applied its longstanding interpretation of the CAA that “applicable requirements,” for purposes of evaluating a redesignation, are those that had been due at the time the redesignation request was submitted. See, e.g., Proposed Redesignation of Manitowoc County and Door County Nonattainment Areas (75 FR 22047, 22050, April 27, 2010). In those rulemaking actions, EPA therefore did not consider subpart 2 requirements to be “applicable” for the purposes of evaluating whether the area should be redesignated under section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA.

    EPA's interpretation derives from the provisions of section 107(d)(3) of the CAA. Section 107(d)(3)(E)(v) states that, for an area to be redesignated, a state must meet “all requirements `applicable' to the area under section 110 and part D.” Section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii) provides that EPA must have fully approved the “applicable” SIP for the area seeking redesignation. These two sections read together support EPA's interpretation of “applicable” as only those requirements that came due prior to submission of a complete redesignation request.

    First, holding states to an ongoing obligation to adopt new CAA requirements that arose after the state submitted its redesignation request, in order to be redesignated, would make it problematic or impossible for EPA to act on redesignation requests in accordance with the 18-month deadline Congress set for EPA action in section 107(d)(3)(D). If “applicable requirements” were interpreted to be a continuing flow of requirements with no reasonable limitation, states, after submitting a redesignation request, would be forced continuously to make additional SIP submissions that in turn would require EPA to undertake further notice-and-comment rulemaking actions to act on those submissions. This would create a regime of unceasing rulemaking that would delay action on the redesignation request beyond the 18-month timeframe provided by the CAA for this purpose.

    Second, a fundamental premise for redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment is that the area has attained the relevant NAAQS due to emission reductions from existing controls. Thus, an area for which a redesignation request has been submitted would have already attained the NAAQS as a result of satisfying statutory requirements that came due prior to the submission of the request. Absent a showing that unadopted and unimplemented requirements are necessary for future maintenance, it is reasonable to view the requirements applicable for purposes of evaluating the redesignation request as including only those SIP requirements that have already come due. These are the requirements that led to attainment of the NAAQS. To require, for redesignation approval, that a state also satisfy additional SIP requirements coming due after the state submits its complete redesignation request, and while EPA is reviewing it, would compel the state to do more than is necessary to attain the NAAQS, without a showing that the additional requirements are necessary for maintenance.

    In the context of this redesignation, the timing and nature of the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision in NRDC v. EPA, and EPA's June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule compound the consequences of imposing requirements that come due after the redesignation request is submitted. Pennsylvania submitted its redesignation request for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS on December 3, 2014 for the Johnstown Area, which is prior to the deadline by which the area is required to meet the attainment plan and other requirements pursuant to subpart 4.

    To require Pennsylvania's fully-complete and pending redesignation request for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS to comply now with requirements of subpart 4 that the D.C. Circuit Court announced only in January 2013 and for which the December 31, 2014 deadline to comply occurred subsequent to EPA's receipt of Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 redesignation request, would be to give retroactive effect to such requirements and provide Pennsylvania a unique and earlier deadline for compliance solely on the basis of submitting its redesignation request for the Area. The D.C. Circuit Court recognized the inequity of this type of retroactive impact in Sierra Club v. Whitman, 285 F.3d 63 (D.C. Cir. 2002),4 where it upheld the D.C. Circuit Court's ruling refusing to make retroactive EPA's determination that the areas did not meet their attainment deadlines. In that case, petitioners urged the D.C. Circuit Court to make EPA's nonattainment determination effective as of the date that the statute required, rather than the later date on which EPA actually made the determination. The D.C. Circuit Court rejected this view, stating that applying it “would likely impose large costs on States, which would face fines and suits for not implementing air pollution prevention plans . . . even though they were not on notice at the time.” Id. at 68. Similarly, it would be unreasonable to penalize Pennsylvania by rejecting its December 3, 2014 redesignation request for the Johnstown Area that EPA previously determined was attaining the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and that met all applicable requirements known to be in effect at the time of the request. For EPA now to reject the redesignation request solely because Pennsylvania did not expressly address subpart 4 requirements which came due after receipt of such request, (and for which it had little to no notice), would inflict the same unfairness condemned by the D.C. Circuit Court in Sierra Club v. Whitman.

    4Sierra Club v. Whitman was discussed and distinguished in a recent D.C. Circuit Court decision that addressed retroactivity in a quite different context, where, unlike the situation here, EPA sought to give its regulations retroactive effect. National Petrochemical and Refiners Ass'n v. EPA, 630 F.3d 145, 163 (D.C. Cir. 2010), rehearing denied 643 F.3d 958 (D.C. Cir. 2011), cert denied 132 S. Ct. 571 (2011).

    b. Subpart 4 Requirements and Pennsylvania's Redesignation Request

    Even if EPA were to take the view that the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision, or the June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule, requires that, in the context of a pending redesignation request for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, which were submitted prior to December 31, 2014, subpart 4 requirements must be considered as being due and in effect, EPA proposes to determine that the Area still qualifies for redesignation to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. As explained subsequently, EPA believes that the redesignation request for the Area, though not expressed in terms of subpart 4 requirements, substantively meets the requirements of that subpart for purposes of redesignating the Area to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    With respect to evaluating the relevant substantive requirements of subpart 4 for purposes of redesignating the Area, EPA notes that subpart 4 incorporates components of subpart 1 of part D, which contains general air quality planning requirements for areas designated as nonattainment. See section 172(c). Subpart 4 itself contains specific planning and scheduling requirements for coarse particulate matter (PM10) 5 nonattainment areas, and under the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision in NRDC v. EPA, these same statutory requirements also apply for PM2.5 nonattainment areas. EPA has longstanding general guidance that interprets the 1990 amendments to the CAA, making recommendations to states for meeting the statutory requirements for SIPs for nonattainment areas. See the General Preamble. In the General Preamble, EPA discussed the relationship of subpart 1 and subpart 4 SIP requirements, and pointed out that subpart 1 requirements were to an extent “subsumed by, or integrally related to, the more specific PM10 requirements” (57 FR 13538, April 16, 1992). The subpart 1 requirements include, among other things, provisions for attainment demonstrations, RACM, RFP, emissions inventories, and contingency measures.

    5 PM10 refers to particulates nominally 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller.

    For the purposes of this redesignation request, in order to identify any additional requirements which would apply under subpart 4, consistent with EPA's June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule, EPA is considering the areas to be “moderate” PM2.5 nonattainment areas. As EPA explained in its June 2, 2014 rule, section 188 of the CAA provides that all areas designated nonattainment areas under subpart 4 are initially to be classified by operation of law as “moderate” nonattainment areas, and remain moderate nonattainment areas unless and until EPA reclassifies the area as a “serious” nonattainment area. Accordingly, EPA believes that it is appropriate to limit the evaluation of the potential impact of subpart 4 requirements to those that would be applicable to moderate nonattainment areas. Sections 189(a) and (c) of subpart 4 apply to moderate nonattainment areas and include the following: (1) An approved permit program for construction of new and modified major stationary sources (section 189(a)(1)(A)); (2) an attainment demonstration (section 189(a)(1)(B)); (3) provisions for RACM (section 189(a)(1)(C)); and (4) quantitative milestones demonstrating RFP toward attainment by the applicable attainment date (section 189(c)).

    The permit requirements of subpart 4, as contained in section 189(a)(1)(A), refer to and apply the subpart 1 permit provisions requirements of sections 172 and 173 to PM10, without adding to them. Consequently, EPA believes that section 189(a)(1)(A) does not itself impose for redesignation purposes any additional requirements for moderate areas beyond those contained in subpart 1.6 In any event, in the context of redesignation, EPA has long relied on the interpretation that a fully approved nonattainment NSR program is not considered an applicable requirement for redesignation, provided the area can maintain the standard with a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) program after redesignation. A detailed rationale for this view is described in a memorandum from Mary Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, dated October 14, 1994, entitled, “Part D NSR Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment.” See also rulemakings for Detroit, Michigan (60 FR 12467-12468, March 7, 1995); Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Ohio (61 FR 20458, 20469-20470, May 7, 1996); Louisville, Kentucky (66 FR 53665, October 23, 2001); and Grand Rapids, Michigan (61 FR 31834-31837, June 21, 1996). With respect to the specific attainment planning requirements under subpart 4,7 when EPA evaluates a redesignation request under either subpart 1 or 4, any area that is attaining the PM2.5 NAAQS is viewed as having satisfied the attainment planning requirements for these subparts. For redesignations, EPA has for many years interpreted attainment-linked requirements as not applicable for areas attaining the standard. In the General Preamble, EPA stated that: “The requirements for RFP will not apply in evaluating a request for redesignation to attainment since, at a minimum, the air quality data for the area must show that the area has already attained. Showing that the State will make RFP towards attainment will, therefore, have no meaning at that point.”

    6 The potential effect of section 189(e) on section 189(a)(1)(A) for purposes of evaluating this redesignation is discussed in this rulemaking action.

    7 EPA refers here to attainment demonstration, RFP, RACM, milestone requirements, and contingency measures.

    The General Preamble also explained that: “[t]he section 172(c)(9) requirements are directed at ensuring RFP and attainment by the applicable date. These requirements no longer apply when an area has attained the standard and is eligible for redesignation. Furthermore, section 175A for maintenance plans . . . provides specific requirements for contingency measures that effectively supersede the requirements of section 172(c)(9) for these areas.” Id. EPA similarly stated in its 1992 Calcagni Memorandum that, “The requirements for reasonable further progress and other measures needed for attainment will not apply for redesignations because they only have meaning for areas not attaining the standard.”

    It is evident that even if we were to consider the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision in NRDC v. EPA, or the June 2, 2014 PM2.5 Subpart 4 Classification and Deadline Rule, to mean that attainment-related requirements specific to subpart 4 were either due prior to Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 redesignation request or became due subsequent to the December 3, 2014 redesignation request and must now be imposed retroactively,8 those requirements do not apply to areas that are attaining the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the purpose of evaluating a pending request to redesignate the areas to attainment. EPA has consistently enunciated this interpretation of applicable requirements under section 107(d)(3)(E) since the General Preamble was published more than twenty years ago. Courts have recognized the scope of EPA's authority to interpret “applicable requirements” in the redesignation context. See Sierra Club v. EPA, 375 F.3d 537 (7th Cir. 2004).

    8 As explained earlier, EPA does not believe that the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision should be interpreted so as to impose these requirements on the states retroactively. Sierra Club v. Whitman, supra.

    Moreover, even outside the context of redesignations, EPA has viewed the obligations to submit attainment-related SIP planning requirements of subpart 4 as inapplicable for areas that EPA determines are attaining the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA's prior “Clean Data Policy” rulemakings for the PM10 NAAQS, also governed by the requirements of subpart 4, explain EPA's reasoning. They describe the effects of a determination of attainment on the attainment-related SIP planning requirements of subpart 4. See “Determination of Attainment for Coso Junction Nonattainment Area,” (75 FR 27944, May 19, 2010). See also Coso Junction Proposed PM10 Redesignation, (75 FR 36023, 36027, June 24, 2010); Proposed and Final Determinations of Attainment for San Joaquin Nonattainment Area (71 FR 40952, 40954-55, July 19, 2006; and 71 FR 63641, 63643-47, October 30, 2006). In short, EPA in this context has also long concluded that to require states to meet superfluous SIP planning requirements is not necessary and not required by the CAA, so long as those areas continue to attain the relevant NAAQS.

    As stated previously in this proposed rulemaking action, on September 25, 2009 (74 FR 48863) and March 29, 2012 (77 FR 18922), EPA made determinations that the Johnstown Area had attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively. Pursuant to 40 CFR 51.1004(c) and based on these determinations, the requirements for the Area to submit an attainment demonstration and associated RACM, RFP plan, contingency measures, and other planning SIPs related to the attainment of either the 1997 annual or 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS were, and continue to be, suspended until such time as: the Area is redesignated to attainment for each standard, at which time the requirements no longer apply; or EPA determines that the Area has again violated any of the standards, at which time such plans are required to be submitted. Under its longstanding interpretation, EPA is proposing to determine here that the Area meets the attainment-related plan requirements of subparts 1 and 4 for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Thus, EPA is proposing to conclude that the requirements to submit an attainment demonstration under 189(a)(1)(B), a RACM determination under section 172(c)(1) and section 189(a)(1)(c), a RFP demonstration under 189(c)(1), and contingency measure requirements under section 172(c)(9) are satisfied for purposes of evaluating this redesignation request.

    c. Subpart 4 and Control of PM2.5 Precursors

    The D.C. Circuit Court in NRDC v. EPA remanded to EPA the two rules at issue in the case with instructions to EPA to re-promulgate them consistent with the requirements of subpart 4. EPA in this section addresses the D.C. Circuit Court's opinion with respect to PM2.5 precursors. While past implementation of subpart 4 for PM10 has allowed for control of PM10 precursors, such as NOX from major stationary, mobile, and area sources in order to attain the standard as expeditiously as practicable, section 189(e) of the CAA specifically provides that control requirements for major stationary sources of direct PM10 shall also apply to PM10 precursors from those sources, except where EPA determines that major stationary sources of such precursors “do not contribute significantly to PM10 levels which exceed the standard in the area.”

    EPA's 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, remanded by the D.C. Circuit Court, contained rebuttable presumptions concerning certain PM2.5 precursors applicable to attainment plans and control measures related to those plans. Specifically, in 40 CFR 51.1002, EPA provided, among other things, that a state was “not required to address VOC [and NH3] as . . . PM2.5 attainment plan precursor[s] and to evaluate sources of VOC [and NH3] emissions in the State for control measures.” EPA intended these to be rebuttable presumptions. EPA established these presumptions at the time because of uncertainties regarding the emission inventories for these pollutants and the effectiveness of specific control measures in various regions of the country in reducing PM2.5 concentrations. EPA also left open the possibility for such regulation of VOC and NH3 in specific areas where that was necessary.

    The D.C. Circuit Court in its January 4, 2013 decision made reference to both section 189(e) and 40 CFR 51.1002, and stated that, “In light of our disposition, we need not address the petitioners' challenge to the presumptions in [40 CFR 51.1002] that VOCs and NH3 are not PM2.5 precursors, as subpart 4 expressly governs precursor presumptions.” NRDC v. EPA, at 27, n.10.

    Elsewhere in the D.C. Circuit Court's opinion, however, the D.C. Circuit Court observed: “NH3 is a precursor to fine particulate matter, making it a precursor to both PM2.5 and PM10. For a PM10 nonattainment area governed by subpart 4, a precursor is presumptively regulated. See 42 § U.S.C. 7513a(e) [section 189(e)].” Id. at 21, n.7.

    For a number of reasons, the redesignation of the Johnstown Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is consistent with the D.C. Circuit Court's decision on this aspect of subpart 4. While the D.C. Circuit Court, citing section 189(e), stated that “for a PM10 area governed by subpart 4, a precursor is `presumptively' regulated,” the D.C. Circuit Court expressly declined to decide the specific challenge to EPA's 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule provisions regarding NH3 and VOC as precursors. The D.C. Circuit Court had no occasion to reach whether and how it was substantively necessary to regulate any specific precursor in a particular PM2.5 nonattainment area, and did not address what might be necessary for purposes of acting upon a redesignation request.

    However, even if EPA takes the view that the requirements of subpart 4 were deemed applicable at the time the state submitted the redesignation request, and disregards the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule's rebuttable presumptions regarding NH3 and VOC as PM2.5 precursors, the regulatory consequence would be to consider the need for regulation of all precursors from any sources in the Area to demonstrate attainment and to apply the section 189(e) provisions to major stationary sources of precursors. In the case of the Johnstown Area, EPA believes that doing so is consistent with proposing redesignation of the Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The Area has attained the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS without any specific additional controls of NH3 and VOC emissions from any sources in the Area.

    Precursors in subpart 4 are specifically regulated under the provisions of section 189(e), which requires, with important exceptions, control requirements for major stationary sources of PM10 precursors.9 Under subpart 1 and EPA's prior implementation rule, all major stationary sources of PM2.5 precursors were subject to regulation, with the exception of NH3 and VOC. Thus, EPA must address here whether additional controls of NH3 and VOC from major stationary sources are required under section 189(e) of subpart 4 in order to redesignate the Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. As explained subsequently, EPA does not believe that any additional controls of NH3 and VOC are required in the context of this redesignation.

    9 Under either subpart 1 or subpart 4, for purposes of demonstrating attainment as expeditiously as practicable, a state is required to evaluate all economically and technologically feasible control measures for direct PM emissions and precursor emissions, and adopt those measures that are deemed reasonably available.

    In the General Preamble, EPA discusses its approach to implementing section 189(e). See 57 FR 13538-13542. With regard to precursor regulation under section 189(e), the General Preamble explicitly stated that control of VOC under other CAA requirements may suffice to relieve a state from the need to adopt precursor controls under section 189(e). See 57 FR 13542. EPA in this rulemaking action, proposes to determine that the Pennsylvania SIP revision has met the provisions of section 189(e) with respect to NH3 and VOC as precursors. These proposed determinations are based on EPA's findings that: (1) The Johnstown Area contains no major stationary sources of NH3; and (2) existing major stationary sources of VOC are adequately controlled under other provisions of the CAA regulating the ozone NAAQS.10 In the alternative, EPA proposes to determine that, under the express exception provisions of section 189(e), and in the context of the redesignation of the Area, which is attaining the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, at present NH3 and VOC precursors from major stationary sources do not contribute significantly to levels exceeding the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Area. See 57 FR 13539-42.

    10 The Area has reduced VOC emissions through the implementation of various control programs including VOC Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) regulations and various on-road and non-road motor vehicle control programs.

    EPA notes that its 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule provisions in 40 CFR 51.1002 were not directed at evaluation of PM2.5 precursors in the context of redesignation, but at SIP plans and control measures required to bring a nonattainment area into attainment of the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS. By contrast, redesignation to attainment primarily requires the nonattainment area to have already attained due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions, and to demonstrate that controls in place can continue to maintain the standard. Thus, even if we regard the D.C. Circuit Court's January 4, 2013 decision as calling for “presumptive regulation” of NH3 and VOC for PM2.5 under the attainment planning provisions of subpart 4, those provisions in and of themselves do not require additional controls of these precursors for an area that already qualifies for redesignation. Nor does EPA believe that requiring Pennsylvania to address precursors differently than it has already would result in a substantively different outcome.

    Although, as EPA has emphasized, its consideration here of precursor requirements under subpart 4 is in the context of a redesignation to attainment, EPA's existing interpretation of subpart 4 requirements with respect to precursors in attainment plans for PM10 contemplates that states may develop attainment plans that regulate only those precursors that are necessary for purposes of attainment in the area in question, i.e., states may determine that only certain precursors need be regulated for attainment and control purposes.11 Courts have upheld this approach to the requirements of subpart 4 for PM10.12 EPA believes that application of this approach to PM2.5 precursors under subpart 4 is reasonable. Because the Area has already attained the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS with its current approach to regulation of PM2.5 precursors, EPA believes that it is reasonable to conclude in the context of this redesignation that there is no need to revisit an attainment control strategy with respect to the treatment of precursors. Even if the D.C. Circuit Court's decision is construed to impose an obligation, in evaluating this redesignation request, to consider additional precursors under subpart 4, it would not affect EPA's approval here of Pennsylvania's request for redesignation of the Johnstown Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In the context of a redesignation, Pennsylvania has shown that the Area has attained both standards. Moreover, Pennsylvania has shown, and EPA proposes to determine, that attainment of the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in this Area is due to permanent and enforceable emission reductions on all precursors necessary to provide for continued attainment of the NAAQS. See Section V.A.3 of this proposed rulemaking action. It follows logically that no further control of additional precursors is necessary. Accordingly, EPA does not view the January 4, 2013 decision of the D.C. Circuit Court as precluding redesignation of the Area to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS at this time.

    11See, e.g., “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans for California—San Joaquin Valley PM10 Nonattainment Area; Serious Area Plan for Nonattainment of the 24-Hour and Annual PM10 Standards,” (69 FR 30006, May 26, 2004) (approving a PM10 attainment plan that impose controls on direct PM10 and NOX emissions and did not impose controls on SO2, VOC, or NH3 emissions).

    12See, e.g., Assoc. of Irritated Residents v. EPA et al., 423 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2005).

    In summary, even if, prior to submitting its December 3, 2014 redesignation request submittal or subsequent to such submission and prior to December 31, 2014, Pennsylvania was required to address precursors for the Area under subpart 4 rather than under subpart 1, as interpreted in EPA's remanded 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, EPA would still conclude that the Area had met all applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii) and (v) of the CAA.

    V. EPA's Analysis of Pennsylvania's Submittal

    EPA is proposing several rulemaking actions for the Johnstown Area: (1) To redesignate the Johnstown Area to attainment for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS; (2) to approve into the Pennsylvania SIP the associated maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS; and (3) to approve the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory into the Pennsylvania SIP to satisfy the requirements of section 172(c)(3) of the CAA for the Area for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, which is one of the CAA criteria for redesignation. EPA's proposed approval of the redesignation request and maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS are based upon EPA's determination that the Area continues to attain both standards, which EPA is proposing in this rulemaking action, and that all other redesignation criteria have been met for the Area. In addition, EPA is proposing to approve the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs included in the maintenance plan for the Area for transportation conformity purposes. The following is a description of how Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 submittal satisfies the requirements of the CAA including specifically section 107(d)(3)(E) for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    A. Redesignation Request 1. Attainment

    On September 25, 2009 (74 FR 48863) and July 29, 2011 (76 FR 45424), EPA determined that the Johnstown Area attained the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS based on quality-assured and certified ambient air monitoring data for 2006-2008 and by its applicable attainment date of April 5, 2010 based on quality-assured and certified ambient air quality monitoring data for 2007-2009, respectively. In a separate rulemaking action dated March 29, 2012 (77 FR 18922), EPA determined that the Johnstown Area attained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, based on quality-assured and certified ambient air quality monitoring data for 2008-2010. The basis and effect of these determinations of attainment for both the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS were discussed in the notices of the proposed (74 FR 38158 (July 31, 2009) and 77 FR 2941 (January 20, 2012), respectively) and final (74 FR 48863 and 77 FR 18922, respectively) rulemakings which determined the Area attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively.

    EPA has reviewed the ambient air quality PM2.5 monitoring data in the Area consistent with the requirements contained in 40 CFR part 50, and recorded in EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) database, including quality-assured, quality-controlled, and state-certified data for the monitoring periods 2007-2009, 2008-2010, 2009-2011, 2010-2012, and 2011-2013. This data, provided in Tables 1 and 2, shows that the Area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    Table 1—Design Values for the Johnstown Area for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS (μg/m 3) for 2007-2009, 2008-2010, 2009-2011, 2010-2012, and 2011-2013 Monitor ID # 2007-2009 2008-2010 2009-2011 2010-2012 2011-2013 420210011 13.4 12.6 12.4 12.3 12.3 Table 2—Design Values for the Johnstown Area for the 2006 24-Hour PM2.5 NAAQS (μg/m 3) for 2007-2009, 2008-2010, 2009-2011, 2010-2012, and 2011-2013 Monitor ID # 2007-2009 2008-2010 2009-2011 2010-2012 2011-2013 420210011 32 30 30 30 30

    EPA's review of the monitoring data from 2007 through 2013 supports EPA's previous determinations that the Area has attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, and that the Area continues to attain both standards. In addition, as discussed subsequently, with respect to the maintenance plan, Pennsylvania has committed to continue monitoring ambient PM2.5 concentrations in accordance with 40 CFR part 58. Thus, based upon analysis of currently available data, EPA is proposing to determine that the Johnstown Area continues to attain the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    2. The Area Has Met All Applicable Requirements Under Section 110 and Subpart 1 of the CAA and Has a Fully Approved SIP Under Section 110(k)

    In accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(v), the SIP revision for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the Johnstown Area must be fully approved under section 110(k) and all the requirements applicable to the Area under section 110 of the CAA (general SIP requirements) and part D of Title I of the CAA (SIP requirements for nonattainment areas) must be met.

    a. Section 110 General SIP Requirements

    Section 110(a)(2) of Title I of the CAA delineates the general requirements for a SIP, which include enforceable emissions limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques, provisions for the establishment and operation of appropriate devices necessary to collect data on ambient air quality, and programs to enforce the limitations. The general SIP elements and requirements set forth in section 110(a)(2) include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) submittal of a SIP that has been adopted by the state after reasonable public notice and hearing; (2) provisions for establishment and operation of appropriate procedures needed to monitor ambient air quality; (3) implementation of a minor source permit program and provisions for the implementation of part C requirements (PSD); (4) provisions for the implementation of part D requirements for NSR permit programs; (5) provisions for air pollution modeling; and (6) provisions for public and local agency participation in planning and emission control rule development.

    Section 110(a)(2)(D) of the CAA requires that SIPs contain certain measures to prevent sources in a state from significantly contributing to air quality problems in another state. To implement this provision for various NAAQS, EPA has required certain states to establish programs to address transport of air pollutants in accordance with EPA's Finding of Significant Contribution and Rulemaking for Certain States in the Ozone Transport Assessment Group Region for Purposes of Reducing Regional Transport of Ozone (63 FR 57356, October 27, 1998), also known as the NOX SIP Call; amendments to the NOX SIP Call (64 FR 26298, May 14, 1999 and 65 FR 11222, March 2, 2000), CAIR (70 FR 25162, May 12, 2005) and CSAPR. However, section 110(a)(2)(D) requirements for a state are not linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification in that state. EPA believes that the requirements linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. The transport SIP submittal requirements, where applicable, continue to apply to a state regardless of the designation of any one particular area in the state. Thus, EPA does not believe that these requirements are applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation.

    In addition, EPA believes that the other section 110(a)(2) elements not connected with nonattainment plan submissions and not linked with an area's attainment status are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. The Area will still be subject to these requirements after it is redesignated. EPA concludes that the section 110(a)(2) and part D requirements which are linked with a particular area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request, and that section 110(a)(2) elements not linked to the area's nonattainment status are not applicable for purposes of redesignation. This approach is consistent with EPA's existing policy on applicability of conformity (i.e., for redesignations) and oxygenated fuels requirement. See Reading, Pennsylvania, proposed and final rulemakings (61 FR 53174, October 10, 1996), (62 FR 24826, May 7, 1997); Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Ohio final rulemaking (61 FR 20458, May 7, 1996); and Tampa, Florida, final rulemaking (60 FR 62748, December 7, 1995). For additional discussion on this issue, see the Cincinnati, Ohio redesignation (65 FR at 37890, June 19, 2000) and the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania redesignation (66 FR at 53099, October 19, 2001).

    EPA has reviewed the Pennsylvania SIP and has concluded that it meets the general SIP requirements under section 110(a)(2) of the CAA to the extent they are applicable for purposes of redesignation. EPA has previously approved provisions of Pennsylvania's SIP addressing section 110(a)(2) requirements, including provisions addressing PM2.5. See 77 FR 58955 (September 25, 2012) (approving infrastructure submittals for 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS). These requirements are, however, statewide requirements that are not linked to the PM2.5 nonattainment status of the Area. Therefore, EPA believes that these SIP elements are not applicable requirements for purposes of review of the Commonwealth's PM2.5 redesignation request.

    b. Subpart 1 Requirements

    Subpart 1 sets forth the basic nonattainment plan requirements applicable to PM2.5 nonattainment areas. Under section 172, states with nonattainment areas must submit plans providing for timely attainment and must meet a variety of other requirements.

    EPA's longstanding interpretation of the nonattainment planning requirements of section 172 is that once an area is attaining the NAAQS, those requirements are not “applicable” for purposes of section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii) and therefore need not be approved into the SIP before EPA can redesignate the area. In the 1992 General Preamble for Implementation of Title I, EPA set forth its interpretation of applicable requirements for purposes of evaluating redesignation requests when an area is attaining a standard. See 57 FR 13498, 13564 (April 16, 1992). EPA noted that the requirements for RFP and other measures designed to provide for attainment do not apply in evaluating redesignation requests because those nonattainment planning requirements “have no meaning” for an area that has already attained the standard. Id. This interpretation was also set forth in the 1992 Calcagni Memorandum. EPA's understanding of section 172 also forms the basis of its Clean Data Policy, which was articulated with regard to PM2.5 in 40 CFR 51.1004(c), and suspends a state's obligation to submit most of the attainment planning requirements that would otherwise apply, including an attainment demonstration and planning SIPs to provide for RFP, RACM, and contingency measures under section 172(c)(9).13 Courts have upheld EPA's interpretation of section 172(c)(1)'s “reasonably available” control measures and control technology as meaning only those controls that advance attainment, which precludes the need to require additional measures where an area is already attaining. NRDC v. EPA, 571 F.3d 1245, 1252 (D.C. Cir. 2009); Sierra Club v. EPA, 294 F.3d 155, 162 (D.C. Cir. 2002); Sierra Club v. EPA, 314 F.3d 735, 744 (5th Cir. 2002).

    13 This regulation was promulgated as part of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS implementation rule that was subsequently challenged and remanded in NRDC v. EPA, 706 F.3d 428 (D.C. Cir. 2013), as discussed in Section IV.B of this rulemaking. However, the Clean Data Policy portion of the implementation rule was not at issue in that case.

    Therefore, because attainment has been reached for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Johnstown Area (see September 25, 2009 (74 FR 48863) and March 29, 2012 (77 FR 18922)), no additional measures are needed to provide for attainment, and section 172(c)(1) requirements for an attainment demonstration and RACM are no longer considered to be applicable for purposes of redesignation as long as the Area continues to attain each standard until redesignation. Section 172(c)(2)'s requirement that nonattainment plans contain provisions promoting RFP toward attainment is also not relevant for purposes of redesignation because EPA has determined that the Johnstown Area has monitored attainment of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. In addition, because the Johnstown Area has attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and is no longer subject to a RFP requirement, the requirement to submit the section 172(c)(9) contingency measures is not applicable for purposes of redesignation. Section 172(c)(6) requires the SIP to contain control measures necessary to provide for attainment of the NAAQS. Because attainment has been reached, no additional measures are needed to provide for attainment.

    The requirement under section 172(c)(3) of the CAA was not suspended by EPA's clean data determination for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS and is the only remaining requirement under section 172 to be considered for purposes of redesignation of the Area. Section 172(c)(3) of the CAA requires submission and approval of a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions. To satisfy the 172(c)(3) requirement for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, Pennsylvania's December 3, 2014 redesignation request and maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS contains a 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory. The 2007 emissions inventory was the most current accurate and comprehensive emissions inventory of PM2.5, NOX, SO2, VOC, and NH3 for the Area when the Area attained the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. Thus, as part of this rulemaking action, EPA is proposing to approve Pennsylvania's 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS as satisfying the requirement of section 172(c)(3) of the CAA for both standards. Final approval of the 2007 base year emissions inventory will satisfy the emissions inventory requirement under section 172(c)(3) of the CAA for the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory addresses the general source categories of point sources, area sources, on-road mobile sources, and non-road mobile sources. A summary of the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory is shown in Table 3. For more information on EPA's analysis of the 2007 emissions inventory, see the TSD prepared by EPA Region III Office of Air Monitoring and Analysis dated March 3, 2015, “TSD for the Redesignation Request and Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Area” (Inventory TSD), available in the docket for this rulemaking action at www.regulations.gov. See Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902.

    Table 3—2007 Emissions for the Johnstown Area, in Tons Per Year (TPY) Sector PM2.5 NOX SO2 VOC NH3 Point 3,091 41,876 143,322 242 35 Area 719 607 858 2,415 409 Onroad 131 4,011 30 1,770 63 Nonroad 89 1,464 42 897 1 Total 4,031 47,958 144,252 5,325 508

    Section 172(c)(4) of the CAA requires the identification and quantification of allowable emissions for major new and modified stationary sources in an area, and section 172(c)(5) requires source permits for the construction and operation of new and modified major stationary sources anywhere in the nonattainment area. EPA has determined that, since PSD requirements will apply after redesignation, areas being redesignated need not comply with the requirement that a nonattainment NSR program be approved prior to redesignation, provided that the area demonstrates maintenance of the NAAQS without part D NSR. A more detailed rationale for this view is described in a memorandum from Mary Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, dated October 14, 1994, entitled, “Part D New Source Review Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment.” Nevertheless, Pennsylvania currently has an approved NSR program codified in Pennsylvania's regulations at 25 Pa. Code 127.201 et seq. See 77 FR 41276 (July 13, 2012) (approving NSR program into the SIP). See also 49 FR 33127 (August 21, 1984) (approving Pennsylvania's PSD program which incorporates by reference the Federal PSD program at 40 CFR 52.21). However, Pennsylvania's PSD program will become effective in the Johnstown Area upon redesignation to attainment.

    Section 172(c)(7) of the CAA requires the SIP to meet the applicable provisions of section 110(a)(2). As noted previously, EPA believes the Pennsylvania SIP meets the requirements of section 110(a)(2) that are applicable for purposes of redesignation.

    Section 175A requires a state seeking redesignation to attainment to submit a SIP revision to provide for the maintenance of the NAAQS in the area “for at least 10 years after the redesignation.” On December 3, 2014, in conjunction with its request to redesignate the Johnstown Area to attainment status, Pennsylvania submitted a SIP revision to provide for maintenance of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Johnstown Area for at least 10 years after redesignation, throughout 2025. Pennsylvania is requesting that EPA approve the maintenance plan to meet the requirements of section 175A of the CAA for both NAAQS. Once approved, the maintenance plan for the Area will ensure that the SIP for Pennsylvania meets the requirements of the CAA regarding maintenance of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS for the Area. EPA's analysis of the maintenance plan is provided in Section V.B. of this proposed rulemaking action.

    Section 176(c) of the CAA requires states to establish criteria and procedures to ensure that Federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP. The requirement to determine conformity applies to transportation plans, programs, and projects that are developed, funded or approved under Title 23 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Federal Transit Act (transportation conformity) as well as to all other Federally supported or funded projects (general conformity). State transportation conformity SIP revisions must be consistent with Federal conformity regulations relating to consultation, enforcement and enforceability which EPA promulgated pursuant to its authority under the CAA. EPA approved Pennsylvania's transportation conformity SIP requirements on April 29, 2009 (74 FR 19541).

    EPA interprets the conformity SIP requirements as not applying for purposes of evaluating a redesignation request under CAA section 107(d) because state conformity rules are still required after redesignation, and Federal conformity rules apply where state rules have not been approved. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F. 3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001) (upholding this interpretation) and 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995) (discussing Tampa, Florida).

    Thus, for purposes of redesignating to attainment the Johnstown Area for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, EPA proposes that upon final approval of the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory as proposed in this rulemaking action, Pennsylvania will meet all the applicable SIP requirements under part D of Title I of the CAA for purposes of redesignating the Area to attainment for both the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    c. The Area Has a Fully Approved Applicable SIP Under Section 110(k) of the CAA

    Upon final approval of the 2007 comprehensive emissions inventory as proposed in this rulemaking action, EPA will have fully approved all applicable requirements of Pennsylvania's SIP for the Johnstown Area for purposes of redesignation to attainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in accordance with section 110(k) of the CAA.

    3. Permanent and Enforceable Reductions in Emissions

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii) requires EPA to determine that the air quality improvement in the area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the SIP and applicable Federal air pollution control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions. Pennsylvania has calculated the change in emissions between 2005, a year showing nonattainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Johnstown Area, and 2007, one of the years for which the Area monitored attainment for both standards.

    A summary of the emissions reductions of PM2.5, NOX, SO2, VOC, and NH3 from 2005 to 2007 in the Johnstown Area, submitted by PADEP, is provided in Table 4. For more information on EPA's analysis of the 2005 and 2007 emissions inventories, see EPA's Inventory TSD dated March 3, 2015 available in the docket for this proposed rulemaking action.

    Table 4—Emission Reductions From 2005 to 2007 in the Johnstown Area [TPY] Sector 2005 2007 Net reduction 2005-2007 Percent
  • reduction
  • 2005-2007
  • PM2.5 Point 11,872 3,091 8,781 74 Area 1,201 719 482 40 On-road 142 131 10 7 Non-road 84 89 −5 −6 Total 13,299 4,031 9,268 70 NOX Point 41,646 41,876 −230 −1 Area 751 607 144 19 On-road 4,483 4,011 472 11 Non-road 1,364 1,464 −100 −7 Total 48,244 47,958 286 1 SO2 Point 152,657 143,322 9,335 6 Area 1,859 858 1,001 54 On-road 61 30 31 51 Non-road 112 42 70 63 Total 154,689 144,252 10,437 7 VOC Point 344 243 101 30 Area 3,092 2,415 677 22 On-road 1,919 1,770 149 8 Non-road 945 897 48 5 Total 6,300 5,325 975 15 NH3 Point 5 35 −30 −600 Area 511 409 102 20 On-road 67 63 4 6 Non-road 1 1 0 0 Total 584 508 76 13

    The reduction in emissions and the corresponding improvement in air quality from 2005 to 2007 for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively, in the Johnstown Area can be attributed to a number of regulatory control measures that have been implemented in the Area and contributing areas in recent years.

    a. Federal Measures Implemented

    Reductions in PM2.5 precursor emissions have occurred statewide and in upwind states as a result of Federal emission control measures, with additional emission reductions expected to occur in the future.

    Control of NOX and SO2

    PM2.5 concentrations in the Johnstown Area are impacted by the transport of sulfates and nitrates, and the Area's air quality is strongly affected by regulation of SO2 and NOX emissions from power plants.

    NO X SIP Call—On October 27, 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA issued the NOX SIP Call requiring the District of Columbia and 22 states to reduce emissions of NOX, a precursor to ozone pollution.14 Affected states were required to comply with Phase I of the SIP Call beginning in 2004 and Phase II beginning in 2007. Emission reductions resulting from regulations developed in response to the NOX SIP Call are permanent and enforceable. By imposing an emissions cap regionally, the NOX SIP Call reduced NOX emissions from large EGUs and large non-EGUs such as industrial boilers, internal combustion engines, and cement kilns. In response to the NOX SIP Call, Pennsylvania adopted its NOX Budget Trading Program regulations for EGUs and large industrial boilers, with emission reductions starting in May 2003. Pennsylvania's NOX Budget Trading Program regulation was approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on August 21, 2001 (66 FR 43795). To meet other requirements of the NOX SIP Call, Pennsylvania adopted NOX control regulations for cement plants and internal combustion engines, with emission reductions starting in May 2005. These regulations were approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on September 29, 2006 (71 FR 57428).

    14 Although the NOX SIP Call was issued in order to address ozone pollution, reductions of NOX as a result of that program have also impacted PM2.5 pollution, for which NOX is also a precursor emission.

    CAIR—As previously noted, CAIR (70 FR 25162, May 12, 2005) created regional cap-and-trade programs to reduce SO2 and NOX emissions in 27 eastern states, including Pennsylvania. EPA approved the Commonwealth's CAIR regulation, codified in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 145, Subchapter D, into the Pennsylvania SIP on December 10, 2009 (74 FR 65446). In 2009, the CAIR ozone season NOX trading program superseded the NOX Budget Trading Program, although the emission reduction obligations of the NOX SIP Call were not rescinded. See 40 CFR 51.121(r) and 51.123(aa). EPA promulgated CSAPR to replace CAIR as an emission trading program for EGUs. As discussed previously, pursuant to the D.C. Circuit Court's October 23, 2014 Order, the stay of CSAPR has been lifted and implementation of CSAPR commenced in January 2015. EPA expects that the implementation of CSAPR will preserve the reductions achieved by CAIR and result in additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions throughout the maintenance period.

    Tier 2 Emission Standards for Vehicles and Gasoline Sulfur Standards

    These emission control requirements result in lower NOX emissions from new cars and light duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles. The Federal rules were phased in between 2004 and 2009. EPA estimated that, after phasing in the new requirements, the following vehicle NOX emission reductions will have occurred nationwide: Passenger cars (light duty vehicles) (77 percent); light duty trucks, minivans, and sports utility vehicles (86 percent); and larger sports utility vehicles, vans, and heavier trucks (69 to 95 percent). Some of the emissions reductions resulting from new vehicle standards occurred during the 2008-2010 attainment period; however, additional reductions will continue to occur throughout the maintenance period as new vehicles replace older vehicles. EPA expects fleet wide average emissions to decline by similar percentages as new vehicles replace older vehicles.

    Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Rule

    EPA issued the Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Rule in July 2000. This rule included standards limiting the sulfur content of diesel fuel, which went into effect in 2004. A second phase took effect in 2007 which reduced PM2.5 emissions from heavy-duty highway engines and further reduced the highway diesel fuel sulfur content to 15 parts per million (ppm). Standards for gasoline engines were phased in starting in 2008. The total program is estimated to achieve a 90 percent reduction in direct PM2.5 emissions and a 95 percent reduction in NOX emissions for new engines using low sulfur diesel fuel.

    Nonroad Diesel Rule

    On June 29, 2004 (69 FR 38958), EPA promulgated the Nonroad Diesel Rule for large nonroad diesel engines, such as those used in construction, agriculture, and mining, to be phased in between 2008 and 2014. The rule phased in requirements for reducing the sulfur content of diesel used in nonroad diesel engines. The reduction in sulfur content prevents damage to the more advanced emission control systems needed to meet the engine standards. It will also reduce fine particulate emissions from diesel engines. The combined engine standards and the sulfur in fuel reductions will reduce NOX and PM emissions from large nonroad engines by over 90 percent, compared to current nonroad engines using higher sulfur content diesel.

    Nonroad Large Spark-Ignition Engine and Recreational Engine Standards

    In November 2002, EPA promulgated emission standards for groups of previously unregulated nonroad engines. These engines include large spark-ignition engines such as those used in forklifts and airport ground-service equipment; recreational vehicles using spark-ignition engines such as off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles; and recreational marine diesel engines. Emission standards from large spark-ignition engines were implemented in two tiers, with Tier 1 starting in 2004 and Tier 2 in 2007. Recreational vehicle emission standards are being phased in from 2006 through 2012. Marine diesel engine standards were phased in from 2006 through 2009. With full implementation of all of the nonroad spark-ignition engine and recreational engine standards, an overall 80 percent reduction in NOX is expected by 2020. Some of these emission reductions occurred by the 2002-2007 attainment period and additional emission reductions will occur during the maintenance period as the fleet turns over.

    Federal Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants

    As required by the CAA, EPA developed Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) Standards to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from a published list of industrial sources referred to as “source categories.” The MACT standards have been adopted and incorporated by reference in Section 6.6 of Pennsylvania's Air Pollution Control Act and implementing regulations in 25 Pa. Code § 127.35 and are also included in Federally enforceable permits issued by PADEP for affected sources. The Industrial/Commercial/Institutional (ICI) Boiler MACT standards (69 FR 55217, September 13, 2004 and 76 FR 15554, February 21, 2011) are estimated to reduce emissions of PM, SO2, and VOCs from major source boilers and process heaters nationwide. Also, the Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) MACT will reduce NOX and PM emissions from engines located at facilities such as pipeline compressor stations, chemical and manufacturing plants, and power plants.

    b. State Measures Heavy-Duty Diesel Emissions Control Program

    In 2002, Pennsylvania adopted the Heavy-Duty Diesel Emissions Control Program for model years starting in May 2004. The program incorporates California standards by reference and required model year 2005 and beyond heavy-duty diesel highway engines to be certified to the California standards, which were more stringent than the Federal standards for model years 2005 and 2006. After model year 2006, Pennsylvania required implementation of the Federal standards that applied to model years 2007 and beyond, discussed in the Federal measures section of this proposed rulemaking action. This program reduced emissions of NOX statewide.

    Vehicle Emission Inspection/Maintenance (I/M) Program

    Pennsylvania's Vehicle Emission I/M program was expanded into the Johnstown Area in early 2004 and applies to model year 1975 and newer gasoline-powered vehicles that are 9,000 pounds and under. The program, approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on October 6, 2005 (70 FR 58313), consists of annual on-board diagnostics and gas cap test for model year 1996 vehicles and newer, and an annual visual inspection of pollution control devices and gas cap test for model year 1995 vehicles and older. This program reduces emissions of NOX from affected vehicles.

    Consumer Products Regulation

    Pennsylvania regulation “Chapter 130, Subpart B. Consumer products” established, effective January 1, 2005, VOC emission limits for numerous categories of consumer products, and applies statewide to any person who sells, supplies, offers for sale, or manufactures such consumer products on or after January 1, 2005 for use in Pennsylvania. It was approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on December 8, 2004 (69 FR 70895).

    Adhesives, Sealants, Primers and Solvents Regulation

    Pennsylvania adopted a regulation in 2010 to control VOC emissions from adhesives, sealants, primers and solvents. This regulation was approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on September 26, 2012 (77 FR 59090).

    Based on the information summarized above, Pennsylvania has adequately demonstrated that the improvements in air quality in the Johnstown Area are due to permanent and enforceable emissions reductions. The reductions result from Federal and State requirements and regulation of precursors within Pennsylvania that affect the Johnstown Area.

    B. Maintenance Plan

    On December 3, 2014, PADEP submitted a combined maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, as required by section 175A of the CAA. EPA's analysis for proposing approval of the maintenance plan is provided in this section.

    1. Attainment Emissions Inventory

    An attainment inventory is comprised of the emissions during the time period associated with the monitoring data showing attainment. PADEP determined that the appropriate attainment inventory year for the maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS is 2007, one of the years in the periods during which the Johnstown Area monitored attainment for both NAAQS. The 2007 emissions inventory submitted by PADEP that was included in the maintenance plan contains primary PM2.5 emissions (including condensables), SO2, NOX, VOC, and NH3.

    In its redesignation request and maintenance plan for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS submitted on December 3, 2014, PADEP described the methods used for developing its 2007 emissions inventory. EPA reviewed the procedures used to develop the inventory and found them to be reasonable. EPA has reviewed the documentation provided by PADEP and found the 2007 emissions inventory to be approvable. For more information on EPA's analysis of the 2007 emissions inventory, see Appendices B-1 and C-1 of the Pennsylvania submittal and EPA's Inventory TSD dated March 3, 2015 available in the docket for this proposed rulemaking action.

    2. Maintenance Demonstration

    Section 175A requires a state seeking redesignation to attainment to submit a SIP revision to provide for the maintenance of the NAAQS in the area “for at least 10 years after the redesignation.” EPA has interpreted this as a showing of maintenance “for a period of ten years following redesignation.” The Federal and State measures described in Section V.A.3 of this proposed rulemaking action demonstrate that the reductions in emissions from point, area, and mobile sources in the Area has occurred and will continue to occur through 2025. In addition, the following State and Federal regulations and programs ensure the continuing decline of SO2, NOX, PM2.5, and VOC emissions in the Area during the maintenance period and beyond:

    Non-EGUs Previously Covered Under the NOX SIP Call

    Pennsylvania established NOX emission limits for the large industrial boilers that were previously subject to the NOX SIP Call, but were not subject to CAIR. For these units, Pennsylvania established an allowable ozone season NOX limit based on the unit's previous ozone season's heat input. A combined NOX ozone season emissions cap of 3,418 tons applies for all of these units.

    CSAPR (August 8, 2011, 76 FR 48208)

    EPA promulgated CSAPR to replace CAIR as an emission trading program for EGUs. As discussed previously, implementation of CSAPR commenced in January 2015. EPA expects that the implementation of CSAPR will preserve the reductions achieved by CAIR and result in additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions throughout the maintenance period.

    Regulation of Cement Kilns

    On July 19, 2011 (76 FR 52558), EPA approved amendments to 25 Pa. Code Chapter 145 Subchapter C to further reduce NOX emissions from cement kilns. The amendments established NOX emission rate limits for long wet kilns, long dry kilns, and preheater and precalciner kilns that are lower by 35 percent to 63 percent from the previous limit of 6 pounds of NOX per ton of clinker that applied to all kilns. The amendments were effective on April 15, 2011.

    Stationary Source Regulations

    Pennsylvania regulation 25 Pa. Code Chapter 130, Subchapter D for Adhesives, Sealers, Primers, and Solvents was approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on September 26, 2012 (77 FR 59090). The regulation established VOC content limits for various categories of adhesives, sealants, primers, and solvent, and became applicable on January 1, 2012.

    Amendments to Pennsylvania regulation 25 Pa. Code Chapter 130, Subchapter B, Consumer Products, established, effective January 1, 2009, new or more stringent VOC standards for consumer products. This regulation applies statewide to any person who sells, supplies, offers for sale, or manufactures such consumer products on or after January 1, 2009 for use in Pennsylvania. The amendments were approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on October 18, 2010 (75 FR 63717).

    Pennsylvania's Clean Vehicle Program

    The Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program (formerly, New Motor Vehicle Control Program) incorporates by reference the California Low Emission Vehicle program (CA LEVII), although it allowed automakers to comply with the NLEV program as an alternative to this program until Model Year (MY) 2006. The Clean Vehicles Program, codified in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 126, Subchapter D, was modified to require CA LEVII to apply to MY 2008 and beyond, and was approved into the Pennsylvania SIP on January 24, 2012 (77 FR 3386). The Clean Vehicles Program incorporates by reference the emission control standards of CA LEVII, which, among other requirements, reduces emissions of NOX by requiring that passenger car emission standards and fleet average emission standards also apply to light duty vehicles. Model year 2008 and newer passenger cars and light duty trucks are required to be certified for emissions by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), in order to be sold, leased, offered for sale or lease, imported, delivered, purchased, rented, acquired, received, titled or registered in Pennsylvania. In addition, manufacturers are required to demonstrate that the California fleet average standard is met based on the number of new light-duty vehicles delivered for sale in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth's submittal for the January 24, 2012 rulemaking projected that, by 2025, the program will achieve approximately 36 tons more NOX reductions than Tier II for the counties in the Johnstown Area.

    Two Pennsylvania regulations—the Diesel-Powered Motor Vehicle Idling Act (August 1, 2011, 76 FR 45705) and the Outdoor Wood-Fired Boiler regulation (September 20, 2011, 76 FR 58114)—were not included in the projection inventories, but may also assist in maintaining the standard. Also, the Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards (79 FR 23414, April 29, 2014) establishes more stringent vehicle emissions standards and will reduce the sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017. The fuel standard will achieve NOX reductions by further increasing the effectiveness of vehicle emission controls for both existing and new vehicles.

    Natural Gas Activities

    The emissions growth due to a new emissions source, development of natural gas resources from Marcellus Shale (and other deep formations), is included in the Area source inventory. PADEP requires annual emission reporting under 25 Pa. Code Chapter 135 (relating to reporting of sources) of unconventional natural gas development companies. The initial annual source reporting for unconventional natural gas operations began in 2012 for emissions during the 2011 calendar year. Emissions were projected to 2017 and 2025 based on the most recent emissions inventory reports available (2013 for compressor engines and 2012 for all other sources). See Appendix B-3 of Pennsylvania's submittal for more details on the methodology used for estimating Marcellus Shale development activity and for the emission totals by pollutant. Starting January 2015, Federal regulations (40 CFR part 60, subpart OOOO) require wells to capture gas at the wellhead. EPA estimates that VOC emissions from hydraulically fractured well completions will decrease by 95 percent as a result of this regulation.

    The State and Federal regulations and programs described above ensure the continuing decline of SO2, NOX, PM2.5, and VOC emissions in the Johnstown Area during the maintenance period and beyond. A summary of the projected reductions from these measures from 2007 to 2025 is shown in Table 5. The future year inventory included potential emissions increases from natural gas activities.

    Table 5—Emission Reductions From 2007 to 2025 Due to Control Measures in TPY PM2.5 NOX SO2 VOC NH3 Point 96 1,304 1,820 −4 −1 Area 66 28 441 312 −7 On-Road 80 2,813 19 1193 22 Non-Road 51 801 40 444 0 Natural Gas Activities −3 −98 0 −91 0 Total 290 4,848 2,320 1,854 14

    Where the emissions inventory method of showing maintenance is used, its purpose is to show that emissions during the maintenance period will not increase over the attainment year inventory. See 1992 Calcagni Memorandum, pages 9-10. For a demonstration of maintenance, emissions inventories are required to be projected to future dates to assess the influence of future growth and controls; however, the demonstration need not be based on modeling. See Wall v. EPA, supra; Sierra Club v. EPA, supra. See also 66 FR 53099-53100 and 68 FR 25430-32. PADEP uses projection inventories to show that the Johnstown Area will remain in attainment and developed projection inventories for an interim year of 2017 and a maintenance plan end year of 2025 to show that future emissions of NOX, SO2, PM2.5, VOC, and NH3 will remain at or below the attainment year 2007 for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, respectively, throughout the Johnstown Area through the year 2025.

    EPA has reviewed the documentation provided by PADEP for developing annual 2017 and 2025 emissions inventories for the Johnstown Area. See Appendix C-2 and C-3 of Pennsylvania's submittal. EPA has determined that the 2017 and 2025 projected emissions inventories provided by PADEP are approvable. For more information on EPA's analysis of the emissions inventories, see EPA's Inventory TSD dated March 3, 2015 available in the docket for this proposed rulemaking action.

    Tables 6a through 6e provide a summary of the inventories in tpy for the 2007 attainment year, as compared to projected inventories for the 2017 interim year and the 2025 maintenance plan end year for the Area. The future year inventories include potential emissions increases from natural gas activities.

    Table 6a—Comparison of 2007, 2017, and 2025 Emissions of PM2.5 for the Johnstown Area PM2.5 Sector 2007 2017 2025 2007-2017 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • 2007-2025 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • Point 3,091 2,788 2,995 303 10 96 3 Area 719 692 654 27 4 65 9 On-Road 131 71 51 61 46 80 61 Non-Road 89 52 38 37 41 51 57 Natural Gas Activities 2 3 −2 −3 Total 4,031 3,605 3,741 426 11 289 7
    Table 6b—Comparison of 2007, 2017, and 2025 Emissions of NOX for the Johnstown Area NOX Sector 2007 2017 2025 2007-2017 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • 2007-2025 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • Point 41,876 37,562 40,572 4,314 10 1,304 3 Area 607 576 579 31 5 28 5 On-Road 4,011 1,946 1,198 2,065 51 2,813 70 Non-Road 1,464 910 663 554 39 801 55 Natural Gas Activities 52 98 −52 −98 Total 47,958 41,046 43,110 6,912 14 4,848 10
    Table 6c—Comparison of 2007, 2017, and 2025 Emissions of SO2 for the Johnstown Area SO2 Sector 2007 2017 2025 2007-2017 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • 2007-2025 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • Point 143,322 132,128 141,502 11,194 8 1,820 1 Area 858 683 418 175 20 440 51 On-Road 30 11 11 19 63 19 64 Non-Road 42 1 1 41 98 41 98 Natural Gas Activities 0 0 0 0 Total 144,252 132,823 141,932 11,429 8 2,320 2
    Table 6d—Comparison of 2007, 2017, and 2025 Emissions of VOC for the Johnstown Area VOC Sector 2007 2017 2025 2007-2017 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • 2007-2025 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • Point 243 234 247 9 4 −4 −2 Area 2,415 2,219 2,103 196 8 312 13 On-Road 1,770 899 577 871 49 1,193 67 Non-Road 897 526 453 371 41 444 50 Natural Gas Activities 47 91 −47 −91 Total 5,325 3,925 3,471 1,400 26 1,854 35
    Table 6e—Comparison of 2007, 2017, and 2025 Emissions of NH3 for the Johnstown Area NH3 Sector 2007 2017 2025 2007-2017 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • 2007-2025 Reduction Percent
  • reduction
  • Point 35 34 36 1 3 −1 0 Area 409 413 416 −4 −1 −7 −2 On-Road 63 42 41 21 33 22 35 Non-Road 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 Natural Gas Activities 0 0 0 0 Total 508 490 494 18 4 14 3

    As shown in Tables 6a-6e, the projected levels for PM2.5, NOx, SO2, VOC, and NH3 are under the 2007 attainment levels for each of these pollutants. Pennsylvania has adequately demonstrated that the Area will continue to maintain the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.

    3. Monitoring Network

    Pennsylvania's maintenance plan includes a commitment by PADEP to continue to operate its EPA-approved monitoring network, as necessary to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the NAAQS. Pennsylvania currently operates a PM2.5 monitor in the Johnstown Area. In its December 3, 2014 submittal, Pennsylvania stated that it will consult with EPA prior to making any necessary changes to the network and will continue to operate the monitoring network in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR part 58.

    4. Verification of Continued Attainment

    To provide for tracking of the emission levels in the Area, PADEP will: (a) evaluate annually the vehicle miles travelled (VMT) data and the annual emissions reported from stationary sources to compare them with the assumptions used in the maintenance plan, and (b) evaluate the periodic emissions inventory for all PM2.5 precursors prepared every three years in accordance with EPA's Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) to determine whether there is an exceedance of more than ten percent over the 2007 inventories. Also, as noted in the previous subsection, PADEP will continue to operate its monitoring system in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and remains obligated to quality-assure monitoring data and enter all data into the AQS in accordance with Federal requirements. PADEP will use this data, supplemented with additional data, as necessary, to assure continuing attainment in the Area.

    5. Contingency Measures

    The contingency plan provisions are designed to promptly correct any violation of the 1997 annual and/or the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS that occurs in the Johnstown Area after redesignation. Section 175A of the CAA requires that a maintenance plan include such contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to ensure that a state will promptly correct a violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation. The maintenance plan should identify the events that would “trigger” the adoption and implementation of a contingency measure(s), the contingency measure(s) that would be adopted and implemented, and the schedule indicating the time frame by which the state would adopt and implement the measure(s).

    Pennsylvania's maintenance plan describes the procedures for the adoption and implementation of contingency measures to reduce emissions should a violation occur. Pennsylvania's contingency measures include a first level response and a second level response. A first level response is triggered when the annual mean PM2.5 concentration exceeds 15.5 μg/m3 in a single calendar year within the Area, when the 98th percentile 24-hour PM2.5 concentration exceeds 35.0 μg/m3 in a single calendar year within the Area, or when the periodic emissions inventory for the Area exceeds the attainment year inventory (2007) by more than ten percent. The first level response will consist of a study to determine if the emissions trends show increasing concentrations of PM2.5, and whether this trend is likely to continue. If it is determined through the study that action is necessary to reverse a trend of emissions increases, Pennsylvania will, as expeditiously as possible, implement necessary and appropriate control measures to reverse the trend.

    A second level response will be prompted if the two-year average of the annual mean concentration exceeds 15.0 μg/m3 or if the two-year average of 98th percentile 24-hour PM2.5 concentration exceeds 35.0 μg/m3 within the Area. This would trigger an evaluation of the conditions causing the exceedance, whether additional emission control measures should be implemented to prevent a violation of the standard, and analysis of potential measures that could be implemented to prevent a violation. Pennsylvania would then begin its adoption process to implement the measures as expeditiously as practicable. If a violation of the PM2.5 NAAQS occurs, PADEP will propose and adopt necessary additional control measures in accordance with the implementation schedule in the maintenance plan.

    Pennsylvania's candidate contingency measures include the following: (1) A regulation based on the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) Model Rule to update requirements for consumer products; (2) a regulation based on the Control Techniques Guidelines (CTG) for industrial cleaning solvents; (3) voluntary diesel projects such as diesel retrofit for public or private local onroad or offroad fleets, idling reduction technology for Class 2 yard locomotives, and idling reduction technologies or strategies for truck stops, warehouses, and other freight-handling facilities; (4) promotion of accelerated turnover of lawn and garden equipment, focusing on commercial equipment; and (5) promotion of alternative fuels for fleets, home heating and agricultural use. Pennsylvania's rulemaking process and schedule for adoption and implementation of any necessary contingency measure is shown in the SIP submittals as being 18 months from PADEP's approval to initiate rulemaking. For all of the reasons discussed in this section, EPA is proposing to approve Pennsylvania's 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 maintenance plan for the Johnstown Area as meeting the requirements of section 175A of the CAA.

    C. Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets

    Section 176(c) of the CAA requires Federal actions in nonattainment and maintenance areas to “conform to” the goals of SIPs. This means that such actions will not cause or contribute to violations of a NAAQS, worsen the severity of an existing violation, or delay timely attainment of any NAAQS or any interim milestone. Actions involving Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding or approval are subject to the transportation conformity rule (40 CFR part 93, subpart A). Under this rule, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in nonattainment and maintenance areas coordinate with state air quality and transportation agencies, EPA, and the FHWA and FTA to demonstrate that their long range transportation plans and transportation improvement programs (TIP) conform to applicable SIPs. This is typically determined by showing that estimated emissions from existing and planned highway and transit systems are less than or equal to the MVEBs contained in the SIP.

    On December 3, 2014, Pennsylvania submitted a SIP revision that contains the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX onroad mobile source budgets for Cambria County and portions of Indiana County (Townships of West Wheatfield, Center, East Wheatfield, and Armagh Borough and Homer City Borough). Pennsylvania did not provide MVEBs for SO2, VOC, and NH3 because it concluded, consistent with the presumptions regarding these precursors in the Transportation Conformity Rule at 40 CFR 93.102(b)(2)(v), which predated and were not disturbed by the litigation on the 1997 PM2.5 Implementation Rule, that emissions of these precursors from motor vehicles are not significant contributors to the Area's PM2.5 air quality problem. EPA issued conformity regulations to implement the 1997 annual PM2.5 NAAQS in July 2004 and May 2005 (69 FR 40004, July 1, 2004 and 70 FR 24280, May 6, 2005). The D.C. Circuit Court's January 2013 decision does not affect EPA's proposed approval of the MVEBs for the Area. The MVEBs are presented in Table 8.

    Table 8—MVEBs for the Johnstown Area for the 1997 Annual and 2006 24-Hour PM2.5 NAAQS in TPY County Year PM2.5 NOX Cambria County 2017
  • 2025
  • 62.79
  • 46.71
  • 1,707.03
  • 1,077.46
  • Indiana County (Partial) 2017
  • 2025
  • 7.95
  • 4.38
  • 238.50
  • 120.98
  • EPA's substantive criteria for determining adequacy of MVEBs are set out in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). Additionally, to approve the MVEBs, EPA must complete a thorough review of the SIP, in this case the PM2.5 maintenance plan, and conclude that with the projected level of motor vehicle and all other emissions, the SIPs will achieve its overall purpose, in this case providing for maintenance of the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA's process for determining adequacy of a MVEB consists of three basic steps: (1) Providing public notification of a SIP submission; (2) providing the public the opportunity to comment on the MVEB during a public comment period; and (3) EPA taking action on the MVEB.

    In this proposed rulemaking action, EPA is also initiating the process for determining whether or not the MVEBs are adequate for transportation conformity purposes. The publication of this proposed rulemaking action starts a 30-day public comment period on the adequacy of the submitted MVEBs. This comment period is concurrent with the comment period on this proposed rulemaking action and comments should be submitted to the docket for this rulemaking. EPA may choose to make its determination on the adequacy of the budgets either in the final rulemaking on this maintenance plan and redesignation request or by informing Pennsylvania of the determination in writing, publishing a notice in the Federal Register and posting a notice on EPA's adequacy Web page (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/adequacy.htm).15

    15 For additional information on the adequacy process, please refer to 40 CFR 93.118(f) and the discussion of the adequacy process in the preamble to the 2004 final transportation conformity rule. See 69 FR at 40039-40043.

    EPA has reviewed the MVEBs and finds that the submitted MVEBs are consistent with the maintenance plan and meet the criteria for adequacy and approval in 40 CFR part 93, subpart A. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs for Cambria County and portions of Indiana County for transportation conformity purposes. Additional information pertaining to the review of the MVEBs can be found in the TSD dated February 12, 2015, “Adequacy Findings for the MVEBs in the 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS Maintenance Plan for the Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1997 and 2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Areas,” available on line at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-R03-OAR-2014-0902.

    VI. Proposed Actions

    EPA is proposing to approve Pennsylvania's request to redesignate the Johnstown Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA has evaluated Pennsylvania's redesignation request and determined that the Area meets the redesignation criteria set forth in section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. The monitoring data demonstrates that the Johnstown Area attained the 1997 annual and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, as determined by EPA in prior rulemaking actions and, for reasons discussed herein, that it will continue to attain both NAAQS. Final approval of this redesignation request would change the designation of the Johnstown Area from nonattainment to attainment for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA is also proposing to approve the associated maintenance plan for the Johnstown Area as a revision to the Pennsylvania SIP for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS because it meets the requirements of section 175A of the CAA as described previously in this proposed rulemaking. In addition, EPA is proposing to approve the 2007 emissions inventory as meeting the requirement of section 172(c)(3) of the CAA for both NAAQS. Furthermore, EPA is proposing to approve the 2017 and 2025 PM2.5 and NOX MVEBs for Cambria County and portions of Indiana County for transportation conformity purposes. EPA is soliciting public comments on the issues discussed in this document. These comments will be considered before taking final action.

    VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule proposing to approve Pennsylvania's redesignation request, maintenance plan, 2007 emissions inventory for the 1997 annual and 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS, and MVEBs for transportation conformity purposes for the Johnstown Area for both NAAQS, does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Nitrogen oxides, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    40 CFR Part 81

    Air pollution control, National parks, Wilderness areas.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: April 10, 2015. William C. Early, Acting Regional Administrator, Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09368 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Parts 1 and 27 [WT Docket Nos. 14-170, 05-211, GN Docket No. 12-268, RM-11395; FCC 15-49] Request for Further Comment on Issues Related to Competitive Bidding Proceeding; Updating Competitive Bidding Rules AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In this Updating Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules Additional Request for Comment, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) seeks additional comment on changes to the Commission's Competitive Bidding rules suggested by commenters in response to the questions and proposals set forth in the Updating Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Part 1 NPRM). This Updating Part 1 Competitive Bidding Rules Additional Request for Comment will be referred to as the Part 1 Request for Comment.

    DATES:

    Comments are due on or before May 14, 2015, and reply comments are due on or before May 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may submit comments to the Part 1 Request for Comment, WT Docket Nos. 14-170, 05-211, GN Docket No. 12-268, RM-11395, by any of the following methods:

    FCC's Web site: Federal Communication Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS): http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, or audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) Analysis:

    This Part 1 Request for Comment contains proposed new or modified information collection requirements and seeks PRA comment. The Part 1 NPRM sought comment from the general public and the Office of Management and Budget on the information collection requirements contained therein, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it may “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees” in the light of the alternative proposals set forth in the Part 1 Request for Comment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division: Leslie Barnes at (202) 418-0660; Spectrum and Competition Policy Division (for questions related to joint bidding arrangements): Michael Janson at (202) 418-1310.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Part 1 Request for Comment in GN Docket No. 12-268, WT Docket Nos. 14-170, 05-211, FCC 15-49, released on April 17, 2015. The complete text of this document, including any attachment, is available for public inspection and copying from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) Monday through Thursday or from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The Part 1 Request for Comment and related documents also are available on the Internet at the Commission's Web site: http://wireless.fcc.gov, or by using the search function for WT Docket No. 14-170 on the Commission's ECFS Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/.

    All filings in response to the Part 1 Request for Comment must refer to GN Docket No. 12-268 and WT Docket Nos. 14-170 and 05-211. The Commission strongly encourages parties to develop responses to the Part 1 Request for Comment that adhere to the organization and structure of the document.

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the Federal Communication Commission's Electronic Comments Filing System (ECFS): http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary Attn: WTB/ASAD, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (FCC). All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to the FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. 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.

    Initial Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) Analysis:

    This Part 1 Request for Comment contains proposed new or modified information collection requirements and seeks PRA comment. The Part 1 NPRM sought comment from the general public and the Office of Management and Budget on the information collection requirements contained therein, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how it may “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees” in the light of the alternative proposals set forth in the Part 1 Request for Comment.

    I. Introduction

    1. The Part 1 Request for Comment seeks additional comment on a number of proposed changes to the Commission's part 1 competitive bidding rules offered by commenters in response to the questions and proposals set forth in the Part 1 NPRM, 79 FR 68172, November 14, 2014. Specifically, the Commission seeks further, more detailed input on alternative proposals as well as questions posed and issues raised by commenters on how the Commission can meet its statutory obligation to ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women (collectively, designated entities or DEs) have an opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services, while at the same time ensuring that there are adequate safeguards to protect against unjust enrichment to ineligible entities. The Commission also seeks further comment on commenters' other suggestions for amending the competitive bidding rules governing auction participation by former defaulters, commonly controlled entities, and entities with joint bidding arrangements in response to proposals advanced in the Part 1 NPRM. Soliciting further input on alternative proposals and exploring other issues raised in the record to date will provide a more complete record for the Commission to evaluate and act upon, as appropriate, the concerns raised in the Part 1 NPRM.

    II. Background

    2. In the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission emphasized that “it remain mindful of its responsibility to ensure that benefits are provided only to qualifying entities,” and asked whether its proposals “provide adequate safeguards against unjust enrichment to ensure that bidding credits are awarded only to qualifying small businesses.” In discussing the Commission's proposed two-prong approach to evaluate attribution and establish eligibility for small business benefits, the Commission asked whether it should “take additional steps to assure that ineligible entities cannot exercise undue influence over a small business,” and also asked commenters to “offer any other suggestions the Commission should consider to revise its rules and reform its small business policies.”

    3. After the Part 1 NPRM was released in October 2014, the Commission conducted an auction for 1,614 Advanced Wireless Service licenses in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands (Auction 97), which closed on January 29, 2015. In order to allow interested parties an opportunity to take into account any “lessons learned” from Auction 97, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) extended the comment deadline for the Part 1 NPRM three times. Twenty-one parties submitted comments and fourteen parties submitted reply comments. Based on the issues raised in the Part 1 NPRM, several commenters offered alternative proposals, and suggested other policy considerations the Commission should weigh before amending its Part 1 rules. The Part 1 Request for Comment seeks additional comment on those proposals and suggestions.

    III. Eligibility for Bidding Credits A. Attribution Rules and Small Business Policies

    4. In the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on “find[ing] a reasonable balance between the competing goals of affording [designated] entities reasonable flexibility to obtain the capital necessary to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services and effectively preventing the unjust enrichment of ineligible entities.” The Part 1 NPRM proposed to modify the eligibility standard for small business benefits to provide small businesses greater opportunities to participate in a wide range of spectrum based services. Among other issues, the Part 1 NPRM sought comment on repealing the attributable material relationship (AMR) rule which, for the purposes of determining an entity's eligibility for small business benefits, attributes to the DE applicant the revenues of any entity with which it has one or more agreements for the lease or resale of, on a cumulative basis, more than 25 percent of the spectrum capacity of any individual license it holds. Likewise, the Part 1 NPRM revisited the policy underlying the AMR rule. In lieu of a bright-line test, the Commission proposed a more focused two-pronged approach to evaluate an entity's eligibility for benefits using its longstanding controlling interest and affiliation rules to determine whether an applicant: (1) Meets the applicable small business size standard, and (2) retains control over the spectrum associated with the licenses for which it seeks small business benefits. The Commission also proposed to modify the secondary market rules to make clear that DEs may fully benefit from the same de facto control standard for spectrum manager leasing as is applied to non-DE lessors.

    5. Several commenters support the Commission's proposal to modify the DE eligibility standard by eliminating the AMR rule, stating that it will allow small businesses the flexibility needed to obtain the capital necessary to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services. Those commenters note, among other things, that the proposal relies on well-established Commission standards to evaluate de jure and de facto control with which licensees are familiar, and is coupled with effective unjust enrichment provisions to safeguard against abuse of small business benefits. The Commission invites additional comment on this proposal and related concerns. Specifically, parties supporting the elimination of the AMR rule should explain how eliminating or loosening the restriction will promote competition and ensure small business participation in spectrum-based services, while guarding against ineligible entities' acquiring small business benefits. Several other parties oppose the Commission's proposal to eliminate the AMR rule to replace it with a two-pronged control analysis, arguing that doing so would increase the likelihood that DE benefits might unfairly flow to ineligible entities or spectrum “speculators” in contravention of Congressional intent. Commenters advocating for alternative rule amendments for the DE eligibility rules and the award of benefits should specifically address how the Commission should consider relationships with and investment in a DE applicant, particularly in connection with any use of spectrum acquired with benefits.

    6. Other parties argue that the AMR rule should not only be retained, but strengthened. For instance, some advocate that a DE should be prohibited from leasing more than 25 percent of its spectrum in the aggregate across one or more licenses. Another commenter argues that, if the AMR rule is retained, a DE should not be allowed to lease more than 25 percent of its total spectrum to any one wireless operator. In light of these and similar comments, the Commission seeks further comment on how much of a DE's spectrum it should be able to lease or resell without having to attribute the revenues of its lessees or resellers. Is there a different percentage threshold, either higher or lower, that would better serve the Commission's statutory goals? Should the Commission instead reinstate an absolute limit on the percentage of a DE's spectrum that it may lease or resell? If so, what should that limit be and why? Should any such limit affect DE eligibility as to any license, or only on a license-by-license basis? Should the Commission have different rules for licenses acquired by DEs without bidding credits? Should the Commission's rules regarding spectrum use agreements with DE's differ for those that have an equity interest in the DE? Commenters should also address how any proposed rule amendments for DE eligibility would impact the Commission's goal of providing small businesses with greater access to capital.

    7. Further, some parties suggest that the Commission should consider whether to distinguish between pure spectrum leasing arrangements and network facilities-based wholesale arrangements when evaluating whether to retain the AMR rule. The Commission seeks further comment on this distinction and asks whether and how it should treat wholesale and resale agreements differently from lease arrangements for purposes of attributing revenues to a DE applicant. Commenters are also requested to discuss how the Commission should define “resale” and “wholesale agreements” for purposes of any such distinction, as well as for any other rule modifications it might consider, including if the Commission ultimately choose to retain the AMR rule, and the policy of requiring facilities-based service underlying the rule. Are there any potential advantages of distinguishing between agreements on the basis of the provision of facilities-based service? Are there any potential negative effects of such a distinction such that, on balance, it is preferable to retain the current AMR rule?

    8. Some parties suggest that the AMR rule be retained, but modified to allow DEs to lease spectrum to rural carriers or other DEs without attribution and allow DEs that have acquired licenses without bidding credits to lease those licenses without attribution. In particular, Blooston Rural proposes that the AMR be retained with respect to spectrum licenses that are both acquired with bidding credits and leased to nationwide wireless providers. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals. Commenters are specifically invited to address how the proposed modifications will achieve the Commission's goals of facilitating small business participation in spectrum-based services and enhancing competition, while preventing ineligible entities from acquiring small business benefits and unjust enrichment. Is there a limit on the overall amount of spectrum that a DE should be permitted to lease to another DE or rural carrier? Should any such limit affect DE eligibility as to any license, or only on a license-by-license basis? Commenters are also invited to address whether the proposals regarding modifications to the DE eligibility rules and award of DE bidding credits negatively or positively affect auction revenues, and the extent to which 47 U.S.C. 309(j) permits consideration of any such effects.

    9. With regard to the policy underlying the AMR rule, a number of parties suggest, however, that the Commission should continue to encourage DEs to provide facilities-based service. For instance, one party supports the elimination of the AMR rule, but states that DEs should be required to be facilities-based providers. Some commenters contend that any rule changes related to eligibility for small business benefits must continue to require an applicant seeking to utilize those benefits to be primarily a facilities-based provider. Other commenters support the Commission's proposal to reconsider requiring DEs to primarily provide facilities-based service directly to the public, and favor the elimination of the policy. The Commission invites further comment on the proposed change to this policy, including whether such a change would comply with the statute's directive that the Commission prescribes “ensur[ing] that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.” Commenters are requested to discuss how a policy favoring facilities-based service affects the Commission's ability to prevent warehousing and unjust enrichment, and ensure that small business benefits flow to eligible entities. For instance, should the Commission automatically treat an entity that manages a DE's spectrum license utilization for provisioning services as a controlling interest of the DE? Additionally, the Commission seeks comment as to ways in which the Commission can implement the policy that DEs provide facilities-based services if the AMR rule is eliminated.

    10. The record also includes numerous additional proposals that expand or offer alternative proposals for evaluating DE eligibility. The Commission seeks comment on the specific suggestions raised in the record and set forth below, and asks interested parties to provide specific details on how any proposed rule amendment would further its policy objectives of providing small businesses opportunities and preventing unjust enrichment of ineligible entities: (1) Modify the applicable attribution, controlling interest or affiliation rule to alter the types of equity arrangements available to a DE applicant, by: (i) “Attribut[ing] to a DE the revenues and spectrum of any spectrum holding entity that holds an interest, direct or indirect, equity or non-equity of more than 10 percent,” consistent with the spectrum attribution rules used to consider spectrum aggregation, (ii) Restricting larger nationwide and regional carriers, entities with a certain number of end-user customers, and/or other large companies from providing a material portion of the total capitalization of DE applicants or otherwise exercising control over such applicants as part of the definition of `material relationship;' (iii) “[A]dopting a rebuttable presumption that equity interests of 50 percent or more represent de facto control of the [DE] company;” (2) Adopt a 25 percent minimum equity requirement for DEs to “ensure that controlling interests are properly invested in their companies,” and provide that “any loans to achieve minimum equity thresholds should be negotiated at arms-length;” (3) Limit the total dollar amount of DE benefits that any DE (or group of affiliated DEs) may claim during any given auction, based on some multiple of its annual revenues, or a set cap of $32.5 million to “ensure that DEs cannot acquire spectrum in a manner that is wildly disproportionate to the concept of a small business;” (4) Limit the overall amount that a small business can bid in order to ensure that a DE is not able to “bid at levels that undercut the purpose of the DE program” and base such cap on some multiple of a small business gross revenue threshold in the Part 1 schedule, such as ten times the annual gross revenues; (5) Rather than capping DE benefits, adopt another limiting metric such as population, to tie bidding credits more closely to a typical business plan of a small business. Under this proposal, a DE applicant bidding on licenses covering a relatively small number of pops, such as in rural areas, would not be subject to a cap, but nationwide licenses or licenses covering high-value, metropolitan areas would be limited; (6) Narrow the scope of the affiliation rules to exclude individuals and entities whose revenues are currently attributable to a DE, such as directors and certain family members, including in-laws, siblings, step-siblings, and half-siblings, if they are unlikely to exercise control over the applicant entity unless the applicant has more than incidental business relationships with a particular relation; and (7) “[C]larify the affiliation rules to prevent rural telephone companies from losing [DE] status because they hold a fractional interest in a cellular partnership,” where the rural telephone company has no ability to control the partnership's day-to-day operations and/or strategy in any significant way.

    11. In addressing proposals proffered in the record, commenters are requested to provide specific comment about how the proposals could be implemented and whether there are any alternative thresholds that would better meet the Commission's goals. For example, commenters should address whether and how any relevant terms should be defined and how the proposals should apply to existing DEs and those that will apply for benefits in the future. Are the existing standards for disclosable interest holders and affiliates appropriate for evaluating DE eligibility consistent with the Commission's policy objectives, or should the Commission modify its rules to include other non-controlling interests in a DE that may potentially cause unjust enrichment of ineligible entities or enable ineligible entities to exercise undue influence over a DE? Should there be a cap on the overall amount of money that non-controlling interests can contribute to a DE? Should there be a cap on, or a prohibition of, a non-controlling interest holder's use of spectrum for a license that has been acquired with DE benefits? For attribution purposes, is the revenue information the Commission uses to determine DE eligibility appropriate, or should the Commission consider other revenues such as sources of personal income? To what extent should an interest holder's revenues be attributed to a DE, for instance, should the attribution of revenues be based on the correlating percentage of the interest holder's equity contribution to the DE rather than all gross revenues? In advocating for particular changes, commenters should discuss how such changes or any resulting disclosure requirements could be implemented in the auction process, including the short-form application stage. To the extent that the proposals recommend incorporating specific percentages, thresholds, or procedures into the Commission's DE eligibility rules, commenters should explain how these approaches, or any other alternatives, would improve the Commission's DE program and better serve its statutory goals. Additionally, how should the Commission factor in the rising cost of acquiring spectrum licenses into any rule amendments that it consider?

    12. On February 26, 2015, United States Senator Claire McCaskill sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler requesting that the Commission eliminate the “preferential” treatment for Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) that do not meet the standard definition of a small business under the Commission's attribution rules. Under 47 CFR 1.2110(c)(5)(xi), small businesses affiliated with Indian tribes or ANCs are not required to include revenues of those Indian tribes or ANCs, other than gaming revenues, into their gross revenues for purposes of determining eligibility as a small business. In adopting this exemption, the Commission sought to ensure that its rules remained consistent with other Federal laws, policies, and regulations, and most notably the affiliation rules of the Small Business Administration. The Commission seeks comment on whether ANC revenues should be treated the same way as attributable revenues for purposes of DE eligibility. Additionally, the Commission seeks comment on whether its rules concerning Indian tribes or ANCs remain consistent with other Federal policies and practices, and whether and how to amend them. The Commission also seeks comment on whether its rules pertaining to ANCs increase the risk of unjust enrichment to some entities.

    B. Unjust Enrichment

    13. In the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission also sought comment on what safeguards it should consider to ensure that bidding credits are extended only to qualifying small businesses, noting that “[unjust enrichment] provisions will be as important as ever and that strong enforcement of [the Commission's] rules is critical.” The Commission sought comment on whether any changes were needed to strengthen the unjust enrichment rules and how best it can continue to scrutinize applications and proposed transactions to ensure that only eligible entities receive benefits, while not undermining the statutory directive to ensure that DEs are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.

    14. Commenters are divided on whether the existing rules provide a sufficient safeguard to protect against unjust enrichment, while ensuring that DEs have an opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services. Several parties urge the Commission to retain the existing rules, noting that a longer unjust enrichment period would “hamper or eliminate the ability of DEs to raise and retain capital or operate their businesses with flexibility comparable to businesses in the rest of the industry.”

    15. Other commenters urge the Commission to adopt stronger rules to provide a more meaningful deterrent to speculation and abuse. T-Mobile, for example, advocates that the unjust enrichment rules should be adjusted to: “(1) encompass the entire license term; and (2) require licensees that profit from the sale of a license obtained at a discount to repay that windfall profit [the sales price of the licenses above and beyond the auction bid price], plus interest.” T-Mobile further notes that, “in cases where spectrum is not available for use in the near term due to Federal Government or commercial incumbents, the Commission's existing holding periods . . . do not correspond with any rational benchmark for licensees to engage in a legitimate business.” To ensure that spectrum resources are made available to the public in a timely manner, T-Mobile advocates that the Commission should require DEs to show some evidence of build-out activity within one year of acquiring the license or upon clearing spectrum incumbents. In addition, Taxpayer Advocates urges the Commission to require a DE to pay back all or part of its bidding credit if it chooses to “lease or sell a significant portion of spectrum within the first five years of ownership.” Other commenters contend that more stringent requirements like these proposals will further impede small businesses' ability to acquire access to capital.

    16. The Commission seeks comment on these alternative viewpoints. Specifically, the Commission seeks additional comment on whether to extend the unjust enrichment period for a specified number of years (e.g., 10 years), the entire license term or to link it to an interim construction milestone. Are there other alternatives the Commission should consider? For example, should the Commission revisit the percentage amounts associated with its unjust enrichment repayment schedule? Alternatively, should the Commission enhance its unjust enrichment rules as T-Mobile suggests to address concerns that the current unjust enrichment repayment rules are viewed as a “mere cost of doing business” by requiring repayment of any profit or some multiple of the bidding credit received? Commenters are also invited to address whether the DE benefits associated with any and all of a DE's licenses should be forfeited if it loses DE eligibility as to any one license. Finally, the Commission seeks comment on whether it should consider the proposal in the record to impose additional build-out and reporting obligations on DEs by requiring them to demonstrate “tangible steps toward deployment” within one year of acquiring license(s) or clearing incumbent spectrum users. Is one year an appropriate timeframe or should the Commission require demonstrations at additional benchmarks? Are there any other options the Commission should consider to prevent spectrum warehousing and promote expeditious build-out, e.g., require repayment of some percentage of a bidding credit if a DE fails to meet a benchmark? The Commission asks commenters to address any trade-offs related to these proposals, including the extent to which any implemented rule amendments would restrict a DE's ability to access capital, deter participation of ineligible entities in the DE program, and prevent unjust enrichment.

    C. Bidding Credits

    17. In the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission proposed to increase the gross revenues thresholds for defining the three tiers of small businesses, in order to reflect the changing nature of the wireless industry, including the overall increase in the size of wireless networks and the increasing capital costs to deploy them. Based upon the percentage increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) price index from when the small business definitions were first adopted, the Commission proposed to adjust the three-year gross revenues thresholds from $3 million to $4 million for businesses potentially eligible for a 35 percent bidding credit; from $15 million to $20 million for business potentially eligible for a 25 percent bidding credit; and from $40 million to $55 million for businesses potentially eligible for a 15 percent bidding credit. The Commission also sought comment regarding the following: increasing the percentage amounts of bidding credits available to small businesses in 47 CFR 1.2110(f); adding additional small business definitions and associated tiers of bidding credit amounts; and offering bidding preferences based on criteria other than business size.

    1. Small Business Bidding Credits

    18. Many commenters support increasing the gross revenues thresholds by the proposed increments, citing the lack of DE participation in recent auctions, changes in capital markets, and the long period of time since the current thresholds were set. Some commenters further advocate that the Commission increase the revenue thresholds even more than proposed in the Part 1 NPRM. Several commenters support the continued use of gross revenues as the basis for analyzing business size, referring to the administrative workability of this metric. ARC proposes indexing the gross revenue tiers to the costs of auctioned spectrum on a MHz per pop basis. With respect to the credit percentages themselves, many commenters support increasing the credit percentages generally or across the board, and several support specific increases for the lowest threshold tier (the largest credit). On the other hand, CAGW opposes increasing the bidding credit percentages, arguing that such an increase “could lead to even more questionable affiliations between large and small companies.” Others suggest that bidding credit increases and expanding the eligibility for the DE program should not be implemented until the rules are revised and there is surety that ineligible entities will not benefit from bidding credits. How does this suggestion align with the Commission's proposals to address all issues at the same time in this proceeding?

    19. The Commission invites comment on these views. Commenters should address implementation issues associated with any alternate approaches, and provide concrete data and analysis to demonstrate whether and how such approaches will better meet the Commission's statutory goals.

    2. Other Bidding Preferences/Types of Credits

    20. A number of commenters urge the Commission to consider bidding credits based on criteria other than business size. Several parties, for example, encourage the Commission to implement a bidding credit for rural telephone companies, ranging from 25 to 35 percent, to be awarded in addition to any small business bidding credit for which an applicant may qualify. Another commenter urged the Commission to re-examine its rules concerning the tribal land bidding credit. Other parties request that the Commission adopt bidding credits or other preference for parties that commit to serve rural, unserved and underserved areas. In addition at least one party advocates that the Commission's rules should remain focused on small businesses.

    21. The Commission seeks specific, data-driven comment regarding these alternative suggestions, including associated implementation issues. Commenters are also requested to discuss how such proposals would advance the Commission's statutory objectives and why they would be preferable to other proposals.

    22. The Commission specifically invites comment on the threshold percentages proposed with regard to the adoption of a bidding credit reserved for rural telephone companies, as well as the suggestion that such a bidding credit be cumulative with any small business bidding credit for which a rural telephone company may also qualify, possibly exceeding 50 percent. To what extent would a rural telephone company bidding credit better enable these entities to compete successfully for licenses at auction? Are the higher costs of service and lower population densities already reflected in the winning bid price for rural markets? In addition to the data submitted by Blooston Rural, commenters are invited to provide additional analyses to demonstrate the need for a rural bidding credit. Does the possibility of cumulating small business and rural telephone company bidding credits increase the risk of unjust enrichment or cause concern regarding other statutory provisions? Commenters are requested to address the extent to which a rural bidding credit may be duplicative of other Commission and Federal government programs designed to facilitate network expansion into rural, unserved, and underserved communities. Is there any way to properly monitor any targeted program or other programs run by the Commission or other agencies to prevent potential abuse? Should the Commission consider any additional obligations or responsibilities for entities that benefit from both a small business and rural bidding credit?

    D. Alternatives To Promote Small Business Participation in the Wireless Sector

    23. In the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission sought comment on suggestions that would enable the DE program to remain a viable mechanism for small businesses to gain flexibility to access capital, compete in auctions, and participate in new and innovative ways to provision services in a mature wireless industry. Several commenters provided suggestions in response to the Commission's inquiry stating that a review of alternatives is necessary to ascertain whether the current DE program is helpful or harmful to its intended beneficiaries. Many parties advocate for alternatives they contend would facilitate small business access to benefits in both the auction and secondary market contexts. For instance, AT&T suggests that providing “incentives for secondary market transactions or virtual networks,” may offer a more direct path for more valuable small businesses in the telecommunications industry and may be more effective than facilitating participation in auctions due to the cost of licenses and capital needed to build networks. Other incentives may include Blooston Rural's proposal which advocates for a change that would allow a winning bidder to deduct from the auction purchase price the pro rata portion of its winning bid payment of any area that is partitioned to a rural telephone company or cooperative. ARC would expand Blooston Rural's proposal to DEs and argues that this change would “benefit DEs by providing incentives for partitioning and promoting secondary market transactions.” Additionally, would strengthening the Commission's build-out requirements and improving processes to reclaim licenses provide opportunities for small businesses to gain access to spectrum and increase diversity of license holders? Interested parties should provide specific instances where they think improvements could be made and options the Commission could pursue.

    24. The Commission seeks comment on these proposals. In particular, commenters should address whether and how Blooston Rural's proposal could be implemented in light of the Commission's rules prohibiting certain communications and payment timeframes. Are there alternative frameworks that the Commission should consider to promote a diverse telecommunications ecosystem, including incentives for secondary market transactions or virtual networks that could provide a more direct path into the industry for all entities, including DEs? Pursuant to the Commission's statutory objectives, what role(s) can and should small businesses play in the “provision of spectrum-based services” in today's telecommunications industry?

    IV. Other Part 1 Considerations A. Former Defaulter Rule

    25. The Part 1 NPRM proposed to tailor the former defaulter rule by balancing concerns that the current application of the rule is overbroad against the Commission's continued need to ensure that auction bidders are financially reliable. Specifically, consistent with the terms of a general waiver it granted for Auction 97, the Commission proposed to exclude any cured default on any Commission license or delinquency on any non-tax debt owed to any Federal agency for which any of the following criteria are met: (1) The notice of the final payment deadline or delinquency was received more than seven years before the relevant short-form application deadline; (2) the default or delinquency amounted to less than $100,000; (3) the default or delinquency was paid within two quarters (i.e., 6 months) after receiving the notice of the final payment deadline or delinquency; or (4) the default or delinquency was the subject of a legal or arbitration proceeding and was cured upon resolution of the proceeding.

    26. Nearly all of the commenters support the Commission's proposal, some with modest additions, noting that the proposed former defaulter rule strikes the right balance between ensuring that winning bidders are capable of meeting their financial obligations and limiting costly and overbroad application of the rule. AT&T suggests that the Commission should also “include an exemption based on an applicant's credit-rating,” because “applicants with an investment grade credit rating pose no meaningful risk of defaulting on a Commission obligation and thus should not be required to submit an additional 50 percent upfront payment penalty.” NTCH, however, suggests that the Commission eliminate the former defaulter rule altogether because it is ineffective, unneeded, and counterproductive. The Commission seeks comment on these alternative proposals. To the extent commenters support the proposal to eliminate the former defaulter rule altogether, the Commission seeks specific comment on how it can adequately ensure that bidders are capable of meeting their financial commitments.

    B. Commonly Controlled Entities

    27. The Part 1 NPRM proposed to codify the Commission's longstanding competitive bidding procedure that prohibits the same individual or entity from filing more than one short-form application, and to establish a new rule to prohibit entities that are exclusively controlled by a single individual or set of individuals from qualifying to bid on licenses in the same or overlapping geographic areas in a specific auction based on more than one short-form application. Commenters addressing this issue largely support the Commission's proposals, although some encourage the Commission to take a step further and consider whether to apply the proposals to entities with common, non-controlling interests. T-Mobile notes, for example, that “it is critical that the Commission also address the potential for coordinated bidding behavior by bidders that are linked by common attributable interests,” noting that otherwise these entities would “have unfair advantages in an auction and [could] manipulate bidding to the detriment of other participants and the public.” For example, Spectrum Financial implies that allowing an entity with ownership in more than one bidder which exceeds a certain percentage (e.g., 50% or more) to participate in an auction promotes collusion. To address this concern, one commenter recommends that the Commission “adopt a requirement in addition to its existing [47 CFR 1.2105's] rules [prohibiting certain communications] that individuals or entities listed as disclosable interest [  ] holders on more than one short-form application certify that they are not, and will not be, privy to, or involved in, the bidding strategy of more than one auction participant.” AT&T proposes that “each applicant should certify that it has not entered into any agreements with [any] other applicant regarding their bids or bidding strategy, and that they are not privy to any other applicant's bids or bidding strategy” in lieu of the current disclosure requirements under the Commission's rules. Commenters also suggest that applicants be limited in holding ownership interests in multiple auction applicants. If the Commission were to set an ownership limit, what is the appropriate limit? Should entities be restricted from having an interest (direct or indirect) in more than one applicant for a license in a geographic license area? Alternatively, would establishing a limit on financial investments that an entity may make in other auction participants address commenters' concerns? Should such entities be restricted from directing or participating directly in the bidding of more than one applicant, regardless of whether there is common control? The Commission seeks comment on these concerns and suggestions and any alternatives. In particular, commenters are invited to address what attribution standards the Commission should use in the context of any such rule. Finally, the Commission observes that the adoption of some of the alternatives by commenters may directly or indirectly conflict with other Part 1 competitive bidding rules. For instance, one commenter proposed an additional certification on certain prohibited communications for disclosable interest holders, which may conflict with an exception in the Commission's current rules on prohibiting certain communications. The Commission seeks comment on these potential conflicts and how to harmonize the proposals with its competitive bidding rules, while fulfilling its statutory goals.

    C. Joint Bidding Arrangements

    28. In light of the evolution of the mobile wireless marketplace since the Commission last adopted joint bidding rules in 1994, the Part 1 NPRM proposed to prohibit joint bidding and other arrangements among nationwide providers, including agreements to participate in an auction through a newly formed joint entity. For purposes of the Commission's joint bidding rules, it proposed to distinguish nationwide providers from non-nationwide providers because of the increased likelihood that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers would lead to competitive harm or otherwise harm the public interest. In contrast, the Commission observed a reduced likelihood for competitive harm if non-nationwide providers entered into joint bidding agreements with other non-nationwide providers. Accordingly, the Commission tentatively concluded that it should continue to permit joint bidding arrangements among non-nationwide providers and asked commenters proposing any changes to the joint bidding rules for arrangements among non-nationwide providers to discuss why such changes are necessary. Additionally, the Commission sought comment on the policies and procedures that should apply to bidding arrangements between nationwide and non-nationwide providers. Finally, the Commission also sought comment on its analysis of the harms and benefits of joint bidding arrangements generally, and on whether its proposals “provide an effective framework for addressing the[se] relative harms and benefits.”

    29. Commenters are divided on these proposals, with some offering additional recommendations. Sprint opposes prohibiting bidding arrangements between nationwide providers because such a rule would not account for differences in the relative market power of the four current nationwide providers. T-Mobile opposes instituting bright-line rules at all, advocating for adherence to the Commission's existing practice of addressing all bidding agreements on a case-by-case basis. RWA, ARC, and CCA support continuing to allow joint bidding by non-nationwide providers, with ARC arguing that such arrangements “can enable smaller companies to pool their resources and compete effectively for licenses that they would be unable to acquire on their own.” Likewise, RWA contends that “joint bidding arrangements can provide some small and rural wireless carriers with opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable due to limited financial resources.”

    30. AT&T, Taxpayer Advocates, and T-Mobile contend that the Commission should place greater limitations on joint bidding than proposed in the Part 1 NPRM based upon perceived negative effects of non-nationwide providers using joint bidding arrangements in Auction 97. These commenters argue that certain bidders exploited the Commission's rules to the detriment of other bidders and the public interest. Accordingly, some of these commenters submit alternative proposals, which they believe are less likely to lead to competitive harm or otherwise harm the public interest. The Commission seeks comment on these alternative proposals: (1) Prohibit all joint bidding agreements between DEs and non-DEs; (2) Prohibit all joint bidding arrangements and require instead that entities seeking to coordinate their bidding activities form a bidding consortium or joint venture and divide the licenses acquired after the auction is over; (3) Prohibit all joint bidding arrangements between commonly controlled or affiliated entities; (4) Generally prohibit parties that are privy to others' bidding information during the auction from placing multiple coordinated bids on a common license; (5) Prohibit an individual from serving as an authorized bidder for more than one auction participant; (6) Permit bidding agreements between all providers in rural Partial Economic Areas where the providers involved have less than 45 MHz*pops of below-1-GHz spectrum; (7) Modify the definition of “joint bidding and other arrangements” to include only arrangements that are directly related to the coordination of bidding strategies or mechanics; (8) Require a more comprehensive certification concerning bidding agreements and bidding strategies in addition to, or in lieu of, current disclosure requirements, such as a requirement that all disclosable interest holders on more than one application certify that they do not have knowledge of the bidding strategy of more than one applicant; and (9) Implement a prior approval process for joint bidding arrangements before the short-form deadline, including how to implement the process in an efficient manner.

    31. In addition, the Commission seeks to expand the record and request comment on the following proposals: (1) Prohibit parties to a joint bidding agreement from bidding separately on licenses in the same market; (2) Prohibit communications among joint bidders when bidding on licenses in any of the same markets; and (3) Prohibit any individual or entity from serving on more than one bidding committee.

    32. The Commission requests comment on whether and how all of the proposals offered above would better protect against anti-competitive behavior—such as preserving bidding eligibility, and limiting bid exposure and distortion of demand—or other harms to the public interest. Commenters are also requested to address specifically how such proposals could be implemented to preserve auction integrity.

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Ex Parte Presentations

    33. Requests for Ex Parte Meetings. This matter shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the ex parte rules, as set forth in paragraph 145 of the Part 1 NPRM. Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentations must contain summaries of the substance of the presentations and not merely a listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one- or two-sentence description of the views and arguments presented generally is required. Other requirements pertaining to oral and written presentations are set forth in 47 CFR 1.1206(b).

    B. Supplement to Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    34. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Part 1 NPRM included an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) exploring the potential impact on small entities of the Commission's proposals. 47 U.S.C. Section 309(j)(4)(D) of the Communications Act requires that when the Commission prescribes regulations in designing systems of competitive bidding, it shall “ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by member of minority groups and women are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.” Consistent with this statutory objective, the Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the Part 1 NPRM, including comment on the IRFA. Though numerous responses were directed at the small business aspects of the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission received no comments in direct response to the IRFA. This supplemental IRFA addresses the possible incremental significant economic impact on small entities of the alternative proposals in the Part 1 Request for Comment. Interested parties are invited to submit written public comments on this supplemental analysis. Any such comments must be filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines reflected in the “Dates” section of this publication and have a separate and distinct heading designating them as responses to this supplemental analysis. The Commission will send a copy of the Part 1 Request for Comment, including this supplemental IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. In addition, the Part 1 Request for Comment and supplemental IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.

    35. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Competitive Bidding Procedures. The Part 1 Request for Comment seeks additional comment on a number of specific changes to the Commission's Part 1 competitive bidding rules suggested by commenters in response to the questions and proposals set forth in the Part 1 NPRM. Specifically, it seeks comment on alternative proposals for evaluating DE eligibility for bidding credits and for updating other Part 1 competitive bidding rules governing auction participation by former defaulters, commonly controlled entities, and entities with joint bidding arrangements. The Part 1 Request for Comment continues to advance the Commission's statutory directive to ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women (collectively, DEs) are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services, and fulfill the commitment made in the BIA Report & Order. Soliciting further input on these alternative proposals will provide a more complete record to evaluate and act upon the concerns raised in the Part 1 NPRM.

    36. The Part 1 Request for Comment seeks comment on the following alternative proposals that would modify the Commission's rules concerning DE eligibility: (1) Modify the attributable material relationship (AMR) rule to distinguish between pure spectrum leasing arrangements and network-based wholesale arrangements and/or to allow DEs to lease spectrum to rural carriers or other DEs without attribution; (2) Retain or eliminate the AMR rule and continue to require DEs to provide facilities-based service; (3) Eliminate the requirement that DEs provide facilities-based service; (4) Strengthen the AMR rule by prohibiting DEs from leasing more than 25 percent of their spectrum in the aggregate, across one or more licenses or to any one wireless operator; (5) Modify the applicable attribution, controlling interest, or affiliation rule to alter the types of equity arrangements available to a DE applicant, by: (i) attributing to a DE the revenues and spectrum of any spectrum holding entity that holds an interest, direct or indirect, equity or non-equity of more than 10 percent; (ii) restricting larger nationwide and regional carriers, entities with a certain number of end-user customers, and/or other large companies from providing a material portion of the total capitalization of DE applicants or otherwise exercising control over such applicants as part of the definition of “material relationship;” and (iii) adopting a rebuttable presumption that equity interests of 50 percent or more represent de facto control of the DE company; (6) Adopt a 25 percent minimum equity requirement for DEs and ensure that any loans to achieve minimum equity thresholds should be negotiated at arms-length; (7) Limit the total dollar amount of DE benefits that any DE (or group of affiliated DEs) may claim during any given auction, based on some multiple of its annual revenues, or a set cap of $32.5 million; alternatively, base this limit on some multiple times the applicable small business definition in the Part 1 schedule, or another metric like population to tie bidding credits more closely to a typical small business plan; (8) Narrow the scope of affiliation rules to exclude individuals and entities whose revenues are currently attributable to a DE if they are unlikely to exercise control over the applicant entity, such as directors and certain family members, including in-laws, siblings, step-siblings, and half-siblings, unless the applicant has more than incidental business relationships with a particular relation; (9) Clarify the affiliation rules to prevent rural telephone companies from losing DE status by holding a fractional interest in a cellular partnership where the rural telephone company has no control over the partnership's day-to-day operations and/or strategy; (10) Treat the revenues of Alaska Native Corporations the same way as attributable revenues for purposes of DE eligibility under the Commission's rules; (11) Retain the existing unjust enrichment rules or strengthen the rules by: (i) changing the unjust enrichment period to encompass the entire license term, for a specified number of years, or linking it to an interim construction milestone; and (ii) requiring licensees that profit from the sale of a license obtained at a discount to repay that windfall profit, plus interest, in addition to the bidding credit discount; (12) Require DEs to show some evidence of build-out activity within one year of acquiring the license or upon clearing spectrum incumbents and require repayment of some percentage of its bidding credit discount if it fails to meet the build-out milestone; (13) Adjust the percentage amounts associated with the Commission's unjust enrichment repayment schedule; (14) Require DEs to pay back all or part of its bidding credit if it chooses to lease or sell a significant portion of spectrum within the first five years of ownership; (15) Adjust the percentage amounts associated with the Commission's unjust enrichment repayment schedule; (16) Decline to increase the Part 1 NPRM's proposed gross revenue thresholds defining the three tiers of small business bidding credits and to increase the scale of the DE program prior to reform; (17) Modify the definition of small business for acquiring bidding credits by: (i) Increasing the gross revenue thresholds above the original proposed amounts in the Part 1 NPRM; (ii) indexing the gross revenue tiers to the costs of auctioned spectrum on a MHz per pop basis (rather than using the Gross Domestic Product price index); and (iii) increasing the bidding credit percentages across all three tiers or solely for the lowest tier (the largest credit); (18) Consider the adoption or review of other bidding preferences/types of credits by: (i) Adopting a bidding credit for rural telephone companies to be awarded in addition to any small business bidding credit for which an applicant may qualify; (ii) adopting a bidding credit for parties that commit to serve unserved and underserved areas; (iii) reviewing the tribal land biding credit; (iv) establishing a mechanism for a winning bidder to deduct from its auction purchase price the pro rata portion of its winning bid payment of any area partitioned to a rural telephone company or cooperative or any DE; and (v) adopting a “localism” bidding credit for any DE applicant with an 10% or greater interest holder that has been a resident of an unserved, underserved, or persistent poverty area for more than a year; and (19) Provide incentives for secondary market transactions or virtual networks.

    37. The Part 1 Request for Comment also seeks comment on alternatives proposed for other Part 1 competitive bidding rules relating to former defaulters, commonly controlled entities, and entities with joint bidding arrangements. Specifically, these alternative proposals would: (1) Modify the former defaulter rule to include an exemption based on an applicant's investment grade rating or eliminate the former defaulter rule altogether; (2) Apply also, common, non-controlling entities to the Part 1 NPRM's proposed rule to prohibit commonly controlled entities from qualifying to bid on licenses in the same or overlapping geographic areas based on more than one short-form application; (3) Limit the ownership interests or financial investments an auction applicant may have in other auction applicants; (4) Adopt a requirement in addition to the Commission's existing 47 CFR 1.2105's rules that individuals or entities listed as disclosable interest holders on more than one short-form application certify that they are not, and will not be, privy to, or involved in, the bidding strategy of more than one auction participant; (5) Modify the Commission's rules governing the treatment of joint bidding arrangements by: (i) Prohibiting all joint bidding agreements between DEs and non-DEs and between commonly controlled or affiliated entities; (ii) prohibiting all joint bidding arrangements and requiring instead that entities seeking to coordinate their bidding activities form a bidding consortium or a joint venture and divide the licenses acquired after the auction is over; (iii) permitting bidding agreements between all providers in rural Partial Economic Areas where the providers involved have less than 45 MHz*pops of below-1-GHz spectrum; (iv) modifying the definition of “joint bidding and other arrangements” to include only arrangements that are directly related to the coordination of bidding strategies or mechanics; and (v) prohibiting parties to a joint bidding agreement from bidding separately on licenses in the same market and from communicating about bidding information when bidding on licenses in any of the same markets; (6) Prohibit parties that are privy to others' bidding information during the auction from placing multiple coordinated bids on a common license; (7) Prohibit an individual from serving as an authorized bidder for more than one auction participant; (8) Prohibit any individual or entity from serving on more than one bidding committee; and (9) Implement a prior approval process for joint bidding arrangements before the short-form deadline, including how to implement the process in an efficient manner.

    38. Legal Basis for Proposed Rules. The Part 1 Request for Comment is adopted pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 303(r), 309(j), 316 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 303(r), 309(j), 316.

    39. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to which the Proposed Rules Will Apply. 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 rules proposed in that rulemaking proceeding, 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. If adopted, the alternative proposals in the Part 1 Request for Comment may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. However, the alternative proposals described in the Part 1 Request for Comment will affect the same individuals and entities described in paragraphs 7 through 17 of the IRFA associated with the underlying Part 1 NPRM.

    40. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities. The Part 1 Request for Comment seeks additional comment on a number of rule changes proposed by commenters that will affect reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements for small entities. However, the majority of these alternatives are outgrowths of the Part 1 NPRM's proposals and policies in which a description was previously provided under paragraphs 19 through 33 of the IRFA. To the extent the alternative proposals discussed in the Part 1 Request for Comment differ from the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission discusses these changes.

    41. Eligibility for Bidding Credits. The proposals advanced by commenters in the proceeding would distinguish for purposes of establishing DE qualifications between pure spectrum leasing and network-based wholesale arrangements. Other new proposals would modify the attribution rules to restrict the types of equity arrangements available to a DE applicant, limit the amount of DE benefits that a DE may claim or the overall amount that a small business can bid, narrow the entities whose revenues are attributable to a DE, prevent certain rural telephone companies from losing DE status, treat ANC revenues the same way as attributable revenues, lengthen the unjust enrichment period, require licensees that profit from the sale of a DE license to repay such profit with interest, require forfeiture of DE benefits for all licenses if a DE forfeits DE eligibility for one license, and require DEs to show some evidence of build-out under the DE annual reporting requirement within one year of acquiring the license or upon clearing spectrum incumbents.

    42. Bidding Credits. The Part 1 Request for Comment also seeks comments on alternative proposals that would include additional bidding credits for rural telephone companies, for companies committed to providing service to unserved or underserved areas, and for any DE applicant with a 10 percent or greater interest holder that has been a resident of an unserved, underserved, or persistent poverty area for more than a year. Another suggestion would establish an auction mechanism which would allow a winning bidder to deduct from its auction purchase price the pro rata portion of its winning bid payment of any area partitioned to a rural telephone company or cooperative, or any DE.

    43. Other Part 1 Rules. In the Part 1 Request for Comment the Commission seeks comment on alternative suggestions to modify other Part 1 competitive bidding rules concerning former defaulters, commonly controlled entities, and entities with joint bidding agreements. With respect to the former defaulter rule, one commenter suggested that the Commission adopt an exemption based on an applicant's investment grade rating, while another commenter suggested eliminating the former defaulter rule altogether. In regards to the Part 1 NPRM's proposal concerning commonly controlled entities, several commenters urged the Commission to apply its proposal to entities with common, non-controlling interests as well. One commenter proposed that the Commission adopt a certification to prohibit certain communications on the Commission's short-form application, while another commenter submitted a similar proposal but would use the certification in lieu of the Commission's disclosure requirements.

    44. The Commission received several alternative suggestions concerning joint bidding agreements and other arrangements. Several commenters opposed the Commission's proposal to prohibit bidding arrangements between nationwide providers; instead, these commenters advocated for adherence to the Commission's existing practice of analyzing bidding arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Other commenters urged the Commission to adopt proposals that would: (1) Prohibit joint bidding agreements between DEs and non-DEs and between commonly controlled or affiliated entities; (2) prohibit all joint bidding arrangements and require instead the formation of a bidding consortium or a joint venture which would divide the licenses acquired after the auction is over; (3) permitting bidding agreements between all providers in rural PEAs where the providers involved have less than 45 MHz*pops of below-1-GHz spectrum; (4) narrow the definition of “joint bidding agreement and other arrangements” to arrangements directly related to coordination of bidding strategies or mechanics; (5) prohibit parties to a joint bidding agreement from bidding separately on licenses in the same market and from communicating about bidding information when bidding on licenses in any of the same markets; (6) prohibit parties that are privy to others' bidding information during the auction from placing multiple coordinated bids on a common license; (7) prohibit an individual from serving as an authorized bidder for more than one auction participant; (8) prohibit any individual or entity from serving on more than one bidding committee; (9) implement a prior approval process for joint bidding arrangements before the short-form deadline, including how to implement the process in an efficient manner; and (10) limit an auction applicant's ownership interest or financial investment in other auction applicants.

    45. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives beneficial to small entities considered in reaching a proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) Establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) clarification, consolidation, or simplification for small entities of compliance and reporting requirements; (3) use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption for small entities.

    46. Most of the alternative proposals in Part 1 Request for Comment correlate to the Part 1 NPRM's proposals and policies for modifying the Commission's Part 1 competitive bidding rules. As such, a description of the steps taken to minimize the significant economic impact and the alternatives considered for these proposals can be found under paragraphs 34 through 38 of the Part 1 NPRM's IRFA. To the extent that some of the alternative proposals may be distinguishable from the Part 1 NPRM, the Commission seeks additional comment on these suggestions to fully evaluate the alternatives raised in the record to date. In doing so, the Commission remains mindful of its statutory obligations which require the Commission to “ensure that small businesses, rural telephone companies, and businesses owned by members of minority groups and women are given the opportunity to participate in the provision of spectrum-based services.” The statute also directs the Commission to promote “economic opportunity and competition . . . by avoiding excessive concentration of licenses and by disseminating licenses among a wide variety of applicants, including small businesses.”

    47. In Part 1 Request for Comment the Commission continues to explore alternative proposals for establishing DE eligibility and modifying other Part 1 competitive bidding rules. With respect to the DE rules concerning attribution and unjust enrichment, the Commission seeks to provide small businesses with the flexibility to engage in business ventures that include increased forms of leasing and other spectrum use agreements. In pursuing these goals, however, the Commission also remains mindful of its responsibility to ensure that DE benefits are provided only to qualifying entities. Accordingly, the Commission also aims to employ adequate safeguards against unjust enrichment.

    48. As part of this proceeding, the Commissions took a fresh look at its bidding credit program since its inception in 1997 to ensure that it continues to be a viable mechanism for small businesses in light of the current wireless marketplace. The Commission's bidding credit program is the primary way it facilitates participation by small businesses at auction. As a general matter, most of the alternative proposals would provide small businesses with an economic benefit by providing a percentage discount on auction winning bids and therefore make it easier for small businesses to compete in auction and acquire spectrum licenses.

    49. To clarify and streamline the Commission competitive bidding rules in advance of BIA, the Commission also explored the need for other revisions to its Part 1 competitive bidding rules to improve transparency and efficiency of the auction process. As noted in the Part 1 NPRM, most of the proposed changes to the Part 1 rules would apply to all entities in the same manner as the Commission would apply these changes uniformly to all entities that choose to participate in spectrum license auctions. Applying the same rules equally in this context provides consistently and predictability to the auction process, and minimizes administrative burdens for all auction participants including small businesses. In fact, many of the proposed rule revisions clarify the Commission's competitive bidding rules, including short-form application requirements. For instance, nearly all commenters supported the Commission's proposal to modify the former defaulter rule by balancing concerns that the current application of the rule is overbroad with the Commission's continued need to ensure that auction bidders are financially responsible. Finally, the Commission continues to focus its attention on joint bidding agreements and other arrangements to preserve and promote robust competition in the mobile wireless marketplace and facilitate competition among bidders at auction, including small entities.

    50. Federal Rules Which Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rules.

    None.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09489 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    80 78 Thursday, April 23, 2015 Notices AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION Public Quarterly Meeting of the Board of Directors AGENCY:

    United States African Development Foundation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) will hold its quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors to discuss the agency's programs and administration.

    DATES:

    The meeting date is Tuesday, April 28th, 2015, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting location is 1400 I Street Northwest, Suite #1000 (Main Conference Room), Washington, DC 20005-2246.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michele Rivard, 202-233-8804.

    Authority:

    Public Law 96-533 (22 U.S.C. § 290h).

    Dated: April 15, 2015. Doris Martin, General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09422 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6117-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Agricultural Library Agricultural Research Service Notice of Intent To Request an Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 (60 FR 44978, August 29, 1995), this notice announces the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) intention to request an extension of a currently approved information collection, Information Collection For Document Delivery Services at the National Agricultural Library (NAL), that expires October 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send Comments to: USDA, ARS-NAL, Digitization and Access Branch, 10301 Baltimore Avenue, Room 304, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2351.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kay Derr, Digitization Librarian, telephone: 301-504-5879; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Information Collection For Document Delivery Services.

    OMB Number: 0518-0027.

    Expiration Date of Approval: October 31, 2015.

    Type of Request: To extend a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: In its role as both a preeminent agricultural research library and a National Library of the United States, NAL (part of the USDA's ARS) provides loans and photocopies of materials from its collections to libraries and other institutions and organizations. NAL follows applicable copyright laws and interlibrary loan guidelines, standards, codes, and practices when providing loans and photocopies and charges a fee, if applicable, for this service. To request a loan or photocopy, institutions must provide a formal request to NAL using either NAL's web-based online request system or an interlibrary loan request system such as the Online Computer Library Center or the National Library of Medicine's Docline. Information provided in these requests include the name, address, and telephone number of the party requesting the material, and depending on the method of delivery of the material to the requestor, may include either an email address or Ariel address. The requestor must also provide a statement acknowledging copyright compliance, bibliographic information for the material they are requesting, and the maximum dollar amount they are willing to pay for the material. The collected information is used to deliver the material to the requestor, bill for and track payment of applicable fees, monitor the return to NAL of loaned material, identify and locate the requested material in NAL collections, and determine whether the requesting party consents to the fees charged by NAL.

    Estimate of Burden: Average 1.00 minute per response.

    Description of Respondents: Respondents to the collection of information are those libraries, institutions, or organizations that request interlibrary loans or copies of material in the NAL collections. Each respondent must furnish the information for each loan or copying request.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 700.

    Frequency of Responses: Average 8 per respondent.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 93 hours.

    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 will have a practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, such as through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques. Comments may be sent to Kay Derr at the address listed above within 60 days of date of publication. All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: April 13, 2015. Simon Y. Liu, Associate Administrator, ARS.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09475 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-03-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2015-0006] Notice of Availability of a Treatment Evaluation Document; Hot Water Treatment of Oversized Mangoes AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are advising the public that we have determined that it is necessary to amend hot water treatment schedule T102-a in the Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual to extend the applicability of the treatment to additional mango commodities. We have prepared a treatment evaluation document that describes the revised treatment schedule and explains why we have determined that it is effective at neutralizing certain target pests. We are making this treatment evaluation document available to the public for review and comment.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0006.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2015-0006, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0006 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Inder P.S. Gadh, Senior Risk Manager—Treatments, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-2018.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The regulations in 7 CFR chapter III are intended, among other things, to prevent the introduction or dissemination of plant pests and noxious weeds into or within the United States. Under the regulations, certain plants, fruits, vegetables, and other articles must be treated before they may be moved into the United States or interstate. The phytosanitary treatments regulations contained in 7 CFR part 305 (referred to below as the regulations) set out standards for treatments required in 7 CFR parts 301, 318, and 319 for fruits, vegetables, and other articles.

    In § 305.2, paragraph (b) states that approved treatment schedules are set out in the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Treatment Manual.1 Section 305.3 sets out the processes for adding, revising, or removing treatment schedules in the PPQ Treatment Manual. In that section, paragraph (b) sets out the process for adding, revising, or removing treatment schedules when there is an immediate need to make a change. The circumstances in which an immediate need exists are described in § 305.3(b)(1). They are:

    1 The PPQ Treatment Manual is available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/index.shtml or by contacting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Manuals Unit, 92 Thomas Johnson Drive, Suite 200, Frederick, MD 21702.

    • PPQ has determined that an approved treatment schedule is ineffective at neutralizing the targeted plant pest(s).

    • PPQ has determined that, in order to neutralize the targeted plant pest(s), the treatment schedule must be administered using a different process than was previously used.

    • PPQ has determined that a new treatment schedule is effective, based on efficacy data, and that ongoing trade in a commodity or commodities may be adversely impacted unless the new treatment schedule is approved for use.

    • The use of a treatment schedule is no longer authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or by any other Federal entity.

    A treatment currently listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual (T102-a) requires mango (Mangifera indica) to be treated with hot water immersion to prevent the introduction into the United States of Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly) and Anastrepha spp. fruit flies, including A. ludens (Mexican fruit fly). Historically, the treatment schedules for T102-a required the fruit to undergo different immersion times based on the fruit's country of origin, shape, and size (weight). While rounded mango varieties weighing up to 900 grams were authorized for importation from Mexico, Central America (north of and including Costa Rica), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the West Indies excluding islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Margarita, Tortuga, and Trinidad and Tobago, the maximum allowable size of rounded mango varieties that could be treated with T102-a and imported into the United States from Panama, countries in South America, and the West Indies islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Margarita, Tortuga, and Trinidad and Tobago was only 650 grams.

    In 2009, the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of Peru formally requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the PPQ Treatment Manual to allow the use of T102-a hot‐water immersion treatment as a phytosanitary treatment to mitigate fruit fly risks in mangoes weighing more than 650 grams. A similar interest had previously been expressed by other countries in South America, namely Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Based on research conducted by the NPPO of Peru in support of its request, APHIS has concluded that the T102-a treatment schedule of 110‐minute fruit immersion in a constant 70 °F (41.6 °C) hot-water bath is an efficacious phytosanitary treatment for eggs and larvae of C. capitata and Anastrepha spp. fruit flies in mangoes weighing 651 to 900 grams and that the treatment is effective for these over-sized mangoes regardless of their country of origin.

    In 2014, APHIS inspectors working in Mexico and Brazil observed that approximately 20 percent of the treatments using the T102-a treatment schedule involving “flat” or “elongated” mangoes weighing between 525 grams and 570 grams contained fruit that did not reach the target pulp temperature for mitigating the risk from fruit flies at the end of treatment duration. However, after conducting a literature review, APHIS determined that mango shape did not affect the efficacy of the treatment. Therefore, as an emergency measure, the treatment was amended so that all would have to undergo hot water immersion treatment with treatment duration strictly governed by weight class. Treatment duration times were based on the treatment duration times previously put in place for rounded mangoes from those countries. As an emergency measure, this action was done administratively and was not meant to be permanent.

    Based on Peru's research validating treatment efficacy on over-sized mangoes and APHIS' conclusion that the 110-minute immersion at 70 °F treatment covers mangoes weighing up to 900 grams regardless of their country of origin, APHIS has determined that restrictions associated with shape or country of origin are no longer relevant. Therefore, in accordance with § 305.3(b)(2), we are providing notice that we have determined that it is necessary to amend treatment schedule T102-a to specify the following weight-based dip times:

    If the weight is (grams): Then the dip time (minutes) is: Up to 375 65 376 to 500 75 501 to 700 90 701 to 900 110 Valid if the fruit is not hydro-cooled within 30 minutes of removal from the hot-water immersion tank. Alternatively, 10 minutes may be added to the treatment duration to allow immediate hydro-cooling.

    In order to have minimum adverse impact on the ongoing trade of this commodity from mango exporting countries, we are making these changes effective immediately upon publication of this notice.

    The reasons for these revisions to the treatment manual are described in detail in the treatment evaluation document (TED) we have prepared to support this action. The TED may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may also request paper copies of the TED by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the subject of the TED when requesting copies.

    After reviewing the comments we receive, we will announce our decision regarding the revised treatment schedule described in the TED in a subsequent notice, in accordance with paragraph (b)(3) of § 305.3. If we do not receive any comments, or the comments we receive do not change our determination that the proposed changes are effective, we will affirm these changes to the PPQ Treatment Manual and make available a new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual reflecting these changes. If we receive comments that cause us to determine that additional changes need to be made to treatment schedule T102-a, we will make available a new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual that reflects the changes.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 7701-7772 and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 17th day of April 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09468 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    Agency: U.S. Census Bureau.

    Title: Business Research & Development and Innovation Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0912.

    Form Number(s): BRDI-1 and BRD-1S.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Number of Respondents: 45,000.

    Average Hours per Response: BRDI-1—14.85 hours; BRD-1(S)—.59 hours.

    Burden Hours: 126,500.

    Needs and Uses: Companies are the major performers of research and development (R&D) in the United States (U.S.), accounting for over 70 percent of total U.S. R&D outlays each year. A consistent business R&D information base is essential to government officials formulating public policy, industry personnel involved in corporate planning, and members of the academic community conducting research. In order to develop policies designed to promote and enhance science and technology, past trends and the present status of R&D must be known and analyzed. Without comprehensive business R&D statistics, it would be impossible to evaluate the health of science and technology in the United States or to make comparisons between the technological progress of our country and that of other nations.

    The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 as amended authorizes and directs National Science Foundation (NSF) “. . . to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal government.” One of the methods used by the NSF to fulfill this mandate is The Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS)—the primary federal source of information on R&D in the business sector. The NSF together with the Census Bureau, the collecting and compiling agent, analyze the data and publish the resulting statistics.

    The NSF has published annual R&D statistics collected from the Survey of Industrial Research and Development (SIRD) (1953-2007) and BRDIS (2008-2013) for 60 years. The results of the survey are used to assess trends in R&D expenditures by industry sector, investigate productivity determinants, formulate science and tax policy, and compare individual company performance with industry averages. This survey is the Nation's primary source for international comparative statistics on business R&D spending.

    The BRDIS will continue to collect the following types of information:

    • R&D expense based on accounting standards.

    • Worldwide R&D of domestic companies.

    • Business segment detail.

    • R&D related capital expenditures.

    • Detailed data about the R&D workforce.

    • R&D strategy and data on the potential impact of R&D on the market.

    • R&D directed to application areas of particular national interest.

    • Data measuring innovation, and intellectual property protection activities.

    The following changes were made to the 2014 BRDIS from the 2013 BRDIS.

    • Section 1: Moved foreign ownership question up above ownership question. Changed the EIN of owner to the ownership question instead of the foreign ownership question.

    • Section 2: Added some questions to gather data on monetary gifts to academia.

    • Section 6: Added a question on revenue from sale of patents. Added two questions in regards to how much the company paid others to purchase patents or license patents. Removed the question on how many agreements company entered into. Information from the BRDIS will continue to support the following initiatives:

    Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP), the NSF's program to foster the development of the knowledge, theories, data, tools, and human capital needed to underwrite fundamental research that creates new explanatory models and analytic tools designed to inform the Nation's public and private sectors about the processes through which investments in science and engineering are transformed into social and economic outcomes.

    America Competes Act of 2007, which calls for the doubling of funding for basic research in physical sciences, improvement of math instruction, and expansion of low-income students' access to Advance Placement (AP) coursework through AP/International Baccalaureate Program to, as The White House fact sheet on the America Competes Act says, “encourage scientists to explore promising and critical areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.”

    Rising Above the Gathering Storm, the National Research Council (NRC) report that recommends increasing America's talent pool by improving K-12 math and science education; sustaining and strengthening the Nation's commitment to long-term basic research; developing and recruiting top students, scientists and engineers from U.S. and abroad; and ensuring that the U.S. is the premier place in the world for innovation.

    Policy officials from many Federal agencies rely on these statistics for essential information. For example, total U.S. R&D expenditures statistics have been used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to update the System of National Accounts and, in fact, the BEA recently has incorporated R&D as a direct component of the System. Accurate R&D data are needed to continue the development and subsequent updates to this detailed satellite account. Also, a data linking project has been designed to augment the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) data collected by BEA. The initial attempt to link the SIRD data with BEA's FDI benchmark files was successful, and plans now call for the annual linkage of the R&D data to the FDI and U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (USDIA) data. Further, the Census Bureau links data collected by the Survey with other statistical files. At the Census Bureau, historical company-level R&D data are linked to a file that contains information on the outputs and inputs of companies' manufacturing plants. Researchers are able to analyze the relationships between R&D funding and other economic variables by using micro-level data.

    Individuals and organizations access the survey statistics via the Internet in annual National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) InfoBriefs that announce the availability of statistics from each cycle of the Survey and provide detailed statistical table reports that contain all of the statistics the NSF produces from the Survey. Information about the kinds of projects that rely on statistics from the Survey is available from internal records at the NSF's NCSES. In addition, survey statistics are regularly cited in trade publications and many researchers use the survey statistics from these secondary sources without directly contacting the NSF or the Census Bureau. Some of the users of the survey statistics and the types of information they request are described below.

    Government Users

    Government policy officials who are involved in assessing the role of the Federal government in promoting economic growth use R&D statistics in their decision-making processes since R&D results affect technological and economic progress. Members of Congress make extensive use of R&D statistics in preparing tax legislation, contacting the NSF or the Census Bureau directly through their own staffs, one of the House or Senate science committees, or the Congressional Research Service.

    The NSF staff also work closely with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), providing R&D statistics and indications of emerging trends to assist the OSTP staff in their analyses of the status of science and technology in the United States. In addition, the NSF has frequent contact with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Congressional Research Service (CRS), and the Congressional Joint Economic Committee which use R&D statistics in their studies.

    Statistics produced from the Survey also have been requested by officials from other Federal government and quasi-governmental agencies including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor, State, Treasury; the Bureau of Economic Analysis; Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation; Consumer Products Safety Commission; Environmental Protection Agency; Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco; Government Accountability Office; Government Publishing Office; International Trade Administration; International Trade Commission; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Institute of Standards and Technology; National Institutes of Health; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Oakridge National Laboratory; Office of Naval Research; President's Council of Economic Advisors; Office of Trade Policy Analysis; U.S. Federal Trade Commission; U.S. Patent Office; and U.S. Small Business Administration.

    As states and local governments seek to attract high-tech industries to their areas, the NSF and the Census Bureau are frequently asked to provide R&D funding and employment figures. Among the state governments and state organizations requesting industry R&D statistics have been Alabama, Arkansas, California Energy Commission, Center for Innovative Technology (VA), Georgia, Indiana, Maine Development Foundation, Maine Science and Technology Foundation, Maryland, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey Research and Development Council, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Economic Development Authority, North Carolina, North Dakota Department of Commerce, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Southern Growth Policies Board (representing Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), and Utah.

    Information and statistics from the Survey also are supplied to the NSF internal organizations. For example, survey statistics are used in the “Research and Development: National Trends and International Linkages” and “Industry, Technology, and the Global Marketplace” chapters of the Congressionally mandated Science and Engineering Indicators series, a biennial report in which the National Science Board continues its effort to describe quantitatively the condition of U.S. science and research. Survey results are also included in the NSF's annual National Patterns of R&D Resources tabulations.

    International Users

    The international community uses R&D spending information as part of its comparisons of the economic performance among nations. U.S. R&D statistics are compiled in a format that can be compared with those of other countries. These statistics are transmitted to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that relies on the Survey as its primary source for business R&D statistics for the United States. Also, R&D statistics are used by multi-national committees and subcommittees studying and maintaining the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and North American Product Classification System (NAPCS).

    Other international and foreign entities that have requested statistics on U.S. business R&D expenditures include the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Canadian Ministry of Treasury and Economics, Delegation of the European Communities, Department of State and Regional Development (Australia), Department of Technology Policy (Austria), European Commission's Joint Research Center, French Embassy, French Federal Institute of Research, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of Germany, Hungarian Academy of Sciences,, Industry Canada, Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (Madrid), National Technology Agency of Finland, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Puerto Rico Planning Board, Office of the Representative of the Republic of Taiwan, Statistics Canada, and Statistics Quebec.

    Business Users

    Although the primary purpose of the survey is to provide accurate R&D statistics for well-informed public policy decisions, business users also benefit from the survey figures, and one of the goals of the redesign is to increase the utility of the information for companies. There is a special obligation to keep the survey relevant to industry users particularly because business personnel spend time answering the annual questionnaire. Firms and trade associations in all industries, whether large or small in terms of R&D performance, are interested in making intra-industry comparisons, as well as comparing other industries' performance with their own.

    Each year the NSF and Census Bureau receive many requests for R&D information from business users. Some of the industries where users who have requested information are aerospace, telecommunications, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, software, and motor vehicles.

    In addition to industry researchers who utilize the R&D statistics directly from the NSF Web site and publications, there are many who use the Survey's tabulations in their own trade reports.

    Other trade publications that regularly print statistics directly from the Survey include multiple Fortune 500 companies and various trade associations.

    Unions also consider business R&D statistics relevant to their members' well-being. R&D statistics also are used by research organizations devoted to the study of industry, R&D, science and technology and related topics.

    Other Users

    Research undertaken at universities on innovation and economic growth has relied heavily on the detailed R&D time series from the Survey. Research projects that have used R&D statistics obtained from the Survey have been conducted at many colleges and universities.

    In addition, inquiries are regularly received from the news media. And finally, Internet sites continue to link with the Survey's results.

    In summary, each item in the Survey has been the subject of research by someone interested in business R&D performance. Although the consumers of the R&D statistics from the Survey are diverse, there is one common element underlying all the uses of the survey statistics—an attempt to gain a better understanding of some aspect of the nation's scientific and technological resources. The detailed statistics provided by the Survey are the most complete set of elements for assessing the impact of R&D on business development and the nation's economy.

    The total burden estimate for the 2014 BRDIS has increased due to an increase in amount of companies that are receiving the longer Form BRDI-1 from 3,000 to 7,000. The increase in the number of companies receiving form BRDI-1 is the result of lowering the R&D threshold for receiving the longer form from $7 million to $1 million. At the same time the burden on companies receiving the shorter form has been reduced. Prior to 2012 the shorter form (then called Form BRDI-1A) was 32 pages (168 response fields). The current shorter form (Form BRD-1S) is 8 pages (61 response fields).

    The increase in burden also reflects a slight increase in the total number of companies in the sample from the prior OMB submission.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C., Sections 182, 224 and 225; NSF Act of 1950.

    This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09433 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-22-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 134—Chattanooga, Tennessee; Notification of Proposed Production Activity, Cormetech, Inc. (Selective Catalyst Reduction Catalysts), Cleveland, TN

    Cormetech, Inc. (Cormetech), an operator of FTZ 134, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facility in Cleveland, Tennessee. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on April 1, 2015.

    A separate request for subzone designation at the Cormetech facility is planned and will be processed under Section 400.31 of the FTZ Board's regulations. The facility is used for the production of selective catalyst reduction catalysts and related elements (logs), which are used for emissions reduction in power generation, industrial, marine and petrochemical applications. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Cormetech from customs duty payments on the foreign status materials and components used in export production. On its domestic sales, Cormetech would be able to choose the duty rate during customs entry procedures that applies to selective catalyst reduction catalysts and related elements (free) for the foreign status inputs noted below. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign status production equipment.

    The components and materials sourced from abroad include: Anatase titanium dioxide; glass fiber; clay; carboxyl methyl cellulose; polypropylene (RP chop); polyethylene oxide (PEO); ammonium metavanadate (AMT); hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (methocel); manganese acetate; vanadyl oxalate; ammonium heptamolybdate (AHM); pressing/lubricating agents; ammonium polyvanadate; and, honeycomb ceramic porcelain (duty rate ranges from free to 6.5%).

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is June 2, 2015.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Pierre Duy at [email protected] or (202) 482-1378.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09533 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-23-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 93—Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Cormetech, Inc. (Selective Catalyst Reduction Catalysts), Durham, North Carolina

    The Triangle J Council of Governments, grantee of FTZ 93, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board on behalf of Cormetech, Inc., located in Durham, North Carolina. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on April 9, 2015.

    A separate request for subzone designation at the Cormetech facility is planned and will be processed under Section 400.31 of the FTZ Board's regulations. The facility is used for the production of selective catalyst reduction catalysts and related elements (logs), which are used for emissions reduction in power generation, industrial, marine and petrochemical applications. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Cormetech from customs duty payments on the foreign status materials and components used in export production. On its domestic sales, Cormetech would be able to choose the duty rate during customs entry procedures that applies to selective catalyst reduction catalysts and related elements (free) for the foreign status inputs noted below. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign status production equipment.

    The components and materials sourced from abroad include: Anatase titanium dioxide; glass fiber; clay; carboxyl methyl cellulose; polypropylene (RP chop); polyethylene oxide (PEO); ammonium metavanadate (AMT); hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (methocel); manganese acetate; vanadyl oxalate; ammonium heptamolybdate (AHM); pressing/lubricating agents; ammonium polyvanadate; and, honeycomb ceramic porcelain (duty rate ranges from free to 6.5%).

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is June 2, 2015.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Pierre Duy at [email protected] or (202) 482-1378.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09532 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-21-2015] Approval of Subzone Status; Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., Red Wing, Minnesota

    On February 20, 2015, the Executive Secretary of the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board docketed an application submitted by the Greater Metropolitan Area Foreign Trade Commission, grantee of FTZ 119, requesting subzone status subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 119 on behalf of Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc., in Red Wing, Minnesota.

    The application was processed in accordance with the FTZ Act and Regulations, including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 10456, February 26, 2015). The FTZ staff examiner reviewed the application and determined that it meets the criteria for approval.

    Pursuant to the authority delegated to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary (15 CFR 400.36(f)), the application to establish Subzone 119K is approved, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and further subject to FTZ 119's 2,000-acre activation limit.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09534 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-552-812] Steel Wire Garment Hangers From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) is rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on steel wire garment hangers from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”) for the period February 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: April 23, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Irene Gorelik, AD/CVD Operations, Office V, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-6905.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On April 3, 2015, based on a timely request for review by M&B Metal Products Company, Inc.; Innovative Fabrication LLC/Indy Hanger; and US Hanger Company, LLC (collectively, “Petitioners”),1 the Department published in the Federal Register a notice of initiation of an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on steel wire garment hangers from Vietnam covering the period February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015.2 The review covers 50 companies.3 On April 7, 2015, the Department clarified with Petitioners the spelling of certain names requested for initiation.4 On April 8, 2015, Petitioners withdrew their request for an administrative review on all of the 50 companies listed in the Initiation Notice.5 No other party requested a review of these or any other exporters of subject merchandise.

    1See Petitioners' submission, “Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Vietnam: Request for Second Administrative Review,” dated March 2, 2015.

    2See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 18202, 18207 (April 3, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”).

    3Id.

    4See “Memorandum to the File, from Irene Gorelik, Analyst; re: Clarification of Company Names Within Petitioners' Review Request,” dated April 7, 2015.

    5See Petitioners' Submission re; “Second Administrative Review of Steel Wire Garment Hangers from Vietnam—Petitioners' Withdrawal of Review Request,” dated April 8, 2015.

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if the party that requested the review withdraws its request within 90 days of the publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. In this case, Petitioners timely withdrew their request by the 90-day deadline, and no other party requested an administrative review of the antidumping duty order. As a result, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), we are rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on steel wire garment hangers from Vietnam for the period February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015, in its entirety.

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Because the Department is rescinding this administrative review in its entirety, the entries to which this administrative review pertained shall be assessed antidumping duties at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, if appropriate.

    Notifications

    This notice serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of the antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: April 15, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09530 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Subsidy Programs Provided by Countries Exporting Softwood Lumber and Softwood Lumber Products to the United States; Request for Comment AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) seeks public comment on any subsidies, including stumpage subsidies, provided by certain countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the United States during the period July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted within 30 days after publication of this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    See the Submission of Comments section below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James Terpstra, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3965.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On June 18, 2008, section 805 of Title VIII of the Tariff Act of 1930 (the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008) was enacted into law. Under this provision, the Secretary of Commerce is mandated to submit to the appropriate Congressional committees a report every 180 days on any subsidy provided by countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the United States, including stumpage subsidies.

    The Department submitted its last subsidy report on December 12, 2014. As part of its newest report, the Department intends to include a list of subsidy programs identified with sufficient clarity by the public in response to this notice.

    Request for Comments

    Given the large number of countries that export softwood lumber and softwood lumber products to the United States, we are soliciting public comment only on subsidies provided by countries whose exports accounted for at least one percent of total U.S. imports of softwood lumber by quantity, as classified under Harmonized Tariff Schedule code 4407.1001 (which accounts for the vast majority of imports), during the period July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. Official U.S. import data published by the United States International Trade Commission Tariff and Trade DataWeb indicate that only two countries, Canada and Chile, exported softwood lumber to the United States during that time period in amounts sufficient to account for at least one percent of U.S. imports of softwood lumber products. We intend to rely on similar previous six-month periods to identify the countries subject to future reports on softwood lumber subsidies. For example, we will rely on U.S. imports of softwood lumber and softwood lumber products during the period January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015, to select the countries subject to the next report.

    Under U.S. trade law, a subsidy exists where an authority: (i) Provides a financial contribution; (ii) provides any form of income or price support within the meaning of Article XVI of the GATT 1994; or (iii) makes a payment to a funding mechanism to provide a financial contribution to a person, or entrusts or directs a private entity to make a financial contribution, if providing the contribution would normally be vested in the government and the practice does not differ in substance from practices normally followed by governments, and a benefit is thereby conferred.1

    1See section 771(5)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended.

    Parties should include in their comments: (1) The country which provided the subsidy; (2) the name of the subsidy program; (3) a brief description (at least 3-4 sentences) of the subsidy program; and (4) the government body or authority that provided the subsidy.

    Submission of Comments

    Persons wishing to comment should file comments by the date specified above. Comments should only include publicly available information. The Department will not accept comments accompanied by a request that a part or all of the material be treated confidentially due to business proprietary concerns or for any other reason. The Department will return such comments or materials to the persons submitting the comments and will not include them in its report on softwood lumber subsidies. The Department requests submission of comments filed in electronic Portable Document Format (PDF) submitted on CD-ROM or by email to the email address of the EC Webmaster, below.

    The comments received will be made available to the public in PDF on the Enforcement and Compliance Web site at the following address: http://enforcement.trade.gov/sla2008/sla-index.html. Any questions concerning file formatting, access on the Internet, or other electronic filing issues should be addressed to Laura Merchant, Enforcement and Compliance Webmaster, at (202) 482-0367, email address: [email protected]

    All comments and submissions in response to this Request for Comment should be received by the Department no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the above-referenced deadline date.

    Dated: April 13, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09514 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-351-837, A-533-828, A-588-068, A-580-852, A-201-831, A-549-820, C-533-829] Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand From Brazil, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand: Continuation of the Antidumping Duty Finding/Orders and Countervailing Duty Order AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) and the International Trade Commission (the ITC) have determined that revocation of the antidumping duty (AD) finding on prestressed concrete steel wire strand (PC strand) from Japan, and the AD orders on PC strand from Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States. The Department and the ITC have also determined that revocation of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on PC strand from India would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of net countervailable subsidies and material injury to an industry in the United States. Therefore, the Department is publishing a notice of continuation for these AD finding/orders and CVD order.

    DATES:

    Effective Dates: April 23, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Romani, AD/CVD Operations, Office I (AD Orders), or Mandy Mallott, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0198 or (202) 482-6430, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On November 3, 2014, the Department initiated 1 and the ITC instituted 2 five-year (sunset reviews) of the AD finding on PC strand from Japan,3 the AD orders on PC strand from Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand,4 and the CVD order on PC strand from India,5 pursuant to sections 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). As a result of its reviews, the Department determined that revocation of the AD finding/orders would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and that revocation of the CVD order would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of net countervailable subsidies, and therefore, notified the ITC of the magnitude of the margins and the subsidy rates likely to prevail should the finding/orders be revoked, pursuant to sections 751(c)(1) and 752(b) and (c) of the Act.6

    1See Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Review, 79 FR 65186 (November 3, 2014).

    2See Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand From Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand; Institution of Five-Year Reviews, 79 FR 65246 (November 3, 2014).

    3See Steel Wire Strand for Prestressed Concrete from Japan; Finding of Dumping, 43 FR 57599 (December 8, 1978) conducted by the Treasury Department (at that time a determination of dumping resulted in a “finding” rather than the later applicable “order”).

    4See (1) Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Brazil, 69 FR 4112 (January 28, 2004); (2) Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from India, 69 FR 4110 (January 28, 2004); (3) Steel Wire Strand for Prestressed Concrete from Japan; Finding of Dumping, 43 FR 57599 (December 8, 1978); (4) Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from the Republic of Korea, 69 FR 4109 (January 28, 2004); (5) Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Mexico, 69 FR 4112 (January 28, 2004); and (6) Notice of Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Thailand, 69 FR 4111 (January 28, 2004).

    5See Countervailing Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand From India, 69 FR 5319 (February 4, 2004).

    6See Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Brazil, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Reviews of the Antidumping Duty Finding/Orders, 80 FR 13827 (March 17, 2015), and Final Results of Expedited Sunset Review of Countervailing Duty Order: Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from India, 80 FR 12804 (March 11, 2015).

    On April 15, 2015, the ITC published its determination that revocation of the AD finding on PC strand from Japan, the AD orders on PC strand from Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, and the CVD order on PC strand from India would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United States within a reasonably foreseeable time, pursuant to sections 751(c) of the Act.7

    7See Prestressed Concrete Steel Wire Strand from Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, 80 FR 20244 (April 15, 2015).

    Scope of the Order

    The product covered in the sunset reviews of the antidumping duty orders on PC strand from Brazil, India, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand and the countervailing duty order on PC strand from India is steel strand produced from wire of non-stainless, non-galvanized steel, which is suitable for use in prestressed concrete (both pre-tensioned and post-tensioned) applications. The product definition encompasses covered and uncovered strand and all types, grades, and diameters of PC strand.

    The product covered in the sunset review of the antidumping duty finding on PC strand from Japan is steel wire strand, other than alloy steel, not galvanized, which is stress-relieved and suitable for use in prestressed concrete.

    The merchandise subject to the finding/orders is currently classifiable under subheadings 7312.10.3010 and 7312.10.3012 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise under the finding/orders is dispositive.

    Continuation of the Finding/Orders

    As a result of the determinations by the Department and the ITC that revocation of the AD finding/orders would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States and that revocation of the CVD order would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of countervailable subsidies and material injury to an industry in the United States, pursuant to section 75l(d)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(a), the Department hereby orders the continuation of the AD finding on PC strand from Japan, the AD orders on PC strand from Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, and the CVD order on PC strand from India. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to collect AD and CVD cash deposits at the rates in effect at the time of entry for all imports of subject merchandise.

    The effective date of the continuation of the AD finding/orders and CVD order will be the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of continuation. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(c)(2), the Department intends to initiate the next five-year review of these finding/orders not later than 30 days prior to the fifth anniversary of the effective date of this continuation notice.

    These five-year sunset reviews and this notice are in accordance with section 751(c) of the Act and published pursuant to section 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4).

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09528 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC645 Taking of Threatened or Endangered Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Issuance of Permit AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS hereby issues an amended permit to authorize the incidental, but not intentional, take of two stocks of marine mammals listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), by the California (CA) thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and the Washington (WA)/Oregon (OR)/CA sablefish pot fishery. In accordance with the MMPA, NMFS has made a determination that incidental taking from commercial fishing will have a negligible impact on the endangered humpback whale, CA/OR/WA stock and endangered sperm whale, CA/OR/WA stock. This authorization is based on a determination that this incidental take will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal stocks, recovery plans have been developed for each species, a monitoring program is established, vessels in the fisheries are registered, and that the necessary take reduction planning is in place for the humpback and sperm whale stocks. This amended permit replaces the permit issued on September 4, 2013.

    DATES:

    This amended permit is effective on April 23, 2015 and expires on September 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Reference material for this permit is available on the Internet at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/marine_mammals/marine_mammals_html. Recovery plans for these species are available on the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/recovery/plans.htm#mammals. Information on the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan is available on the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/interactions/trt/poctrp.htm.

    Copies of the reference materials may also be obtained from the Protected Resources Division, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Monica DeAngelis, NMFS West Coast Region, (562) 980-3232, or Shannon Bettridge, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, (301) 427-8402.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Section 101(a)(5)(E) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., states that NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), as delegated by the Secretary of Commerce, shall for a period of up to three years allow the incidental taking of marine mammal species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., by persons using vessels of the United States and those vessels which have valid fishing permits issued by the Secretary in accordance with section 204(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1824(b), while engaging in commercial fishing operations, if NMFS makes certain determinations. NMFS must determine, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that: (1) Incidental mortality and serious injury will have a negligible impact on the affected species or stock; (2) a recovery plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock under the ESA; and (3) where required under section 118 of the MMPA, a monitoring program has been established, vessels engaged in such fisheries are registered in accordance with section 118 of the MMPA, and a take reduction plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock.

    On August 25, 2014 (79 FR 50626), NMFS proposed to issue an amended permit under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E) to vessels registered in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (14 in mesh) to incidentally take individuals from two stocks of threatened or endangered marine mammals: The CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus); and to vessels registered in WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery to incidentally take individuals from the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales. A history of MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E) permits related to these stocks was included in previous notices for other permits to take threatened or endangered marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing (e.g., 72 FR 60814, October 26, 2007; 78 FR 54553, September 4, 2013) and is not repeated here. The data for considering these authorizations were reviewed coincident with the 2014 MMPA List of Fisheries (LOF; 79 FR 14418, March 14, 2014), final 2013 U.S. Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports (SAR; Carretta et al. 2014a), the draft 2014 U.S. Marine Mammal SAR (Carretta et al. 2014b), Carretta and Moore (2014), Moore and Barlow (2014), the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS), recovery plans for these species (available on the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/recovery/plans.htm#mammals), the best scientific information and available data, and other relevant sources.

    The previous permit was issued on September 4, 2013 (78 FR 54553), valid for a period of up to 3 years and expiring on September 4, 2016, and covered the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback, fin, and sperm whale. Since issuing that permit, there have been significant changes in the information and conditions used to make the negligible impact determination for that permit. This MMPA 101(a)(5)(E) permit amends the previously issued permit, updates the information on the known biological and ecological data on sperm and humpback whales, and updates information on human-caused mortality and serious injury (M/SI), since the September 2013 permit (78 FR 54553). This 101(a)(5)(E) permit does not extend the expiration date and remains effective until September 4, 2016. The final amended negligible impact determination does not include the CA/OR/WA fin whale stock because there has been no observed take of a fin whale in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) for the past 15 years. Therefore, the new amended permit will only cover the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback and sperm whales and will no longer cover the CA/OR/WA fin whale stock.

    Based on observer data and marine mammal reporting forms, the vessels operating in the Category I CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and the Category II WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery are the only Federal Category I and II fisheries that operate in the ranges of affected stocks, namely the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback whale and sperm whale, are currently authorized. A detailed description of these fisheries can be found in the negligible impact determination (see ADDRESSES). The CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) is the only Category I fishery operating off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. All other Category II fisheries that may interact with the marine mammal stocks observed off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington are state managed and are not considered for authorization under this permit. NMFS calculated the total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI to make a final negligible impact determination for this authorization and included all human sources. Participants in Category III fisheries are not required to obtain incidental take permits under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E) but are required to report any mortality or injury of marine mammals incidental to their operations (Section 118 of the MMPA 16 U.S.C. 1387 and 50 CFR part 229).

    Basis for Determining Negligible Impact

    Prior to issuing a permit to take ESA-listed marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing, NMFS must determine if M/SI incidental to commercial fisheries will have a negligible impact on the affected species or stocks of marine mammals. NMFS satisfied this requirement through completion of a negligible impact determination (see ADDRESSES). NMFS clarifies that incidental M/SI from commercial fisheries includes M/SI from entanglement in fishing gear or ingestion of fishing gear. NMFS calculated the total human-caused M/SI to make a negligible impact determination for this authorization and included all human sources, such as commercial fisheries and ship strikes. Indirect effects, such as the effects of removing prey from habitat, are not included in this analysis. A biological opinion prepared under ESA section 7 considers direct and indirect effects of Federal actions (available at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/) and thus contains a broader scope of analysis than is required by MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E).

    Although the MMPA does not define “negligible impact,” NMFS has issued regulations providing a qualitative definition of “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.” Through scientific analysis, peer review, and public notice, NMFS has developed a quantitative approach to making a negligible impact determination for MMPA section 101(A)(5)(E) permits, and is followed here. The development of the approach is outlined in previous notices for other permits to take threatened or endangered marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing (e.g., 72 FR 60814, October 26, 2007; 78 FR 54553, September 4, 2013).

    Criteria for Determining Negligible Impact

    In 1999, NMFS proposed criteria to determine whether M/SI incidental to commercial fisheries will have a negligible impact on a listed marine mammal stock for MMPA 101(a)(5)(E) permits (64 FR 28800, May 27, 1999). In applying the 1999 criteria, Criterion 1 is whether total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI is less than 10 percent of the potential biological removal level (PBR) for the stock. If total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI is less than 10 percent of PBR, the analysis would be concluded, and the impact would be determined to be negligible. If Criterion 1 is not satisfied, NMFS may use one of the other criteria as appropriate. Criterion 2 is satisfied if the total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI is greater than PBR, but fisheries-related M/SI is less than 10 percent of PBR. If Criterion 2 is satisfied, vessels operating in individual fisheries may be permitted if management measures are being taken to address non-fisheries-related mortality and serious injury. Criterion 3 is satisfied if total fisheries-related M/SI is greater than 10 percent of PBR and less than PBR, and the population is stable or increasing. Fisheries may then be permitted subject to individual review and certainty of data. Criterion 4 stipulates that if the population abundance of a stock is declining, the threshold level of 10 percent of PBR will continue to be used. Criterion 5 states that if total fisheries-related M/SI are greater than PBR, permits may not be issued for that species or stock.

    We considered two time frames for this analysis: 5 years (2009-2013) and 13 years (2001-2013). The first time frame we considered for both stocks of whales was the most recent 5-year period (here, January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013), which is typically used for negligible impact determination analyses. A 5-year time frame in many cases provides enough data to adequately capture year-to-year variations in take levels, while reflecting current environmental and fishing conditions as they may change over time. For humpback whales, we used a 5-year period consistent with the general recommendations in NMFS' Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stocks (GAMMS) for our final determination. However, GAMMS suggests that mortality estimates could be averaged over as many years as necessary to achieve a coefficient of variation of less than or equal to 0.3. Carretta and Moore (2014) determined that approximately 25 years of pooling data is necessary before bycatch CVs approached the value of 0.3, considered adequate for management (NMFS 2005) and recommend pooling longer time series of data when bycatch is a rare event. In their analysis, pooling 10 years of fishery data resulted in bycatch estimates within 25 percent of the true bycatch rate over 50 percent of the time (i.e., estimates were within 25 percent of the true value more often than not). Key to this approach was that the fishery must have had sufficiently constant characteristics (e.g., effort, gear, locations) to support the inference of consistent results across years such as with the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery. Rare bycatch events typically involve smaller populations paired with low observer coverage in a fishery. If true bycatch mortality is low, but near PBR, then estimation bias needs to be reduced to allow reliable evaluation of the bycatch estimate against a low removal threshold.

    Currently, the sperm whale is the only ESA-listed marine mammal species interacting with the thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) meeting the conditions described in Carretta and Moore (2014): The stock has a relatively small minimum population estimate (Nmin), and two members of the stock was recently recorded as having been incidentally killed or seriously injured in a rare event (in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh)). The post-2000 time period best represents the current spatial state of the fishery; and, therefore, we used the 13-year period post-2000 to calculate mean annual mortality estimate for this stock of sperm whales, based on recommendations contained in the GAMMS and Carretta and Moore (2014). Moore and Barlow (2014) used a Bayesian hierarchical trend model for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock to more efficiently incorporate all available survey information to calculate the population abundance estimate using a longer time series to improve the precision of abundance estimates. The new analysis by Moore and Barlow (2014), estimates the minimum abundance at 1,332 sperm whales using the Bayesian hierarchical trend modeling of sighting data from 2001-2012. We use this estimate as the basis of this analysis. The associated PBR for the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales is 2.7 (Draft 2014 Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports, 80 FR 4881, January 29, 2015).

    Negligible Impact Determinations

    As explained above, the permit amendment relies on a negligible impact determination that uses a new 13-year period for averaging sperm whale bycatch rates rather than the 5-year period generally recommended in the GAMMS because it best represents the spatial state of the fishery and more effectively incorporates all available survey information to calculate the population abundance estimate using the longer time series. We used a 5-year period for humpback whales consistent with the general recommendations in NMFS' GAMMS for our final determination (note that a 13-year time period (2001-2013) also resulted in a finding of negligible impact for humpback whales). The PBR for the CA/OR/WA humpback whale stock is 11 animals.

    The final amended negligible impact determination made available through this notice provides a complete analysis of the criteria for determining whether commercial fisheries off California, Oregon, and Washington are having a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback whale and sperm whale. A summary of the analysis and subsequent determination follows.

    Criterion 1 Analysis

    Criterion 1 would be satisfied if the total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI is less than 10 percent of PBR. The 5-year (2009-2013) average annual human-caused M/SI to the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales is 5.0 or 45.45 percent of the PBR. The 13-year (2001-2013) average annual M/SI to the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales from all human sources is 1.7 or 65.5 percent of the PBR. Criterion 1 was not satisfied for either stock because the total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI for these stocks is not less than 10 percent of PBR for the respective time period considered. As a result, the other criteria must be examined for the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback and sperm whales.

    Criterion 2 Analysis

    Criterion 2 is satisfied if total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI are greater than PBR and the total fisheries related mortality is less than 10 percent of PBR. Criterion 2 was not satisfied for the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback whales or sperm whales for each time frame considered, based on the calculations described under Criterion 1. As a result, the other criteria were examined.

    Criterion 3 Analysis

    Unlike Criteria 1 and 2, which examine total known, assumed, or extrapolated human-caused M/SI relative to PBR, Criterion 3 compares total fisheries-related M/SI to PBR. Criterion 3 would be satisfied if the total commercial fisheries-related M/SI (including state and federal fisheries) is greater than 10 percent and less than 100 percent of PBR for each stock for the respective time frame considered, and the populations of these stocks are considered to be stable or increasing. If the criterion is met, vessels may be permitted subject to individual review and certainty of data.

    Criterion 3 was satisfied for the CA/OR/WA humpback whale stock as the fishery-related M/SI from all commercial fisheries for the CA/OR/WA humpback whale stock is estimated at 40 percent of PBR (5-year average from 2009-2013 and between 10 percent and 100 percent of PBR), the stock has experienced a positive growth rate (8 percent per year), and there have been few known or assumed M/SI due to the subject fisheries.

    Criterion 3 was satisfied for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock as the total fishery-related M/SI is greater than 10 percent of and less than 100 percent of PBR, and the population is considered stable. The fishery-related M/SI from all commercial fisheries for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock is estimated at 57 percent of PBR for the 13-year period of 2001-2013.

    In conclusion, based on the criteria outlined in 1999 (64 FR 28800), the final 2013 U.S. Pacific Marine Mammal SAR (Carretta et al. 2014), the draft 2014 U.S. Pacific Marine Mammal SAR (Carretta et al. 2014), Carretta and Moore (2014), Moore and Barlow (2014), and the best available scientific information, available data and other sources, NMFS has determined that the M/SI incidental to the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery will have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales and the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery will have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales.

    Determinations

    Based on the above assessment and as described in the accompanying final negligible impact determination, NMFS concludes that the incidental M/SI from the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery will have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales and the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales, and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery will have a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales. Since there have been no documented interactions between the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whale and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery, that sperm whale stock is not evaluated for that fishery.

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to evaluate the impacts of alternatives for their actions on the human environment. The impacts on the human environment of continuing and modifying the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 inch mesh) (as part of the HMS fisheries) and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery (as part of the West Coast groundfish fisheries), including the taking of threatened and endangered species of marine mammals, were analyzed in: The Pacific Fishery Management Council Highly Migratory Species FMP final environmental impact statement (August 2003); the Pacific Fishery Management Council Proposed Harvest Specifications and Management Measures for the 2013-2014 Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery and Amendment 21-2 to the Pacific Coast FMP (September 2012); Risk assessment of U.S. West Coast groundfish fisheries to threatened and endangered marine species (NWFSC, 2012); and in the Final Biological Opinion prepared for the West Coast groundfish fisheries (NMFS, 2012) and the draft Biological Opinion for the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 inch mesh) (NMFS, 2013), pursuant to the ESA. Because this permit would not modify any fishery operation and the effects of the fishery operations have been evaluated fully in accordance with NEPA, no additional NEPA analysis is required for this permit. Issuing the permit would have no additional impact to the human environment or effects on threatened or endangered species beyond those analyzed in these documents. NMFS now reviews the remaining requirements to issue a permit to take the subject listed species incidental to the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 inch mesh) and WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fisheries.

    Recovery Plans

    Recovery Plans for humpback whales and sperm whales have been completed (see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/recovery/plans.htm#mammals). Accordingly, the requirement to have recovery plans in place or being developed is satisfied.

    Vessel Registration

    MMPA section 118(c) requires that vessels participating in Category I and II fisheries register to obtain an authorization to take marine mammals incidental to fishing activities. Further, section 118(c)(5)(A) provides that registration of vessels in fisheries should, after appropriate consultations, be integrated and coordinated to the maximum extent feasible with existing fisherman licenses, registrations, and related programs. Participants in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 inch mesh) and WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fisheries already provide the information needed by NMFS to register their vessels for the incidental take authorization under the MMPA through the Federal groundfish limited entry permit process of the Federal Vessel Monitoring System. Therefore, vessel registration for an MMPA authorization is integrated through those programs in accordance with MMPA section 118.

    Monitoring Program

    The CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 inch mesh) has been observed since the early 1990s. Levels of observer coverage vary over years but are adequate to produce reliable estimates of M/SI of listed species (e.g., from 2000-2012, coverage ranged from approximately 12 to 22.9 percent). As part of the West Coast groundfish fishery and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act objectives, the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery, as managed under the groundfish FMP, and was observed in 2012 at approximately 73 percent. Accordingly, as required by MMPA section 118, a monitoring program is in place for both fisheries.

    Take Reduction Plans

    Subject to available funding, MMPA section 118 requires the development and implementation of a Take Reduction Plan (TRP) in cases where a strategic stock interacts with a Category I or II fishery. The two stocks considered for this permit are designated as strategic stocks under the MMPA because they are listed as endangered under the ESA (MMPA section 3(19)(C)).

    In 1996, NMFS convened a take reduction team (TRT) to develop a TRP to address the incidental taking of several strategic marine mammal stocks, including CA/OR/WA stocks of sperm whales and humpback whales, in the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh). The Pacific Offshore Cetacean TRP was implemented through regulations in October, 1997 (62 FR 51813) and has been in place ever since. Although a TRP is in place for the gillnet fishery, there is not one in place for the pot fishery.

    The short- and long-term goals of a TRP are to reduce mortality and serious injury of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing to levels below PBR and to a zero mortality rate goal, defined by NMFS as 10 percent of PBR, respectively. MMPA section 118(b)(2) states that fisheries maintaining such M/SI levels are not required to further reduce their M/SI rates. However, the obligations to develop and implement a TRP are subject to the availability of funding. NMFS has insufficient funding available to simultaneously develop and implement TRPs for all stocks that interact with Category I or Category II fisheries. MMPA section 118(f)(3) (16 U.S.C. 1387(f)(3)) contains specific priorities for developing TRPs. As provided in MMPA section 118(f)(6)(A) and (f)(7), NMFS used the most recent SARs and LOF as the basis to determine its priorities for establishing TRTs and developing TRPs. Through this process, NMFS evaluated the CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales and the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery and identified the level of interactions as a lower priority compared to other marine mammal stocks and fisheries for establishing TRTs, based on population trends of the stock and M/SI levels incidental to that commercial fishery. In addition, NMFS continues to collect data to categorize fixed gear fisheries and assess risk to large whales off the U.S. west coast. Accordingly, given these factors and NMFS' priorities, implementation of the developing TRP for the WA/OR/CA sablefish pot trap fishery and other similar Category II fisheries will defer further development of a TRP for these fisheries under section 118 as other stocks/fisheries are a higher priority for any available funding for establishing new TRTs.

    Current Permit

    As noted in the summary above, all of the requirements to issue a permit to the following Federally-authorized fisheries have been satisfied: the CA thresher shark/swordfish DGN fishery (≥14 inch mesh) and WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery. Accordingly, NMFS hereby amends the permit to participants in the Category I CA thresher shark/swordfish DGN fishery (≥14 inch mesh) fishery for the taking of CA/OR/WA humpback whales and CA/OR/WA sperm whales, and participants in the Category II WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery for the taking of CA/OR/WA stock of humpback whales, incidental to the fisheries' operations. As noted under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E)(ii), no permit is required for vessels in Category III fisheries. For incidental taking of marine mammals to be authorized in Category III fisheries, M/SI must be reported to NMFS. If NMFS determines at a later date that incidental M/SI from commercial fishing is having more than a negligible impact on the CA/OR/WA stocks of humpback or sperm whales, NMFS may use its emergency authority under MMPA section 118 to protect the stock and may modify the permit issued herein.

    MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E) requires NMFS to publish in the Federal Register a list of fisheries that have been authorized to take threatened or endangered marine mammals. A list of such fisheries was most recently published on October 16, 2014 (79 FR 62105), which authorized the taking of threatened or endangered marine mammals incidental to the Hawaii deep-set and shallow-set longline fisheries. With issuance of this current amended permit, NMFS is not adding any fisheries to this list (Table 1).

    Table 1—List of Fisheries Authorized To Take Specific Threatened and Endangered Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations Fishery Category Marine mammal stock HI deep-set (tuna target) longline I Humpback whale, CNP stock.
  • Sperm whale, Hawaii stock.
  • False killer whale, MHI IFKW stock.
  • CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (>14 in mesh) I Fin whale, CA/OR/WA stock.
  • Humpback whale, CA/OR/WA stock.
  • Sperm whale, CA/OR/WA stock.
  • HI shallow-set (swordfish target) longline/set line II Humpback whale, CNP stock. AK Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands flatfish trawl II Steller sea lion, Western U.S. stock. AK Bering Sea/Aleutian Island pollock trawl II Fin whale, NEP stock.
  • Steller sea lion, Western U.S. stock.
  • AK Bering Sea sablefish pot II Humpback whale, WNP stock.
  • Humpback whale, CNP stock.
  • AK Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Pacific cod longline fisheries II Steller sea lion, Western U.S. stock. WA/OR/CA sablefish pot fishery II Humpback whale, CA/OR/WA stock.
    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received letters containing comments from three organizations, the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the Center for Biological Diversity. NMFS also received two letters from private citizens.

    Comment 1: The Commission briefly summarized NMFS' findings for the proposed permit and agreed with NMFS' analyses and actions proposed for the CA/OR/WA humpback whale stock and has no further comments or recommendations pertaining to that stock.

    Response: NMFS appreciates the Commission's comment and agrees with issuing the permit as required by the MMPA.

    Comment 2: The Commission recommended that NMFS be explicit in future negligible impact determinations and stock assessment reports using a non-standard averaging period about the factors it considered and the quantitative or qualitative criteria used to decide whether substantial and significant changes in the system consisting of the fishery and the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock have or have not occurred. Further, the Commission recommended that NMFS define the circumstances under which non-standard averaging periods are appropriate. The Commission noted that the shift toward a longer-term view of the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock and its interactions with the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) is appropriate but has risk when averaging mortality and serious injury over longer periods of time relative to NMFS' ability to detect and respond to significant changes in the sperm whale bycatch rate.

    Response: The guidelines for preparing marine mammal stock assessments (GAMMS) provide a general recommendation to pool bycatch over a period of 5 years, but also note that: “It is suggested that mortality estimates could be averaged over as many years necessary to achieve a CV of less than or equal to 0.3, but should usually not be averaged over a time period of more than the most recent 5 years for which data have been analyzed. However, information that is more than 5 years old should not be ignored if it is the most appropriate information available in a particular case.” (NMFS 2005). However, the guidance for 5-year averaging is based on bycatch being a relatively common event with adequate sample sizes and sufficient observer coverage. Pooling over longer periods is acceptable, if additional years accurately represent the current state of the fisheries and their inclusion reduces estimation bias. Two major factors were considered in using a pooling period in excess of 5 years: (1) Demonstration that the five-year period used in most stock assessments is itself subjective and is insufficient to generate unbiased estimates of bycatch for rare events (Carretta and Moore 2014), and (2) recognition that a fishery closure was implemented in 2001 that limits fishing spatially and seasonally to areas that represent lower bycatch risk to sperm whales. Thus, bycatch is pooled from 2001 to 2013, to reflect current fishing practices and current fishing effort. Both considerations are outlined in the draft 2014 marine mammal stock assessment for CA/OR/WA sperm whales (Carretta et al. 2014b). Alternatively, one may use models that pool >5 years of bycatch data to obtain statistically robust and unbiased bycatch rate estimates and apply these to individual years. NMFS has previously done this for other species, such as harbor porpoise (Orphanides 2009).

    NMFS appreciates the Commission's support for using the longer time frame for evaluating the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) interactions with the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock. NMFS acknowledges the Commission's concern regarding the use of longer-term data in the case of rare bycatch events (i.e., where the 13 years used to compute the mortality and serious injury rate have several years where recorded bycatch is zero and the influence those zeros have on the mean). However, Carretta and Moore (2014) determine that the post-2000 time period best represents the current spatial state of the fishery and use the same time period to calculate mean annual bycatch estimate for the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales, consistent with recommendations in the GAMMS. Annual estimates of bycatch events in the fishery, and subsequent longer term averaging of those data, would necessitate an evaluation that the conditions supporting the use of the longer term period are still valid; for example, that fishery characteristics are still constant or relatively unchanged. NMFS is mindful that increases in rate of expected annual bycatch could be a signal that something is changing in the system and further action is needed.

    Comment 3: The Commission recommended that NMFS continue to monitor the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (≥14 in mesh) and if the observed or reported mortality and serious injury of sperm whales exceeds the level specified in the Incidental Take Statement (the Commission is referencing the Incidental Take Statement in the Biological Opinion issued on May 2, 2013), that the following occur: (1) Reinitiation of formal consultation; (2) a reassessment of the MMPA negligible impact; and, (3) reconvene the Pacific Offshore Take Reduction Team (POCTRT) to consider whether additional measure are necessary to reduce the probability of interactions.

    Response: The CA thresher shark/swordfish DGN fishery (≥14 inch mesh) has been observed by NMFS-certified observers since the early 1990s. NMFS targets 20% observer coverage in this fishery and levels vary over time but are adequate to produce reliable estimates of mortality and serious injury of marine mammals. If mortality or serious injury exceeded the level specified in the Incidental Take Statement of the Biological Opinion issued by NMFS on May 2, 2013, the following would occur, as is standard practice: (1) Reinitation of consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, which is described in Section XI, titled Reinitiation Notice of the Biological Opinion; (2) Reevaluation of the negligible impact determination, although no change may be necessary; and, (3) Reconvening the POCTRT, if appropriate (but note that an in-person meeting would be subject to the availability of funding).

    Comment 4: The Commission requested that NMFS further justify its negligible impact determination for sperm whales under Criterion 3 given the requirement of “certainty of data” that the population is stable or increasing, given the substantial uncertainty regarding the population trend.

    Response: NMFS used the best available science in making the negligible impact determination. Moore and Barlow (2014) report that the abundance of sperm whales appeared stable from 1991 to 2008, but that any reliable conclusions on trends could not be made for the whole population because the precision of estimated growth rates was poor. However, they also reported that trends in the detection of single animals (presumably large, solitary males) apparently doubled over this time period. The authors could not determine if the apparent increase in sightings comprising single animals reflected an increase in the number of adult male sperm whales in the population or merely increased use of the U.S. west coast waters by adult males in recent years. Therefore, because the stock is not decreasing, it is considered to be either stable or increasing.

    Comment 5: The Commission requested that NMFS review and improve the criteria for making a negligible impact determination before any more such determinations are issued.

    Response: NMFS agrees that the criteria for establishing a negligible impact determination under section 101(a)(5)(E) of the MMPA should be reviewed and appreciates the Commission's willingness to work with NMFS to review and, if necessary, modify the criteria. NMFS appreciates the Commission's recommendation to refrain from issuing more permits until new criteria are established; however, given the time it would take to develop criteria, solicit public review and comment, and issue the final criteria, NMFS will still need to evaluate fisheries that are taking threatened or endangered marine mammals and, if a negligible impact determination can be made for those fisheries, issue a permit under MMPA 101(a)(5)(E).

    Comment 6: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) expressed concern with NMFS' use of a PBR for sperm whales that was from the Moore and Barlow (2014) paper as it differs substantially from the PBR published in the 2013 SAR (i.e., 1.5 in the 2013 SAR vs. 2.7 in Moore and Barlow 2014). Additionally, NMFS' proposal to calculate the annual average serious injury and mortality using 13 years of data was based on a novel approach in a non-peer reviewed tech memo (Carretta and Moore 2014). HSUS stated that it was inappropriate for NMFS to rely upon estimates of mortality that are calculated in a manner that differs from traditional methods used in the SARs and has not undergone public scrutiny.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges that there was a difference in the PBR estimate used in the negligible impact determination for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock when comparing Moore and Barlow's (2014) estimate of 2.7 to the most recent final SAR (PBR for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock is 1.5; Carretta et al. 2014a). The revised negligible impact determination relies upon the PBR for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock based on Moore and Barlow (2014) and is included in the draft 2014 SAR (Carretta et al. 2014b), which is publically available for review and comment (80 FR 4881, January 29, 2015).

    Regarding use of the 13-year timeframe, we refer to our response to Comment 2. NMFS must use the best available scientific information in making its determination. This information is not limited to just what has been published in SARs, but information that has been published or otherwise made available and that NMFS determines represents the best information to use. NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center uses the NOAA Technical Memorandum series to issue scientific and technical publications. These manuscripts have been peer reviewed and edited, and documents published in this series may be cited in the scientific and technical literature. Additionally, these analyses were considered at the 2014 Pacific Science Review Group meeting and were reviewed and accepted by that Group.

    Comment 7: Regarding the CA/OR/WA stock of sperm whales, HSUS pointed out that the Federal Register Notice (79 FR 50626; August 25, 2014) proposing a negligible impact determination includes a statement that the paper by Moore and Barlow “suggest[s] that the revised abundance estimates are higher and more stable across years than currently published values” and NMFS assumes an increasing trend. HSUS indicates that this assumption lacks important caveats that are stated in the Moore and Barlow paper such as the authors “were unable to precisely estimate overall abundance trends for sperm whales in the study area.” Further “whether this trend reflects a population-level increase in adult male abundance or merely increased use of the study area by adult males is not possible to say from the data” and go on to say that the authors were “unable to obtain good estimates of abundance trends for the entire California-Oregon-Washington stock of sperm whales.”

    Response: NMFS did not assume an increasing trend. We assumed, based on the best available science, that sperm whale abundance was not decreasing: therefore, it must either be stable or increasing. Refer to our response in Comment 4 regarding the abundance and trend for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock. Because of the information provided in Moore and Barlow (2014) on the abundance of male sperm whales and the uncertainty in the cause of those results (e.g., whether this trend reflects a population-level increase in adult male abundance or merely increased use of the study area by adult males), we did not separate our analysis by gender but assumed that the stock was either stable or increasing. We further acknowledge that the true stock size may be larger, because not all animals are in U.S. waters when surveys are conducted. Although there will always be some uncertainty relative to the population abundance of sperm whales (as there is always some inherent uncertainty in any population estimate), the apparent trend for sperm whales in the Pacific Ocean is stable or increasing, and this is occurring even with current levels of mortality and serious injury.

    Comment 8: HSUS referenced the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (PFMC) consideration of imposing additional measures on the CA thresher shark/swordfish DGN fishery (14 inch mesh) that appear to be necessary to assure that the fishery does not repeat the events of 2010 in which 2 sperm whales suffered mortality or serious injury. HSUS maintains that a negligible impact determination is premature at this time because management measures have not substantively changed since the takes in 2010 and the PFMC itself believes that there is a need to impose caps and other management measure to ensure that takes are sustainable.

    Response: The PFMC met September 12-17, November 14-19, 2014, and March 6-12, 2015, to deliberate management measures, including hard caps (or limits on the number of animals that can be taken in the fishery). The PFMC has directed its Highly Migratory Species management team to consider hard caps, but the management team has not developed recommendations at this time. NMFS cannot predict what the PFMC regulatory decisions may be, but at this time, we are able to make a negligible impact determination and satisfy the requirements under Criterion 3 for the CA/OR/WA sperm whale stock. In addition, under Section 118 of the MMPA, take reduction plans are designed to recover and prevent the depletion of strategic marine mammal stocks that interact with Category I and II fisheries. The goal of the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan is to reduce serious injuries and deaths of several marine mammal stocks incidental to the CA thresher shark/swordfish drift gillnet fishery (14 in mesh).

    Comment 9: One member of the public stated concern that the negligible impact determination is not precautionary and deviates from well-established methods. They requested that NMFS provide more justification and conduct more research before the permit can be evaluated properly.

    Response: Regarding pooling of bycatch data, see response to Comment 2. NOAA's ability to conduct research is dependent on funding and resources; however, the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center recently conducted a research cruise called the California Current Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey, from August 5 to December 10, 2014, that surveyed the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and beyond. It is expected that results from this survey will provide updated information on marine mammal stocks in this area.

    Comment 10: One individual stated that without any new data, NMFS is reversing its 2013 conclusion that emergency measures were necessary to ensure a negligible impact. Specifically, the use of the longer-time series to inflate sperm whale estimates far above what have been observed in recent surveys (for example, the most recent 2008 abundance point estimate is only 300 whales) and is deflating the estimated bycatch mortality by adding years of data in with no bycatch was observed. Further, the commenter stated that the proposed protections do not go far enough to protect sperm whales and the fishery should not be permitted to operate without protections that are at least as strong as the emergency measures put in place last year. It was requested that NMFS consider immediately reinstituting hard caps to protect sperm whales in the drift gillnet fishery.

    Response: NMFS appreciates the comment and references its responses to Comments 2 and 5. Additionally, NMFS is not reversing its 2013 conclusion, rather we are amending it because since that time, there have been significant changes in the information and conditions used to make the negligible impact determination on September 4, 2013 (78 FR 54553). This MMPA 101(a)(5)(E) permit amends the previously issued permit, updates the information on the known biological and ecological data on sperm whales and humpback whales, and updates information on human-caused mortality and serious injury. The emergency rule was temporary and; therefore, when the new information became available, NMFS evaluated it and determined that the previous negligible impact analysis should be amended, while maintaining the same expiration date of September 4, 2016 for the permit.

    Fisheries-related mortality and serious injury is a rare event for sperm whales. Given observer coverage of approximately 15%, the annual estimate of bycatch will always be either zero (if none observed) or at least 7 (if ≥1 observed), for estimates made using ratio methods. If the true average value for mortality and serious injury is >0 but less than a few animals per year, and if observer coverage generally remains <20%, then multiple years of data need to be pooled to for unbiased estimation of a mean annual rate (Carretta and Moore 2014). Pooling more years reduces bias and provides increased precision of estimates and thus, a better estimate of the long-term annual mortality and serious injury, which is what should be compared to PBR (barring changes to the fishery that could result in increased interaction rates not represented by historical data). NMFS has previously done this type of bycatch analysis for other species, such as loggerhead sea turtles (Murray 2006) and harbor porpoise (Orphanides 2009). NMFS acknowledges the commenter's concern regarding the use of longer-term data in the case of rare bycatch events (i.e., where the 13 years used to compute the mortality and serious injury rate have several years where recorded bycatch is zero) and refers back to our response in Comment 2. Regarding hard caps, we refer to the response to Comment 7. The negligible impact determination and permit is issued under section 101(a)(5)(E) of the MMPA, which is separate from the PFMC's deliberations.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09447 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD296 Endangered Species; File No. 18604 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of permit.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR), 163 Dairy Road, Mangilao, Guam 96913 has been issued a permit to take green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) sea turtles for purposes of scientific research.

    ADDRESSES:

    The permit and related documents are available for review 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Hapeman or Courtney Smith, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On May 20, 2014 and October 9, 2014, notice was published in the Federal Register (79 FR 28899 and 79 FR 61057, respectively) that a request for a scientific research permit to take green and hawksbill sea turtles had been submitted by the above-named organization. The requested permit has been issued under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 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).

    DAWR has been issued a five-year research permit to gather information on green and hawksbill sea turtle movement, species distribution, and health status and to document threats to the species. Researchers may capture and release up to 66 green and 6 hawksbill sea turtles annually by hand or by net in Guam waters. Turtles may be measured, flipper tagged, photographed, passive integrated transponder tagged, tissue sampled, and released. A subset of each species may have a satellite transmitter attached to the turtle's carapace. This information would be used to develop conservation management measures for these species.

    Issuance of this permit, as required by the ESA, was based on a finding that such permit (1) was applied for in good faith, (2) will not operate to the disadvantage of such endangered or threatened species, and (3) is consistent with the purposes and policies set forth in section 2 of the ESA.

    Dated: April 13, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09443 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD694 Marine Mammals; File No. 18662 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of permit.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that a permit has been issued to Allyson Hindle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Thier 503, Boston, MA 02114 to receive, import, and export specimens of marine mammals for scientific research purposes.

    ADDRESSES:

    The permit and related documents are available for review 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rosa L. González or Amy Sloan, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On January 8, 2015, notice was published in the Federal Register (80 FR 1027) that a request for a permit to receive, import, and export specimens of marine mammals for scientific research purposes had been submitted by the above-named applicant. The requested permit has been issued 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 (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226), and the Fur Seal Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1151 et seq.).

    The permit authorizes the applicant to receive, import, and export specimen materials for comparative research on the physiology and other biological aspects of marine mammals. Unlimited samples from up to 200 individual cetaceans and 200 individual pinnipeds (excluding walrus) are authorized to be received, imported, or exported annually on an opportunistic basis from other permitted sources (legal subsistence harvests and legal commercial fishing operations; stranded animals in foreign countries; captive animals; and other permitted research in the U.S. and abroad). Samples collected from stranded animals in the U.S. and received under separate authorization may be exported and re-imported. No takes of live animals are permitted. The permit is valid through March 31, 2020.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), a final determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    As required by the ESA, issuance of this permit was based on a finding that such permit: (1) Was applied for in good faith; (2) will not operate to the disadvantage of such endangered species; and (3) is consistent with the purposes and policies set forth in section 2 of the ESA.

    Dated: April 14, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09438 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD887 Marine Mammals; File No. 19444 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that Richard Breezy Wynn, 7216 Wellington Drive, Knoxville, TN 37919, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct commercial or educational photography on killer (Orcinus orca) and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) whales.

    DATES:

    Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    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 this application 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 File No. 19444 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 on this application would be appropriate.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carrie Hubard or Brendan Hurley, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216).

    The applicant proposes to film killer and beluga whales, focusing on their relationship with salmon. Filming would occur in Bristol Bay, Nushagak and Kvichak Bays, Kenai Fjords, Resurrection Bay, Aialik Bay, Harris Bay and Blying Sound, Alaska. A maximum of 45 killer whales and 25 belugas would be approached for filming. In addition, 25 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), 20 gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus), 25 Dall's porpoises (Phocoenoides dalli), and 25 harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) may be incidentally harassed during filming operations. Filming would occur from boats, a kayak, and an underwater diver. Hydrophones would be used to record sounds. Researchers familiar with the key species are working with the applicant as advisors. Footage would be used in a feature film for theatrical release and related projects, all focusing on salmon and their environment. Filming would occur in the summer and fall of 2015. The permit would be valid until October 31, 2015.

    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 copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09477 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Recruitment of First Responder Network Authority Board Members AGENCY:

    National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issues this Notice on behalf of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as part of the annual process to seek expressions of interest from individuals who would like to serve on the FirstNet Board.1 Four of the 12 appointments of non-permanent members to the FirstNet Board are expiring in August 2015. The Secretary of Commerce may reappoint individuals to serve on the FirstNet Board provided they have not served two consecutive full three-year terms.2 NTIA issues this Notice to obtain expressions of interest in the event the Secretary must fill any vacancies arising on the Board. Expressions of interest will be accepted until May 15, 2015.

    1 The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act) created FirstNet as an independent authority within NTIA, directing it to establish a single nationwide interoperable broadband network. Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (“Act”), to be codified at 47 U.S.C. 1401 et. seq. The Act requires that FirstNet be led by a 15-person Board, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget serving as permanent members of the Board. 47 U.S.C. 1424(b)(1).

    2 47 U.S.C. 1424(c)(2)(A)(ii).

    DATES:

    Expressions of Interest must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before May 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Persons wishing to submit expressions of interest as described below should send that information to: Marsha MacBride, Acting Associate Administrator of NTIA's Office of Public Safety Communications by email to [email protected]; by U.S. mail or commercial delivery service to: Office of Public Safety Communications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 7324, Washington, DC 20230; or by facsimile transmission to (202) 501-0536. Please note that all material sent via the U.S. Postal Service (including “Overnight” or “Express Mail”) is subject to delivery delays of up to two weeks due to mail security procedures.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marsha MacBride, Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Public Safety Communications, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 7324, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1150; email: [email protected] Please direct media inquiries to NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background and Authority

    The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act) created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA and charged it with establishing and overseeing a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network, based on a single, national network architecture.3 FirstNet is responsible for, at a minimum, ensuring nationwide standards for use and access of the network; issuing open, transparent, and competitive requests for proposals (RFPs) to build, operate, and maintain the network; encouraging these RFPs to leverage, to the maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial wireless infrastructure to speed deployment of the network; and managing and overseeing contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and maintain the network.4 FirstNet holds the single public safety license granted for wireless public safety broadband deployment. The FirstNet Board is responsible for making strategic decisions about FirstNet's operations and ensuring the success of the nationwide network.

    3 47 U.S.C. 1422(b).

    4 47 U.S.C. 1426(b)(1).

    II. Structure

    The FirstNet Board is composed of 15 voting members. The Act names the U.S. Attorney General, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as permanent members of the Board. The Secretary of Commerce appoints the twelve non-permanent members of the FirstNet Board.5 The Act requires each Board member to have experience or expertise in at least one of the following substantive areas: public safety, network, technical, and/or financial.6 Additionally, the composition of the FirstNet Board must satisfy the other requirements specified in the Act, including that: (i) at least three Board members have served as public safety professionals; (ii) at least three members represent the collective interests of states, localities, tribes, and territories; and (iii) its members reflect geographic and regional, as well as rural and urban, representation.7 An individual Board member may satisfy more than one of these requirements. The current non-permanent FirstNet Board members are (noting length of term):

    5 47 U.S.C. 1424(b).

    6 47 U.S.C. 1424(b)(2)(B).

    7 47 U.S.C. 1424(b)(2)(A).

    • Barry Boniface, telecommunications executive and private equity investor (Term expires: August 2016) • Tim Bryan, CEO, National Rural Telecom Cooperative (Term expires: August 2015) • Chris Burbank, Chief, Salt Lake City Police Department (Term expires: August 2017) • James Douglas, Former Governor of Vermont (Term expires: August 2017) • Jeffrey Johnson (Vice Chair), Fire Chief (retired); CEO, Western Fire Chiefs Association; former Chair, Oregon State Interoperability Council (Term expires: August 2016) • Kevin McGinnis, Chief/Community Paramedicine, North East Mobile Health Services (Term expires: August 2015) • Annise Parker, Mayor, City of Houston, Texas (Term expires: August 2015) • Frank Plastina, telecommunications/technology executive (Term expires: August 2015) • Ed Reynolds, telecommunications executive (retired) (Term expires: August 2017) • Richard Stanek, Sheriff of Hennepin County, Minnesota and National Sheriffs' Association Executive Committee Member (Term expires: August 2017) • Susan Swenson (Chair), telecommunications/technology executive (Term expires: August 2016) • Teri Takai, government information technology expert; former CIO, States of Michigan and California (Term expires: August 2016)

    More information about the FirstNet Board is available at www.firstnet.gov/about/Board. Board members are appointed for a term of three years, and Board members may not serve more than two consecutive full three-year terms.

    III. Compensation and Status as Government Employees

    FirstNet Board members are appointed as special government employees. FirstNet Board members are compensated at the daily rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule (approximately $155,000 per year).8 Each Board member must be a United States citizen, cannot be a registered lobbyist, and cannot be a registered agent of, employed by, or receive payments from a foreign government.9

    8 47 U.S.C. 1424(g).

    9See, Revised Guidance on Appointment of Lobbyists to Federal Advisory Committees, Boards, and Commissions, Office of Management and Budget, 79 FR 47482 (Aug. 13, 2014).

    IV. Financial Disclosure and Conflicts of Interest

    FirstNet Board members must comply with certain federal conflict of interest statutes and ethics regulations, including some financial disclosure requirements. A FirstNet Board member will generally be prohibited from participating on any particular matter that will have a direct and predictable effect on his or her personal financial interests or on the interests of the appointee's spouse, minor children, or non-federal employer.

    V. Selection Process

    At the direction of the Secretary of Commerce, NTIA, in consultation with FirstNet, will conduct outreach to the public safety community, state and local organizations, and industry to solicit nominations for candidates to the Board who satisfy the statutory requirements for membership. In addition, by this Notice, the Secretary of Commerce, through NTIA, will accept expressions of interest until May 15, 2015 from any individual, or any organization that wishes to propose a candidate, who satisfies the statutory requirements for membership on the FirstNet Board.10

    10 Incumbent Board members whose terms expire in August 2015, and who wish to be considered for reappointment, do not need to submit an expression of interest in response to this Notice.

    All parties wishing to be considered should submit their full name, address, telephone number, email address, a current resume, and a statement of qualifications that references how the candidate satisfies the Act's expertise, representational, and geographic requirements for FirstNet Board membership, as described in this Notice, along with a statement describing why they want to serve on the FirstNet Board and affirming their ability to take a regular and active role in the Board's work.

    The Secretary of Commerce will select FirstNet Board candidates based on the eligibility requirements in the Act and recommendations submitted by NTIA, in consultation with the FirstNet Board's Governance and Personnel Committee. NTIA will recommend candidates based on an assessment of their qualifications as well as their demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative way to achieve the goals and objectives of FirstNet as set forth in the Act. Board candidates will be vetted through the Department of Commerce and are subject to an appropriate background check for security clearance.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09527 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-60-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0037] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), DoD announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

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

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), 8725 John J. Kingman Road, ATTN: Ms. Angela Davis, Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060-6218, or call the DTIC Communications & Customer Access Division at 1-800-225-3842 (Option #3).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Defense User Registration System (DURS) Records; DD Form 2345 Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement; OMB Control Number 0704-XXXX.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to collect registration requests, validate eligibility, and maintain an official registry that identifies individuals who apply for, and are granted access privileges to DTIC owned or controlled computers, databases, products, services, and electronic information systems. Authority for maintenance of the system: E.O. 13526, Classified National Security Information; DoD Directive (DODD) 5105.73 Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC); DoDD 5230.25 Withholding of Unclassified Technical Data from Public Disclosure; DoD Instruction (DODI) 3200.12 DoD Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program (STIP); DoDI 3200.14 Principles and Operational Parameters of the DoD Scientific and Technical Information Program; DoDI 5230.24 Distribution Statements on Technical Documents; DoD Manual 5200.01—Volume 3, DoD Information Security Program: Protection of Classified Information; and DoD Regulation 5200.2-R, Personnel Security Program.

    Affected Public: Business or other for profit; Not-for-profit institutions; Federal Government.

    Annual Burden Hours: 101.

    Number of Respondents: 605 (Non-CAC Users who use DURS).

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Average Burden per Response: 10 minutes.

    Frequency: On Occasion.

    Department of Defense (DoD) military and civilian personnel and other U.S. Federal Government personnel, their contractors and grantees, designated officials and employees of foreign embassies according to agreements with DoD who request access privileges to DTIC products, services and electronic information systems.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09439 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DoD-2015-HA-0036] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

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

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Health Agency, Office of General Counsel, 61401 E. Centretech Parkway, ATTN: Bridget Ewings, Aurora, CO 80011, or call Defense Health Agency, Office of General Counsel, at (303) 676-3705.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Statement of Personal Injury—Possible Third Party Liability, Defense Health Agency; DD Form 2527; OMB Number 0720-0003.

    Needs and Uses: This information collection is completed by TRICARE (formerly CHAMPUS) beneficiaries suffering from personal injuries and receiving medical care at Government expense. The information is necessary in the assertion of the Government's right to recovery under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act. The data is used in the evaluation and processing of these claims.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households; Federal Government.

    Annual Burden Hours: 47,023.

    Number of Respondents: 188,090.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Average Burden per Response: 15 minutes.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    The Federal Medical Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. 2651-2653 as implemented by Executive Order No. 11060 and 28 CFR part 43 provides for recovery of the reasonable value of medical care provided by the United States to a person who is injured or suffers a disease under circumstances creating tort liability in a third person. DD Form 2527 is required for investigating and asserting claims in favor of the United States arising out of such incidents.

    When a claim for TRICARE benefits is identified as involving possible third party liability and the information is not submitted with the claim, the TRICARE contractor requests that the injured party (or a designee) complete DD Form 2527. To protect the interests of the Government, the contractor suspends claims processing until the requested third party liability information is received. The contractor conducts a preliminary evaluation based upon the collection of information and refers the case to a designated appropriate legal officer of the Uniformed Services. The responsible Uniformed Services legal officer uses the information as a basis for asserting and settling the Government's claim. When appropriate, the information is forwarded to the Department of Justice as the basis for litigation.

    Section 1 of the Form is used to collect general information, such as name, address and telephone numbers about the military sponsor and the injured beneficiary and the date, time and location where the injured occurred.

    Section 2 of the Form is used to collect information about accidental injuries. Most of the investigations for third party liability involve motor vehicle accidents. Information about insurance coverage for the parties involved in the accident is collected. Section 2 of the Form is also used to collect information about accidents not involving motor vehicles. Information such as the type of accident, the place where the injury occurred, the name of the property owner where the injury occurred and cause of the injury is collected. The name and address of the employer is collected when the injury was work related.

    Section 3 of the Form is used for miscellaneous information such as possible medical treatment at a Government hospital, the name and address of the beneficiary's attorney, and information regarding any possible releases or settlements with another party to the accident. It also contains the certification, date and signature of the beneficiary (or a designee).

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09434 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Office of Economic Adjustment; Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) AGENCY:

    Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Federal funding opportunity announcement.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of Defense was previously authorized to establish a limited program to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations in order to address capacity or facility condition deficiencies at such schools. In fiscal year 2015 Congress made available an additional $175 million for the program and included additional program requirements regarding cost sharing or matching applicable to the additional $175 million and any remaining unobligated balances for this program. This notice explains the additional program requirements regarding cost sharing or matching and provides updated proposal and submission information and Federal award agency contact information for this program.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    a. Federal Awarding Agency: Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA), Department of Defense (DoD).

    b. Funding Opportunity Title: Department of Defense Program for Construction, Renovation, Repair or Expansion of Public Schools Located on Military Installations.

    c. Announcement Type: Modification of Previously Announced Federal Funding Opportunity published in the September 9, 2011 Federal Register (76 FR 55883).

    d. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number & Title: 12.600, Community Investment.

    e. Key Dates: Submissions will be accepted by invitation only as described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883), and this notice.

    I. Period of Funding Opportunity

    Funding remains available until expended, as described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883), and this notice.

    II. Funding Opportunity a. Program Description

    Please refer to the Federal Funding Opportunity Title: Department of Defense Program for Construction, Renovation, Repair or Expansion of Public Schools Located on Military Installations.

    Announcement Type: Federal Funding Opportunity.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 12.600.

    Date: September 9, 2011

    The Secretary of Defense is authorized by Section 8017 of Public Law 113-291, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, acting through OEA, to provide up to $175 million “to make grants, conclude cooperative agreements, or supplement other Federal funds to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations in order to address capacity or facility condition deficiencies at such schools: Provided further, that in making such funds available, OEA shall give priority consideration to those military installations with schools having the most serious capacity or facility condition deficiencies as determined by the Secretary of Defense: Provided further, that a matching share, as outlined by the Department of Defense in the guidelines published in the September 9, 2011, Federal Register (76 FR 55883), is required to be provided by the local education authority (LEA) or the State in which the school is located. Provided further, these provisions apply to funds provided under this section, and to funds previously provided by Congress to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations in order to address capacity or facility condition deficiencies at such schools to the extent such funds remain unobligated the date of enactment of this section.” Section 8109 of Public Law 112-10, the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011; Section 8118 of Public Law 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012; and Section 8108 of Public Law 113-6, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, previously provided a total of $770 million to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations. OEA announced procedures for administering this program in a Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    This notice explains additional program requirements applicable to the additional $175 million and any remaining unobligated balances previously provided by Congress for this program, pursuant to Section 8017 of Public Law 113-291.

    b. Federal Award Information

    Awards under this FFO will be issued in the form of a grant agreement in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 6304.

    III. Eligibility Information a. Eligible Applicants

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    b. Eligible Activities

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    c. Cost Sharing or Matching

    Section 8017 of Public Law 113-291 established a matching share requirement applicable to the $175 million provided by that legislation, and any remaining unobligated balances previously provided for this program.

    (1) A matching share, equal to not less than twenty (20) percent of the total project cost, shall be provided by the LEA or the State in which the school is located.

    (2) The matching share may be cash, an in-kind contribution, or a combination of both. The LEA or the State must demonstrate that the match is or will be available to permit timely execution of the project.

    (3) For the purposes of this funding, the LEA or the State may use other Federal-sourced or non-Federal funds (State, local, or private contributions) committed to or available for the project to meet the matching share requirement.

    (4) OEA may, in its sole discretion, waive part of the matching share requirement provided the LEA or the State establishes to the satisfaction of OEA an inability to provide the required matching share.

    (5) Otherwise eligible schools that are unable to provide the required matching share and have not established an inability to do so will not be considered for funding.

    IV. Proposal and Submission Information a. Submission of a Proposal

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    b. Content and Form of Proposal Submission

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    c. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    Each applicant is required to: (a) Provide a valid Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number; (b) be registered in SAM before submitting its application; and (c) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. OEA may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time OEA is ready to issue a Federal award, OEA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

    d. Submission Dates and Times

    Proposals will be accepted by invitation only, subject to available appropriations, commencing on the date of publication of this notice and as described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    e. Application Review Information i. Selection Criteria

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    ii. Review and Selection Process

    As described in the Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2011 (76 FR 55883).

    f. Federal Award Adminstration Information i. Federal Award Notices

    In the event a grant is awarded, the successful applicant (Grantee) will receive a notice of award in the form of a grant agreement, signed by the Director, OEA (Grantor), on behalf of DoD. The grant agreement will be transmitted electronically or, if necessary, by U.S. Mail.

    ii. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Any grant awarded under this program will be governed by the provisions of the OMB circulars applicable to financial assistance and DoD's implementing regulations in place at the time of the award. A Grantee receiving funds under this opportunity and any consultant or pass-thru entity operating under the terms of a grant shall comply with all Federal, State, and local laws applicable to its activities. Federal regulations that will apply to an OEA grant include administrative requirements and provisions governing allowable costs as stated in:

    • 2 CFR part 200, “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”;

    • 2 CFR part 1103, “Interim Grants and Cooperative Agreements Implementation of Guidance in 2 CFR part 200, “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, And Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”;

    • 2 CFR part 25, “Universal Identifier and System for Award Management”;

    • 2 CFR part 170, “Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information”;

    • 2 CFR part 180, OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government-wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement), as implemented by DoD in 2 CFR part 1125, Department of Defense Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension; and

    • 32 CFR part 28, “New Restrictions on Lobbying”.

    Additional requirements applicable to construction awards include compliance with:

    • National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) • National Historic Preservation Act iii. Reporting

    OEA requires periodic performance reports, an interim financial report for each 12 months a grant is active, and one final performance report for any grant. The performance reports will contain information on the following:

    • A comparison of actual accomplishments to the objectives established for the period;

    • reasons for slippage if established objectives were not met;

    • additional pertinent information when appropriate;

    • a comparison of actual and projected quarterly expenditures in the grant; and,

    • the amount of Federal cash on hand at the beginning and end of the reporting period.

    The final performance report must contain a summary of activities for the entire grant period. All required deliverables should be submitted with the final performance report.

    The final SF 425, “Federal Financial Report,” must be submitted to OEA within 90 days after the end of the grant.

    V. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information, to answer questions, or for help with problems related to this program, contact: Ms. Nia Hope, Program Director, Community Investment, Office of Economic Adjustment, 2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 520, Arlington, VA 22202-3711. Office: (703) 697-2088. Email: [email protected]

    The OEA homepage address is: http://www.oea.gov.

    Specific questions concerning the Department's Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List should be directed to Gerald David, Department of Defense Education Activity at [email protected]

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09485 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Strengthening Institutions Program AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information

    Strengthening Institutions Program.

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.031A. DATES:

    Applications Available: April 23, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 8, 2015.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 6, 2015.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) to help them become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the institution's academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

    Priority: This notice contains one competitive preference priority. The competitive preference priority is from 34 CFR 75.226.

    Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award three additional points to an application that meets this priority.

    This priority is:

    Competitive Preference Priority—Supporting Strategies for which there is Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness (3 additional points).

    Projects that propose a process, product, strategy, or practice supported by moderate evidence of effectiveness (as defined in this notice).

    Note:

    Applicants seeking to address this competitive preference priority should identify a minimum of one up to a maximum of two studies that support their proposed project and meet the definition of “moderate evidence of effectiveness.” Applicants should clearly identify if they are addressing the priority on the one-page abstract submitted with the application. All cited studies must also be submitted with the application as a PDF. If the Department determines that an applicant has provided insufficient information, the applicant will not have an opportunity to provide additional information at a later time.

    To qualify as moderate evidence of effectiveness, among other things, a study's evaluation design must meet What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) Evidence Standards (as defined in this notice). The What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook describes in detail which types of study designs can meet WWC Evidence Standards with or without reservations including both quasi-experimental design studies and randomized controlled trials (as defined in this notice). The WWC review protocol for individual studies in the postsecondary education topic area, which describes the specific types of outcomes, populations, and other criteria that will be used by the Department to determine whether a study meets WWC Evidence Standards, can be found at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_pe_protocol_v3.0.pdf.

    Applicants may cite studies that (1) have already been determined by the Department to meet the WWC Evidence Standards (e.g., studies listed in the WWC-reviewed studies database or in the WWC database under the postsecondary topic area as having met WWC standards with or without reservations) or (2) have not yet been reviewed by the Department but that the applicant thinks will meet the WWC Evidence Standards. In the case of studies that have not yet been reviewed, the Department will review the studies to determine if they meet WWC Evidence Standards, in accordance with the procedures described under Review and Selection Process in section IV of this notice. In both cases, the studies will be reviewed by the Department to determine if they also meet the other requirements of the definition for “moderate evidence of effectiveness.”

    In order to receive the three additional points under this competitive preference priority, applicants should propose to implement the strategy from their supporting study or studies as closely as possible and describe in the narrative response to this priority how they will do so. Where modifications to a cited strategy will be made to account for student or institutional characteristics, resource limitations, or other special factors, the applicant should provide a justification or basis for the modifications in the narrative response to this priority. Modifications may not be proposed to the core aspects of any cited strategy.

    Definitions: These definitions are from 34 CFR 77.1(c) and apply to the priority in this notice.

    Large sample means an analytic sample of 350 or more students (or other single analysis units), or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units).

    Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following conditions is met:

    (i) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), and includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice.

    (ii) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a large sample and a multi-site sample. (Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph.)

    Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be defined as an LEA, locality, or State.

    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations (but not What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations).

    Randomized controlled trial means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to receive the intervention being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to receive the intervention (the control group). The estimated effectiveness of the intervention is the difference between the average outcomes for the treatment group and for the control group. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.

    What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards means the standards set forth in the What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 3.0, March 2014), which can be found at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.

    Program Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 1057-1059d (title III, part A, of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA)).

    Note:

    In 2008, the HEA was amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) (Pub. L. 110-315). The HEOA made a number of technical and substantive revisions to SIP, and the program regulations in 34 CFR part 607 have not yet been updated to reflect these statutory changes.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 607.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants—Individual Development Grants and Cooperative Arrangement Development Grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $18,197,309.

    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2016 from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

    Individual Development Grants

    Estimated Range of Awards: $400,000-$450,000 per year.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $425,000 per year.

    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $450,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 36.

    Cooperative Arrangement Development Grants

    Estimated Range of Awards: $600,000-$650,000 per year.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $625,000 per year.

    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $650,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 3.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: Up to 60 months for each type of award.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: (a) This program is authorized by title III, part A, of the HEA. To qualify as an eligible institution under any title III, part A program, an institution must be—

    (i) Accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association that the Secretary has determined to be a reliable authority as to the quality of education or training offered;

    (ii) Legally authorized by the State in which it is located to be a junior or community college or to provide an educational program for which it awards a bachelor's degree;

    (iii) Designated as an “eligible institution” by demonstrating that it has: (A) an enrollment of needy students as described in 34 CFR 607.3; and (B) low average educational and general expenditures per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student as described in 34 CFR 607.4.

    Note:

    For purposes of establishing eligibility for this competition, the notice inviting applications for eligibility designation for FY 2015 was published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2014 (79 FR 65197) and applications were due on December 22, 2014. Only institutions that submitted the required application and received designation through this process are eligible to submit applications for this competition.

    (b) A grantee under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program, which is authorized under title V of the HEA, may not receive a grant under any HEA, title III, part A program, including SIP. Furthermore, a current HSI Program grantee may not give up its HSI grant to receive a grant under SIP or any title III, part A program as described in 34 CFR 607.2(g)(1).

    An eligible HSI that is not a current grantee under the HSI Program may apply for a FY 2015 grant under all title III, part A programs for which it is eligible, as well as receive consideration for a grant under the HSI Program. However, a successful applicant may receive only one grant as described in 34 CFR 607.2(g)(1).

    (c) An eligible IHE that submits an application for an Individual Development Grant and a Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant may be awarded both grants.

    (d) An eligible IHE that currently has a SIP Individual Development Grant may apply for and be awarded a Cooperative Development Grant. A grantee with an Individual Development Grant or Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant may be a partner or subgrantee in one or more Cooperative Arrangement Development Grants. The lead institution in a Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant must be an eligible institution. Partners or subgrantees are not required to be eligible institutions.

    2.a. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching unless the grantee uses a portion of its grant for establishing or improving an endowment fund. If a grantee uses a portion of its grant for endowment fund purposes, it must match those grant funds with non-Federal funds (20 U.S.C. 1059c(c) (3)(B)).

    b. Supplement-Not-Supplant: This program involves supplement-not-supplant funding requirements. Grant funds shall be used so that they supplement and, to the extent practical, increase the funds that would otherwise be available for the activities to be carried out under the grant and in no case supplant those funds (34 CFR 607.30(b)).

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application via the Internet using the following address: www.Grants.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact one of the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

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

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting one of the program contact persons listed UNDER FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this program.

    Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria and the competitive preference priority that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We have established the following mandatory page limits for Individual Development Grant and Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant applications:

    • If you are not addressing the competitive preference priority you must limit your application narrative to no more than 50 pages for an Individual Development Grant application and to no more than 70 pages for a Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant application.

    • If you are addressing the competitive preference priority you must limit your application narrative to no more than 55 pages for an Individual Development Grant application and 75 pages for a Cooperative Arrangement Development Grant application.

    Applicants should provide information addressing the competitive preference priority in the section of the application titled “Competitive Preference Priority—Supporting Strategies for which there is Moderate Evidence of Effectiveness.”

    For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limit, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page. Applicants must use the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. Page numbers and an identifier may be within the 1″ margins.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. Text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative may be single spaced and will count toward the page limit.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, and no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). However, you may use a 10-point font in charts, tables, figures, graphs, footnotes, and endnotes.

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted.

    The page limit applies to all of the application narrative section, including your complete response to the selection criteria and the competitive preference priority. However, the page limit does not apply to Part I, the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424-cover sheet); the Department of Education Supplemental Information Form (SF 424); Part II, the Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524); Section A—Budget Summary—U.S. Department of Education Funds; Section B—Budget Summary—Non-Federal Funds; and Section C—Budget Narrative; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; the one-page program abstract; or bibliography. The page limit also does not apply to any copies of studies that are submitted in response to the competitive preference priority. However, if you include any attachments or appendices not specifically listed in this section or requested in the application package, these items will be counted as part of your application narrative for the purpose of the page-limit requirement.

    Note:

    The Budget Information-Non-Construction Programs Form (ED 524) Sections A-C are not the same as the narrative response to the Budget section of the selection criteria.

    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: April 23, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: June 8, 2015.

    Applications for grants under this program must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV.7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact one of the program contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice. Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: August 6, 2015.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

    5. Funding Restrictions: (a) General. We specify unallowable costs in 34 CFR 607.10(c). We reference additional regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    (b) Applicability of Executive Order 13202. Applicants that apply for construction funds under the title III, part A, HEA programs must comply with Executive Order 13202, as amended. This Executive order provides that recipients of Federal construction funds may not “require or prohibit bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors to enter into or adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other construction project(s)” or “otherwise discriminate against bidders, offerors, contractors, or subcontractors for becoming or refusing to become or remain signatories or otherwise to adhere to agreements with one or more labor organizations, on the same or other related construction project(s).” Projects funded under this program that include construction activity will be provided a copy of this Executive order and will be asked to certify that they will adhere to it.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one to two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:

    Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under the Strengthening Institutions Program must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications

    Applications for grants under the Strengthening Institutions Program, CFDA number 84.031A, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

    You may access the electronic grant application for this competition at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.031, not 84.031A).

    Please note the following:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

    • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

    • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov.

    • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

    • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material.

    • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

    • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that that problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

    Note:

    The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because--

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

    • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and

    • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Nalini Lamba-Nieves, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6024, Washington, DC 20006-8513. FAX: (202) 502-7861.

    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.031A), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (1) A private metered postmark.

    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

    If your application is postmarked after the application deadline date, we will not consider your application.

    Note:

    The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.031A), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

    If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to youa notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this program are from 34 CFR 607.22(a)-(g). Applicants must address each of the following selection criteria. The total maximum number of points under the selection criteria is 100 points; the maximum score under each criterion is noted in parentheses. The complete text of the selection criteria is in the application package for this competition.

    (a) Quality of the Applicant's Comprehensive Development Plan. (Maximum 25 Points) The extent to which—

    (1) The strengths, weaknesses, and significant problems of the institution's academic programs, institutional management, and fiscal stability are clearly and comprehensively analyzed and result from a process that involved major constituencies of the institution;

    (2) The goals for the institution's academic programs, institutional management, and fiscal stability are realistic and based on comprehensive analysis;

    (3) The objectives stated in the plan are measurable, related to institutional goals, and, if achieved, will contribute to the growth and self-sufficiency of the institution; and

    (4) The plan clearly and comprehensively describes the methods and resources the institution will use to institutionalize practice and improvements developed under the proposed project, including, in particular, how operational costs for personnel, maintenance, and upgrades of equipment will be paid with institutional resources.

    (b) Quality of Activity Objectives. (Maximum 15 Points) The extent to which the objectives for each activity are—

    (1) Realistic and defined in terms of measurable results; and

    (2) Directly related to the problems to be solved and to the goals of the comprehensive development plan.

    (c) Quality of Implementation Strategy. (Maximum 20 Points) The extent to which—

    (1) The implementation strategy for each activity is comprehensive;

    (2) The rationale for the implementation strategy for each activity is clearly described and is supported by the results of relevant studies or projects; and

    (3) The timetable for each activity is realistic and likely to be attained.

    (d) Quality of Key Personnel. (Maximum 7 Points) The extent to which—

    (1) The past experience and training of key professional personnel are directly related to the stated activity objectives; and

    (2) The time commitment of key personnel is realistic.

    (e) Quality of Project Management Plan. (Maximum 10 Points) The extent to which—

    (1) Procedures for managing the project are likely to ensure efficient and effective project implementation; and

    (2) The project coordinator and activity directors have sufficient authority to conduct the project effectively, including access to the president or chief executive officer.

    (f) Quality of Evaluation Plan. (Maximum 15 Points) The extent to which—

    (1) The data elements and the data collection procedures are clearly described and appropriate to measure the attainment of activity objectives and to measure the success of the project in achieving the goals of the comprehensive development plan; and

    (2) The data analysis procedures are clearly described and are likely to produce formative and summative results on attaining activity objectives and measuring the success of the project on achieving the goals of the comprehensive development plan.

    (g) Budget. (Maximum 8 Points) The extent to which the proposed costs are necessary and reasonable in relation to the project's objectives and scope.

    2. Review and Selection Process: We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary also requires various assurances including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    Awards will be made in rank order according to the average score received from an evaluation performed by a panel of non-Federal reviewers based on responses to the selection criteria and, if applicable, the competitive preference priority. If an application is scored highly, has the possibility of being funded, and includes a response to the competitive preference priority, IES will review the studies cited in the application to determine whether they meet the “moderate evidence of effectiveness” standard. Only those applications that address the competitive preference priority and have the possibility of being funded because of high scores and available funds for new awards will undergo further review by IES. At least one study submitted must be found to meet the definition of “moderate evidence of effectiveness,” in order for applicants to receive the additional points.

    Tie-breaker for Development Grants. In tie-breaking situations for Development Grants, 34 CFR 607.23(b) requires that we award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has an endowment fund of which the current market value, per full time equivalent (FTE) enrolled student, is less than the average current market value of the endowment funds, per FTE enrolled student, at comparable type institutions that offer similar instruction. We also award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has expenditures for library materials per FTE enrolled student that are less than the average expenditure for library materials per FTE enrolled student at similar type institutions. We also add one additional point to an application from an IHE that proposes to carry out one or more of the following activities—

    (1) Faculty development;

    (2) Funds and administrative management;

    (3) Development and improvement of academic programs;

    (4) Acquisition of equipment for use in strengthening management and academic programs;

    (5) Joint use of facilities; and

    (6) Student services.

    For the purpose of these funding considerations, we use 2012-2013 data.

    If a tie remains after applying the tie-breaker mechanism above, priority will be given in the case of applicants for: (a) Individual Development Grants, to applicants that have the lowest endowment values per FTE student; and (b) Cooperative Arrangement Development Grants, to applicants in accordance with section 394(b) of the HEA, if the Secretary determines that the cooperative arrangement is geographically and economically sound or will benefit the applicant institution.

    3. Special Conditions: Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant (34 CFR 607.24(c)(2)); or is otherwise not responsible.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multi-year award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the Strengthening Institutions Program:

    a. The percentage change, over the five-year period, of the number of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled at SIP institutions. Note that this is a long-term measure, which will be used to periodically gauge performance;

    b. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at four-year SIP institutions who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;

    c. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at two-year SIP institutions who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same SIP institution;

    d. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at four-year SIP institutions graduating within six years of enrollment;

    e. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at two-year SIP institutions graduating within three years of enrollment; and

    f. The cost per successful program outcome: Federal cost per undergraduate and graduate degree at SIP institutions.

    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application. In making a continuation grant, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    VII. Agency Contacts FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nalini Lamba-Nieves, Pearson Owens, or Don Crews, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street NW., Room 6024, Washington, DC 20006-8513. You may contact these individuals at the following email addresses and telephone numbers:

    [email protected]; (202) 502-7562 [email protected]; (202) 502-7804 [email protected]; (202) 502-7574

    If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to either program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated authority to Jamienne S. Studley, Deputy Under Secretary, to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Jamienne S. Studley, Deputy Under Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09492 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket ID ED-2015-OESE-0047] Proposed Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grant Program AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Proposed waiver and extension of the project period.

    [CFDA Number: 84.256A] SUMMARY:

    For 36-month projects funded in fiscal year (FY) 2012 under the Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grant (T&FASEG) program, the Secretary proposes to waive the requirement that prohibits the extension of project periods involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. The Secretary also proposes to extend the project period of these grants for up to an additional 24 months. The proposed waiver and extension would enable the five current T&FASEG grantees to continue to receive Federal funding annually for project periods through FY 2016 and possibly through FY 2017. In addition, during this period, the Pacific Regional Educational Laboratory (Pacific REL) would continue to receive funds set aside for technical assistance under the T&FASEG program.

    DATES:

    We must receive your comments on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under “Are you new to the site?”

    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about this proposed waiver and extension of the project period, address them to Collette Fisher, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E231, Washington, DC 20202-6400.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Collette Fisher. Telephone: (202) 401-0039 or by email at: [email protected].

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed waiver and extension. We are particularly interested in receiving comments on the potential impact that this proposed waiver and extension might have on the five current T&FASEG program grantees: American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Republic of Palau. We note that these grantees also constitute the eligible applicants under the T&FASEG program.

    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this proposed waiver and extension by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect all public comments in Room 3E231, 400 Maryland Ave. SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week, except Federal holidays.

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

    Background

    The T&FASEG program is authorized under section 1121(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). Under this program, the Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to local educational agencies (LEAs) in the U.S. Territories—American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—and one eligible Freely Associated State, the Republic of Palau. Through these grants, the T&FASEG program supports projects to raise student achievement through direct educational services.

    T&FASEG program grant funds may be used for activities authorized under the ESEA, including teacher training, curriculum development, development or acquisition of instructional materials, and general school improvement and reform. More specifically, under the T&FASEG program, grant funds may be used to—

    (a) Conduct activities consistent with the programs described in the ESEA, including the types of activities authorized under—

    (1) Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged;

    (2) Title II—Preparing, Training, and Recruiting Highly-Quality Teachers and Principals;

    (3) Title III—Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students;

    (4) Title IV—21st Century Schools; and

    (5) Title V—Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs; and

    (b) Provide direct educational services that assist all students with meeting challenging State academic content standards.

    In addition, section 1121(b)(3)(d) of the ESEA authorizes the Secretary to provide up to five percent of the amount reserved for T&FASEG program grants to pay the administrative costs of the Pacific REL, which provides technical assistance to grant recipients regarding the administration and implementation of their projects.

    On April 30, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 25452) a notice inviting applications for new awards under the FY 2012 T&FASEG program competition (2012 Notice Inviting Applications).

    In FY 2012, the Department made three-year awards to five T&FASEG projects. The project period for these T&FASEG program grants is currently scheduled to end on September 30, 2015. The Secretary proposes to waive the requirement in 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which prohibits the extension of project periods involving the obligation of additional Federal funds, and proposes to extend the project period for current T&FASEG grant recipients for up to 24 months. This would allow the grantees to continue to receive Federal funding annually for project periods through FY 2016 and possibly FY 2017.

    We are proposing this waiver and extension because we have concluded that it would not be in the public interest to incur a disruption in the services associated with holding a new T&FASEG competition in FY 2015. Rather, it would be more effective to maintain the continuity of current projects by allowing grantees the opportunity to continue to provide high-quality direct educational services in support of the Secretary's priorities to students and teachers in the U.S. Territories and the Republic of Palau without interruption. Consistent with the scope, goals, and objectives of the current projects, grantees would continue to support initiatives on standards and assessments, effective teachers and leaders, and projects that are designed to improve student achievement or teacher effectiveness through the use of high-quality digital tools or materials, which include preparing teachers to use technology to improve instruction, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating digital tools or materials. Moreover, we believe that a longer project period will better enable grantees to carry out project objectives and anticipate providing for longer project periods in future competitions. Additionally, given that all eligible applicants currently receive grant awards under the T&FASEG program, the proposed waiver and extension would have limited impact on those entities.

    We intend to fund the extended project period by using funds Congress appropriates under the current statutory authority, including FY 2014 funds available for awards made in FY 2015 and, if the grants are extended for two years, FY 2015 funds available for awards made in FY 2016.

    Under this proposed waiver and extension of the project period—

    (1) Current grantees would be authorized to receive T&FASEG continuation awards annually for up to two years through FY 2017;

    (2) We would not announce a new T&FASEG competition or make new T&FASEG grant awards in FY 2015;

    (3) During the extension period, any activities carried out would be consistent with, or a logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of each grantee's approved application from the 2012 T&FASEG program competition;

    (4) The requirements established in the program regulations and the 2012 Notice Inviting Applications would continue to apply to each grantee that receives a continuation award; and

    (5) All requirements applicable to continuation awards for current T&FASEG grantees and the requirements in 34 CFR 75.253 would apply to any continuation awards received by current T&FASEG grantees.

    If we announce this proposed waiver and extension as final, we will make decisions regarding annual continuation awards based on grantee performance as demonstrated through program narratives, budgets and budget narratives, and performance reports, and based on the regulations in 34 CFR 75.253. We intend to award continuation grants based on information provided to us annually by each grantee, indicating that it is making substantial progress performing its T&FASEG program activities based on substantial performance and progress.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waiver and extension and the activities required to support additional years of funding would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The entities that would be affected by this proposed waiver and extension are the five current T&FASEG program grantees receiving Federal funds. There are no other potential applicants.

    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waiver and extension would not have a significant economic impact on these entities because the extension of an existing project imposes minimal compliance costs, and the activities required to support the additional years of funding would not impose additional regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This proposed waiver and extension does not contain any information collection requirements.

    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance. This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for this program.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Program Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 6331.

    Dated: April 20, 2015. Deborah S. Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09510 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board Meeting, Northern New Mexico AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Open Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Northern New Mexico. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 1:00 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Sandia Hotel, Hummingbird Room, 30 Rainbow Road, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Menice Santistevan, Northern New Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board (NNMCAB), 94 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, NM 87506. Phone (505) 995-0393; Fax (505) 989-1752 or Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Tentative Agenda • Call to Order by Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) • Establishment of a Quorum: Roll Call and Excused Absences • Welcome and Introductions • Approval of Agenda and Meeting Minutes of March 25, 2015 • Old Business ○ Written Reports ○ Other Items • New Business ○ Appointment of Nominating Committee for Election of Officers in September 2015 • Update from DDFO • DOE Presentation • Update from Liaisons ○ Update from DOE ○ Update from Los Alamos National Laboratory ○ Update from New Mexico Environment Department • Public Comment Period • Wrap-Up Comments from NNMCAB Members • Adjourn

    Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Northern New Mexico, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Menice Santistevan at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the telephone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to agenda items should contact Menice Santistevan at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Menice Santistevan at the address or phone number listed above. Minutes and other Board documents are on the Internet at: http://www.nnmcab.energy.gov/

    Issued at Washington, DC on April 16, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09537 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Nevada AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Nevada. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 5:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    National Atomic Testing Museum, 755 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barbara Ulmer, Board Administrator, 232 Energy Way, M/S 505, North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030. Phone: (702) 630-0522; Fax (702) 295-5300 or Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Tentative Agenda:

    1. Briefing and Recommendation Development for Corrective Action Alternatives for Corrective Action Unit 568, Area 3 Plutonium Dispersion Sites—Work Plan Item #2

    2. Briefing and Recommendation Development for Soils Quality Assurance Plan—Work Plan Item #4

    Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Nevada, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Barbara Ulmer at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the phone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral presentations pertaining to agenda items should contact Barbara Ulmer at the telephone number listed above. The request must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments can do so during the 15 minutes allotted for public comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing to Barbara Ulmer at the address listed above or at the following Web site: http://nv.energy.gov/nssab/MeetingMinutes.aspx.

    Issued at Washington, DC on April 17, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09536 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC15-124-000.

    Applicants: FR Kingfisher Holdings LLC, FR Kingfisher Holdings II LLC, MidAmerican Wind Tax Equity Holdings, LLC.

    Description: Joint Application for Authorization under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Confidential Treatment of FR Kingfisher Holdings LLC, et al. under EC15-124.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5250.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1942-012; ER10-2042-018; ER10-1941-007; ER11-3840-005; ER10-1938-013; ER13-1407-004; ER14-2931-002; ER10-1934-012; ER10-1893-012; ER10-1888-007; ER10-1885-007; ER10-1884-007; ER10-1883-007; ER10-1878-007; ER10-1876-007; ER10-1875-007; ER10-1873-007; ER12-1987-005; ER10-1947-007; ER10-1864-006; ER10-1862-012; ER12-2261-005; ER10-1865-007.

    Applicants: Calpine Construction Finance Company, L.P., Calpine Energy Services, L.P., Calpine Gilroy Cogen, L.P., Calpine Greenleaf, Inc., Calpine Power America—CA, LLC, CCFC Sutter Energy, LLC, CES Marketing IX, LLC, Calpine Fore River Energy Center, LLC, CES Marketing X, LLC, Creed Energy Center, LLC, Delta Energy Center, LLC, Geysers Power Company, LLC, Gilroy Energy Center, LLC, Goose Haven Energy Center, LLC, Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility, LLC, Los Medanos Energy Center, LLC, Metcalf Energy Center, LLC, O.L.S. Energy-Agnews, Inc., Otay Mesa Energy Center, LLC, Pastoria Energy Facility, L.L.C., Power Contract Financing, L.L.C., Russell City Energy Company, LLC, South Point Energy Center, LLC, Calpine Construction Finance Company, LP

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of the Calpine Southwest MBR Sellers.

    Filed Date: 4/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150415-5335.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1065-000.

    Applicants: Balko Wind, LLC.

    Description: Second Supplement to February 18, 2015 Balko Wind, LLC tariff filing.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5087.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/24/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1509-001.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment per 35.17(b): Do Not Exceed Real-Time Dispatch to be effective 4/10/2016.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5214.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1520-000.

    Applicants: Catalina Solar 2, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing per 35.1: Catalina Solar 2 Concurrence to Shared Transmission Facilities Agreement to be effective 5/31/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5234.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1521-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Amended LGIA for RE Astoria, Service Agreement No. 157 to be effective 6/16/2014.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5238.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1522-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Amendment to Kings River GIA and GSFA, TO Service Agreement No. 57 to be effective 4/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5239.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1523-000.

    Applicants: San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Certificate of Concurrence in LGIA to be effective 10/21/2014.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5143.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1524-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): OATT Formula Rate—Schedule 10 Loss Factor to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5193.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1525-000.

    Applicants: The Connecticut Light and Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Amendment to CL&P and CMEEC WDS Agreement ? Electric Rate Schedule FERC No. WD-1 to be effective 6/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5206.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1526-000.

    Applicants: SIG Energy, LLLP.

    Description: Notice of cancellation of MBR tariff of SIG Energy, LLLP.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5218.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES15-16-000.

    Applicants: DTE Electric Company.

    Description: Application of DTE Electric Company For Authorization to Issue Securities.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5252.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09471 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER15-536-002.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: BGE submits Errata to Compliance Filing in Docket No. ER15-536-001 to be effective 2/2/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5271.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1066-001.

    Applicants: Red Horse Wind 2, LLC.

    Description: Supplement to February 18, 2015 and March 27, 2015 Red Horse Wind 2, LLC tariff filings.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5270.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/24/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1527-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Joint OATT Amendment to Schedule 4 to be effective 6/17/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5228.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1528-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Attach P Revisions—Implementation of the OATI Preemption & Competition Module to be effective 6/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5243.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1529-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: 2015-04-17_Unreserved Use Revenue Distribution Methodology to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/17/15.

    Accession Number: 20150417-5274.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/8/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09472 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC15-122-000.

    Applicants: AIA Energy North America LLC, Cross-Sound Cable Company, LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Expedited Action and Privileged and Confidential Treatment of AIA Energy North America LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 4/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150415-5333.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-123-000.

    Applicants: Alta Wind X, LLC, Alta Wind XI, LLC.

    Description: Joint Application for Authorization under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Expedited Action of Alta Wind X, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5199.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER15-359-003.

    Applicants: Samchully Power & Utilities 1 LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Samchully Power & Utilities 1 LLC.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5125.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-760-001.

    Applicants: Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch A LLC.

    Description: Supplement to December 30, 2014 and February 19, 2015 Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch A LLC tariff filings.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-762-001.

    Applicants: Sierra Solar Greenworks LLC.

    Description: Supplement to December 30, 2014 and February 19, 2015 Sierra Solar Greenworks LLC tariff filings.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1515-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Commonwealth Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): ComEd submits ministerial revisions to OATT Attachment H-13A to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150415-5285.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1517-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Withdrawal per 35.15: Notice of Cancellation of Original Service Agreement No. 3687; Queue No. Y3-027 to be effective 2/18/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5160.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1518-000.

    Applicants: ITC Midwest LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Joint Use Pole Agreement with Guthrie County REC to be effective 6/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5182.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1519-000.

    Applicants: Catalina Solar Lessee, LLC, Catalina Solar 2, LLC, Pacific Wind Lessee, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Revised Shared Transmission Facilities Agreement of Pacific Wind Lessee et al. to be effective 5/31/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/16/15.

    Accession Number: 20150416-5203.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following PURPA 210(m)(3) filings:

    Docket Numbers: QM15-3-000.

    Applicants: Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.

    Description: Application of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation on Behalf of Itself and Its Members to Terminate Mandatory PURPA Purchase Obligation in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Filed Date: 4/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150415-5324.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: QM15-4-000.

    Applicants: Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.

    Description: Application of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation on Behalf of Itself and Its Members to Terminate Mandatory PURPA Purchase Obligation in the Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Filed Date: 4/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150415-5328.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09470 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0277; FRL-9926-63] Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee; Notice of Public Meeting AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Pesticide Programs is announcing a public meeting of the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) on May 14-15, 2015. In addition, EPA is announcing meetings on May 13, 2015, of the following PPDC Workgroups: Integrated Pest Management, Comparative Safety Statements, 21st Century Toxicology/New Integrated Testing Strategies, and Public Health. These meetings provide advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on issues associated with pesticide regulatory development and reform initiatives, evolving public policy and program implementation issues, and science issues associated with evaluating and reducing risks from use of pesticides.

    DATES:

    Meeting: The PPDC meeting will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, May 15, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    Work Group Meetings: On Wednesday, May 13, 2015, PPDC Work Group meetings are scheduled as follows: Integrated Pest Management Work Group, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Comparative Safety Statements Work Group, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., 21st Century Toxicology/New Integrated Testing Strategies Work Group, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Public Health Work Group, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: A draft agenda will be posted on or before April 30, 2015.

    Accommodations requests: To request accommodation of a disability, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATON CONTACT, preferably at least 10 days prior to the meeting, to give EPA as much time as possible to process your request.

    ADDRESSES:

    The PPDC Meeting and PPDC Work Group meetings will be held at 1 Potomac Yard South, 2777 S. Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA. The PPDC meeting will be held in the lobby-level Conference Center. The PPDC Work Group meetings will be held as follows: Integrated Pest Management Work Group and the Comparative Safety Statements Work Group in the lobby-level Conference Center; 21st Century Toxicology/New Integrated Testing Strategies Work Group in the fourth floor conference room number N4850-70; and Public Health Work Group in the seventh floor conference room number PYS7100.

    EPA's Potomac Yard South Bldg. is approximately 1 mile from the Crystal City Metro Station.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dea Zimmerman, Office of Pesticide Programs (LC-8J), Environmental Protection Agency, 77 W. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604; telephone number: (312) 353-6344; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does this action apply to me?

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you work in an agricultural settings or if you are concerned about implementation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA); and the amendments to both of these major pesticide laws by the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996; the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Potentially affected entities may include, but are not limited to: Agricultural workers and farmers; pesticide industry and trade associations; environmental, consumer, and farm worker groups; pesticide users and growers; animal rights groups; pest consultants; State, local, and tribal governments; academia; public health organizations; and the public. If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0277, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Background

    The PPDC is a federal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Public Law 92-463. EPA established the PPDC in September 1995 to provide advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on issues associated with pesticide regulatory development and reform initiatives, evolving public policy and program implementation issues, and science issues associated with evaluating and reducing risks from use of pesticides. The following sectors are represented on the current PPDC: Environmental/public interest and animal rights groups; farm worker organizations; pesticide industry and trade associations; pesticide user, grower, and commodity groups; Federal and state/local/tribal governments; the general public; academia; and public health organizations.

    III. How can I request to participate in this meeting?

    PPDC meetings are free, open to the public, and no advance registration is required. Public comments may be made during the public comment session of each meeting or in writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Jack Housenger, Director, Office of Pesticide Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09478 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Sunshine Act Meeting

    Pursuant to the provisions of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b), notice is hereby given that at 10:34 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation met in closed session to consider matters related to the Corporation's supervision, corporate, and resolution activities.

    In calling the meeting, the Board determined, on motion of Vice Chairman Thomas M. Hoenig, seconded by Director Jeremiah O. Norton (Appointive), concurred in by Director Thomas J. Curry (Comptroller of the Currency), Director Richard Cordray (Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, that Corporation business required its consideration of the matters which were to be the subject of this meeting on less than seven days' notice to the public; that no earlier notice of the meeting was practicable; that the public interest did not require consideration of the matters in a meeting open to public observation; and that the matters could be considered in a closed meeting by authority of subsections (c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10) of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10).

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Dated: April 21, 2015. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09570 Filed 4-21-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0043; Docket 2015-0076; Sequence 8] Information Collection; Delivery Schedules AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning delivery schedules.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules” on your attached document.

    • Fax: 202-501-4067.

    • Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules, in all correspondence related to this collection. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Michael O. Jackson, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, GSA 202-208-4949 or via email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    The time of delivery or performance is an essential contract element and must be clearly stated in solicitations and contracts. The contracting officer may set forth a required delivery schedule or may allow an offeror to propose an alternate delivery schedule, for other than those for construction and architect-engineering, by inserting in solicitations and contracts a clause substantially the same as either FAR 52.211-8, Time of Delivery, or FAR 52.211-9, Desired and Required Time of Delivery. These clauses allow the contractor to fill-in their proposed delivery schedule. The information is needed to assure supplies or services are obtained in a timely manner.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 3,440.

    Responses per Respondent: 5.

    Annual Responses: 17,200.

    Hours per Response: .167.

    Total Burden Hours: 2,872.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0043, Delivery Schedules, in all correspondence.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09449 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0035; Docket 2015-0076; Sequence 7] Information Collection; Claims and Appeals AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning claims and appeals.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals” on your attached document.

    Fax: 202-501-4067.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals, in all correspondence related to this collection. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Charles Gray, Procurement Analyst, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, GSA, 703-795-6328 or via email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    It is the Government's policy to try to resolve all contractual issues by mutual agreement at the contracting officer's level without litigation. Reasonable efforts should be made to resolve controversies prior to submission of a contractor's claim. The Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 7103) requires that claims exceeding $100,000 must be accompanied by a certification that (1) the claim is made in good faith; (2) supporting data are accurate and complete; and (3) the amount requested accurately reflects the contract adjustment for which the contractor believes the Government is liable. The information, as required by FAR clause 52.233-1, Disputes, is used by a contracting officer to decide or resolve the claim. Contractors may appeal the contracting officer's decision by submitting written appeals to the appropriate officials.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 4,500.

    Responses per Respondent: 3.

    Annual Responses: 13,500.

    Hours per Response: 1.

    Total Burden Hours: 13,500.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0035, Claims and Appeals, in all correspondence.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09451 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0067; Docket 2015-0076; Sequence 10] Information Collection; Incentive Contracts AGENCIES:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning incentive contracts.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts, by any of the following methods:

    • Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts” on your attached document.

    Fax: 202-501-4067.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts, in all correspondence related to this collection. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Michael Jackson, Procurement Analyst, Office of Acquisition Policy, GSA 202-208-4949 or via email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Purpose

    In accordance with FAR 16.4, incentive contracts are normally used when a firm fixed-price contract is not appropriate and the required supplies or services can be acquired at lower costs, and sometimes with improved delivery or technical performance, by relating the amount of profit or fee payable under the contract to the contractor's performance.

    The information required periodically from the contractor, such as cost of work already performed, estimated costs of further performance necessary to complete all work, total contract price for supplies or services accepted by the Government for which final prices have been established, and estimated costs allocable to supplies or services accepted by the Government and for which final prices have not been established, is needed to negotiate the final prices of incentive-related items and services. Contractors are required to submit the information in accordance with several incentive fee FAR clauses: FAR 52.216-16, Incentive Price Revision—Firm Target; FAR 52.216-17, Incentive Price Revision—Successive Targets; and FAR 52.216-10, Incentive Fee.

    The contracting officer evaluates the information received to determine the contractor's performance in meeting the incentive target and the appropriate price revision, if any, for the items or services.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 1,000.

    Responses per Respondent: 2.

    Annual Responses: 2,000.

    Hours per Response: 1.5.

    Total Burden Hours: 3,000.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0067, Incentive Contracts, in all correspondence.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Edward Loeb, Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09452 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, President's Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities; Meeting AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) will host a webinar/conference call for its members to discuss the recommendation sections of the 2015 Report to the President (RTP). The topic of the PCPID 2015 RTP will be on the roles of technology in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

    All the PCPID meetings, in any format, are open to the public. This virtual meeting will be conducted in a discussion format.

    The public can register to attend this webinar/conference call at https://aoa-events.webex.com/aoa-events/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9c2bd91a90e7ed853b85f3ba0b1b62a2.

    DATES:

    Webinar: Monday, May 11, 2015 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST).

    Registration for Webinar: April 20, 2015 through May 8, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Webinar Web page: https://aoa-events.webex.com/aoa-events/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9c2bd91a90e7ed853b85f3ba0b1b62a2.

    For Further Information and Reasonable Accommodations Needs Contact:

    Dr. MJ Karimi, PCPID Team Lead, One Massachusetts Avenue NW., Room 4206, Washington, DC 20201. Email: [email protected]; telephone: 202-357-3588; fax: 202-357-3466.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The PCPID members participated in a virtual meeting on April 7, 2015 and streamlined the process of preparing the 2015 RTP. They discussed the following four focus areas that will be included on the Report:

    1. Education 2. Community Living 3. Health and Wellness 4. Economic Well-being The PCPID members will further discuss the development of potential recommendations for inclusion to the PCPID 2015 RTP.

    The general purpose of this meeting is to provide the PCPID members with an opportunity to further discuss the recommendation sections of the 2015 RTP on technology for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in each focus area.

    Webinar and Registration: The webinar is scheduled for May 11, 2015, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) and may end early if discussions are finished. Registration for the webinar is required and is open from April 20, 2015 to May 8, 2015.

    Instructions to Register in the Webinar/Conference Call on Monday, May 11, 2015:

    1. WebEx Link: https://aoa-events.webex.com/aoa-events/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9c2bd91a90e7ed853b85f3ba0b1b62a2.

    2. Click on the “Register” button on the page.

    3. Enter the required information and click “Submit”.

    Instructions to Participate in the Webinar/Conference Call on Monday, May 11, 2015:

    4. WebEx Link: https://aoa-events.webex.com/aoa-events/onstage/g.php?MTID=e9c2bd91a90e7ed853b85f3ba0b1b62a2.

    5. Click on the “join” button on the page.

    6. Enter your name and email address.

    7. Follow additional instructions as provided by WebEx. If a password is needed for the WebEx link, please enter 123456.

    Call-in number: (888) 469-0957; Pass Code: 8955387 (please put your phone on mute during this virtual meeting)

    Background information on PCPID: The PCPID acts in an advisory capacity to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, on a broad range of topics relating to programs, services and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The PCPID Executive Order stipulates that the Committee shall: (1) Provide such advice concerning intellectual disabilities as the President or the Secretary of Health and Human Services may request; and (2) provide advice to the President concerning the following for people with intellectual disabilities: (A) Expansion of educational opportunities; (B) promotion of homeownership; (C) assurance of workplace integration; (D) improvement of transportation options; (E) expansion of full access to community living; and (F) increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies.

    Dated: April 17, 2015. Aaron Bishop, Commissioner, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09473 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Draft National Toxicology Program Technical Report; Availability of Document; Request for Comments; Notice of Meeting SUMMARY:

    The National Toxicology Program (NTP) announces the availability of a draft NTP Technical Report (TR) scheduled for peer review: Pentabromodiphenyl ether mixture [DE-71 (technical grade)]. The peer review meeting is open to the public. Registration is requested for both public attendance and oral comment and required to access the webcast. Information about the meeting and registration are available at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051.

    DATES:

    Meeting: June 25, 2015, 2 p.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

    Document Availability: Draft TR should be available by May 14, 2015, at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051.

    Written Public Comment Submissions: Deadline is June 11, 2015.

    Registration for Meeting, Oral Comments, and/or to View Webcast: Deadline is June 18, 2015. Registration to view the meeting via the webcast is required.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting Location: Rodbell Auditorium, Rall Building, NIEHS, 111 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.

    Meeting Web page: The draft TR, preliminary agenda, registration, and other meeting materials are at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051.

    Webcast: The URL for viewing webcast will be provided to those who register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Yun Xie, NTP Designated Federal Official, Office of Liaison, Policy and Review, DNTP, NIEHS, P.O. Box 12233, MD K2-03, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Phone: (919) 541-3436, Fax: (301) 451-5455, Email: [email protected] Hand Delivery/Courier: 530 Davis Drive, Room 2161, Morrisville, NC 27560.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Meeting and Registration: The meeting is open to the public with time set aside for oral public comment; attendance at the NIEHS is limited only by the space available. Registration to attend the meeting in-person, provide oral comments, and/or view webcast is by June 18, 2015, at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051. Registration is required to view the webcast; the URL for the webcast will be provided in the email confirming registration. Visitor and security information for those attending in-person is available at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/visiting/index.cfm. Individuals with disabilities who need accommodation to participate in this event should contact Dr. Yun Xie at phone: (919) 541-3436 or email: [email protected] TTY users should contact the Federal TTY Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Requests should be made at least five business days in advance of the event.

    The preliminary agenda and draft TR should be posted on the NTP Web site (http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051) by May 14, 2015. Additional information will be posted when available or may be requested in hardcopy, see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Following the meeting, a report of the peer review will be prepared and made available on the NTP Web site. Registered attendees are encouraged to access the meeting Web page to stay abreast of the most current information.

    Request for Comments: The NTP invites written and oral public comments on the draft TR. The deadline for submission of written comments is June 11, 2015, to enable review by the peer review panel and NTP staff prior to the meeting. Registration to provide oral comments is by June 18, 2015, at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051. Public comments and any other correspondence on the draft TR should be sent to the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Persons submitting written comments should include their name, affiliation, mailing address, phone, email, and sponsoring organization (if any) with the document. Written comments received in response to this notice will be posted on the NTP Web site, and the submitter will be identified by name, affiliation, and/or sponsoring organization.

    Public comment at this meeting is welcome, with time set aside for the presentation of oral comments on the draft TR. In addition to in-person oral comments at the NIEHS, public comments can be presented by teleconference line. There will be 50 lines for this call; availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The lines will be open from 2 p.m. until approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT on June 25, 2015, although oral comments will be received only during the formal public comment periods indicated on the preliminary agenda. The access number for the teleconference line will be provided to registrants by email prior to the meeting. Each organization is allowed one time slot. At least 7 minutes will be allotted to each time slot, and if time permits, may be extended to 10 minutes at the discretion of the chair.

    Persons wishing to make an oral presentation are asked to register online at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/36051 by June 18, 2015, indicate whether they will present comments in-person or via the teleconference line. If possible, oral public commenters should send a copy of their slides and/or statement or talking points at that time. Written statements can supplement and may expand the oral presentation. Registration for in-person oral comments will also be available at the meeting, although time allowed for presentation by on-site registrants may be less than that for registered speakers and will be determined by the number of speakers who register on-site.

    Background Information on NTP Peer Review Panels: NTP panels are technical, scientific advisory bodies established on an “as needed” basis to provide independent scientific peer review and advise the NTP on agents of public health concern, new/revised toxicological test methods, or other issues. These panels help ensure transparent, unbiased, and scientifically rigorous input to the program for its use in making credible decisions about human hazard, setting research and testing priorities, and providing information to regulatory agencies about alternative methods for toxicity screening. The NTP welcomes nominations of scientific experts for upcoming panels. Scientists interested in serving on an NTP panel should provide current curriculum vitae to the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The authority for NTP panels is provided by 42 U.S.C. 217a; section 222 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as amended. The panel is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. John R. Bucher, Associate Director, National Toxicology Program.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09440 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in section 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Special Emphasis Panel; Biological Testing Facility (Contract Review).

    Date: June 23, 2015.

    Time: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Sathasiva B. Kandasamy, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, Bethesda, MD 20892-9304, (301) 435-6680, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.864, Population Research; 93.865, Research for Mothers and Children; 93.929, Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research; 93.209, Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Program, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: April 17, 2015. Michelle Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09441 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX15LR000F60100] Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comments AGENCY:

    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an extension and revision of a currently approved information collection (1028-0053).

    SUMMARY:

    We (the U.S. Geological Survey) are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) described below. This collection consists of 27 forms. As part of the requested extension, we will make several revisions to the number of the associated collection instruments. These revisions include: (1) Deleting USGS Form 9-4053-A, USGS Form 9-4073-A, and USGS Form 9-4097-A; (2) changing USGS Form 9-4094-A and USGS Form 9-4095-A from monthly and annual to annual-only reporting forms; (3) changing USGS Form 9-4057-A and USGS Form 9-4060-A from quarterly and annual to annual-only reporting forms; and (4) decreasing the average burden time for USGS Form 9-4074-A from 2 hours to 1 hour. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, and as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on this IC. This collection is scheduled to expire on August 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    To ensure that your comments are considered, OMB must receive them on or before May 26, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please submit your written comments on this information collection directly to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior, at [email protected] (email); or (202) 395-5806 (fax). Please also forward a copy of your comments to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Geological Survey, 807 National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192 (mail); 703-648-7195 (fax); or [email protected] (email). Reference “Information Collection 1028-0053, Nonferrous Metals Surveys” in all correspondence.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth S. Sangine at 703-648-7720 (telephone); [email protected] (email); or by mail at U.S. Geological Survey, 988 National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192. You may also find information about this Information Collection Request (ICR) at www.reginfo.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    Respondents to these forms supply the USGS with domestic production and consumption data for 22 ores, concentrates, and metals, some of which are considered strategic and critical. These data and derived information will be published as chapters in Minerals Yearbooks, monthly and quarterly Mineral Industry Surveys, annual Mineral Commodity Summaries, and special publications, for use by Government agencies, industry education programs, and the general public.

    II. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1028-0053.

    Form Number: Various (27 forms).

    Title: Nonferrous Metals Surveys.

    Type of Request: Extension and revision of a currently approved collection.

    Affected Public: Business or Other-For-Profit Institutions: U.S. nonfuel minerals consumers of nonferrous metals and related materials.

    Respondent Obligation: None. Participation is voluntary.

    Frequency of Collection: Monthly, Quarterly, or Annually.

    Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 4,252.

    Estimated Time per Response: For each form, we will include an average burden time ranging from 20 minutes to 1 hour.

    Annual Burden Hours: 3,212 hours.

    Estimated Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-Hour Cost” Burden: There are no “non-hour cost” burdens associated with this collection of information.

    Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number and current expiration date.

    III. Request for Comments

    On January 27, 2015, a 60-day Federal Register notice (80 FR 4306) was published announcing this information collection. Public comments were solicited for 60 days ending March 30, 2015. We received one public comment in response to that notice from the Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) supporting the continued collection of these data which are an important data source for key components of BEA's economic statistics. We again invite comments as to: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden time to the proposed collection of information; (c) how to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) how to minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Please note that the comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your personal mailing address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personally identifiable information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from public view, we cannot guarantee that it will be done.

    Michael J. Magyar, Associate Director, National Minerals Information Center.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09469 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4311-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [156A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900 253G] Renewal of Agency Information Collection for the Application for Admission to Haskell Indian Nations University and to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is seeking comments on the renewal of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the collection of information for the Application for Admission to Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), authorized by OMB Control Number 1076-0114. This information collection expires August 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the information collection to: Ms. Jacquelyn Cheek, Special Assistant to the Director, Bureau of Indian Education, 1849 C Street NW., Mailstop 4657-MIB, Washington, DC 20240; facsimile: (202) 208-3312; or email to: [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Jacquelyn Cheek, phone: (202) 208-6983.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The BIE is requesting renewal of OMB approval for the admission forms for Haskell and SIPI. These admission forms are used in determining program eligibility of American Indian and Alaska Native students for educational services. These forms are utilized pursuant to the Blood Quantum Act, Public Law 99-228; the Synder Act, Chapter 115, Public Law 67-85; and, the Indian Appropriations of the 48th Congress, Chapter 180, page 91, For Support of Schools, July 4, 1884.

    II. Request for Comments

    The BIE requests your comments on this collection concerning: (a) The necessity of this information collection for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (hours and cost) of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Ways we could enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways we could minimize the burden of the collection of the information on the respondents.

    Please note that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and an individual need not respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB Control Number.

    It is our policy to make all comments available to the public for review at the location listed in the ADDRESSES section. 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.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1076-0114.

    Title: Application for Admission to Haskell Indian Nations University and to Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.

    Brief Description of Collection: Submission of these eligibility application forms is mandatory in determining a student's eligibility for educational services. The information is collected on two forms: Application for Admission to Haskell form and SIPI form.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Students.

    Number of Respondents: 4,000 per year, on average.

    Frequency of Response: Once per year for Haskell; each trimester for SIPI.

    Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes per Haskell application; 30 minutes per SIPI application.

    Estimated Total Annual Hour Burden: 2,000 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Non-Hour Dollar Cost: $10,000.

    Dated: April 16, 2015. Elizabeth K. Appel, Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action, Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09538 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Indian Affairs [156A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900 253G] Indian Gaming AGENCY:

    Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Extension of Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact.

    SUMMARY:

    This publishes notice of the extension of the Class III gaming compact between the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the State of South Dakota.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: April 23, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Paula L. Hart, Director, Office of Indian Gaming, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary—Policy and Economic Development, Washington, DC 20240, (202) 219-4066.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to 25 CFR 293.5, an extension to an existing tribal-state Class III gaming compact does not require approval by the Secretary if the extension does not include any amendment to the terms of the compact. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the State of South Dakota have reached an agreement to extend the expiration of their existing Tribal-State Class III gaming compact until August 9, 2015. This publishes notice of the new expiration date of the compact.

    Dated: April 15, 2015. Kevin K. Washburn, Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09541 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNV912. L10200000.PH0000 LXSS006F0000 261A; 14-08807; MO# 4500078797] Notice of Public Meetings: Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council, Nevada AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council (RAC), will hold a meeting in Nevada, in May 2015. The meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    May 14 and15 at the BLM Carson City, Nevada District. A field trip will be held on Thursday, May 14, at the Desatoya Mountain Range and a meeting will be held on Friday, May 15, at the St. Augustines Cultural Center (113 Virginia Street) in Austin, Nevada. Approximate meeting times are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, meetings could end earlier if discussions and presentations conclude before 1 p.m. The meeting will include a public comment period at approximately 11 a.m.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa Ross, Public Affairs Specialist, Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701, telephone: (775) 885-6107, email: [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The 15-member Council advises the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, on a variety of planning and management issues associated with public land management in Nevada. Topics for discussion at the meeting will include, but are not limited to:

    • May 14-15 (Carson City)—landscape vegetative management, rangeland health assessments, Carson City Resource Management Plan, greater sage-grouse/Bi State conservation, recreation, drought, and fire restoration (Field trip on May).

    Managers' reports of district office activities will be distributed at each meeting. The Council may raise other topics at the meetings.

    Final agendas will be posted on-line at the BLM Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin RAC Web site at http://bit.ly/SFNWRAC and will be published in local and regional media sources at least 14 days before each meeting.

    Individuals who need special assistance such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, or who wish to receive a copy of each agenda, may contact Lisa Ross no later than 10 days prior to each meeting.

    Paul McGuire, Acting Chief, Office of Communications.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09543 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public Interest AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has received a complaint entitled Certain Recombinant Factor VIII Products, DN 3065; the Commission is soliciting comments on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or complainant's filing under section 210.8(b) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.8(b)).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. The public version of the complaint can be accessed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at EDIS,1 and will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000.

    1 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov.

    General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at United States International Trade Commission (USITC) at USITC.2 The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at EDIS.3 Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

    2 United States International Trade Commission (USITC): http://edis.usitc.gov.

    3 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission has received a complaint and a submission pursuant to section 210.8(b) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure filed on behalf of Baxter International Inc.; Baxter Healthcare Corporation and Baxter Healthcare SA on April 16, 2015. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain recombinant factor VIII products. The complaint names as respondents Novo Nordisk A/S of Denmark and Novo Nordisk Inc. of Plainsboro, New Jersey. The complainant requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order, cease and desist orders, and a bond upon respondents' alleged infringing articles during the 60-day Presidential review period pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1337(j).

    Proposed respondents, other interested parties, and members of the public are invited to file comments, not to exceed five (5) pages in length, inclusive of attachments, on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or section 210.8(b) filing. Comments should address whether issuance of the relief specifically requested by the complainant in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

    In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that:

    (i) Explain how the articles potentially subject to the requested remedial orders are used in the United States;

    (ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the requested remedial orders;

    (iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;

    (iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant's licensees, and/or third party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a commercially reasonable time; and

    (v) explain how the requested remedial orders would impact United States consumers.

    Written submissions must be filed no later than by close of business, eight calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. There will be further opportunities for comment on the public interest after the issuance of any final initial determination in this investigation.

    Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit 8 true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to section 210.4(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the docket number (“Docket No. 3065”) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures, Electronic Filing Procedures).4 Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202-205-2000).

    4 Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures: http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/rules/handbook_on_electronic_filing.pdf.

    Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.5

    5 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov.

    This action is taken under the authority of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and of sections 201.10 and 210.8(c) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 201.10, 210.8(c)).

    By order of the Commission.

    Issued: April 17, 2015. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09418 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Water Act

    On April 13, 2015, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed consent decree with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in the lawsuit entitled United States and State of Mississippi, by and through the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality v. Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:15-cv-00278-HTW-LRA.

    The lawsuit was filed against Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (“Cal-Maine”) on April, 13, 2015 pursuant to Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Sections 309(b) and (d), 33 U.S.C. 1319(b) and (d), and the Mississippi Air and Water Pollution Control Law, Miss. Code Ann. Sec. 49-17-1 through 49-17-43, seeking penalties and injunctive relief under Sections 301 and 402 of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. 1311 and 1342, and under Miss. Code Ann. Secs. 49-17-29(2) and 49-17-43(1) for unauthorized discharges of pollutants into waters of the United States and the State of Mississippi, and noncompliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit conditions, including failure to conduct quarterly storm water monitoring, failure to timely submit annual discharge monitoring reports, violation of buffer setback requirements for application of wastewater to fields, application of manure, litter and/or process wastewater during prohibited periods, application of manure, litter and/or process wastewater in exceedance of the rates set for nitrogen, and failure to maintain land application records.

    The proposed consent decree contains injunctive relief, including (a) compliance with land application standard operating procedures, including (i) maintaining a 35 foot wide vegetated buffer, (ii) applying all nutrients in accordance with specified application rates, (iii) monitoring land application equipment during application, and (iv) creating and maintaining land application records at the facility; (b) compliance with production area standard operating procedures, including (i) inspecting each production area, (ii) documenting the results of such inspections, (iii) taking any necessary corrective measures, including actions necessary to eliminate discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States and/or the state, (iv) creating and maintaining production area inspection and corrective action records, and (v) reporting any discharges of pollutants from the production areas to waters of the United States and/or state; and (c) implementation and compliance with the employee training policy. Cal-Maine has also agreed to pay a penalty of $475,000, of which $237,500 will be paid to the United States and $237,500 will be paid to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the consent decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States and State of Mississippi, by and through the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality v. Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., D.J. Ref. No. 90-5-1-1-10734. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By email [email protected]. By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    During the public comment period, the consent decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Web site: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html. We will provide a paper copy of the consent decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $19.25 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury for a copy of the consent decree with Appendices, or $12.50 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) for a copy of the consent decree without Appendices.

    Henry S. Friedman, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09382 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration Notice of Availability of Funds and Funding Opportunity Announcement for Disability Employment Initiative Cooperative Agreements AGENCY:

    Employment and Training Administration, Labor.

    ACTION:

    Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).

    Funding Opportunity Number: FOA-ETA-15-08.

    SUMMARY:

    The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announces the availability of approximately $15 million in grant funds for the Disability Employment Initiative authorized by Section 169, subsection (b), of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Department expects to fund approximately eight cooperative agreements to state workforce agencies, ranging from $1.5 million to $2.5 million each. Applicants may apply for up to $2.5 million.

    The purpose of this program is to provide funding to expand the capacity of American Job Centers (AJCs) to improve employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities (including those with significant disabilities). The DEI plans to accomplish this by increasing their participation in career pathways systems and successful existing programs in the public workforce system in partnership with community colleges and other education partners, human services, businesses, and other partners. These career pathways systems are capitalizing on the flexibility that the career pathways model provides to use innovative service delivery strategies. Grantees will use their award to support job-driven approaches in their pre-existing career pathway systems and programs to equip individuals with disabilities with the skills, competencies, and credentials necessary to help them obtain in-demand jobs, increase earnings, and advance their careers.

    The complete FOA and any subsequent FOA amendments in connection with this solicitation are described in further detail on ETA's Web site at http://www.doleta.gov/grants/ or on http://www.grants.gov. The Web sites provide application information, eligibility requirements, review and selection procedures, and other program requirements governing this solicitation.

    DATES:

    The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is June 11, 2015. Applications must be received no later than 4:00:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cam Nguyen, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-4716, Washington, DC 20210; Telephone: 202-693-2838.

    Signed April 17, 2015 in Washington, DC Donna Kelly, Grant Officer, Employment and Training Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09407 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FN-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration Comment Request for Information Collection for Guam Military Base Realignment Contractor Recruitment Standards, Extension With Revisions AGENCY:

    Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (Department), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)] (PRA). The PRA helps ensure that respondents can provide requested data in the desired format with minimal reporting burden (time and financial resources), collection instruments are clearly understood and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, ETA is soliciting comments concerning the extension of the collection of data for the Guam Military Base Realignment Contractor Recruitment Standards, which expires on September 30, 2015.

    DATES:

    Submit written comments to the office listed in the addresses section below on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to Pamela Frugoli, Office of Workforce Investment, Room C4526, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone number: 202-693-3643 (This is not a toll-free number). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the telephone number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at 1-877-889-5627 (TTY/TDD). Fax: 202-693-3015, email: [email protected] To obtain a copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR, please contact the person listed above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Military Construction Authorization Act, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, prohibits contractors engaged in construction projects related to the realignment of U.S. military forces from Okinawa to Guam from hiring workers holding H-2B visas under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b), unless the Governor of Guam (Governor), in consultation with the Secretary of Labor (Secretary), certifies that: (1) There is an insufficient number of U.S. workers that are able, willing, qualified, and available to perform the work; and (2) that the employment of workers holding H-2B visas will not have an adverse effect on either the wages or the working conditions of workers in Guam.

    In order to allow the Governor to make this certification, the NDAA requires contractors to recruit workers in the U.S., including in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, according to the terms of a recruitment plan developed and approved by the Secretary. This recruitment plan was published as a set of Contractor Recruitment Standards in the Federal Register on January 8, 2013 (78 FR 1256) and is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/08/2013-00114/guam-military-base-realignment-contractor-recruitment-standards. Under the NDAA, no Guam base realignment construction project work may be performed by a person holding an H-2B visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act until the contractor complies with the Department's Contractor Recruitment Standards and the Governor of Guam issues a certification of that compliance.

    II. Review Focus

    The Department is particularly interested in comments which:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

    III. Current Actions

    Type of Review: Extension without revisions.

    Title: Guam Military Base Realignment Contractor Recruitment Standards.

    OMB Number: 1205-0484.

    Affected Public: Private sector businesses or other for-profits.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondents: 5.

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 110.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 330.

    Estimated Total Annual Other Costs Burden: 0.

    We will summarize and/or include in the request for OMB approval of the ICR, the comments received in response to this comment request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Labor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09480 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FN-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration [OMB 1205-0490] Comment Request for Information Collection: Self-Employment Assistance for Unemployment Insurance Claimants, Extension With Revisions AGENCY:

    Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor (Department), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. This program helps ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, ETA is soliciting comments concerning the collection of data about Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) activities, expiring October 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the addresses section below on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit written comments to Lidia Fiore, Office of Unemployment Insurance, Room S-4524, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. Telephone number: 202-693-3029 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the telephone number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at 1-877-889-5627 (TTY/TDD). Email: [email protected] A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR), please contact the person above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Noncitizen Benefit Clarification and Other Technical Amendments Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-306) permanently authorized the SEA program, which is a reemployment program that helps Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants start their own businesses, and Public Law 112-96, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act) expanded the SEA program to provide states the opportunity to allow UI claimants receiving Extended Benefits to participate in the SEA program. Currently, a handful of states use this reemployment program, for which a minor amount of information (claimants entering the program, and weeks and amounts of dollars paid) is collected under OMB Control Number 1205-0010.

    In accordance with statutory requirements and to assist states in establishing, improving, and administering SEA programs (section 2183(a)), the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) uses the ETA 9161 to collect information specific to the SEA program.

    Section 2183(b)(1) of the 2012 Act directs the Secretary of Labor to establish reporting requirements for States that have established SEA programs, which shall include reporting on—(A) the total number of individuals who received unemployment compensation and—(i) were referred to a SEA program; (ii) participated in such program; and (iii) received an allowance under such program; (B) the total amount of allowances provided to individuals participating in a SEA program; (C) the total income (as determined by survey or other appropriate method) for businesses that have been established by individuals participating in a SEA program, as well as the total number of individuals employed through such businesses; and (D) any additional information, as determined appropriate by the Secretary. ETA currently uses Form ETA-9161 as an electronic reporting mechanism to collect this required information. In addition to Public Law 112-96, collection of data is used for oversight of the program as authorized under Section 303(a)(6) of the Social Security Act.

    Previously such information was collected for participants eligible for Emergency Unemployment Compensation, however that program has expired and authorization for that portion of this data collection is no longer necessary.

    II. Review Focus

    The Department is particularly interested in comments which:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

    III. Current Actions

    Type of Review: Extension with revision

    Title: Self-Employment Assistance for UI Claimants, ETA 9161.

    OMB Number: 1205-0490.

    Affected Public: State Workforce Agencies, SEA participants.

    Estimated Total Annual Respondents: 1,607.

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 1,607 respondents × 4 quarterly reports = 6,428 responses.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 6,456 hours.

    Total Estimated Annual Other Cost Burden: There are no other costs associated with this collection of information.

    We will summarize and/or include in the request for OMB approval of the ICR, the comments received in response to this comment request; they will also become a matter of public record.

    Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, Labor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09479 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-FW-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 40-8907; NRC-2013-0036] License Amendment for United Nuclear Corporation, Church Rock Facility, McKinley County, New Mexico AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; issuance.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering amending Source Materials License SUA-1475 issued to the United Nuclear Corporation (UNC), a subsidiary of General Electric (GE), to revise current ground water protection standards in License Condition 30.B of SUA-1475. The NRC has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for this proposed action in accordance with its regulations. Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate with respect to the proposed action. The NRC will issue the amended license following the publication of this document.

    DATES:

    The Final EA and FONSI are available as of April 23, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID: NRC-2013-0036 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID: NRC-2013-0036. 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 in this document (if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced. The EA and FONSI can be found under ADAMS accession no. ML14339A839.

    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:

    Ashley Waldron, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-7317; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction

    On April 17, 2012, UNC, a subsidiary of GE, submitted to the NRC an application to amend Source Materials License SUA-1475 for the former Uranium Church Rock Mill Site (the Mill Site) (ADAMS Accession No. ML12150A146). This proposed amendment would revise current ground water protection standards in License Condition 30.B of SUA-1475 for the following constituents: Arsenic, Cadmium, Gross Alpha, Lead, Lead-210, Nickel, Radium-226 and -228, Selenium, Thorium-230, and Uranium. These proposed standards (values) are derived from a re-calculated background concentration for each constituent. The Mill Site is located approximately 17 miles northeast of Gallup in McKinley County, New Mexico.

    The UNC supplemented its request on November 16, 2012, by submitting a three-dimensional ground water flow model for the Mill Site and adjacent down-gradient areas (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML12334A292; ML12305A320; ML12305A309; ML12305A324). On January 10, 2013, the NRC accepted the amendment request for formal review (ADAMS Accession No. ML13007A069). The NRC issued a Request for Additional Information (RAI) on June 4, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13121A553), and the UNC responded on January 10, 2014 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML14056A541; ML14059A208). Subsequently, the NRC staff determined that all technical deficiencies had been addressed in the RAIs and requested the UNC to update the ground water flow model report (ADAMS Accession No. ML14063A497). The UNC submitted the revised ground water flow model report by letter dated June 3, 2014 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML14161A255; ML14161A311).

    In accordance with part 40, appendix A, criterion 5, paragraph 5B(5) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), the NRC may establish ground water protection standards at the point of compliance (POC) either (1) by reference to the background concentrations in the ground water, (2) by assigning the appropriate value found in the table given in paragraph 5C, or (3) by using alternative concentration limits established by the NRC. The POC is defined in appendix A as the site-specific location in the uppermost aquifer where the ground water protection standard must be met. In addition, criterion 5, paragraph 5B(1) states the objective of the POC location is to provide the earliest practicable warning that the impoundment is releasing hazardous constituents, with the goal that hazardous constituents from a licensed site not exceed the specified concentration limits in the uppermost aquifer beyond the POC during the compliance period. At the Mill Site, POC wells are located in three subsurface hydrostratigraphic units: the Southwest Alluvium, and Zone 1 and Zone 3 of the Upper Gallup Sandstone. The UNC's proposed license amendment would affect ground water protection standards in each of these units. Additionally, paragraph 5B(6) of criterion 5 to 10 CFR part 40, appendix A states that, “[c]onceptually, background concentrations pose no incremental hazards . . .”

    The NRC staff has prepared an EA in support of its review of the proposed license amendment. The staff assessed the potential environmental impacts associated with amending the ground water protection standards and documented the results of the assessment in the EA. The NRC staff performed this assessment in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR part 51, “Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions.”

    Uranium mill tailings at the Mill Site are located onsite, within the tailings impoundment area comprising three contiguous cells differentiated as the North, Central and South Cells (see Figure 1, ADAMS Accession No. ML12150A146). The Central Cell also has two borrow pits. Borrow Pit No. 1 was used to dispose of tailings and Borrow Pit No. 2 was used to retain tailings liquids (ADAMS Accession No. ML063630443).

    Seepage from the three tailings disposal cells and the borrow pits, as well as infiltration of mine effluent water during dewatering operations of the nearby Northeast Church Rock and Quivira mines, have contributed to the saturated conditions found in the Southwest Alluvium and in Zones 1 and 3 of the Upper Gallup Sandstone (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML050070220; ML050070233; ML050070242; ML050070245).

    II. Environmental Assessment Summary Description of the Proposed Action

    The UNC is requesting a license amendment for the Mill Site to revise License Condition 30.B of Source Materials License SUA-1475. The UNC requests revisions to the current ground water protection standards in the license condition for the following constituents: Arsenic, Cadmium, Gross Alpha, Lead and Lead-210, Nickel, Radium-226 and -228, Selenium, Thorium-230, and Uranium for the Southwest Alluvium, Zone 1, and Zone 3. No changes are proposed for the other constituents in License Condition 30.B (i.e., Beryllium, Total Trihalomethanes, and Vanadium).

    Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to provide ground water protection standards for the Mill Site that are consistent with 10 CFR part 40, appendix A, paragraph 5B(1) and background ground water quality that is protective of public health and safety.

    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff determined that, due to the nature of the proposed action, environmental impacts would be limited to subsurface ground water resources, and that such impacts would be small and not significant. Staff expects no impacts to public health and safety, ecological resources, or historical and cultural resources. Therefore, the NRC staff does not expect significant impacts to result from the proposed modification to the ground water protection standards in SUA-1475 and considers that impacts from the proposed action would be protective of public health and safety and the environment.

    In conducting its assessment, the NRC staff considered the following:

    • Information in the license application and supporting documentation;

    • Information in modeling reports and NRC staff review reports;

    • Information in land use and environmental monitoring reports;

    • Information from NRC staff site visits and inspections;

    • 10 CFR part 40, appendix A, “Criteria Relating to the Operation of Uranium Mills and the Disposition of Tailings or Wastes Produced by the Extraction or Concentration of Source Material From Ores Processed Primarily for Their Source Material Content;”

    • NUREG-1620, Rev. 1, “Standard Review Plan for the Review of a Reclamation Plan for Mill Tailings Sites Under Title II of the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978” (ADAMS Accession No. ML031550522); and

    • NUREG-1748, “Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs, Final Report” (ADAMS Accession No. ML032540811).

    Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered denial of the proposed action (i.e., the “no-action alternative”). Denial of the proposed license amendment would result in no change in the currently approved ground water protection standards. The proposed action is needed to revise the ground water protection standards to more accurately reflect current background conditions. Both the No-Action alternative and the Proposed Action for the Mill Site are consistent with appendix A, criterion 5, paragraph 5B(1) and background ground water quality that is protective of public health and safety.

    Agencies and Persons Consulted

    The NRC staff determined that the proposed action would be limited to impacts to subsurface ground water resources and therefore is not expected to affect listed endangered and threatened species or their critical habitat. As well, the proposed action is not expected to impact potential or identified cultural or historical resources. Therefore, no further consultation was completed under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act or under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

    During preparation of the EA, the NRC staff consulted with the following federal, tribal, and state agencies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 6 and 9, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Navajo Nation EPA, and the New Mexico Environment Department. The purpose of this consultation was to request comments on the proposed action; however, none of the agencies identified concerns with the proposed action.

    III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    Based on its review of the UNC's license amendment request to revise License Condition 30.B of SUA-1475, the NRC staff expects there to be no significant environmental impacts in connection with the proposed action as the proposed ground water protection standard values, conceptually, pose no incremental hazards to public health and safety. Therefore, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not warranted.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 9th day of April 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Craig G. Erlanger, Deputy Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards and Environmental Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09516 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. 52-012 and 52-013; NRC-2008-0091] Nuclear Innovation North America LLC; South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4 AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Combined license application; availability.

    SUMMARY:

    On September 20, 2007, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) an application for combined licenses (COLs) for two additional units (Units 3 and 4) at the South Texas Project (STP) Electric Generating Station site in Matagorda County near Bay City, Texas. The NRC published a notice of receipt and availability for this COL application in the Federal Register on December 5, 2007. In a letter dated January 19, 2011, STPNOC notified the NRC that, effective January 24, 2011, Nuclear Innovation North America LLC (NINA) became the lead applicant for STP, Units 3 and 4. This notice is being published to notify the public of the availability of the COL application for STP, Units 3 and 4.

    DATES:

    The COL application is available on April 23, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0091 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0091. 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 available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced. For the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS accession numbers are provided in a table in the “Availability of Documents” section of this document.

    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:

    Tom Tai, telephone: 301-415-8484, email: [email protected]; or Luis Betancourt, telephone: 301-415-6145, email: [email protected] Both are staff of the Office of New Reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On September 20, 2007, the NRC received a COL application from STPNOC, filed pursuant to Section 103 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and Part 52 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), “Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants,” to construct and operate two additional units (Units 3 and 4) at the STP Electric Generating Station site in Matagorda County near Bay City, Texas. The additional units are based on the U.S. Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design, which is certified in 10 CFR part 52, appendix A. The NRC published a notice of receipt and availability for an application for a COL in the Federal Register on December 5, 2007 (72 FR 68597). In a letter dated January 19, 2011, STPNOC notified the NRC that, effective January 24, 2011, NINA became the lead applicant for STP, Units 3 and 4. As such, NINA assumed responsibility for the design, construction and licensing of STP, Units 3 and 4. The application is currently under review by the NRC.

    An applicant may seek a COL in accordance with Subpart C of 10 CFR part 52. The information submitted by the applicant includes certain administrative information, such as financial qualifications submitted pursuant to 10 CFR 52.77, as well as technical information submitted pursuant to 10 CFR 52.79. This notice is being provided in accordance with the requirements in 10 CFR 50.43(a)(3).

    Availability of Documents

    The documents identified in the following table are available to interested persons through the ADAMS Public Documents collection. A copy of the COL application is also available for public inspection at the NRC's PDR and at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col.html.

    Document ADAMS
  • Accession No.
  • South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 0, September 20, 2007 ML072830407. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 0, September 26, 2007 ML072740461. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Supplement to Combined License Application Revision 0, October 15, 2007 ML072960352. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Supplement to Combined License Application Revision 0, October 18, 2007 ML072960489. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Supplement to Combined License Application Revision 0, November 13, 2007 ML073200992. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Supplement to Combined License Application Revision 0, November 21, 2007 ML073310616. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 1, January 31, 2008 ML080700399. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 1, January 31, 2008 ML080420090. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 2, September 24, 2008 ML082830938. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 2, September 24, 2008 ML082730700. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Combined License Application, “Proprietary Information,” Part 10, Revision 2, December 11, 2008 ML083530131. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 3, September 16, 2009 ML092930393. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 3, July 15, 2010 ML102010268. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 4, October 5, 2010 ML102861292. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 4, February 3, 2011 ML110400425. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Update to Change in Lead Applicant, January 19, 2011 ML110250369. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 5, January 26, 2011 ML110340451. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Submittal of Supplement to Combined License Application “Safeguards Information,” Part 8, Revision 5, August 30, 2011 ML11243A171. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 6, August 30, 2011 ML11252A505. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 7, February 1, 2012 ML12048A714. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 8, September 17, 2012 ML12291A415. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 9, April 17, 2013 ML13115A094. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 10, October 29, 2013 ML13310A599. South Texas Project, Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application, Revision 11, October 21, 2014 ML14307A876.
    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 14th day of April 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Samuel Lee, Chief, Licensing Branch 2, Division of New Reactor Licensing, Office of New Reactors.
    [FR Doc. 2015-09517 Filed 4-22-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION [OPIC-52, OMB-3420-00011] Submission for OMB Review; Comments Request AGENCY:

    Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains a correction to the notice for OPIC-52 published in the Federal Register volume 80 FR 20270 on April 15, 2015. This new notice updates the expected reporting hours and federal cost estimates to reflect current usage of the information collection. Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), agencies are required to publish a Notice in the Federal Register notifying the public that the agency is renewing an existing form and as such has prepared an information collection for OMB review and approval and requests public review and comment on the submission. OPIC received no comments in response to the sixty (60) day notice published in Federal Register volume 80 FR 5584 on February 2, 2015. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional thirty (30) days for public comments to be submitted. Comments are being solicited on the need for the information; the accuracy of OPIC's burden estimate; the quality, practical utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize reporting the burden, including automated collected techniques and uses of other forms of technology.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received within thirty (30) calendar days of publication of this Notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail all comments and requests for copies of the subject form to OPIC's Agency Submitting Officer: James Bobbitt, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, 1100 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20527. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for other information about filing.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    OPIC Agency Submitting Officer: James Bobbitt, (202) 336-8558.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    All mailed comments and requests for copies of the subject form should include form number [OPIC-52] on both the envelope and in the subject line of the letter. Electronic comments and requests for copies of the subject form may be sent to [email protected]</