Federal Register Vol. 80, No.90,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 90 (May 11, 2015)

Page Range26817-27067
FR Document

80_FR_90
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 27067 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Central African RepublicPDF
80 FR 26958 - Audit Committee Meeting; Sunshine ActPDF
80 FR 26817 - National Day of Prayer, 2015PDF
80 FR 26927 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 26951 - GOVERNMENT IN THE SUNSHINE ACT MEETING NOTICE USITC SE-15-017PDF
80 FR 26966 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
80 FR 26958 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
80 FR 26958 - Proposed Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Annual Financial and Actuarial Information ReportingPDF
80 FR 26989 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Comment Request; Customer Complaint FormPDF
80 FR 26896 - Application(s) for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific InstrumentsPDF
80 FR 26925 - New and Revised Emissions Factors for Flares and Other Refinery Process Units and Determination for No Changes to VOC Emissions Factors for Tanks and Wastewater Treatment SystemsPDF
80 FR 26889 - ``USDA's Receipt for Service or Denial of Service Initiative''PDF
80 FR 27057 - Applications for New Awards; First in the World Program-Validation GrantsPDF
80 FR 27050 - Applications for New Awards; First in the World Program-Development GrantsPDF
80 FR 26936 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Passenger List/Crew List (CBP Form I-418)PDF
80 FR 26946 - Delegation of Authority to the Chief Operations OfficerPDF
80 FR 27036 - Final Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criterion-First in the World ProgramPDF
80 FR 26930 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request National Institute of Health Neurobiobank Tissue Access RequestPDF
80 FR 26951 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under The Clean Air ActPDF
80 FR 26959 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 26920 - Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 26918 - Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 26919 - Alabama Power Company, Southern Power Company, Mississippi Power Company, Georgia Power Company, Gulf Power Company, Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership, Southern Company-Florida LLC, Southern Turner Cimarron I, LLC, Spectrum Nevada Solar, LLC, Campo Verde Solar, LLC, Macho Springs Solar, LLC; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding, and Refund Effective DatePDF
80 FR 26917 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 26924 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 26915 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 26891 - Advisory Committees ExpirationPDF
80 FR 26890 - Shasta County Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 26914 - Extension of the Period for Comments on Enhancing Patent QualityPDF
80 FR 26979 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes MellitusPDF
80 FR 26955 - Division of Federal Employees' Compensation Proposed Extension of Existing Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 26994 - Leasing of Osage Reservation Lands for Oil and Gas MiningPDF
80 FR 26988 - Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation ProjectsPDF
80 FR 26986 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes MellitusPDF
80 FR 26819 - Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products; Exemptions From Preparation Pursuant to an Unsuspended and Unrevoked LicensePDF
80 FR 26893 - Privacy Act of 1974, New System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 26895 - Notice of National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship MeetingPDF
80 FR 26926 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 26830 - Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; Community Parent Resource CentersPDF
80 FR 26927 - Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities; Announcement of MeetingPDF
80 FR 26899 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Undulate Ray and the Greenback Parrotfish as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)PDF
80 FR 26952 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Annual Information Return/Report of Employee Benefit PlanPDF
80 FR 26951 - San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee, MeetingPDF
80 FR 26935 - National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; VacanciesPDF
80 FR 26953 - Proposed Extension of Information Collection RequestsPDF
80 FR 26956 - Public Comment on the Draft Federal Urban Design Element of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital: Federal ElementsPDF
80 FR 26828 - Technical Corrections to the North American Free Trade Agreement Uniform RegulationsPDF
80 FR 26977 - Kentucky Disaster #KY-00054PDF
80 FR 26977 - Kentucky Disaster #KY-00052PDF
80 FR 26937 - Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 26915 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Roads to Success in North Dakota: A Randomized Study of a College and Career Preparation CurriculumPDF
80 FR 26822 - Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit DisclosuresPDF
80 FR 26822 - Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Baghdad (ORBB) Flight Information Region (FIR)PDF
80 FR 26923 - Congdon Pond Hydro, LLC; Notice of Intent To Terminate Exemption (5 Mw or Less) and Soliciting Comments, Protests, or Motions To IntervenePDF
80 FR 26922 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 26919 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
80 FR 26921 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 26957 - Notice of Intent To Seek Approval To Establish an Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 26979 - Kentucky Disaster #KY-00055PDF
80 FR 26979 - SBIR/STTR Logo Design Competition Announcement: CorrectionPDF
80 FR 26964 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the Fees for NYSE Arca Options Market Data To Add a Late Fee in Connection With Failure To Submit the Non-Display Use DeclarationPDF
80 FR 26966 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change To Establish a Pilot Program, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, To List and Trade Options Settling to the RealVolTMPDF
80 FR 26972 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the Fees NYSE Amex Options Market Data To Add a Late Fee in Connection With Failure To Submit the Non-Display Use DeclarationPDF
80 FR 26960 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Exchange Rules To Describe How All-or-None Orders Are Handled by Its New Options Floor Broker Management SystemPDF
80 FR 26970 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of the Shares of the First Trust High Income ETF, a Series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIPDF
80 FR 26975 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the Fees for NYSE Order Imbalances To Add a Late Fee in Connection With Failure To Submit the Non-Display Use DeclarationPDF
80 FR 26962 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the Fees for NYSE OpenBook To Add a Late Fee in Connection With Failure To Submit the Non-Display Use DeclarationPDF
80 FR 26988 - Railroad Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 26978 - Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 26977 - Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 26927 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 26889 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Assembly of the Administrative Conference of the United StatesPDF
80 FR 26990 - Notice of Open Public HearingPDF
80 FR 26950 - Notice of Availability of the Buckingham Coal Company Federal Coal Lease Application Environmental Assessment and Public Hearing, Perry and Morgan Counties, OHPDF
80 FR 26892 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; School District Review ProgramPDF
80 FR 26942 - Guidance and Instructions for Extension Requests of 24-Month Expenditure Deadline for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) GranteesPDF
80 FR 26946 - Proposed Information Collection; Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative AgreementsPDF
80 FR 26928 - Request for Nominations on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory CommitteePDF
80 FR 26929 - Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 26898 - Manufacturing Extension Partnership State Competitions and Regional ForumsPDF
80 FR 26948 - Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; Seventeenth Regular Meeting; Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for ConsiderationPDF
80 FR 26931 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 26933 - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 26932 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 26932 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 26931 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 26935 - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 26934 - National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 26931 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 26933 - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
80 FR 26934 - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 26931 - National Institute of Nursing Research; Amended Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 26883 - Federal Acquisition Regulation; High Global Warming Potential HydrofluorocarbonsPDF
80 FR 26872 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Louisiana Towns: Jonesboro, LA and Winnfield, LAPDF
80 FR 26870 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Nebraska Towns: Albion, NE; Bassett, NE; Lexington, NEPDF
80 FR 26873 - Application of Modified Carryover Basis to General Basis RulesPDF
80 FR 26990 - Proposed Collection of Information: Request by Fiduciary for Distribution of United States Treasury SecuritiesPDF
80 FR 26914 - Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive LicensePDF
80 FR 26897 - Certain Cased Pencils From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2012-2013PDF
80 FR 26846 - Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition ProgramsPDF
80 FR 26832 - Interagency Cooperation-Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended; Incidental Take StatementsPDF

Issue

80 90 Monday, May 11, 2015 Contents Administrative Administrative Conference of the United States NOTICES Meetings: Assembly of the Administrative Conference of the U.S., 26889 2015-11265 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Forest Service

See

Office of Advocacy and Outreach

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products: Unsuspended and Unrevoked License; Exemptions, 26819-26822 2015-11311 Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: School District Review Program, 26892-26893 2015-11261 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26927-26928 2015-11266 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Tennessee Advisory Committee, 26891-26892 2015-11320 Coast Guard Coast Guard NOTICES Requests for Nominations: National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, 26935-26936 2015-11296 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Economic Development Administration

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 26893-26895 2015-11310
Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Customer Complaint Form, 26989-26990 2015-11346 Defense Department Defense Department PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 26883-26888 2015-11231 Economic Development Economic Development Administration NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 26895 2015-11309 Education Department Education Department RULES Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; Community Parent Resource Centers, 26830-26832 2015-11307 Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria: First in the World Program, 27036-27049 2015-11333 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Roads to Success in North Dakota -- A Randomized Study of a College and Career Preparation Curriculum, 26915 2015-11287 Applications for New Awards: First in the World Program; Development Grants, 27050-27057 2015-11336 First in the World Program; Validation Grants, 27057-27064 2015-11337 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency NOTICES Emissions Factors for Flares and Other Refinery Process Units, etc., 26925-26926 2015-11344 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration RULES Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit Disclosures, 26822 2015-11286 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Baghdad Flight Information Region, 26822-26828 2015-11284 PROPOSED RULES Amendment of Class E Airspace: Albion, Bassett, and Lexington, NE, 26870-26872 2015-11222 Jonesboro and Winnfield, LA, 26872-26873 2015-11223 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26926-26927 2015-11308 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 26927 2015-11387 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 26915-26925 2015-11280 2015-11281 2015-11282 2015-11321 2015-11323 2015-11324 2015-11325 Filings: Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi, 26918, 26920-26921 2015-11328 2015-11329 Refund Effective Date: Alabama Power Co., Southern Power Co., et al., 26919 2015-11326 Terminations of Exemptions: Congdon Pond Hydro, LLC, 26923-26924 2015-11283 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Diabetes Mellitus, 26979-26988 2015-11312 2015-11317 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Meetings: Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, 26988 2015-11269 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects, 26988-26989 2015-11313 Fiscal Fiscal Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26990 2015-11202 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Interagency Cooperation: Endangered Species Act—Incidental Take Statements, 26832-26845 2015-10612 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements, 26946-26948 2015-11259 Meetings: Conference of the Parties to the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 26948-26950 2015-11251 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Meetings: Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee, 26929-26930 2015-11257 Requests for Nominations: Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, 26928-26929 2015-11258 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service PROPOSED RULES Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs, 26846-26870 2015-10613 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Meetings: Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee, 26890-26891 2015-11316 2015-11319 General Services General Services Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 26883-26888 2015-11231 NOTICES Meetings: Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, 26927 2015-11306 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 26937-26942 2015-11288
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Delegation of Authority to the Chief Operations Officer, 26946 2015-11334 Guidance and Instructions for Extension Requests of 24-Month Expenditure Deadline for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Grantees, 26942-26945 2015-11260 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau RULES Leasing of Osage Reservation Lands for Oil and Gas Mining, 26994-27034 2015-11314 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES Application of Modified Carryover Basis to General Basis Rules, 26873-26882 2015-11210 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Cased Pencils from the People's Republic of China, 26897-26898 2015-10622 Applications for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments, 26896 2015-11345 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 26951 2015-11386 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Proposed Consent Decrees under the Clean Air Act, 26951-26952 2015-11331 Labor Department Labor Department See

Mine Safety and Health Administration

See

Workers Compensation Programs Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Information Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, 26952-26953 2015-11301
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Buckingham Coal Company Federal Coal Lease Application, Public Hearing, Perry and Morgan Counties, OH, 26950-26951 2015-11263 Meetings: San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee, 26951 2015-11299 Mine Mine Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26953-26955 2015-11293 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, 26883-26888 2015-11231 National Capital National Capital Planning Commission NOTICES Draft Federal Urban Design Element of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital; Federal Elements, 26956-26957 2015-11292 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Manufacturing Extension Partnership State Competitions and Regional Forums, 26898-26899 2015-11256 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals Neurobiobank Tissue Access Request, 26930 2015-11332 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 26931-26932 2015-11237 2015-11243 National Cancer Institute, 26932-26933 2015-11242 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 26934-26935 2015-11234 2015-11235 National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 26931, 26933 2015-11247 2015-11248 National Institute of Mental Health, 26934 2015-11238 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 26933 2015-11236 National Institute of Nursing Research, 26931 2015-11233 National Institute on Aging, 26931-26932 2015-11239 2015-11241 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 26935 2015-11240 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Interagency Cooperation: Endangered Species Act -- Incidental Take Statements, 26832-26845 2015-10612 NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Undulate Ray and the Greenback Parrotfish, 26899-26914 2015-11305 Exclusive Licenses: Handix, LLC; Boulder, CO, 26914 2015-11131 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26957-26958 2015-11279 Neighborhood Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 26958 2015-11426 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 26958 2015-11362 Advocacy Outreach Office of Advocacy and Outreach NOTICES Meetings: USDAs Receipt for Service Initiative, 26889-26890 2015-11339 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Enhancing Patent Quality, 26914-26915 2015-11318 Pension Benefit Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Financial and Actuarial Information Reporting, 26958-26959 2015-11347 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 26959-26960 2015-11330 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: National Day of Prayer (Proc. 9274), 26817-26818 2015-11402 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Central African Republic; Continuation of National Emergency (Notice of May 8, 2015), 27065-27067 2015-11531 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 26966 2015-11365 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BOX Options Exchange LLC, 26966-26970 2015-11275 NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC, 26960-26962 2015-11273 NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 26970-26972 2015-11272 New York Stock Exchange LLC, 26962-26964, 26975-26977 2015-11270 2015-11271 NYSE Arca, Inc., 26964-26966 2015-11276 NYSE MKT LLC, 26972-26974 2015-11274 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26977-26979 2015-11268 2015-11267 Disaster Declarations: Kentucky, 26977, 26979 2015-11278 2015-11289 2015-11290 SBIR/STTR Logo Design Competition Announcement; Correction, 26979 2015-11277 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Fiscal Service

See

Internal Revenue Service

Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection RULES North American Free Trade Agreement Uniform Regulations; Technical Corrections, 26828-26830 2015-11291 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Passenger List/Crew List, 26936-26937 2015-11335 U.S. China U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission NOTICES Meetings: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Public Hearing, 26990-26991 2015-11264 Workers' Workers Compensation Programs Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 26955-26956 2015-11315 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Interior Department, Indian Affairs Bureau, 26994-27034 2015-11314 Part III Education Department, 27036-27064 2015-11333 2015-11336 2015-11337 Part IV Presidential Documents, 27065-27067 2015-11531 Reader Aids

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80 90 Monday, May 11, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 107 [Docket No. APHIS-2011-0048] RIN 0579-AD66 Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products; Exemptions From Preparation Pursuant to an Unsuspended and Unrevoked License AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act regulations to require that veterinary biologics prepared under the veterinary practitioner exemption must be prepared at the same facility the veterinarian utilizes in conducting the day-to-day activities associated with his or her practice. This exemption applies to veterinary biologics prepared by a veterinary practitioner solely for administration to animals in the course of a State-licensed professional practice of veterinary medicine under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. This rule is necessary to ensure that veterinary biologics are not prepared in unlicensed establishments in violation of the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act and to clarify the regulations regarding the preparation of product by a veterinary practitioner under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

DATES:

Effective July 10, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Donna Malloy, Operational Support Section, Center for Veterinary Biologics, Policy, Evaluation, and Licensing, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 148, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; phone (301) 851-3426, fax (301) 734-4314.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (9 CFR), parts 101-118 (referred to below as the regulations) contain provisions implementing the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act (the Act), as amended (21 U.S.C. 151-159). These regulations are administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Act prohibits the preparation, sale, and shipment of veterinary biological products in or from the United States unless such products have been prepared under and in compliance with USDA regulations at an establishment holding an unsuspended and unrevoked license issued by USDA.

In part 102 of the regulations, §§ 102.1 and 102.2 require that each establishment and every person preparing biological products subject to the Act must hold an unexpired, unsuspended, and unrevoked U.S. Veterinary Biologics Establishment License issued by the Administrator and a U.S. Veterinary Biological Product License for each product prepared in such establishment. Part 107 of the regulations contains exemptions from the requirement for preparation pursuant to unsuspended and unrevoked establishment and product licenses. One of those exemptions, found in § 107.1(a)(1), allows for product to be prepared by a veterinary practitioner solely for administration to animals in the course of his or her State-licensed professional practice of veterinary medicine under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. The regulations in § 107.1(a)(1) also set forth the criteria that must be satisfied in order to establish the existence of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

On July 18, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 42195-42197, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0048) a proposal 1 to amend the regulations to require that veterinary biologics prepared under the veterinary practitioner exemption be prepared at the same facility the veterinarian utilizes in conducting the day-to-day activities associated with his or her practice. The proposal was intended to ensure that veterinary biologics are not prepared in unlicensed establishments in violation of the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act and to clarify the regulations regarding the preparation of product by a veterinary practitioner under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

1 To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0048.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending September 17, 2012. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until November 16, 2012, in a document published in the Federal Register on September 20, 2012 (77 FR 58323, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0048). We received 55 comments by that date. They were from veterinarians and veterinary associations, several State universities, pork producers' associations, trade organizations, veterinary biologics companies, private laboratories, aquaculture companies, officials from the State of Iowa, and individuals. These comments are discussed below by topic.

Some commenters not only supported the proposal but recommended that we speed the implementation process along.

We are finalizing this rule as expeditiously as possible. Given the number of comments we received on the proposed rule and the substantive nature of most of them, however, we determined that we needed to carefully review and evaluate those comments before implementing any regulatory changes.

Several organizations and a number of veterinary practitioners raised concerns about what they termed the “forced relocation” of preparation sites for veterinary biologics to the same facility in which the veterinarian conducts day-to-day activities connected with his or her practice. Commenters stated that a veterinary practice is an environment poorly suited to the aseptic conditions required for biologics production and that personnel working in these facilities are trained in animal care rather than in specialized laboratory work. Several commenters recommended that APHIS revise the rule to require that, regardless of the location of the production facility, veterinarians that use the facility must document regular involvement in the management of the facility, provide such documentation on request, and allow regular on-site inspections, presumably by APHIS.

APHIS disagrees with the commenters' recommendation. As noted in the preamble to the July 2012 proposed rule, the intent of the veterinary practitioner exemption in § 107.1(a)(1) is to allow a practitioner to prepare exempt biological products at a location not licensed under the Act, where the practitioner operates a veterinary practice, and to transport such products away from that facility when necessary for administration to an animal or animals under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship without violating the Act. The intention behind the proposed rule was to clarify the relationship between the veterinary practitioner and the facility where exempt veterinary biological product is prepared. No provision in the Act or the regulations allows an unlicensed commercial laboratory, acting as the agent for the practitioner, to prepare, produce, sell, and ship the veterinary biological product under the exemption in § 107.1(a)(1). Such an arrangement would violate the Act. Nothing in this rule or in the Act, however, prevents veterinarians from working with establishments with a license to produce autogenous products, i.e., limited use biologics.

Commenters expressed concern about how this rule would affect practitioners who have offices in multiple locations in which there are multiple practitioners. It was stated that changes within the swine industry have led many veterinarians to practice in this manner. According to the commenters, this rule would potentially require that a “brick and mortar” location for vaccine production would have to be the same as the physical location of the veterinarian. In the commenters' view, such a requirement could prove problematic for a multi-location veterinary practice in which there may only be one location suitable for the preparation of exempt veterinary biological product. Commenters questioned how we would address the issue of multiple locations managed by the same veterinarian or practice even though the prescribing veterinarian may not routinely work out of the office where the exempt biological product is prepared.

APHIS acknowledges that it has become a common occurrence in the swine industry for swine practitioners to work in multi-veterinarian, multi-location corporate practices. Nothing in this rule, however, prohibits a veterinarian from producing an exempt biological product in any of the locations routinely used in his or her day-to-day practice, provided that the other conditions in § 107.1 are met.

Noting that § 107.1(a)(2) of the proposed rule stated that a biological product may be prepared by a veterinary assistant under the veterinarian's “direct supervision,” some commenters, while generally supportive of the rule, requested that we clarify how we define that term.

APHIS interprets “direct supervision” to mean that the licensed veterinarian is readily available on the premises where the product is being prepared and has the responsibility for its preparation by the assistant working under his or her direction.

Some commenters suggested that the emphasis of the rule should be redirected away from location of the exempt facilities and toward the quality and management of the facilities where the products are prepared. It was stated that the rule focuses too much on location and not enough on animal health.

As noted above, the purpose of this rule is to clarify who may prepare exempted biological products and where those exempted products may be prepared under the regulations. Requirements pertaining to the quality and management of veterinary biologics establishments are already addressed in 9 CFR part 108.

Some commenters maintained that unlicensed laboratories should be allowed to prepare and ship exempt veterinary biological products on behalf of veterinary practitioners, that the rule may hinder innovative practices, and that the relationship between the veterinarian and the facility should be legal rather than location-based. The commenters expressed concern that the rule will restrict veterinarians' access to certain customized vaccines that are prepared in specialized settings and thus prevent practitioners from responding rapidly to mutating viruses. Several commenters cited the case of an Iowa manufacturer, which they viewed as an innovative company with expertise in new technologies that enabled it to prepare vaccines quickly and effectively. The commenters stated that that company's activities may be restricted under this rule.

The purpose of this rule is to clarify the relationship between the veterinary practitioner and the facility where exempt veterinary biological products are prepared. We do not intend to hinder innovation and the development of valuable new technologies, nor do we anticipate that this rule will have such an effect. Any manufacturing establishment wishing to provide its technology and expertise to veterinarians has several licensing options that will allow it to market its product. To cite one example, in 2012, APHIS published guidelines for obtaining a conditional veterinary biologics license using production platform technology. These guidelines, which describe the policies and procedures regarding the licensure of product platforms based on recombinant technology, can be viewed at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/vet_biologics/publications/memo_800_213.pdf.

Some commenters expressed concerns about how this rule may affect minor species, in particular, the aquaculture industry. It was stated that the language contained in the proposed rule was too restrictive, as it was based on an erroneous assumption of a homogenous type of veterinary practice involving mainly major species where there is only in-patient or on-the-farm care. Veterinary practitioners in the aquaculture industry routinely prepare autogenous vaccines, which may be isolated from a particular school of fish. A commenter stated that for minor species and minor indications, it is not cost-effective to have separate facilities for the preparation of existing exempt vaccines and autogenous vaccines. The commenter recommended that, for minor species applications, we add a provision to the final rule allowing the production of exempt biological products in a veterinary establishment that has either full or autogenous licensure to produce biologics, provided that the practitioner can demonstrate temporal and sanitary separation between exempt and non-exempt products.

We do not agree that adding such a provision to the regulations is necessary. This rule does not affect the preparation of exempt veterinary biological product for minor species, such as farmed fish; it merely clarifies where such products can be prepared. Veterinarians who service minor species will continue to have the options currently available to them of preparing an exempt product or working with a licensed establishment to produce an autogenous vaccine.

The July 2012 proposed rule included some additional changes to § 107.1. Specifically, we proposed to replace the term “establishments” with “facilities” in the introductory text and in paragraph (a)(1). One commenter favored retaining the original terminology. The commenter stated that “facilities” is too narrow a term and that, conversely, “establishments” correctly reflects many of the types of operations that licensed veterinarians are associated with (ambulatory, zoos, aquarium, fish culture facilities, feedlots, etc.).

We do not agree with this comment. The reason for the proposed change in terminology was to distinguish between manufacturers that produce licensed biological products in licensed establishments and those that produce exempt veterinary biological products under the conditions described in § 107.1. The introductory text of § 107.1 contains a reference to establishment licenses. Elsewhere in the regulations, including § 107.2, only production sites that are not exempt from licensing requirements are referred to as establishments. Drawing a clear distinction between establishments, where vaccines are prepared in accordance with our licensing requirements, and facilities, where exempt products are produced, helps to clarify the regulations and eliminate possible confusion.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. The analysis is summarized below. 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.

This final rule amends the regulations in § 107.1 to clarify that the preparation of biological products pursuant to the exemption in paragraph (a)(1) of that section must take place at the same facility that the veterinarian preparing the product utilizes in conducting the day-to-day activities associated with his/her State-licensed professional practice of veterinary medicine.

The exemption applies to veterinary biologics prepared by a veterinary practitioner solely for administration to animals in the course of a State-licensed professional practice of veterinary medicine under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. No provision in the Act or the regulations allows a veterinary practitioner to take advantage of the licensing exemption while at the same time consigning the actual preparation of the product to a commercial laboratory or other manufacturing establishment which would then exchange or deliver the product to a third party.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to consider whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Some commenters on the July 2012 proposed rule expressed concerns that the rule would adversely affect how veterinary practitioners conduct day-to-day activities connected with their practices, prevent veterinarians from working with commercial labs or manufacturing facilities in preparing vaccines, and hinder the development of innovative practices.

For the most part, there should be little or no effect on veterinary practitioners. Veterinary practitioners who are in compliance with the regulations do not need to alter the way they conduct their veterinarian-client-patient relationships. This final rule will not change the nature of the exemption, the number of veterinary practitioners eligible to take advantage of the exemption, or the criteria that must be satisfied in order to establish the existence of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Also, this final rule will not add any additional reporting or recordkeeping burden.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12372

This program/activity is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.025 and is subject to Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. (See 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V.)

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. It is not intended to have retroactive effect. This rule will not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies where they are necessary to address local disease conditions or eradication programs. However, where safety, efficacy, purity, and potency of biological products are concerned, it is the Agency's intent to occupy the field. This includes, but is not limited to, the regulation of labeling. Under the Act, Congress clearly intended that there be national uniformity in the regulation of these products. There are no administrative proceedings which must be exhausted prior to a judicial challenge to the regulations under this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 107

Animal biologics, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, we are amending 9 CFR part 107 as follows:

PART 107—EXEMPTIONS FROM PREPARATION PURSUANT TO AN UNSUSPENDED AND UNREVOKED LICENSE 1. The authority citation for part 107 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 151-159; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

2. Section 107.1 is amended as follows: a. In the introductory text of the section and in paragraph (a)(1), introductory text, by removing the word “establishments” both times it appears and adding the word “facilities” in its place; and b. By redesignating paragraph (a)(2) as paragraph (a)(3) and adding a new paragraph (a)(2).

The addition reads as follows:

§ 107.1 Veterinary practitioners and animal owners.

(a) * * *

(2) All steps in the preparation of product being prepared under the exemption in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must be performed at the facilities that the veterinarian utilizes for the day-to-day activities associated with the treatment of animals in the course of his/her State-licensed professional practice of veterinary medicine. A veterinary assistant employed by the veterinary practitioner and working at the veterinary practice's facility under the veterinarian's direct supervision may perform the steps in the preparation of product. Such preparation may not be consigned to any other party or sub-contracted to a commercial laboratory/manufacturing facility.

Done in Washington, DC, this 6th day of May 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-11311 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Part 620 RIN 3052-AD02 Disclosure to Shareholders; Pension Benefit Disclosures AGENCY:

Farm Credit Administration.

ACTION:

Notice of effective date.

SUMMARY:

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA or we) adopted a final rule related to Farm Credit System (System) bank and association disclosures to shareholders and investors of senior officer compensation in the Summary Compensation Table (Table). Under the final rule, System banks and associations are not required to report in the Table the compensation of employees who are not senior officers and who would not otherwise be considered “highly compensated employees” but for the payments related to, or change(s) in value of, the employees' qualified pension plans, provided that the plans were available to all employees on the same basis at the time the employees joined the plans. In accordance with the law, the effective date of the rule is 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register during which either or both Houses of Congress are in session.

DATES:

Effective Date: Under the authority of 12 U.S.C. 2252, the regulation amending 12 CFR part 620 published on February 26, 2015 (80 FR 10325) is effective April 29, 2015.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael T. Wilson, Policy Analyst, Office of Regulatory Policy, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4124, TTY (703) 883-4056, or Jeff Pienta, Senior Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4020, TTY (703) 883-4056.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Farm Credit Administration adopted a final rule related to System bank and association disclosures to shareholders and investors of senior officer compensation in the Summary Compensation Table. Under the final rule, System banks and associations are not required to report in the Table the compensation of employees who are not senior officers and who would not otherwise be considered “highly compensated employees” but for the payments related to, or change(s) in value of, the employees' qualified pension plans, provided that the plans were available to all employees on the same basis at the time the employees joined the plans. In accordance with 12 U.S.C. 2252, the effective date of the final rule is 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register during which either or both Houses of Congress are in session. Based on the records of the sessions of Congress, the effective date of the regulations is April 29, 2015.

(12 U.S.C. 2252(a)(9) and (10)) Dated: May 5, 2015. Dale L. Aultman, Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.
[FR Doc. 2015-11286 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No. FAA-2003-14766; Amendment No. 91-327A; SFAR No. 77] RIN 2120-AK60 Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Baghdad (ORBB) Flight Information Region (FIR) AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action amends Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 77, “Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Iraq,” which prohibits certain flight operations in the territory and airspace of Iraq by all United States (U.S.) air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered civil aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. On August 8, 2014, the FAA issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) prohibiting flight operations in the ORBB FIR at all altitudes, subject to certain limited exceptions, due to the armed conflict in Iraq. This amendment to SFAR No. 77 incorporates the flight prohibition set forth in the August 8, 2014, NOTAM into the rule. The FAA is also revising the approval process for this SFAR for other U.S. Government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, to align with the approval process established for other recently published flight prohibition SFARs. This final rule will remain in effect for two years.

DATES:

This final rule is effective May 11, 2015 through May 11, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For technical questions about this action, contact Will Gonzalez, Air Transportation Division, AFS-220, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8166; email: [email protected]

For legal questions concerning this action, contact: Robert Frenzel, Office of the Chief Counsel, AGC-200, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-7638, email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Good Cause for Immediate Adoption

Section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, U.S. Code, authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for “good cause” finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” In this instance, the FAA finds that notice and public comment to this immediately adopted final rule, as well as any delay in the effective date of this rule, are impracticable and contrary to the public interest due to the immediate need to address the potential hazard to civil aviation that now exists in the ORBB FIR, as described in the Background section of this rule.

Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the U.S. and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49, U.S. Code. Subtitle I, section 106(f), describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in title 49, subtitle VII, part A, subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. This regulation is within the scope of that authority, because it amends SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, to incorporate the prohibition set forth in the August 8, 2014, NOTAM on flight operations at all altitudes in the ORBB FIR due to the potential hazard to U.S. civil aviation posed by the armed conflict in Iraq. This amendment will remain in effect for two years. The FAA will continue to actively evaluate the area and amendments to the SFAR may be appropriate if the risk to aviation safety and security changes. The FAA may amend or rescind the SFAR as necessary prior to its expiration date.

I. Background

On October 9, 1996 (61 FR 54020 (October 16, 1996)), the FAA issued SFAR No. 77 to prohibit flight operations over or within the territory and airspace of Iraq by any U.S. air carrier or commercial operator; by any person exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; or by any person operating an aircraft registered in the United States, unless the operator of such aircraft was a foreign air carrier. The prohibition was issued in response to concerns for the safety and security of U.S. civil flights within the territory and airspace of Iraq. In the final rule, the FAA cited a threat made by then President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, who urged his air defense forces to ignore both the southern and northern no-fly zones that were then in place and to attack “any air target of the aggressors.” 61 FR 54020. The FAA was concerned that this threat could apply to civilian as well as to military aircraft, and therefore issued SFAR No. 77.

In early 2003, a U.S.-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein's regime from power in Iraq. The FAA anticipated that when hostilities ended in Iraq, humanitarian efforts would be needed to assist the people of Iraq. To facilitate those efforts, in April 2003, the FAA amended what was then paragraph 3 of SFAR No. 77 to clarify the approval process for such flights, making clear that operations could not be authorized by another agency without the approval of the FAA. The FAA issued the amendment on April 7, 2003 (68 FR 17870 (April 11, 2003)).

On November 13, 2003 (68 FR 65382 (November 19, 2003)), the FAA determined that certain limited overflights of Iraq could be conducted safely, subject to the permission of the appropriate authorities in Iraq and in accordance with the conditions established by those authorities. Accordingly, the FAA amended SFAR No. 77 to permit overflights of Iraq above flight level (FL) 200. That amendment also allowed aircraft departing from countries adjacent to Iraq to operate at altitudes below FL 200 within Iraq to the extent necessary to permit a climb above FL 200 if the climb performance of the aircraft would not permit operation above FL 200 prior to entering Iraqi airspace.

On April 19, 2004 (69 FR 21953 (April 23, 2004)), the FAA issued an interpretation of SFAR No. 77, entitled “Prohibition Against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Iraq; Approval Process for Requests for Authorization to Operate in Iraqi Airspace,” (the 2004 Interpretation) in the Federal Register. The purpose of the 2004 Interpretation was to explain how the FAA would process and, where appropriate, approve requests for authorization to operate in Iraqi airspace. A copy of the 2004 Interpretation has been placed in the docket for this rulemaking.

On November 28, 2012 (77 FR 72709 (December 6, 2012)), the FAA again amended SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, effective January 7, 2013, to allow U.S. civil flight operations to and from points outside Iraq, to and from Erbil (ORER) and Sulaymaniyah (ORSU) International Airports in Northern Iraq by persons previously prohibited from conducting such operations by SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, based on results of evaluations of the airports. ORER and ORSU had supported non-U.S. air carrier operations for a number of years without incident. Based largely on the initiation of those operations and on improvements in the operational environment, the FAA determined that flights by U.S. operators could be conducted safely to those two airports under certain conditions. Therefore, the FAA amended SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, to allow certain flights within the territory and airspace of Iraq north of 34°30′ North latitude below FL 200 to and from ORER or ORSU, with certain conditions and limitations.

Once the December 2012 amendment went into effect, neither an exemption nor an approval under paragraph (c) of SFAR No. 77 was required for operations to or from ORER or ORSU. However, paragraph (b)(5) required operators flying to or from ORER or ORSU to or from points outside Iraq to obtain a Letter of Authorization (LOA) or Operations Specification (OpSpec), as appropriate, from the Director, Flight Standards Service, AFS-1, prior to conducting such operations. The OpSpec or LOA specified the limitations and conditions under which the operation had to be conducted, to address the residual risk associated with operating into and out of those two airports.

On July 31, 2014, the FAA issued a NOTAM prohibiting flight operations in the territory and airspace of Iraq at or below FL 300 because of significant changes in the operational environment for U.S. civil aviation. The recent resurgence of groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and their ongoing combat operations against the Iraqi government and its allies had led to an increased threat to U.S. civil aviation in Iraq. ISIL was rapidly acquiring weapons from captured Iraqi or Syrian stocks and had former military personnel to operate those weapons. ISIL had shot down Iraqi rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft flying at low altitudes, and also had man-portable air defense systems and other anti-aircraft weapons that provided the capability to target aircraft at higher altitudes. As a result, the FAA determined that ISIL posed an increased threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in Iraqi airspace at or below FL 300.

The July 31, 2014, NOTAM increased restrictions on operations in the territory and airspace of Iraq beyond the restrictions contained in SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, which remained in effect. The following operations that had been permitted under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, were prohibited by the July 31, 2014, NOTAM: (1) Overflights of Iraq above FL 200 but at or below FL 300; (2) operations at or below FL 300 by flights departing from countries adjacent to Iraq whose climb performance would not permit operations above FL 300 prior to entering Iraqi airspace; and (3) flights within the territory of Iraq north of 34°30′ North latitude originating from or destined to areas outside of Iraq to or from ORER or ORSU.

On August 7, 2014, President Obama announced that he had authorized targeted airstrikes against militants associated with ISIL if they moved toward the Iraqi city of Erbil, as well as targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help Iraqi forces as they fought to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and to protect the civilians trapped there. The President also stated that the U.S. was conducting humanitarian air drops to aid the trapped civilians. U.S. forces began conducting airstrikes on August 8, 2014. On the same day, the FAA issued a NOTAM that prohibited U.S. civil flight operations in the ORBB FIR at all altitudes due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict between militants associated with ISIL and Iraqi security forces and their allies. The August 8, 2014, NOTAM superseded the July 31, 2014, NOTAM. This amendment to SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, revises the rule to incorporate the flight prohibition set forth in the August 8, 2014, NOTAM.

Because the circumstances described herein warrant immediate action by the FAA, I find that notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Further, I find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making this rule effective immediately upon issuance. I also find that this action is fully consistent with the obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105 to ensure that I exercise my duties consistently with the obligations of the United States under international agreements.

II. Overview of Final Rule

This action amends SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, to incorporate the prohibition contained in the FAA's August 8, 2014, NOTAM on flight operations at all altitudes in the ORBB FIR by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered civil aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. The FAA finds this action necessary to prevent a potential hazard to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations.

A. Revised Approval Process Based on an Authorization Request From a Department, Agency, or Instrumentality of the United States Government

In some instances, U.S. government departments, agencies, or instrumentalities may need to engage U.S. civil aviation to support their activities in Iraq. The FAA believes that it has provided a more streamlined approval processes for other U.S. government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities in more recent flight prohibition SFARs than the 2004 Interpretation would allow, and that an approval process similar to those adopted for recent SFARs may be instituted for SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, while still addressing the threats to U.S. civil aviation in the ORBB FIR. Therefore, the FAA withdraws the 2004 Interpretation in its entirety and replaces it with the approval process described below.

If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, including a U.S. air carrier or a U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or military passengers or cargo, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request the FAA to approve persons covered under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, to conduct such operations. U.S. Government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities may also request approval on behalf of subcontractors where the prime contractor has a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality. An approval request must be made to the FAA in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government. The letter must be sent to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 267-8166, to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) expected to be covered under the SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality is seeking FAA approval, and it must describe—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the mission being supported;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

• To the extent known, the specific locations in the ORBB FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted; and

• The method by which the department, agency, or instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations (e.g., pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight).The request for approval must also include a list of operators with whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s) (or its prime contractor has a subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the ORBB FIR. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time after the FAA approval is issued. Updated lists should be sent to the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division, AFS-220, by calling (202) 267-8166.

If an approval request includes classified information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety Inspector Will Gonzalez for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. His contact information is listed in the “For Further Information Contact” section of this final rule.

FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility to comply with all applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of civil aircraft will have to comply with the conditions of their certificate and OpSpecs. Operators will also have to comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government departments or agencies that may apply to the proposed operation, including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security.

B. Approval Conditions

When the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety Organization (AVS) will send an approval letter to the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA's approval is subject to all of the following:

(1) Any approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational objectives.

(2) Any approval will indicate that the operation is not eligible for coverage under any premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, U.S. Code. 12 Each such policy excludes coverage for any aircraft operations that are intentionally conducted into or within geographic areas prohibited by an SFAR, such as this SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605. The exclusion specified in the policy will remain in effect as long as this SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, remains in effect, notwithstanding the issuance of any approval under, or exemption from, this SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, (the chapter 443 premium war risk insurance policy refers to such approval as a “waiver” and such exemption as an “exclusion”).

1 Section 102 of Division L of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, December 16, 2014, inter alia, amended 49 U.S.C. 44302(f) and 44310(a) to specify the termination dates in those sections as December 11, 2014. The effect was to terminate coverage under FAA's premium war risk insurance program as of December 11, 2014. FAA has decided to leave the matter relating to premium insurance in this final rule, in order to make clear that the conditions relating to insurance, as stated in the final rule, will apply in the event that Congress decides to reauthorize the premium insurance program under chapter 443 of title 49, U.S. Code. Under 49 U.S.C. 44310(b) (which was not affected by Pub. L. 113-235), FAA's authority to provide non-premium insurance coverage remains in effect through December 31, 2018.

2 If and when, in connection with an operator's contract with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government, an operation is covered by a non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under 49 U.S.C. 44305, coverage under that operator's FAA premium war risk insurance policy, if any, is suspended as a condition contained in that premium policy.

(3) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to the FAA:

(a) A written release of the U.S. Government (including, but not limited to, the United States of America as Insurer) from all damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses; and

(b) The operator's written agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government (including but not limited to the United States of America, as Insurer) with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising from or related to the approved operations in the ORBB FIR.

The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443.

(4) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that may be imposed in OpSpecs.

If the proposed operation or operations is or are approved, the FAA will issue OpSpecs authorizing the operation or operations to the certificate holder and will notify the department, agency, or instrumentality that requested FAA approval of such operation(s) of any additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, on whose behalf the department, agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval.

C. Requests for Exemption

Any operation not conducted under the approval process set forth above must be conducted under an exemption from SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605. A request by any person covered under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, for an exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process set forth above. In addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, the requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA, at a minimum—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the operation;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605;

• The specific locations in the ORBB FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted; and

• The method by which the operator will obtain current threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases).

Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred to above, will be required as a condition of any exemption issued under SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605.

The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, including this amendment, may be planned for the governments of other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited basis and prior to any private exemption requests.

III. Regulatory Evaluation, Regulatory Flexibility Determination, International Trade Impact Assessment, and Unfunded Mandates Assessment

Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39, as amended, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995; currently $151 million). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule.

In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined this final rule has benefits that justify its costs and is a “significant regulatory action,” as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, because it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that Executive Order. The rule is also “significant” as defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. The final rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, will not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade, and will not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Total Benefits and Costs of This Rule

Total annual costs to airlines are estimated to be approximately $14 million. The benefits of this final rule are the avoided deaths that might result from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise damaged) amidst the armed conflict in Iraq. Since each fatality is valued at $9.2 million, the benefits of this final rule will exceed the costs if just two such deaths are averted.

Who is potentially affected by this rule?

1. All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;

2. All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and

3. All operators of aircraft registered in the United States, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

Assumptions

• Calendar Year 2013 data.

• Schedule P-10 from Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to obtain number of employees at a carrier.

• Schedule P-1.2 from BTS to obtain Total Operating Revenues at a carrier.

• U.S. Block Hour Operating Costs by Aircraft Type and Airline, from The Airline Monitor Commercial Aircraft Database.

• Number of flights affected and additional flying time provided by air carriers.

• Value of Statistical Life (VSL) of $9.2 million for 2013.

Costs of This Rule

By prohibiting flights from operating in the ORBB FIR, flights that would overfly the ORBB FIR in the absence of this rule will have to fly additional time to avoid the area. The FAA requested flight and cost information from some U.S. air carriers who indicated to the FAA they would be affected by the prohibition. The FAA received responses from those U.S. air carriers, most of whom reported additional flying time and its associated costs. The additional reported flying time was multiplied by the operating cost per block hour by airline and aircraft type to obtain an estimate of the cost of this final rule. Total annual costs are estimated at $14 million.

This rule imposes no reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. The FAA is unaware of any Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.

Benefits of This Rule

The benefits of this final rule are the avoided deaths (or other losses) that might have resulted from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise damaged) amidst the armed conflict in Iraq. The benefits of this final rule will exceed the costs if just two such deaths do not occur (where each averted fatality is valued at $9.2 million).

Regulatory Flexibility Determination

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (“RFA”), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. establishes “as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.” The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.

However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.

Reasons the FAA Considered the Rule

The FAA remains committed to continuously improving civil aviation safety. The FAA finds that this final rule is in the public interest due to the immediate need to address the potential hazard to civil aviation that now exists in the ORBB FIR, as described in this Notice.

The Objectives of and the Legal Basis for the Rule

The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the United States and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49, U.S. Code. Subtitle I, section 106(f), describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. This regulation is within the scope of that authority, because it amends SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, to incorporate the August 8, 2014, NOTAM's prohibition on U.S. civil flight operations at all altitudes in the ORBB FIR due to the potential hazard to U.S. civil aviation posed by the armed conflict in Iraq. This amendment also changes the approval process and adds an expiration date.

A Description of and an Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Rule Will Apply or an Explanation of Why No Such Estimate Is Available

The Small Business Administration defines a small entity in the Air Transportation business as having less than 1,500 employees.3 There are over 10 small entities identified as being affected by this final rule. Only two provided information relating to costs.

3 U.S. Small Business Administration, Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes, page 26, http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf.

The FAA Believes That This Final Rule Would Not Have a Significant Impact on a Substantial Number of Small Entities for the Following Reason

The additional reported flying time by operators was multiplied by the operating cost per block hour by small airline and by aircraft type to obtain an estimate of the cost of this final rule. The small entities' operation costs compared to their revenue is estimated at less than 1 percent. Therefore, as provided in section 605(b) of the RFA, the Administrator of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

B. International Trade Impact Assessment

The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13), as amended, prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA assessed the potential effect of this final rule and determined that it will not create an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, because the regulation has a legitimate domestic objective, the protection of safety.

C. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a “significant regulatory action.” The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $151.0 million in lieu of $100 million. This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

D. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) as amended, requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this immediately adopted final rule.

E. International Compatibility and Cooperation

In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the “Chicago Convention”), it is FAA policy to conform to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this proposed regulation.

F. Environmental Analysis

FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) (Pub. L. 91-190, 42 U.S.C. Chapter 55) in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312(f) of FAA Order 1050.1E and involves no extraordinary circumstances.

The FAA has reviewed the implementation of the proposed amendment to SFAR No. 77, § 91.1605, and determined it is categorically excluded from further environmental review according to FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 312(f). The FAA has examined possible extraordinary circumstances and determined that no such circumstances exist. After careful and thorough consideration of the proposed action, the FAA finds that the proposed federal action does not require preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, Council on Environmental Quality regulations, and FAA Order 1050.1E.

IV. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

The FAA has analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, “Federalism.” The agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, does not have Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

The FAA analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under the executive order and it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

V. How To Obtain Additional Information A. Rulemaking Documents

An electronic copy of a rulemaking document may be obtained by using the Internet—

1. Search the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);

2. Visit the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/ or

3. Access the Government Publishing Office's Web page at: http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/.

Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by notice, amendment, or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680.

B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) (Pub. L. 104-121) (set forth as a note to 5 U.S.C. 601), as amended, requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the For Further Information Contact section at the beginning of the preamble. You can find out more about SBREFA on the Internet at: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Freight, Iraq.

The Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).

2. Revise § 91.1605 to read as follows:
§ 91.1605 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 77—Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Baghdad (ORBB) Flight Information Region (FIR)

(a) Applicability. This rule applies to the following persons:

(1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;

(2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except such persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and

(3) All operators of aircraft registered in the United States, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

(b) Flight prohibition. No person may conduct flight operations in the Baghdad (ORBB) Flight Information Region (FIR), except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.

(c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons described in paragraph (a) of this section from conducting flight operations in the ORBB FIR, provided that such flight operations are conducted under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or instrumentality, and the person described in paragraph (a)), with the approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, with the order of preference being: First, for those operations in support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality; and third, for all other operations.

(d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators that are subject to the requirements of parts 119, 121, 125, or 135, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons for it.

(e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until May 11, 2017. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR as necessary.

Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), in Washington, DC, on May 1, 2015. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-11284 Filed 5-6-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection 19 CFR Part 181 [CBP Dec. 15-07] RIN 1515-AE04 Technical Corrections to the North American Free Trade Agreement Uniform Regulations AGENCIES:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document sets forth amendments to the Customs and Border Protection regulations that implement the preferential tariff treatment and other customs-related provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The amendments reflect technical rectifications to the NAFTA Uniform Regulations agreed upon by the three NAFTA Parties, as well as corrections necessitated by changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. The conforming amendments are required to maintain the United States' obligations under the NAFTA and to ensure that NAFTA traders operate under a uniform tariff and rules of origin regime. The amendments set forth in this document involve no substantive interpretation of the NAFTA or change in policy.

DATES:

The corrections are effective July 10, 2015.

FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Craig T. Clark, Director, Textile and Trade Agreements Division, Office of International Trade, Customs and Border Protection, Tel. (202) 863-6657.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background North American Free Trade Agreement

On December 17, 1992, the United States, Canada, and Mexico entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which, among other things, provides for preferential duty treatment on goods of those three countries. The North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Public Law 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, was signed into law by the United States on December 8, 1993. For purposes of administration of the NAFTA preferential duty provisions, the three countries agreed to the adoption of verbatim NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations and additional uniform regulatory standards to be followed by each country in promulgating NAFTA implementing regulations under its national law.

NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations

The regulations implementing the NAFTA preferential duty and related provisions under United States law are set forth in part 181 of title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR part 181) which incorporates, in the Appendix, the verbatim NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations. The NAFTA rules of origin are structured primarily in terms of prescribed changes in tariff classification, with some goods also subject to a content requirement.

Technical Rectifications to the NAFTA Rule of Origin Regulations Agreed to by the United States, Canada, and Mexico

On April 9, 2009, the United States Trade Representative, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, and the Mexican Secretary of the Economy (Parties) agreed, in an Exchange of Letters, to make certain technical rectifications to the NAFTA Uniform Regulations for Chapter Four and Annex 403.1, subject to the completion of each Party's domestic legal procedures. These technical rectifications are set forth in Appendices 6 and 4, respectively, to the April 9, 2009 Exchange of Letters. The technical rectifications were necessitated by systemic revisions to the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) and the implementation of these changes into each Party's national domestic tariff law, effective 2007. In Presidential Proclamation 8097 of December 29, 2006, the President proclaimed modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) to reflect the revisions to the Harmonized System (HS).

The technical rectifications to the NAFTA Uniform Regulations for Chapter Four and Annex 403.1 do not constitute policy or substantive changes to the NAFTA and have the sole purpose of maintaining consistency between the NAFTA Annexes and each of the signatory countries' tariff laws. The conforming amendments set forth in this document implement these technical rectifications by updating the HTSUS tariff provisions in the Appendix to part 181 of 19 CFR and are necessary to maintain the United States' obligations under the NAFTA and to ensure that NAFTA traders operate under a uniform tariff and rules of origin regime.

To effect the agreed upon numerical and text changes to the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations for the United States, technical rectifications are made to the following provisions within the Appendix to 19 CFR part 181:

• Part II, Section 5, subsection (4)(i), pertaining to exceptions to the de minimis rule for non-originating materials that do not undergo, subject to authorization, a required tariff change.

• Part III, Section 6, subsection (6)(d)(iv), pertaining to regional value content and application of the net cost method in certain circumstances.

• Part VI, Section 16, subsection (3), pertaining to exceptions to transshipment rules for certain goods.

• Schedule IV, pertaining to the list of tariff provisions for the purposes of section 9 of the Appendix.1

1 Schedule IV of the Appendix to part 181 of 19 CFR (“List of Tariff Provisions for the Purposes of Section 9 of the Appendix” or commonly referred to as the “Schedule IV Light-Duty Automotive Tracing List”) implements the NAFTA Annex 403.1 tariff provisions. Within Part V (“Automotive Goods”) of the Appendix to part 181, section 9 lists special NAFTA valuation rules for certain light-duty automotive goods. The section 9 rules are based on a regional value-content (RVC) calculation that requires producers and exporters to determine whether non-originating materials used in the production of light-duty automotive goods are “traced materials” (i.e., those materials classifiable under specific HTSUS provisions listed in Annex 403.1 of the NAFTA).

Additional Technical Corrections to the Schedule IV Light-Duty Automotive Tracing List Necessitated by Pre-2007 Revisions to the HTSUS

In addition to the technical rectifications trilaterally agreed to by the NAFTA Parties in the 2009 Exchange of Letters, described above, this document makes additional technical corrections to the Schedule IV light-duty automotive tracing list within the Appendix to 19 CFR part 181 to reflect pre-2007 modifications to the HTSUS. As noted above, the HTSUS is periodically updated to reflect systemic revisions to the HS. The periodic revisions to the HTSUS result in certain tariff provisions being added or removed, or certain goods being transferred to different or newly-created tariff provisions. As a result of pre-2007 systemic HTSUS revisions, the existing Schedule IV light-duty automotive tracing list in the Appendix to part 181 contains outdated tariff provisions that are no longer consistent with Annex 403.1 of the NAFTA. This document makes technical corrections to the numerical tariff references in the tracing list so as to conform to the current version of the HTSUS and maintain the United States' obligations under the NAFTA.

Inapplicability of the Administrative Procedure Act

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), agencies generally are required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register that solicits public comment on the proposed regulatory amendments, consider public comments in deciding on the content of the final amendments, and publish the final amendments at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Section 553(a)(1) of the APA provides that the standard prior notice and comment procedures do not apply to an agency rulemaking to the extent that it involves a foreign affairs function of the United States. CBP has determined that these technical corrections involve a foreign affairs function of the United States because they implement preferential tariff treatment and related provisions of the NAFTA. In addition, because the amendments set forth in this document are necessary to conform the NAFTA Rules of Origin Regulations within the Appendix to 19 CFR part 181 to the technical corrections to the NAFTA Uniform Regulations for Chapter Four and Annex 403.1 agreed to by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as to systemic revisions to the Harmonized System, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), CBP finds that good cause exists for dispensing with notice and public procedure as unnecessary. For these reasons, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1) and (d)(3), CBP finds that good cause exists for dispensing with the requirement for a delayed effective date and the rulemaking requirements under the APA do not apply. It is further noted, that although the APA's delayed effective date requirement is inapplicable to this rulemaking, CBP has determined to delay the effective date of these technical rectifications for a period of 60 days from the date of publication of this document in the Federal Register. In consideration of the fact that two of the amendments to the CBP regulations correct tariff listings that have been out of date since 1995, the delayed effective date is offered by CBP to allow the trade, if necessary, to make adjustments to their business practices.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because this document is not subject to the notice and public procedure requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553, it is not subject to the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

Executive Order 12866

As these amendments to the regulations reflect technical rectifications to the NAFTA agreed to by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as revisions to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, they do not meet the criteria for a “significant regulatory action” as specified in Executive Order 12866.

Signing Authority

This document is being issued in accordance with § 0.1(a)(1) of the CBP regulations (19 CFR 0.1(a)(1)) pertaining to the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury (or his/her delegate) to approve regulations related to certain customs revenue functions. Accordingly, it is being signed under the authority of 19 CFR 0.1(b)(1).

List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 181

Administrative practice and procedure, Canada, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Mexico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Trade agreements (North American Free Trade Agreement).

Amendment to the Regulations

For the reasons stated above, part 181 of title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR part 181) is amended as set forth below.

PART 181—NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT 1. The general and specific authority citations for part 181 continue to read as follows: Authority:

19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General Note 3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States), 1624, 3314.

2. In the Appendix to part 181: a. Part II, Section 5, under the heading “Exceptions,” subsection 4(i) is revised; b. Part III, Section 6, under the heading “Net Cost Method Required in Certain Circumstances,” subsection (6)(d)(iv) is amended by removing “subheading 8469.11” and adding in its place “heading 8469”; c. Part VI, Section 16, under the heading “Exceptions for Certain Goods,” subsection (3) is revised; d. In Schedule IV: i. Remove the listing “8407.34.05, 8407.34.15 and 8407.34.25” and add in its place the listing “8407.34.05, 8407.34.14, 8407.34.18 and 8407.34.25”; ii. Remove the listing “8407.34.35, 8407.34.45 and 8407.34.55” and add in its place the listing “8407.34.35, 8407.34.44, 8407.34.48 and 8407.34.55”; iii. Remove the listing “8519.93” and add in its place the listing “ex 8519.81”; iv. Remove the listing “8708.29.10 ”; v. Remove the listing “8708.29.20” and add in its place the listing “8708.29.21 and 8708.29.25”; vi. Remove the listing “8708.39” and add in its place the listing “8708.30”; vii. Remove the listing “8708.60”; viii. Add in numerical order the listing “8708.95”; ix. Remove the listing “8708.99.09, 8708.99.34 and 8708.99.61”; x. Remove the listing “8708.99.12, 8708.99.37 and 8708.99.64”; xi. Remove the listing “8708.99.15, 8708.99.40 and 8708.99.67” and add in its place the listing “8708.99.16, 8708.99.41 and 8708.99.68”; xii. Remove the listing “8708.99.18, 8708.99.43 and 8708.99.70”; xiii. Remove the listing “8708.99.21, 8708.99.46 and 8708.99.73”; xiv. Remove the listing “8708.99.24, 8708.99.49 and 8708.99.80; and xv. Add in numerical order the listing “8708.99.23, 8708.99.48 and 8708.99.81”.

The revisions read as follows:

Appendix to Part 181—Rules of Origin Regulations PART II SECTION 5. DE MINIMIS Exceptions

(4) * * *

(i) a non-originating material that is used in the production of any non-portable gas stoves or ranges of subheading 7321.11 or 7321.19, subheadings 8415.10, 8415.20 through 8415.83, 8418.10 through 8418.21, household type refrigerators, other than electrical absorption type of subheading 8418.29, subheadings 8418.30 through 8418.40, 8421.12, 8422.11, 8450.11 through 8450.20 and 8451.21 through 8451.29 and tariff items 8479.89.55 (trash compactors) and 8516.60.40 (electric stoves or ranges);

PART VI SECTION 16. TRANSSHIPMENT Exceptions for Certain Goods

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply with respect to:

(a) a “smart card” of subheading 8523.52, containing a single integrated circuit, where any further production or other operation that that good undergoes outside the territories of the NAFTA countries does not result in a change in the tariff classification of the good to any other subheading;

(b) a good of any of subheadings 8541.10 through 8541.60 or subheadings 8542.31 through 8542.39, where any further production or other operation that that good undergoes outside the territories of the NAFTA countries does not result in a change in the tariff classification of the good to a subheading outside subheadings 8541.10 through 8542.90;

(c) an electronic microassembly of subheading 8543.70, where any further production or other operation that that good undergoes outside the territories of the NAFTA countries does not result in a change in the tariff classification of the good to any other subheading; or

(d) an electronic microassembly of subheading 8548.90, where any further production or other operation that that good undergoes outside the territories of the NAFTA countries does not result in a change in the tariff classification of the good to any other subheading.

R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner. Approved: May 5, 2015. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
[FR Doc. 2015-11291 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III Final Waiver and Extension of the Project Period; Community Parent Resource Centers [Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.328C] AGENCY:

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education.

ACTION:

Final waiver and extension of the project period.

SUMMARY:

For the nine currently funded Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), the Secretary waives the requirements that generally prohibit project periods exceeding five years and extensions of project periods involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. This waiver and extension of the project period enables these nine CPRCs to receive funding from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. Further, the waiver and extension of the project period mean that we will not announce a new competition or make new awards in fiscal year (FY) 2015.

DATES:

The waiver and extension of the project period are effective May 11, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carmen Sanchez, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4057, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-6595.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On March 9, 2015, we published a notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 46860) proposing an extension of project period and a waiver of 34 CFR 75.250 and 75.261(a) and (c)(2) in order to—

(1) Enable the Secretary to provide additional funds to the currently funded CPRCs for an additional 12-month project period, from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016; and

(2) Request comments on the proposed extension of project period and waiver.

There are no substantive differences between the proposed waiver and extension and the final waiver and extension.

Public Comment

In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed waiver and extension of the project period, we did not receive any substantive comments. Generally, we do not address comments that raise concerns not directly related to the proposed waiver and extension of project period.

Background

On May 3, 2010, the Department of Education (Department) published in the Federal Register (75 FR 23254) a notice inviting applications (2010 NIA) for new awards for FY 2010 for up to 10 CPRCs. The CPRCs are funded under the Parent Training and Information (PTI) Program, authorized under sections 672 and 673 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The purpose of CPRCs is to provide underserved parents of children with disabilities in targeted communities—including low-income parents, parents of limited English proficient children, and parents with disabilities—with the training and information they need to enable them to participate cooperatively and effectively in helping their children with disabilities to—

(1) Meet developmental and functional goals, as well as challenging academic achievement standards that have been established for all children; and

(2) Be prepared to lead the most productive, independent adult lives possible.

The CPRCs provide training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, and children, from birth through age 26, with the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA by: (a) Responding to individual requests for information and support from parents of children with disabilities, including parents of children who may be inappropriately identified in their targeted communities; (b) providing training to parents of children with disabilities; (c) supporting parents of children with disabilities, as needed, such as helping them to prepare for individualized education program or individualized family service plan meetings; and (d) maintaining a Web site and social media presence, as appropriate, to inform parents in their targeted communities of appropriate resources.

Based on the selection criteria in the 2010 NIA, the Department made awards for a period of 60 months each to 10 organizations, nine of which have received FY 2014 continuation funding: Fiesta Educativa in California; Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. in Florida; Agenda for Children/Pyramid Parent Training in Louisiana; Urban PRIDE in Massachusetts; SPEAKS Education, Inc. in Michigan; Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs in New Mexico; Palau Parents Empowered in Palau; Philadelphia HUNE, Inc. in Pennsylvania; and Children's Disabilities Information Coalition in Texas.

The 2010 CPRC cohort's current project period is scheduled to end on September 30, 2015. We do not believe that it would be in the public interest to run a competition for new CPRCs this year because the Department is in the process of changing the competition schedule for the PTI Program to make better use of Department resources.

Under the proposed CPRC competition schedule, instead of holding three competitions over five years, each for 10 CPRCs, we would hold one competition for 30 CPRCs that will each have a project period of up to five years. We propose to hold this competition and fund 30 CPRCs in FY 2016. We also have concluded that it would be contrary to the public interest to provide services to fewer underserved families in order to change the Department's competition schedule.

For these reasons, the Secretary waives the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as the requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension of a project period only if the extension does not involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. The waiver allows the Department to issue FY 2015 continuation awards of $100,000 to each of the nine centers in the FY 2010 cohort.

Any activities carried out during the 12-month period of this continuation award will have to be consistent with, or a logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of the grantee's application as approved in the FY 2010 CPRC competition. The requirements applicable to continuation awards for this competition set forth in the 2010 NIA and the requirements in 34 CFR 75.253 will apply to any continuation awards sought by the current CPRC grantees. We will base our decisions regarding continuation awards on the program narratives, budgets, budget narratives, and program performance reports submitted by the current grantees, and the requirements in 34 CFR 75.253.

Waiver of Delayed Effective Date

The Administrative Procedure Act requires that a substantive rule must be published at least 30 days before its effective date, except as otherwise provided for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). We received no substantive comments on the proposed waiver and extension of project period, and we have not made any substantive changes to the proposed waiver and extension of project period. The Secretary has made a determination to waive the delayed effective date to ensure there is no lapse in the parent training and information services currently provided by the CPRCs.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

The Secretary certifies that this waiver and extension of the project period will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

The only entities that will be affected by this waiver and extension of the project period are the current grantees receiving Federal funds and any other potential applicants.

The Secretary certifies that this waiver and final extension will not have a significant economic impact on these entities because the extension of existing project periods imposes minimal compliance costs, and the activities required to support the additional year of funding will not impose additional regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This notice of final waiver and extension of the project period 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.

Dated: May 5, 2015. Sue Swenson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2015-11307 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 402 [Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0080; NOAA-120106024-5048-02; FF09E-31000-156-FXES-1122-0900000] RIN 1018-AX85; 0648-BB81 Interagency Cooperation—Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended; Incidental Take Statements AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the Services), are amending the incidental take statement provisions of the implementing regulations for section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The two primary purposes of the amendments are to address the use of surrogates to express the amount or extent of anticipated incidental take and to refine the basis for development of incidental take statements for programmatic actions. These changes are intended to improve the clarity and effectiveness of incidental take statements. The Services believe these regulatory changes are a reasonable exercise of their discretion in interpreting particularly challenging aspects of section 7 of the ESA related to incidental take statements.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on June 10, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

This final rule is available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0080. Comments and materials we received on the proposed rule, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this rule, are available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov. The comments, materials, and documentation that we considered in this rulemaking are also available by appointment, during normal business hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Headquarters office, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia 22041, (703) 358-2171, (703) 358-1800 (facsimile); National Marine Fisheries Service, Headquarters office, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, (301) 427-8405, (301) 713-0376 (facsimile).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Craig Aubrey, Chief, Division of Environmental Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240 (telephone: 703-358-2171); or Cathryn E. Tortorici, Chief, Endangered Species Act Interagency Cooperation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC (telephone: 301-427-8400). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the take of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered with certain exceptions. Pursuant to section 4(d) of the ESA, the Services may prohibit the take of fish or wildlife species listed as threatened. Under section 3 of the ESA, the term “take” means to “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” Section 7 of the ESA provides for the exemption of incidental take of listed fish or wildlife species caused by Federal agency actions that the Services have found to be consistent with the provisions of section 7(a)(2). The Services jointly administer the ESA via regulations set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This rule deals with regulations found in title 50 of the CFR at part 402.

Under 50 CFR 402.14, Federal agencies must review their actions at the earliest possible time to determine whether any action may affect species listed under the ESA or their designated critical habitat. If such a determination is made, formal consultation with the appropriate Service is required, unless one of the exceptions outlined at § 402.14(b) applies. Within 45 days after concluding formal consultation, the Service delivers a biological opinion to the Federal agency and any applicant. The biological opinion states the opinion of the Service as to whether or not the Federal action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. If a proposed action is reasonably certain to cause incidental take of a listed species, the Services, under 50 CFR 402.14(i), issue along with the biological opinion an incidental take statement that specifies, among other requirements: The impact of such incidental taking on the listed species; measures considered necessary or appropriate to minimize the impact of such take; terms and conditions (including reporting requirements) that implement the specified measures; and procedures to be used for handling or disposing of individuals that are taken.

The current regulations at § 402.14(i)(1)(i) require the Services to express the impact of such incidental taking of the species in terms of amount or extent. The preamble to the final rule that set forth the current regulations discusses the use of a precise number of individuals or a description of the land or marine area affected to express the amount or extent of anticipated take, respectively (51 FR 19954, June 3, 1986).

Court decisions rendered over the last decade regarding the adequacy of incidental take statements have prompted the Services to clarify two aspects of the regulations addressing incidental take statements: (1) The use of surrogates to express the amount or extent of anticipated incidental take, including circumstances where project impacts to the surrogate are coextensive with at least one aspect of the project's scope; and (2) the circumstances under which providing an incidental take statement with a biological opinion on a programmatic action is appropriate.

Through this final rule, the Services are establishing prospective standards regarding incidental take statements. Consistent with the regulatory language set forth in the proposed rule, we are clarifying that the Services formulate an incidental take statement if such take is reasonably certain to occur. Nothing in these final regulations is intended to require reevaluation of any previously completed biological opinions or incidental take statements. Additionally, this final rule revises only those portions of the joint consultation regulations of 50 CFR part 402 set forth in the “Regulation Promulgation” section below. All other provisions remain unchanged. These revisions to the incidental take statement regulations addressing surrogates, programmatic actions, and the applicable standard for anticipating take are independent revisions that are fully severable from each other.

Proposed Rule

On September 4, 2013, the Services published a proposed rule addressing the incidental take statement provisions of the implementing regulations for section 7(a)(2) of the ESA (78 FR 54437). The proposed rule addressed the use of surrogate take indicators and issuance of an incidental take statement for programmatic actions. The proposed rule requested that all interested parties submit written comments on the proposal by November 4, 2013. The Services also contacted appropriate Federal and State agencies, scientific experts and organizations, and other interested parties and invited them to comment on the proposal. The Services received comments from 64 individuals and organizations.

For surrogates, the proposed rule endorsed the use of surrogates to express the amount or extent of anticipated incidental take and set forth three requirements for their use in an incidental take statement. This final rule adopts the approach of the proposed rule for surrogates with no significant changes.

For programmatic actions, the proposed rule addressed the subset of Federal actions that are designed to provide a framework for the development of future, site-specific actions that are authorized, funded, or carried out and subject to the requirements of section 7 at a later time. Development of incidental take statements for “framework” programmatic actions is problematic because they generally lack the site-specific details of where, when, and how listed species will be affected by the program. The Services rely on such information to inform the amount or extent of take in the incidental take statement that serves as a trigger for reinitiation of consultation pursuant to the requirements of 50 CFR 402.16(a).

The Services proposed to distinguish programmatic actions and programmatic incidental take statements for framework actions in the regulations to clarify the basis for development of an incidental take statement for this type of Federal program. The proposed rule stated that the key distinguishing characteristics of programmatic actions for purposes of the rule are: (1) They provide the framework for future, site-specific actions that are subject to section 7 consultations and incidental take statements, but they do not authorize, fund, or carry out those future site-specific actions; and (2) they do not include sufficient site-specific information to inform an assessment of where, when, and how listed species are likely to be affected by the program. In lieu of quantifying a traditional amount or extent of take, the Services proposed to develop programmatic incidental take statements that anticipate an unquantifiable amount or extent of take at the programmatic scale in recognition that subsequent site-specific actions authorized, funded, or carried out under the programmatic action will be subject to subsequent section 7 consultation and incidental take statements, as appropriate. The Services proposed to express reinitiation triggers as reasonable and prudent measures that adopt either specific provisions of the proposed programmatic action, such as spatial or timing restrictions, to limit the impacts of the program on listed species or similar restrictions identified by the Services that would function to minimize the impacts of anticipated take on listed species at the program level.

After further consideration of relevant court rulings, the Services' national section 7 policy, and public comments, the Services are revising the approach described in the proposed rule to address incidental take statements for programmatic actions. The revised approach relies more appropriately on the distinction that a framework programmatic action only establishes a framework for the development of specific future action(s) but does not authorize any future action(s). Under those particular circumstances, the programmatic action in and of itself does not result in incidental take of listed species. Under this final rule, the Services are defining the term framework programmatic action in the regulations and recognizing the Services' authority not to provide an incidental take statement with a biological opinion addressing the proposed adoption of a program establishing a framework for the development of future actions. As discussed in more detail below, the Services believe this approach is fully consistent with the statutory purposes of an incidental take statement and the language of section 7 of the ESA. It also advances the policy goals of the Services to focus the provision of incidental take statements at the action level at which such take will result.

The approach taken in the proposed rule was predicated on the assumption that a framework programmatic action could cause take. Given the particular nature of framework programmatic actions discussed above, the Services have altered their view and now affirm that a framework programmatic action in and of itself does not result in incidental take of listed species. This altered view as to incidental take for framework programmatic actions, however, does not undermine the duty to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the ESA. Framework programmatic actions will trigger formal consultation if the action may affect listed species or their designated critical habitat. Additionally, the Services also reconsidered the approach taken in the proposed rule because an incidental take statement for a framework programmatic action may not be practical to implement. In particular, the Services are concerned that it may be difficult to identify measures at a program scale that are specific enough to serve as valid take-related reinitiation triggers in an incidental take statement given that such measures are often described in the proposed program in a qualitative rather than a quantitative manner. Additionally, the Services are concerned that program-based measures may not serve as consistently effective reinitiation triggers because reinitiation would occur only when the action agency deviated from the terms of its own program. The additional burden of monitoring and reporting requirements for such measures in many instances would outweigh the limited functionality such measures would provide in terms of minimizing the impacts of anticipated take. The limited functionality of this approach is also raised by the fact that a similar reinitiation trigger for changes to the proposed action is already set forth in the existing regulations at 50 CFR 402.16(c) where discretionary Federal involvement or control over the action has been retained or is authorized by law.

The proposed rule set forth a definition of programmatic incidental take statement that, among other things, indicated the Services would issue an incidental take statement where take was “reasonably certain to occur.” While the Services are not including this definition in the final rule, we are clarifying that the “reasonable certainty” of take is the applicable standard for when the Services formulate an incidental take statement.

Use of Surrogates

The Services acknowledge congressional preference for expressing the impacts of take in incidental take statements in terms of a numerical limitation with respect to individuals of the listed species. However, Congress also recognized that a numerical value would not always be available and intended that such numbers be established only where possible. H.R. Rep. No. 97-567, at 27 (1982). The preamble to the final rule that set forth the current regulations also acknowledges that exact numerical limits on the amount of anticipated incidental take may be difficult to determine and the Services may instead specify the level of anticipated take in terms of the extent of the land or marine area that may be affected (51 FR 19926 [19953-19954]; June 3, 1986). In fact, as the Services explained in the preamble to that rule, the use of descriptions of extent of take can be more appropriate than the use of numerical amounts “because for some species loss of habitat resulting in death or injury to individuals may be more deleterious than the direct loss of a certain number of individuals” (51 FR at 19954).

Over the last 25 years of developing incidental take statements, the Services have found that, in many cases, the biology of the listed species or the nature of the proposed action makes it impractical to detect or monitor take of individuals of the listed species. In those situations, evaluating impacts to a surrogate such as habitat, ecological conditions, or similar affected species may be the most reasonable and meaningful measure of assessing take of listed species.

The courts also have recognized that it is not always practicable to establish the precise number of individuals of the listed species that will be taken and that “surrogate” measures are acceptable to establish the impact of take on the species if there is a link between the surrogate and take. See Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 273 F.3d 1229 (9th Cir. 2001). It is often more practical and meaningful to monitor project effects upon surrogates, which can also provide a clear standard for determining when the amount or extent of anticipated take has been exceeded and consultation should be reinitiated. Accordingly, the Services adopted the use of surrogates as part of our national policy for preparing incidental take statements:

Take can be expressed also as a change in habitat characteristics affecting the species (e.g., for an aquatic species, changes in water temperature or chemistry, flows, or sediment loads) where data or information exists which links such changes to the take of the listed species. In some situations, the species itself or the effect on the species may be difficult to detect. However, some detectable measure of effect should be provided. . . . [I]f a sufficient causal link is demonstrated (i.e., the number of burrows affected or a quantitative loss of cover, food, water quality, or symbionts), then this can establish a measure of the impact on the species or its habitat and provide the yardstick for reinitiation. (Endangered Species Consultation Handbook, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, March 1998, at 4-47-48 ([Services' Section 7 Handbook])

For example, under a hypothetical Clean Water Act permit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would authorize the fill of a quarter-acre of wetlands composed of three vernal pools occupied by the threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) to construct a road-crossing. The wetland fill is likely to kill all of the shrimp occupying the three vernal pools. A single pool may contain thousands of individual shrimp as well as their eggs or cysts. For that reason, it is not practical to express the amount or extent of anticipated take of this species or monitor take-related impacts in terms of individual shrimp. Quantifying the habitat area encompassing the three vernal pools supporting this species as a surrogate for incidental take would be a practical and meaningful alternative to quantifying and monitoring the anticipated incidental take in terms of individual shrimp caused by the proposed Federal permit action. It is a practical alternative because effects to vernal pool fairy shrimp habitat are causally related to take of the fairy shrimp, these effects can be readily monitored, and the extent of impacts to occupied habitat provides a clear standard for when the anticipated extent of take has been exceeded.

The Ninth Circuit Court's holding in Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Allen, 476 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2007) could be read to suggest that such surrogates cannot be coextensive with the project's scope for fear that reinitiation of consultation would not be triggered until the project is complete. However, even under circumstances of a coextensive surrogate (such as in the above example), the action agency or applicant will be required under the incidental take statement to monitor project impacts to the surrogate during the course of the action (e.g., required monitoring to confirm the action does not exceed fill of three vernal pools in the quarter-acre wetland), which will determine whether these impacts are consistent with the analysis in the biological opinion. This assessment will ensure that reinitiation of formal consultation will be triggered if the extent of the anticipated taking specified in the incidental take statement is exceeded during the course of the action where discretionary Federal involvement or control over the action has been retained or is authorized by law in accordance with 50 CFR 402.16. In the above example, reinitiation of formal consultation would be triggered in the event a fourth vernal pool was discovered during wetland fill or it was determined that the total amount of vernal pool habitat modified by the project exceeded the identified one-quarter of an acre of wetland habitat. Thus, although fully coextensive with the anticipated impacts of the project on the vernal pool fairy shrimp, the surrogate nevertheless provides for a meaningful reinitiation trigger consistent with the purposes of an incidental take statement.

In addition to discussing the use of habitat surrogates for expressing the extent of anticipated take, the Services' Section 7 Handbook also discusses (on page 4-47) the use of impacts to non-listed species as a surrogate for expressing the amount of anticipated take of a listed species:

In some situations, the species itself or the effect on the species may be difficult to detect. However, some detectable measure of effect should be provided. For instance, the relative occurrence of the species in the local community may be sufficiently predictable that impacts on the community (usually surrogate species in the community) serve as a measure of take, e.g., impacts to listed mussels may be measured by an index or other censusing technique that is based on surveys of non-listed mussels. In this case, the discussion determining the level at which incidental take will be exceeded (reinitiation level) describes factors for the non-listed mussels indicating impact on the listed species, such as an amount or extent of decrease in numbers or recruitment, or in community dynamics.

We are amending § 402.14(i)(1)(i) of the regulations to clarify that surrogates may be used to express the amount or extent of anticipated take, provided the biological opinion or the incidental take statement: (1) Describes the causal link between the surrogate and take of the listed species; (2) describes why it is not practical to express the amount of anticipated take or to monitor take-related impacts in terms of individuals of the listed species; and (3) sets a clear standard for determining when the amount or extent of the taking has been exceeded. Such flexibility may be especially useful in cases where the biology of the listed species or the nature of the proposed action makes it impractical to detect or monitor take-related impacts to individual animals. This use of surrogates to express the amount or extent of incidental take is consistent with Federal court decisions addressing the issue of surrogates as reinitiation triggers in incidental take statements.

Provision of an Incidental Take Statement With a Biological Opinion for Programmatic Actions

The section 7 regulatory definition of Federal “action” includes Federal agency programs. See 50 CFR 402.02. Such programs may include a collection of activities of a similar nature, a group of different actions proposed within a specified geographic area, or an action adopting a framework for the development of future actions. Those future actions may be developed at the local, statewide, or national scale, and are authorized, funded, or carried out and subject to section 7 consultation requirements at a later time as appropriate. Examples of Federal programs that provide such a framework include land management plans prepared by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Nationwide Permit Program.

As discussed above, the Services are modifying the section 7 regulations to address incidental take statements for framework programmatic actions in a way that revises the approach described in the proposed rule. The revised approach reflects our further consideration of relevant court rulings, the Services' national section 7 policy, and public comments on the proposed rule. Under this final rule, we are establishing regulatory provisions specific to framework programmatic actions that require section 7 consultation and adopt a framework for the development of future actions but do not authorize those future actions. This rule change will clarify the circumstances under which the Services will not provide an incidental take statement with a biological opinion addressing a framework programmatic action because adoption of a framework will not itself result in the take of listed species. Any take resulting from subsequent actions that proceed under the framework programmatic action will be subject to section 7 consultation and an incidental take statement, as appropriate. However, this regulatory change does not imply that section 7 consultation is required for a framework programmatic action that has no effect on listed species or critical habitat. The Services believe that this approach is fully consistent with the statutory purposes of an incidental take statement and the language of section 7 of the ESA.

As an initial and elementary matter, section 7 of the ESA directs the provision of an incidental take statement only where take is anticipated to result from the proposed Federal agency action. If take is not anticipated, then logically no incidental take statement would be provided. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4). Because a framework programmatic action does not itself authorize any action to proceed, no take is anticipated to result, and, therefore, the statute does not require the provision of an incidental take statement.

To read the statute otherwise to require the provision of incidental take statements for framework programmatic actions would not meaningfully further the statutory purposes of incidental take statements. The primary purpose of an incidental take statement is, when consistent with protection of the species, to exempt the incidental take of listed species that is anticipated to result from the agency action and impose conditions on that exemption intended to minimize the impacts of such take for the species' benefit. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4); H.R. Rep. 97-567, at 26-27 (1982). As provided in the legislative history and reflected in the Services' regulations, an additional purpose is to identify reinitiation triggers that provide clear signals that the level of anticipated take has been exceeded and would, therefore, require reexamination through a reinitiated consultation (H.R. Rep. 97-567, at 26-27 (1982); 50 CFR 402.14(i)).

Due to the nature of the action, no take results when a framework programmatic action is adopted. Adoption of the program itself, by definition, only establishes a framework for later action. ESA consultations will occur when subsequent actions may affect listed species and are consistent with the terms of the authorized program. If incidental take is reasonably certain to occur and the proposed action is compliant with the requirements of section 7(a)(2), then an action-specific incidental take statement will be provided that ensures any incidental take from the subsequent action under the program is addressed. The primary purpose of an incidental take statement (exemption of take and minimization of take-related impacts for the benefit of the listed species) would also not be advanced, because any incidental take statement provided at the program level and the resulting exemption would necessarily be incomplete since a second consultation and an action-specific incidental take statement still need to be provided when later actions are authorized under the program. Additionally, the level of detail available at the program (framework) level is often insufficient to identify with particularity where, when, and how the program will affect listed species. Without such detail, it is difficult to write sufficiently specific and meaningful terms and conditions intended to minimize the impact of the taking for the benefit of the listed species. Given this lack of specificity and information, providing the amount (e.g., the number of individuals of the species taken) or extent (e.g., the number of acres of the species' habitat disturbed) of take in many instances would be speculative and unlikely to provide an accurate and reliable trigger for reinitiation of consultation, thus undermining the additional purpose of an incidental take statement.

As discussed above, the modified approach for addressing incidental take statements for framework programmatic actions advances the policy goals of the Services to focus the provision of incidental take statements at the action level where such take will result. Consistent with that focus, if a decision adopting a framework also includes decisions authorizing actions (that is, actions for which no additional authorization will be necessary), then an incidental take statement would be necessary for those actions, provided the action is compliant with section 7(a)(2) and take is reasonably certain to occur. The Services have included recognition of this circumstance in the regulatory definition of the term “mixed programmatic action” in this final rule. For other types of programmatic actions not falling within the definitions provided in the rule, incidental take statements will be formulated by the Services to accompany biological opinions where incidental take is reasonably certain to occur and the proposed Federal action is compliant with the requirements of section 7(a)(2).

If, as discussed above, an incidental take statement is not provided with a biological opinion on a framework programmatic action on the basis that no take will result at the program stage, questions arise about how the associated biological opinion can nevertheless address indirect effects of the program's implementation. Put another way, if indirect effects amount to killing, harming, harassing, etc., how can no take occur? The explanation turns on the differing purposes of a biological opinion as compared with an incidental take statement.

Unlike the purposes of an incidental take statement, the analysis in a biological opinion is used to determine whether an agency action is likely to jeopardize a listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitat. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(3)(A); 50 CFR 402.14(h); H.R. Rep. 97-567, at 10 (1982). Conducting an effects analysis on a framework programmatic action that examines the potential effects of implementing the program is fully consistent with the purposes of a biological opinion. The analysis in a biological opinion allows for a broad-scale examination of a program's potential impacts on a listed species and its designated critical habitat—an examination that is not as readily conducted when the later, action-specific consultation occurs on a subsequent action developed under the program framework. The provisions of an incidental take statement, including the amount and extent of take and the terms and conditions, necessarily must be specific to ensure they can be followed and allow for a determination of when they have been exceeded. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4); 50 CFR 402.14(i). In contrast, a meaningful effects analysis within a biological opinion may appropriately rely upon qualitative analysis to determine whether a program and its set of measures intended to minimize impacts or conserve listed species are adequately protective for purposes of making a jeopardy determination. Programmatic biological opinions examine how the parameters of the program align with the survival and recovery of listed species. This approach reflects the different statutory purposes that the two related but separate documents were intended to address.

Distinctions between “effects” and “take” at the programmatic scale support analyzing potential program implementation as part of the “effects” of the framework programmatic action but not providing an incidental take statement at the program level. The ESA itself uses different terms in specifying the contents of a biological opinion for jeopardy purposes (“detail[] how the agency action affects the species”) and an incidental take statement (focused on “take”). See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(3)(A), (b)(4). The ESA also does not define “affects” in any way.

For purposes of a biological opinion on a framework programmatic action, the Services typically evaluate the potential implementation of the program as “effects of the action.” The Services can legitimately draw a distinction between “effects” of the program and the purpose of a biological opinion on that program and “take” and the purpose of an incidental take statement in the subsequent consultation on later actions carried out under the program. Given that no actions that would lead to take are authorized when the framework program itself is adopted, the Services' position is that take is not anticipated from the adoption of the program in and of itself. As a result, the Services find that it is appropriate not to provide an incidental take statement at the program level and to address take during subsequent steps when specific actions are authorized under the program and subsequent consultation occurs. As mentioned above, if, however, a decision adopting a program framework also includes decisions authorizing actions that will not be subject to further Federal authorization or section 7 consultation and take is reasonably certain to occur, then an incidental take statement would be necessary for those portions of the programmatic action that will result in incidental take. The Services have included recognition of this circumstance in the regulatory definition of the term “mixed programmatic action” in this final rule.

Action agencies often seek to engage in consultation on programmatic actions to gain efficiencies in the section 7 consultation process. The Services anticipate this rule will afford action agencies and the Services with substantial flexibility to efficiently and effectively conduct consultation, while ensuring compliance with responsibilities under the ESA. For example, if an action agency designs a programmatic action and provides adequate information to inform the development of a biological opinion with an incidental take statement covering future actions implemented under the program, the Services anticipate they will be able to provide such an opinion and incidental take statement to the action agency under this rule. Action agencies may request assistance from the Services to help determine how a program could best be addressed pursuant to this rule. The Services also encourage action agencies to consider how any section 7 consultation on a programmatic action is consistent with the action agency's other environmental review processes.

Standard for Issuance of an Incidental Take Statement

In this final rule, the Services are clarifying that the standard for issuance of an incidental take statement is “reasonable certainty” that take will occur. The Services are amending 50 CFR 402.14(g)(7) to implement this clarification. The Services do not consider this change to be substantive, but rather a clarification of the existing standard for issuance of an incidental take statement.

Expressly including the standard of reasonable certainty in this final rule at 50 CFR 402.14(g)(7) is consistent with the ESA, existing section 7 regulations, the Services' current practice, the Services' Section 7 Handbook, and applicable case law. The three requirements that must be met under section 7 of the ESA before an incidental take statement is issued implicitly suggest that a finding of take is required. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4)(B) (“the taking of an endangered species or a threatened species incidental to the agency action will not violate such subsection”) (emphasis added). The statute does not set forth the standard by which incidental take is to be determined, however, leaving room for the Services to offer their interpretation.

As for the regulations, the section 7 regulations expressly apply the “reasonable certainty” standard to “indirect effects” that are defined as part of the “effects of the action.” See 50 CFR 402.02. The existing provision governing the contents of an incidental take statement at 50 CFR 402.16(i)(1) reflects the requirement that at least some level of incidental take be anticipated to meaningfully include the required contents of an incidental take statement, e.g., the impact of the take (amount or extent of take), and the reasonable and prudent measures considered “necessary or appropriate to minimize such impact.”

The Services' Section 7 Handbook, issued in 1998, identifies a similar standard of “reasonably likely” to determine when to issue an incidental take statement. The Handbook predates the Ninth Circuit's decision in Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 273 F.3d 1229 (9th Cir. 2001). In that case, the Ninth Circuit provided a lengthy discussion of when the Services must issue an incidental take statement. Examining the statute and the regulations, the court held that there must be a reasonable basis to conclude that incidental take will occur in order to issue an incidental take statement. Although not definitively resolving the issue, the court cited favorably to the lower court's application of the standard of “reasonable certainty” for issuance of an incidental take statement. The court particularly expressed concern about the imposition of conditions on otherwise lawful land use absent reasonable certainty of incidental take. In 2002, following the Arizona Cattle Growers' decision, the Fish and Wildlife Service expressly recognized “reasonable certainty” as the standard that applies to determine if incidental take will occur.

The language currently in 50 CFR 402.14(g)(7) is not inconsistent with the Services' application of the “reasonable certainty” standard. This provision requires the Services to “formulate a statement concerning incidental take, if such taking may occur” (50 CFR 402.14(g)(7) (emphasis added)). While some courts have read this language to potentially suggest a lower standard applies for the issuance of an incidental take statement, see, e.g., Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Beaudreu,—F.Supp.2d —,2014 WL 985394 (D.D.C. 2014), that is not the Services' interpretation. The language of § 402.14(g)(7) cannot be read in isolation. The Services implement § 402.14(g)(7) together with the more particular requirements of § 402.14(i).

For all the reasons discussed above, the “reasonable certainty” standard governs the threshold issue of whether to formulate an incidental take statement. Once the Services determine that incidental take is reasonably certain to occur, then the specific provisions of 50 CFR 402.14(i) govern (e.g., amount or extent of take, terms and conditions) and are applied consistent with the best scientific and commercial data available. Where formal consultation results in a determination that take is not “reasonably certain,” then consistent with § 402.14(g)(7) and the Services' Section 7 Handbook, the Services provide a section entitled “incidental take statement” along with a short paragraph explaining that incidental take is not anticipated. Thus, the statement does not go on to provide an amount or extent of take, reasonable and prudent measures, or the other components of an incidental take statement. To avoid any confusion about the standard for anticipating incidental take of listed species, the Services have modified the text of § 402.14(g)(7) to reflect the “reasonably certain to occur” standard.

As a practical matter, application of the “reasonable certainty” standard is done in the following sequential manner in light of the best available scientific and commercial data to determine if incidental take is anticipated: (1) A determination is made regarding whether a listed species is present within the area affected by the proposed Federal action; (2) if so, then a determination is made regarding whether the listed species would be exposed to stressors caused by the proposed action (e.g., noise, light, ground disturbance); and (3) if so, a determination is made regarding whether the listed species' biological response to that exposure corresponds to the statutory and regulatory definitions of take (i.e., kill, wound, capture, harm, etc.). Applied in this way, the “reasonable certainty” standard does not require a guarantee that a take will result, rather, only that the Services establish a rational basis for a finding of take. While relying on the best available scientific and commercial data, the Services will necessarily apply their professional judgment in reaching these determinations and resolving uncertainties or information gaps. Application of the Services' judgment in this manner is consistent with the “reasonable certainty” standard. The standard is not a high bar and may be readily satisfied as described above. See, e.g., Arizona Cattle Growers', 273 F.3d at 1244 (noting that the standard the court applies in reviewing whether the Services may issue an incidental take statement is a “very low bar to meet”).

Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

In response to public comments and internal review, the Services made the following changes compared to the proposed rule:

The term and definition for programmatic action and the proposed text of §§ 402.02 and 402.14(i)(6) are modified in this final rule. The term programmatic action is changed to framework programmatic action. The term mixed programmatic action and its definition are also added to the final rule. The proposed term and definition for programmatic incidental take statement at § 402.02 are removed; however, the standard set forth in the definition (reasonable certainty) is included in the final rule as explained below. These changes define, for purposes of incidental take statements under section 7 of the ESA, the subset of Federal agency actions to which this rule applies. The new definitions draw distinctions between these types of programmatic actions based on the extent to which those programs do or do not require subsequent Federal approvals and section 7 consultation for the terms of the program to be carried out. The new § 402.14(i)(6) added to the regulations under this final rule establishes when an incidental take statement is and is not required for these two categories of programmatic action.

The approach relied upon in this final rule for programmatic actions is fully consistent with the identified purpose of the proposed rule, which, among other things, was to clarify development of incidental take statements for programmatic actions. While this approach modifies the approach of the proposed rule for programmatic actions, the public was specifically asked for comment on whether the approach relied upon in this final rule would be more appropriate to address the issue of incidental take statements for programmatic actions. See 78 FR 54437, 54441 (Sept. 4, 2013).

As discussed above, the Services are modifying the text in § 402.14(g)(7) to clarify that “reasonable certainty” is the standard that applies to determine when the Services issue an incidental take statement. The proposed rule did not propose this specific change, but the proposed rule definition of programmatic incidental take statement included the concept of “reasonable certainty” as the applicable standard for incidental take, and commenters specifically requested the Services to clarify the applicable standard, including many commenters that specifically asserted that “reasonable certainty” is the applicable standard. The Services, therefore, are taking this opportunity to clarify the regulatory language in § 402.14(g)(7) from “if such take may occur” to “if such take is reasonably certain to occur” (emphasis added). As explained above, the Services do not consider this change to be substantive, but rather a clarification of the existing standard for issuance of an incidental take statement.

The proposed rule included adding a sentence to § 402.14(i)(3) intended to clarify that monitoring project impacts to a surrogate meets the requirement for monitoring the impacts of incidental take on the listed species. Upon further consideration, the Services concluded this sentence is unnecessary as the requirement is already reflected in the existing regulatory language. See 50 CFR 402.14(i)(1)-(3) (monitoring and reporting “impacts on the species” includes amount or extent of take and therefore surrogates). The Services are making a technical change to § 402.14(i)(3) to update the citations to the NMFS regulations at the end of that provision from “50 CFR 220.45 and 228.5” to “50 CFR 216.105 and 222.301(h)”. These provisions were moved within the Code of Federal Regulations but never updated in § 402.14(i)(3).

Response to Public Comments

As noted above, the Services received a total of 64 public comments in response to the proposed rule. For the reasons discussed above, the Services withdrew the proposed regulatory definition of programmatic incidental take statement in this final rule. On that basis, we are not responding to public comments on this aspect of the proposed rule except as they relate to the standards for development of an incidental take statement. We also are not responding to public comments beyond the scope of the proposed rule, including those comments that addressed other portions of the section 7 consultation regulations not related to the formulation of incidental take statements. The following responses to public comments are segregated under four categories: (1) General; (2) the standards for anticipating take; (3) incidental take statements for programmatic actions; and (4) the use of surrogates to express the amount or extent of take.

General

Issue 1: Several commenters requested an extension of the public comment period.

Response: The Services believe the 60-day public comment period provided adequate opportunity for the public to review and comment on the proposed regulations.

Issue 2: One commenter stated that the proposed changes to the section 7 regulations are not within the Services' regulatory authority.

Response: The Services regard the proposed changes as fully consistent with their discretionary authority to address ambiguous aspects and challenging issues that arise under section 7 of the ESA.

Congress included the incidental take statement provisions in the 1982 amendments to the ESA to resolve the situation in which a Federal action agency or an applicant has been advised by the Services that the proposed action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species but is anticipated to result in the taking of listed species incidental to that action, which would otherwise violate the take prohibition of section 9. See H.R. Rep. 97-567, 26-27 (1982). According to the legislative history of the ESA, by requiring the Services to specify the impact of take on the listed species, Congress also intended reinitiation triggers (amount or extent of take) to be required as part of the incidental take statement. See id.

The ESA is sufficiently ambiguous to allow the Services to adopt a statutory interpretation that supports not providing an incidental take statement for a framework programmatic action, as appropriate. See Chevron USA, Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837, 865-66 (1984). First, the definition of “take” itself contemplates immediate actions that would potentially injure a listed species (“harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect” (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). The programmatic (framework) action by itself and by definition under this rule does not authorize any actions that would result in these sorts of immediate injuries to a listed species. No take will occur at the programmatic level, and any take that results will result only from a second (or subsequent) authorization under the programmatic action. As discussed above, framework programmatic actions may include authorization for actions that will not be subject to further Federal authorization or section 7 consultation and are reasonably certain to cause take. Under those circumstances, an incidental take statement would be necessary for that portion of the framework programmatic action. The Services have included recognition of this circumstance in the regulatory definition of mixed programmatic action in this final rule.

Given the step-wise nature of such programmatic actions, sections 7(b)(4) and 7(o)(2) of the ESA can be read to support not providing an incidental take statement at the programmatic level under these circumstances. If incidental take is anticipated to result at this stage, section 7(b)(4) appears to require the Services to issue an incidental take statement (“the Secretary shall provide the Federal agency and applicant . . . with a written statement”) (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4) (emphasis added). Although section 7(b)(4) does not expressly require a finding that incidental take is anticipated to result from the agency action, the three requirements that must be met before an incidental take statement is issued implicitly suggest this. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4)(B) (“the taking of an endangered species or a threatened species incidental to the agency action will not violate such subsection”) (emphasis added). These provisions provide room for the Services to adopt the position that take will not result at the programmatic (framework) level in and of itself since no specific action is authorized when the program is adopted. Any take that will result from the program will be addressed, as appropriate, when a subsequent specific action(s) is authorized and the resulting action-specific consultation occurs. Because of the framework nature of the programmatic actions at issue, the Services are not avoiding the duty to provide an incidental take statement—any take resulting from the subsequent actions under program will be addressed in the later action-specific consultation. Not providing a take-related reinitiation trigger under an incidental take statement for the framework programmatic action is supportable given the Services' position that take is not anticipated at the program (framework) level in the particular circumstance where no specific action is authorized until a subsequent action developed under the framework is taken and subsequent ESA consultation occurs. Also, for decisions adopting framework programmatic actions that also authorize actions to proceed without any further Federal authorization or section 7 consultation anticipated, an incidental take statement is required under this rule where the action is determined to be compliant with section 7(a)(2) and take is reasonably certain to occur. An example of such actions might include Federal programs in which subsequent approval for actions proceeding under the program are delegated to States.

As defined in this rule and discussed above, a mixed programmatic action may include authorization for actions that will not be subject to further Federal authorization or section 7 consultation and are reasonably certain to cause take. Under those circumstances, an incidental take statement would be necessary for that portion of the programmatic action. The Services have included recognition of this circumstance in the regulatory definition of mixed programmatic action in this final rule. Examples of mixed programmatic action would include land management plans in which particular actions, such as establishment of campgrounds or off-road vehicle use, are approved to proceed directly, while the plan itself provides a framework for the development of future actions occurring in the action area that are authorized, funded, or carried out at a later time and subject to section 7 consultation requirements, as appropriate.

Section 7(o)(2) of the ESA supports the Services' interpretation because it appears to contemplate only a single incidental take statement to fully exempt take. The language of section 7(o)(2) provides “any taking that is in compliance with the terms and conditions [of an incidental take statement] . . . shall not be considered to be a prohibited taking.” (16 U.S.C. 1536(o)(2)). If the Services were to provide an incidental take statement for a framework programmatic action where any take will result only from future authorizations under the programmatic (framework) action, the Services would still require a second incidental take statement for those subsequent actions because that is the point at which adequate information typically would be available to identify amount or extent of take and to provide action-specific terms and conditions. Requiring an incidental take statement for the framework programmatic action to fully exempt the take associated with implementing the program or framework, however, may be inconsistent with section 7(o)(2), which exempts “any taking” that complies with the terms and conditions of the incidental take statement (emphasis added). Thus, not providing an incidental take statement at the program (framework) level avoids a potential inconsistency with the language of section 7(o)(2).

Additionally, as discussed above, the language of the ESA leaves sufficient room to draw a distinction between “effects” and “take” at the programmatic scale, and thus to allow for an analysis of program implementation as part of the “effects” of a framework programmatic action but not to provide an incidental take statement at the program (framework) level. The ESA itself uses different terms in specifying the contents of a biological opinion for jeopardy purposes (“detail how the agency action affects the species”) and an incidental take statement (focused on “take”). See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(3)(A), (b)(4) (emphasis added). The ESA also does not define “affects” in any way. Thus, it is up to the Services to fill in these statutory gaps in the ESA in a reasonable way. See National Cable & Telecommunications Ass'n. v. Brand X Internet Services, 545 U.S. 967 (2005).

Likewise, the use of surrogates in an incidental take statement is an exercise of the Services' reasonable discretion in carrying out their responsibilities under section 7 of the ESA. The statutory language associated with reinitiation triggers is quite general, providing that as part of an incidental take statement the Services shall “specif[y] the impact of such incidental taking on the species” (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4)(i)). This language leaves substantial room for statutory interpretation on the part of the Services, including the use of surrogates.

The legislative history of the 1982 amendments to the ESA, which added the incidental take statement provisions, reflects congressional support for the use of surrogates as well. Congress recognized that a numerical value would not always be available and intended that such numbers be established only where possible (H.R. Rep. No. 97-567, at 27).

In practice, over the last 25 years of developing incidental take statements, the Services have found that in many cases the biology of the listed species or the nature of the proposed action makes it impractical to detect or monitor take of individuals. In those situations, evaluating impacts to a surrogate such as habitat, ecological conditions, or similar affected species may be the most reasonable and meaningful measure of assessing take of listed species and is fully consistent with the language and purposes of the ESA.

The courts have also recognized that it is not always practicable to establish the precise number of individuals that will be taken. Thus under a Chevron analysis, the ESA permits the Services to rely upon surrogate measures to establish the impact of take on the species if there is a link between the surrogate and take. See Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 273 F.3d 1229 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Oregon Natural Resource Council v. Allen, 476 F.3d 1031, 1041 (9th Cir. 2007). It is often more practical and meaningful to monitor project effects upon surrogates, which can also provide a clear standard for determining when the amount or extent of anticipated take has been exceeded and consultation should be reinitiated. Accordingly, the Services have already exercised their discretionary authority to adopt the use of surrogates as part of our joint national policy for preparing incidental take statements in the Section 7 Handbook (Services 1998).

Issue 3: Commenters noted that the proposed rule is subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the requirements applicable to environmental impact statements, that must be satisfied before a final decision is made on the proposed regulatory changes.

Response: The categorical exclusions at 43 CFR 46.210(i) and NOAA Administrative Order 216-6, section 6.03c.3(i) apply to this joint rule. Among other things, the exclusions apply to regulations that are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature and whose environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process either collectively or case by case. 43 CFR 46.210.

The Services have determined that this final rule will not result in any reasonably foreseeable effects to the environment and, therefore, that further NEPA review is not required. First, the rule codifies existing practices and case law with respect to use of surrogates and this codification of the status quo does not result in foreseeable environmental effects. Second, the timing of issuance of the incidental take statement will not change the substantive protections afforded to species and therefore the Service's regulations do not change the on-the-ground effects of incidental take statements. Finally, the update to the regulations does not result in environmental impacts because it merely clarifies the Services' longstanding position since the Ninth Circuit's decision in Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n. that an incidental take statement may be issued only when there is “reasonable certainty” that take of listed species will occur.

To the extent the rule would result in reasonably foreseeable environmental effects, the Services have determined that the rule is categorically excluded from further NEPA review and that no extraordinary circumstances are present. The rule qualifies for two categorical exclusions listed at 43 CFR 46.210(i) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6, section 6.03c.3(i). Among other things, the exclusions apply to regulations that are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature; or whose environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or case by case. 43 CFR 46.210. See also NAO section 216-6 6.03c.3(i) (substantively the same exclusion).

First, the rule is of a legal, technical, or procedural nature. For surrogates, the rule clarifies when the Services may use a surrogate to establish the amount or extent of take. This clarification is consistent with the Services' existing national policy and applicable case law. For programmatic actions, the rule clarifies the procedural timing of when the Services will issue an incidental take statement. It does not alter substantive protections. Finally, the rule codifies the Services' longstanding interpretation of their existing regulations post Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n. that an incidental take statement can be issued only if there is “reasonable certainty” that take will occur.

Second, any potential impacts of this rule are too broad, speculative, and conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will be examined as part of any NEPA analysis conducted by the Federal action agency. As explained above, the changes in the rule generally constitute clarifications that are consistent with existing practices as well as case law. As such, it would be speculative to try to analyze the effects of the codification of these practices. Furthermore, these changes apply to the nationwide implementation of section 7 consultations, which take place in a wide variety of contexts, for various activities, for and with numerous action agencies. This application allows analysis only at the broadest level and would not permit meaningful analysis. Furthermore, before any action is taken, the responsible action agency will be required to conduct any necessary NEPA analyses, including impacts to listed species and critical habitat. For these reasons, the second categorical exclusion applies to this rule.

Additionally, none of the extraordinary circumstances listed at 43 CFR 46.215 and NAO 216-6 section 5.05c are triggered by the final rule. This rule does not involve a geographic area with unique characteristics, is not the subject of public controversy based on potential environmental consequences, will not result in uncertain environmental impacts or unique or unknown risks, does not establish a precedent or decision in principle about future proposals, will not have significant cumulative impacts, and will not have any adverse effects upon endangered or threatened species or their habitats for the reasons identified above.

In making this determination, the Services have considered whether adequate opportunities for public comment on the rule, including its potential environmental effects, have been provided. Our review of the proposed rule and the comments received on that proposal demonstrated that preparation of an Environmental Assessment is not necessary to obtain public input on this rule. Commentators had the opportunity to weigh in on the various aspects of this final rule and the final rule has been shaped, in part, by those comments. We conclude that preparation of an Environmental Assessment would not result in meaningful additional opportunities for comment, nor would it be likely to provide the Services with significant additional information to guide their decisionmaking process.

Issue 4: One commenter requested that the Services include the concept of a “cumulative” incidental take statement in the incidental take statement rulemaking.

Response: The statutory purposes and features of incidental take statements are discussed above in the preamble. As reflected in that discussion, incidental take statements are proposed-action specific. While biological opinions examine aggregate or cumulative impacts as part of the jeopardy and adverse modification analyses consistent with the best scientific and commercial data available (see, e.g., Services' Section 7 Handbook, at 4-33), incidental take statements do not, nor are they required to, include such analyses. Additionally, an incidental take statement may be issued only if the proposed action avoids jeopardizing the species or adversely modifying its critical habitat. See 16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(4).

The Standards for Anticipating Take

Issue 1: Several commenters requested the Services to clarify the standards for issuing an incidental take statement.

Response: As noted above, in accordance with the ESA, the Services must provide an incidental take statement in a biological opinion in cases where we have concluded that a proposed Federal action will not violate section 7(a)(2) and take of listed species caused by the action is reasonably certain to occur. As discussed above, the Services are clarifying 50 CFR 402.14(g)(7) to clarify that reasonable certainty is the standard. Additionally, for framework programmatic actions, the Services are also clarifying that an incidental take statement is not required at the program (framework) level for those actions falling within the definition of framework programmatic action.

In general, the standards for incidental take statements in the current regulations at 50 CFR 402.14(i) continue to apply as well as the standards associated with national policy for incidental take statements found on pages 4-43 through 4-58 of the Services' Section 7 Handbook (Services 1998).

In accordance with those standards and consistent with governing case law and our regulations, the Services' general approach to incidental take statements is summarized below:

Take is specifically defined in the regulations. For example, the terms “harm” and “harass” have specific meanings, and they are not synonymous (i.e., FWS harm and harass at 50 CFR 17.3; NMFS harm at 50 CFR 222.102). The effects analysis in a biological opinion should discuss, as appropriate, the anticipated effects of an action on listed species in biological terms that relate to the regulatory definitions of take. Similarly, the incidental take statement portion of a biological opinion should reflect the proper use of take terminology.

If a proposed action includes a reasonable certainty of take, the biological opinion needs to make a rational connection between the effects of the action and the take considered in the incidental take statement. The terms and conditions must have a rational connection to the taking of a species and must give clear guidance to the recipient of the incidental take statement of what is expected and how the conditions (including those for monitoring of take-related impacts caused by the action) can be met.

Issue 2: One commenter requested the Services to clarify if an incidental take statement for a program-level action can include an amount or extent of take if the analysis of the effects of the action supports such a finding.

Response: Yes, if the Services have determined that incidental take is reasonably certain to occur and that such take will not violate section 7(a)(2) of the ESA.

Issue 3: One commenter noted that if a jeopardy determination can be made for a programmatic action, then quantification of anticipated take in an incidental take statement should also be possible.

Response: As discussed in the preamble above, a meaningful effects analysis within a biological opinion may appropriately rely upon qualitative analysis to determine whether a framework programmatic action, inclusive of any proposed measures to minimize adverse impacts or conserve listed species, is adequately protective for purposes of making a jeopardy determination. Biological opinions on such programs often examine how the parameters of the program align with the survival and recovery of listed species. These assessments are often qualitative and do not provide the sort of specificity required for the purposes of incidental take statements. See the related discussion above in the section entitled “Provision of an Incidental Take Statement with a Biological Opinion for Programmatic Actions.”

Issue 4: Several commenters requested the Services to affirm that reasonable and prudent measures in an incidental take statement must respect the “minor change” rule.

Response: The Services find that the text in the current regulations under § 402.14(i)(2) is clear and sufficient in this regard, and no changes are warranted. Reasonable and prudent measures and the terms and conditions that implement them cannot alter the basic design, location, scope, duration, or timing of the action and may involve only minor changes.

Programmatic Actions

Issue 1: Several commenters requested the Services to more clearly express the regulatory definition of programmatic action and to more clearly explain why this term needs to be defined in the regulations.

Response: After considering public comments and internal review, the Services are modifying the term and definition of programmatic action in this final rule. The term framework programmatic action is added to 50 CFR 402.02 and includes, for purposes of an incidental take statement, a Federal action that approves a framework for the development of future actions that are authorized, funded, or carried out and subject to section 7 requirements at a later time. The term mixed programmatic action and its definition are also added to 50 CFR 402.02 in this final rule to further distinguish the forms of programmatic actions that may be developed by Federal agencies. See discussion above for further detail regarding framework and mixed programmatic actions in the section entitled “Inclusion of an Incidental Take Statement in a Biological Opinion for Programmatic Actions.”

Issue 2: Several commenters requested the Services to more clearly define key phrases in the proposed rule, including those for programmatic action and site-specific.

Response: For programmatic action, see the response to Issue 1 above. The regulatory language of the rule no longer uses the term “site-specific.” In the Services' view, that term unnecessarily narrowed the definition of the types of programmatic actions to which this rule is intended to apply.

Issue 3: One commenter requested the Services to clarify if programmatic actions covered under a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) permit issued under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA fall within the scope of the proposed regulatory definition of programmatic action.

Response: The Services anticipate that an HCP covering programmatic actions by non-Federal parties (e.g., States, local governments, private citizens) generally would not fall under the definition of framework programmatic action established by this rule. The Federal action involved in an HCP is the issuance of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, and it is this action that is the subject of a biological opinion and incidental take statement. Such a permit generally is not expected to fall under the definition of framework programmatic action discussed herein since it is the underlying State/local/private action that is programmatic in nature, not the Federal permit itself, which is subject to consultation.

Issue 4: Several commenters noted that the proposed rule fails to establish clear standards for programmatic actions and creates an “enormous loophole in the consultation process that will harm listed species.”

Response: Based on the revisions and clarifications of the proposed rule in this final rule, the Services endeavor to articulate more clearly when an incidental take statement is required for programmatic actions. Additionally, as noted above in the response to Issue 1 in the subsection titled “The Standards for Anticipating Take,” an incidental take statement can be provided only where the Services have concluded in a biological opinion that a proposed Federal action and the resultant incidental take will not violate section 7(a)(2). This scenario is the same for both programmatic actions and project-specific actions that fall under such programs, which ensures that no loophole is created.

Issue 5: One commenter requested the Services to clarify the standards that will be applied to develop incidental take statements for site-specific actions authorized under a programmatic action, especially those related to monitoring of take-related impacts.

Response: The Services note that we are no longer using the term “site-specific actions” in our definitions for programmatic action. In general, for actions proceeding under a program that are anticipated to be subject to a subsequent section 7 consultation, the standards for incidental take statements in the current regulations at 50 CFR 402.14(i) would continue to apply as well as the standards associated with national policy for incidental take statements found on pages 4-43 through 4-58 of the Services' Section 7 Handbook. For a more detailed discussion of these standards, see the response to Issue 1 under “The Standards for Anticipating Take” above.

Use of Surrogates

Issue 1: One commenter suggested that the Services not require an incidental take statement to explain the causal link between the effects of an action to a surrogate and take of listed species under the proposed changes to § 402.14(i)(1)(i) but rather use the agency record of decision to explain how those standards are met. At the very least, the commenter requested the Services to delete reference to “clear” in relation to setting a standard for determining when the level of anticipated take in terms of a surrogate has been exceeded because the word “clear” “implies an extra burden on the agency to provide particular detail about the standard” that may make the Services vulnerable to assertions that a take reinitiation trigger is not clear enough.

Response: The requirement for the Services to explain the causal link is consistent with the Services' current national section 7 policy (see page 4-47 of the Services' Section 7 Handbook) and current case law. Additionally, in the section 7 context, the Services do not issue a record of decision; we issue a biological opinion and incidental take statement, which is the appropriate place to address the causal link between anticipated take and an identified surrogate. The Services have retained the word “clear” in § 402.14(i)(1)(i) of the regulations because that term best conveys the intent to ensure the standard is understandable to the holder of the incidental take statement.

Issue 2: Several commenters were concerned about the Services' proposed regulatory criteria for the use of surrogates to characterize the amount or extent of anticipated take and requested the Services to better define clear standards for the use of surrogates and subsequent monitoring. Some commenters suggested that these standards be less specific, and others suggested that they be more specific.

Response: The standards for the use of surrogates, as finalized in this rule, are consistent with relevant case law and the Services' national policy on the use of surrogates (see page 4-47 of the Services' Section 7 Handbook), which has been in effect since 1998.

Issue 3: One commenter objected to the Services' proposed regulatory authorization for the use of surrogates to address habitat surrogates that are fully coextensive with any aspect of the proposed project's impacts on habitat because such a provision is at odds with the Ninth Circuit's decision in Oregon Natural Res. Council v. Allen, 476 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2007).

Response: The Services consider a “coextensive” surrogate to be a surrogate that adopts a portion of a proposed action as a trigger for reinitiation. Coextensive surrogates allowed for by this rule adequately fulfill their role as independent reinitiation triggers because the monitoring and reporting requirements of the incidental take statement will be structured to ensure timely reporting of project impacts to a surrogate to ensure timely reinitiation of formal consultation, as appropriate, in the same way as for non-coextensive surrogates. The preamble provides additional discussion illustrating how a coextensive surrogate may fulfill its intended function as an independent trigger for reinitiation. A surrogate that did not fulfill this role would not meet the requirements of this rule.

Issue 4: Several commenters requested the Services to more clearly describe the meaning of “not practical,” “clear standard,” and “causal link” as these terms are applied in the use of surrogates.

Response: The Services considered this comment in finalizing the preamble discussion on the use of surrogates and believe each of these terms is clearly described in a manner that is consistent with existing case law and the Services national policy on the use of surrogates (see page 4-47 of the Services' Section 7 Handbook), which has been in effect since 1998.

Issue 5: Several commenters requested the Services to clarify that take of a surrogate is not a violation of section 9 of the ESA.

Response: The Services affirm that take of a surrogate is not, in and of itself, a violation of sections 9(a)(1)(B), (C), or (G) of the ESA. Any efforts to prosecute a violation of the take prohibitions would be based on applying the appropriate evidentiary standards to support either a civil or criminal action. A surrogate functions to provide a trigger for reinitiation of consultation under § 402.16(a). If the amount or extent of take is represented by a surrogate and the level of anticipated impact to that surrogate is exceeded, reinitiation may be required consistent with the terms of § 402.16. The availability of the take exemption afforded by the incidental take statement is governed by compliance with the reasonable and prudent measures and terms and conditions contained in the statement. Provided the holder of the incidental take statement is in compliance with all terms and conditions, the take exemption remains in place even if the extent of take as described by a surrogate is exceeded (16 U.S.C. 1536(o)(2); 50 CFR 402.14(i)(5)). However, if the extent of take is exceeded, the regulations require the action agency to immediately reinitiate consultation (50 CFR 402.14(i)(4)).

Issue 6: Several commenters recommended the Services to replace the “not practical” standard in the proposed change to § 402.14(i)(1)(i) with a “scientifically impractical” standard.

Response: The Services decline to make this change. The Services consider the best scientific and commercial data available in determining whether it is not practical to express the amount of take in terms of individuals of the listed species. In making this determination, the Services must take into account relevant considerations, some of which may be considered broader than “scientifically impractical,” such as the scope and scale of the proposed action relative to the costs of any monitoring necessary to determine take of individuals of the listed species from the action.

Issue 7: One commenter recommended that the Services delete reference to examples of surrogates in the proposed change to § 402.14(i)(1)(i) because it may be interpreted as an unnecessary limit on the types of surrogates that may be used in an incidental take statement. Another commenter suggested that reference to examples of surrogates should be done only in the preamble section of the rule.

Response: The use of examples in this rule is not intended to limit use of surrogates, and any surrogate that meets the standards set forth in this rule would be available.

Issue 8: One commenter noted that the use of surrogates in incidental take statements should be done sparingly and under very narrow circumstances to avoid misapplication.

Response: As discussed in the preamble, the use of surrogates is fact-pattern specific and dependent on meeting the standards set forth in this rule.

Issue 9: One commenter requested the Services to further condition the proposed regulatory standards for the use of surrogates to include a requirement under an incidental take statement to gather data during the term of the Federal action to confirm that effects to the surrogate and the listed species that conform to take are highly likely to correspond.

Response: Pursuant to this final rule, use of a surrogate in an incidental take statement is predicated on a finding that measuring take impacts to a listed species is not practical and on establishing a link, based on best available scientific information, between effects of the action to a surrogate and take of the listed species. The Services acknowledge that the body of science relied upon to make that link is likely to vary on a listed species-specific basis. To the extent that a link can be reasonably established, but more information would be helpful, the Services can request the Federal agency or an applicant to collect additional information in the “Conservation Recommendations” section of a biological opinion (see pages 4-62 and 4-63 in the Services' Section 7 Handbook). Implementation of the suggested requirement for such information as part of an incidental take statement, if appropriate, would need to comply with the regulatory requirement under § 402.14(i)(2) for the scope of reasonable and prudent measures and terms and conditions to involve only minor changes to the proposed Federal action.

It should also be noted that, in many cases, the surrogate used by the Services in an incidental take statement is habitat or a component of the habitat of the listed species. In those situations, the science related to the habitat requirements and behavior of the listed species informs the analytical basis for findings by the Services that a proposed action is reasonably certain to cause take of the listed species and establishes a causal link between effects to habitat and take of the listed species. For these reasons, quantifying and monitoring take impacts via project effects to the habitat of the listed species is a scientifically credible and practical approach for expressing and monitoring the anticipated level of take for situations where use of a surrogate meets the criteria set forth in this rule. In those instances where insufficient information exists to confirm the causal link, the surrogate would not meet the standard for its use in an incidental take statement. As noted above, the Services can request additional information on such a link in the “Conservation Recommendations” section of a biological opinion (see pages 4-62 and 4-63 in the Services' Section 7 Handbook).

The Services intend to prepare implementation guidance for the use of surrogates to supplement the discussion in the Services' Section 7 Handbook and will consider the recommendations provided in public comments as well as in a recent commentary by Murphy and Weiland (2014) on our proposed rule.

Issue 10: Several commenters requested the Services clarify if effects to habitat, including designated critical habitat, could be used as a surrogate measure for the amount or extent of anticipated take in an incidental take statement.

Response: Effects to habitat can be used as a surrogate for expressing the amount or extent of take of a listed species if the criteria set forth in this final rule are met.

Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. OIRA has reviewed this rule and has determined that this rule is significant.

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

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), whenever a Federal agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare, and make available for public comment, a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency, or his or her designee, certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. We are certifying that this rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The following discussion explains our rationale.

Incidental take statements describe the amount or extent of incidental take that is anticipated to occur when a Federal action is implemented. The incidental take statement conveys an exemption from the ESA's take prohibitions provided that the action agency (and any applicant) complies with the terms and conditions of the incidental take statement. Terms and conditions cannot alter the basic design, location, scope, duration, or timing of the action and may involve only minor changes (50 CFR 402.14(i)(2)). The regulatory changes addressed in this rule will neither expand nor contract the reach of terms and conditions of an incidental take statement. As such, we foresee no economic effects from implementation of this final rule.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.):

(a) This final rule will not “significantly or uniquely” affect small governments. We have determined and certify under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local or State governments or private entities. A Small Government Agency Plan is not required. As explained above, small governments would not be affected because the revised regulations will not place additional requirements on any city, county, or other local municipalities.

(b) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or greater in any year (i.e., it is not a “significant regulatory action” under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act). This regulation would not impose any additional management or protection requirements on the States or other entities.

Takings (E.O. 12630)

In accordance with E.O. 12630, we have determined that the final rule does not have significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment is not required because this rule (1) will not effectively compel a property owner to suffer a physical invasion of property and (2) will not deny all economically beneficial or productive use of the land or aquatic resources. This rule would substantially advance a legitimate government interest (conservation and recovery of listed species) and would not present a barrier to all reasonable and expected beneficial use of private property.

Federalism (E.O. 13132)

In accordance with E.O. 13132, we have considered whether this final rule has significant Federalism effects and have determined that a Federalism assessment is not required. This rule would not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. No intrusion on State policy or administration is expected; roles or responsibilities of Federal or State governments would not change; and fiscal capacity would not be substantially directly affected. Therefore, this rule does not have significant Federalism effects or implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment under the provisions of E.O. 13132.

Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

This final rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the applicable standards provided in sections (3)(a) and (3)(b)(2) of E.O. 12988.

Government-to-Government Relationship with Tribes

In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, “Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments” (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully with affected Federally recognized Tribes on a government-to-government basis. We have determined that there are no tribal lands affected by this rule, and, therefore, no such communications were made.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule does not contain collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

The Services have determined that this final rule will not result in any reasonably foreseeable effects to the environment and, therefore, that further NEPA review is not required. First, the rule codifies existing practices and case law with respect to use of surrogates and this codification of the status quo does not result in foreseeable environmental effects. Second, the timing of issuance of the incidental take statement will not change the substantive protections afforded to species and therefore the Service's regulations do not change the on-the-ground effects of incidental take statements. Finally, the update to the regulations does not result in environmental impacts because it merely clarifies the Services' longstanding position since the Ninth Circuit's decision in Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n. that an incidental take statement may be issued only when there is “reasonable certainty” that take of listed species will occur.

To the extent the rule would result in reasonably foreseeable environmental effects, the Services have determined that the rule is categorically excluded from further NEPA review and that no extraordinary circumstances are present. The rule qualifies for two categorical exclusions listed at 43 CFR 46.210(i) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6, section 6.03c.3(i). Among other things, the exclusions apply to regulations that are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature; or whose environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or case by case. 43 CFR 46.210. See also NAO section 216-6 6.03c.3(i) (substantively the same exclusion).

First, the rule is of a legal, technical, or procedural nature. For surrogates, the rule clarifies when the Services may use a surrogate to establish the amount or extent of take. This clarification is consistent with the Services' existing national policy and applicable case law. For programmatic actions, the rule clarifies the procedural timing of when the Services will issue an incidental take statement. It does not alter substantive protections. Finally, the rule codifies the Services' longstanding interpretation of their existing regulations post Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n. that an incidental take statement can be issued only if there is “reasonable certainty” that take will occur.

Second, any potential impacts of this rule are too broad, speculative, and conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will be examined as part of any NEPA analysis conducted by the Federal action agency. As explained above, the changes in the rule generally constitute clarifications that are consistent with existing practices as well as case law. As such, it would be speculative to try to analyze the effects of the codification of these practices. Furthermore, these changes apply to the nationwide implementation of section 7 consultations, which take place in a wide variety of contexts, for various activities, for and with numerous action agencies. This application allows analysis only at the broadest level and would not permit meaningful analysis. Furthermore, before any action is taken, the responsible action agency will be required to conduct any necessary NEPA analyses, including impacts to listed species and critical habitat. For these reasons, the second categorical exclusion applies to this rule.

Additionally, none of the extraordinary circumstances listed at 43 CFR 46.215 and NAO 216-6 section 5.05c are triggered by the final rule. This rule does not involve a geographic area with unique characteristics, is not the subject of public controversy based on potential environmental consequences, will not result in uncertain environmental impacts or unique or unknown risks, does not establish a precedent or decision in principle about future proposals, will not have significant cumulative impacts, and will not have any adverse effects upon endangered or threatened species or their habitats for the reasons identified above.

In making this determination, the Services have considered whether adequate opportunities for public comment on the rule, including its potential environmental effects, have been provided. Our review of the proposed rule and the comments received on that proposal demonstrated that preparation of an Environmental Assessment is not necessary to obtain public input on this rule. Commentators had the opportunity to weigh in on the various aspects of this final rule and the final rule has been shaped, in part, by those comments. We conclude that preparation of an Environmental Assessment would not result in meaningful additional opportunities for comment, nor would it be likely to provide the Services with significant additional information to guide their decisionmaking process.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (E.O. 13211)

E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Because this action is not a significant energy action, no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Authority

We are taking this action under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 402

Endangered and threatened wildlife, Fish, Intergovernmental relations, Plants (agriculture).

Regulation Promulgation

Accordingly, we amend subpart B of part 402, subchapter A of chapter IV, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 402—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 402 continues to read as follows: Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

2. Amend § 402.02 by adding definitions for Framework programmatic action and Mixed programmatic action in alphabetical order to read as follows:
§ 402.02 Definitions.

Framework programmatic action means, for purposes of an incidental take statement, a Federal action that approves a framework for the development of future action(s) that are authorized, funded, or carried out at a later time, and any take of a listed species would not occur unless and until those future action(s) are authorized, funded, or carried out and subject to further section 7 consultation.

Mixed programmatic action means, for purposes of an incidental take statement, a Federal action that approves action(s) that will not be subject to further section 7 consultation, and also approves a framework for the development of future action(s) that are authorized, funded, or carried out at a later time and any take of a listed species would not occur unless and until those future action(s) are authorized, funded, or carried out and subject to further section 7 consultation.

3. Amend § 402.14 by: a. Revising paragraphs (g)(7) and (i)(1)(i); b. Revising the second sentence of paragraph (i)(3); and c. Adding paragraph (i)(6).

The revisions and additions read as follows:

§ 402.14 Formal consultation.

(g) * * *

(7) Formulate a statement concerning incidental take, if such take is reasonably certain to occur.

(i) * * *

(1) * * *

(i) Specifies the impact, i.e., the amount or extent, of such incidental taking on the species (A surrogate (e.g., similarly affected species or habitat or ecological conditions) may be used to express the amount or extent of anticipated take provided that the biological opinion or incidental take statement: Describes the causal link between the surrogate and take of the listed species, explains why it is not practical to express the amount or extent of anticipated take or to monitor take-related impacts in terms of individuals of the listed species, and sets a clear standard for determining when the level of anticipated take has been exceeded.);

(3) * * * The reporting requirements will be established in accordance with 50 CFR 13.45 and 18.27 for FWS and 50 CFR 216.105 and 222.301(h) for NMFS.

(6) For a framework programmatic action, an incidental take statement is not required at the programmatic level; any incidental take resulting from any action subsequently authorized, funded, or carried out under the program will be addressed in subsequent section 7 consultation, as appropriate. For a mixed programmatic action, an incidental take statement is required at the programmatic level only for those program actions that are reasonably certain to cause take and are not subject to further section 7 consultation.

Dated: December 23, 2014. Michael J. Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior. Dated: April 30, 2015. Samuel D. Rouch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-10612 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-3510-22-P
80 90 Monday, May 11, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service 7 CFR Parts 210, 215, 220 and 235 [FNS 2014-0011] RIN 0584-AE30 Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs AGENCY:

Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, this proposed rule would revise the State agency's administrative review process to establish a unified accountability system designed to ensure that participating school food authorities comply with the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program requirements. The proposed administrative review process would include new procedures, retain key existing requirements from the Coordinated Review Effort and the School Meals Initiative, provide new review flexibilities and efficiencies for State agencies, and simplify fiscal action procedures. In addition to the new administrative review process, this rule proposes to require State agencies to report and publicly post school food authorities' administrative review results. These proposed changes are expected to strengthen program integrity through a more robust, effective, and transparent process for monitoring school nutrition program operations.

DATES:

To be assured of consideration, written comments on this proposed rule must be received by July 10, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA, invites interested persons to submit written comments on this proposed rule. Comments must be submitted through one of the following methods:

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

Mail: Mailed comments on this proposed rule must be postmarked on or before July 10, 2015 to be assured of consideration. Send mailed comments to Julie Brewer, Child Nutrition Policy and Program Development Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1212, Alexandria, Virginia 22302-1594.

Comments received by other methods will not be accepted. All comments received by the methods listed above will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the substance of the comments and the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the comments publicly available on the Internet via http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lynn Rodgers-Kuperman, Child Nutrition Monitoring and Operations Support Division, Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302; telephone: (703) 605-3223.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Federally supported school nutrition programs are operated each school day in 54 States, by more than 100,000 schools and Residential Child Care Institutions. Ensuring that the programs are being carried out in the manner prescribed in statute and regulation is a key administrative responsibility at every level. Federal, State and local program staff share in the responsibility to ensure that all aspects of the programs are conducted with integrity and that taxpayer dollars are being used as intended.

Improving program integrity and reducing improper payments has been a long-standing priority for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Periodic evaluations of program errors, including the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) studies, show that improper payments result from errors made in the processes used to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals, as well as from errors made during daily program operations and meal service. USDA and its State agency partners have invested significant effort in system improvements and process reforms over the last several years that are expected to improve integrity and deliver long-term reductions in error rates. These efforts include on-going technical assistance and implementation of reforms made by Public Law 111-296, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). Along with provisions aimed at improving program access and healthier school nutrition environments, HHFKA reforms support program integrity through strengthening the use of direct certification, providing for community eligibility, establishing professional standards for school nutrition directors and staff, targeting a second review of applications in districts with high rates of application processing errors, and other provisions. USDA has already implemented the majority of these provisions through separate rulemaking. USDA has also established a new Office of Program Integrity for Child Nutrition Programs within the Food and Nutrition Service.

State agencies that administer the school meal programs play a primary role in ensuring School Food Authorities (SFAs) are properly operating the programs. In addition to training and technical assistance, State agencies are responsible for regularly monitoring SFA operations.

Nearly 25 years ago, in 1991 and 1992, USDA established regulations in 7 CFR 210.18 for an administrative review process to ensure SFAs complied with National School Lunch Program (NSLP) requirements. The process, the Coordinated Review Effort (CRE), required State agencies to conduct on-site administrative reviews of SFAs once every five years, and covered critical and general areas of review. The CRE review focused primarily on benefit eligibility, meal counting and claiming procedures, meal pattern and other general areas of compliance.

In 1995, State agencies began to evaluate the nutritional quality of school meals under USDA's School Meals Initiative (SMI). A key component of the SMI review was the State agency's nutrient analysis of the weekly school meals to determine compliance with Recommended Dietary Allowances for protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C; recommended minimum calorie levels; and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

More recently, section 207 of the HHFKA amended section 22 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), 42 U.S.C. 1769c, to make five changes to the administrative review requirements. The first three were implemented through the final rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program (77 FR 4088), which was issued January 26, 2012. Those changes involved: (1) Including both National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) in the administrative review; (2) confirming that the weekly meals offered meet meal patterns and dietary specifications, which made the SMI obsolete; and (3) implementing a new 3-year review cycle. This rule does not propose changes to these three previously promulgated provisions, but instead updates the administrative review procedures to reflect these changes.

This rule proposes to revise the administrative review requirements in 7 CFR 210.18 to implement the remaining two statutory provisions from section 207 of HHFKA, requiring that:

1. The administrative review process be a unified accountability system in which schools within an SFA are selected for review based on criteria established by the Secretary; and

2. State agencies report the final results of reviews, and post them or otherwise make them available to the public.

This proposed rule largely reflects the updated administrative review process developed by the School Meals Administrative Review Reinvention Team (SMARRT), a 26-member team consisting of staff from Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Headquarters and the seven Regional Offices, and State Agency staff from Kansas, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas (representing each of the FNS Regions). FNS assembled the team to carry out HHFKA's mandate for a unified accountability system. The group worked together for one year to develop a simplified, unified monitoring process that includes new, flexible procedures and combines key aspects of the CRE and SMI reviews. The team also sought to create a comprehensive monitoring process that includes all the school nutrition programs. Another priority was to simplify review procedures in response to State agencies' needs.

The proposed administrative review process would:

• Promote overall integrity in the school nutrition programs by incorporating key requirements of the CRE and SMI reviews.

• Enable the State agency to monitor essential requirements of the NSLP snack service and seamless summer option, the Special Milk Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program while conducting the administrative review.

• Include recommended off-site monitoring approaches to offer State agencies the ability to conduct reviews more efficiently by incorporating off-site State agency staff with the skills needed to address specific monitoring areas.

• Include risk-based approaches to enable the State agency to target error prone areas and focus its monitoring resources on SFAs and schools needing the most compliance assistance.

• Add Resource Management to the general areas of review to better assess the financial condition of the nonprofit food service.

• Promote consistency in the review process across all States.

• Include updated, user-friendly forms; new risk assessment tools; and statistical sampling for increased State agency efficiency. The forms and tools associated with the proposed administrative review process will be addressed separately in a 60-day notice to be published in the Federal Register to align with the implementing administrative review rulemaking.

The main focus of the proposed administrative review under 7 CFR 210.18 would continue to be the NSLP and SBP, and the State agency would continue to perform existing review procedures but in an updated and more flexible manner. In an effort to create a unified accountability system, the State agency would also be required to monitor the NSLP afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Special Milk Program in a manner that is consistent with the review process established in 7 CFR 210.18, as applicable. Most of the regulatory changes needed to update the administrative review process would be in 7 CFR 210.18. However, this rule would make changes throughout 7 CFR parts 210, 215, and 220 to achieve a unified accountability system for the school nutrition programs. In addition, the rule would remove the definition of “large school food authority” from 7 CFR 210.18, where it would no longer be needed, and add it to 7 CFR 235.2, where it would continue to apply. Detailed procedures for the new review process for the NSLP, SBP and other school meal programs are provided in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, which is a guidance document for the State agencies.

This proposed rule would also make several changes to the SFA regulatory requirements to complement the proposed administrative review process. First, the SFA's existing responsibilities in 7 CFR 210.14 would be clarified with regard to indirect costs as they would be specifically monitored by the State agency under the new administrative review process. Second, the SFA annual on-site monitoring of schools, required in 7 CFR 210.8, would be strengthened by incorporating readily observable general areas of review, and by extending SFA on-site monitoring to the SBP. These proposed changes are addressed in more detail later in the preamble.

This proposed rule would also make a number of miscellaneous edits to remove obsolete provisions in 7 CFR part 210, and to update wording to reflect the diversity of certification mechanisms used in school meal programs beyond the traditional collection of household applications. In addition, this rule would update the designation of a form in 7 CFR 210.5(d)(3), 7 CFR 210.20(a)(2), and 7 CFR 220.13(b)(2) by changing the references to the SF-269, final Financial Status Report, to FNS-777, as approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

While this rulemaking action is underway, FNS has allowed the following temporary review options for State agencies. Prior to the finalization of this rulemaking, State agencies may either:

1. Seek a waiver of the existing regulatory review procedures pursuant to section 12(l) of the NSLA, 42 U.S.C. 1760(l), and conduct reviews in accordance with the proposed administrative review process and the corresponding Administrative Review Manual; or

2. Continue with existing review procedures under 7 CFR 210.18 and the corresponding Coordinated Review Effort Procedures Manual, with the understanding that the proposed rule, once finalized, would require implementation of a new administrative review process.

FNS provided this flexibility to State agencies beginning in School Year 2013-2014. Almost all State agencies have requested the waiver and have adopted the new administrative review process described in this proposed rule. The new process, conducted on a shorter, 3-year cycle, has begun to generate a large volume of high value information that will strengthen FNS and State agency integrity efforts over the long term. The data collected through the new review process will enhance the Federal and State agencies' ability to monitor program performance. Just as importantly, the data will be a resource FNS can use in its efforts to develop timely and targeted, evidence-based solutions to the recurring problems that give rise to improper payments.

FNS also anticipates that the experience of State agencies using the updated review process will contribute to informed public comments that guide the development of the implementing rule. When the implementing rule establishing the new unified administrative review system is promulgated, all State agencies will be required to follow the finalized administrative review regulations.

Note: The words “school” and “site” are used interchangeably in this proposed rule, as applicable to each program, to refer to the location where meals are served. This proposed rule also uses the term SFA to generally refer to the governing body responsible for school food service operations. However, some of those responsibilities are fulfilled by the local educational agency (LEA or district), most notably the certification and benefit issuance process, indirect costs, competitive food sales, and local wellness policies. Use of the term SFA in this proposed rule is not intended to imply the responsibilities reserved for the LEA have shifted to the SFA.

II. Overview of the Existing CRE Administrative Review

Currently, State agencies that are not conducting administrative reviews under the new process perform the following administrative review activities under the existing CRE procedures as required in the regulations in 7 CFR 210.18. Under the existing CRE procedures:

• State agencies monitor lunches, and must review breakfasts at 50 percent of the schools selected for an NSLP administrative review.

• State agencies must review each SFA once during each 3-year review cycle, with no more than four years lapsing between reviews.

• When reviewing an SFA, State agencies conduct on-site reviews of about 10% of those schools participating in the NSLP.

• The scope of administrative review covers both critical and general areas. The critical areas, termed Performance Standards 1 and 2, assess whether lunches and breakfasts claimed for reimbursement are served to children eligible for free, reduced price, and paid meals; are counted, recorded, consolidated, and reported through a system that consistently yields correct claims; and meet meal requirements. The general areas assess whether the SFA meets other program requirements related to eligibility for free and reduced price benefits, civil rights, monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping, food safety, and resource management.

• State agencies conduct a nutrient analysis of school lunches and breakfasts to assess compliance with calorie requirements, saturated fat, and sodium.

• If an SFA has critical area violations in excess of specified review thresholds, a follow-up review is conducted in all large SFAs and in at least 25 percent of small SFAs.

• The follow-up review includes the certification, count and service procedures in the Special Milk Program and the afterschool snack program operated by the reviewed schools.

• Fiscal action is required for all violations of Performance Standard 1 and specific violations of Performance Standard 2.

Most of these procedures would continue, in some manner, under the proposed rule.

III. Overview of the Key Proposed Changes to the Administrative Review

The proposed administrative review under 7 CFR 210.18 would incorporate new and key existing procedures from the CRE and SMI reviews. It streamlines existing review procedures, gives State agencies new review flexibilities, simplifies fiscal action, and includes updated review forms and new tools. This proposed rule would replace the existing CRE and SMI monitoring processes, and is expected to improve program integrity by providing a single, comprehensive, effective, and efficient State agency monitoring process. Specific procedures for conducting the proposed review process are reflected in the FNS Administrative Review Manual.

The key procedures carrying forward from previous CRE and SMI reviews include timing of reviews, scheduling of SFAs, number of schools to review, exit conference and notification, corrective action, withholding payment, SFA appeal of State agency findings, and FNS review activity. These provisions are found in the amendatory language and may include minor non-substantive technical changes in 7 CFR 210.18, but are not discussed in this preamble. The preamble focuses on new key proposed changes, which are discussed next.

Procedures for Conducting a Review Off-Site and On-Site Review Activities

Under existing 7 CFR 210.18, the administrative review process is a comprehensive on-site evaluation of SFAs participating in the school meal programs. The proposed rule envisions that some administrative review activities can be conducted off-site, rather than during the on-site portion of the review. Adding the off-site approach is expected to assist the State agency by reducing the State agency's travel time and expense, enabling the State agency to conduct the documentation review and other existing review requirements over a longer period of time than would be possible while on-site, and allowing the reviewer to seek input from specialized State staff for adequate review of complex documentation (e.g., financial staff).

Off-site review activity is especially important for the Resource Management area of review which, as proposed at 7 CFR 210.18(h)(1), would require an off-site evaluation of information to determine if a comprehensive review is necessary. For other areas of review, the off-site review is strongly recommended but it is not required. Examples of possible off-site review activities include:

• Identifying the sites for review using the site selection procedures in the proposed 7 CFR 210.18(e).

• Reviewing documentation such as the SFA agreement, policy statement, renewal application, prior review findings and corrective action plans.

• Obtaining and reviewing the benefit issuance document.

• Selecting student certifications for review.

• Examining the SFA's verification procedures.

• Reviewing the SFA's counting and claiming procedures and documentation.

• Reviewing menus, production records, and related documents.

• Reviewing the Offer versus Serve policy.

• Identifying the school most at risk for nutrition related violations and conducting a targeted menu review in that school.

• Determining the targeted menu review approach.

In addition to the proposed off-site review activity, the on-site review activities will focus on validating the information obtained during the SFA off-site review and those aspects of program operations that can best be reviewed on-site. These types of on-site review activities are discussed in more detail under the heading “Areas of Review.”

Accordingly, the proposed rule adds off-site activity as a component of the administrative review in proposed 7 CFR 210.18(a) and 7 CFR 210.18(b)(1), and requires an off-site review component for the Resource Management area at proposed 7 CFR 210.18(h)(1).

Entrance and Exit Conferences

While some of the review activities can be conducted off-site, an observation of program operations while on-site at the SFA remains a critical component of program oversight. Prior to commencing on-site review activities, States are encouraged to convene an entrance conference with key SFA and, as applicable, LEA staff and administrators with responsibility for ensuring program requirements are followed. This initial conversation can help clarify expectations for the on-site review, raise preliminary issues identified during off-site review activities, and identify the additional information needed to complete the on-site portion of the review. While not required, this proposed rule supports, at 7 CFR 210.18(i)(1), the option for State agencies to begin the administrative review by conducting an entrance conference with the relevant SFA staff. This provision reflects existing practice. This rule would also retain the existing requirement for the State agency to conduct an exit conference. The proposed rule would codify the exit conference requirement at 7 CFR 210.18(i)(2).

Administrative Review Materials

This rulemaking would require, in proposed 7 CFR 210.18(f)(1), that State agencies use updated forms and tools to conduct the administrative review process. As stated earlier, FNS will issue the updated tools to coincide with the publication of the implementing rule. The new tools include: An Off-site Assessment Tool, an On-site Assessment Tool, a Meal Compliance Risk Assessment Tool, a Dietary Specifications Assessment Tool, and a Resource Management Risk Indicator Tool.

These tools and corresponding instructions are currently available to State agencies on the FNS PartnerWeb, which is a restricted access online portal for State agencies that administer the school meal programs. State agencies can find the tools in the Administrative Review Folder located in the Resources and Guidance document library of the CND Policy and Memoranda Community. When finalized, these tools will also available on the FNS Web site. With the exception of the Resource Management Risk Indicator Tool, which must be completed off-site, the required administrative review tools may be completed on-site.

Areas of Review

The proposed administrative review would continue to include critical and general areas which mirror the critical and general areas specified in existing 7 CFR 210.18(g) and (h), with the modifications discussed below.

Critical Areas of Review

Existing 7 CFR 210.18(b) defines, and existing 7 CFR 210.18(g) describes in detail, the critical areas, which are two performance standards that help evaluate compliance with program requirements. Performance Standard 1 (PS-1) focuses on certification for free and reduced price meals, benefit issuance, and meal counting and claiming. Performance Standard 2 (PS-2) focuses on meals meeting the meal pattern and dietary specification requirements. The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1) and (2) would retain both performance standards but modify how they are monitored as described in the next two subsections of this preamble.

PS-1—Meal Access and Reimbursement

The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g) retains the existing PS-1, with only minor technical changes. Existing PS-1 refers to “All, free, reduced price and paid lunches . . . served only to children eligible for free, reduced price and paid lunches . . .” The proposed rule would replace the term “lunches” with the term “meals” to include an assessment of both the NSLP and the SBP as required by the amendments made to the NSLA in 207 of the HHFKA.

Existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1) has a three-pronged scope of review. The State agency must:

• Determine the number of children eligible for free, reduced price and paid meals, by type, in the reviewed schools (hereafter termed “Certification”).

• Evaluate the system for issuing benefits and updating eligible status by validating the mechanisms the reviewed school uses to provide benefits to eligible children (hereafter termed “Benefit Issuance”).

• Determine whether the meal counting system yields correct claims (hereafter termed “Meal Counting and Claiming”).

The proposed rule would retain the above processes, but streamline and consolidate the Certification and Benefit Issuance review processes to improve program integrity and simplify the review process.

Under proposed 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i), the State agency would be required to:

• Obtain the free and reduced price benefit issuance document for each school under the jurisdiction of the SFA for the day of review or a day in the review period.

• Review all, or a statistically valid sample of, free and reduced price certification documentation (i.e., direct certifications, household applications) and other documentation relating to eligibility status (e.g., verification, transfers).

• Validate that reviewed students' free and reduced price eligibility status was correctly determined and properly transferred to the benefit issuance document.

In addition, the proposed rule expands the scope of Certification and Benefit Issuance review from the reviewed sites to the SFA level in order to provide the State agency with a more accurate picture of the SFA's practices at all schools. The proposed rule requires the State agency to review the free and reduced price certification and benefit issuance documentation for students across the entire SFA. This proposed change reflects that most SFAs have a centralized recordkeeping system; generally certifications are made and benefit issuance is maintained at the SFA level. The advantage of this approach is that it allows certification and benefit issuance errors identified during a review to be corrected at the SFA level.

As permitted under existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i)(A)(2), State agencies would continue to have the option of reviewing either all certifications on the benefit issuance documents or a statistically valid sample of certifications. State agencies using a statistically valid sample review fewer student documents and the review yields results representative of the certification and benefit issuance activity in the SFA. The statistically valid sample size may be determined manually, or by using the Statistical Sample Generator developed by FNS or other statistical sampling software. Both options are described in the FNS Administrative Review Manual. The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i) would retain the statistical sampling confidence level of 95 percent, set forth in existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i)(A)(2), for electronic certification and benefit issuance systems. For manual benefit issuance systems, the proposed rule would increase the sampling confidence level to 99 percent.

As under existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i)(C), the Meal Counting and Claiming portion of the review would continue to ensure that all free, reduced price and paid meals are accurately counted, recorded, consolidated and reported through a system which consistently yields correct claims. Under proposed 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(ii), the State agency would continue to be required to monitor counting and claiming at both the SFA and reviewed school levels. The review strategies would remain unchanged. Under the proposed rule, the State agency would continue to determine whether:

• Daily lunch counts, by type, for the review period are more than the product of the number of children determined to be eligible, by type for the review period, adjusted for attendance at the reviewed schools;

• Each type of food service line provides accurate point of service lunch counts, by type, and those lunch counts are correctly counted and recorded at the reviewed schools; and

• All lunches at the reviewed schools are correctly counted, recorded, consolidated and reported for the day they are served.

In addition, State agencies would be required to determine whether lunch counts submitted by each school are correctly consolidated, recorded, and reported by the SFA on the Claim for Reimbursement.

Thus, the proposal combines the certification and benefit issuance process, and expands the scope of the certification and benefits issuance review to the SFA level, and establishes acceptable sample sizes and confidence levels for statistical sampling at proposed 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(i). The proposal retains existing meal counting and claiming review procedures at proposed 7 CFR 210.18(g)(1)(ii).

PS-2—Meal Pattern and Nutritional Quality

Under existing PS-2 found at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2), the State agency monitors SFA compliance with the meal patterns and dietary specifications for lunches and breakfasts for each age/grade group. Currently, State agencies must review menu and production records for a minimum of five operating days to determine whether all food components and quantities have been offered. For the day of review, the State agency must also observe the serving line(s) to determine whether all food components and food quantities are offered, and observe a significant number of program meals counted at the point of service for each type of serving line to determine whether the meals selected by the students contain the required food components and quantities. In addition, the State agency must conduct a nutrient analysis of a school in the SFA to determine whether the meals offered meet the calorie, sodium and saturated fat requirements, and review nutrition labeling to assess compliance with the trans fat limit. The State agency must also assess whether performance-based cash assistance should continue to be provided for meals served.

The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2) would largely retain the existing scope of review for PS-2 with the following modifications:

• Require the State agency to complete a USDA-approved menu tool for each school selected for review to establish the SFA's compliance with the required food components and quantities for each age/grade group being served. The menu tool can be completed off-site (preferably) or on-site using production records, menus, recipes, food receipts, and any other documentation that shows the meals offered during a week from the review period contained the required components/quantities.

• Require the State agencies to review menu and production records for a minimum of three to a maximum of seven operating days to determine whether all food components and quantities have been offered over the course of a typical school week.

• Require the State agency to confirm, through on-site observation of reviewed schools that students select at least three food components at lunch and at least three food items at breakfast when Offer versus Serve is in place, and that these meals include at least 1/2 cup of fruits or vegetables.

• Require the State agency to assess compliance with the dietary specifications (calories, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat) using a risk-based approach and only require a weighted nutrient analysis for a school determined to be at high risk for violations (see discussion under the heading Dietary Assessment).

The State agency would continue to observe the meal service lines and review menu documentation on the day of review at review schools to determine whether all service lines offer all of the required food components and quantities. The State agency would also observe a significant number of program meals counted at the point of service for each type of serving line to determine whether the meals selected by the students contain the required food components and quantities.

Dietary Assessment

Existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2)(iv) requires a weighted nutrient analysis of the meals for students in age groups K and above to determine whether the meals offered meet the calorie, sodium, and saturated fat requirements set forth in 7 CFR 210.10 and 7 CFR 220.8. Under the proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2)(ii), the State agency would continue to assess whether the lunches and breakfasts offered to children are consistent with the calories, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat restrictions. However, unlike the existing requirements, the proposed rule would require a risk-based approach to identify the reviewed school most at risk of nutrition-related violations and conduct a targeted menu review of that school.

Under the proposal, the State agency would complete the Meal Compliance Risk Assessment Tool off-site or on-site for each school selected for review to identify the school most at risk for nutrition-related violations. This risk-based approach is intended to lessen the review burden on State agencies and allow them to better use their resources. For the one school determined to be most at risk, the State agency would conduct an in-depth, targeted menu review using one of four FNS approved options. For the targeted menu review, the State agency would have the following options: conduct a nutrient analysis, validate an existing nutrient analysis performed by the SFA or a contractor, complete the Dietary Specifications Assessment Tool to further examine the food service practices, or follow an alternative FNS-approved process utilizing the Menu Planning Tools for Certification for Six Cent Reimbursement. This proposed rule revises the existing nutrient analysis provisions found in 7 CFR 210.10(h) and 7 CFR 210.10(i) to reflect this new streamlined and risk-based approach.

Performance-Based Cash Assistance

As required in existing 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2)(v), the proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g)(2)(iii) continues to require the State agency to assess whether performance-based cash assistance should continue to be provided for the meals served.

Follow-up Reviews

Under existing 7 CFR 210.18(i), critical area violations in excess of specified thresholds trigger a follow-up review by the State agency. This proposed rule lessens the burden associated with the administrative review by removing the existing requirement for follow-up reviews triggered by a specific threshold. The follow-up review requirement was implemented at a time when the review cycle was 5-years and there was concern about the long span between reviews. Because the 3-year review cycle now allows the State agency to have more frequent contact with the SFAs, the follow up requirement is unnecessary. Instead, the proposed review process emphasizes collaborative compliance. When errors are detected, the State agency would require corrective action, provide technical assistance to bring the SFA into compliance, and take fiscal action when appropriate. The State agency would have discretion to do a follow-up review based on criteria established by the State agency.

Accordingly, this proposed rule removes the definitions of “follow-up reviews” and “review threshold” in existing 7 CFR 210.18(b) and removes the follow-up review procedures in 7 CFR 210.18(i). Minor references to follow-up review and review threshold throughout 7 CFR part 210 are also removed. The definitions of “large school food authority” and “small school food authority” would be removed from 7 CFR 210.18(b), as these definitions were used in the determination of which SFAs received a follow-up review. The same definition of “large school food authority” would be added to 7 CFR part 235, State Administrative Expense Funds, where it remains relevant for the State Administrative Expense allocation process.

General Areas of Review

Under existing 7 CFR 210.18(h), State agencies are required to assess compliance with five general areas during the administrative review, i.e., free and reduced price process, civil rights, monitoring responsibilities, reporting and recordkeeping and food safety. Under the proposal at 7 CFR 210.18(h), the proposed rule expands the general areas of review to include existing and new requirements grouped into two broad categories: Resource Management and General Program Compliance.

Resource Management, found at proposed 7 CFR 210.18(h)(1), would focus on compliance with existing requirements that safeguard the overall financial health of the nonprofit school food service:

• Maintenance of the Nonprofit School Food Service Account—7 CFR 210.14(a), (b) and (c);

• Paid Lunch Equity—7 CFR 210.14(e);

• Revenue from Nonprogram Foods—7 CFR 210.14(f); and

• Indirect Costs—2 CFR part 225, and 7 CFR 210.14(g) (as proposed).

Currently, SFAs are required to comply with these resource management requirements specified under existing 7 CFR 210.14; however, existing regulations do not require the State agencies to monitor compliance as part of the administrative review. Under this proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(h)(1), the State agency would monitor these five requirements using the Resource Management Risk Indicator Tool to identify SFAs at high risk for resource management problems, and would only conduct a comprehensive resource management review if, according to the tool, an SFA meets three or more of the following criteria:

• Size of the SFA (40,000 students or more),

• Financial findings on reviews or audits within the last three years,

• Inadequate practices related to maintenance of the nonprofit school food service account,

• Inadequate practices related to paid lunch equity,

• Inadequate practices related to revenue from nonprogram foods, and/or

• Inadequate practices related to indirect costs.

Adding Resource Management to the proposed administrative review would establish a framework for this review area, promote review consistency among all States, and promote proper stewardship of Federal funds. The required off-site review of Resource Management allows the reviewer to use the expertise of off-site State staff with specialized knowledge of resource management that may not typically be present during an on-site review. Under the proposal, State agencies continue to have flexibility to review Resource Management more frequently or more closely, provided the minimum areas of review are covered.

The Resource Management review area does not include procurement. Given the complexity of the procurement process, FNS will develop a separate review process for the State agencies to monitor compliance with procurement requirements. Excluding procurement from the proposed administrative review under 7 CFR 210.18 does not change the SFA's current responsibility to meet procurement standards applicable to those operating school meals programs. Pursuant to federal law and regulations at 2 CFR 200.318 through 2 CFR 200.326, SFAs continue to be required to fully comply with all attendant procurement standards and will be held accountable to those standards through regular State agency oversight.

It is also important to note that this proposed rule adds a new paragraph (g) to the Resource Management requirements in 7 CFR 210.14 to clarify the SFA's existing responsibilities with regard to indirect costs. This is discussed later in the preamble under the heading, “IV. Proposed Changes to SFA Requirements.”

Proposed 7 CFR 210.18(h)(2), General Program Compliance would focus on the SFA compliance with the existing general areas found at 7 CFR 210.18(h)(1) through (h)(5): Free and reduced price process, civil rights, SFA on-site monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping, and food safety. In addition, the proposal expands the scope of review to include the requirements established by HHFKA for competitive food standards, water, and outreach for the SBP and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The proposed rule moves the existing oversight of outreach for SBP and SFSP from 7 CFR 210.19(g) to the new 210.18(h)(2)(viii) to reflect that this oversight activity is part of the general areas of review.

In total, the proposed general areas of review include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

• Free and Reduced Price Process—including verification, notification, and other procedures—7 CFR part 245.

• Civil Rights—7 CFR 210.23(b).

• SFA On-site Monitoring—7 CFR 210.8(a)(1) and proposed 220.11(d).

• Reporting and Recordkeeping—7 CFR parts 210, 220 and 245.

• Food Safety—7 CFR 210.13.

• Competitive Food Services—7 CFR 210.11 and 7 CFR 220.12.

• Water—7 CFR 210.10(a)(1)(i) and 7 CFR 220.8(a)(1).

• Professional Standards—7 CFR 210.30.

• SBP and SFSP Outreach—7 CFR 210.12(d).

• Local School Wellness Policies.

LEAs have been required to have local school wellness policies in place since 2006. Assessing compliance with this requirement has been a general area of review under the CRE, and is included in the Administrative Review Manual. The Department has issued a separate rulemaking to solicit public comment on the proposed implementation of HHFKA section 204, Local School Wellness Policy Implementation Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, 79 FR 10693 (2/26/14). A final rule is under development. Once a final rule is published, the administrative review guidance will be updated to reflect the finalized requirements.

Finally, as noted later in the preamble, this proposed rule expands the existing requirement for SFAs to conduct on-site monitoring. This proposed change to 7 CFR 210.8 is discussed in more detail later under the heading “IV. Proposed Changes to SFA Requirements.”

Other Federal Program Reviews

The review of other Federal programs is a new aspect of the proposed unified accountability system. It would ensure that State agencies monitor the NSLP's afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, the Special Milk Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program when these programs are administered by the SFA under review. Under the proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(g) and (h), the State agency would monitor the critical and/or general areas of review in the cited programs, as applicable.

In contrast, under existing 7 CFR 210.18(i)(4)(iv), a State agency is only required to monitor the certification, count and milk/meal service procedures for the Special Milk Program (7 CFR part 215) or the NSLP afterschool snack program (7 CFR part 210) during a follow-up review if the State agency has not evaluated these previously in the schools selected for an administrative review. However, including these programs in the regular, periodic review of SFA operations is critical to ensuring they are properly administered and is expected to improve program integrity overall.

Other Federal Program Reviews would help ensure that the SFA operates the other school meal programs in accordance with key regulatory requirements. The State agencies would be required to follow the proposed review approach (7 CFR 210.18), as applicable, to monitor the other school meal programs as prescribed in the FNS Administrative Review Manual. In most cases, under the proposed rule the review of other school meal programs would include the following:

NSLP afterschool snack program—The State agency would:

• Use the Supplemental Afterschool Snack Program Administrative Review Form.

• Review the school's eligibility for the afterschool snack program.

• Ensure the school complies with counting and claiming procedures.

• Confirm the school food authority conducts self-monitoring activities twice per year as required in 210.9(c)(7).

• Assess compliance with the snack meal pattern in 7 CFR 210.10(o).

• Monitor compliance with the reporting and recordkeeping, food safety and civil rights requirements in 7 CFR part 210.

NSLP seamless summer option—As proposed, the rule requires that the State agency, at a minimum:

• Use the Supplemental Seamless Summer Option Administrative Review Form.

• Verify the site eligibility for the seamless summer option.

• Ensure the school food authority monitors the site(s) at least once per year.

• Review meal counting and claiming procedures.

• Monitor compliance with the meal patterns for lunches and breakfasts in 7 CFR 210.10 and 7 CFR 220.8, respectively.

• Confirm the school food authority informs families of the availability of free meals.

• Monitor compliance with the reporting and recordkeeping, food safety and civil rights requirements in 7 CFR part 210.

Special Milk Program (in NSLP schools)—As proposed, the rule requires that the State agency, at a minimum:

• Use the Supplemental Special Milk Program Administrative Review Form.

• Review the milk pricing policy, counting and claiming, and milk service procedures.

• Observe the milk service at the reviewed site if there are issues with the meal counting and claiming procedures in the NSLP or SBP.

• Ensure accuracy in certification and benefit issuance, when observing milk service.

• Monitor compliance reporting and recordkeeping, food safety and civil rights requirements in 7 CFR part 215.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program—As proposed, the rule requires that the State agency, at a minimum:

• Confirm availability of benefits to all enrolled children free of charge.

• Monitor allowable program costs, service time, outreach efforts, and types of fruits and vegetables offered.

• Monitor compliance with the reporting and recordkeeping, food safety and civil rights requirements in 7 CFR part 210.

The Department has issued separate rulemaking, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, 77 FR 10981 (February 24, 2012) to solicit public comment on the proposed Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Currently, the program is operated under guidance that follows general requirements for program operations under 7 CFR part 210. The implementing administrative review rule will incorporate any citation changes that may be necessary if the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program rule is finalized in the location proposed at 7 CFR part 211.

Fiscal Action

Existing regulations at 7 CFR 210.19(c) require the State agency to identify the SFA's correct entitlement and take fiscal action when any SFA claims or receives more Federal funds than earned. Under this proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(l), State agencies would continue to be required to take fiscal action for all PS-1 violations and for specific PS-2 violations, as discussed next. This proposed rule expands the scope of fiscal action for certification/benefit issuance PS-1 violations, revises the method to calculate fiscal action for applicable violations, and modifies the State agency's authority to limit fiscal action for specific critical area violations when corrective action is completed.

Details about the proposed revisions to fiscal action follow.

PS-1 Violations

Under existing 7 CFR 210.18(m)(1), State agencies are required to take fiscal action for all certification, benefit issuance, meal counting, and claiming violations of PS-1 and fiscal action is generally limited to the reviewed schools. If corrective action occurs, the State agency may limit fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the review period.

For the Certification and Benefit Issuance portion of the new administrative review, 7 CFR 210.18(g) of this proposed rule would require State agencies to review certifications/benefit issuance for all the schools under its jurisdiction, not just reviewed schools. This broader scope of review is expected to provide the State agency with a more accurate picture of the SFA's practices at all participating schools under the jurisdiction of the SFA and lead to improved program integrity.

Given the broader scope of review at the SFA level, rather than the reviewed school level, this rule proposes several changes to the fiscal action procedures. The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(l)(l) would apply fiscal action for certification and benefit issuance errors to the entire SFA, including non-reviewed schools. Expanding fiscal action across the entire SFA differs from the existing CRE review, and from the interim administrative review approach used by a number of State agencies operating under a waiver from CRE beginning and using the updated Administrative Review Guidance. Under CRE, fiscal action is generally limited to the reviewed schools because certification and benefit issuance monitoring is limited to the reviewed schools. Under the interim administrative review approach, State agencies monitor certification and benefit issuance for the entire SFA, but fiscal action is generally limited to the reviewed schools, consistent with the CRE regulatory requirements.

The proposed rule would revise fiscal action in the new administrative review process by basing fiscal action on a State-calculated certification and benefit issuance adjustment factor for free and for reduced price meals, respectively. The adjustment factor for free meals is the ratio of the State agency count of students certified as eligible for free meals divided by the SFA count of students certified as eligible for free meals. The resulting percentage represents the benefit issuance accuracy rate for free meals. A similar calculation is made to obtain the reduced price adjustment factor. Under the proposed rule, the total number of free and reduced price meals claimed is adjusted to reflect the State-calculated certification and benefit issuance adjustment factors. This proposed approach differs from the CRE approach, which based fiscal action on the number of incorrect certifications in reviewed schools and the corresponding number of serving days. The proposed approach streamlines the determination of fiscal action and ensures program integrity SFA-wide.

The proposed rule amends 7 CFR 210.19(c) to indicate fiscal action applies to “meals”, (rather than just lunches) and the Special Milk Program at 7 CFR part 215.

PS-2 Violations—Missing Food Component and Production Records

Under existing 7 CFR 210.18(m)(2)(i), State agencies are required to take fiscal action for food component violations of PS-2. However, if corrective action occurs, the State agency may limit fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the review period. Given the existing scope of review for PS-2, fiscal action is generally limited to the reviewed schools.

Under the proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2)(i), State agencies continue to be required to take fiscal action for PS-2 missing food component violations. Although fiscal action would generally be applied to the reviewed school, if a centralized menu is in place, the State agency should evaluate the cause(s) of the violation to determine if it is appropriate to apply fiscal action SFA wide.

In addition, the proposed rule requires the State agency to assess fiscal action on meals claimed for reimbursement that are not supported by appropriate documentation. An SFA is required to document that it offers reimbursable meals and maintain documentation that demonstrates how meals offered to students meet meal pattern requirements. If production records are missing, or missing for a certain time period, the proposed rule would require the State agency to take fiscal action unless the SFA is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the State agency, that reimbursable meals were offered and served.

Duration of Fiscal Action for PS-1 Violations and PS-2 Violations Related to Missing Food Component and Production Records

Under existing 7 CFR 210.19(c)(ii), fiscal action must be extended to the beginning of the school year or to that point during the current school year when the infraction first occurred, except as specified under existing 7 CFR 210.18(m). Based on the severity and longevity of the problem, the State agency may extend fiscal action back to previous school years, as applicable. The proposed rule retains the general duration, but in 7 CFR 210.18(l)(3), provides some flexibility for State agencies to limit the duration of fiscal action when corrective action takes place for PS-1 and PS-2 violations related to food components/missing production records. The proposal is as follows:

As proposed in 7 CFR 210.18(l)(3)(i), for PS-1 certification and benefit issuance errors, fiscal action would be required for the review period and the month of the on-site review, at a minimum. For example, if the review period is January and the month of the on-site review is February, then at a minimum fiscal action would be applied to the months of January and February. In scenarios where a month falls in between, i.e., January is the review period and March is when the on-site review occurs, then fiscal action is applied to all three months.

For all other PS-1 violations and PS-2 violations relating to missing food components and missing production record:

• If corrective action occurs during the on-site review month, the State agency must apply fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the on-site review month and for the review period. For example, if the review period is in January and the on-site review occurs in March and during the course of the review errors are identified and corrected on March 15th, then fiscal action would be applied from March 1st through March 14th and for the entire review period, i.e., January. If corrective action occurs during the review period, the State agency applies fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the review period. For example, if the review period is January and the on-site review occurs in March and it is determined that the problem was corrected on January15th, then fiscal action would be applied from January 1st through January 14th.

• If corrective action occurs prior to the review period, no fiscal action is required under the proposal. In this scenario, any error identified and corrected prior to the review period, i.e., before January, it is not subject to fiscal action.

• If corrective action occurs in a claim month(s) between the review period and the on-site review month, the State agency would apply fiscal action only to the review period. For example, if the review period is January and the on-site review occurs in March and the corrective action takes place in February, the state agency would be required to apply fiscal action only to the review period, i.e., January.

Based on the severity and longevity of the problem, the State agency would be able to extend fiscal action back to the beginning of the year or back to previous school years.

For PS-2 Violations Related to Vegetable Subgroups. Milk Type, Food Quantities, Whole Grain-Rich Foods, and Dietary Specifications

Existing 7 CFR 210.18(m)(2)(ii) requires fiscal action for repeated PS-2 violations related to vegetable subgroups and milk type. For repeated PS-2 violations related to food quantities, whole grain-rich foods and the dietary specifications, existing 7 CFR 210.18(m)(2)(iii) states that fiscal action is discretionary. The proposed rule would clarify the scope and duration of fiscal action for these repeated PS-2 violations. These changes are found at 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2)(ii) through (v) of the proposed rule.

For purposes of administrative reviews, repeated violations are generally those identified during the administrative review of an SFA in one cycle and identified again in the administrative review of the same SFA in the next review cycle. For example, if the State agency finds a PS-2 violation (e.g., unallowable milk type) in an SFA in the first review cycle (SY 2013-2016), and finds the same problem during the second review cycle (SY 2016-2019), fiscal action would be required during the second review cycle.

It is important to note that while fiscal action is generally limited to the repeated violation found in a subsequent administrative review cycle, State agencies are required by existing 7 CFR 210.19(c) to take fiscal action for recurrent violations found in later visits to the SFA during the initial cycle (e.g., technical assistance visits, follow-up reviews) if these violations reflect willful and/or egregious disregard of program requirements. This would not occur during SY 2013-2014 through SY 2015-2016, as FNS has indicated in guidance, including the memorandum, Administrative Reviews and Certification for Performance-Based Reimbursement in School Year (SY) 2014-2015 (SP-54 2014), and subsequent Question and Answer documents, that repeat findings will not result in fiscal action if they are repeated in the first 3-year review cycle. Beginning in SY 2016-2017, State agencies would be directed to contact FNS for guidance in these situations.

For repeated violations involving vegetable subgroups and/or milk requirements, existing regulations require the State agency to take fiscal action provided that technical assistance has been provided by the State agency, corrective action has been previously required and monitored by the State agency, and the SFA remains in non-compliance with PS-2. The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2)(ii) would clarify the existing regulatory requirement to specify how a State must apply fiscal action. Under the proposal, any meals with an unallowable milk type or when there is no milk variety, would be required to be disallowed/reclaimed. If one vegetable subgroup is not offered over the course of the week reviewed, the State agency should evaluate the cause(s) of the error to determine the appropriate fiscal action required. When calculating the required fiscal action, the State agency would have discretion, as appropriate based on the cause and extent of the error, to disallow/reclaim all meals served in the deficient week.

For repeated violations of quantities and/or the whole grain-rich foods and dietary specifications, existing regulations allow State agency the discretion to apply fiscal action provided that technical assistance has been given by the State agency, corrective action has been previously required and monitored by the State agency, and the SFA remains in noncompliance with quantity, whole grain rich and dietary specifications. The proposal rule at 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2)(iii) clarifies the existing regulatory requirement and specifies how fiscal action must be applied.

For repeated violations involving food quantities and/or the whole grain-rich foods requirement, the State agency would continue to have discretion to apply fiscal action. When evaluating the cause(s) of the error to determine the extent of the discretionary fiscal action, the reviewer would consider the following:

• If meals contain insufficient quantities of required food components, the affected meals may be disallowed/reclaimed.

• If whole grain-rich foods are not offered over the course of the week reviewed, all meals served in the deficient week may be disallowed/reclaimed.

• If insufficient whole grain-rich foods are offered, meals for one day during the week under review may be disallowed/reclaimed. The State agency has discretion to select which day's meals may be disallowed/reclaimed. Additional meals may be disallowed/reclaimed at State agency's discretion.

• If a vegetable subgroup is offered in insufficient quantity to meet the minimum weekly requirement, meals may be disallowed/reclaimed for one day that week. The State agency has discretion to select which day's meals are disallowed/reclaimed. Additional meals may be disallowed/reclaimed at the State agency's discretion.

• If the amount of fruit juice offered exceeds 50 percent of the total amount of fruits offered, or the amount of vegetable juice exceeds 50 percent of the total amount of vegetables offered, meals for the entire week may be disallowed/reclaimed.

For repeated violations of dietary specifications, the proposed rule in 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2)(iv) specifies that the State agency has discretion to take fiscal action and disallow/reclaim all meals for the entire week, if applicable, provided that technical assistance has been given by the State agency, corrective action has been previously required and monitored by the State agency, and the SFA remains noncompliant with the dietary specifications. If fiscal action is applied, it would be limited to the school selected for the targeted menu review. A nutrient analysis using USDA-approved software would be required to justify any fiscal action for noncompliance with the dietary specifications requirements.

The intent of these proposed fiscal action modifications and clarifications is to promote program integrity. Clearly identifying the critical area violations that may result in fiscal action and the scope and duration of any fiscal action, will promote consistency in fiscal action procedures among State agencies.

The administrative review manual also includes automated forms and tools designed to simplify the fiscal action process for State agencies. Fiscal action, whether required or at the States discretion, would be applied in a consistent manner and would take significantly less time to complete.

FNS is especially interested in soliciting feedback from early adopters of the new administrative review process on the impact of the proposed fiscal action method. We acknowledge that expanding the scope of review to include the SBP and strengthening fiscal action for PS-1 and PS-2 violations may result in increased fiscal action against certain SFAs.

Transparency Requirement

Section 207 of the HHFKA amended section 22 of the NSLA (42 U.S.C. 1769c) to require State agencies to report the final results of the administrative review to the public in the State in an accessible, easily understood manner in accordance with guidelines promulgated by the Secretary.

This proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.18(m) requires the State agency to post a summary of the most recent final administrative review results for each SFA on the State agency's publicly available Web site. The review summary must cover eligibility and certification review results, an SFA's compliance with the meal patterns and the nutritional quality of school meals, the results of the review of the school nutrition environment (including food safety, local school wellness policy, and competitive foods), and compliance related to civil rights, and general program participation, in a format prescribed by FNS. At a minimum, this would include the written notification of review findings provided to the SFAs Superintendent as required at 7 CFR 210.18.(i)(3). FNS will provide additional guidance on the appropriate format, including templates and model summaries, after the implementing rule is published.

State agencies would be required to post this review summary no later than 30 days after the State agency provides the final results of the administrative review to the SFA. The State agency would also be required to make a copy of the final administrative review report available to the public upon request. This requirement seeks to promote transparency and accountability in program operations as parents and stakeholders are increasingly aware of the potential benefits of the programs and seek more information about them.

Reporting and Recordkeeping

Current regulations in 7 CFR 210.18(n) and (o) address the State agency reporting requirements associated with the administrative review process. This proposed rule would retain the requirement to file the form FNS-640 at proposed 7 CFR 210.18(n), but would remove reference to follow-up reviews. The proposal retains the basic record keeping requirement at 210.18(o), but removes the reporting requirement associated with follow-up reviews found in existing 7 CFR 210.18(o) and 7 CFR 210.20(a)(5) due to the proposed elimination of the follow-up reviews. The recordkeeping associated with follow-up reviews in 7 CFR 210.18(p) and 7 CFR 210.20(b)(7) would also be eliminated.

The proposed removal of the follow-up review is expected to reduce the reporting and recordkeeping burden on State agencies. As discussed earlier, the information collection associated with the updated forms and new tools required for the administrative review process will be addressed separately in a 60-day notice, when the implementing rule is published.

IV. Proposed Changes to SFA Requirements

As stated earlier, this proposed rule would add a new paragraph (g) in 7 CFR 210.14, Resource Management, to clarify SFA responsibilities regarding indirect costs that will be monitored by the State agency during the administrative review. The additional regulatory language would not represent a new requirement for SFAs. The proposed paragraph (g) would reflect existing requirements in 2 CFR part 225 that are applicable to the operators of the school meal programs. The intent of the proposed paragraph (g) is to highlight an SFA responsibility that often goes unnoticed because it is not clearly stated in 7 CFR 210.14.

To improve overall monitoring of the school meal programs, this proposed rule would also expand the SFA on-site monitoring process. Under existing 7 CFR 210.8(a)(1), SFAs with more than one school are required to perform no less than one on-site review of the lunch counting and claiming system employed by each school under its jurisdiction. The SFA must conduct the required on-site review prior to February 1 of each school year. The proposed rule at 7 CFR 210.8(a)(1) would expand the scope of on-site monitoring to include the readily observable general areas of review cited under 7 CFR 210.18(h), as identified by FNS. Readily observable areas of review could include, but are not limited to, the availability of free potable water, proper food safety practices, and compliance with Civil Rights requirements.

In addition, the SFA monitoring activities would extend to the SBP. The SFA would be required to annually monitor the operation of the NSLP and SBP at each school under its jurisdiction. As is currently done with the NSLP, this monitoring of the SBP would include the counting and claiming system used by a school and the general areas of review that are readily observable. This expansion of the SFA monitoring activities is intended to ensure that SFAs self-monitor and are aware of operational issues, and that schools receive ongoing guidance and technical assistance to facilitate compliance with program requirements.

V. Comparison of Existing and Proposed Administrative Review Requirements

The following chart summarizes the key existing and proposed administrative review requirements and states the anticipated outcomes.

Existing requirement Proposed rule Effect of proposal Review location—State agencies are required to conduct an on-site review of each SFA once every 3-years Review location—The proposal would allow portions of the review to be conducted off-site and on-site. No change to the 3-year cycle The proposal is expected to provide State agencies with review flexibility, lower travel costs, and increase their ability to use in-house/off-site staff expertise to review complex documentation. Scope of review—The scope of review covers both critical and general areas for the NSLP and SBP. The critical areas, PS-1 and PS-2, assess whether meals claimed for reimbursement are served to children eligible for free, reduced price, and paid meals; are counted, recorded and consolidated, and reported through a system that consistently yields correct claims; and meet meal pattern requirements
  • The general areas assess whether the SFA met other program requirements related to free and reduced price process, civil rights, SFA monitoring, food safety, and reporting and recordkeeping
  • Scope of review—The proposal retains the focus on critical and general areas of review, but would expand the general areas of review for a more robust monitoring process. New general areas would include: Resource Management, Competitive Food Services, Water and SBP and SFSP Outreach. In addition, the proposal would add Other Federal Program reviews and would introduce risk assessment protocols to target at risk schools/districts The proposal would establish the unified review system envisioned by the HHFKA. While the proposal would expand the scope of review by adding new general areas and Other Federal Program reviews, it would also provide efficiencies resulting from off-site monitoring, risk assessment protocols, and automated forms. Overall, the proposal is expected to reduce the review burden on State agencies and increase program integrity.
    Eligibility certification—State agencies review the free and reduced price certifications for children in schools selected for review Eligibility certification—The proposal would require State agencies to review the free and reduced price certifications made by the local educational agency in all schools in the district or a statistically valid sample of those certifications The proposal is expected to improve program integrity across the SFA. No change in burden is expected since the State agency has the option to review a statistically valid sample of applications. Fiscal action—Fiscal action for certification and benefit issuance violations is calculated based on errors in the reviewed schools Fiscal action—Fiscal action for certification and benefit issuance violations would apply to the entire SFA, including non-reviewed schools and would be determined in a manner prescribed by FNS. The proposal would also prescribe the extent of fiscal action for repeated PS-2 violations. If corrective action takes place, the duration of fiscal action for PS-1 and specific PS-2 violations could also be revised The proposal is expected to promote consistency and accuracy in fiscal action procedures used by State agencies nationwide. Meal pattern and dietary specifications—State agencies must review the meal service for the day of review and menu and production records for a minimum period of 5 days. State agencies must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis for each reviewed school Meal pattern and dietary specifications—The State agencies would continue to review the meal service for the day of review, and menus and production records for 3-7 days. If the review reveals problems with components or quantities, the State agency would expand the review to, at a minimum, the entire review period
  • This proposed rule would require the State agencies to conduct a meal compliance risk assessment for all schools under review to identify the school at highest risk for nutrition-related violations, and to conduct a targeted menu review for that single school. If the targeted menu review confirms the school is at high risk for dietary specification violations, a weighted nutrient analysis for that school would be required
  • Requiring a weighted nutrient analysis only for a school determined to be at highest risk for dietary specification violations makes the best use of limited State agency resources. This change is expected to improve program integrity by focusing time and effort on at risk schools.
    Follow-up reviews—State agencies are required to determine whether an SFA has violations in excess of specified thresholds and, if so, conduct follow-up reviews within specified timeframes Follow-up reviews—The proposal would eliminate the required follow-up reviews and corresponding review thresholds. Follow-up reviews would be at the State agency's discretion The proposed rule recognizes that State agencies will be conducting reviews on a more frequent basis. It provides States with the flexibility to conduct follow-up review activity at their discretion. Reporting and recordkeeping—State agencies are required to notify FNS of the names of large SFAs in need of a follow-up review. State agencies are required to maintain records regarding its criteria for selecting schools for follow-up reviews Reporting and recordkeeping—The proposal would eliminate the follow-up review reporting and recordkeeping requirements The proposal would reduce reporting burden for State agencies. Posting of final review results—No existing requirements Posting of final review results—The proposal would require State agencies to make the final results of each SFA administrative review available to the public in an accessible, easily understood manner in accordance with guidelines established by the Secretary; such results must also be posted and otherwise made available to the public on request Posting this information online is expected to enhance awareness of school and SFA performance at meeting the requirements of the school meal programs and increase informed involvement of parents in the program. The increased reporting burden associated with the posting is expected to be minor. Include other Federal school nutrition programs in a follow up review—If the State agency did not evaluate the certification, count and milk/meal service procedures for the SMP or afterschool care programs in the schools selected for an administrative review, it must do so during the follow-up review Include other Federal school nutrition programs in the administrative review—The proposal would require State agencies to review the NSLP afterschool snacks, the NSLP seamless summer option, the SMP, and the FFVP as part of the administrative review under 7 CFR 210.18 The proposal would foster integrity of all school meal programs, and promote efficiency.
    Comparison of Existing and Proposed SFA Requirements

    The following chart summarizes SFA requirements associated with the administrative review process.

    Existing requirement Proposed rule Effect of proposal Resource Management—7 CFR 210.8 does not address indirect costs explicitly Resource Management—This proposal would add text in 7 CFR 210.14 to clarify the SFA's existing responsibilities with regard to indirect costs The proposal would increase understanding of indirect cost responsibilities that are monitored by the State agency under the proposed administrative review. SFA monitoring—SFAs are required to monitor the lunch counting and claiming processes schools annually SFA monitoring—The proposal would require the SFA to also monitor the SBP and to expand the annual school review by including selected general areas of review that are readily observable The proposal would result in a more robust and effective SFA monitoring process, which would contribute to the integrity of the school meal programs. VI. Miscellaneous Changes

    As previously mentioned, this rule proposes a number of miscellaneous changes to conform with other changes in the programs. Accordingly, the proposal would:

    • Delete obsolete provision at 7 CFR 210.7(d)(1)(vi) related to validation reviews of performance-based reimbursement;

    • Revise 7 CFR 210.9(b)(18) through 210.9(b)(20) and 210.15(b)(4) to reflect the diversity of certification mechanisms beyond household applications;

    • Revise 7 CFR 210.19(a)(1) to reflect the Paid Lunch Equity requirements;

    • Revise 7 CFR 210.19(a)(5) to update the review frequency to 3 years conforming with the requirement at 210.18(c); and

    • Delete obsolete provisions at 7 CFR 210.20(b)(7) and 210.23(d).

    VII. Procedural Matters A. Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility.

    This proposed rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in conformance with Executive Order 12866 and has been determined to be Not Significant.

    B. Regulatory Impact Analysis

    This proposed rule has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be Not Significant; therefore a Regulatory Impact Analysis is not required.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires Agencies to analyze the impact of rulemaking on small entities and consider alternatives that would minimize any significant impacts on a substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to that review it has been certified that this proposed rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule would update the administrative review process that State agencies must follow to monitor compliance with school meal programs' requirements. The proposed administrative review process provides State agencies more flexibility, tools and streamlined procedures. FNS does not expect that the proposed rule will have a significant economic impact on small entities.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local and tribal governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the Department generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with “Federal mandates” that may result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, Section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the Department to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the most cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

    This proposed rule does not contain Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) that would result in expenditures for State, local and tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year. Thus, the rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.

    E. Executive Order 12372

    The nutrition assistance programs and areas affected by this proposed rule are listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance as follows:

    • National School Lunch Program, No. 10.555

    • School Breakfast Program, No. 10.553

    • Special Milk Program, No. 10.556

    • State Administrative Expenses for Child Nutrition, No. 10.560

    • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, No. 10.582

    For the reasons set forth in the final rule in 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, and related notice (48 FR 29115, June 24, 1983), the nutrition assistance programs are included in the scope of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. The Child Nutrition Programs are federally funded programs administered at the State level. FNS headquarters and regional office staff engage in ongoing formal and informal discussions with State and local officials regarding program operational issues. The structure of the Child Nutrition Programs allows State and local agencies to provide feedback that contributes to the development of meaningful and feasible program requirements. This proposed rule has taken into account the extensive experience of State agencies conducting the administrative reviews which would be updated by this rule.

    F. Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 requires Federal agencies to consider the impact of their regulatory actions on State and local governments. Where such actions have federalism implications, agencies are directed to provide a statement for inclusion in the preamble to the regulations describing the agency's considerations in terms of the three categories called for under Section (6)(b)(2)(B) of Executive Order 13121.

    1. Prior Consultation With State Officials

    FNS headquarters and regional offices have formal and informal discussions with State agency officials on an ongoing basis regarding the Child Nutrition Programs and policy issues. In addition, prior to drafting this proposed rule, FNS assembled a 26-member team consisting of staff from FNS Headquarters and the seven Regional Offices, and State Agency staff from Kansas, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. The School Meal Administrative Review Reinvention Team (SMARRT) worked together for a year to address issues and develop an updated review process that is responsive to the needs, wants, and challenges of the State agencies.

    2. Nature of Concerns and the Need To Issue This Rule.

    The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) amended section 22 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), 42 U.S.C. 1769c, to require that:

    a. The administrative review process be a unified accountability system; and

    b. State agencies report the final results of reviews, and post them or otherwise make them available to the public.

    This proposed rule would update the administrative review process established in 7 CFR 210.18 to carry out these two statutory requirements. In addition, the proposed rule would also make a number of changes to address issues and concerns raised by State agencies. Issues identified by State agencies include simplifying the administrative review and fiscal action. State agencies also want the administrative reviews to be meaningful and contribute to better meal service. They also want a review process that would allow them to better utilize the limited resources they have.

    3. Extent to Which the Department Meets Those Concerns

    FNS has considered the concerns identified by SMARRT. The administrative review process proposed in this rule would streamline review procedures to allow more time for technical assistance, emphasize risk-assessment to enable the State agency to focus the administrative review on school food authorities at high risk for noncompliance, and provide State agencies flexibility to conduct portions of the review off-site to make better use of limited resources.

    G. Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This proposed rule is intended to have preemptive effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations or policies which conflict with its provisions or which would otherwise impede its full and timely implementation. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect unless so specified in the Effective Dates section of the final rule. Prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of the final rule, appeal procedures in 7 CFR 210.18(q) and 7 CFR 235.11(f) of this chapter must be exhausted.

    H. Executive Order 13175

    Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with Tribes on a government-to-government basis on policies that have Tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the federal government and Indian Tribes. In spring 2011, FNS offered five opportunities for consultation with Tribal officials or their designees to discuss the impact of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on tribes or Indian Tribal governments. FNS followed up with conference calls on February 13, 2013; May 22, 2013; August 21, 2013 and November 6, 2013. These consultation sessions provide the opportunity to address Tribal concerns related to the School Meals Programs. To date, Indian Tribal governments have not expressed concerns about the required unified accountability system during these consultations.

    USDA is unaware of any current Tribal laws that could be in conflict with the proposed rule. The Department will respond in a timely and meaningful manner to all Tribal government requests for consultation concerning this rule.

    I. Civil Rights Impact Analysis

    FNS has reviewed this proposed rule in accordance with Department Regulation 4300-4, “Civil Rights Impact Analysis,” to identify any major civil rights impacts the rule might have on children on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. A careful review of the rule's intent and provisions revealed that this proposed rule is not intended to reduce a child's ability to participate in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, or Special Milk Program.

    J. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chap. 35; see 5 CFR part 1320) requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approve all collections of information by a Federal agency from the public before they can be implemented. Respondents are not required to respond to any collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB control number. This is a revision of currently approved collection. The administrative reviews in School Nutrition Program provisions in this rule minimally increase burden hours for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) information collection, OMB Control Number #0584-0006, expiration date 2/29/2016. These changes are contingent upon OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. When the information collection requirements have been approved, FNS will publish a separate action in the Federal Register announcing OMB's approval. Additionally, the forms and tools associated with the proposed administrative review process will be addressed separately in a 60-day notice.

    Written comments on the information collection in this proposed rule must be received by July 10, 2015.

    Send comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for FNS, Washington, DC 20503. Please also send a copy of your comments to Lynn Rodgers-Kuperman, Child Nutrition Monitoring and Operations Support Division, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302. For further information, or for copies of the information collection requirements, please contact Lynn Rodgers-Kuperman at the address indicated above. Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the proposed information collection burden, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All responses to this request for comments will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Title: 7 CFR part 210, National School Lunch Program: Proposed Rule for Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs.

    OMB Number: 0584-0006.

    Expiration Date: 02/29/2016.

    Type of Request: Revision of currently approved collection.

    Abstract: This proposed rule would revise the NSLP administrative review requirements to establish a unified accountability system designed to ensure that participating school food authorities (SFA) comply with the NSLP and School Breakfast Program requirements, as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. In addition to the new administrative review process, this rule proposes to require State agencies to report and publicly post SFAs administrative review results. The proposed rule would eliminate the existing requirement for State agencies to report the names of those large SFAs subject to a follow-up reviews and hence reduces associated reporting burden. These proposed changes are expected to give State agencies more flexibility to conduct reviews, allow for the efficient use of limited time and staff, and result in a more robust and effective monitoring of the School Nutrition Programs.

    This proposed rule slightly increased the number of burden hours for 0584-0006 collection. The current collection burden inventory for the NSLP is 10,223,035. This proposed rule will decrease reporting burden by 11.2 hours, increase public disclosure burden by 1,736 hours and increase recordkeeping burden by 14 hours for an overall increase of 1,739 hours as a result of program changes. The revised total burden inventory for the NSLP with this proposed rule is 10,224,774 hours. The average burden per response and the annual burden hours are explained below and summarized in the charts which follow.

    Respondents for this Proposed Rule: State Education Agencies: 56.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent for this Proposed Rule: 124.

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 6944.

    Average hours per Response: 0.25.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents for this Proposed Rule: 1739.

    Estimated Annual Burden for (0584-0006) Administrative Reviews in the School Nutrition Programs Proposed Rule Section Estimated number of
  • respondents
  • Frequency of response Total annual responses Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Annual burden hours
    Reporting * SAs will report to FNS about names of large SFAs exceeding any one of the CRE critical area review thresholds 210.18(i), 210.18(d)(2), 210.18(o)(1) 56 1 56 0.20 (11.20) Public Disclosure Establish a state agency requirement to post a summary of the most recent administrative review results of each SFA 210.18(m)(1) 56 124 6944 0.25 1736 Total Reporting for Proposed rule 56 125 7000 0.2464 1725 Total Existing Reporting Burden for 0584-0006, Part 210 1,003,770 Total Revised Reporting Burden for Part 210 with Administrative review proposed rule 1,005,495 Total Number Respondents 56 Recordkeeping SAs must maintain a copy of the summary of the most recent administrative review results of each SFA 210.18(o) 56 1 56 0.25 14 Total Recordkeeping for Proposed rule 56 1 56 0.25 14 Total Existing Recordkeeping Burden for 0584-0006, Part 210 9,219,264 Total Revised Recordkeeping Burden for Part 210 with Administrative review proposed rule 9,219,278 Average Number Responses per Respondent 124 Total Annual Responses 6,944 Average Hours per response 0.25 Total Burden Hours for Part 210 with Proposed Rule 10,224,774 Current OMB Inventory for Part 210 10,223,035 Difference (New Burden Requested With Proposed Rule) 1,739 * This proposed rule would eliminate the required follow-up reviews and corresponding review thresholds. Therefore, the burden assessment (11.20 hours) associated with 7 CFR 210.18(i) will be removed from the NSLP, OMB Control Number #0584-0006, expiration date 2/29/2016.
    K. E-Government Act Compliance

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

    List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 210

    Grant programs—education; Grant programs—health; Infants and children; Nutrition; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; School breakfast and lunch programs; Surplus agricultural commodities.

    7 CFR Part 215

    Food assistance programs, Grant programs—education, Grant programs—health, Infants and children, Milk, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    7 CFR Part 220

    Grant programs—education; Grant programs—health; Infants and children; Nutrition; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; School breakfast and lunch programs.

    7 CFR Part 235

    Administrative practice and procedure; Food assistance programs; Grant programs—education; Grant programs—health; Infants and children; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements; School breakfast and lunch programs.

    Accordingly, 7 CFR parts 210, 215, 220 and 235 are proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 210—NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 210 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 1751-1760, 1779.

    2. In part 210, remove the word “SF-269” wherever it appears and add, in its place, the word “FNS-777”.
    § 210.7 [Amended]
    3. In § 210.7, remove paragraph (d)(1)(vii) and redesignate paragraph (d)(1)(viii) as paragraph (d)(1)(vii).
    § 210.8 [Amended]
    4. In § 210.8: a. In the first sentence of paragraph (a)(1), remove the word “lunch”. b. In the first sentence of paragraph (a)(1), remove the words “employed by” and add in their place the words “and the readily observable general areas of review cited under § 210.18(h), as prescribed by FNS for”. c. In the third sentence of paragraph (a)(1), add the words “or general review areas” after the word “procedures”. d. In the fourth sentence, remove the word “lunches” and add in its place the word “meals”; and e. In paragraph (a)(3)(ii), remove the word “subsequent”. 5. In § 210.9: a. In paragraph (b)(18), remove the words “applications which must be readily retrievable by school” and add in their place the words “certification documentation”; b. Revise the introductory text of paragraph (b)(19); and c. Revise paragraph (b)(20).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 210.9 Agreement with State agency.

    (b) * * *

    (19) Maintain direct certification documentation obtained directly from the appropriate State or local agency, or other appropriate individual, as specified by FNS, indicating that:

    (20) Retain eligibility documentation submitted by families for a period of 3 years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain or as otherwise specified under paragraph (b)(17) of this section.

    6. In § 210.10: a. In paragraph (h), revise the heading; b. In paragraph (h)(1), revise the first sentence; c. In paragraph (i), revise the heading and revise paragraph (i)(1); d. Revise paragraph (i)(3)(i); e. In paragraph (j), revise the paragraph heading; and f. In paragraph (o), add paragraph (o)(5).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 210.10 Meal requirements for lunches and requirements for afterschool snacks.

    (h) Monitoring dietary specifications.

    (1) * * * When required by the administrative review process set forth in § 210.18, the State agency must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis to evaluate the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium of the lunches offered to students in grades K and above during one week of the review period. * * *

    (i) Nutrient analyses of school meals—(1) Conducting the nutrient analysis. Any nutrient analysis, whether conducted by the State agency under § 210.18 or by the school food authority, must be performed in accordance with the procedures established in paragraph (i)(3) of this section. The purpose of the nutrient analysis is to determine the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the meals offered to each age grade group over a school week. The weighted nutrient analysis must be performed as required by FNS guidance.

    (3) * * *

    (i) Weighted averages. The nutrient analysis must include all foods offered as part of the reimbursable meals during one week within the review period. Foods items are included based on the portion sizes and serving amounts. They are also weighted based on their proportionate contribution to the meals offered. This means that food items offered more frequently are weighted more heavily than those not offered as frequently. The weighted nutrient analysis must be performed as required by FNS guidance.

    (j) Responsibility for monitoring meal requirements. * * *

    (o) * * *

    (5) Monitoring afterschool snacks. Compliance with the requirements of this paragraph is monitored by the State agency as part of the administrative review conducted under § 210.18. If the snacks offered do not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the State agency or school food authority must provide technical assistance and require corrective action. In addition, the State agency must take fiscal action, as authorized in §§ 210.18(l) and 210.19(c).

    7. In § 210.14: a. Add a sentence at the end at the paragraph (d); and b. Add paragraph (g).

    The additions read as follows:

    § 210.14 Resource management.

    (d) * * * The school food authority's policies, procedures, and records must account for the receipt, full value, proper storage and use of donated foods.

    (g) Indirect costs. School food authorities must follow fair and consistent methodologies to identify and allocate allowable indirect costs to the school food service account, as required in 2 CFR part 225.

    § 210.15 [Amended]
    8. In § 210.15(b)(4), remove the words “applications for” and add in their place the words “certification documentation for”. 9. Revise § 210.18 to read as follows:
    § 210.18 Administrative reviews.

    (a) Programs covered and methodology. Each State agency must follow the requirements of this section to conduct administrative reviews of school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program (part 220 of this chapter). These procedures must also be followed, as applicable, to conduct administrative reviews of the National School Lunch Program, afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, the Special Milk Program (part 215 of this chapter), and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. To conduct a program review, the State agency must gather and assess information off-site and/or on-site, observe the school food service operation, and use a risk-based approach to evaluate compliance with specific program requirements.

    (b) Definitions. The following definitions are provided in alphabetical order in order to clarify State agency administrative review requirements:

    Administrative reviews means the comprehensive off-site and/or on-site evaluation of all school food authorities participating in the programs specified in paragraph (a) of this section. The term “administrative review” is used to reflect a review of both critical and general areas in accordance with paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section, as applicable for each reviewed program, and includes other areas of program operations determined by the State agency to be important to program performance.

    Critical areas means the following two performance standards described in detail in paragraph (g) of this section:

    (1) Performance Standard 1—All free, reduced price and paid school meals claimed for reimbursement are served only to children eligible for free, reduced price and paid school meals, respectively; and are counted, recorded, consolidated and reported through a system which consistently yields correct claims.

    (2) Performance Standard 2—Reimbursable lunches meet the meal requirements in § 210.10, as applicable to the age/grade group reviewed. Reimbursable breakfasts meet the meal requirements in § 220.8 of this chapter, as applicable to the age/grade group reviewed.

    Day of review means the day(s) on which the on-site review of the individual sites selected for review occurs.

    Documented corrective action means written notification required of the school food authority to certify that the corrective action required for each violation has been completed and to notify the State agency of the dates of completion. Documented corrective action may be provided at the time of the review or may be submitted to the State agency within specified timeframes.

    General areas means the areas of review specified in paragraph (h) of this section. These areas include free and reduced price process, civil rights, school food authority on-site monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping, food safety, competitive food services, water, program outreach, resource management, and other areas identified by FNS.

    Participation factor means the percentages of children approved by the school for free lunches, reduced price lunches, and paid lunches, respectively, who are participating in the Program. The free participation factor is derived by dividing the number of free lunches claimed for any given period by the product of the number of children approved for free lunches for the same period times the operating days in that period. A similar computation is used to determine the reduced price and paid participation factors. The number of children approved for paid lunches is derived by subtracting the number of children approved for free and reduced price lunches for any given period from the total number of children enrolled in the reviewed school for the same period of time, if available. If such enrollment figures are not available, the most recent total number of children enrolled must be used. If school food authority participation factors are unavailable or unreliable, State-wide data must be employed.

    Review period means the most recent month for which a Claim for Reimbursement was submitted, provided that it covers at least ten (10) operating days.

    (c) Timing of reviews. State agencies must conduct administrative reviews of all school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program (including the afterschool snack program and the seamless summer option) and School Breakfast Program at least once during a 3-year review cycle, provided that each school food authority is reviewed at least once every 4 years. For each State agency, the first 3-year review cycle started the school year that began on July 1, 2013, and ended on June 30, 2014. The administrative review must be completed during the school year in which the review was begun.

    (1) Review cycle exceptions. FNS may, on an individual school food authority basis, approve written requests for 1-year extensions to the 3-year review cycle specified in paragraph (c) of this section if FNS determines this 3-year cycle requirement conflicts with efficient State agency management of the programs.

    (2) Follow-up reviews. The State agency may conduct follow-up reviews in school food authorities where significant and/or repeated critical or general violations exist. The State agency may conduct follow-up reviews in the same school year as the administrative review.

    (d) Scheduling school food authorities. The State agency must use its own criteria to schedule school food authorities for administrative reviews; provided that the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section are met. State agencies may take into consideration the findings of the claims review process required under § 210.8(b)(2) in the selection of school food authorities.

    (1) Schedule of reviews. To ensure no unintended overlap occurs, the State agency must inform FNS of the anticipated schedule of school food authority reviews upon request.

    (2) Exceptions. In any school year in which FNS or the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducts a review or investigation of a school food authority in accordance with § 210.19(a)(5), the State agency must, unless otherwise authorized by FNS, delay conduct of a scheduled administrative review until the following school year. The State agency must document any exception authorized under this paragraph.

    (e) Number of schools to review. At a minimum, the State agency must review the number of schools specified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section and must select the schools to be reviewed on the basis of the school selection criteria specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. The State agency may review all schools meeting the school selection criteria specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

    (1) Minimum number of schools. Except for residential child care institutions, the State agency must review all schools with a free average daily participation of 100 or more and a free participation factor of 100 percent or more. In no event must the State agency review less than the minimum number of schools illustrated in Table A for the National School Lunch Program.

    Table A Number of schools in the school food authority Minimum
  • number of
  • schools to
  • review
  • 1 to 5 1 6 to 10 2 11 to 20 3 21 to 40 4 41 to 60 6 61 to 80 8 81 to 100 10 101 or more * 12 * Twelve plus 5 percent of the number of schools over 100. Fractions must be rounded up (≥0.5) or down (<0.5) to the nearest whole number.

    (2) School selection criteria.

    (i) Selection of additional schools to meet the minimum number of schools required under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, must be based on the following criteria:

    (A) Elementary schools with a free average daily participation of 100 or more and a free participation factor of 97 percent or more;

    (B) Secondary schools with a free average daily participation of 100 or more and a free participation factor of 77 percent or more; and

    (C) Combination schools with a free average daily participation of 100 or more and a free participation factor of 87 percent or more. A combination school means a school with a mixture of elementary and secondary grades.

    (ii) When the number of schools selected on the basis of the criteria established in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section is not sufficient to meet the minimum number of schools required under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the additional schools selected for review must be identified using State agency criteria which may include low participation schools; recommendations from a food service director based on findings from the on-site visits or the claims review process required under § 210.8(a); or any school in which the daily lunch counts appear questionable (e.g., identical or very similar claiming patterns, and/or large changes in free lunch counts).

    (iii) In selecting schools for an administrative review of the School Breakfast Program, State agencies must follow the selection criteria set forth in this paragraph and FNS' Administrative Review Manual. At a minimum,:

    (A) In school food authorities operating only the breakfast program, State agencies must review the number of schools set forth in Table A in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.

    (B) In school food authorities operating both the lunch and breakfast programs, State agencies must review the breakfast program in 50 percent of the schools selected for an administrative review under paragraph (e)(1) of this section that operate the breakfast program.

    (C) If none of the schools selected for an administrative review under paragraph (e)(1) of this section operates the breakfast program, but the school food authority operates the program elsewhere, the State agency must follow procedures in the FNS Administrative Review Manual to select at least one other site for a school breakfast review.

    (3) Site selection for other federal program reviews.

    (i) National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program. If a school selected for an administrative review under this section operates the afterschool snack program, the State agency must review snack documentation for compliance with program requirements, according to the FNS Administrative Review Manual. Otherwise, the State agency is not required to review the afterschool snack program.

    (ii) National School Lunch Program's seamless summer option. The State agency must review seamless summer option at a minimum of one site if the school food authority selected for review under this section operates the seamless summer option. This review can take place at any site within the reviewed school food authority the summer before or after the school year in which the administrative review is scheduled. The State agency must review the seamless summer option for compliance with program requirements, according to the FNS Administrative Review Manual.

    (iii) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The State agency must review the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at one or more of the schools selected for an administrative review, as specified in Table B. If none of the schools selected for the administrative review operates the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program but the school food authority operates the Program elsewhere, the State agency must follow procedures in the FNS Administrative Review Manual to select one or more sites for the program review.

    Table B Number of schools selected for an NSLP administrative review that operate the FFVP Minimum
  • number of
  • FFVP schools
  • to be
  • reviewed
  • 0 to 5 1 6 to 10 2 11 to 20 3 21 to 40 4 41 to 60 6 61 to 80 8 81 to 100 10 101 or more * 12 * Twelve plus 5 percent of the number of schools over 100. Fractions must be rounded up (≥0.5) or down (<0.5) to the nearest whole number.

    (iv) Special Milk Program. If a school selected for review under this section operates the Special Milk Program, the State agency must review the school's program documentation off-site or on-site, as prescribed in the FNS Administrative Review Manual. On-site review is only required if the State agency has identified documentation problems or if the State agency has identified meal counting and/or claiming errors in the reviews conducted under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program.

    (4) Pervasive problems. If the State agency review finds pervasive problems in a school food authority, FNS may authorize the State agency to cease review activities prior to reviewing the required number of schools under paragraphs (e)(1) and (3) of this section. Where FNS authorizes the State agency to cease review activity, FNS may either conduct the review activity itself or refer the school food authority to OIG.

    (5) Noncompliance with meal pattern requirements. If the State agency determines there is significant noncompliance with the meal pattern and nutrition requirements set forth in §§ 210.10 and 220.8 of this chapter, as applicable, the State agency must select the school food authority for administrative review earlier in the review cycle.

    (f) Scope of review. During the course of an administrative review for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, the State agency must monitor compliance with the critical and general areas in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section, respectively. State agencies may add additional review areas with FNS approval. Selected critical and/or general areas must be monitored when reviewing the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and the seamless summer option, the Special Milk Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, as applicable and as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual.

    (1) Review forms. State agencies must use the administrative review forms, tools and workbooks prescribed by FNS.

    (2) Timeframes covered by the review.

    (i) The timeframes covered by the administrative review includes the review period and the day of review, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (ii) Subject to FNS approval, the State agency may conduct a review early in the school year, prior to the submission of a Claim for Reimbursement. In such cases, the review period must be the prior month of operation in the current school year, provided that such month includes at least 10 operating days.

    (3) Audit findings. To prevent duplication of effort, the State agency may use any recent and currently applicable findings from Federally-required audit activity or from any State-imposed audit requirements. Such findings may be used only insofar as they pertain to the reviewed school(s) or the overall operation of the school food authority and they are relevant to the review period. The State agency must document the source and the date of the audit.

    (g) Critical areas of review. The performance standards listed in this paragraph are directly linked to meal access and reimbursement, and to the meal pattern and nutritional quality of the reimbursable meals offered. These critical areas must be monitored by the State agency when conducting administrative reviews of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Selected aspects of these critical areas must also be monitored, as applicable, when conducting administrative reviews of the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and the seamless summer option, and of the Special Milk Program.

    (1) Performance Standard 1 (All free, reduced price and paid school meals claimed for reimbursement are served only to children eligible for free, reduced price and paid school meals, respectively; and are counted, recorded, consolidated and reported through a system which consistently yields correct claims.) The State agency must follow review procedures stated in this section and as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual to ensure that the school food authority's certification and benefit issuance processes for school meals offered under the National School Lunch Program, and School Breakfast Program are conducted as required in part 245 of this chapter, as applicable. In addition, the State agency must ensure that benefit counting, consolidation, recording and claiming are conducted as required in this part and part 220 of this chapter for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, respectively. The State agency must also follow procedures consistent with this section, and as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, to review applicable areas of Performance Standard 1 in the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, and in the Special Milk Program.

    (i) Certification and benefit issuance. The State agency must gather information and monitor the school food authority's compliance with program requirements regarding benefit application, direct certification, and categorical eligibility, as well as the transfer of benefits to the point-of-service benefit issuance document. To review this area, the State agency must obtain the benefit issuance document for each participating school under the jurisdiction of the school food authority for the day of review or a day in the review period, review all or a statistically valid sample of student certifications, and validate that the eligibility certification for free and reduced price meals was properly transferred to the benefit issuance document and reflects changes due to verification findings, transfers, or a household's decision to decline benefits. If the State agency chooses to review a statistically valid sample of student certifications, the State agency must use a sample size with a 99 percent confidence level of accuracy. However, a sample size with a 95 percent confidence level of accuracy may be used if a school food authority uses an electronic benefit issuance and certification system with no manual data entry and the State agency has not identified any potential systemic noncompliance. Any sample size must be large enough so that there is a 99 or 95 percent, as applicable, chance that the actual accuracy rate for all certifications is not less than 2 percentage points less than the accuracy rate found in the sample (i.e., the lower bound of the one-sided 99/95 percent confidence interval is no more than 2 percentage points less than the point estimate).

    (ii) Meal counting and claiming. The State agency must gather information and conduct an on-site visit to ensure that the processes used by the school food authority and reviewed school(s) to count, record, consolidate, and report the number of reimbursable meals/snacks served to eligible students by category (i.e., free, reduced price or paid meal) are in compliance with program requirements and yield correct claims. The State agency must determine whether:

    (A) The daily lunch counts, by type, for the review period are more than the product of the number of children determined by the school/school food authority to be eligible for free, reduced price, and paid lunches for the review period times an attendance factor. If the lunch count, for any type, appears questionable or significantly exceeds the product of the number of eligibles, for that type, times an attendance factor, documentation showing good cause must be available for review by the State agency.

    (B) For each school selected for review, each type of food service line provides accurate point of service lunch counts, by type, and those lunch counts are correctly counted and recorded. If an alternative counting system is employed (in accordance with § 210.7(c)(2)), the State agency shall ensure that it provides accurate counts of reimbursable lunches, by type, and is correctly implemented as approved by the State agency.

    (C) For each school selected for review, all lunches are correctly counted, recorded, consolidated and reported for the day they are served.

    (2) Performance Standard 2 (Lunches claimed for reimbursement by the school food authority meet the meal requirements in § 210.10, as applicable to the age/grade group reviewed. Breakfasts claimed for reimbursement by the school food authority meet the meal requirements in § 220.8 of this chapter, as applicable to the age/grade group reviewed.) The State agency must follow review procedures, as stated in this section and detailed in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, to ensure that lunches and breakfasts offered by the school food authority meet the food component and quantity requirements and the dietary specifications for each program, as applicable. Review of these critical areas may occur off-site and/or on-site. The State agency must also follow procedures consistent with this section, as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, to review applicable areas of Performance Standard 2 in the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, and in the Special Milk Program.

    (i) Food components and quantities. For each school selected for review, the State agency must complete a USDA-approved menu tool, review documentation, and observe the meal service to ensure that meals offered by the reviewed schools meet the meal patterns for each program. To review this area, the State agency must:

    (A) Review menu and production records for the reviewed schools for a minimum of one school week (i.e., a minimum number of three consecutive school days and a maximum of seven consecutive school days) from the review period. Documentation, including food crediting documentation, such as food labels, product formulation statements, CN labels and bid documentation, must be reviewed to ensure compliance with the lunch and breakfast meal patterns. If the documentation review reveals problems with food components or quantities, the State agency must expand the review to, at a minimum, the entire review period. The State agency should consider a school food authority compliant with the school meal pattern if:

    (1) When evaluating the daily and weekly range requirements for grains and meat/meat alternates, the documentation shows compliance with the daily and weekly minimums for these components, regardless of whether the school food authority has exceeded the recommended weekly maximums for the same components.

    (2) When evaluating the service of frozen fruit, the State agency determines that the school food authority serves frozen fruit with or without added sugar.

    (B) On the day of review, the State agency must:

    (1) Observe a significant number of program meals at each serving line and review the corresponding documentation to determine whether all reimbursable meal service lines offer all of the required food components and quantities for the age/grade groups being served, as required under § 210.10, as applicable, and § 220.8 of this chapter, as applicable. Observe meals at the beginning, middle and end of the meal service line, and confirm that signage or other methods are used to assist students in identifying the reimbursable meal. If the State agency identifies missing components or inadequate quantities prior to the beginning of the meal service, it must inform the school food authority and provide an opportunity to make corrections. Additionally, if visual observation suggests that quantities offered are insufficient or excessive, the State agency must require the reviewed schools to provide documentation demonstrating that the required amounts of each component were available for service for each day of the review period.

    (2) Observe a significant number of the program meals counted at the point of service for each type of serving line to determine whether the meals selected by the students contain the food components and food quantities required for a reimbursable meal under § 210.10, as applicable, and § 220.8 of this chapter, as applicable.

    (3) If Offer versus Serve is in place, observe whether students select at least three food components at lunch and at least three food items at breakfasts, and that the lunches and breakfasts include at least 1/2 cup of fruits or vegetables.

    (ii) Dietary specifications. The State agency must conduct a meal compliance risk assessment for each school selected for review to determine which school is at highest risk for nutrition-related violations. The State agency must conduct a targeted menu review for the school at highest risk for noncompliance using one of the options specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual. Under the targeted menu review options, the State agency may conduct or validate an SFA-conducted nutrient analysis for both breakfast and lunch, or further evaluate risk for noncompliance and, at a minimum, conduct a nutrient analysis if further examination shows the school is at high risk for noncompliance with the dietary specifications. The State agency is not required to assess compliance with the dietary specifications when reviewing meals for preschoolers, and the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and the seamless summer option.

    (iii) Performance-based cash assistance. If the school food authority is receiving performance-based cash assistance under § 210.7(d), the State agency must assess the school food authority's meal service and documentation of lunches served and determine its continued eligibility for the performance-based cash assistance.

    (h) General areas of review. The general areas listed in this paragraph reflect requirements that must be monitored by the State agency when conducting administrative reviews of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Selected aspects of these general areas must also be monitored, as applicable and as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, when conducting administrative reviews of the National School Lunch Program's afterschool snack program and seamless summer option, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Special Milk Program. The general areas of review must include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (1) Resource management. The State agency must conduct an off-site assessment of the school food authority's nonprofit school food service to evaluate the risk of noncompliance with resource management requirements. If risk indicators show that the school food authority is at high risk for noncompliance with resource management requirements, the State agency must conduct a comprehensive review of the following areas using procedures specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual.

    (i) Maintenance of the nonprofit school food service account. The State agency must confirm the school food authority's resource management is consistent with the maintenance of the nonprofit school food service account requirements in §§ 210.2, 210.14, and 210.19(a).

    (ii) Paid lunch equity. The State agency must review compliance with the requirements for pricing paid lunches in § 210.14(e).

    (iii) Revenue from nonprogram foods. The State agency must ensure that all non-reimbursable foods sold by the school food service, including, but not limited to, a la carte food items, adult meals, and vended meals, generate at least the same proportion of school food authority revenues as they contribute to school food authority food costs, as required in § 210.14(f).

    (iv) Indirect costs. The State agency must ensure that the school food authority follows fair and consistent methodologies to identify and allocate allowable indirect costs to school food service accounts, as required in 2 CFR part 225 and § 210.14(g).

    (2) General Program Compliance.

    (i) Free and reduced price process. In the course of the review of each school food authority, the State agency must:

    (A) Confirm the free and reduced price policy statement, as required in § 245.10 of this chapter, is implemented as approved.

    (B) Ensure that the process used to verify children's eligibility for free and reduced price meals in a sample of household applications is consistent with the verification requirements, procedures, and deadlines established in § 245.6a of this chapter.

    (C) Determine that, for each reviewed school, the lunch count system does not overtly identify children eligible for free and reduced price lunches, as required under § 245.8 of this chapter.

    (D) Review at least 10 denied applications to evaluate whether the determining official correctly denied applicants for free and reduced price lunches, and whether denied households were provided notification in accordance with § 245.6(c)(7)of this chapter.

    (E) Confirm that a second review of applications has been conducted and that information has been correctly reported to the State agency as required in § 245.11, if applicable.

    (ii) Civil rights. The State agency must examine the school food authority's compliance with the civil rights provisions specified in § 210.23(b) to ensure that no child is denied benefits or otherwise discriminated against in any of the programs reviewed under this section because of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability.

    (iii) School food authority on-site monitoring. The State agency must ensure that the school food authority conducts on-site reviews of each school under its jurisdiction, as required by §§ 210.8(a)(1) and 220.11(d) of this chapter, and monitors claims and readily observable general areas of review in accordance with §§ 210.8(a)(2) and (3), and 220.11(d) of this chapter.

    (iv) Competitive food standards. The State agency must ensure that the local educational agency and school food authority comply with the nutrition standards for competitive foods in § 210.11 and § 220.12 of this chapter, and retain documentation demonstrating compliance with the competitive food service and standards.

    (v) Water. The State agency must ensure that water is available and accessible to children at no charge as specified in § 210.10(a)(1)(i) and § 220.8(a)(1) of this chapter.

    (vi) Food safety. The State agency must examine records to confirm that each school food authority under its jurisdiction meets the food safety requirements of § 210.13.

    (vii) Reporting and recordkeeping. The State agency must determine that the school food authority submits reports and maintains records in accordance with program requirements in this part, and parts 220 and 245 of this chapter, and as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual.

    (viii) Program outreach. The State agency must ensure the school food authority is conducting outreach activities to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program and the Summer Food Service Program, as required in § 210.12(d). If the State agency administering the Summer Food Service Program is not the same State agency that administers the National School Lunch Program, then the two State agencies must work together to implement outreach measures.

    (ix) Professional standards. The State agency shall ensure the local educational agency and school food authority complies with the professional standards for school nutrition program directors, managers, and personnel established in § 210.30.

    (x) Local school wellness. The State agency shall ensure the local educational agency complies with the local school wellness requirements.

    (i) Entrance and exit conferences and notification—(1) Entrance conference. The State agency may hold an entrance conference with the appropriate school food authority staff at the beginning of the on-site administrative review to discuss the results of any off-site assessments, the scope of the on-site review, and the number of schools to be reviewed.

    (2) Exit conference. The State agency must hold an exit conference at the close of the administrative review and of any subsequent follow-up review to discuss the violations observed, the extent of the violations and a preliminary assessment of the actions needed to correct the violations. The State agency must discuss an appropriate deadline(s) for completion of corrective action, provided that the deadline(s) results in the completion of corrective action on a timely basis.

    (3) Notification. The State agency must provide written notification of the review findings to the school food authority's Superintendent (or equivalent in a non-public school food authority) or authorized representative, preferably no later than 30 days after the exit conference for each review. The written notification must include the date(s) of review, date of the exit conference, review findings, the needed corrective actions, the deadlines for completion of the corrective action, and the potential fiscal action. As a part of the denial of all or a part of a Claim for Reimbursement or withholding payment in accordance with the provisions of this section, the State agency must provide the school food authority a written notice which details the grounds on which the denial of all or a part of the Claim for Reimbursement or withholding payment is based. This notice, must be provided by certified mail, or its equivalent, or sent electronically by email or facsimile. The notice must also include a statement indicating that the school food authority may appeal the denial of all or a part of a Claim for Reimbursement or withholding payment and the entity (i.e., FNS or State agency) to which the appeal should be directed. The State agency must notify the school food authority, in writing, of the appeal procedures as specified in § 210.18(q) for appeals of State agency findings, and for appeals of FNS findings, provide a copy of § 210.29(d)(3) of the regulations.

    (j) Corrective action. Corrective action is required for any violation under either the critical or general areas of the review. Corrective action must be applied to all schools in the school food authority, as appropriate, to ensure that deficient practices and procedures are revised system-wide. Corrective actions may include training, technical assistance, recalculation of data to ensure the accuracy of any claim that the school food authority is preparing at the time of the review, or other actions. Fiscal action must be taken in accordance with paragraph (l) of this section.

    (1) Extensions of the timeframes. If the State agency determines that extraordinary circumstances make a school food authority unable to complete the required corrective action within the timeframes specified by the State agency, the State agency may extend the timeframes upon written request of the school food authority.

    (2) Documented corrective action. Documented corrective action is required for any degree of violation of general or critical areas identified in an administrative review. Documented corrective action may be provided at the time of the review; however, it must be postmarked or submitted to the State agency electronically by email or facsimile, no later than 30 days from the deadline for completion of each required corrective action, as specified under paragraph (i)(2) of this section or as otherwise extended by the State agency under paragraph (j)(1) of this section. The State agency must maintain any documented corrective action on file for review by FNS.

    (k) Withholding payment. At a minimum, the State agency must withhold all program payments to a school food authority as follows:

    (1) Cause for withholding.

    (i) The State agency must withhold all Program payments to a school food authority if documented corrective action for critical area violations is not provided with the deadlines specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this section; and/or

    (ii) The State agency must withhold all Program payments to a school food authority if the State agency finds that corrective action for critical area violation was not completed; and/or

    (iii) The State agency may withhold Program payments to a school food authority at its discretion, if the State agency found a critical area violation on a previous review and the school food authority continues to have the same error for the same cause; and/or

    (iv) For general area violations, the State agency may withhold Program payments to a school food authority at its discretion, if the State agency finds that documented corrective action is not provided within the deadlines specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this section, corrective action is not complete, or corrective action was not taken as specified in the documented corrective action.

    (2) Duration of withholding. In all cases, Program payments must be withheld until such time as corrective action is completed, documented corrective action is received and deemed acceptable by the State agency, or the State agency completes a follow-up review and confirms that the problem has been corrected. Subsequent to the State agency's acceptance of the corrective actions, payments will be released for all lunches served in accordance with the provisions of this part during the period the payments were withheld. In very serious cases, the State agency will evaluate whether the degree of non-compliance warrants termination in accordance with § 210.25.

    (3) Exceptions. The State agency may, at its discretion, reduce the amount required to be withheld from a school food authority pursuant to paragraph (k)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section by as much as 60 percent of the total Program payments when it is determined to be in the best interest of the Program. FNS may authorize a State agency to limit withholding of funds to an amount less than 40 percent of the total Program payments, if FNS determines such action to be in the best interest of the Program.

    (4) Failure to withhold payments. FNS may suspend or withhold Program payments, in whole or in part, to those State agencies failing to withhold Program payments in accordance with paragraph (k)(1) of this section and may withhold administrative funds in accordance with § 235.11(b) of this chapter. The withholding of Program payments will remain in effect until such time as the State agency documents compliance with paragraph (k)(1) of this section to FNS. Subsequent to the documentation of compliance, any withheld administrative funds will be released and payment will be released for any meals served in accordance with the provisions of this part during the period the payments were withheld.

    (l) Fiscal action. The State agency must take fiscal action for all Performance Standard 1 violations and specific Performance Standard 2 violations identified during an administrative review as specified in this section. Fiscal action must be taken in accordance with the principles in § 210.19(c) and the procedures established in the FNS Administrative Review Manual. The State agency must follow the fiscal action formula prescribed by FNS to calculate the correct entitlement for a school food authority or a school.

    (1) Performance Standard 1 violations. A State agency is required to take fiscal action for Performance Standard 1 violations, in accordance with this paragraph and paragraph (l)(3).

    (i) For certification and benefit issuance errors cited under paragraph (g)(1)(i) of this section, the total number of free and reduced price meals claimed must be adjusted to reflect the State calculated free and reduced price certification and benefit issuance adjustment factors, respectively. The free adjustment factor is the ratio of the State agency count of students certified as eligible for free meals divided by the SFA count of students certified as eligible for free meals. The reduced price adjustment factor is the ratio of the State agency count of students certified as eligible for reduced price meals divided by the SFA count of students certified as eligible for reduced price meals.

    (ii) For meal counting and claiming errors cited under paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section, the State agency must apply fiscal action to the incorrect meal counts at the school food authority level, or only to the reviewed schools where violations were identified, as applicable.

    (2) Performance Standard 2 violations. Except as noted in paragraphs (l)(2)(iii) and (iv) of this section, a State agency is required to apply fiscal action for Performance Standard 2 violations as follows:

    (i) For missing food components and/or missing production records cited under paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the State agency must apply fiscal action.

    (ii) For repeated violations involving milk type and vegetable subgroups cited under paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the State agency must apply fiscal action as follows:

    (A) If an unallowable milk type is offered or there is no milk variety, any meals selected with the unallowable milk type or when there is no milk variety must also be disallowed/reclaimed; and

    (B) If one vegetable subgroup is not offered over the course of the week reviewed, the reviewer should evaluate the cause(s) of the error to determine the appropriate fiscal action. All meals served in the deficient week may be disallowed/reclaimed.

    (iii) For repeated violations involving food quantities and whole grain-rich foods cited under paragraph (g)(2) of this section, the State agency has discretion to apply fiscal action as follows:

    (A) If the meals contain insufficient quantities of the required food components, the affected meals may be disallowed/reclaimed;

    (B) If no whole grain-rich foods are offered during the week of review, meals for the entire week of review may be disallowed and/or reclaimed;

    (C) If insufficient whole grain-rich foods are offered during the week of review, meals for one or more days during the week of review may be disallowed/reclaimed.

    (D) If a weekly vegetable subgroup is offered in insufficient quantity to meet the weekly vegetable subgroup requirement, meals for one day of the week of review may be disallowed/reclaimed; and

    (E) If the amount of juice offered exceeds the weekly limitation, meals for the entire week of review may be disallowed/reclaimed.

    (iv) For repeated violations of calorie, saturated fat, sodium, and trans fat dietary specifications cited under paragraph (g)(2)(ii) of this section, the State agency has discretion to apply fiscal action to the reviewed school as follows:

    (A) If the average meal offered over the course of the week of review does not meet one of the dietary specifications, meals for the entire week of review may be disallowed/reclaimed; and

    (B) Fiscal action is limited to the school selected for the targeted menu review and must be supported by a nutrient analysis of the meals at issue using USDA-approved software.

    (v) The following conditions must be met prior to applying fiscal action as described in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii) through (iv) of this section:

    (A) Technical assistance has been given by the State agency;

    (B) Corrective action has been previously required and monitored by the State agency; and

    (C) The school food authority remains noncompliant with the meal requirements established in part 210 and part 220 of this chapter.

    (3) Duration of fiscal action. Fiscal action must be extended back to the beginning of the school year or that point in time during the current school year when the infraction first occurred for all violations of Performance Standard 1 and Performance Standard 2. Based on the severity and longevity of the problem, the State agency may extend fiscal action back to previous school years. If corrective action occurs, the State agency may limit the duration of fiscal action for Performance Standard 1 and Performance Standard 2 violations as follows:

    (i) Performance Standard 1 certification and benefit issuance violations. The total number of free and reduced price meals claimed for the review period and the month of the on-site review must be adjusted to reflect the State calculated certification and benefit issuance adjustment factors.

    (ii) Other Performance Standard 1 and Performance Standard 2 violations. With the exception of violations described in paragraph (l)(3)(i) of this section, a State agency may limit fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the review period for errors.

    (A) If corrective action occurs during the on-site review month or after, the State agency would be required to apply fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the on-site review month, and for the review period;

    (B) If corrective action occurs during the review period, the State agency would be required to apply fiscal action from the point corrective action occurs back through the beginning of the review period;

    (C) If corrective action occurs prior to the review period, no fiscal action would be required; and

    (D) If corrective action occurs in a claim month between the review period and the on-site review month, the State agency would apply fiscal action only to the review period.

    (4) Performance-based cash assistance. In addition to fiscal action described in paragraphs (l)(2)(i) through (v) of this section, school food authorities found to be out of compliance with the meal patterns or nutrition standards set forth in § 210.10 may not earn performance-based cash assistance authorized under § 210.4(b)(1) unless immediate corrective action occurs. School food authorities will not be eligible for the performance-based reimbursement beginning the month immediately following the administrative review and, at State discretion, for the month of review. Performance-based cash assistance may resume beginning in the first full month the school food authority demonstrates to the satisfaction of the State agency that corrective action has taken place.

    (m) Transparency requirement. The State agency must make the most recent final administrative review results available to the public in an easily accessible manner, as follows:

    (1) Post a summary of the most recent final administrative review results for each school food authority on the State agency's publicly available Web site. The summary must cover meal access and reimbursement, meal patterns and nutritional quality of school meals, school nutrition environment (including food safety, local school wellness policy, and competitive foods), civil rights, and program participation, in a format prescribed by FNS. It must be posted no later than 30 days after the State agency provides the results of administrative review to the school food authority; and

    (2) Make a copy of the final administrative review report upon request.

    (n) Reporting requirement. Each State agency must report to FNS the results of reviews by March 1 of each school year, on a form designated by FNS. In such annual reports, the State agency must include the results of all administrative reviews conducted in the preceding school year.

    (o) Recordkeeping. Each State agency must keep records which document the details of all reviews and demonstrate the degree of compliance with the critical and general areas of review. Records must be retained as specified in § 210.23(c) and include documented corrective action, and documentation of withholding of payments and fiscal action, including recoveries made. Additionally, the State agency must have on file:

    (1) Criteria for selecting schools for administrative reviews in accordance with paragraphs (e)(2)(ii) and (i)(2)(ii) of this section.

    (2) Documentation demonstrating compliance with the statistical sampling requirements in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i)(A)(1) of this section, if applicable.

    (p) School food authority appeal of State agency findings. Except for FNS-conducted reviews authorized under § 210.29(d)(2), each State agency shall establish an appeal procedure to be followed by a school food authority requesting a review of a denial of all or a part of the Claim for Reimbursement or withholding payment arising from administrative review activity conducted by the State agency under § 210.18. State agencies may use their own appeal procedures provided the same procedures are applied to all appellants in the State and the procedures meet the following requirements: Appellants are assured of a fair and impartial hearing before an independent official at which they may be represented by legal counsel; decisions are rendered in a timely manner not to exceed 120 days from the date of the receipt of the request for review; appellants are afforded the right to either a review of the record with the right to file written information, or a hearing which they may attend in person; and adequate notice is given of the time, date, place and procedures of the hearing. If the State agency has not established its own appeal procedures or the procedures do not meet the above listed criteria, the State agency shall observe the following procedures at a minimum:

    (1) The written request for a review shall be postmarked within 15 calendar days of the date the appellant received the notice of the denial of all or a part of the Claim for Reimbursement or withholding of payment, and the State agency shall acknowledge the receipt of the request for appeal within 10 calendar days;

    (2) The appellant may refute the action specified in the notice in person and by written documentation to the review official. In order to be considered, written documentation must be filed with the review official not later than 30 calendar days after the appellant received the notice. The appellant may retain legal counsel, or may be represented by another person. A hearing shall be held by the review official in addition to, or in lieu of, a review of written information submitted by the appellant only if the appellant so specifies in the letter of request for review. Failure of the appellant school food authority's representative to appear at a scheduled hearing shall constitute the appellant school food authority's waiver of the right to a personal appearance before the review official, unless the review official agrees to reschedule the hearing. A representative of the State agency shall be allowed to attend the hearing to respond to the appellant's testimony and to answer questions posed by the review official;

    (3) If the appellant has requested a hearing, the appellant and the State agency shall be provided with at least 10 calendar days advance written notice, sent by certified mail, or its equivalent, or sent electronically by email or facsimile, of the time, date and place of the hearing;

    (4) Any information on which the State agency's action was based shall be available to the appellant for inspection from the date of receipt of the request for review;

    (5) The review official shall be an independent and impartial official other than, and not accountable to, any person authorized to make decisions that are subject to appeal under the provisions of this section;

    (6) The review official shall make a determination based on information provided by the State agency and the appellant, and on program regulations;

    (7) Within 60 calendar days of the State agency's receipt of the request for review, by written notice, sent by certified mail, or its equivalent, or electronically by email or facsimile, the review official shall inform the State agency and the appellant of the determination of the review official. The final determination shall take effect upon receipt of the written notice of the final decision by the school food authority;

    (8) The State agency's action shall remain in effect during the appeal process; and

    (9) The determination by the State review official is the final administrative determination to be afforded to the appellant.

    (q) FNS review activity. The term “State agency” and all the provisions specified in paragraphs (a) through (h) of this section refer to FNS when FNS conducts administrative reviews in accordance with § 210.29(d)(2). FNS will notify the State agency of the review findings and the need for corrective action and fiscal action. The State agency shall pursue any needed follow-up activity.

    10. In § 210.19: a. In the seventh sentence in paragraph (a)(1), add the words “in a manner that is consistent with the paid lunch equity provision in § 210.14(e) and corresponding FNS guidance,” after the word “lunches,”; b. Revise paragraph (a)(2); c. In the fifth sentence of paragraph (a)(5), remove the words “an on-site” and the number “5” and add in their place the word “a” and the number “3”, respectively. d. Remove the sixth sentence of paragraph (a)(5); e. In the second sentence of paragraph (c), remove the words “the meal” and add the number “, 215” after the number “210”; f. In the second sentence of paragraph (c)(1), add the number “, 215” after the number “210”; g. In the second sentence of paragraph (c)(2)(i), remove the word “lunches” and add in its place the word “meals”; h. In the third sentence of paragraph (c)(2)(i), remove the word “lunch” and add in its place the word “meal”; i. Remove the fourth sentence of (c)(2)(i); j. In the first sentence of paragraph (c)(2)(ii), remove the reference “§ 210.18(m)” and add in its place the reference “§ 210.18(l)”. k. In the last sentence of paragraph (c)(2)(ii), remove the word “lunches” and add in its place the word “meals”; l. In paragraph (c)(2)(iii), remove the words “lunches” and “lunch” and add in their place the words “meals” and “meal”, respectively; and m. Remove paragraph (g).

    The revision reads as follows:

    § 210.19 Additional responsibilities.

    (a) * * *

    (2) Improved management practices. The State agency must work with the school food authority toward improving the school food authority's management practices where the State agency has found poor food service management practices leading to decreasing or low child participation, menu acceptance, or program efficiency. The State agency should provide training and technical assistance to the school food authority or direct the school food authority to the National Food Service Management Institute to obtain such resources.

    § 210.20 [Amended]
    11. In § 210.20: a. Remove paragraph (a)(5) and redesignate paragraphs (a)(6) through (a)(10) as paragraphs (a)(5) through (a)(9); and b. Remove paragraph (b)(7) and redesignate paragraphs (b)(8) through (b)(15), as added on March 2, 2015 (80 FR 11092, effective July 1, 2015, as paragraphs (b)(7) through (b)(14).
    § 210.23 [Amended]
    12. In § 210.23, remove paragraph (d), and redesignate paragraph (e) as paragraph (d).
    § 210.29 [Amended]
    13. In § 210.29: a. In paragraph (b), remove the words “or § 210.18a” and “reviews and”; b. In paragraph (d)(1), remove the words “and/or any follow up review” from the first sentence; and c. In paragraph (d)(2), remove the words “or any follow up reviews” from the first sentence. PART 215—SPECIAL MILK PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN 14. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 215 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 1772 and 1779.

    15. In § 215.11: a. In the second sentence of paragraph (b)(2), remove the letter “(i)” from the reference “§ 210.18(i)”; and b. Revise the third sentence of paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:
    § 215.11 Special responsibilities of State agencies.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * * Compliance reviews of participating schools shall focus on the reviewed school's compliance with the required certification, counting, claiming, and milk service procedures.* * *

    16. Revise § 215.18 to read as follows:
    § 215.18 Information collection/recordkeeping—OMB assigned control numbers. 7 CFR section where
  • requirements are described
  • Current OMB control number
    215.3(d) Agreement 0584-0067 215.5(a) 0584-0005 0584-0002 215.5(c) FNS-777 0584-0067 215.7 (a), (c) 0584-0005 215.7 (b)(2) 0584-0026 215.7(d) FNS-66 0584-0006 0584-0005 215.10 (a), (b), (d) 0584-0005 0584-0284 215.11 (b), (c)(1), (e) 0584-0005 215.11(c)(2) FNS-10 0584-0002 215.12 (a), (d), (e), (g) 0584-0005 215.13(a) 0584-0005 215.13a(a)-(e) 0584-0026 215.14 0584-0005 215.14a(a)-(c) 0584-0005 215.15 0584-0005
    PART 220—SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM 17. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 220 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 1773, 1779, unless otherwise noted.

    18. In § 220.8: a. In paragraph (h), remove the phrase “Effective July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014), as part of the administrative review authorized under § 210.18 of this chapter, State agencies must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis for the school(s) selected for review” from the first sentence, and add in its place the phrase “When required by the administrative review process set forth in § 210.18, the State agency must conduct a weighted nutrient analysis”; and b. Revise paragraphs (i) and (j) to read as follows:
    § 220.8 Meal requirements for breakfasts.

    (i) Nutrient analyses of school meals. Any nutrient analysis of school breakfasts conducted under the administrative review process set forth in § 210.18 of this chapter must be performed in accordance with the procedures established in § 210.10(i) of this chapter. The purpose of the nutrient analysis is to determine the average levels of calories, saturated fat, and sodium in the breakfasts offered to each age grade group over a school week.

    (j) Responsibility for monitoring meal requirements. Compliance with the applicable breakfast requirements in paragraph (b) of this section, including the dietary specifications for calories, saturated fat, sodium and trans fat will be monitored by the State agency through administrative reviews authorized in § 210.18 of this chapter.

    19. In § 220.11, add paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 220.11 Reimbursement procedures.

    (d) The school food authority shall establish internal controls which ensure the accuracy of breakfast counts prior to the submission of the monthly Claim for Reimbursement. At a minimum, these internal controls shall include: An on-site review of the breakfast counting and claiming system employed by each school within the jurisdiction of the school food authority; comparisons of daily free, reduced price and paid breakfast counts against data which will assist in the identification of breakfast counts in excess of the number of free, reduced price and paid breakfasts served each day to children eligible for such breakfasts; and a system for following up on those breakfast counts which suggest the likelihood of breakfast counting problems.

    (1) On-site reviews. Every school year, each school food authority with more than one school shall perform no less than one on-site review of the breakfast counting and claiming system and the readily observable general areas of review identified under § 210.18(h) of this chapter, as specified by FNS, for each school under its jurisdiction. The on-site review shall take place prior to February 1 of each school year. Further, if the review discloses problems with a school's meal counting or claiming procedures or general review areas, the school food authority shall ensure that the school implements corrective action, and within 45 days of the review, conduct a follow-up on-site review to determine that the corrective action resolved the problems. Each on-site review shall ensure that the school's claim is based on the counting system and that the counting system, as implemented, yields the actual number of reimbursable free, reduced price and paid breakfasts, respectively, served for each day of operation.

    (2) School food authority claims review process. Prior to the submission of a monthly Claim for Reimbursement, each school food authority shall review the breakfast count data for each school under its jurisdiction to ensure the accuracy of the monthly Claim for Reimbursement. The objective of this review is to ensure that monthly claims include only the number of free, reduced price and paid breakfasts served on any day of operation to children currently eligible for such breakfasts.

    20. In § 220.13: a. In the sixth sentence of paragraph (b)(2), remove the word “SF-269” and add in its place the word “FNS-777”; b. Revise paragraphs (f)(2), (f)(3) and (f)(4); c. Revise paragraph (g); and d. Amend paragraph (j) by removing the words “supervisory assistance” and adding in their place the word “administrative”.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 220.13 Special responsibilities of State agencies.

    (f) * * *

    (2) State agencies must conduct administrative reviews of the school meal programs specified in § 210.18 of this chapter to ensure that schools participating in the designated programs comply with the provisions of this title. The reviews of selected schools must focus on compliance with the critical and/or general areas of review identified in § 210.18 of this chapter for each program, as applicable, and must be conducted as specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual for each program. School food authorities may appeal a denial of all or a part of the Claim for Reimbursement or withholding of payment arising from review activity conducted by the State agency under § 210.18 of this chapter or by FNS under § 210.29(d)(2) of this chapter. Any such appeal shall be subject to the procedures set forth under § 210.18(p) of this chapter or § 210.29(d)(3) of this chapter, as appropriate.

    (3) For the purposes of compliance with the meal requirements in §§ 220.8 and 220.23, the State agency must follow the provisions specified in § 210.18(g) of this chapter, as applicable.

    (4) State agency assistance must include visits to participating schools selected for administrative reviews under § 210.18 of this chapter to ensure compliance with program regulations and with the Department's nondiscrimination regulations (part 15 of this title), issued under title VI, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    (g) State agencies shall adequately safeguard all assets and monitor resource management as required under § 210.18 of this chapter, and in conformance with the procedures specified in the FNS Administrative Review Manual, to assure that assets are used solely for authorized purposes.

    § 220.14 [Amended]
    21. In paragraph (h), add the words “food authority” after the word “school”, and remove the words “§ 220.8(g), § 220.8(i)(2) and (i)(3), whichever is applicable” and add in their place the word “§ 220.8”. 22. Revise § 220.22 to read as follows:
    § 220.22 Information collection/recordkeeping—OMB assigned control numbers. 7 CFR section where
  • requirements are described
  • Current OMB control number
    220.3(e) 0584-0067 220.5 0584-0012 220.7(a)-(e) 0584-0006 0584-0012 0584-0067 220.8(f) 0584-0012 220.9(a) 0584-0012 220.11 (a), (b), (e) 0584-0012 0584-0002 0584-0067 220.12(b) 0584-0012 220.13 (a-1)-(c), (f) 0584-0026 0584-0002 0584-0067 0584-0012 220.14(d) 0584-0012 220.15 0584-0012
    PART 235—STATE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE FUNDS 23. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 235 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 7 and 10 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, 80 Stat. 888, 889, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1776, 1779).

    24. In § 235.2, add a definition of “Large school food authority” in alphabetical order to read as follows:
    § 235.2 Definitions.

    Large school food authority means, in any State:

    (1) All school food authorities that participate in the National School Lunch Program (7 CFR part 210) and have enrollments of 40,000 children or more each; or

    (2) If there are less than two school food authorities with enrollments of 40,000 or more, the two largest school food authorities that participate in the National School Lunch Program (7 CFR part 210) and have enrollments of 2,000 children or more each.

    Date: May 1, 2015. Yvette S. Jackson, Acting Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-10613 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0841; Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-3] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Nebraska Towns: Albion, NE; Bassett, NE; Lexington, NE AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class E airspace at Albion Municipal Airport, Albion, NE; Rock County Airport, Bassett, NE; and Jim Kelly Field Airport, Lexington, NE. Decommissioning of the non-directional radio beacons (NDB) and/or cancellation of NDB approaches due to advances in Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities has made this action necessary for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the above airports. Also, the geographic coordinates would be updated for Rock County Airport and Jim Kelly Field Airport.

    DATES:

    0901 UTC. Comments must be received on or before June 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. You must identify the docket number FAA-2015-0841/Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-3, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

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

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Roger Waite, Central Service Center, Operations Support Group, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137; telephone: (817) 321-7652.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2015-0841/Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-3.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the office of the Central Service Center, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

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

    The Proposal

    This action proposes to amend Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), Part 71 by modifying Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface for standard instrument approach procedures (SIAP) at Albion Municipal Airport, Albion, NE; Rock County Airport, Bassett, NE; and Jim Kelly Field Airport, Lexington, NE. Airspace reconfiguration is necessary due to the decommissioning of NDBs and/or the cancellation of the NDB approach at each airport. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of IFR operations for SIAPs at the airports. The geographic coordinates for Rock County Airport and Jim Kelly Field would be updated to be in concert with the FAAs aeronautical database.

    Class E airspace areas are published in Paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014 and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

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

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the U.S. Code. Subtitle 1, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend controlled airspace at the Nebraska airports listed in this NPRM.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014 and effective September 15, 2014, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth ACE NE E5 Albion, NE [Amended] Albion Municipal Airport, NE (Lat. 41°43′43″ N., long. 98°03′21″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.5-mile radius of Albion Municipal Airport.

    ACE NE E5 Bassett, NE [Amended] Rock County Airport, NE (Lat. 42°34′16″ N., long. 99°34′10″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.4-mile radius of Rock County Airport.

    ACE NE E5 Lexington, NE [Amended] Jim Kelly Field, NE (Lat. 40°47′26″ N., long. 99°46′33″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an 8-mile radius of Jim Kelly Field.

    Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on April 24, 2015. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11222 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0843; Airspace Docket No. 15-ASW-5] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace for the Following Louisiana Towns: Jonesboro, LA and Winnfield, LA AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class E airspace at Jonesboro Airport, Jonesboro, LA, and David G. Joyce Airport, Winnfield, LA. Decommissioning of the non-directional radio beacons (NDB) and/or cancellation of NDB approaches due to advances in Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities has made this action necessary for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the above airports.

    DATES:

    0901 UTC. Comments must be received on or before June 25, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. You must identify the docket number FAA-2015-0843/Airspace Docket No. 15-ASW-5, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

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

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy and Regulations Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Roger Waite, Central Service Center, Operations Support Group, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137; telephone: (817) 321-7652.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2015-0843/Airspace Docket No. 15-ASW-5.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the office of the Central Service Center, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

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

    The Proposal

    This action proposes to amend Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), Part 71 by modifying Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface for standard instrument approach procedures (SIAP) at Jonesboro Airport, Jonesboro, LA, and David G. Joyce Airport, Winnfield, LA. Airspace reconfiguration is necessary due to the decommissioning of NDBs and/or the cancellation of the NDB approach at each airport. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of IFR operations for SIAPs at the airports.

    Class E airspace areas are published in Paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

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

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the U.S. Code. Subtitle 1, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend controlled airspace at the Louisiana airports listed in this NPRM.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Y, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2014, and effective September 15, 2014, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth ASW LA E5 Jonesboro, LA [Amended] Jonesboro Airport, LA (Lat. 32°12′07″ N., long. 92°43′59″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.3-mile radius of Jonesboro Airport.

    ASW LA E5 Winnfield LA [Amended] David G. Joyce Airport, LA (Lat. 31°57′49″ N., long. 92°39′37″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.3-mile radius of David G. Joyce Airport.

    Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on April 24, 2015. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11223 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-107595-11] RIN 1545-BK09 Application of Modified Carryover Basis to General Basis Rules AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains proposed regulations that provide guidance regarding the application of the modified carryover basis rules of section 1022 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Specifically, the proposed regulations will modify provisions of the Treasury Regulations involving basis rules by including a reference to section 1022 where appropriate. The regulations will affect property transferred from certain decedents who died in 2010. The regulations reflect changes to the law made by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.

    DATES:

    Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by August 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send submissions to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-107595-11), Room 5205, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-107595-11), Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, or sent electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (REG-107595-11).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Concerning the proposed regulations, Mayer R. Samuels, (202) 317-6859; concerning submissions of comments or a request for a public hearing, Oluwafunmilayo Taylor, (202) 317-6901 (not toll-free numbers).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Subtitle A of title V of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Public Law 107-16 (EGTRRA) enacted section 2210 of the Code, which made chapter 11 (the estate tax) inapplicable to the estate of any decedent who died in 2010. Subtitle E of title V of EGTRRA enacted section 1022 regarding a modified carryover basis system applicable during 2010. On December 17, 2010, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-312 (TRUIRJCA) became law, and section 301(a) of TRUIRJCA retroactively reinstated the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. However, section 301(c) of TRUIRJCA allows the executor of the estate of a decedent who died in 2010 to elect to apply the Code as though section 301(a) of TRUIRJCA did not apply with respect to chapter 11 and with respect to property acquired or passing from the decedent (within the meaning of section 1014(b) of the Code). Thus, section 301(c) of TRUIRJCA allows the executor of the estate of a decedent who died in 2010 to elect not to have the provisions of chapter 11 apply to the decedent's estate, but rather to have the provisions of section 1022 apply (Section 1022 Election).

    Generally, under section 1014(a), the basis of property in the hands of a person acquiring the property from a decedent or to whom the property passed from a decedent is the fair market value of the property at the date of the decedent's death. However, if the decedent died in 2010 and the decedent's executor, as defined in section 2203, makes the Section 1022 Election, then the basis of property in the hands of a person acquiring the property from that decedent is governed by section 1022 and not by section 1014.

    Section 1022(a)(1) generally provides that property acquired from a decedent (within the meaning of section 1022(e)) is treated as having been transferred by gift. If the decedent's adjusted basis is less than or equal to the property's fair market value (FMV) determined as of the decedent's date of death, the recipient's basis is the adjusted basis of the decedent. If the decedent's adjusted basis is greater than that FMV, the recipient's basis is limited to that FMV. See section 1022(a)(2).

    If the decedent's adjusted basis in the property is less than the property's FMV on the decedent's date of death, sections 1022(b) and 1022(c) allow the executor of a decedent's estate to allocate additional basis (Basis Increase) to certain assets that both are owned by the decedent (within the meaning of section 1022(d)) at death and are acquired from the decedent (within the meaning of section 1022(e)). However, the property's total basis may not exceed the property's FMV on the date of death.

    Although section 1022 was applicable only to decedents dying in calendar year 2010, basis determined pursuant to that section will continue to be relevant until all of the property whose basis is determined under that section has been sold or otherwise disposed of. Accordingly, the existing regulations need to be updated to incorporate appropriate references to basis determined under section 1022.

    Explanation of Provisions

    These proposed regulations incorporate into the existing regulations, as appropriate, references to section 1022 to ensure that references to basis also include basis as determined under that section. Some changes involve simply inserting the words “or section 1022”, “and 1022”, or similar references. Others (such as § 1.742-1) require the insertion of a new sentence or an example to expressly address the applicability of section 1022. A few changes (such as proposed § 1.684-3) require the inclusion of a new section to provide a detailed explanation of the application of section 1022 in the particular context of the existing regulation. The proposed regulations also provide cross references for section 1022 when appropriate and make other minor, non-substantive changes. Language revisions serve solely to conform the existing regulations to the provisions of section 1022 and no additional changes are intended. The more significant changes are briefly described below.

    Section 1.48-12(b)(2)(vii)(B) of the proposed regulations provides that, if a transferee's basis is determined under section 1022, any qualified rehabilitation expenditures incurred by the decedent under section 48 within the measuring period that are treated as having been incurred by the transferee decrease the transferee's basis for purposes of the substantial rehabilitation test.

    Section 1.83-4(b)(1) of the proposed regulations provides that, if property to which section 83 applies is acquired by any person while such property is substantially nonvested, such person's basis in the property reflects any adjustments to basis provided under section 1022, as well as under sections 1015 and 1016.

    Sections 1.179-4(c)(1)(iv), 1.267(d)-1(a)(3), 1.336-1(b)(5)(i)(A) and 1.355-6(d)(1)(i)(A)(2) of the proposed regulations provide that property acquired from a decedent in a transaction in which the recipient's basis is determined under section 1022 is not acquired by purchase or exchange for purposes of sections 179, 267, 336, and 355(d).

    Section 1.197-2(h)(5)(i) of the proposed regulations provides that the anti-churning rules of § 1.197-2(h) do not apply to the acquisition of a section 197(f)(9) intangible if the acquiring taxpayer's basis in the intangible is determined under section 1022.

    Section 1.306-3(e) of the proposed regulations provides that section 306 stock continues to be classified as section 306 stock if the basis of such stock is determined by reference to the decedent-stockholder's basis under section 1022. In addition, the revision of the last sentence of the existing regulation clarifies the reference to “the optional valuation date under section 1014” by changing the language to refer expressly to the election to use the alternate valuation date under section 2032.

    Section 1.382-9 of the proposed regulations provides that for purposes of § 1.382-9(d)(5)(i), the definition of qualified transfer is expanded to include situations where the transferee's basis in the indebtedness is determined under section 1022.

    Section 1.421-2(c)(4) of the proposed regulations provides that an option granted under an employee stock purchase plan acquires a basis, determined under section 1014 (or section 1022, if applicable), only if the transfer of the share pursuant to the exercise of such option qualifies for the special tax treatment provided by section 421(a).

    Section 1.423-2(k)(2) of the proposed regulations provides that if the special rules provided under § 1.423-2(k) are applicable to a share of stock upon the death of an employee, then the basis of the share in the hands of the estate or the person receiving the stock by bequest or inheritance shall be determined under section 1014 (or section 1022, if applicable).

    Section 1.467-7(c)(2) of the proposed regulations provides that section 467 recapture does not apply to a disposition on death of the transferor if the basis of the property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022. However, section 467 recapture does apply to property that constitutes a right to receive an item of income in respect of a decedent. Section 1.467-7(c)(4) of the proposed regulations provides that, if the transferee subsequently disposes of the property in a transaction to which § 1.467-7(a) applies, the prior understated inclusion is computed by taking into account the amounts attributable to the period of the transferor's ownership of the property prior to the first disposition.

    Section 1.617-3(d)(5)(ii)(b) of the proposed regulations provides that the amount of the adjusted exploration expenditures for mining property in the hands of the transferee immediately after a disposition of property that is subject to section 1022 is equal to the amount of the adjusted exploration expenditures for mining property in the hands of the transferor immediately before the disposition, minus the amount of any gain taken into account under section 617(d). In addition, under § 1.617-4(c)(1)(i), no gain is recognized on the gift of mining property. For purposes of determining gain from the disposition of certain mining property, the term “gift” is expanded to include disposition of property with a basis that is determined under section 1022.

    Section 684 generally requires gain to be recognized on any transfer of appreciated property by a U.S. person to a foreign non-grantor trust or foreign estate. For decedents dying in 2010, section 684 also applies to certain transfers of property by reason of death to nonresident aliens. Gain is determined by reference to the fair market value of the property over the adjusted basis of such property in the hands of the transferor. Section 1.684-3(c) currently provides that, in the case of a transfer of property by reason of death of a U.S. transferor to a foreign non-grantor trust, no gain recognition is required if the basis of the property in the hands of the trust is determined under section 1014(a).

    Section 1.684-3(c) of the proposed regulations provides that this rule is modified to clarify the application of section 684 to transfers of property by reason of death of U.S. transferor decedents dying in 2010. If the executor of a U.S. decedent does not make a Section 1022 Election, the proposed regulations confirm that the general exception to gain recognition will apply. If the executor of a U.S. decedent does make a Section 1022 Election, the proposed regulations provide, consistent with Rev. Proc. 2011-41 (2011-35 IRB 188 (August 29, 2011)) (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter) and Notice 2011-66 (2011-35 IRB 184 (August 29, 2011)) (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter), that there is gain recognition. Any basis increase that the executor allocates under section 1022 will reduce the amount of gain in that property for purposes of section 684.

    Section 1.742-1(a) of the proposed regulations provides that the basis of a partnership interest acquired from a decedent who died in 2010, and whose executor made a Section 1022 Election, is the lower of the adjusted basis of the decedent or fair market value of the interest at the date of decedent's death. The basis of property acquired from a decedent may be further increased under section 1022(b) and/or 1022(c), but not above the fair market value of the interest on the date of the decedent's death.

    Section 1.995-4(d)(2) of the proposed regulations provides that the period during which a shareholder of stock in a DISC has held stock includes the period he is considered to have held it by reason of the application of section 1223 and, if his basis is determined in whole or in part under the provisions of section 1022, the holding period of the decedent.

    Section 1.1014-4(a) of the proposed regulations provides that the basis of property acquired from a decedent, including basis determined under section 1022, is uniform in the hands of every person having possession or enjoyment of the property at any time, whether obtained under the will or other instrument or under the laws of descent and distribution.

    Section 1.1014-5(b) of the proposed regulations provides that, in determining gain or loss from the sale or other disposition of a term interest in property the adjusted basis of which is determined pursuant to section 1022, that part of the adjusted uniform basis assignable under the rules of § 1.1014-5(a) to the interest sold or otherwise disposed of is disregarded to the extent and in the manner provided by section 1001(e).

    Section 1.1223-1(b) of the proposed regulations provides that the holding period under section 1223 of the recipient of property acquired from a decedent who died in 2010, and whose executor made a Section 1022 Election, includes the period that the property was held by the decedent.

    Sections 1.1245-2(c)(2)(ii)(d) and 1.1245-3(a)(3) of the proposed regulations provide that, if section 1245 property is acquired from a decedent who died in 2010 and whose executor made a Section 1022 Election, the amount of the adjustments reflected in the adjusted basis of the property in the hands of the transferee immediately after the transfer is equal to the amount of the adjustments reflected in the adjusted basis of the property in the hands of the transferor immediately before the transfer, minus the amount of any gain taken into account under section 1245(a)(1) by the transferor upon the transfer. Further, even though property is not of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation in the hands of the taxpayer, the property is section 1245 property if the taxpayer's basis in the property is determined under section 1022 and the property was of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation in the hands of the decedent.

    Section 1.1245-4(a)(1) of the proposed regulations provides that no gain is recognized under section 1245(a)(1) upon a transfer of section 1245 property from a decedent whose executor made the Section 1022 Election.

    Section 1.1250-4(c)(5) of the proposed regulations provides that the holding period under section 1250(e) for the recipient of property acquired from a decedent who died in 2010, and whose executor made a Section 1022 Election, includes the period that the property was held by the decedent.

    Section 1.1254-2(a)(1) of the proposed regulations provides that no gain is recognized under section 1254(a)(1) upon a transfer of natural resource recapture property from a decedent who died in 2010 and whose executor made a Section 1022 Election.

    Sections 1.1254-3(b), 1.1254-4(e)(4), and 1.1254-5(c)(2)(iv) of the proposed regulations provide that, for purposes of determining the amount of section 1254 costs from the disposition of natural resource recapture property, the term “gift” is expanded to include the transfer of property with a basis that is determined under section 1022.

    Section 1.1296-1(d)(4) of the proposed regulations provides that the basis of stock of a passive foreign investment company for which a section 1296 election was in effect as of the date of the decedent's death that is acquired from a decedent is the lower of the adjusted basis of the stock in the hands of the decedent immediately before his death or the basis that would have been determined under section 1014 or section 1022, as applicable, without regard to this paragraph.

    Section 1.1312-7(b) of the proposed regulations provides that the taxpayer with respect to whom the erroneous treatment occurred must be a taxpayer who had title to the property at the time of the erroneously treated transaction and from whom, mediately or immediately, the taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made derived title, if the basis of the property in the hands of the taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made is determined under section 1022.

    Proposed Effective/Applicability Date

    These regulations are proposed to apply on and after the date the regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Special Analyses

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

    Comments and Requests for a Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any written (a signed original and eight (8) copies) or electronic comments that are submitted timely to the IRS. All comments will be available at www.regulations.gov or upon request for public inspection and copying. A public hearing will be scheduled if requested in writing by any person that timely submits comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the public hearing will be published in the Federal Register.

    Drafting Information

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

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    Par. 2. Section 1.48-12 is amended by revising the last sentence of paragraph (b)(2)(vii)(B) and adding paragraph (g) to read as follows:
    § 1.48-12 Qualified rehabilitated building; expenditures incurred after December 31, 1981.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (vii) * * *

    (B) * * * If a transferee's basis is determined under section 1014 or section 1022, any expenditures incurred by the decedent within the measuring period that are treated as having been incurred by the transferee under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section shall decrease the transferee's basis for purposes of the substantial rehabilitation test.

    (g) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.48-12 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 3. Section 1.83-4 is amended by revising the last sentence of paragraph (b)(1) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.83-4 Special rules.

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * * Such basis shall also reflect any adjustments to basis provided under sections 1015, 1016, and 1022.

    (d) Effective/applicability date. The provisions in this section are applicable for taxable years beginning on or after July 21, 1978. The provisions of paragraph (b)(1) of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 4. Section 1.179-4 is amended by revising the first sentence of paragraph (c)(1)(iv) to read as follows:
    § 1.179-4 Definitions.

    (c) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (iv) The property is not acquired by purchase if the basis of the property in the hands of the person acquiring it is determined in whole or in part by reference to the adjusted basis of such property in the hands of the person from whom acquired, is determined under section 1014(a), relating to property acquired from a decedent, or is determined under section 1022, relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010. * * *

    Par. 5. Section 1.179-6 is amended by: a. Revising the section heading and the first sentence of paragraph (a). b. Adding paragraph (d).

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 1.179-6 Effective/applicability dates.

    (a) * * * Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section, the provisions of §§ 1.179-1 through 1.179-5 apply for property placed in service by the taxpayer in taxable years ending after January 25, 1993. * * *

    (d) Application of § 1.179-4(c)(1)(iv). The provisions of § 1.179-4(c)(1)(iv) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 6. Section 1.197-2 is amended by revising paragraphs (h)(5)(i) and (h)(12)(viii) and adding paragraph (l)(5) to read as follows:
    § 1.197-2 Amortization of goodwill and certain other intangibles.

    (h) * * *

    (5) * * *

    (i) The acquisition of a section 197(f)(9) intangible if the acquiring taxpayer's basis in the intangible is determined under section 1014(a) or 1022; or

    (12) * * *

    (viii) Operating rule for transfers upon death. For purposes of this paragraph (h)(12), if the basis of a partner's interest in a partnership is determined under section 1014(a) or 1022, such partner is treated as acquiring such interest from a person who is not related to such partner, and such interest is treated as having previously been held by a person who is not related to such partner.

    (l) * * *

    (5) Application of section 1022. The provisions of § 1.197-2 relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 7. Section 1.267(d)-1 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 1.267(d)-1 Amount of gain where loss previously disallowed.

    (a) * * *

    (3) The benefit of the general rule is available only to the original transferee but does not apply to any original transferee (for example, a donee or a person acquiring property from a decedent where the basis of property is determined under section 1014 or 1022) who acquired the property in any manner other than by purchase or exchange.

    Par. 8. Section 1.267(d)-2 is amended by revising the section heading and adding a sentence to the end of the paragraph to read as follows:
    § 1.267(d)-2 Effective/applicability dates.

    * * * The provisions of § 1.267(d)-1(a)(3) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 9. Section 1.273-1 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.273-1 Life or terminable interests.

    (a) In general. Amounts paid as income to the holder of a life or a terminable interest acquired by gift, bequest, or inheritance shall not be subject to any deduction for shrinkage (whether called by depreciation or any other name) in the value of such interest due to the lapse of time. In other words, the holder of such an interest so acquired may not set up the value of the expected future payments as corpus or principal and claim deduction for shrinkage or exhaustion thereof due to the passage of time. For the treatment generally of distributions to beneficiaries of an estate or trust, see Subparts A, B, C, and D (section 641 and following), Subchapter J, Chapter 1 of the Code, and corresponding regulations. For basis of property acquired from a decedent and by gifts and transfers in trust, see sections 1014, 1015, and 1022, and corresponding regulations.

    (b) Effective/applicability date. The provisions in this section are applicable for taxable years beginning on or after September 16, 1958. The provisions of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 10. Section 1.306-3 is amended by removing the last sentence of paragraph (e) and adding two sentences in its place to read as follows:
    § 1.306-3 Section 306 stock defined.

    (e) * * * Section 306 stock ceases to be so classified if the basis of such stock is determined by reference to its fair market value on the date of the decedent-stockholder's death under section 1014 or the optional valuation date under section 2032. Section 306 stock continues to be so classified if the basis of such stock is determined under section 1022.

    Par. 11. Section 1.306-4 is added to read as follows:
    § 1.306-4 Effective/applicability date.

    The provisions of §§ 1.306-1 through 1.306-3 are applicable on or after June 22, 1954. The provisions of § 1.306-3 relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 12. Section 1.336-1 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(5)(i)(A) to read as follows:
    § 1.336-1 General principles, nomenclature, and definitions for a section 336(e) election.

    (b) * * *

    (5) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) The basis of the stock in the hands of the purchaser is not determined in whole or in part by reference to the adjusted basis of such stock in the hands of the person from whom the stock is acquired, is not determined under section 1014(a) (relating to property acquired from a decedent), or is not determined under section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010);

    Par. 13. Section 1.336-5 is amended by revising the section heading and adding a sentence to the end of the paragraph to read as follows:
    § 1.336-5 Effective/applicability dates.

    * * * The provisions of § 1.336-1(b)(5)(i)(A) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 14. Section 1.355-6 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(1)(i)(A)(2) and (g) to read as follows:
    § 1.355-6 Recognition of gain on certain distributions of stock or securities in controlled corporation.

    (d) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) * * *

    (2) Under section 1014(a) or 1022; and

    (g) Effective/applicability dates. This section applies to distributions occurring after December 20, 2000, except that they do not apply to any distributions occurring pursuant to a written agreement that is (subject to customary conditions) binding on December 20, 2000, and at all later times. The provisions of paragraph (d)(1)(i)(A)(2) of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 15. Section 1.382-9 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(5)(ii)(D) and (d)(6)(i) to read as follows:
    § 1.382-9 Special rules under section 382 for corporations under the jurisdiction of a court in a title 11 or similar case.

    (d) * * *

    (5) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (D) The transferee's basis in the indebtedness is determined under section 1014, 1015, or 1022 or with reference to the transferor's basis in the indebtedness;

    (6) Effective/applicability date—(i) In general. This paragraph (d) applies to ownership changes occurring on or after March 17, 1994. The provisions of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(D) of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 16. Section 1.421-2 is amended by: a. Revising paragraphs (c)(4)(i)(a) and (c)(4)(ii). b. Revising paragraph (f) heading and adding paragraph (f)(3).

    The revisions and addition read as follows:

    § 1.421-2 General rules.

    (c) * * *

    (4)(i)(a) In the case of the death of an optionee, the basis of any share of stock acquired by the exercise of an option under this paragraph (c), determined under section 1011, shall be increased by an amount equal to the portion of the basis of the option attributable to such share. For example, if a statutory option to acquire 10 shares of stock has a basis of $100, the basis of one share acquired by a partial exercise of the option, determined under section 1011, would be increased by 1/10th of $100, or $10. The option acquires a basis, determined under section 1014(a) or under section 1022, if applicable, only if the transfer of the share pursuant to the exercise of such option qualifies for the special tax treatment provided by section 421(a). To the extent the option is so exercised, in whole or in part, it will acquire a basis equal to its fair market value (or the basis as determined under section 1022, if applicable) at the date of the employee's death or, if an election is made under section 2032, its value at its applicable valuation date. In certain cases, the basis of the share is subject to the adjustments provided by paragraphs (c)(4)(i)(b) and (c) of this section, but such adjustments are only applicable in the case of an option that is subject to section 423(c).

    (ii) If a statutory option is not exercised by the estate of the individual to whom the option was granted, or by the person who acquired such option by bequest or inheritance or by reason of the death of such individual, the option shall be considered to be property that constitutes a right to receive an item of income in respect of a decedent to which the rules of sections 691 and 1014(c) (or section 1022(f), if applicable) apply.

    (f) Effective/applicability date. * * *

    (3) Application of section 1022. The provisions of § 1.421-2(c) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 17. Section 1.423-2 is amended by: a. Revising the third sentence of paragraph (k)(2). b. Adding a sentence to the end of paragraph (l).

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 1.423-2 Employee stock purchase plan defined.

    (k) * * *

    (2) * * * If the special rules provided in this paragraph (k) are applicable to a share of stock upon the death of an employee, then the basis of the share in the hands of the estate or the person receiving the stock by bequest or inheritance shall be determined under section 1014 or under section 1022, if applicable, and shall not be increased by reason of the inclusion upon the decedent's death of any amount in the decedent's gross income under this paragraph (k). * * *

    (l) * * * The provisions of § 1.423-2 relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 18. Section 1.424-1 is amended by revising the last sentence of paragraph (c)(2) and adding paragraph (g)(3) to read as follows:
    § 1.424-1 Definitions and special rules applicable to statutory options.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * * For determination of basis in the hands of the survivor where joint ownership is terminated by the death of one of the owners, see section 1014 or section 1022, if applicable.

    (g) * * *

    (3) Application of section 1022. The provisions of § 1.424-1(c)(2) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 19. Section 1.467-7 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(2) and revising the first sentence of paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows:
    § 1.467-7 Section 467 recapture and other rules relating to dispositions and modifications.

    (c) * * *

    (2) Dispositions at death. Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to a disposition if the basis of the property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1014(a) or section 1022. However, see paragraph (c)(4) of this section for dispositions of property subject to section 1022 by transferees. This paragraph (c)(2) does not apply to property that constitutes a right to receive an item of income in respect of a decedent. See sections 691, 1014(c), and 1022(f).

    (4) * * * If the recapture amount with respect to a disposition of property (the first disposition) is limited under paragraph (c)(1), (c)(2) (if the basis of the property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022), or (c)(3) of this section and the transferee subsequently disposes of the property in a transaction to which paragraph (a) of this section applies, the prior understated inclusion determined under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is computed by taking into account the amounts attributable to the period of the transferor's ownership of the property prior to the first disposition. * * *

    Par. 20. Section 1.467-9 is amended by revising the section heading and adding paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 1.467-9 Effective/applicability dates and automatic method changes for certain agreements.

    (f) Application of section 1022. The provisions of § 1.467-7(c) relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 21. Section 1.617-3 is amended by revising paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(b) to read as follows:
    § 1.617-3 Recapture of exploration expenditures.

    (d) * * *

    (5) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (b) The transactions referred to in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(a) of this section are: (1) A disposition that is in part a sale or exchange and in part a gift;

    (2) A disposition that is described in section 617(d) through the incorporation by reference of the provisions of section 1245(b)(3) (relating to certain tax free transactions); or

    (3) A transfer at death where basis of property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022.

    Par. 22. Section 1.617-4 is amended by revising the second sentence of paragraph (c)(1)(i) to read as follows:
    § 1.617-4 Treatment of gain from disposition of certain mining property.

    (c) * * *

    (1)(i) * * * For purposes of this paragraph (c), the term “gift” means, except to the extent that paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section applies, a transfer of mining property that, in the hands of the transferee, has a basis determined under the provisions of section 1015(a) or 1015(d) (relating to basis of property acquired by gift) or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010). * * *

    Par. 23. Section 1.617-5 is added to read as follows:
    § 1.617-5 Effective/applicability date.

    Sections 1.617-3 and 1.617-4 apply on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see §§ 1.617-3 and 1.617-4 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 24. Section 1.684-3 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 1.684-3 Exceptions to general rule of gain recognition.

    (c) Certain transfers at death—(1) Section 1014 basis. The general rule of gain recognition under § 1.684-1 shall not apply to any transfer of property to a foreign trust or foreign estate or, in the case of a transfer of property by a U.S. transferor decedent dying in 2010, to a foreign trust, foreign estate, or a nonresident alien, by reason of death of the U.S. transferor, if the basis of the property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1014(a).

    (2) Section 1022 basis election. For U.S. transferor decedents dying in 2010, the general rule of gain recognition under § 1.684-1 shall apply to any transfer of property by reason of death of the U.S. transferor if the basis of the property in the hands of the foreign trust, foreign estate, or the nonresident alien individual is determined under section 1022. The gain on the transfer shall be calculated as set out under § 1.684-1(a), except that adjusted basis will reflect any increases allocated to such property under section 1022.

    Par. 25. Section 1.684-5 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.684-5 Effective/applicability dates.

    (a) Sections 1.684-1 through 1.684-4 apply to transfers of property to foreign trusts and foreign estates after August 7, 2000, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) In the case a U.S. transferor decedent dying in 2010, § 1.684-3(c) applies to transfers of property to foreign trusts, foreign estates, and nonresident aliens after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2011.

    Par. 26. Section 1.691(a)-3 is amended by revising the last two sentences of paragraph (a) and adding paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 1.691(a)-3 Character of gross income.

    (a) * * * The provisions of section 1014(a), relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent, and section 1022, relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010, do not apply to these amounts in the hands of the estate and such persons. See sections 1014(c) and 1022(f).

    (c) Effective/applicability dates. The last two sentences of paragraph (a) of this section apply on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.691(a)-3 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 27. Section 1.742-1 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.742-1 Basis of transferee partner's interest.

    (a) In general. The basis to a transferee partner of an interest in a partnership shall be determined under the general basis rules for property provided by part II (section 1011 and following), Subchapter O, Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code. Thus, the basis of a purchased interest will be its cost. Generally, the basis of a partnership interest acquired from a decedent is the fair market value of the interest at the date of his death or at the alternate valuation date, increased by his estate's or other successor's share of partnership liabilities, if any, on that date, and reduced to the extent that such value is attributable to items constituting income in respect of a decedent (see section 753 and §§ 1.706-1(c)(3)(v) and 1.753-1(b)) under section 691. See section 1014(c). However, the basis of a partnership interest acquired from a decedent is determined under section 1022 if the decedent died in 2010 and the decedent's executor elected to have section 1022 apply to the decedent's estate. For basis of contributing partner's interest, see section 722. The basis so determined is then subject to the adjustments provided in section 705.

    (b) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.742-1 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 28. Section 1.743-1 is amended by revising paragraphs (k)(2)(ii) and (l) to read as follows:
    § 1.743-1 Optional adjustment to basis of partnership property.

    (k) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Special rule. A transferee that acquires, on the death of a partner, an interest in a partnership with an election under section 754 in effect for the taxable year of the transfer, must notify the partnership, in writing, within one year of the death of the deceased partner. The written notice to the partnership must be signed under penalties of perjury and must include the names and addresses of the deceased partner and the transferee, the taxpayer identification numbers of the deceased partner and the transferee, the relationship (if any) between the transferee and the transferor, the deceased partner's date of death, the date on which the transferee became the owner of the partnership interest, the fair market value of the partnership interest on the applicable date of valuation set forth in section 1014 or section 1022, the manner in which the fair market value of the partnership interest was determined, and the carryover basis as adjusted under section 1022 (if applicable).

    (l) Effective/applicability date. The provisions in this section apply to transfers of partnership interests that occur on or after December 15, 1999. The provisions of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 29. Section 1.755-1 is amended by: a. Revising paragraphs (a)(4)(i)(C) and the first sentence of (b)(4)(i). b. Revising the heading of paragraph (e) and paragraph (e)(2).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 1.755-1 Rules for allocation of basis.

    (a) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (C) Income in respect of a decedent. Solely for the purpose of determining partnership gross value under this paragraph (a)(4)(i), where a partnership interest is transferred as a result of the death of a partner, the transferee's basis in its partnership interest is determined without regard to section 1014(c) or section 1022(f), and is deemed to be adjusted for that portion of the interest, if any, that is attributable to items representing income in respect of a decedent under section 691.

    (b) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (i) * * * Where a partnership interest is transferred as a result of the death of a partner, under section 1014(c) or section 1022(f), the transferee's basis in its partnership interest is not adjusted for that portion of the interest, if any, that is attributable to items representing income in respect of a decedent under section 691. * * *

    (e) Effective/applicability dates. * * *

    (2) Special rules. Paragraphs (a) and (b)(3)(iii) of this section apply to transfers of partnership interests and distributions of property from a partnership that occur on or after June 9, 2003. The provisions of paragraphs (a)(4)(i)(C) and (b)(4)(i) of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 30. Section 1.995-4 is amended by revising the first sentence of paragraph (d)(2) and adding paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 1.995-4 Gain on disposition of stock in a DISC.

    (d) * * *

    (2) * * * For purposes of this section, the period during which a shareholder has held stock includes the period he is considered to have held it by reason of the application of section 1223 and, if his basis is determined in whole or in part under the provisions of section 1014(d) (relating to special rule for DISC stock acquired from decedent) or section 1022 (relating to property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010), the holding period of the decedent. * * *

    (f) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.995-4 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 31. Section 1.1001-1 is amended by revising the last sentence of paragraph (a), revising paragraph (f)(1), and adding paragraph (f)(5) to read as follows:
    § 1.1001-1 Computation of gain or loss.

    (a) * * * Section 1001(e) and paragraph (f) of this section prescribe the method of computing gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of a term interest in property the adjusted basis (or a portion) of which is determined pursuant, or by reference, to section 1014 (relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent), section 1015 (relating to the basis of property acquired by gift or by a transfer in trust), or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010).

    (f) * * *

    (1) General rule. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, for purposes of determining gain or loss from the sale or other disposition after October 9, 1969, of a term interest in property (as defined in paragraph (f)(2) of this section), a taxpayer shall not take into account that portion of the adjusted basis of such interest that is determined pursuant, or by reference, to section 1014 (relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent), section 1015 (relating to the basis of property acquired by gift or by a transfer in trust), or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010) to the extent that such adjusted basis is a portion of the adjusted uniform basis of the entire property (as defined in § 1.1014-5). Where a term interest in property is transferred to a corporation in connection with a transaction to which section 351 applies and the adjusted basis of the term interest:

    (i) Is determined pursuant to sections 1014, 1015, or 1022; and

    (ii) Is also a portion of the adjusted uniform basis of the entire property, a subsequent sale or other disposition of such term interest by the corporation will be subject to the provisions of section 1001(e) and this paragraph (f) to the extent that the basis of the term interest so sold or otherwise disposed of is determined by reference to its basis in the hands of the transferor as provided by section 362(a). See paragraph (f)(2) of this section for rules relating to the characterization of stock received by the transferor of a term interest in property in connection with a transaction to which section 351 applies. That portion of the adjusted uniform basis of the entire property that is assignable to such interest at the time of its sale or other disposition shall be determined under the rules provided in § 1.1014-5. Thus, gain or loss realized from a sale or other disposition of a term interest in property shall be determined by comparing the amount of the proceeds of such sale with that part of the adjusted basis of such interest that is not a portion of the adjusted uniform basis of the entire property.

    (5) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1001-1 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 32. Section 1.1014-1 is amended by revising paragraph (a) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.1014-1 Basis of property acquired from a decedent.

    (a) General rule. The purpose of section 1014 is, in general, to provide a basis for property acquired from a decedent that is equal to the value placed upon such property for purposes of the Federal estate tax. Accordingly, the general rule is that the basis of property acquired from a decedent is the fair market value of such property at the date of the decedent's death, or, if the decedent's executor so elects, at the alternate valuation date prescribed in section 2032, or in section 811(j) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) of 1939. However, the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010 is determined under section 1022, if the decedent's executor made an election under section 301(c) of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Public Law 111-312 (124 Stat. 3296, 3300 (2010)). See section 1022. Property acquired from a decedent includes, principally, property acquired by bequest, devise, or inheritance, and, in the case of decedents dying after December 31, 1953, property required to be included in determining the value of the decedent's gross estate under any provision of the Code of 1954 or the Code of 1939. The general rule governing basis of property acquired from a decedent, as well as other rules prescribed elsewhere in this section, shall have no application if the property is sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of before the decedent's death by the person who acquired the property from the decedent. For general rules on the applicable valuation date where the executor of a decedent's estate elects under section 2032, or under section 811(j) of the Code of 1939, to value the decedent's gross estate at the alternate valuation date prescribed in such sections, see § 1.1014-3(e).

    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1014-1 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 33. Section 1.1014-4 is amended by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a)(1), revising the second sentence of paragraph (a)(2), and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.1014-4 Uniformity of basis; adjustment to basis.

    (a) * * *

    (1) The basis of property acquired from a decedent, as determined under section 1014(a) or section 1022, is uniform in the hands of every person having possession or enjoyment of the property at any time under the will or other instrument or under the laws of descent and distribution. * * *

    (2) * * * Accordingly, there is a common acquisition date for all titles to property acquired from a decedent within the meaning of section 1014 or section 1022, and, for this reason, a common or uniform basis for all such interests. * * *

    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1014-4 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 34. Section 1.1014-5 is amended by revising paragraph (b), adding and reserving paragraph (d), and adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 1.1014-5 Gain or loss.

    (b) Sale or other disposition of certain term interests. In determining gain or loss from the sale or other disposition after October 9, 1969, of a term interest in property (as defined in § 1.1001-1(f)(2)) the adjusted basis of which is determined pursuant, or by reference, to section 1014 (relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent), section 1015 (relating to the basis of property acquired by gift or by a transfer in trust), or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010), that part of the adjusted uniform basis assignable under the rules of paragraph (a) of this section to the interest sold or otherwise disposed of shall be disregarded to the extent and in the manner provided by section 1001(e) and § 1.1001-1(f).

    (d) [Reserved]

    (e) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1014-5 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 35. Section 1.1223-1 is amended by adding a sentence to the end of paragraph (b) and adding paragraph (l) to read as follows:
    § 1.1223-1 Determination of period for which capital assets are held.

    (b) * * * Similarly, the period for which property acquired from a decedent who died in 2010 was held by the decedent must be included in determining the period during which the property was held by the recipient, if the recipient's basis in the property is determined under section 1022.

    (l) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1223-1 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 36. Section 1.1245-2 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(2)(ii) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.1245-2 Definition of recomputed basis.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) The transactions referred to in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section are:

    (a) A disposition that is in part a sale or exchange and in part a gift (see § 1.1245-4(a)(3));

    (b) A disposition (other than a disposition to which section 1245(b)(6)(A) applies) that is described in section 1245(b)(3) (relating to certain tax-free transactions);

    (c) An exchange described in § 1.1245-4(e)(2) (relating to transfers described in section 1081(d)(1)(A)); or

    (d) A transfer at death where the basis of property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022.

    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1245-2 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 37. Section 1.1245-3 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(3) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.1245-3 Definition of section 1245 property.

    (a) * * *

    (3) Even though property may not be of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation in the hands of the taxpayer, such property may nevertheless be section 1245 property if the taxpayer's basis for the property is determined by reference to its basis in the hands of a prior owner of the property and such property was of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation in the hands of such prior owner, or if the taxpayer's basis for the property is determined by reference to the basis of other property that in the hands of the taxpayer was property of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation, or if the taxpayer's basis for the property is determined under section 1022 and such property was of a character subject to the allowance for depreciation in the hands of the decedent. Thus, for example, if a father uses an automobile in his trade or business during a period after December 31, 1961, and then gives the automobile to his son as a gift for the son's personal use, the automobile is section 1245 property in the hands of the son.

    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1245-3 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 38. Section 1.1245-4 is amended by revising the second sentence of paragraph (a)(1) and adding paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 1.1245-4 Exceptions and Limitations.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * * For purposes of this paragraph (a), the term “gift” means, except to the extent that paragraph (a)(3) of this section applies, a transfer of property that, in the hands of the transferee, has a basis determined under the provisions of section 1015(a) or 1015(d) (relating to basis of property acquired by gifts) or section 1022 (relating to basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010). * * *

    (i) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1245-4 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 39. Section 1.1250-4 is amended by adding paragraphs (c)(5) and (h) to read as follows:
    § 1.1250-4 Holding period.

    (c) * * *

    (5) A transfer at death where the basis of the property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022.

    (h) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1250-4 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    Par. 40. Section 1.1254-2 is amended by revising the second sentence of paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
    § 1.1254-2 Exceptions and limitations.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * * For purposes of this paragraph (a), the term “gift” means, except to the extent that paragraph (a)(2) of this section applies, a transfer of natural resource recapture property that, in the hands of the transferee, has a basis determined under the provisions of section 1015(a) or 1015(d) (relating to basis of property acquired by gift) or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010). * * *

    Par. 41. Section 1.1254-3 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (iii) and adding paragraph (b)(2)(iv) to read as follows:
    § 1.1254-3 Section 1254 costs immediately after certain acquisitions.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) A transaction described in section 1041(a);

    (iii) A disposition described in § 1.1254-2(c)(3) (relating to certain tax-free transactions); or

    (iv) A transfer at death where basis of property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022.

    Par. 42. Section 1.1254-4 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(4) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 1.1254-4 Special rules for S corporations and their shareholders.

    (e) * * *

    (4) * * * If stock is acquired in a transfer that is a gift, in a transfer that is a part sale or exchange and part gift, in a transfer that is described in section 1041(a), or in a transfer at death where the basis of property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022, the amount of section 1254 costs with respect to the property held by the corporation in the acquiring shareholder's hands immediately after the transfer is an amount equal to—

    Par.43. Section 1.1254-5 is amended by revising paragraph (c)(2)(iv) introductory text to read as follows:
    § 1.1254-5 Special rules for partnerships and their partners.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iv) * * * If an interest in a partnership is transferred in a transfer that is a gift, in a transfer that is a part sale or exchange and part gift, in a transfer that is described in section 1041(a), or in a transfer at death where the basis of property in the hands of the transferee is determined under section 1022, the amount of the transferee partner's section 1254 costs with respect to property held by the partnership immediately after the transfer is an amount equal to—

    Par. 44. Section 1.1254-6 is revised to read as follows:
    § 1.1254-6 Effective/applicability date.

    (a) Sections 1.1254-1 through 1.1254-3 and 1.1254-5 are effective with respect to any disposition of natural resource recapture property occurring after March 13, 1995. The rule in § 1.1254-1(b)(2)(iv)(A)(2), relating to a nonoperating mineral interest carved out of an operating mineral interest with respect to which an expenditure has been deducted, is effective with respect to any disposition occurring after March 13, 1995, of property (within the meaning of section 614) that is placed in service by the taxpayer after December 31, 1986. Section 1.1254-4 applies to dispositions of natural resource recapture property by an S corporation (and a corporation that was formerly an S corporation) and dispositions of S corporation stock occurring on or after October 10, 1996. Sections 1.1254-2(d)(1)(ii), 1.1254-3(b)(1)(i), (b)(1)(ii), (d)(1)(i), and (d)(1)(ii) are effective for dispositions of property occurring on or after October 10, 1996.

    (b) The provisions of §§ 1.1254-2(a)(1), 1.1254-3(b)(2), 1.1254-4(e)(4), and 1.1254-5(c)(2)(iv) that relate to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 45. Section 1.1296-1 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(4) and (j) to read as follows:
    § 1.1296-1 Mark to market election for marketable stock.

    (d) * * *

    (4) Stock acquired from a decedent. In the case of stock of a PFIC that is acquired by bequest, devise, or inheritance (or by the decedent's estate) and with respect to which a section 1296 election was in effect as of the date of the decedent's death, notwithstanding section 1014 or section 1022, the basis of such stock in the hands of the person so acquiring it shall be the adjusted basis of such stock in the hands of the decedent immediately before his death (or, if lesser, the basis that would have been determined under section 1014 or section 1022 without regard to this paragraph (d)).

    (j) Effective/applicability date. The provisions in this section are applicable for taxable years beginning on or after May 3, 2004. The provisions of paragraph (d)(4) of this section relating to section 1022 are effective on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register.

    Par. 46. Section 1.1312-7 is amended by revising paragraph (b) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 1.1312-7 Basis of property after erroneous treatment of a prior transaction.

    (b)(1) For this section to apply, the taxpayer with respect to whom the erroneous treatment occurred must be:

    (i) The taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made; or

    (ii) A taxpayer who acquired title to the property in the erroneously treated transaction and from whom, mediately or immediately, the taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made derived title in such a manner that he will have a basis ascertained by reference to the basis in the hands of the taxpayer who acquired title to the property in the erroneously treated transaction; or

    (iii) A taxpayer who had title to the property at the time of the erroneously treated transaction and from whom, mediately or immediately, the taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made derived title, if the basis of the property in the hands of the taxpayer with respect to whom the determination is made is determined under section 1015(a) (relating to the basis of property acquired by gift) or section 1022 (relating to the basis of property acquired from certain decedents who died in 2010). (2) No adjustment is authorized with respect to the transferor of the property in a transaction upon which the basis of the property depends, when the determination is with respect to the original transferee or a subsequent transferee of the original transferee.

    (d) Effective/applicability date. This section applies on and after the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register. For rules before the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register, see § 1.1312-7 as contained in 26 CFR (revised as of the April 1 preceding the date these regulations are published as final regulations in the Federal Register).

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11210 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 11, 23, 25, and 52 [FAR Case 2014-026; Docket No. 2014-0026; Sequence No. 1] RIN 9000-AM87 Federal Acquisition Regulation; High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement Executive branch policy in the President's Climate Action Plan to procure, when feasible, alternatives to high global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This will allow agencies to better meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reporting requirements of the Executive Order (E.O.) 13693 of March 25, 2015, Planning for Sustainability in the Next Decade. E.O. 13693 subsumes both E.O. 13423 of January 24, 2007, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management as well as E.O. 13514 of October 5, 2009, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.

    DATES:

    Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addresses shown below on or before July 10, 2015 to be considered in the formation of the final rule.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments in response to FAR Case 2014-026 by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for “FAR Case 2014-026”. Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “FAR Case 2014-026.” Follow the instructions provided at the “Comment Now” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “FAR Case 2014-026” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW., 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite FAR Case 2014-026, in all correspondence related to this case. 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, at 703-795-6328, for clarification of content. For information pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat at 202-501-4755. Please cite FAR Case 2014-026.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to revise the FAR to implement Executive branch policy in the President's Climate Action Plan to procure, when feasible, alternatives to high GWP HFCs and allow agencies to better meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reporting requirements formerly required by Executive Order (E.O.) 13514, and now required by E.O. 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

    President Obama issued his Climate Action Plan (CAP), dated June 2013, that includes a broad set of steps designed to slow the effects of climate change, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf. Among the many actions called for, the CAP outlined a set of measures to address HFCs, potent greenhouse gases primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning, see section IV. The CAP states that “emissions of HFCs are expected to nearly triple by 2030, and double from current levels of 1.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to 3 percent by 2020”. For example, the atmospheric concentration of HFC-134a, the most abundant HFC, has increased by about 10 percent per year from 2006 to 2012, and the concentrations of HFC-143a and HFC-125 have risen over 13 percent and 16 percent per year from 2007-2011, respectively.

    In order to address high GWP HFCs, the President directed Federal agencies to lead through both international diplomacy and domestic action. In particular, he directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its authority through the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to encourage private sector investment in low-emissions technology by identifying and approving climate-friendly chemicals while prohibiting certain uses of the most climate-harmful chemical alternatives. In addition, the CAP noted “the President has directed his Administration to purchase cleaner alternatives to HFCs whenever feasible and transition over time to equipment that uses safer and more sustainable alternatives”. There are lower GWP alternatives available now for certain applications, and likely more will become available within the next 5 years to replace the higher GWP HFCs that contribute to climate change. Agencies are already reporting emissions of greenhouse gases, including HFCs, as formerly required by E.O. 13514. In order to understand and track the Government's progress to reduce HFC emissions, improved reporting of current HFC usage is necessary to baseline efforts.

    II. Discussion and Analysis A. Policy and Procedures

    Accordingly, DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend FAR subpart 23.8 to include—

    (1) A policy statement at FAR 23.802 reflecting the Government's commitment to minimize the procurement and the potential use, release, or emission of high GWP HFCs that contribute to climate change; and

    (2) Procedures at FAR 23.803 that address substitution of lower GWP alternatives where feasible, and referring to EPA's SNAP program to identify acceptable alternatives.

    B. Clauses

    The proposed rule includes contract clauses, prescribed at FAR 23.804, that—

    • Give direction to contractors to take steps in furtherance of this policy (including, when feasible, reducing the amount of HFC emissions and substituting lower GWP alternatives as part of the normal equipment maintenance and replacement process); and

    • Require limited contractor reporting (i.e., the amount in pounds of HFCs or refrigerant blends containing HFCs in the equipment and appliances delivered to the Government and the amount in pounds of HFCs or refrigerant blends containing HFCs added or taken out of equipment or appliances during maintenance, service, repair, or disposal, which contractors may track as part of billing the Government), so that the Government can track progress and impact of products (equipment and appliances) procured and delivered with HFCs or refrigerant blends containing HFCs. Reporting is limited to equipment and appliances that normally contain 50 or more pounds of HFCs or refrigerant blends containing HFCs. At these levels of refrigerant use, considering the associated cost, contractors are likely to already have access to quantity of HFC and refrigerant blends containing HFCs used due to cost.

    This rule proposes to modify the existing FAR clauses at 52.223-11, Ozone-Depleting Substances, and 52.223-12, Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners, to address high GWP HFCs, as well as ozone-depleting substances. In addition, the rule proposes to add two new clauses specifically focused on use of alternatives, where feasible, in place of high GWP HFCs in aerosol cans (as propellants or solvents) and as foam blowing agents.

    C. Definitions

    The rule proposes to amend FAR part 2 by adding the new definitions of “global warming potential,” “hydrofluorocarbons”, and “high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons”. The rule also adds in FAR part 2 a definition of “manufactured end product” (currently defined in the FAR clause 52.225-18), with update to the current terminology for product and service code/group, rather, than Federal supply class/group.

    D. Applicability

    This proposed rule will apply to all acquisitions inside the United States and its outlying areas of products or services containing or using high GWP HFCs, including—

    • Commercial items that use part 12 procedures; and

    • Acquisitions that do not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold.

    The reporting requirement applies only for delivery of, or maintenance, service, repair and disposal of, equipment or appliances normally containing 50 pounds or more of HFCs or refrigerant blends containing HFCs.

    III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

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

    IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The change may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. The Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) is summarized as follows:

    This rule is necessary to implement Executive branch policy stated in the President's Climate Action Plan.

    The objective of this rule is to require Federal agencies to procure climate-friendly alternatives to high global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and allow agencies to better meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reporting requirements formerly required by Executive Order (E.O.) 13514, and now required by E.O. 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

    Based on FPDS data for FY 2013, this rule will apply to approximately 1,680 small business contractors that provide supplies (including equipment and appliances) to the Federal Government and about 640 small business contractors that provide maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of refrigeration equipment or air conditioners. In addition, although the proposed clauses at 252.223-XX, Aerosols, and 52.223-YY, Foams, do not contain any reporting requirements, these clauses also apply respectively to solicitations and contracts that involve repair or maintenance of electronic or mechanical devices and construction of buildings and facilities.

    We estimate an average reporting burden of about 8 hours per year for each of the small businesses providing supplies containing high GWP HFCs or maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of refrigeration equipment or air conditioners.

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

    We did not identify any significant alternatives to the rule that would accomplish the stated objectives of the President's Climate Action Plan and the Executive Order.

    It is necessary for the rule to apply to small entities, because about three-quarters of the affected contractors are small businesses. Every effort has been made to minimize the burdens imposed.

    The Regulatory Secretariat has submitted a copy of the IRFA to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of the IRFA may be obtained from the Regulatory Secretariat. DoD, GSA, and NASA invite comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities.

    DoD, GSA, and NASA will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by the rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (FAR Case 2014-026), in correspondence.

    V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) applies. The proposed rule contains information collection requirements. Accordingly, the Regulatory Secretariat has submitted a request for approval of a new information collection requirement concerning GWP HFCs to the Office of Management and Budget.

    A. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 8 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

    The annual reporting burden estimated as follows:

    Respondents: 3,172.

    Responses per respondent: 1.

    Total annual responses: 3,172.

    Preparation hours per response: 8 hours.

    Total response Burden Hours: 25,376.

    B. Request for Comments Regarding Paperwork Burden.

    Submit comments, including suggestions for reducing this burden, not later than July 10, 2015 to: FAR Desk Officer, OMB, Room 10102, NEOB, Washington, DC 20503, and a copy to the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Flowers, 1800 F Street NW., 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405-0001.

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Requesters may obtain a copy of the supporting statement from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat (MVCB), ATTN: Hada Flowers, 1800 F Street NW., 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20405-0001. Please cite OMB Control Number 9000-0191, High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, in all correspondence.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 11, 23, 25, and 52

    Government procurement.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. William Clark, Director, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy.

    Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose amending 48 CFR parts 1, 2, 7, 11, 23, 25, and 52 as set forth below:

    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 1, 2, 7, 11, 23, 25, and 52 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 51 U.S.C. 20113.

    PART 1—FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATIONS SYSTEM
    1.106 [Amended]
    2. Amend section 1.106 in the table following the introductory text, by adding in numerical sequence, FAR segments “52.223-11” and “52.223-12” and their corresponding OMB Control Number “9000-0191”. PART 2—DEFINITIONS OF WORDS AND TERMS 3. Amend section 2.101, in paragraph (b)(2) by adding, in alphabetical order, the definitions “Global warming potential”, “High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons”, “Hydrofluorocarbons”, “Manufactured end product”, and “Products” to read as follows:
    2.101 Definitions.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    Global warming potential means a measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

    High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons means any hydrofluorocarbons for which EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (40 CFR part 82 Subpart G) identifies acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives with supplemental tables of alternatives available at (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/).

    Hydrofluorocarbons means compounds that contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

    Manufactured end product means any end product in product and service codes (PSC) 1000-9999, except—

    (1) PSC 5510, Lumber and Related Basic Wood Materials;

    (2) Product or service group (PSG) 87, Agricultural Supplies;

    (3) PSG 88, Live Animals;

    (4) PSG 89, Subsistence;

    (5) PSC 9410, Crude Grades of Plant Materials;

    (6) PSC 9430, Miscellaneous Crude Animal Products, Inedible;

    (7) PSC 9440, Miscellaneous Crude Agricultural and Forestry Products;

    (8) PSC 9610, Ores;

    (9) PSC 9620, Minerals, Natural and Synthetic; and

    (10) PSC 9630, Additive Metal Materials.

    Products has the same meaning as supplies.

    PART 7—ACQUISITION PLANNING 4. Amend section 7.103 by revising paragraph (p)(2) to read as follows:
    7.103 Agency-head responsibilities.

    (p) * * *

    (2) Comply with the policy in 11.002(d) regarding procurement of: Biobased products, products containing recovered materials, environmentally preferable products and services (including Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT®)-registered electronic products, nontoxic or low-toxic alternatives), ENERGY STAR® and Federal Energy Management Program-designated products, renewable energy, water-efficient products, non-ozone-depleting products, and products and services that minimize or eliminate, when feasible, the use, release, or emission of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons;

    PART 11—DESCRIBING AGENCY NEEDS 5. Amend section 11.002 by revising paragraph (d)(1)(vi) to read as follows:
    11.002 Policy.

    (d)(1) * * *

    (vi) Non-ozone-depleting substances; and products and services that minimize or eliminate, when feasible, the use, release, or emission of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons (subpart 23.8).

    PART 23—APPLICATION OF LABOR LAWS TO GOVERNMENT 6. Amend section 23.000 by revising paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    23.000 Scope.

    (d) Acquiring energy-efficient and water-efficient products and services, environmentally preferable (including EPEAT®-registered, and non-toxic and less toxic) products, products containing recovered materials, biobased products, non-ozone-depleting products, and products and services that minimize or eliminate, when feasible, the use, release, or emission of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons;

    7. Revise subpart 23.8 to read as follows: Subpart 23.8—Ozone-Depleting Substances and Hydrofluorocarbons Sec. 23.800 Scope of subpart. 23.801 Authorities. 23.802 Policy. 23.803 Procedures. 23.804 Contract clauses. Subpart 23.8—Ozone-Depleting Substances and Hydrofluorocarbons
    23.800 Scope of subpart.

    This subpart sets forth policies and procedures for the acquisition of items that—

    (a) Contain, use, or are manufactured with ozone-depleting substances; or

    (b) Contain or use high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons.

    23.801 Authorities.

    (a) Title VI of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7671, et seq.).

    (b) Section 706 of Division D, title VII of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8).

    (c) Executive Order 13693 of March 25, 2015, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.

    (d) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, Protection of Stratospheric Ozone (40 CFR part 82).

    23.802 Policy.

    It is the policy of the Federal Government that Federal agencies—

    (a) Implement cost-effective programs to minimize the procurement of materials and substances that contribute to the depletion of stratospheric ozone and/or result in the use, release or emission of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons; and

    (b) Give preference to the procurement of acceptable alternative chemicals, products, and manufacturing processes that reduce overall risks to human health and the environment by minimizing—

    (1) The depletion of ozone in the upper atmosphere; and

    (2) The potential use, release, or emission of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons.

    23.803 Procedures.

    In preparing specifications and purchase descriptions, and in the acquisition of products and services, agencies shall—

    (a) Comply with the requirements of title VI of the Clean Air Act, section 706 of division D, title VII of Pub. L. 111-8, Executive Order 13693, and 40 CFR 82.84(a)(2), (3), (4), and (5);

    (b) Substitute acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, as identified under 42 U.S.C. 7671k, to the maximum extent practicable, as provided in 40 CFR 82.84(a)(1), except in the case of Class I substances being used for specified essential uses, as identified under 40 CFR 82.4(n);

    (c) Specify, when feasible, that contractors shall substitute acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives for high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons in products and services; and

    (d) Refer to EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap) to identify acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons.

    23.804 Contract clauses.

    Except for contracts that will be performed outside the United States and its outlying areas, insert the following clauses:

    (a) 52.223-11, Ozone-Depleting Substances and High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons, in solicitations and contracts for—

    (1) Refrigeration equipment (in product or service code (PSC) 4110);

    (2) Air conditioning equipment (PSC 4120);

    (3) Clean agent fire suppression systems/equipment (e.g., installed room flooding systems, portable fire extinguishers, aircraft/tactical vehicle fire/explosion suppression systems) (in PSC 4210);

    (4) Bulk refrigerants and fire suppressants (in PSC 6830);

    (5) Solvents, dusters, freezing compounds, mold release agents, and any other miscellaneous chemical specialty that may contain ozone-depleting substances or high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons (in PSC 6850);

    (6) Corrosion prevention compounds, foam sealants, aerosol mold release agents, and any other preservative or sealing compound that may contain ozone-depleting substances or high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons (in PSC 8030);

    (7) Fluorocarbon lubricants (primarily aerosols) (in PSC 9150); and

    (8) Any other manufactured end products that may contain or be manufactured with ozone-depleting substances.

    (b) 52.223-12, Maintenance, Service, Repair, or Disposal of Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners, in solicitations and contracts that include the maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of—

    (1) Refrigeration equipment, such as refrigerators, chillers, or freezers; or

    (2) Air conditioners, including air conditioning systems in motor vehicles.

    (c) 52.223-XX, Aerosols, in solicitations and contracts—

    (1) For products that may contain high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons as a propellant, or as a solvent; or

    (2) That involve maintenance or repair of electronic or mechanical devices.

    (d) 52.223-YY, Foams, in solicitations and contracts for—

    (1) Products that may contain high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons as a foam blowing agent, such as building foam insulation or appliance foam insulation; or

    (2) Construction of buildings or facilities.

    PART 25—FOREIGN ACQUISITION
    25.1101 [Amended]
    8. Amend section 25.1101 by removing from paragraph (f) “, as defined in the provision at 52.225-18”. PART 52—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 9. Amend section 52.212-5 by— a. Revising the date of the clause; b. Redesignating paragraphs (b)(35) through (b)(53) as paragraphs (b)(39) through (b)(57), respectively; and c. Adding new paragraphs (b)(35) through (b)(38) to read as follows:
    52.212-5 Contract Terms and Conditions Required to Implement Statutes or Executive Orders—Commercial Items. Contract Terms and Conditions Required to Implement Statutes or Executive Orders—Commercial Items (Date)

    (b) * * *

    ___(35) 52.223-11, Ozone-Depleting Substances and High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons (Date) (E.O. 13693).

    ___(36) 52.223-12, Maintenance, Service, Repair, or Disposal of Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners (Date) (E.O. 13693).

    ___(37) 52.223-XX, Aerosols (Date) (E.O. 13693).

    ___(38) 52.223-YY, Foams (Date) (E.O. 13693).

    10. Amend section 52.213-4 by— a. Revising the date of the clause; and b. Redesignating paragraphs (b)(1)(ix) through (b)(1)(xvi) as paragraphs (b)(1)(xiii) through (b)(1)(xx), respectively; and c. Adding new paragraphs (b)(1)(ix) through (b)(1)(xii) to read as follows:
    52.213-4 Terms and Conditions-Simplified Acquisitions (Other Than Commercial Items). Terms and Conditions—Simplified Acquisitions (Other Than Commercial Items) (Date)

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ix) 52.223-11, Ozone-Depleting Substances and High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons (Date) (E.O. 13693) (applies to contracts for products as prescribed at FAR 23.804(a)).

    (x) 52.223-12, Maintenance, Service, Repair, or Disposal of Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners (Date) (E.O. 13693) (Applies to maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of refrigeration equipment and air conditioners).

    (xi) 52.223-XX, Aerosols (Date) (E.O. 13693) (Applies to products that may contain high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons as a propellant or as a solvent; or maintenance or repair of electronic or mechanical devices).

    (xii) 52.223-YY, Foams (Date) (E.O. 13693) (Applies to products that may contain high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons as a foam blowing agent; or construction of buildings or facilities.

    11. Revise section 52.223-11 to read as follow:
    52.223-11 Ozone-Depleting Substances and High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons.

    As prescribed in 23.804(a), insert the following clause:

    Ozone-Depleting Substances and High Global Warming Potential Hydrofluorocarbons (Date)

    (a) Definitions.

    As used in this clause—

    Global warming potential means a measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

    High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons means any hydrofluorocarbons for which EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (40 CFR Part 82 Subpart G) identifies acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives with supplemental tables of alternatives available at (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/).

    Hydrofluorocarbons means compounds that only contain hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

    Ozone-depleting substance means any substance the Environmental Protection Agency designates in 40 CFR part 82 as—

    (1) Class I, including, but not limited to, chlorofluorocarbons, halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform; or

    (2) Class II, including, but not limited to, hydrochlorofluorocarbons.

    (b) The Contractor shall label products which contain or are manufactured with ozone-depleting substances in the manner and to the extent required by 42 U.S.C. 7671j (b), (c), (d), and (e) and 40 CFR part 82, subpart E, as follows:

    Warning

    Contains (or manufactured with, if applicable) *_____, a substance(s) which harm(s) public health and environment by destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere.

    * The Contractor shall insert the name of the substance(s).

    (c) Reporting. For equipment and appliances that normally each contain 50 or more pounds of hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons, the Contractor shall—

    (1) Track on an annual basis, between October 1 and September 30, the amount in pounds of hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons contained in the equipment and appliances delivered to the Government under this contract by—

    (i) Type of hydrofluorocarbon (e.g., HFC-134a, HFC-125, R-410A, R-404A, etc.);

    (ii) Product or service code;

    (iii) Equipment/appliance;

    (iv) Contract number;

    (v) Agency; and

    (vi) Delivery location of equipment/appliance.

    (2) Report that information to www.sam.gov

    (i) Annually by October 31 during each year during contract performance; and

    (ii) At the end of contract performance.

    (d) Refer to EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap) to identify acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons.

    (End of clause)

    12. Revise section 52.223-12 to read as follows:
    52.223-12 Maintenance, Service, Repair, or Disposal of Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners.

    As prescribed in 23.804(b), insert the following clause:

    Maintenance, Service, Repair, or Disposal of Refrigeration Equipment and Air Conditioners (Date)

    (a) Definitions.

    As used in this clause—

    Global warming potential means a measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

    High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons means any hydrofluorocarbons for which EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (40 CFR Part 82 Subpart G) identifies acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives with supplemental tables of alternatives available at (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/).

    Hydrofluorocarbons means compounds that contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

    (b) The Contractor shall comply with the applicable requirements of Sections 608 and 609 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7671g and 7671h) as each or both apply to this contract.

    (c) Unless otherwise specified in the contract, the Contractor shall reduce the use, release, or emissions of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons under this contract by—

    (1) Transitioning over time from high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons to acceptable alternatives;

    (2) Preventing and repairing refrigerant leaks through service and maintenance during contract performance; and

    (3) Implementing recovery, recycling, and responsible disposal programs that avoid release or emissions during equipment service and as the equipment reaches the end of its useful life.

    (d) The Contractor shall—

    (1) Track on an annual basis, between October 1 and September 30, by type of hydrofluorocarbon (e.g., HFC-134a, HFC-125, R-410A, R-404A, etc.), equipment/appliance, contract number, agency, and location of equipment/appliance, the amount in pounds of hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons added or taken out of equipment or appliances under this contract that—

    (i) Normally each contain 50 or more pounds of hydrofluorocarbons or refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons; and

    (ii) Will be maintained, serviced, repaired, or disposed under this contract; and

    (2) Report that information to www.sam.gov

    (i) No later than October 31 of each year during contract performance; and

    (ii) At the end of contract performance.

    (e) The Contractor shall refer to EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap) to identify acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons that consider the overall risks to human health and the environment.

    (End of clause)

    13. Add section 52.223-XX to read as follows:
    52.223-XX Aerosols.

    As prescribed in 23.804(c), insert the following clause:

    Aerosols (Date)

    (a) Definitions. As used in this clause—

    Global warming potential means a measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

    High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons means any hydrofluorocarbons for which EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (40 CFR Part 82 Subpart G) identifies acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives with supplemental tables of alternatives (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/).

    Hydrofluorocarbons means compounds that contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

    (b) Unless otherwise specified in the contract, the Contractor shall reduce its use, release, or emissions of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons from aerosol propellants or solvents under this contract, by furnishing products and equipment or performing services using acceptable alternatives, when feasible.

    (c) The Contractor shall refer to EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap) to identify acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons that consider the overall risks to human health and the environment.

    (End of clause)

    14. Add section 52.223-YY to read as follows:
    52.223-YY Foams.

    As prescribed in 23.804(d), insert the following clause:

    Foams (Date)

    (a) Definitions. As used in this clause—

    Global warming potential means a measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs over a particular period of time (usually 100 years), compared to carbon dioxide.

    High global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons means any hydrofluorocarbons for which EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (40 CFR Part 82 Subpart G) identifies acceptable lower global warming potential alternatives with supplemental tables of alternatives available at (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/).

    Hydrofluorocarbons means compounds that contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon.

    (b) Unless otherwise specified in the contract, the Contractor shall reduce its use, release, and emissions of high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons and refrigerant blends containing hydrofluorocarbons from foam blowing agents, under this contract, by furnishing products and equipment or construction using acceptable alternatives, when feasible.

    (c) The Contractor shall refer to EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program (available at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap) to identify acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons.

    (End of clause)

    [FR Doc. 2015-11231 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    80 90 Monday, May 11, 2015 Notices ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES Notice of Public Meeting of the Assembly of the Administrative Conference of the United States AGENCY:

    Administrative Conference of the United States.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.), the Assembly of the Administrative Conference of the United States will hold a meeting to consider two proposed recommendations and to conduct other business. This meeting will be open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 4, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The meeting may adjourn early if all business is finished.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581 (Main Conference Room).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shawne McGibbon, General Counsel (Designated Federal Officer), Administrative Conference of the United States, Suite 706 South, 1120 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20036; Telephone 202-480-2088; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Administrative Conference of the United States makes recommendations to federal agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States regarding the improvement of administrative procedures (5 U.S.C. 594). The membership of the Conference, when meeting in plenary session, constitutes the Assembly of the Conference (5 U.S.C. 595).

    Agenda: The Assembly will discuss and consider two proposed recommendations as described below:

    Promoting Accuracy and Transparency in the Unified Agenda. This recommendation offers suggestions for improving the accuracy and transparency of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. Among other things, it urges agencies to consider providing relevant updates between Agenda reporting periods, offers recommendations for ensuring that Agenda entries are properly categorized by projected issuance date and status, and encourages agencies to provide notice when entries are removed from the Agenda.

    Issue Exhaustion in Preenforcement Judicial Review of Administrative Rulemaking. This recommendation examines judicial application of an issue exhaustion requirement in preenforcement review of administrative rulemaking. It urges courts to recognize that issue exhaustion principles developed in the context of adversarial agency adjudications may not always apply in the context of preenforcement review of rulemaking, but also recognizes that courts generally should not resolve issues litigants did not raise during the administrative rulemaking proceeding. It also offers guidance to the judiciary and agencies regarding when it may be appropriate to make exceptions.

    Additional information about the proposed recommendations and the order of the agenda, as well as other materials related to the meeting, can be found at the 62nd Plenary Session page on the Conference's Web site: (https://www.acus.gov/meetings-and-events/plenary-meeting/62nd-plenary-session).

    Public Participation: The Conference welcomes the attendance of the public at the meeting, subject to space limitations, and will make every effort to accommodate persons with disabilities or special needs. If you wish to attend in person, please RSVP online at the 62nd Plenary Session Web page listed above, no later than two days before the meeting, in order to facilitate entry. If you need special accommodations due to disability, please inform the Designated Federal Officer noted above at least seven days in advance of the meeting. Members of the public who attend the meeting may be permitted to speak only with the consent of the Chairman and the unanimous approval of the members of the Assembly. The public may also view the meeting through a live webcast, which will be available at: https://new.livestream.com/ACUS/62ndPlenarySession. In addition, the public may follow the meeting on our Twitter feed @acusgov or hashtag #62ndPlenary.

    Written Comments: Persons who wish to comment on the proposed recommendations may do so by submitting a written statement either online by clicking “Submit a Comment” on the 62nd Plenary Session Web page listed above or by mail addressed to: June 2015 Plenary Session Comments, Administrative Conference of the United States, Suite 706 South, 1120 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20036. Written submissions must be relevant to the recommendations being debated, and received no later than Wednesday, May 27, to ensure consideration by the Assembly.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Shawne McGibbon, General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11265 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6110-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of Advocacy and Outreach [Docket No. OSEC-15AO00EX001] “USDA's Receipt for Service or Denial of Service Initiative” AGENCY:

    Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public listening session.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) will hold a public meeting entitled “USDA's Receipt for Service Initiative” on June 3, 2015. The purpose of this event is to promote public feedback on the implementation of the Receipt for Service or Denial of Service provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill (section 14003 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2279-1(e)) and as amended in section 12204 of the Agricultural Act of 2014).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, USDA Outreach Coordinator, USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0170; (202) 720-6350; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This session encourages dialogue from the public on implementing the mandatory provision for USDA officials in USDA's Service Centers nationwide to issue Receipts for Service or Denial of Service.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on June 3, 2015. Registration will start at 10 a.m. and the program will begin at 10:30 a.m. EST and conclude by noon.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 108-A, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Participants should enter the building through the Independence Avenue or Jefferson Drive entrance of the Jamie Whitten Building located between 12th and 14th Street. Valid photo identification is required for clearance by building security personnel.

    Instructions for Participation: Although registration is encouraged, walk-ins will be accommodated to the extent that space permits. Registered participants will be given priority for making presentations prior to walk-ins. Anyone interested in the USDA Receipt for Service or Denial of Service Initiative is encouraged to attend the public meeting. Presentations will be limited to 10 minutes in duration. Participation via telephone is also available by calling 1 (888) 829-8676 and passcode 9157001. To register and request time for an oral statement or submit written comments, please contact Kenya Nicholas, USDA Outreach Coordinator; Email: [email protected]; Telephone: (202) 720-6350.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 5th day of May 2015. Carolyn C. Parker, Director, Office of Advocacy and Outreach.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11339 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Redding, California. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Pub. L. 110-343) (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the 2015 two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and associated Title II funding.

    DATES:

    June 17, 2015, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at USDA Service Center, Shasta-Trinity National Forest Headquarters, 3644 Avtech Parkway, Redding, CA 96002.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Shasta-Trinity National Forest Headquarters.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lesley Yen, Designated Federal Official by phone at 530-275-1587 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accomodation for access to the facility or procedings by contacting the person listed For Further Information.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Additional RAC information, including the meeting agenda and the meeting summary/minutes can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/stnf/workingtogether/advisorycommittees. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by June 16, 2015 to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Lesley Yen, Designated Federal Official, Shasta Lake Ranger Station, 14225 Holiday Road, Redding, CA 96003; or by email to [email protected], or via facsimile to 530-275-1512.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Terri Simon-Jackson, Deputy Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11319 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Shasta County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Redding, California. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Pub. L. 110-343) (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to review and vote on project proposals to recommend to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Supervisor.

    DATES:

    August 26 & 27, 2015, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at USDA Service Center, Shasta-Trinity National Forest Headquarters, 3644 Avtech Parkway, Redding, CA 96002.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Shasta-Trinity National Forest Headquarters.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lesley Yen, Designated Federal Official by phone at 530-275-1587 or via email at [email protected].

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accomodation for access to the facility or procedings by contacting the person listed FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Additional RAC information, including the meeting agenda and the meeting summary/minutes can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/stnf/workingtogether/advisorycommittees. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by August 25, 2015 to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Lesley Yen, Designated Federal Official, Shasta Lake Ranger Station, 14225 Holiday Road, Redding, CA 96003; or by email to [email protected], or via facsimile to 530-275-1512.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Terri Simon-Jackon, Deputy Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11316 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Advisory Committees Expiration AGENCY:

    United States Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Solicitation of applications.

    SUMMARY:

    Because the terms of the members of the Tennessee Advisory Committee are expiring on August 15, 2015, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply. The memberships are exclusively for the Tennessee Advisory Committee, and applicants must be residents of Tennessee to be considered. Letters of interest must be received by the Southern Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights no later than June 15, 2015. Letters of interest must be sent to the address listed below.

    Because the terms of the members of the Maine Advisory Committee are expiring on August 15, 2015, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply. The memberships are exclusively for the Maine Advisory Committee, and applicants must be residents of Maine to be considered. Letters of interest must be received by the Eastern Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights no later than June 15, 2015. Letters of interest must be sent to the address listed below.

    Because the terms of the members of the Rhode Island Advisory Committee are expiring on August 15, 2015, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply. The memberships are exclusively for the Rhode Island Advisory Committee, and applicants must be residents of Rhode Island to be considered. Letters of interest must be received by the Eastern Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights no later than June 15, 2015. Letters of interest must be sent to the address listed below.

    Because the terms of the members of the West Virginia Advisory Committee are expiring on August 15, 2015, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply. The memberships are exclusively for the West Virginia Advisory Committee, and applicants must be residents of West Virginia to be considered. Letters of interest must be received by the Eastern Regional Office of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights no later than June 15, 2015. Letters of interest must be sent to the address listed below.

    DATES:

    Letters of interest for membership on the Tennessee Advisory Committee should be received no later than June 15, 2015.

    Letters of interest for membership on the Maine Advisory Committee should be received no later than June 15, 2015.

    Letters of interest for membership on the Rhode Island Advisory Committee should be received no later than June 15, 2015.

    Letters of interest for membership on the West Virginia Advisory Committee should be received no later than June 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send letters of interest for the Tennessee Advisory Committee to: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Southern Regional Office, 61 Forsyth Street, Suite 16T126, Atlanta, GA 30303. Letter can also be sent via email to [email protected].

    Send letters of interest for the Maine Advisory Committee to: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Eastern Regional Office, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425. Letter can also be sent via email to [email protected].

    Send letters of interest for the Rhode Island Advisory Committee to: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Eastern Regional Office, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425. Letter can also be sent via email to [email protected].

    Send letters of interest for the West Virginia Advisory Committee to: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Eastern Regional Office, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425. Letter can also be sent via email to [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 353-8311. Questions can also be directed via email to [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Tennessee, Maine, Rhode Island, and West Virginia Advisory Committees are statutorily mandated federal advisory committees of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1975a. Under the charter for the advisory committees, the purpose is to provide advice and recommendations to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) on a broad range of civil rights matters in its respective state that pertain to alleged deprivations of voting rights or discrimination or denials of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or the administration of justice. Advisory committees also provide assistance to the Commission in its statutory obligation to serve as a national clearinghouse for civil rights information.

    Each advisory committee consists of not more than 19 members, each of whom will serve a four-year term. Members serve as unpaid Special Government Employees who are reimbursed for travel and expenses. To be eligible to be on an advisory committee, applicants must be residents of the respective state or district, and have demonstrated expertise or interest in civil rights issues.

    The Commission is an independent, bipartisan agency established by Congress in 1957 to focus on matters of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin. Its mandate is to:

    • Investigate complaints from citizens that their voting rights are being deprived,

    • study and collect information about discrimination or denials of equal protection under the law,

    • appraise federal civil rights laws and policies,

    • serve as a national clearinghouse on discrimination laws,

    • submit reports and findings and recommendations to the President and the Congress, and

    • issue public service announcements to discourage discrimination.

    The Commission invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed a member of the Tennessee, Maine, Rhode Island, or West Virginia Advisory Committee covered by this notice to send a letter of interest and a resume to the respective address above.

    Dated: May 6, 2015. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11320 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; School District Review Program AGENCY:

    U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, submit written comments, on or before July 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Direct requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions to Laura Waggoner, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The mission of the Geography Division (GEO) within the Census Bureau is to plan, coordinate, and administer all geographic and cartographic activities needed to facilitate Census Bureau statistical programs throughout the United States and its territories. GEO manages programs that continuously update features, boundaries, addresses, and geographic entities in the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (MAF/TIGER) System. GEO, also, conducts research into geographic concepts, methods, and standards needed to facilitate Census Bureau data collection and dissemination programs.

    The Census Bureau is requesting a revision of a currently approved collection, to cover the annotation and verification phases of the 2015-2016 School District Review Program (SDRP). The Census Bureau requests a two-year clearance and a project specific Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number for SDRP. GEO, in coordination with OMB, is removing select programs from the generic Geographic Partnership Programs (GPPs) clearance to individual project specific clearance packages. A project specific clearance for SDRP will allow the Census Bureau to provide enhanced detail and ensure the two-year cycle is uninterrupted.

    The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) sponsors the SDRP, which enables the Census Bureau to create special tabulations of Decennial Census data by school district geography. The demographic data produced by the Census Bureau for the NCES and related to each school district is of vital importance for each state's allocation under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The NCES identifies a Title I Coordinator, and the Census Bureau works with the NCES on assigning a Mapping Coordinator in each state to work with the Census Bureau to implement this work. The respondents for the SDRP are the Title I Coordinators and Mapping Coordinators from the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

    II. Method of Collection

    The SDRP invites respondent participation in two phases of the program: Annotation and Verification. As part of the 2015-2016 SDRP Annotation phase, the Mapping Coordinator in each state will receive a variety of materials from the Census Bureau to use in their review and update of school district boundaries, names, codes and geographic relationships. The Mapping Coordinators will use the Census Bureau's MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS) and Census supplied spatial data in digital shapefile format to identify boundary changes for their school districts. As part of the Verification phase of the SDRP, Mapping Coordinators will have the opportunity to either use the MTPS with Census Bureau supplied Verification shapefiles, or the Census Crowdsourcing Tool (CCT) to review and verify that their submitted information was correctly captured by the Census Bureau. If a respondent finds cases where the Census Bureau did not incorporate their proposed submissions correctly, the respondent can tag and comment the area of issue and that information will become available to the Census Bureau for corrections.

    The Census Bureau conducts the SDRP every two years under agreement from the NCES of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The Census Bureau invites state education officials to participate in the review and update of its national inventory of school district boundaries and district information. State education officials collaborate with local superintendents on their responses. The participants review and provide updates and corrections to the elementary, secondary, and unified school district names and Federal Local Education Agency (LEA) identification numbers, school district boundaries, and the grade ranges for which a school district is financially responsible. The participants submit updated digital spatial files back to the Census Bureau.

    The Census Bureau uses the updated school district information along with the most current Census population and income data, current population estimates, and tabulations of administrative records data, to form the Census Bureau's estimates of the number of children aged five through seventeen in low-income families for each school district. These estimates of the number of children in low-income families residing within each school district are the basis of the funding allocation for each school district under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Public Law (Pub.L.) 107-110.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0607-XXXX.

    Form Number: Not available at this time.

    Type of Review: Regular submission.

    Affected Public: All fifty states and the District of Columbia.

    Estimated Number of Respondents:

    Annotation Phase: 51.

    Verification Phase: 51.

    Estimated Time per Response:

    Annotation Phase: 30 hours.

    Verification Phase: 10 hours.

    Estimated Burden Hours:

    Annotation Phase: 1,530 hours.

    Verification Phase: 510 hours.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 2040 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Census Bureau Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C. Section 16, 141, and 193.

    NCES Legal Authority: Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Summarization of comments submitted in response to this notice will be included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection. Comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11261 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE [Docket No. 150421388-5388-01] Privacy Act of 1974, New System of Records AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of a New Privacy Act System of Records: COMMERCE/ITA-8, Salesforce Customer Relationship Management System.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, Title 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 552a(e)(4) and (11); and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130, Appendix I, Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals, The Department of Commerce is issuing this notice of its intent to establish a new system of records entitled “COMMERCE/ITA-8, Salesforce Customer Relationship Management System.”

    DATES:

    Comment Date: To be considered, written comments on the proposed system must be submitted on or before June 10, 2015.

    Effective Date: Unless comments are received, the new system of records will become effective as proposed on the date of publication of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments to Ms. Lois V. Mockabee, International Trade Administration Privacy Act Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 21023, Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Lois V. Mockabee, International Trade Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 21023, Washington, DC 20230. (202) 482-6111.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of this new information system will be to help ITA promulgate its mission by promoting and fostering international trade opportunities between small and medium-sized U.S. businesses and international trading partners. The Salesforce Relationship Management System is a Web-based software product designed to acquire, retain, and grow customer relationships by automating sales and customer support activities and providing a holistic view of the customer relationship across the organization.

    COMMERCE/ITA-8 SYSTEM NAME:

    COMMERCE/ITA-8, Salesforce Relationship Management System.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    None.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Chief Information Officer, Room 48002, Washington, DC 20230.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    Customer Biographical Information; Resource Provider and Local Business Assistance Organization Information; U.S. exporting companies and/or individuals involved in an ongoing exporting concern; U.S. private citizens, students and/or researchers.

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    For Customer Biographical Information Category—individual customer name, company name, personal or business email address, personal or business telephone number, personal or business fax number, personal or business mailing address, date and time of contact, customer service agent name, customer number, industry, contact type, year(s) in business, size of firm, company Web site (URL), ownership, years in exporting, countries exported to, number of employees, annual revenue, service need, customer request, service resolution, contact experience, service satisfaction, service recommendation(s)/referral(s), contact preference, and desire to be contacted to discuss survey results; and for Resource Provider and Local Business Assistance Organization Information Category—submitter name, submitter email address, resource name, resource summary description, name of resource point of contact (POC), POC title, POC email, and POC telephone; press articles; topic of contact; U.S. or non-U.S. organization; the country(ies) of interest; and log in name and password.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    15 U.S.C. 1512

    PURPOSES:

    The purpose of this system is to assemble the necessary information to assist customers in connecting with business assistance services, programs, data and other resources in a larger effort to help the economy by supporting small and medium sized businesses and exporters financial growth; as well as creating jobs that will help ITA in promulgating its mission by promoting and fostering international trade opportunities between small and medium sized U.S. business and international trading partners. This system serves as a controlled repository for customer data and available business resource summary information. The information obtained from the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management System (SFCRM) is used to monitor the system's performance, provide customer information to Federal agency and bureau partners, and Federal partners' sponsored organizations to further serve the customer, and to obtain customer feedback concerning their service experience and the level of satisfaction provided by SFCRM and the serving agency.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    These records may be disclosed as follows:

    1. In the event that a system of records maintained by the Department to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law or contract, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute or contract, or rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto, or the necessity to protect an interest of the Department and Federal partners, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred to the appropriate agency, whether Federal, state, local or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute or contract, or rule or order issued pursuant thereto, or protecting the interest of the Department.

    2. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to federal agency partners including: the Small Business Administration (SBA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), General Services Administration (GSA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of State, Export/Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Treasury, Department of Justice (DOJ), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Trade Development Agency (USTDA), Department of Education, Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Interior (DOI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in connection with the assignment, based on customer need, and programs for the purpose of linking American businesses to available government business resources.

    3. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to Federal partners' sponsored organizations, including Federal grantees and/or certified organizations involved in business development efforts and assistance such as: DOC's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers, DOC's NIST Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Centers (MTAC), DOC's Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Centers, DOC's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Centers, Native American Business Enterprise Centers and Procurement Assistance Centers, DOC's International Trade Administration (ITA) Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), DOD's Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), SBA's Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Small Business and Technology Development Centers (SBTDC), Women Business Centers (WBC), Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), DOT's Small Business Transportation Resource Centers (SBTRC), and Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), in connection with the assignment, based on customer need, and programs for the purpose of linking American businesses to available business resources.

    4. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to partner state governments, local governments, Non-Profit business development and assistance organizations, in connection with the assignment, based on customer need, and programs for the purpose of linking American businesses to available business resources.

    5. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to a Member of Congress submitting a request involving an individual when the individual has requested assistance from the Member with respect to the subject matter of the record.

    6. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice in connection with determining whether disclosure thereof is required by the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).

    7. A record in this system of records may be disclosed to a contractor of the Department having need for the information in the performance of the contract, but not operating a system of records within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552a(m).

    8. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to the Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA), or his/her designee, during an inspection of records conducted by GSA as part of that agency's responsibility to recommend improvements in records management practice and programs, under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. Such disclosure shall be made in accordance with the GSA regulations governing inspection of records for this purpose, and any other relevant (i.e. GSA or Commerce) directive. Such disclosure shall not be used to make determinations about individuals.

    9. A record from this system of records may be disclosed in the course of presenting evidence to a court, magistrate or administrative tribunal, including disclosures to opposing counsel in the course of settlement negotiations.

    10. A record in this system of records may be disclosed, as a routine use, to appropriate agencies, entities and persons when (1) it is suspected or determined that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Department has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or whether systems or programs (whether maintained by the Department or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Department's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    Not applicable.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    On electronic digital media in encrypted format within a controlled environment, and accessed only by authorized personnel.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    By individual's name, business name, or other identifier such as email address or telephone number.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    Maintained in areas accessible only to authorized personnel in a building protected by security guards. System is password protected and is FIPS 199 compliant. System adheres to a Moderate security rating.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    All records shall be retained and disposed of in accordance with Department directives and series records schedule.

    SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

    System Administrator, addresses are the same as listed under System Location.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    An individual requesting notification of existence of records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration Privacy Act Office at 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Room 21023, Washington, DC 20230. The request letter should be clearly marked, “PRIVACY ACT REQUEST.” The written inquiry must be signed and notarized or submitted with certification of identity under penalty of perjury. Requesters should reasonable specify the record contents being sought.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    An individual requesting access to records on himself or herself should send a signed, written inquiry to the same address as stated in the Notification Procedure section above. The request letter should be clearly marked, “PRIVACY ACT REQUEST.” The written inquiry must be signed and notarized or submitted with certification of identity under penalty of perjury. Requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being sought.

    CONTESTING RECORDS PROCEDURES:

    An individual requesting correction or contesting information contained in his or her records must send a signed, written request inquiry to the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration Privacy Act Office, and 1401 Constitution Ave., NW., Room 21023, Washington, DC 20230. Requesters should reasonably identify the records, specify the information they are contesting and state the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification showing how the record is incomplete, untimely, inaccurate, or irrelevant.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Subject individuals; individuals who interact with the ITA through social media networks or as a result of public outreach.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    None.

    Dated: May 4, 2015. Brenda Dolan, Department of Commerce, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11310 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-25-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Notice of National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Meeting AGENCY:

    Economic Development Administration, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, June 4, 2015, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and Friday, June 5, 2015, 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EDT. During this time, members will present proposals to the Secretary of Commerce, identify next steps, and continue to work on potential committee initiatives on innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce/talent.

    DATES:

    Thursday, June 4, 2015, Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT Friday, June 5, 2015, Time: 8:30 a.m.-12:00 noon EDT ADDRESSES:

    June 4, 2015: General Services Administration, 1800 F St NW., Washington, DC 20006. Teleconference: Dial-In: 1-800-988-9617, Passcode: 7649366.

    June 5, 2015: Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave., Washington, DC 20230. Teleconference: Dial-In: 1-800-369-2154, Passcode: 8915613.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Council was chartered on November 10, 2009 to advise the Secretary of Commerce on matters related to innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States. NACIE's overarching focus is recommending transformational policies to the Secretary that will help U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce become more globally competitive. The Council operates as an independent entity within the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), which is housed within the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration. NACIE members are a diverse and dynamic group of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors, as well as leaders from nonprofit organizations and academia.

    The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Council's planned work initiatives in three focus areas: workforce/talent, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The final agenda will be posted on the NACIE Web site at http://www.eda.gov/oie/nacie/ prior to the meeting. Any member of the public may submit pertinent questions and comments concerning the Council's affairs at any time before or after the meeting. Comments may be submitted to the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the contact information below. Those unable to attend the meetings in person but wishing to listen to the proceedings can do so through a conference call line 1-800-988-9617, passcode: 7649366 on June 4 and 1-800-369-2154 passcode: 8915613 on June 5. Copies of the meeting minutes will be available by request within 90 days of the meeting date.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie Lenzer Kirk, Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Room 78018, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; email: [email protected]; telephone: 202-482-8001; fax: 202-273-4781. Please reference “NACIE June 4-5 Meeting” in the subject line of your correspondence.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Julie Lenzer Kirk, Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11309 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Application(s) for Duty-Free Entry of Scientific Instruments

    Pursuant to Section 6(c) of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials Importation Act of 1966 (Pub. L. 89-651, as amended by Pub. L. 106-36; 80 Stat. 897; 15 CFR part 301), we invite comments on the question of whether instruments of equivalent scientific value, for the purposes for which the instruments shown below are intended to be used, are being manufactured in the United States.

    Comments must comply with 15 CFR 301.5(a)(3) and (4) of the regulations and be postmarked on or before June 1, 2015. Address written comments to Statutory Import Programs Staff, Room 3720, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. Applications may be examined between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Room 3720.

    Docket Number: 15-005. Applicant: Idaho National Laboratory, 2525 Fremon Avenue, Idaho Falls, ID 83415. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI, Czech Republic. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to analyze a wide range of materials, including nuclear fuel as well as structural materials that have been irradiated, to better understand the performance and characteristics of the material, improve the material, as well as solve nuclear material disposal issues. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: March 3, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-010. Applicant: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: JEOL Ltd., Japan. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to examine the structure of biological specimens such as protein complexes, noninfectious viruses and small cells, to help elucidate their function. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: March 4, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-011. Applicant: University of South Alabama, 150 Jaguar Drive, Shelby Hall 4134, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI Czech Republic s.r.o., Czech Republic. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to utilize nanoscale measurements to determine the relation between the structure and function of hard and soft materials, as well as to understand how nanoscale geometries contribute to subcellular events in soft materials that constitute biological systems. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: March 10, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-012. Applicant: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: JEOL Ltd., Japan. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to capture fine structure modifications induced during cell motility or cellular secretion, and observe morphological changes in sub-cellular organelles (late endosomes and lysosomes) during various experimental conditions. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: March 17, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-014. Applicant: Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Room 102 Dunning Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI Company, the Netherlands. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to understand the role of proteins in various cell processes by establishing their 3D structure through routine protein crystallography. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: March 20, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-016. Applicant: Rutgers University, 89 French Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Instrument: LN Microscope. Manufacturer: Luigs Neumann, Germany. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to identify specific alterations in synaptic transmission that lead to neuropsychiatric or neurological disorders, using a technique called patch clamp, which uses a glass pipette to patch a microscopic area of the cell membrane (diameter −1 micrometer) and then record the electrophysiological signals generated by the cell. The stability of micromanipulation this instrument is capable of and the clarity in identifying specific cell types in live brain slices will address the fine synaptic regulation differences between normal neurons and neurons carrying diseased genes that may cause autism, schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. It will allow chances of recording from neurons for a longer time which allows testing of the effects of more compounds which may help to cure neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: April 17, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-017. Applicant: City University of New York, 205 East 42nd Street, Room 11-64, New York, NY 10017. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI Company, Japan. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to understand the structural mechanism by which macromolecular complexes, organelles and cells carry out their actions, and to design inhibitors/activators to alter their activity which can be used to treat diseases associated with the activity of the macromolecular complexes. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: April 24, 2015.

    Docket Number: 15-018. Applicant: City University of New York, 205 East 42nd Street, Room 11-64, New York, NY 10017. Instrument: Electron Microscope. Manufacturer: FEI Company, Japan. Intended Use: The instrument will be used to understand the structural mechanism by which macromolecular complexes, organelles and cells carry out their actions, and to design inhibitors/activators to alter their activity which can be used to treat diseases associated with the activity of the macromolecular complexes. Justification for Duty-Free Entry: There are no instruments of the same general category manufactured in the United States. Application accepted by Commissioner of Customs: April 24, 2015.

    Dated: May 4, 2015. Gregory W. Campbell, Director of Subsidies Enforcement, Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11345 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-827] Certain Cased Pencils From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2012-2013 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On December 31, 2014, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published the preliminary results and partial rescission of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain cased pencils (pencils) from the People's Republic of China (PRC). We gave interested parties an opportunity to comment on the preliminary results in a notice. The period of review (POR) is December 1, 2012, through November 30, 2013. This review covers one exporter of subject merchandise, Shandong Rongxin Import & Export Co., Ltd. (Rongxin). For the final results, we continue to find that Rongxin is not eligible for a separate rate, and, thus, remains part of the PRC-wide entity.

    DATES:

    Effective: May 11, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Kolberg or Sergio Balbontin, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1785, (202) 482-6478, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On December 31, 2014, the Department published the preliminary results and partial rescission of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on pencils from the PRC.1 Between February 2, 2015, and February 4, 2015, we received a case brief and a rebuttal brief with respect to the Preliminary Results. We conducted this administrative review in accordance with section 751 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).

    1See Certain Cased Pencils From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission; 2012-2013, 79 FR 78795 (December 31, 2014) (Preliminary Results). Based on the timely withdrawal of the request for review of Orient International Holding Shanghai Foreign Trade Co., Ltd. (SFTC), we rescinded the review of SFTC. In the Preliminary Results, the Department inadvertently omitted “Orient International Holding” in referencing SFTC's full company name.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order includes pencils from the PRC. The subject merchandise is currently classifiable under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading 9609.1010. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written product description is dispositive. A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice.2

    2See Memorandum “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Certain Cased Pencils from the People's Republic of China; 2012-2013” dated concurrently with and hereby adopted by this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs filed by parties to this administrative review are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. A list of the issues raised is attached to this notice as an appendix. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is also available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Enforcement and Compliance Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn. The signed and electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Changes Since the Preliminary Results

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Act. Based on our analysis of the comments received, we did not make any revisions to the Preliminary Results. For a full description of the analysis underlying our conclusions, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    PRC-Wide Rate and PRC-Wide Entity

    For the Preliminary Results, the Department assigned to the PRC-wide entity the rate of 114.90 percent.3 Because this rate is the same as the PRC-wide rate from previous segments of this proceeding and nothing on the record of this review calls into question the reliability of the PRC-wide rate, we find it appropriate to continue to apply the rate of 114.90 percent to the PRC-wide entity.

    3See Notice of Amended Final Results and Partial Rescission of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Certain Cased Pencils from the People's Republic of China, 67 FR 59049 (September 19, 2002).

    In the Preliminary Results, the Department determined that Rongxin was not eligible for a separate rate and, therefore, Rongxin is part of the PRC-wide entity. After reviewing the issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs from interested parties, the Department continues to find Rongxin ineligible for a separate rate. Thus, we continue to treat Rongxin as part of the PRC-wide entity.4

    4 The Department's change in policy regarding conditional review of the PRC-wide entity is not applicable to this administrative review. See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963, 65970 (November 4, 2013).

    Final Results of the Review

    As a result of this administrative review, we determine that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist: 5

    5 As noted, Rongxin is not eligible for a separate rate.

    Exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • PRC-Wide Entity * 114.90 * Includes Shandong Rongxin Import & Export Co., Ltd.
    Assessment

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.212(b), the Department shall determine, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review in accordance with the final results of this review.

    The Department announced a refinement to its assessment practice in non-market economy country antidumping proceedings.6 Pursuant to this refinement in practice, for entries that were not reported in the U.S. sales databases submitted by companies individually examined during this review, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the PRC-wide rate. In addition, for companies where the Department determined that the exporter under review had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate.7

    6See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011) (Assessment Practice Refinement).

    7 For a full discussion of this practice, see Assessment Practice Refinement.

    We intend to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of the final results of review.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of these final results of review for all shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters not listed above that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate; (2) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that for the PRC-wide entity of 114.90 percent; (3) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification

    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 Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of the antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as the only 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. 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 sanctionable violation.

    These final results of review are issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213.

    Dated: April 30, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Scope of the Order 4. Separate Rate/PRC-Wide Entity 5. Discussion of the Issues Comment 1: Whether Rongxin is Entitled to a Separate Rate Comment 2: Whether Dixon is a U.S. Manufacturer of Subject Merchandise, and, therefore, Entitled to Request an Administrative Review of Rongxin 6. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-10622 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology [Docket Number: 150501413-5413-01] Manufacturing Extension Partnership State Competitions and Regional Forums AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces that the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) intends to publish and post two (2) separate announcements of funding availability for MEP Centers in calendar year 2016. The list of specific states that will be involved in the competitions will be posted on the NIST MEP Web site at: http://www.nist.gov/mep/. The funding announcements will be provided both in the Federal Register and on Grants.gov. Prior to or in conjunction with each publication, MEP will conduct approximately two to three Regional Forums.

    DATES:

    The two separate announcements of funding availability are expected to be published and posted in January 2016 and July 2016, respectively. The Regional Forums will take place prior to or in conjunction with each publication, with notification to the public posted at: www.nist.gov/mep/.

    ADDRESS:

    The FRNs will be published in the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/, and the FFOs will be posted on http://www.grants.gov. More information about MEP and past funding opportunities may be obtained from the MEP Web site: www.nist.gov/mep/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Diane Henderson, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 4800, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-4800, telephone number (301) 975-5105, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NIST MEP, through a state-federal network of 60 centers and 1,200 manufacturing experts, helps small and medium-sized manufacturers across the country to improve their production processes, upgrade their technological capabilities, and bring new products to market. MEP helps small and medium-sized manufacturers compete, thereby increasing employment and investment across the country and generating a high return on public investment.

    Every dollar of federal investment in the MEP translates into $19 of new sales for small and medium-sized manufacturers, or almost $2.5 billion annually across the 30,000 small and medium-sized manufacturers that MEP serves. See http://www.nist.gov/mep/about/index.cfm and http://www.nist.gov/mep/about-impact.cfm. Since it was founded in 1988, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and helping small manufacturers create more than 729,000 new jobs. See http://www.nist.gov/mep/about/index.cfm.

    The MEP program is in the process of a multi-year effort to conduct full and open competitions to select operators for MEP centers. On August 1, 2014, NIST launched the first round of competitions for MEP centers in 10 states, focusing on states where the MEP investment in terms of dollars per manufacturing establishment was below its national average, making them the most underfunded of MEP's 60 centers. See 79 FR 44746 (Aug. 1, 2014). In February 2015, NIST MEP awarded cooperative agreements with start dates of July 1, 2015, to winning applicants in each of the 10 states.

    On March 9, 2015, NIST announced funding opportunities in 12 states, with an application deadline of June 1, 2015. See 80 FR 12451 (March 9, 2015); http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=NIST MEP. The primary objective of these competitions is to optimize the impact of the Federal investment on U.S. manufacturing and to allocate additional funds to areas with higher concentrations of manufacturers. Non-profit organizations, including public and private nonprofit organizations, nonprofit or State colleges and universities, public or nonprofit community and technical colleges, and State, local or Tribal governments, are eligible to apply for a NIST cooperative agreement for the operation of an MEP Center. In turn, MEP Centers work directly with small and medium-sized manufacturers to expand the range of growth, innovation, lean production, supply chain innovation, technology acceleration and workforce development offered to small and medium-sized manufacturers. In addition to a continued focus on growing all sectors of U.S. manufacturing, it is expected that an increased emphasis will be given to offering these services to very small firms, rural firms, and start-up firms. The competitions provide an opportunity to expand the number of small and medium-sized manufacturers served by the network and to align the program activities with the strategic goals of the states.

    The benefits of competition include:

    ○ Opportunity to realign MEP center activities with State economic development strategies;

    ○ Resetting of NIST MEP funding levels by State to reflect the regional importance of manufacturing and the national distribution of manufacturing activities;

    ○ Reduction and simplification of reporting requirements; and

    ○ Five-year awards reducing the annual paperwork burden.

    It should be noted that the MEP Program is not a Federal research and development program. It is not the intent of the program that awardees will perform systematic research. To learn more about the MEP Program, please go to http://www.nist.gov/mep/.

    NIST MEP anticipates announcing the competitions for approximately eleven (11) states in January 2016, with new MEP Center cooperative agreement awards anticipated to start in October 2016. NIST MEP anticipates announcing the competitions for an additional eleven (11) states in July 2016, with new MEP Center cooperative agreement awards anticipated to start in April 2017. The proposed list of states for the January 2016 and July 2016 announcements of funding availability will be posted on the MEP Web site at http://www.nist.gov/mep/. The list of specific states may change from time to time until finalized in the announcements of funding availability.

    This notice contains information based on the current planning for NIST MEP's activities in calendar year 2016, with the competitions expected to be completed by December 2016. NIST reserves the discretion to add and/or remove states from the list of states participating in the MEP competitions. The final list of states participating in each of the MEP Center competitions and the funding amounts available will be published in the announcements of funding availability that will be published in the Federal Register and posted simultaneously on www.grants.gov.

    In addition to issuing the two announcements of funding availability described above, NIST MEP intends to conduct approximately two to three regional forums prior to or in conjunction with each publication of these announcements. These forums will provide general information regarding MEP and offer general guidance on preparing proposals. NIST/MEP staff will be available at the forums to answer general questions. During the forums, proprietary technical discussions about specific project ideas will not be permitted. Also, NIST/MEP staff will not critique or provide feedback on any project ideas during the forums or at any time before submission of a proposal to MEP. However, NIST/MEP staff will provide information about business model approaches, developing proposals and sharing lessons learned from the 2015 MEP competition. NIST/MEP staff will also discuss the MEP eligibility and cost-sharing requirements, evaluation criteria and selection factors, selection process, and the general characteristics of a competitive MEP proposal.

    Once specific dates, locations and agendas have been identified for each of these Regional Forums, NIST MEP will post this information on its public Web site, http://www.nist.gov/mep/.

    Kevin Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11256 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 150114043-5407-01] RIN 0648-XD722 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Undulate Ray and the Greenback Parrotfish as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Status review; notice of finding.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, have completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for two foreign marine species in response to a petition to list those species. These species are the undulate ray (Raja undulata) and the greenback parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus). We have determined that, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, listing the undulate ray under the ESA is not warranted and listing the greenback parrotfish under the ESA is not warranted. We conclude that the undulate ray and the greenback parrotfish are not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their respective ranges and are not likely to become so within the foreseeable future.

    DATES:

    The finding announced in this notice was made on May 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You can obtain the petition, status review reports, the 12-month finding, and the list of references electronically on our NMFS Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/petition81.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ronald Salz, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources (OPR), (301) 427-8171.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On July 15, 2013, we received a petition from WildEarth Guardians to list 81 marine species or subpopulations as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This petition included species from many different taxonomic groups, and we prepared our 90-day findings in batches by taxonomic group. We found that the petitioned actions may be warranted for 24 of the species and 3 of the subpopulations and announced the initiation of status reviews for each of the 24 species and 3 subpopulations (78 FR 63941, October 25, 2013; 78 FR 66675, November 6, 2013; 78 FR 69376, November 19, 2013; 79 FR 9880, February 21, 2014; and 79 FR 10104, February 24, 2014). This document addresses the 12-month findings for two of these species: undulate ray (Raja undulata) and greenback parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus). Findings for seven additional species and two subpopulations can be found at 79 FR 74853 (December 16, 2014), 80 FR 11363 (March 3, 2015), and 80 FR 15557 (March 24, 2015). The remaining 15 species and one subpopulation will be addressed in subsequent findings.

    We are responsible for determining whether species are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). To make this determination, we consider first whether a group of organisms constitutes a “species” under the ESA, then whether the status of the species qualifies it for listing as either threatened or endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines a “species” to include “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” On February 7, 1996, NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS; together, the Services) adopted a policy describing what constitutes a distinct population segment (DPS) of a taxonomic species (the DPS Policy; 61 FR 4722). The DPS Policy identified two elements that must be considered when identifying a DPS: (1) The discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to which it belongs; and (2) the significance of the population segment to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to which it belongs. As stated in the DPS Policy, Congress expressed its expectation that the Services would exercise authority with regard to DPSs sparingly and only when the biological evidence indicates such action is warranted. Based on the scientific information available, we determined that the undulate ray (Raja undulata) and the greenback parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus) are both “species” under the ESA. There is nothing in the scientific literature indicating that either of these species should be further divided into subspecies or DPSs.

    Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and a threatened species as one “which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” We interpret an “endangered species” to be one that is presently in danger of extinction. A “threatened species,” on the other hand, is not presently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future. In other words, the primary statutory difference between a threatened and endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened).

    When we consider whether a species might qualify as threatened under the ESA, we must consider the meaning of the term “foreseeable future.” It is appropriate to interpret “foreseeable future” as the horizon over which predictions about the conservation status of the species can be reasonably relied upon. The foreseeable future considers the life history of the species, habitat characteristics, availability of data, particular threats, ability to predict threats, and the reliability to forecast the effects of these threats and future events on the status of the species under consideration. Because a species may be susceptible to a variety of threats for which different data are available, or which operate across different time scales, the foreseeable future is not necessarily reducible to a particular number of years. In determining an appropriate “foreseeable future” timeframe for the undulate ray and the greenback parrotfish, we considered both the life history of the species and whether we could project the impact of threats or risk factors through time. For the undulate ray, we could not define a specific number of years as the “foreseeable future” due to uncertainty regarding life history parameters of, and threats to, the species. For the greenback parrotfish, the foreseeable future was defined as approximately 40 years, based on this species' relatively long life span (estimated at 23 years [Previero, 2014a]), which means threats can have long-lasting impacts.

    On July 1, 2014, NMFS and USFWS published a policy to clarify the interpretation of the phrase “significant portion of its range” (SPR) in the ESA definitions of “threatened” and “endangered” (the SPR Policy; 76 FR 37578). Under this policy, the phrase “significant portion of its range” provides an independent basis for listing a species under the ESA. In other words, a species would qualify for listing if it is determined to be endangered or threatened throughout all of its range or if it is determined to be endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range. The policy consists of the following four components:

    (1) If a species is found to be endangered or threatened in only an SPR, the entire species is listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, and the ESA's protections apply across the species' entire range.

    (2) A portion of the range of a species is “significant” if its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range.

    (3) The range of a species is considered to be the general geographical area within which that species can be found at the time USFWS or NMFS makes any particular status determination. This range includes those areas used throughout all or part of the species' life cycle, even if they are not used regularly (e.g., seasonal habitats). Lost historical range is relevant to the analysis of the status of the species, but it cannot constitute an SPR.

    (4) If a species is not endangered or threatened throughout all of its range but is endangered or threatened within an SPR, and the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies.

    We considered this policy in evaluating whether to list the undulate ray and greenback parrotfish as endangered or threatened under the ESA.

    Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA requires us to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened due to any one or a combination of the following five threat factors: The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We are also required to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, after conducting a review of the species' status and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species.

    In assessing extinction risk of these two species, we considered the demographic viability factors developed by McElhany et al. (2000) and the risk matrix approach developed by Wainwright and Kope (1999) to organize and summarize extinction risk considerations. The approach of considering demographic risk factors to help frame the consideration of extinction risk has been used in many of our status reviews (see http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species for links to these reviews). In this approach, the collective condition of individual populations is considered at the species level according to four demographic viability factors: abundance, growth rate/productivity, spatial structure/connectivity, and diversity. These viability factors reflect concepts that are well-founded in conservation biology and that individually and collectively provide strong indicators of extinction risk.

    Scientific conclusions about the overall risk of extinction faced by the undulate ray and greenback parrotfish under present conditions and in the foreseeable future are based on our evaluation of the species' demographic risks and section 4(a)(1) threat factors. Assessment of overall extinction risk considered the likelihood and contribution of each particular factor, synergies among contributing factors, and the cumulative impact of all demographic risks and threats on the species.

    Status reviews for the undulate ray and the greenback parrotfish were conducted by NMFS OPR staff. In order to complete the status reviews, we compiled information on the species' biology, ecology, life history, threats, and conservation status from information contained in the petition, our files, a comprehensive literature search, and consultation with experts. We also considered information submitted by the public in response to our petition findings. Draft status review reports were also submitted to independent peer reviewers; comments and information received from peer reviewers were addressed and incorporated as appropriate before finalizing the draft reports. The undulate ray and greenback parrotfish status review reports are available on our Web site (see ADDRESSES section). Below we summarize information from these reports and the status of each species.

    Status Reviews Undulate Ray

    The following section describes our analysis of the status of the undulate ray, Raja undulata.

    Species Description

    The undulate ray, Raja undulata, is a member of the Family Rajidae whose origin is from the Late Cretaceous period, about 100 to 66 million years ago. Species diversification within the Family Rajidae occurred 15 to 2 million years ago in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, where undulate rays exist today (Valsecchi et al., 2004). The undulate ray is part of the Rajini tribe, which is a taxonomic category above the genus and below the family level. The Rajini tribe is defined by two morphological characteristics: (1) Disc free of denticles, and (2) crowns of alar thorns (sharp-pointed, recurved thorns located on the outer aspect of pectoral fins of mature males) with barbs (McEachran and Dunn, 1998).

    The undulate ray gets its name from the leading edge of the disc, which undulates from the snout to the wingtips during movement. Its dorsal color ranges from almost black to light yellow-brown interspersed with dark wavy bands lined by a twin row of white spots, which may camouflage them against the seabed. The underbelly is white with dark margins. The dorsal fins are widely spaced, normally with two dorsal spines between them. The undulate ray is relatively large, reaching 114 cm in total length (TL) as an adult (Ellis et al., 2012).

    Growth rates, size and age at maturity, and seasonal patterns of reproduction in undulate rays were determined from individuals taken from trammel nets, beach seines, and fish markets in Portugal (Coelho and Erzini, 2002; Coelho and Erzini, 2006; Moura et al., 2007). The undulate ray exhibits rapid growth in the first year, but overall has a slower growth rate compared to most species of Raja (n = 187; Von Bertalanffy growth L∞ = 110.22 cm, K = 0.11 per year and t0 = -1.58 year) (Coelho and Erzini, 2002). Females appear to become sexually mature later in life and at a larger body size than males (Coelho and Erzini, 2006; Moura et al., 2007; Serra-Pereira et al., 2013). In the Algarve estuary along the south coast of Portugal, the mean age and body size at which half of the females became sexually mature was 8.98 years and 76.2 cm TL. Half of the males became sexually mature at 7.66 years and a body size of 73.6 cm TL (Coelho and Erzini, 2006). This means that half of the females in the Algarve estuary became mature at 86.3 percent of their maximum size and 69.1 percent at their maximum age and half of the males became mature at 88.5 percent of maximum size and 63.8 percent at maximum age. This makes the undulate ray, at least for this study area, a late maturing species (Coelho and Erzini, 2006). Moura et al. (2007) found slightly larger values for length at maturity for both females (83.8 cm TL) and males (78.1 cm TL) in the Peniche region on the central coast of Portugal, which may indicate two different populations of the undulate ray exist on the Portuguese continental shelf (Moura et al., 2007). However, low sample sizes and different survey methods may account for the differences found between the study areas (Ellis, CEFAS, 2014 personal communication). Stéphan et al. (2013) reported the minimum length at maturity for males captured in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay was 74 cm TL, with 50 percent of the sample (n = 191) reaching maturity at 80 cm TL.

    Estimated generation length (the age at which half of total reproductive output is achieved by an individual) for this species varies from 14.9 to 15.9 years in females and from 14.3 to 15.3 years in males (Coelho et al., 2009). Based on an analysis of vertebral band deposits of 187 undulate rays caught in commercial fisheries in the Algarve estuary, the oldest individuals were estimated to be 13 years old, but overall longevity for this species has been estimated to be around 21-23 years (Coelho et al., 2002).

    The undulate ray is a seasonal breeder; however, temporal differences in breeding season were found between nursery areas (Moura et al., 2007). Individuals from the Algarve region in south Portugal were found to breed only in the winter (Coelho and Erzini, 2006), those from Peniche in central Portugal were found to breed from February through May (Moura et al., 2007; Serra-Pereira et al., 2013), and in Portugal's north central coast, breeding occurred from December through June (Serra-Pereira et al., 2013). Water temperatures in the Peniche region are colder than those in the Algarve, which may explain the longer breeding season observed there (Moura et al., 2007).

    The undulate ray is oviparous, in that the fertilized egg, which is encased in an egg capsule, hatches outside of the parental body (Moura et al., 2008). Egg cases measure 70-90 mm long and 45-60 mm wide. Typical reproductive output is unknown; however, one female was observed to lay 88 egg cases over 52 days and the incubation period was 91 days (Shark Trust, 2009). In general, Rajidae exhibit protracted incubation times ranging from 4 to 15 months (Serra-Pereira et al., 2011).

    Information on sex ratios in the population is sparse, but appears to indicate a slight female bias in some areas and significant male bias in other areas. In the eastern English Channel, individuals collected in bottom trawl surveys were slightly female-biased at 57 percent female and 43 percent male (Martin et al., 2010). Undulate rays caught in the Bay of Biscay, France, by fishermen, fishing guides, and scientists were generally 48 to 95 cm in total length and the sex ratio was 54 percent female and 46 percent male (Delamare et al., 2013). Other studies have found a preponderance of males. During three gillnet fisheries trips in May 2010 and two trips in February-March 2011 off the Isle of Wight in the English Channel, the ratio of females to males was 1:4.5 and 1:6.0, respectively, and all were mature adults (Ellis et al., 2012).

    Undulate ray habitat in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean includes sandy and coarse bottoms from the shoreline to no deeper than 200 m, but undulate rays are generally found in waters less than 50 m deep (Saldnaha, 1997 as cited in Coelho and Erzini, 2006; Martin et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2012; Ellis et al., 2012). Undulate rays, especially juveniles, inhabit inshore waters, including lagoons, bays, rias (defined as a coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of a river valley that is not covered in glaciers and remains open to the sea), and outer parts of estuaries (Ellis et al., 2012).

    The English Channel provides important habitat for the undulate ray (Martin et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2012). The main predictors of elasmobranch habitat in the English Channel were depth, bed shear stress (an estimate of the pressure exerted across the seabed by tidal forcing), and stability, followed by seabed sediment type and temperature (Martin et al., 2010). The undulate ray was found more frequently in the western area of the English Channel, particularly in the area between the Cherbourg Peninsula and Isle of Wight, where the seabed is hard (pebble) and tidal currents strong. However, the species was also reported in patches of lower density in some shallower coastal waters in the eastern part of the English Channel (Martin et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2012). Based on counts of egg cases recorded on beaches along the south coast of England, areas to the west and east of the Isle of Wight may be important nursery areas for the undulate ray (Dorset Wildlife Trust, 2010).

    The Gironde estuary of France provides important sand and mud bottom habitat for the undulate ray (Lobry et al., 2003). Tides are strong within the estuary (average flow volume between 800 and 1,000 m3/s) and turbidity is high, frequently exceeding 400 mg/L. The undulate ray is one of the most common species found in the coastal waters of the Tagus estuary in the central and west coast of Portugal (Prista et al., 2003). About 60 percent of the estuary is exposed at low tide, revealing soft bottom habitat. However, specific data are lacking on the undulate ray's distribution and association with specific habitat within the estuary.

    In waters off Portugal, the undulate ray diet changed as individuals grew and matured. Smaller individuals had a generalized diet, consuming a variety of semi-pelagic and benthic prey, including shrimps and mysids. However, larger undulate rays began to specialize on the brachyuran crab, Polybius henslowi, with the largest undulate rays eating this prey item almost exclusively (Moura et al., 2008). The shift in diet from semi-pelagic and benthic species to primarily benthic crabs occurred at 55 cm TL, and the shift from more generalized to specialized diet occurred at 75 cm TL. The first shift may be due to juveniles migrating from nursery to foraging habitat, and the second shift may be related to the onset of maturity (Moura et al., 2008).

    Population Abundance, Distribution, and Structure

    The undulate ray occurs on the continental shelf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean, ranging in the north from southwest Ireland and the English Channel, south to northwest Africa, west to the Canary Islands, and east into the Mediterranean Sea (Serena, 2005; Coelho and Erzini, 2006; Ellis et al., 2012). The undulate ray exhibits a patchy distribution throughout its range. According to ICES (2008), the patchy distribution of the undulate ray may have existed as far back as the 1800s. It is locally abundant at sites in the central English Channel, Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal (Ellis et al., 2012). Within the Mediterranean Sea, occasional records occur off Israel and Turkey, but they are mainly recorded from the western region off southern France and the Tyrrhenian Sea (Serena, 2005; Ellis et al. 2012). In 2001, a few specimens were recorded in bottom trawl hauls on the continental shelf of the Balearic Islands off the Iberian Peninsula (western Mediterranean) (Massutí and Moranta, 2003; Massutí and Reñones, 2005). Specimens have also been reported in the southern North Sea and Bristol Channel, but these areas are outside the normal distribution range (Ellis et al., 2012).

    Few data exist regarding undulate ray population structure. Tagging studies were conducted in French waters from 2012 through 2014 to determine population structuring of the undulate ray in the English Channel, central Bay of Biscay, Iroise Sea, South Brittany, and Morocco, North Africa (Delamare et al., 2013). Preliminary data from the Bay of Biscay and western English Channel indicate undulate rays do not migrate great distances. In the central Bay of Biscay, 1,700 undulate rays were tagged from April 2012 through May 2013. Of the rays tagged, 98 were recaptured within 450 days of tagging, mainly within 30 km of the tagging location; about two-thirds were recaptured within 10 km, indicating high site fidelity. The number of days between capture and recapture did not affect the distances between the two points, also supporting high site fidelity (Delamare et al., 2013). The central part of the Bay of Biscay may host a closed population exhibiting a small degree of emigration and immigration (Delamare et al., 2013). Mark and recapture studies in the western English Channel around the Island of Jersey also indicate high site fidelity (Ellis et al., 2011). Discrete populations may also occur in the bays of southwest Ireland (ICES, 2007; ICES, 2013).

    The ICES Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes (2013) recommended the species be managed as five separate stocks: (1) English Channel; (2) southwest Ireland; (3) Bay of Biscay; (4) Cantabrian Sea; and (5) Galicia and Portugal. However, the recommendation was based only on the species' patchy distribution and not direct evidence of population structure. Data are lacking on population structure based on behavioral, morphological, and genetic characteristics.

    Determining population size or trends is difficult due to the patchy distribution of the species, variable survey effort and survey methods over time, inconsistent metrics for reporting abundance, temporally limited (less than 20 years) data sets, and species misidentification. Prior to 2009, the undulate ray was often classified at a higher taxonomic level, i.e. miscellaneous rays and skates (LeBlanc et al., 2013); thus, the species was an unknown percentage of a larger sample and was likely underrepresented in the landings data. Trends based on fisheries landings have limited utility in understanding true population trends. Restrictions and catch limits have been implemented for the undulate ray at least since 2009; thus, any reported decline in recent species-specific landings may be more reflective of changes in fisheries practices, effort, and regulations rather than changes in species abundance (see Ellis et al., 2010).

    Fisheries-independent bottom trawl surveys were conducted in the eastern English Channel each October from 1988 through 2008 (Martin et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2012). During this period 1,800 hauls were made and 16 different elasmobranch species were captured. The undulate ray was the eighth most abundant elasmobranch in terms of individuals caught and percent total biomass (Martin et al., 2010). Mean densities of undulate ray fluctuated dramatically from 1988 through 2008, and no trend could be detected. The undulate ray was present in 3.8 percent of the fisheries-independent bottom trawl survey hauls from 1988-1996 and 3.8 percent of hauls from 1997-2008, indicating stability in presence in the area (Martin et al., 2010).

    Fisheries-independent beam trawl surveys have been conducted in the eastern and western English Channel each year since 1989. In the eastern English Channel survey, undulate ray catch rates were generally low and variable, partly due to its patchy distribution. For the period 1993-2013, mean number of individuals caught per hour of survey effort ranged from a low of zero (in 2006 and 2007) to between 0.25 and 0.30 (in 1996, 2009, 2012-2013) (ICES, 2014a). In the western English Channel beam trawl survey, undulate ray catch rates were also generally low and variable from 1989-2011 (Burt et al., 2013), with an apparent decreasing trend after 2004. Mean relative abundance was zero in 6 out of 7 years from 2005-2011. However, preliminary results from surveys conducted in 2012-2013 of fishermen operating in the western English Channel indicate that the undulate ray is a main species caught, representing approximately 75 percent of the ray catch in trawl, dredge, gillnet, and longline gear (LeBlanc et al., 2013). The English Channel undulate ray stock status was considered uncertain and classified by ICES as a “data-limited stock” with a precautionary margin of 20 percent recommended for fishery management (ICES, 2012). The “precautionary margin” is a 20 percent reduction to catch advice that serves as a buffer when reference points for stock size or exploitation (e.g., maximum sustainable yield) are unknown (ICES, 2012).

    In the southern region of the North Sea, the undulate ray may be a rare vagrant, but it is absent further north (Ellis et al., 2005). From 1990-1995, beam trawl surveys conducted in coastal waters of the eastern North Sea, English Channel, Bristol Channel, and Irish Sea indicated that the undulate ray was the least common of seven ray species collected (Rogers et al., 1998a). Overall abundance in the British Isles was low (<8 individuals per hour per ICES survey area) (Ellis et al., 2005). The undulate ray was reported in trawl surveys conducted from 1973 to 1997 along the south coasts of England (0.003 individuals per 1000 m2), but is absent from other parts of the survey grid (Rogers and Millner, 1996; Rogers et al., 1998b). Juveniles were infrequent catches in the surveys (Rogers et al., 1998b). Cooler water temperatures may explain the absence of the undulate ray in sampling stations along the more northern coast of England (Rogers and Millner, 1996).

    Catch of undulate ray was reported by two charter vessels from Tralee Bay, southwestern Ireland, for the years 1981 through 2005 (ICES, 2007). Although effort data were not reported, the overall catch trend suggests a decline in abundance. Undulate ray catch was at a high of 80-100 fish per year in the first 2 years of reporting (1980-1981), declined to 20-30 fish per year by the mid-1990s, increased to about 40-60 fish per year at the turn of the century, and declined again from 2001 through 2005, although catches fluctuated each year (ICES, 2007). Tag and release data collected in the recreational fishery throughout southwestern Ireland, including Tralee Bay, from 1972-2014 indicate a decline since the 1970s, but potential changes in fishing effort were not provided (ICES, 2014b).

    The Tagus estuary, in the central and west coast of Portugal, was surveyed between 1979 and 1981 and from 1995 through 1997 to determine fish abundance and diversity (Cabral et al., 2001). The undulate ray was a common species, usually in the top 3 to 5 most common species found in the surveys over time. Mean density was similar or even slightly increased over the sampling period (less than 0.01/1,000 m2 in 1979 and 1995; 0.01/1,000 m2 in 1996; 0.03/1,000 m2 in 1997) (Cabral et al., 2001). More recent data reflecting the current status of the undulate ray in the Tagus estuary were not available.

    French landings data on the undulate ray for the Celtic Sea from 1995-2001 show a declining trend from a high of 12 t in 1995 to a low of 0 t in 2000 and 2001 (ICES, 2007). However, not all French fisheries reported skate landings at the species level. In coastal waters off Spain, based on bycatch data from artisanal fisheries, there is no evidence of a decreasing trend in undulate ray abundance (Bañon et al., 2008 as cited in ICES, 2010). Data on undulate ray abundance and trends in the western Mediterranean Sea and northwest coast of Africa were not available.

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Undulate Ray

    Available information regarding current, historical, and potential future threats to the undulate ray was thoroughly reviewed (Conant, 2015). We summarize information regarding threats below according to the factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. There is very little information available on the impact of “Disease or Predation” or “Other Natural or Manmade Factors” on undulate ray survival. These subjects are data poor, but there are no serious or known concerns raised under these threat categories with respect to undulate ray extinction risk; therefore, we do not discuss these further here. See Conant (2015) for additional discussion of all ESA section 4(a)(1) threat categories.

    Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    Data are limited on the undulate ray's habitat, and a comprehensive review of the habitat characteristics that are important to the undulate ray, and anthropogenic impacts on undulate ray habitat are not available. Thus, the following section summarizes available data by region on any habitat impacts, if known.

    The Tagus estuary in Portugal has been subjected to industrial development and urbanization (Cabral et al., 2001). Lisbon, which is on the Tagus River and estuary, has experienced dramatic increases in human population growth since the early 1900s. In 2000, the human population living along the coast of the estuary was estimated at 2 million, which has resulted in high pollution loads in the estuary and poor water quality (Cabral et al., 2001). The Tagus estuary is one of the largest and most contaminated by anthropogenic mercury in Europe. When released to the water column mercury can accumulate in aquatic organisms, causing contamination within the food chain. Accumulation of metals has been documented in other species, such as the European eel (Anguilla anguilla), that were collected from the Tagus estuary (Neto et al., 2011). However, data are lacking on specific contaminant loads and effects on the undulate ray. In fact, abundance data in the Tagus estuary reported by Cabral et al. (2001) indicate that the undulate ray density slightly increased between 1979 and 1997.

    The Gironde estuary is considered somewhat pristine and has relatively fewer phosphates and nitrogen content compared to other estuaries in France, such as the Seine, Loire, and Rhône (Mauvais and Guillaud, 1994 cited in Lobry et al., 2003). However, human impacts have been documented for the estuary, including contamination, nitrogen loads, and hypoxic conditions from upland activities (Dauvin, 2008).

    The English Channel, and its local biodiversity, are also subject to numerous anthropogenic impacts, including shipping, aggregate extraction, aquaculture, and eutrophication (Dauvin, 2008; Martin et al., 2010; Martin et al., 2012). Maritime traffic in the English Channel is intense, with up to 600 vessels passing through the Dover Straits each day. Transportation of oil is a major component of the shipping industry in the English Channel.

    Major oil spills have occurred in European seas, including off the Brittany coast of France, Cornwall coast of England, and Galician coast of Spain (Dauvin, 2008). In 2002, a spill of over 50,000 tons of heavy oil occurred 250 miles from Spain's coast (Serrano et al., 2006). The spill occurred during November, and the winter conditions dispersed and sank the oil as tar aggregates along the continental shelf. These tar aggregates were still detected on the continental shelf one month after the spill, and oil was found in zooplankton species. Serrano et al. (2006) sampled the area affected by the oil and compared it to pre-spill data to determine if changes in biomass and benthic diversity had occurred due to the oil spill. The undulate ray was one indicator species in the study; however, the data were aggregated across taxa. Although density of several taxa declined significantly in 2003, their density increased to pre-oil spill numbers in 2004—two years after the oil spill (Serrano et al., 2006). Also, the dissimilarity in species abundance between 2002 and 2003 was not due to changes in any ray species, including the undulate ray. The study found no effect on biomass and benthic diversity due to the tar aggregation. Rather, environmental variables such as depth, season, latitude, and sediment characteristics influenced benthic community structure (Serrano et al., 2006).

    Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    With respect to commercial fishing, the undulate ray is mainly bycaught in demersal fisheries using trawls, trammel nets, gillnets, and longlines, but has been recorded as landings in other fisheries operating within its range (Coehlo et al., 2009). Landings data are generally reported as a generic “skates and rays” category and are not species specific. By the early 1900s, the UK reported general skate landings of 25,000-30,000 t per year (Ellis et al., 2010). Since 1958, general skate landings have declined and have been less than 5,000 t per year since 2005 (Ellis et al., 2010). Where landings are identified to the undulate ray level, recent restrictions on fisheries need to be considered in any interpretation on trends (Ellis et al., 2010). In 2009 and 2010, through Council Regulation EC No 43/2009 and Council Regulation EU No 23/2010, respectively, the European Commission (EC) banned the retention of the undulate ray in the European Union (EU) by fishing vessels equipped for commercial exploitation of living aquatic resources (EC 2371/2002). Prior to the retention ban, the species was a relatively common commercial fish caught in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean bays and estuaries (Costa et al., 2002). In the two years preceding the 2009 retention ban on undulate rays, 60-100 t per year were landed in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France (Hennache, 2012 cited in Delamare et al., 2013). French landings data on the undulate ray for the Celtic Seas were 12 t in 1995, 6 t in 1996, 10 t in 1997, after which landings fell to 2 t in 1998, 1 t in 1999, and 0 t in 2000-2006 (ICES, 2007), which may indicate overexploitation in this area. However, it is unknown what percentage of French fisheries reported skate landings to the species level. French landings data of Rajidae from 1996 to 2006 were variable with no detectable trend and ranged from 934 t in 2003 to 2,058 t in 1997 (ICES, 2007).

    In Portugal, prior to the 2009 retention ban, over 90 percent of the undulate rays caught in trammel nets were retained for commercial purposes or for personal consumption (Coelho et al., 2002; Coelho et al., 2005; Batista et al., 2009; Baeta et al., 2010). The undulate ray was the most prominent elasmobranch species by weight (8.51 kg per 10 km of net), comprising almost 35 percent of the elasmobranch biomass caught in the Portuguese artisanal trammel net fishery between October 2004 and August 2005 (Baeta et al., 2010). Catch per unit effort (CPUE) was highest in shallow waters (0-25 m) and slightly increased in cooler months. Raja spp. landings in Portuguese artisanal fisheries decreased 29.1 percent between 1988 and 2004 (Coelho et al., 2009). However, landings data were not reported by species, so trends in undulate ray landings data for this area are unknown.

    In the Gulf of Cadiz off Spain, the undulate ray was the fifth most common species discarded (Gonçalves et al., 2007). The undulate ray is also bycaught in the Spanish demersal trawl fleet operating in the Cantabrian Sea located in the southern Bay of Biscay (ICES, 2007). However, trawling is banned in waters shallower than 100m, so much of the bycatch in the area occurs in small artisanal gillnet fisheries operating in bays or shallow waters (ICES, 2010). The undulate ray is an important species for artisanal fisheries operating in the coastal waters of Galicia, and there is no evidence of a decreasing trend in its abundance in the area (Bañon et al., 2008 as cited in ICES, 2010).

    In the western Mediterranean, in 2001, one undulate ray was recorded in a total of 131 bottom trawl hauls (Massutí and Moranta, 2003) and two specimens were recorded in 88 hauls (Massutí and Reñones, 2005) on the continental shelf of the Balearic Islands off the Iberian Peninsula. Landings data are not available for the northwestern coast of Africa, but the undulate ray's preference for shallow waters may render it vulnerable to intensive artisanal coastal fisheries operating in the area (Coelho et al., 2009).

    Inclusion of the undulate ray on the EC prohibited species list has increased commercial discarding of this species, especially in areas where it is locally common (ICES, 2013). Data are lacking on mortality in the undulate ray as a result of discarding. Mortality may be high in skates and rays discarded from fishing gear operating offshore where soak times are relatively long (Ellis et al., 2010); however, skates primarily caught in otter trawls, gillnets, and beam trawls by inshore vessels operating in areas occupied by undulate rays have shown high survival rates (Ellis, CEFAS, personal communication, 2014).

    As discussed earlier, recreational catches have declined in Tralee Bay and southwestern Ireland, which may indicate overexploitation in this area, although fishing effort data are not available. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), which has 15,000 members in over 100 countries, lists the undulate ray as a trophy fish (Shiffman et al., 2014). Trophy fishing may result in catching large and fecund fish. Although the IGFA undulate ray trophy fishery is a catch and release program, some fish may die after being released (Shiffman et al., 2014). Data are lacking on the number of undulate ray caught in the IGFA program and on the recreational post-release mortality of undulate rays.

    In addition to commercial and recreational fishing, population abundance research involving the tagging of undulate rays could have an impact on the species. Petersen disk tags were tested for the level of mortality that may result from their use under controlled conditions in holding tanks. Two of 34 tagged rays died, most likely due to the applied tags (Delamare et al., 2013). The authors stated that although the mortality is low, it is not negligible and needs to be accounted for in designing and carrying out future studies involving tags. Mark recapture studies using Petersen disk tags were conducted in 2013 in the western English Channel and Bay of Biscay. A total of 1,700 undulate rays were tagged and released during 6 sampling trips in the Atlantic, and 224 undulate rays were tagged and released during 4 sampling in the English Channel (Stéphan et al., 2013). Fisheries independent surveys generally result in low mortality of all species of rays caught (Ellis et al., 2012).

    Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    As described above, in 2009, through Council Regulation (EC No 43/2009), and in 2010, through Council Regulation (EU No 23/2010), the EC designated the undulate ray as a prohibited species that could not be fished, retained, transshipped or landed in the EU. Member countries of the EU include France, Spain, Portugal, UK, and Ireland—all countries where the undulate ray occurs. The justification for the ban was based largely on ICES's findings that the state of conservation in the Celtic Sea was “uncertain but with cause for concern” and recommendation of no targeted fishing for this species (ICES, 2014b). The prohibited species designations have been controversial and some EU countries have questioned the rationale behind them (ICES, 2013; ICES, 2014). In 2010, the EC asked ICES to comment on the listing of the undulate ray as a prohibited species. ICES (2010) stated that the undulate ray would be better managed under local management measures and “should not appear on the prohibited species list in either the Celtic Seas or the Biscay/Iberia ecoregion.” ICES classified the undulate ray as a “data-limited stock” and recommended a precautionary approach to the exploitation of this species (ICES, 2012). In 2014, the undulate ray was removed from the prohibited species list in ICES Sub-Area VII, which includes Ireland and the English Channel (ICES, 2014b), although it remains as a species that should be returned to the water unharmed to the maximum extent practicable and cannot be landed in this area.

    In England and Wales, the undulate ray is designated as a species of principal importance in conserving biodiversity under sections 41 and 42 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act of 2006. Thus, England and Wales must take into consideration the undulate ray in conserving biodiversity when performing government functions such as providing funds for development.

    Other fishing regulations apply generally to skates and rays. Local English and Welsh minimum landing sizes are in effect in some inshore areas (Ellis et al., 2010). In 1999, a total allowable catch (TAC) set at 6,060 t was established for skates and rays in the North Sea (ICES Division IIa and sub-area IV). The TAC was reduced by 20 percent (to 4,848 t) for the period 2001-2002, and has been further reduced by between 8 percent and 25 percent in subsequent years. In 2010, the TAC was at a record low of 1,397 t (Ellis et al., 2010). Other measures include bycatch quotas for skates and rays, whereby skates and rays may not exceed 25 percent live weight of the catch retained on board larger vessels. In Portugal, a maximum of 5 percent bycatch, in weight, of any skate species belonging to the Rajidae family is allowed per fishing trip (ICES, 2013). In 2011, Portugal adopted a law (Portaria No. 315/2011) that prohibits landing any Rajidae species during May within the nation's exclusive economic zone. In 1998, mesh size restrictions were implemented for fisheries targeting skates and rays (Ellis et al., 2010). Other technical measures have been implemented that may benefit skate and ray populations, including height of static nets, delimitation of fishing grounds and depths, and duration of soak time (e.g., European Council Regulations EC No 3071/95, 894/97, 850/98) (Gonçalves et al., 2007). Portuguese legislation limits trammel net soak times to 24 hours, unless nets are set deeper than 300m, for which the soak time can be 72 hours (Baeta et al., 2010).

    Information on regulatory mechanisms is lacking for the non-EU Mediterranean Sea and northwest Africa, which represents a large part of the undulate ray's overall range.

    Extinction Risk Assessment

    Several demographic characteristics of the undulate ray, which are intrinsic to elasmobranchs, may increase the species' vulnerability to extinction (Dulvy et al., 2014; Musick, 2014, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, personal communication). The undulate ray is a large-bodied skate that exhibits the following life-history characteristics: Delayed age to sexual maturity; long generation length; and long life span. For these reasons, we conclude that demographic characteristics related to growth rate and productivity have a moderate to high likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray.

    Historical abundance data are lacking for the undulate ray. Prior to the ban on retention, fisheries landings data indicate that it was a common species caught in the Celtic Seas off west Ireland, Portugal, and the English Channel, but was uncommon elsewhere. Fisheries dependent data from France showed a decline in undulate ray catch over the period of 1995 through 2001. In the Tagus estuary, Portugal, the undulate ray mean density was stable or slightly increasing from 1979 through 1997. In coastal waters off Spain there is no evidence of a decreasing trend in the abundance of the undulate ray in the area. Thus, in some areas population abundance may be declining, while in other areas the population appears to be stable or increasing. For these reasons, we conclude that demographic characteristics related to population abundance have a low likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray.

    The distribution of the undulate ray is patchy, and few data exist on the undulate ray population structure. Preliminary data indicate undulate rays do not migrate great distances and exhibit high site fidelity. Similar to other large skates, these life-history characteristics may increase the undulate ray's vulnerability to exploitation, reduce their rate of recovery, and increase their risk of extinction (ICES, 2007; Rogers et al., 1999). However, localized declines of this species are not widespread. Based on the limited information available, we conclude spatial structure and connectivity characteristics have a low likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray.

    Because there is insufficient information on genetic diversity, we conclude this characteristic presents an unknown likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray.

    Information on specific threat factors contributing to the undulate ray extinction risk is limited. Regarding habitat related threats, several estuaries inhabited by the undulate ray have been degraded by human activities, yet others appear somewhat pristine (e.g., Gironde estuary). However, systematic data are lacking on impacts to habitat features specific to the undulate ray and/or threats that result in curtailment of the undulate ray's range. For these reasons, we conclude habitat destruction, modification, and curtailment of habitat or range has an unknown to low likelihood (given some undulate ray habitat areas are not highly impacted by human activities) of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray. Predictions of how threats to habitat may impact the undulate ray in the foreseeable future would be largely speculative.

    Overexploitation of the undulate ray by commercial fishing has occurred in some areas, but does not appear widespread. Fisheries independent data indicate undulate ray populations are uncommon in some areas, and stable or possibly increasing in other areas over time. Some mortality may also occur as a result of tags used in scientific research activities, although the number of rays tagged is relatively low and unlikely to represent a large portion of the overall population. For these reasons, we conclude that overutilization for commercial, recreational, or scientific purposes has a low likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray. Predictions of how the threat of overutilization may impact the undulate ray in the foreseeable future would be largely speculative.

    With respect to the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, retention of the undulate ray is banned in most areas of the EU. Although the ban on retention of the undulate ray is being re-examined, a precautionary approach to fisheries management is still advised for the undulate ray and is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Other fisheries regulations for skates and rays in general will reduce the impact of fishing on the undulate ray population and are also likely to continue into the foreseeable future. In conclusion, there is a low likelihood that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms contributes or will contribute in the foreseeable future to the extinction of the undulate ray.

    Conant (2015) concluded that the undulate ray is presently at a low risk of extinction, with no information to indicate that this will change in the foreseeable future. Although one of the demographic characteristics (growth rate/productivity) of the undulate ray has a moderate to high likelihood of contributing to extinction, the species does not appear to be negatively impacted by threats now, and information does not indicate the species' response to threats will change in the future. In addition, known threats pose a very low to low likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the undulate ray. After reviewing the best available scientific data and the extinction risk assessment, we agree with Conant (2015) and conclude that the undulate ray's risk of extinction is low both now and in the foreseeable future.

    Significant Portion of Its Range

    Though we find that the undulate ray is not in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future throughout its range, under the SPR Policy, we must go on to evaluate whether the species is in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, in a “significant portion of its range” (79 FR 37578; July 1, 2014).

    The SPR Policy explains that it is necessary to fully evaluate a particular portion for potential listing under the “significant portion of its range” authority only if substantial information indicates that the members of the species in a particular area are likely both to meet the test for biological significance and to be currently endangered or threatened in that area. Making this preliminary determination triggers a need for further review, but does not prejudge whether the portion actually meets these standards such that the species should be listed. To identify only those portions that warrant further consideration, we will determine whether there is substantial information indicating that (1) the portions may be significant and (2) the species may be in danger of extinction in those portions or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We emphasize that answering these questions in the affirmative is not a determination that the species is endangered or threatened throughout a significant portion of its range—rather, it is a step in determining whether a more detailed analysis of the issue is required (79 FR 37578, at 37586; July 1, 2014).

    Thus, the preliminary determination that a portion may be both significant and endangered or threatened merely requires NMFS to engage in a more detailed analysis to determine whether the standards are actually met (79 FR 37578, at 37587). Unless both are met, listing is not warranted. The policy further explains that, depending on the particular facts of each situation, NMFS may find it is more efficient to address the significance issue first, but in other cases it will make more sense to examine the status of the species in the potentially significant portions first. Whichever question is asked first, an affirmative answer is required to proceed to the second question. Id. (“[I]f we determine that a portion of the range is not `significant,' we will not need to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened there; if we determine that the species is not endangered or threatened in a portion of its range, we will not need to determine if that portion was `significant'” (79 FR 37578, at 37587). Thus, if the answer to the first question is negative—whether that regards the significance question or the status question—then the analysis concludes and listing is not warranted.

    Applying the policy to the undulate ray, we first evaluated whether there is substantial information indicating that any particular portion of the species' range is “significant.” The undulate ray exhibits a patchy distribution throughout its range and may have been patchily distributed since at least the 1800s (ICES, 2008). It is locally abundant at sites in the central English Channel, Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal (Ellis et al., 2012). Within the Mediterranean Sea, occasional records occur off Israel and Turkey, but undulate rays are mainly recorded from the western region off southern France and the Tyrrhenian Sea (Ellis et al. 2012; Serena 2005). Few data exist on the undulate ray population structure and studies have just begun that would improve our understanding of whether the species migrates and mixes/interbreeds among populations. Studies to date indicate that this species does not migrate great distances and that it exhibits high site fidelity (ICES 2007; Ellis et al., 2011; ICES, 2013; Delamare et al., 2013).

    The undulate ray is broadly distributed, with locally abundant populations in five countries, indicating a level of representation that would increase resiliency against environmental catastrophes or random variations in environmental conditions. Limited data indicate discrete populations may exist (e.g., Bay of Biscay, Tralee Bay), but no data support that any particular population's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion of the range, the spatial structure of the entire species could be disrupted, resulting in fragmentation that could preclude individuals from moving and repopulating other areas. The preliminary data on possible discrete populations in some areas are too limited to support a conclusion that undulate ray populations would become isolated and fragmented, and demographic and population-dynamic processes within the species would be disrupted to the extent that the entire species would be at higher risk of extinction. Data on genetic diversity are lacking; thus, it is unknown how this characteristic would affect the species' resiliency against extinction should any particular population be extirpated. While historical abundance data are lacking, limited fishery-independent and fishery-dependent data indicate that in some areas population abundance may be declining, but in other areas the population appears to be stable or increasing. And as noted above, we have no reason to conclude that the extirpation of any particular portion of the range would cause the entire species to be in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

    Finally, threats occur throughout the species' range and there is no one particular geographic area where the species appears to be exposed to heightened threats. This, coupled with the lack of data on the undulate ray population structure and diversity, precludes us from identifying any particular portion of the species' range where the loss of individuals within that portion would adversely affect the viability of the species to such a degree as to render it in danger of extinction, or likely to be in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range.

    After a review of the best available information, we could identify no particular portion of the undulate ray range where its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be at risk of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range. Therefore, we find that there is no portion of the undulate ray range that qualifies as “significant” under the SPR Policy, and thus our SPR analysis ends.

    Determination

    Based on our consideration of the best available data, as summarized here and in Conant (2015), we determine that the undulate ray, Raja undulata, faces a low risk of extinction throughout its range both now and in the foreseeable future, and that there is no portion of the undulate ray's range that qualifies as “significant” under the SPR Policy. We therefore conclude that listing this species as threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted. This is a final action, and, therefore, we do not solicit comments on it.

    Greenback Parrotfish

    The following section describes our analysis of the status of the greenback parrotfish, Scarus trispinosus.

    Species Description

    The greenback parrotfish, Scarus trispinosus, is a valid taxonomic species within the parrotfish family Scaridae. Parrotfishes are considered a monophyletic group but are often classified as a subfamily or tribe (Scarinae) of the wrasse family (Labridae). Currently, there are 100 species of parrotfish (family Scaridae) in 10 genera (Parenti and Randall, 2011; Rocha et al., 2012). Parrotfishes are distinguished from other labroid fishes based upon their unique dentition (dental plates derived from fusion of teeth), loss of predorsal bones, lack of a true stomach, and extended length of intestine (Randall, 2005). The greenback parrotfish is one of the largest Brazilian parrotfish species, with maximum sizes reported around 90 cm (Previero, 2014a). The greenback parrotfish has six predorsal scales, two scales on the third cheek row, and roughly homogeneously-colored scales on flanks (Moura et al., 2001). Juveniles are similarly colored to adults, but bear a yellowish area on the nape (Moura et al., 2001).

    Greenback parrotfish are endemic to Brazil and range from Manuel Luiz Reefs off the northern Brazilian coast to Santa Catarina on the southeastern Brazilian coast (Moura et al., 2001; Ferreira et al., 2010). Greenback parrotfish are widely distributed in reef environments throughout their range (Bender et al., 2012). Their range includes the Abrolhos reef complex, located in southern Bahia state (southeastern Brazil), which is considered the largest and richest coral reef system in the South Atlantic (Francini-Filho et al., 2008). This reef complex encompasses an area of approximately 6,000 km2 on the inner and middle continental shelf of the Abrolhos Bank (Kikuchi et al., 2003).

    The majority of parrotfishes inhabit coral reefs, but many can also be found in a variety of other habitats, including subtidal rock and rocky reefs, submerged seagrass, and macroalgal and kelp beds (Comeros-Raynal, 2012). There is little evidence that scarids have strict habitat requirements (Feitosa and Ferreira, 2014). Instead, they appear to be habitat “generalists” and their biomass is weakly related to the cover of particular reef feeding substrata (Gust, 2002). Greenback parrotfish have been recorded dwelling in coral reefs, algal reefs, seagrass beds, and rocky reefs at depths ranging from 1 m to at least 30 m (Moura et al. 2001).

    The following von Bertalanffy growth parameters were estimated for greenback parrotfish: L∞ = 84.48 cm, K = 0.17 and t0 = 1.09 (Previero, 2014a). Previero (2014a) estimated a maximum life span for this species of 23 years. Based on a similar “sister” species Scarus guacamaia, a generation length of 7 to 10 years has been inferred for the greenback parrotfish (Padovani-Ferreira et al., 2012). Previero (2014b) assessed greenback parrotfish productivity using an index designed for data deficient and small scale fisheries (from Hobday et al., 2007). Productivity was measured based on the following seven attributes: Average age at maturity, average maximum age, fecundity, average size at maturity, average maximum size, reproductive strategy, and trophic level. Each attribute was given a score from 1 (high productivity) to 3 (low productivity). Data for this analysis were obtained from greenback parrotfish sampled from Abrolhos Bank artisanal fishery landings from 2010 to 2011. Productivity scores for greenback parrotfish ranged from 1 to 2 with a mean score across all seven attributes of 1.71. This overall score reflects a species with average productivity.

    Parrotfish typically exhibit the following reproductive characteristics: Sexual change, divergent sexual dimorphism, breeding territories, and harems (Streelman et al., 2002). Territories of larger male parrotfish have been shown to contain more females, suggesting that male size is an important factor in reproductive success (Hawkins and Roberts, 2003). Although parrotfish are usually identified as protogynous hermaphrodites (Choat and Robertson, 1975; Choat and Randall, 1986), evidence of gonochromism has been reported for three species within the parrotfish family (Hamilton et al., 2007).

    Freitas et al. (2012) studied reproduction of greenback parrotfish on Abrolhos Bank. From 2006-2013 they sampled a total of 1,182 fish, of which they collected gonads and prepared histological sections for 304. Based on a strong female biased sex ratio (282 females; 22 males), histological evidence, and the distribution of males only in the largest size classes, Freitas et al. (2012) concluded that the greenback parrotfish is a protogynous hermaphrodite (changing from female to male). Greenback parrotfish size at first maturity (i.e., 50 percent mature) is estimated at 39.1 cm, with 100 percent maturity achieved at 48.0 cm (Freitas et al., 2012). Spawning season for greenback parrotfish is thought to occur between December and March (Freitas et al., 2013).

    Most parrotfish species are considered “generalists” in feeding behavior—they can rely on food types other than algae, such as detritus, crustaceans, sponges, gorgonians, and dead or live coral (Feitosa and Ferreira, 2014). Greenback parrotfish are classified as either detritivores or roving herbivores but do occasionally graze on live coral (Francini-Filho et al., 2008c; Comeros-Raynal, 2012). The foraging plasticity of greenback parrotfish acting either as scraper, excavator, or browser suggests that, depending on environmental heterogeneity, this species has the capacity to exercise some level of selectivity over their primary food, and are thus adapted to foraging in different modes (Ferreira and Goncalves, 2006; Francini-Filho et al., 2008c). Larger males will establish feeding territories which both attract harems and are grazed continuously over a period of time (Francini-Filho et al., 2008c).

    Population Abundance, Distribution, and Structure

    There are no historical or current abundance estimates for greenback parrotfish. Several studies have reported average densities and relative abundance of greenback parrotfish at specific reef locations in Brazil using underwater visual census (UVC) techniques. Previero (2014b) reported average densities of greenback parrotfish by size class from 2001-2009 at five Abrolhos Bank sites. Average densities fluctuate considerably during this time series, with no strong trends detected for any of the size classes. For the largest size class (40-100 cm), that would be most targeted by fishing, the years 2006-2009 represent four out of the five largest mean densities of greenback parrotfish in the nine year time series. Ferreira (2005) conducted a baseline study of reef fish abundance at six different sites within the Abrolhos Reef complex in 2005. The mean density of greenback parrotfish ranged from 0.80 (Southern Reefs) to 6.04 (Timbebas Reefs) fish per 100 m2 across the six sites. The relative abundance of greenback parrotfish among all fishery targeted species ranged from 3.05 percent (Southern Reefs) to 15.25 percent (Timbebas Reefs) (Ferreira, 2005). Francini-Filho and Moura (2008b) found that greenback parrotfish accounted for 28.3 percent of the total fish biomass across a diverse range of Brazilian reefs surveyed from 2001-2005. On the Itacolomis Reef alone, greenback parrotfish accounted for 37.4 percent of the total fish biomass and 45.6 percent of the total target fish biomass (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). Kikucki et al. (2012) conducted a rapid assessment of Abrolhos reef fish communities within the Abrolhos National Marine Park and on the fringing reef off Santa Bárbara Island. Average mean density recorded for greenback parrotfish was 11.8 individuals per 100 m2 and this species was ranked 8th in mean density among all species recorded.

    Two studies reported mean densities of greenback parrotfish on northeastern Brazilian reefs. In 2006, Medeiros et al. (2007) evaluated reef fish assemblage structure on two shallow reefs located 1.5 km off the coast of João Pessoa in Paraíba state. Greenback parrotfish densities were lower on the recreationally exploited reefs (0.15 fish per 100 m2) than on unexploited reefs (0.85 fish per 100 m2). In this study, greenback parrotfish accounted for 0.04 percent of all fish recorded on the exploited reefs and 0.56 percent of all fish recorded on the unexploited reefs. Feitosa and Ferreira (2014) studied reef fish distribution on the shallow, fringing reef complex at Tamandare (northeastern coast) between December 2010 and May 2012. Four visually different habitats were selected for sampling: Macroalgal beds; back reef; reef flat; and fore reef. Greenback parrotfish were only observed on the fore reef, where the mean density was 2.0 fish (standard error +/− 0.55) per 100 m2.

    Results indicate that the greenback parrotfish is not only the most abundant species of parrotfish on Abrolhos Bank, but is also one of the dominant reef species overall in terms of fish biomass at some sites within this reef complex (Ferreira, 2005; Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008b; Kikucki et al. 2012). Based on limited data, mean densities and relative abundance of greenback parrotfish reported from studies on northeastern Brazilian reefs were generally lower that those reported on Abrolhos reefs (Medeiros et al., 2007; Feitosa and Ferreira, 2014). It is unclear whether differences in greenback parrotfish mean densities across study sites are due primarily to different levels of fishery exploitation or to the natural distribution of this species.

    Time series datasets for detecting trends in greenback parrotfish abundance over time are limited. Three studies (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008b; Bender et al., 2014; Previero, 2014b) reported mean densities at particular reef sites over multiple years. Only one of these studies indicated a declining trend in greenback parrotfish abundance over time (Bender et al., 2014). UVC surveys, combined with interviews with local fishermen, suggest that the greenback parrotfish was once abundant at Arraial do Cabo (Rio de Janeiro state) and are now thought to be locally extirpated from this area (Floeter et al., 2007; Bender et al., 2014). Arraial do Cabo is a relatively small (1,000 m2) marine extractive reserve with heavy exploitation due to its proximity to a traditional fishing village and general lack of enforcement of fishing regulations (Floeter et al., 2006; Bender et al., 2014).

    Summary of Factors Affecting the Greenback Parrotfish

    Available information regarding current, historical, and potential future threats to the greenback parrotfish was thoroughly reviewed (Salz, 2015). We summarize information regarding threats below according to the factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. There is very little information available on the impact of “Disease or Predation” or “Other Natural or Manmade Factors” on greenback parrotfish survival. These subjects are data poor, but there are no serious or known concerns raised under these threat categories with respect to greenback parrotfish extinction risk; therefore, we do not discuss these further here. See Salz (2015) for additional discussion of all ESA section 4(a)(1) threat categories.

    Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    The adverse effects of global coral loss and habitat degradation (including declines in species abundance and diversity, reduced physiological condition, decreased settlement, change in community structure, etc.) on species dependent upon coral reefs for food and habitat have been well documented (Comeros-Raynal et al., 2012). Anthropogenic threats to Brazil's coastal zone include industrial pollution, urban development, agricultural runoff, and shrimp farming (Diegues, 1998; Leão and Dominguez, 2000; Cordell, 2006).

    In 2008, as part of the International Coral Reef Initiative, coral reef experts worldwide were asked to assess the threat status of reefs in their regions due to human pressures and global climate change (Wilkinson, 2008). For purposes of this assessment, reefs were categorized into one of three groups: (1) Not threatened—reefs at very low risk of decline in the short term (5-10 years); (2) Threatened—reefs under high risk of decline in the mid-long term (> 10 years); or (3) Critical—reefs under high risk of decline in the short term (5-10 years). In the Atlantic Eastern Brazil Region, experts classified 40 percent of the reefs as “Not Threatened,” 50 percent as “Threatened,” and 10 percent as “Critical” (Wilkinson, 2008).

    The Brazilian National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, which includes all major reef areas in Brazil, conducts annual surveys at 90 different sites within 12 reef systems (Wilkinson, 2008). Reef Check (www.reefcheck.org) compatible methodology was used to monitor eight locations in northeastern and eastern Brazil from 2003 to 2008 (Wilkinson, 2008). Results showed that due to chronic land-based stresses, the nearshore, shallow reefs, less than 1 km from the coast, were in poor condition, with less than 5 percent mean coral cover; reefs further than 5 km from the coast, or deeper than 6 m, showed an increase in algal cover but also some local coral recovery (Wilkinson, 2008). Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA; www.agrra.org) monitoring methods have been used at five eastern Brazilian reefs since 1999. Monitoring via the AGRRA methodology showed that reefs less than 5 km from the coast were in poor condition, with a mean of less than 4 percent coral cover and more than 40 percent cover of macroalgae (Wilkinson, 2008). The poor condition of nearshore reefs was attributed to damage from sewage pollution, increased sedimentation and water turbidity, as well as damage by tourists and over-exploitation (Wilkinson, 2008). Reefs more than 5 km offshore and in no-take reserves had more than 10 percent coral cover and less than 10 percent algal cover (Wilkinson, 2008). Francini-Filho and Moura (2008b) found up to 30 times greater biomass of target fish on deep reefs (25-35 m) on the Abrolhos Bank compared to reefs in shallow coastal areas.

    The Itacolomis reef, the largest reef complex within the Corumbau Marine Extractive Reserve on Abrolhos Bank, has a rich coral fauna as well as relatively high cover, particularly of Orbicella cavernosa, M. brazilensis, and Siderastrea stellata, which are biologically representative of the range of Abrolhos corals (Cordell, 2006). Biological surveys of species diversity, coralline cover, and condition of colonies, carried out before and after the creation of the reserve in 2000 indicated that the Itacolomis reefs were still in a good state of conservation as of 2006 (Conservation International—Brazil, 2000; Conservation International—Brazil, 2006).

    Coral reef area loss and decline is widespread globally, including many reef areas along the Brazilian coastline. However, there is considerable variation in the reliance of different species on coral reefs based on species' feeding and habitat preferences—i.e., some species spend the majority of their life stages on coral reef habitat, while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and rocky reefs. The greenback parrotfish is considered a “mixed habitat” species, found on rocky reefs, algal beds, seagrass beds, and coral reefs (Comeros-Raynal et al., 2012; Freitas et al., 2012), that feeds mainly on detritus and algae and only occasionally grazes on live coral (Francini-Filho et al. 2008c).

    Impacts of ocean acidification to coral abundance and/or diversity are arguably significant; however, the direct linkages between ocean acidification and greenback parrotfish extinction risk remain tenuous. As discussed above, the ability of greenback parrotfish to occupy multiple habitat types should make this species less vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification compared to other reef species that are more dependent on coral for food and shelter. Similarly, there is no evidence directly linking increased ocean temperatures or sea level rise with greenback parrotfish survival.

    Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Several studies suggest that overutilization of fish populations is leading to significant changes in the community structure and balance of Brazilian reef ecosystems (Costa et al., 2003; Gasparini et al., 2005; Ferreira and Maida, 2006; Previero, 2014b). An estimated 20,000 fishermen currently use the natural resources of Brazil's Abrolhos Region as their main source of income (Dutra et al., 2011). Their activity is predominantly artisanal, performed with small and medium-sized boats. Small-scale artisanal fisheries account for an estimated 70 percent of total fish landings on the eastern Brazilian coast (Cordell, 2006), where coral reefs are concentrated (Leaõ et al., 2003). A growing number of larger and industrial fishing boats have moved into this region in the last few years, increasing the pressure on target species and competing with artisanal fishing (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008b; Dutra et al., 2011).

    Greenback parrotfish were not considered a traditional fishery resource by most fishermen in Brazil as recently as 20 years ago (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008b). Although fishermen from some localities have reported landing greenback parrotfish as far back as the late 1970s (Bender et al., 2014; Previero, 2014b), the importance of this species to Brazil's artisanal fisheries has increased greatly only in the past two decades or so. Since about the mid-1990s, parrotfish have increasingly contributed to fishery yields in Brazil, as other traditional resources such as snappers, groupers, and sea basses are becoming more scarce (Costa et al., 2005; Previero, 2014b). This is part of a global phenomenon described by Pauly et al. (1998) as “fishing down the food web.” As populations of top oceanic predators collapse due to overfishing, other large-bodied species at lower trophic levels become new targets. Some boats now exclusively target these non-traditional reef fishes, whereas others target them only during periods of low productivity or during closed seasons of higher priority target species (Cunha et al., 2012). Greenback parrotfish are now considered an important fishery resource that is sold to regional markets in nearby large cities (e.g., Vitoria and Porto Seguro) and even to overseas markets (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008b; Cunha et al., 2012; Previero, 2014b). In general, parrotfishes may be highly susceptible to harvest due to their conspicuous nature, relatively shallow depth distributions, small home ranges, and vulnerability at night (Taylor et al., 2014). Primary fishing methods used in Brazil to capture parrotfish are spearfishing and seine nets (Ferreira, 2005; Araujo and Previero, 2013).

    Previero (2014b) conducted a quantitative assessment of the greenback parrotfish commercial fishery on Abrolhos Bank. Fishery dependent data were collected over 13 months between 2010 and 2011 from the main fishing ports that exploit reef fish: Caravelas; Prado; Corumbau Marine Extractive Reserve (MERC); and Alcobaca. The Alcobaca fleet was characterized by relatively large vessels (some over 12 m) equipped with freezer space for the preservation of fish over long periods. These vessels targeted parrotfish on more distant fishing grounds during extended fishing trips (average duration 11.7 days). By comparison, fishermen from Caravelas mainly took day trips targeting greenback parrotfish closer to shore and from smaller vessels. Prado fishing vessels also traveled longer distances, but greenback parrotfish were considered a less important target species by fishermen at this port (compared to either Alcobaca or Caravelas) and landings were considerably lower as a result. Alcobaca fishermen caught greenback parrotfish only with harpoons, often with air compressors to increase bottom time at greater depths; Caravelas fishermen used a combination of harpoons and nets. Greenback parrotfish landings ranged in size from 28 cm to 91 cm TL and the fishery was dominated by 8 and 9 year-old fish. The oldest fish sampled was 11 years old—less than half the estimated maximum life span of 23 years for this species (Previero, 2014a). Significantly larger specimens were landed at Alcobaca compared to Caravelas (Previero, 2014b). Length frequency data suggest that a relatively large portion of the greenback parrotfish landings, particularly from the near-shore Caravelas fleet, were fish that had not yet reached maturity (Freitas et al., 2012; Previero, 2014b). Total landings of greenback parrotfish recorded for 13 months at Caravelas was 24.80 metric tons (average 1.90 tons per month). Total landings for 7 months of monitoring at the MERC and Alcobaca were 1.93 and 9.21 metric tons, respectively (average 0.27 tons per month at MERC and 1.31 tons per month at Alcobaca). The CPUE for Caravelas ranged from 0.911 to 1.92 kg per fisherman/hour/day and for the MERC from 0.65 to 1.25 kg per fisherman/hour/day. The following parameters were estimated for the Abrolhos Bank greenback parrotfish fishery: Fishing mortality = 0.68; natural mortality = 0.19; total mortality = 0.87; and survival rate = 0.42 (Previero, 2014b).

    The potential vulnerability of the greenback parrotfish population to commercial fishery exploitation was evaluated by Previero (2014b) using a Productivity and Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) index designed for data deficient and small scale fisheries (Hobday et al., 2007). The PSA is a semi-quantitative approach based on the assumption that the vulnerability to a species will depend on two characteristics: (1) The species' productivity, which will determine the rate at which the population can sustain fishing pressure or recover from depletion due to the fishery; and (2) the susceptibility of the population to fishing activities (Hobday et al., 2007). Seven productivity attributes (described in “Species Description” section above) and the following four susceptibility attributes were evaluated: (1) Availability—overlap of fishing effort with the species' distribution, (2) Encounterability—the likelihood that the species will encounter fishing gear that is deployed within its geographic range, (3) Selectivity—the potential of the gear to capture or retain the species and the desirability (value) of the fishery, and (4) Post Capture Mortality—the condition and subsequent survival of a species that is captured and released (or discarded) (Hobday et al., 2007). Susceptibility attributes were derived mainly from sampling data obtained at major ports and from interviews with fishermen. The productivity and susceptibility rankings determine relative vulnerability and are each given a score: 1 to 3 for high to low productivity, respectively; and 1 to 3 for low to high susceptibility, respectively. The average productivity score of greenback parrotfish on Abrolhos Bank across seven different attributes was 1.71 and the average susceptibility score across four attributes was 3.00. This combination of very high susceptibility and average productivity places the greenback parrotfish in the PSA zone of “high potential risk” of overfishing. The PSA results, in combination with an estimated high fishing mortality, strongly suggest that greenback parrotfish are heavily exploited by artisanal fishing on Abrolhos Bank (Previero, 2014b).

    Greenback parrotfish may be particularly vulnerable to spearfishing, due to their size and reproductive traits. Spearfishing is a highly size-selective, efficient gear—fishermen target individual fish, typically the largest, most valuable individuals. For protogynous hermaphrodites, the largest individuals are (in order) terminal males, individuals undergoing sexual transition, and the largest females. Continued removal of terminal males, individuals undergoing sexual transition, and the largest females at high rates can lead to decreased productivity and increased risk of extinction over time. Thus, protogynous hermaphrodites, such as the greenback parrotfish, may be particularly susceptible to over-fishing (Francis, 1992; Hawkins and Roberts, 2003). With continued heavy exploitation from fishing, it is plausible that the proportion of male greenback parrotfish could fall below some critical threshold needed for successful reproduction in some localities. If sex change is governed by social (exogenous) mechanisms, then transition would be expected to occur earlier in the life cycle when larger individuals are selectively removed by fishing (Armsworth, 2001; Hawkins and Roberts, 2003). This would cause the mean size and age of females to decrease for protogynous species and could result in a reduction in egg production (Armsworth, 2001). Sexual transition takes time and energy, including energy expended on social interactions and competition among females vying for dominance. Since removal of terminal males by fishing will result in more sexual transitions, overall population fitness may be negatively impacted.

    Greenback parrotfish are also targeted by recreational spearfishermen in Brazil, but the impact of this activity on the resource is largely unknown (Costa Nunes et al., 2012). Medeiros et al. (2007) studied the effects of other recreational activities (i.e., snorkeling, SCUBA, and fish feeding) on a tropical shallow reef off the northeastern coast of Brazil by comparing its fish assemblage structure to a nearby similar control reef where tourism does not occur. Greenback parrotfish were found to be less abundant on the recreationally exploited reef compared to the control reef (0.15 versus 0.85 individuals per 100 m2), although the relative abundance of this species was very low on both reefs (0.04 percent versus 0.56 percent of all fish individuals recorded) and results were based on very small sample sizes of fish observed.

    Several studies have linked localized declines of greenback parrotfish populations to increased fishing effort (Floeter et al., 2007; Pinheiro et al., 2010; Costa Nunes et al., 2012; Bender et al., 2014). As previously discussed (see above in “Population Abundance, Distribution, and Structure”), studies suggest that the greenback parrotfish was once abundant at Arraial do Cabo and are now thought to be locally extirpated from this small area due to fishing pressure (Floeter et al., 2007; Bender et al., 2014). Pinheiro et al. (2010) studied the relationships between reef fish frequency of capture (rarely, occasionally, or regularly), intensity at which species are targeted by fisheries (highly targeted, average, or non-targeted), and UVC counts off Franceses island (central coast of Brazil) between 2005 and 2006. Greenback parrotfish were one of 19 species classified as both “highly targeted” (by spearfishing) and “rarely caught.” The authors attributed these results to the overexploitation by fishing of the Franceses island reef fish community. Similarly, Feitosa and Ferreira (2014) attributed low observed abundance of greenback parrotfish outside of no-take areas on Tamandare reefs (northeastern coast of Brazil) to heavy fishing pressure in this region.

    Artisanal and commercial fishing pressure on greenback parrotfish will likely increase in the future as the country's coastal population grows and more traditional target species become less available due to overfishing. As easily accessible nearshore and shallower reefs become more depleted, fishing effort will likely shift to currently less-utilized, more remote, and deeper reefs. This is already evident in landings for the fishing port of Alcobaca, where a fleet of larger, freezer-equipped vessels return from long duration trips (up to several weeks) specifically targeting large greenback parrotfish on offshore reefs (Previero, 2014b). This level of fishing capacity and sophistication suggests that, over time, greenback parrotfish may become over-exploited throughout their range, including in more remote areas that were at one time considered inaccessible to local fishermen. This is supported by the PSA results, which rated greenback parrotfish as “highly susceptible” to overfishing on all four susceptibility criteria: Availability, encounterability, selectivity, and post capture mortality (Previero, 2014b).

    It is likely that greenback parrotfish are being overfished (Previero, 2014b) and that overfishing will continue into the future unless additional regulatory mechanisms are implemented and adequately enforced. In one very small area (Arraial do Cabo), fishing has led to the local extirpation of this species, although the contribution of this area to the population as a whole is likely minimal. As a protogynous hermaphrodite, the greenback parrotfish may be more susceptible to fishing methods that selectively target the largest individuals in the population. In addition, as one of the largest parrotfish species and with relatively late maturation, greenback parrotfish may be more vulnerable to overexploitation than smaller, faster-maturing parrotfish species (Taylor et al., 2014). However, the lack of baseline information and a time series of fishery dependent data, combined with limitations of the available studies, make it difficult to estimate the magnitude of this threat or to quantitatively assess its impact on greenback parrotfish abundance.

    Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Several marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established in Brazil on reefs inhabited by greenback parrotfish. Brazil's MPAs vary considerably in terms of size, ecosystem type, zoning regulations, management structure, fishing pressure, and level of compliance and enforcement. The Abrolhos National Marine Park was established by the Brazilian government in 1983 as a “no-take” protected area with limited use allowed by non-extractive activities (Cordell, 2006). Effective conservation policy was not implemented in the national park until the mid-1990s (Ferreira, 2005). The park, which covers an area of approximately 88,000 hectares, is divided into two discontinuous portions: (1) The coastal Timbebas Reef, which is considered poorly enforced, and (2) the offshore reefs of Parcel dos Abrolhos and fringing reefs of the Abrolhos Archipelago, which are more intensively enforced (Ferreira and Goncalves, 1999; Francini-Filho et al., 2013). The Corumbau Marine Extractive Reserve (MERC), located in the northern portion of Abrolhos Bank in eastern Brazil, was established in 2000 and covers 89,500 hectares (930 km2) of nearshore habitats and coralline reefs (Francini-Filho et al., 2013). Extractive reserves are co-managed, multi-use areas in Brazil established by the initiative of local communities with support from the Federal Protected Areas Agency (ICMBio) and non-governmental organizations (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). Exploitation of marine resources within the MERC is only allowed for locals, with use rules (e.g., zoning and gear restrictions) defined by a deliberative council made up of more than 50 percent fishermen (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). Handlining, spearfishing, and various types of nets are allowed, while destructive fishing practices (e.g., drive-nets above reefs and collections for aquarium trade) are prohibited (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). The MERC management plan, approved in November 2001, created several no-take zones; the main one (~ 10 km2) covering about 20 percent of the largest reef complex within the MERC-Itacolomis Reef (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). Besides those on Abrolhos Bank, there are a few other no-take reserves with reef habitat within the greenback parrotfish range. Laje de Santos State Marine Park on the southeastern coast of Brazil (São Paulo state) is a no-take reserve consisting mainly of rocky reefs (Wilkinson, 2008; Luiz et al., 2008). Established in 1993, Laje de Santos was initially considered a “paper park” with inadequate (or non-existent) enforcement to eradicate poaching in this heavily populated region (Luiz et al., 2008). In the past 10 years, significant efforts have been made to protect the park from illegal and extractive activities (Luiz et al., 2008). Costa dos Corais, located in Northern Brazil (Pernambuco state), was established in 1997 as a sustainable multi-use MPA. This area includes coral reef habitat and is used for tourism, fisheries, and coral reef conservation (Gerhardinger et al., 2011).

    Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of Brazil's MPAs in protecting and restoring populations of overexploited reef species. Francini-Filho and Moura (2008a) estimated fish biomass and body size within the Itacolomis Reef no-take zone and at unprotected sites on the reef before (2001) and after initiation of protection (2002-2005). Greenback parrotfish was the dominant species found on the Itacolomis Reef in terms of biomass (37.4 percent of total biomass), and considered a major fishery resource in the study area. Biomass of this species increased significantly inside the reserve and also in unprotected reefs close (0-400 m) to its boundary (i.e., “spillover effect”) between 2001 and 2002, soon after the reserve establishment and banning of the parrotfish fishery from the entire MERC (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). The initial greenback parrotfish biomass increase on the unprotected reefs was followed by a statistically significant decrease from 2002 to 2003 after local fishermen decided to re-open the parrotfish fishery. Greenback parrotfish biomass inside the no-take reserve also decreased starting in 2004, although this decline was not statistically significant. The authors attributed this decline to increased poaching by some local spearfishermen who were strongly resistant to regulatory controls despite the apparent positive effects on fish biomass in the first few years after the reserve was established.

    Francini-Filho and Moura (2008b) compared fish biomass from 2001-2005 across several reef areas with different levels of protection. Their results varied depending on species considered and were sometimes confounded by year effects. For the greenback parrotfish, biomass was statistically higher within the newly established Itacolomis Reef's no-take reserve than in any of the following areas: Itacolomis Reef multi-use area, no-take reserves within Abrolhos National Marine Park, and other open access areas. Greenback parrotfish biomass within the Abrolhos National Marine Park no-take areas was not statistically different than biomass found at either the multi-use or open access sites surveyed. This may be partially due to the lack of enforcement at the Timbebas Reef no-take area (located within the national park) for many years after it was established in 1983 (Floeter et al., 2006).

    Floeter et al. (2006) compared abundances of reef fishes across areas with varying levels of protection and enforcement along the Brazilian coastline. They found that heavily fished species, including greenback parrotfish, were significantly more abundant in areas with greater protection. Study sites with full protection (i.e.,no-take areas with adequate enforcement and/or little fishing pressure) also produced significantly more large parrotfish (>21 cm) than did sites with only partial protection from fishing (Floeter et al., 2006). Similarly, Ferreira (2005) found that reefs within the fully protected and enforced areas of the Abrolhos National Marine Park contained greater numbers of large-sized parrotfish compared to unprotected reefs on Abrolhos Bank.

    The studies cited above provide ample evidence that, when fully protected and enforced, no-take reserves can have positive effects on greenback parrotfish abundance and size within the reserve boundaries, and possibly outside due to “spillover” effects. For MPAs to work as a fishery management tool, fully protected (no-take) areas must be sufficiently large in area and include a variety of habitats critical to the various life history stages of the target species (Dugan and Davis, 1993). MPAs cover an estimated 3.85 percent of the greenback parrotfish total range (Comeros-Raynal et al., 2012). UVC data indicate that within this range, the reefs with the greatest abundance of greenback parrotfish are located within Abrolhos Bank (Ferreira, 2005; Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). At present, about 2 percent of the Abrolhos Bank is designated as a “no-take” marine reserve (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a). Afonso et al. (2008) found that for the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense in the Azore Islands, haremic adults displayed very high site fidelity with minimal dispersion from established male territories that could last for several years. This study suggests that a network of small to medium sized, well-enforced no-take marine reserves can effectively protect “core” populations of reef fish (Afonso et al., 2008) and possibly serve as a buffer from extinction risk.

    Magris et al. (2013) conducted a gap analysis to evaluate how well MPAs in Brazil meet conservation objectives. Coral reef ecosystems were subdivided into four ecoregions: Eastern Brazil, Northeastern Brazil, Amazon, and Fernando de Noronha and Atoll das Rocas islands (note: Greenback parrotfish are not found in the latter two ecoregions). No-take areas exceeded 20 percent coverage in three out of the four coral reef ecoregions, but accounted for less than 2 percent of coral reef areas in Northeastern Brazil. While a large portion of coral reef ecosystems in Brazil are designated as no-take, only a few of these areas are greater than 10 km2 (Magris et al., 2013). Pressey et al. (2014) followed up on the Magris et al. (2013) study by more finely delineating coral reef ecosystems based on reef type (nearshore bank, bank off the coast, fringing, patch, mushroom reef, and atoll), depth (deep and shallow), and tidal zone (subtidal and intertidal). They found that protection of coral reef ecosystems by no-take areas was very uneven across the 23 ecosystems delineated. Coverage ranged from 0 percent to 99 percent with a mean of 28 percent, with 13 of 23 ecosystems having no coverage (mostly nearshore banks and patch reefs located in the Northeastern ecoregion). Vila-Nova et al. (2014) developed a spatial dataset that overlays Brazil's reef fish hotspots with MPA coverage and protection levels. Hotspots were identified as areas with either high species richness, endemism, or number of threatened species. Results showed a mismatch between no-take coverage and reef hotspots in the Northeast region from Paraíba state to central Bahia state. Reef fish hotspots for total richness, endemics, and targeted species were found in this region which does not have any designated no-take areas (only multi-use MPAs). The state of Espírito Santo was also identified as a hotspot for endemic, threatened, and targeted reef fish species despite being the least protected region along the Brazilian coast.

    Several researchers have noted the prevalence of high levels of poaching and inadequate enforcement within Brazilian “no-take” reserves (Ferreira and Goncalves, 1999; Cordell, 2006; Floeter et al., 2006; Wilkinson, 2008; Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a; Luiz et al., 2008; Francini-Filho et al., 2013). Although these reports are based largely on anecdotal information, and quantitative data are lacking, illegal fishing activity is consistently cited as a factor that could undermine the effectiveness of “no-take” marine reserves in Brazil. Management and enforcement of at least some Brazilian no-take areas has been reported as improving within the past decade (Luiz et al., 2008; Floeter et al., 2006). The success of a national MPA system in Brazil will depend on the capacity to overcome pervasive lack of enforcement, frequent re-structuring and re-organization of government environmental agencies, and difficulties with the practicality of implementing management plans (Wilkinson, 2008).

    Aside from establishing no-take protected areas, few actions have been taken by the Brazilian government to manage reef fisheries. Traditional fishery management controls (e.g., annual quotas, daily catch limits, limited entry, seasonal closures, and size limits) on coastal fisheries are typically not implemented either at the state or national level (Cordell, 2006; Wilkinson, 2008). For years, the only marine management practices that limited access to fishing grounds were unofficial, informal ones: Local sea tenure systems based on artisanal fishers' knowledge, kinship and social networks, contracts, and a collective sense of “use rights” (Begossi, 2006; Cordell, 2006). While local sea tenure systems and informal agreements, such as the short-lived ban on parrotfish harvest within the MERC (Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008a), could reduce the threat of overexploitation, without legal authority and regulatory backing, such arrangements may be viewed as tenuous or unstable.

    Extinction Risk Assessment

    Studies indicating a declining trend in greenback parrotfish abundance over time are lacking. Increased fishing pressure on this species in the past two decades has likely reduced overall abundance (Previero, 2014b), but available data are insufficient to assess the magnitude of this decline. Despite the likely negative impact of fishing on abundance, mean densities recorded for greenback parrotfish are very high when compared to mean densities recorded for similar sized species in the north-western tropical Atlantic (Debrot et al., 2007). In parts of their range, greenback parrotfish are still a commonly occurring species and represent a large proportion of the total fish biomass on some reefs. UVC time series data indicate that greenback parrotfish have been locally extirpated from a relatively small reef near the species' southern range (Rio de Janeiro state). However, the impact of this localized decline on the greenback parrotfish population as a whole may be small. Based on the available scientific and commercial information, we conclude that it is unlikely that demographic factors related to abundance contribute significantly to the current extinction risk of this species.

    As a large-bodied, protogynous hermaphrodite with relatively late maturation, greenback parrotfish may be particularly susceptible to the effects of fishing on population growth rate or productivity. However, information indicating a significant decline in greenback parrotfish productivity is lacking. Greenback parrotfish productivity scores based on a Productivity and Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) are indicative of a species with average productivity (Previero, 2014b). Therefore, we conclude that it is unlikely that demographic factors related to growth rate/productivity contribute significantly to the current extinction risk of this species. Based on the limited available information, we find no evidence to suggest that demographic factors related to spatial structure/connectivity pose an extinction risk to the greenback parrotfish. This species is widely distributed throughout its range, can recruit to a variety of habitats, and shows little evidence of population fragmentation. We conclude that it is very unlikely that demographic factors related to spatial structure/connectivity contribute significantly to the current extinction risk of this species. Because there is insufficient information on genetic diversity, we conclude that this factor presents an unknown likelihood of contributing to the extinction of the greenback parrotfish.

    Although there is evidence that some portion of greenback parrotfish habitat has been modified and degraded, studies indicating that habitat associated changes are contributing significantly to the extinction risk of this species are lacking. Therefore, based on the available scientific and commercial information, we conclude that it is unlikely that the threat of destruction, modification, or curtailment of greenback parrotfish habitat or range contributes or will contribute significantly to the extinction risk of this species either now or in the foreseeable future.

    The cumulative research indicates that greenback parrotfish are heavily exploited by fishing throughout much of their range, fishing pressure has reduced the abundance of greenback parrotfish, and in some localities the reduction has been significant. Based on the information available, and taking into account the scientific uncertainty associated with this threat, we conclude that the threat of overutilization from artisanal and commercial fishing is somewhat likely to contribute to the extinction risk of this species both now and in the foreseeable future. Given the systemic problems associated with enforcement of no-take MPAs in Brazil and the general lack of traditional fishing regulations designed to limit catch and effort of reef fishes, we also conclude that the threat of inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms is somewhat likely to contribute to the extinction risk of this species both now and in the foreseeable future.

    The extinction risk analysis of Salz (2015) found that the greenback parrotfish currently faces a low risk of extinction throughout its range. Fishing overutilization and the inadequacy of existing fishing regulations were identified as threats that are somewhat likely to contribute to the risk of greenback parrotfish extinction. However, while fishing has resulted in a decline in abundance, greenback parrotfish are still a commonly occurring species on many Brazilian reefs, and represent a relatively large proportion of the total fish biomass on some reefs. All of the demographic factors evaluated were categorized as either unlikely or very unlikely to contribute significantly to the current extinction risk. There are no indications that the greenback parrotfish is currently at risk of extinction based on demographic viability criteria. After reviewing the best available scientific data and the extinction risk evaluation, we agree with Salz (2015) and conclude that the present risk of extinction for the greenback parrotfish is low.

    Salz (2015) found that the greenback parrotfish's risk of extinction in the foreseeable future is between low and moderate. It is likely that fishing overutilization will further reduce greenback parrotfish abundance in the future, thus increasing the overall risk of extinction. However, as mentioned above, there are no indications that the greenback parrotfish is at risk of extinction based on demographic viability criteria. This species is still relatively abundant in parts of its range, and the available information does not indicate that fishing overutilization will reduce abundance to the point at which the greenback parrotfish would be in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Based on the best available scientific data and the extinction risk evaluation, we agree with Salz (2015) and conclude that the greenback parrotfish's risk of extinction in the foreseeable future is between low and moderate—i.e., greater than low but less than moderate.

    Significant Portion of Its Range

    Though we find that the greenback parrotfish is not in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future throughout its range, under the SPR Policy, we must go on to evaluate whether the species is in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, in a significant portion of its range (79 FR 37578; July 1, 2014). To make this determination, we followed the SPR Policy, as described above in the “Significant Portion of Its Range” section for the undulate ray, and first evaluated whether substantial information indicates that the members of the species in a particular area are likely both to meet the test for biological significance and to be currently endangered or threatened in that area.

    Applying the policy to the greenback parrotfish, we first evaluated whether there is substantial information indicating that any particular portion of the species' range is “significant.” Greenback parrotfish are found only in Brazilian waters and are considered widely distributed throughout their range from the Manuel Luiz Reefs off the northern coast to Santa Catarina on the southeastern coast (Moura et al., 2001; Ferreira et al., 2010; Bender et al., 2012). Although studies on greenback parrotfish spatial structure and connectivity are lacking, there is no information indicating that the loss of any particular portion of its range would isolate the species to the point where the remaining portions would be at risk of extinction from demographic processes. Similarly, we did not find any information suggesting that loss of any particular portion would severely fragment and isolate this species to the point that vulnerability to threats would increase as a result. The ability of greenback parrotfish to recruit to a variety of habitats (Moura et al., 2001; Comeros-Raynal, 2012) may improve spatial connectivity among local reef populations. Parrotfish in general exhibit broad larval dispersal capabilities which should aid in the repopulation of reefs where they have been eliminated due to fishing. There is no information indicating that the loss of genetic diversity from one portion of the greenback parrotfish range would result in the remaining population lacking enough genetic diversity to allow for adaptations to changing environmental conditions. There is also no evidence of a particular portion of the greenback parrotfish range that is critically important to specific life history events (e.g., spawning, breeding, feeding) such that the loss of that portion would severely impact the growth, reproduction, or survival of the entire species.

    After a review of the best available information, we could identify no particular portion of the greenback parrotfish range where its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be at risk of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range. Therefore, we find that there is no portion of the greenback parrotfish range that qualifies as “significant” under the SPR Policy, and thus our SPR analysis ends.

    Determination

    Based on our consideration of the best available data, as summarized here and in Salz (2015), we determine that the present risk of extinction for the greenback parrotfish is low, and that the greenback parrotfish's risk of extinction in the foreseeable future is between low and moderate—i.e., greater than low but less than moderate, and that there is no portion of the greenback parrotfish's range that qualifies as “significant” under the SPR Policy. We therefore conclude that listing this species as threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted. This is a final action, and, therefore, we do not solicit comments on it.

    References

    A complete list of the references used in this proposed rule is available upon request (see ADDRESSES).

    Classification National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 675 F. 2d 825 (6th Cir. 1981), NMFS has concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6).

    Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11305 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive License AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Department of Commerce DOC.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), intends to grant to Handix, LLC of Boulder, Colorado, an exclusive global license to manufacture and distribute its “PRINTED OPTICAL SPECTROMETER (POPS), and its “PORTABLE AEROSOL GENERATOR”.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before June 5, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to NOAA Technology Partnerships Office, SSMC4 Room 7605, 1305 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Derek Parks, NOAA Technology Transfer Program Manager, at: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Government's rights in this invention are assigned to the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of Commerce. It is in the public interest to so license this invention, as Handix, LLC of Boulder, Colorado, has submitted a complete and sufficient application for a license. The prospective exclusive license will be royalty-bearing and will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless, within thirty (30) days from the date of this published Notice, the NOAA Technology Partnerships Office receives written evidence and argument which establishes the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7.

    Dated: May 4, 2015. Jason Donaldson, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11131 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-KD-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No. PTO-P-2015-0031] Extension of the Period for Comments on Enhancing Patent Quality AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Extension of the comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently launched a comprehensive and enhanced quality initiative. This initiative began with a request for public comments on a set of proposals for enhancing patent quality through submission of written comments. Public input on this initiative was also received through discussion at a two-day “Quality Summit,” held on March 25 and 26, 2015, at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO is extending the comment period to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient opportunity to submit comments on its new enhanced quality initiative.

    DATES:

    To be assured of consideration, written comments must be received on or before May 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed to: [email protected] Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments—Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, marked to the attention of Michael Cygan, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.

    Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, the USPTO prefers to receive comments by electronic mail message over the Internet in order to facilitate sharing the received comments with the public. Electronic comments are preferred to be submitted in plain text, but also may be submitted in ADOBE® portable document format or MICROSOFT® WORD format. Comments not submitted electronically should be submitted on paper in a format that facilitates convenient digital scanning into ADOBE® portable document format.

    The comments will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Commissioner for Patents, currently located in Madison East, Tenth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Comments also will be available for viewing via the USPTO's Internet Web site (http://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/enhanced-patent-quality-initiative.html). Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to make public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments. It would be helpful to the USPTO if written comments included information about: (1) The name and affiliation of the individual responding; and (2) an indication of whether comments offered represent views of the respondent's organization or are the respondent's personal views.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael T. Cygan, Senior Legal Advisor, at (571) 272-7700; Maria Nuzzolillo, Legal Advisor, at (571) 272-8150; or Jeffrey R. West, Legal Advisor, at (571) 272-2226.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The USPTO is extending the period for public comment on its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. The USPTO launched a comprehensive and enhanced quality initiative beginning with a request for public comments on a set of six proposals outlined in a Federal Register Notice, Request for Comments on Enhancing Patent Quality, 80 FR 6475 (Feb. 5, 2015). The new enhanced quality initiative continued with a two-day “Quality Summit” with the public to discuss the outlined proposals, which was held on March 25 and 26, 2015, at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

    In view of the substantial public interest in this initiative, the number and complexity of the issues involved, and requests from the public for an extension of the time to submit comments, the USPTO is now extending the period for submission of public comments until May 20, 2015.

    Members of the public are invited to submit written comments that address the proposals outlined in the February 5, 2015, Federal Register Notice or that provide input on other programs or initiatives not reflected in the proposals that the public believes may enhance patent quality. Based upon the stakeholder feedback received, the USPTO plans to refine the proposals as needed and to continue its engagement with the public about these proposals through a series of additional events. Through such continued engagement with the public, the USPTO can take the correct next steps in its continued efforts toward enhancing patent quality.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11318 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0023] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Roads to Success in North Dakota: A Randomized Study of a College and Career Preparation Curriculum AGENCY:

    Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a new information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before June 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting Docket ID number ED-2015-ICCD-0023 or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If the regulations.gov site is not available to the public for any reason, ED will temporarily accept comments at [email protected] Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted; ED will ONLY accept comments during the comment period in this mailbox when the regulations.gov site is not available. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Mailstop L-OM-2-2E319, Room 2E115, Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Braden Goetz, 202-245-7405.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Roads to Success in North Dakota: A Randomized Study of a College and Career Preparation Curriculum.

    OMB Control Number: 1830-NEW.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 88.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 22.

    Abstract: The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education is supporting an evaluation that will examine the impact of a college and career preparation curriculum for students in the 11th and 12th grades on students' college and career aspirations, planning for postsecondary transitions and adult life, and attitudes toward education and careers. The evaluation has an experimental design with school-level random assignment; this Information Collection Request includes surveys of students, instructors, and principals and protocols for site visits.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Tomakie Washington, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11287 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-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: EC15-66-000.

    Applicants: Osage Wind, LLC.

    Description: Supplement to January 29, 2015 Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act, Request for Expedited Consideration and Confidential Treatment of Osage Wind, LLC.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5553.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/7/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-130-000.

    Applicants: CPV Maryland, LLC, MC St. Charles LLC, OG St. Charles LLC, Osaka Gas USA Corporation.

    Description: Application for Authorization under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Waivers, Request for Confidential Treatment, and Request for Expedited Consideration of CPV Maryland, LLC, et. al.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5551.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG15-77-000.

    Applicants: Logan's Gap Wind LLC.

    Description: Notice of Self-Certification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of Logan?s Gap Wind LLC.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5202.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: EG15-78-000.

    Applicants: Fowler Ridge IV Wind Farm LLC.

    Description: Notice of Self-Certification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of Fowler Ridge IV Wind Farm LLC.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5420.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1511-006; ER10-2231-005; ER10-1714-006; ER10-3247-009; ER10-2010-004; ER10-1959-003; ER10-2007-003; ER10-2013-003; ER12-1780-002; ER10-2015-003; ER10-2017-003; ER10-2021-003; ER10-2011-008; ER10-2019-004; ER10-2018-003; ER10-2020-002.

    Applicants: Electric Energy Inc., Kentucky Utilities Company, LG&E Energy Marketing Inc., Lower Mount Bethel Energy, LLC, PPL Brunner Island, LLC, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, PPL EnergyPlus LLC, PPL Holtwood LLC, PPL Ironwood, LLC, PPL Martins Creek, LLC, PPL Montour, LLC, PPL New Jersey Biogas, LLC., PPL New Jersey Solar, LLC, PPL Renewable Energy, LLC, PPL Susquehanna, LLC, Louisville Gas & Electric Company, Electric Energy, Inc.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the PPL Companies.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5558.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2840-002.

    Applicants: NextEra Energy Services Massachusetts, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: NextEra Energy Services Massachussetts, LLC Amend to Order No. 784 Compliance to be effective 9/11/2014.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5407.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-883-002.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment per 35.17(b): Second Amended GIA Distrib Serv Agmt San Gorgonio Weswinds II, Difwind Farms to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5332.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1136-001.

    Applicants: Big Cajun I Peaking Power LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment per 35.17(b): Revised Rate Schedule and Request for Shortened Notice Period & Expedited Action to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5348.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1568-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): 2900R2 KMEA NITSA NOA and Cancellation of Westar NITSA NOA SA 2166R3 to be effective 4/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5414.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1569-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Second Revised Service Agreement No. 2390 (Z1-089) to be effective 3/25/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20150423-5286.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/14/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1570-000.

    Applicants: Deseret Generation & Transmission Co-operative, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: 2015 RIA Annual Update to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5163.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1571-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): 2015-04-28 NCA BCA RSG Mitigation Filing to be effective 6/30/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5165.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1572-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Large Generator Interconnection Agreement of Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5178.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1573-000

    Applicants: Unitil Power Corp.

    Description: Unitil Power Corp submits Statement of all billing transactions under the Amended Unitil System Agreement for the period January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5223.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1574-000.

    Applicants: Town Square Energy East, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Notice of Succession to be effective 4/2/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5238.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1575-000.

    Applicants: Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota corporation, Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): 2015_InterchangeAgreement to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5264.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1576-000.

    Applicants: Constellation Power Source Generation, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Withdrawal per 35.15: Notice of Cancellation to be effective 1/31/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5426.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1577-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Engineering and Procurement Agreement with Beacon Power Corporation to be effective 5/11/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5438.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1578-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Engineering and Procurement Agreement with Broome Energy Resources LLC to be effective 5/11/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5441.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1579-000.

    Applicants: 67RK 8me LLC.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 67RK 8me LLC MBR Tariff to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5442.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1580-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Engineering and Procurement Agreement with Marsh Hill Energy LLC to be effective 5/11/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5445.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1581-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Engineering and Procurement Agreement with Stony Creek Energy LLC to be effective 5/11/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5448.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1582-000.

    Applicants: 65HK 8me LLC.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 65HK 8me LLC MBR Tariff to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5453.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1583-000.

    Applicants: Dynegy Resources Management, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Notice of Succession and Revisions to Market-Based Rate Tariff to be effective 4/29/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5458.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES15-19-000.

    Applicants: AEP West Virginia Transmission Company.

    Description: Application pursuant to Section 204 of the Federal Power Act of AEP West Virginia Transmission Company, Inc. for authorization to issue securities.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5561.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Docket Numbers: ES15-20-000.

    Applicants: Cross-Sound Cable Company, LLC.

    Description: Application For Authorization Under Section 204 Of The Federal Power Act And Request For Waiver Of Commission Regulations And Confidential Treatment Of Transaction-Related Information of Cross-Sound Cable Company, LLC.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5276.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following land acquisition reports:

    Docket Numbers: LA15-1-000.

    Applicants: MidAmerican Energy Company, Berkshire Hathaway Northeast/Central Parties.

    Description: Quarterly Land Acquisition Report of the Berkshire Hathaway Northeast/Central Parties.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5548.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/18/15.

    Docket Numbers: LA15-1-000.

    Applicants: Beech Ridge Energy LLC, Beech Ridge Energy II LLC, Beech Ridge Energy Storage LLC, Bishop Hill Energy LLC, Bishop Hill Energy III LLC, California Ridge Wind Energy LLC, Forward Energy LLC, Grand Ridge Energy LLC, Grand Ridge Energy II LLC, Grand Ridge Energy III LLC, Grand Ridge Energy IV LLC, Grand Ridge Energy V LLC, Grand Ridge Energy Storage LLC, Gratiot County Wind LLC, Gratiot County Wind II LLC, Grays Harbor Energy LLC, Hardee Power Partners Limited, Invenergy Cannon Falls LLC, Invenergy Nelson LLC, Invenergy TN LLC, Judith Gap Energy LLC, Prairie Breeze Wind Energy LLC, Prairie Breeze Wind Energy II LLC, Sheldon Energy LLC, Spindle Hill Energy LLC, Spring Canyon Energy LLC, Spring Canyon Energy II LLC, Spring Canyon Energy III LLC, Stony Creek Energy LLC, Vantage Wind Energy LLC, Wolverine Creek Energy LLC, Willow Creek Energy LLC.

    Description: Quarterly Land Acquisition Report of Beech Ridge Energy LLC, et. al.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5379.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/19/15.

    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 28, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11321 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-915-000.

    Applicants: ANR Pipeline Company.

    Description: ANR Pipeline Company Operational Purchases and Sales Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5137.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-916-000.

    Applicants: ANR Storage Company.

    Description: ANR Storage Company Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5144.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-917-000.

    Applicants: Bison Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Bison Pipeline LLC Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5145.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-918-000.

    Applicants: Blue Lake Gas Storage Company.

    Description: Blue Lake Gas Storage Company Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5146.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-919-000.

    Applicants: TC Offshore LLC.

    Description: TC Offshore LLC Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5147.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-920-000.

    Applicants: Great Lakes Gas Transmission Limited Par.

    Description: Great Lakes Gas Transmission Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5148.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-921-000.

    Applicants: Northern Border Pipeline Company.

    Description: Northern Border Pipeline Company Operational Purchases and Sales of Gas Report.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5149.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-922-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: ConEdison 2015-05-01 Ramapo Releases to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5208.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-923-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: BBPC 2015-05-01 Releases to EDF Trading to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5214.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-924-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: BUG 2015-05-01 Ramapo Release to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5232.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-925-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: KeySpan 2015-05-01 Ramapo Release to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5239.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-926-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rates—Cherokee AGL—Replacement Shippers—May 2015 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5436.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-927-000.

    Applicants: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Apr2015 Modification of Exhibits to FT-1 Service Agreement to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5437.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-928-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rates—UGI Utilities, Inc. to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5440.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-65-002.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Motion General Section 4 Rate Case Tariff Records into Effect to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20150429-5402.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    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 30, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11325 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. NJ15-13-000] Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on April 30, 2015, Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi submitted its tariff filing per 35.28(e): Revenue Requirement for Reactive Service to be effective May 1, 2015.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 21, 2015.

    Dated: May 1, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11328 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL15-39-000] Alabama Power Company, Southern Power Company, Mississippi Power Company, Georgia Power Company, Gulf Power Company, Oleander Power Project, Limited Partnership, Southern Company—Florida LLC, Southern Turner Cimarron I, LLC, Spectrum Nevada Solar, LLC, Campo Verde Solar, LLC, Macho Springs Solar, LLC; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding, and Refund Effective Date

    On April 27, 2015, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. EL15-39-000, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e (2012), instituting an investigation into the justness and reasonableness of Southern Companies' market-based rates in the Southern Company Services, Inc., PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, South Carolina Public Service Authority, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, and City of Tallahassee balancing authority areas. Alabama Power Company, 151 FERC ¶ 61,071 (2015).

    The refund effective date in Docket No. EL15-39-000, established pursuant to section 206(b) of the FPA, will be the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Dated: April 28, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11326 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-904-000.

    Applicants: Gas Transmission Northwest LLC.

    Description: Petition of Gas Transmission Northwest LLC for Approval of Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement.

    Filed Date: 4/23/15.

    Accession Number: 20150423-5271.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-929-000.

    Applicants: Equitrans, L.P.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rate Service Agreement—Mountaineer Keystone LLC to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5059.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-930-000.

    Applicants: TC Offshore LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403: Cashout 2015 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-931-000.

    Applicants: ANR Pipeline Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403: Cashout 2015 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5070.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-932-000.

    Applicants: Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Exhibit B Update—Contract 117453 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5082.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-933-000.

    Applicants: ETC Tiger Pipeline, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403: Fuel Filing on 4-30-15 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5083.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-934-000.

    Applicants: Fayetteville Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403: Fuel Filing on 4-30-15 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5084.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-935-000.

    Applicants: Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Filing to Substitute Published Index Prices to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5155.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-936-000.

    Applicants: Alliance Pipeline L.P.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: May 1—31 2015 Auction to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5193.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-937-000.

    Applicants: Northern Natural Gas Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403: 20150501 Winter PRA Fuel Rates to be effective 11/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-938-000.

    Applicants: Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline Company, L.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403(d)(2): FL&U to be effective June 1, 2015 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5204.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-939-000.

    Applicants: Wyoming Interstate Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403(d)(2): FL&U to be effective June 1, 2015 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5213.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-940-000.

    Applicants: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.601: Negotiated Rate (EP Marketing) to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5273.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-941-000.

    Applicants: Discovery Gas Transmission LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 2015 System Map Update to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5275.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-942-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Compliance new tariff (Baseline) to be effective 4/30/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5305.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-943-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Transmission, Inc.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: DTI—April 30, 2015 Negotiated Rate Agreements to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5308.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-944-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation per 154.602: Cancellation of whole tariff to be effective 4/30/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5320.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-945-000.

    Applicants: Enable Mississippi River Transmission, L.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rate Filing to Remove CES 5677 Eff 5-1-15 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5404.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-946-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: US Gas 2015-05-01 Ramapo Release to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5424.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-947-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Rate—Nextera 510810 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5486.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-948-000.

    Applicants: Questar Overthrust Pipeline Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Capacity Reserved for Future Expansion to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5500.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-949-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403(d)(2): Fuel Tracker 06/01/15 to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5514.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-950-000.

    Applicants: Equitrans, L.P.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Negotiated Capacity Release Agreement- 5/01/2015 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5550.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-951-000.

    Applicants: Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline Company, L.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.601: Name Change (Encore) to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5560.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-952-000.

    Applicants: Tallgrass Interstate Gas Transmission, L.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Neg Rate 2015/4/30 DCP Midstream to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5589.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-953-000.

    Applicants: Gulfstream Natural Gas System, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403(d)(2): 2015 GNGS TUP/SBA Filing to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-954-000.

    Applicants: Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: TC Plus System Implementation to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5033.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-955-000.

    Applicants: Gas Transmission Northwest LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Implementation of TC Plus to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5037.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-681-002.

    Applicants: MIGC LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Amendment to Docket Number RP15-681-000 to be effective 4/24/2015.

    Filed Date: 3/31/15.

    Accession Number: 20150331-5446.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-914-001.

    Applicants: Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment per 154.205(b): Amend Koch K in RP15-914 to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20150430-5004.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/12/15.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    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: May 1, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11281 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. NJ15-13-000] Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on April 30, 2015, Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi submitted its tariff filing per 35.28(e): Revenue Requirement for Reactive Service to be effective May 1, 2015.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 21, 2015.

    Dated: May 1, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11329 Filed 5-8-15; 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: EC15-132-000.

    Applicants: Georgia Power Company.

    Description: Application under Section 203 of Georgia Power Company.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5472.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-133-000.

    Applicants: Duquesne Conemaugh, LLC, Duquesne Keystone, LLC, Chief Keystone Power, LLC, Chief Conemaugh Power, LLC.

    Description: Joint Application for Authorization for Disposition and Consolidation of Jurisdictional Facilities and Acquisition of Existing Generation Facilities and Request for Expedited Action of Duquesne Keystone, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5474.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2984-020.

    Applicants: Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5468.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-2477-007; ER15-1608-001; ER15-1607-001; ER15-1606-001; ER15-1605-001; ER15-1604-001; ER15-1603-001; ER15-1602-001; ER15-1600-001; ER15-1599-001; ER15-1598-001; ER15-1597-001; ER15-1596-001; ER15-1583-001; ER14-924-003; ER14-922-003; ER14-883-004; ER14-1569-003; ER13-2476-007; ER13-2475-007; ER12-192-010; ER11-4400-005; ER11-4398-004; ER11-4266-011; ER11-3867-012; ER11-3866-012; ER11-3859-012; ER11-3857-012; ER10-3247-010; ER10-2619-005; ER10-2617-005; ER10-2616-008; ER10-2613-005; ER10-2593-003; ER10-2590-003; ER10-2585-005.

    Applicants: Brayton Point Energy, LLC, Casco Bay Energy Company, LLC, Dighton Power, LLC, Dynegy Commercial Asset Management, LLC, Dynegy Conesville, LLC, Dynegy Dicks Creek, LLC, Dynegy Energy Services (East), LLC, Dynegy Energy Services, LLC, Dynegy Fayette II, LLC, Dynegy Hanging Rock II, LLC, Dynegy Kendall Energy, LLC, Dynegy Killen, LLC, Dynegy Lee II, LLC, Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC, Dynegy Miami Fort, LLC, Dynegy Midwest Generation, LLC, Dynegy Moss Landing, LLC, Dynegy Oakland, LLC, Dynegy Power Marketing, LLC Dynegy Resources Management, LLC, Dynegy Stuart, LLC, Dynegy Washington II, LLC, Dynegy Zimmer, LLC, Electric Energy, Inc., Elwood Energy LLC, Illinois Power Generating Company, Illinois Power Marketing Company, Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC, Kincaid Generation, L.L.C., Lake Road Generating Company, L.P., Liberty Electric Power, LLC, MASSPOWER, Milford Power Company, LLC, Ontelaunee Power Operating Company, LLC, Richland- Stryker Generation LLC, Sithe/Independence Power Partners, L.P.

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of the Dynegy Inc. MBR Sellers under ER13-2477, et al.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5350.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-506-002.

    Applicants: DeSoto County Generating Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Compliance Filing to be effective 12/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5161.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-572-001.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: NY Transco cmplnc re: cost allocation—transmission facilities & formula rates to be effective 4/3/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5051.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1065-000.

    Applicants: Balko Wind, LLC.

    Description: Clarifications in Support of Market-Based Rate Tariff Filing and as supplemented of Balko Wind, LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1066-001.

    Applicants: Red Horse Wind 2, LLC.

    Description: Clarifications in Support of Market-Based Rate Tariff Filing and as supplemented of Red Horse Wind 2, LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5069.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1429-001.

    Applicants: Emera Maine.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Amendment to Application, Errata to be effective 7/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5338.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1475-001.

    Applicants: North Star Solar, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment per 35.17(b): Amendment to Initial Market-Based Rate Application to be effective4/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5433.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1653-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): 2829R1 Midwest Energy & Westar Energy Meter Agent Agreement to be effective 4/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5430.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1654-000.

    Applicants: Eagle Point Power Generation LLC.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 Tenant-In-Common Agreement to be effective 4/2/2012.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5434.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1655-000.

    Applicants: Sierra Pacific Power Company.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 Service Agreement No. 07-00023 SPPC-Shell-Barrick-Turquoise to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5001.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1656-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance Filing for Order No. 1000, Regarding Interregional Coordination and Cost Allocation of Transmission Projects with NorthWestern Corporation and the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5476.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/22/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1657-000.

    Applicants: SEPG Energy Marketing Services, LLC.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 Market-Based Rate Application to be effective 7/6/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5092.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1658-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Second Revised Service Agreement No. 3665; Queue No. AA1-084 to be effective 4/2/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5102.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1659-000.

    Applicants: Quantum Choctaw Power, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Withdrawal per 35.15: Quantum Choctaw Power Notice of Cancellation of Market-Based Rate Tariff to be effective 5/5/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5114.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1660-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc.

    Description: ISO New England Inc. Resource Termination—Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5146.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1661-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Notice of Termination of the Wholesale Distribution Service Agreement No. 1949 of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5149.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1662-000.

    Applicants: Rocky Road Power, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Market-Based Tariff Revisions to be effective 5/5/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5159.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1663-000.

    Applicants: Tilton Energy, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Market-Based Rate Tariff to be effective 5/5/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5160.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1664-000.

    Applicants: AEP Texas North Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): TNC-OCI Alamo 7 Interconnection Agreement to be effective 4/9/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/4/15.

    Accession Number: 20150504-5187.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/26/15.

    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: May 4, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11280 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-956-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Rate Case-Related Amendments to Neg Rate and Non-conforming Agmts to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5107.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-957-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (PH 41448 to Texla 44584) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-958-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (Encana 37663 to BP 44594) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5111.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-959-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (Willmut 35221 to BP 44595) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5116.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-960-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (QEP 37657 to Trans LA 44614) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-961-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (CenterPoint 35484 to BP 44642) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5123.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-962-000.

    Applicants: Rockies Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Neg Rate 2015-05-01 ITs Sequent, BP, Exelon, Mieco, Tenaska to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5232.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-963-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (CenterPoint 44554 to BP 44651) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5267.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-964-000.

    Applicants: Rockies Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Neg Rage 2015-05-01 Ultra, Encana, CP to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5282.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-965-000.

    Applicants: Southeast Supply Header, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.403(d)(2): 2015 TUP/SBA Annual Filing to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5388.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP13-584-003.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Revenue Sharing Report 2015.

    Filed Date: 5/1/15.

    Accession Number: 20150501-5141.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/13/15.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    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: May 4, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11282 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 10200-014] Congdon Pond Hydro, LLC; Notice of Intent To Terminate Exemption (5 Mw or Less) and Soliciting Comments, Protests, or Motions To Intervene

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric proceeding has been initiated by the Commission:

    a. Type of Proceeding: Termination of exemption by implied surrender.

    b. Project No.: 10200-014.

    c. Date Initiated: May 4, 2015.

    d. Exemptee: Congdon Pond Hydro, LLC.

    e. Name and Location of Project: The Congdon Dam Hydroelectric Project is located on the Oxoboxo Brook in New London County, Connecticut.

    f. Filed Pursuant to: 18 CFR 4.106 (Standard Article 1).

    g. Exemptee Contact Information: Mr. John Morte, President and Treasurer, Congdon Pond Hydro, LLC., 63 Hayward Street, Milford, MA (508) 333-6743.

    h. FERC Contact: Jennifer Polardino, (202) 502-6437, [email protected]

    i. Deadline for filing comments, protests, or motions to intervene is 30 days from the issuance of this notice by the Commission. Please file your submittal electronically via the Internet (eFiling) in lieu of paper. Please refer to the instructions on the Commission's Web site under http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp and filing instructions in the Commission's Regulations at 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii). To assist you with eFilings you should refer to the submission guidelines document at http://www.ferc.gov/help/submission-guide/user-guide.pdf. In addition, certain filing requirements have statutory or regulatory formatting and other instructions. You should refer to a list of these “qualified documents” at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing.pdf. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. Please include the project number (P-10200-014) on any documents or motions filed. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings; otherwise, you should submit an original and seven copies of any submittal to the following address: The Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mail Code: DHAC, PJ-12, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    j. Description of Project Facilities: (1) A 35-foot-high by 170-foot-long dam, with 7-inch-high flashboards; (2) a 6.5-acre reservoir with a storage capacity of 130 acre-feet; (3) two outlet works with an overall length of 23 feet; (4) a 5-foot-diameter by 70-foot-long penstock; (5) a powerhouse containing one 60-kilowatts generating unit; (6) a tailrace; and (7) appurtenant facilities.

    k. Description of Proceeding: The exemptee is in violation of Standard Article 1 of its exemption, which was granted on December 9, 1987 (41 FERC ¶ 62,224). Article 1 provides, among other things, that the Commission may terminate an exemption if any term or condition of the exemption is violated.

    Commission records show that Congdon Dam Hydroelectric Project has been non-operational since May 2002. After several years of correspondence regarding restoring project operation, the exemptee has become non-responsive. The exemptee most recently filed with the Commission on September 18, 2014 a plan and schedule to restore project operation. In its filing, the exemptee also requested to extend the date to restore project operation to October 1, 2015. By letter dated October 8, 2014, the Commission acknowledged the filing and required the exemptee to file a status update by January 15, 2015 to show continued progress towards restoring project operation. The filing should also include an application to amend the exemption to reflect the new transmission line alignment. The exemptee did not do so. By letter dated April 9, 2015, the Commission again required the exemptee to file by April 24, 2014, a plan and schedule to restore operational status, and an application to amend the exemption if the exemptee still intends to change the transmission line alignment. The exemptee was notified that failure to do so would result in an implied surrender of the project exemption. To date, the exemptee has not filed a response and the project remains inoperable.

    l. This notice is available for review and reproduction at the Commission in the Public Reference Room, Room 2A, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the Docket number (P-10200-014) excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the notice. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call toll-free 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected] For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .212, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular proceeding.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents—Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST,” or “MOTIONS TO INTERVENE”, as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the project number of the proceeding to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person commenting, protesting, or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis. All comments, protests, or motions to intervene should relate to project works which are the subject of the termination of exemption. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served on each representative of the exemptee specified in item “f” above. A copy of all other filings in reference to this notice must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    p. Agency Comments—Federal, state, and local agencies are invited to file comments on the described proceeding. If any agency does not file comments within the time specified for filing comments, it will be presumed to have no comments.

    Dated: May 4, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11283 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-905-000.

    Applicants: Gas Transmission Northwest LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Consolidation of PS-1_AIS-1 into PAL Service to be effective 6/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150424-5035.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-906-000.

    Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 2015 Pooling/Title Transfer Tracking to be effective 5/28/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150424-5103.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-907-000.

    Applicants: Great Lakes Gas Transmission Limited Par.

    Description: Great Lakes Gas Transmission's Revenue Cap and Revenue Sharing Mechanism True-Up Report.

    Filed Date: 4/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150424-5158.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-908-000.

    Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 2015 Interruptible Agreements to be effective 5/28/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5409.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-909-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Cap Rel Neg Rate Agmt (FPL 41618 to Tenaska 44540) to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5420.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-910-000.

    Applicants: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Exelon Negotiated Rate Filing to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/27/15.

    Accession Number: 20150427-5429.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-911-000.

    Applicants: Elba Express Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Fuel Tracker Filing—2015.

    Filed Date: 4/24/15.

    Accession Number: 20150424-5371.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/6/15.

    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 28, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11323 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-912-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Amendment to Neg Rate Agmt (Sequent 34693-28) to be effective 4/28/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5232.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-913-000.

    Applicants: East Cheyenne Gas Storage, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: ECGS 2015 Operational Purchase and Sales Report filing.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5294.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-914-000.

    Applicants: Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Neg Rate 2015-04-28 Koch, Green Plains to be effective 5/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 4/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20150428-5360.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 5/11/15.

    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 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11324 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9927-53-OAR] New and Revised Emissions Factors for Flares and Other Refinery Process Units and Determination for No Changes to VOC Emissions Factors for Tanks and Wastewater Treatment Systems AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of final action.

    SUMMARY:

    On April 20, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new and revised emission factors for flares and other refinery process units and issued its final determination that revisions to existing emissions factors for tanks and wastewater treatment systems are not necessary. The EPA finalized these actions in compliance with a consent decree entered into with Air Alliance Houston, Community In-Power and Development Association, Inc., Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (“Plaintiffs”).

    ADDRESSES:

    You may review copies of the final actions taken and the supporting information electronically at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/consentdecree/index_consent_decree.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Gerri Garwood, Measurement Policy Group (MPG), Sector Policies and Programs Division (D243-05), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711, telephone number: (919) 541-2406; fax number: (919) 541-1039; and email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As described above, the EPA finalized these actions to fulfill its obligations under the consent decree, which resolves litigation in which Plaintiffs alleged that the EPA failed to perform nondiscretionary duties pursuant to Clean Air Act (CAA) section 130 to review, and, if necessary, revise the emissions factors for volatile organic compounds (VOC) for flares, liquid storage tanks (“tanks”), and wastewater collection, treatment and storage systems (“wastewater treatment systems”) at least once every 3 years. See Air Alliance Houston, et al. v. McCarthy, No. 1:13-cv-00621-KBJ (D.D.C.).

    The EPA evaluated all of the data collected during the 2011 Refinery Information Collection Request (2011 Refinery ICR), the data referenced in the Complaint, other test data available to the agency for flares, tanks and wastewater treatment systems, and data submitted during the public comment period. Based on this evaluation, we finalized a new VOC emissions factor for flares. We also issued final emissions factors (or emissions estimation methodologies) for certain refinery operations and pollutants that are not covered by the consent decree. The other emissions factors include carbon monoxide (CO) for flares; oxides of nitrogen (NOX), total hydrocarbons (THC), and CO for sulfur recovery units; THC for catalytic reforming units; NOX for hydrogen plants; and hydrogen cyanide for fluid catalytic cracking units. We updated Sections 5.1, 8.13, and 13.5 of AP-42, Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors, to incorporate the new and revised emissions factors. AP-42 is the primary compilation of EPA's emission factor information.

    We previously developed a refinery emissions estimation protocol in response to a Data Quality Act petition which was used in the 2011 Refinery ICR. The refinery emissions estimation protocol lists and ranks available methods for calculating emissions from refineries. We finalized revisions to the Refinery Protocol, with some changes to address specific comments. Specifically, we updated Sections 1, 5, and 6 of the refinery emissions estimation protocol with these new emission factors. However, we are not requiring the use of the Refinery Protocol, just as we do not require the use of AP-42. It is simply another tool for use in estimating emissions when site-specific test data do not exist or are not available. We consider the Refinery Protocol to provide site-specific emissions inventory guidance that will result in more accurate and complete emissions inventories.

    Based on our review of the available emissions data for tanks and wastewater treatment systems, we found that the data reviewed generally showed similar results between measured data and the existing emissions estimation methods. Therefore, we issued a final determination that revisions of the VOC emissions factors for tanks and wastewater treatment systems are not necessary.

    Additionally, while we proposed a revised NOX emissions factor for flares, based on our review of available data and additional information received after proposal, we determined that the data was not adequate to support revising the NOX emissions factor for flares. Based on comments received, the EPA determined that the NOX data used for the proposal contained certain flaws that rendered the data quality suspect.

    Per the requirements of the consent decree, these final actions were issued on April 20, 2015. To support these findings, we developed two reports: “EPA Review of Available Documents and Rationale in Support of Final Emissions Factors and Negative Determinations for Flares, Tanks, and Wastewater Treatment Systems,” and “Review of Emissions Test Reports for Emissions Factors Development for Flares and Certain Refinery Operations.” We also prepared the following report to respond to the comments received during the public comment period: “Background Information for Final Emissions Factors Development for Flares and Certain Refinery Operations and Final Determination for No Changes to VOC Emissions Factors for Tanks and Wastewater Treatment Systems, Summary of Public Comments and Responses.” These reports, along with links to the updated chapters in AP-42 and the Refinery Protocol, were posted on the Web site listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document on April 20, 2015.

    These actions constitute final agency action of national applicability for purposes of section 307(b)(1) of the CAA. Pursuant to CAA section 307(b)(1), judicial review of these final agency actions may be sought only in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Petitions for review must be filed by July 10, 2015. Judicial review of these final agency actions may not be obtained in subsequent proceedings, pursuant to CAA section 307(b)(2). These actions are not a rulemaking and are not subject to the various statutory and other provisions applicable to a rulemaking.

    Dated: May 1, 2015. Stephen D. Page, Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11344 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [3060-1085] Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collection. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.

    DATES:

    Written PRA comments should be submitted on or before June 10, 2015. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contact listed below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via fax at 202-395-5167 or via Internet at [email protected] and to Benish Shah, Federal Communications Commission, via the Internet at [email protected] To submit your PRA comments by email send them to: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Benish Shah, Office of Managing Director, (202) 418-7866.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1085.

    Title: Section 9.5, Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) E911 Compliance.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents: 12 respondents; 14,971,342 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 50,062 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Recordkeeping requirement and third party disclosure requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Mandatory. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47. U.S.C. Sections 151, 154(i)-(j), 251(e), 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

    Total Annual Burden: 600,743 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: $80,235,305.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: The Commission is obligated by statute to promote “safety of life and property” and to “encourage and facilitate the prompt deployment throughout the United States of a seamless, ubiquitous, and reliable end-to-end infrastructure” for public safety. Congress has established 911 as the national emergency number to enable all citizens to reach emergency services directly and efficiently, irrespective of whether a citizen uses wireline or wireless technology when calling for help by dialing 911. Efforts by federal, state and local government, along with the significant efforts of wireline and wireless service providers, have resulted in the nearly ubiquitous deployment of this life-saving service.

    The Order the Commission adopted on May 19, 2005, sets forth rules requiring providers of VoIP services that interconnect with the nation's existing public switched telephone network (interconnected VoIP services) to supply E911 capabilities to their customers. To ensure E911 functionality for customers of VoIP service providers the Commission requires the following information collections:

    A. Location Registration. Requires providers to interconnected VoIP services to obtain location information from their customers for use in the routing of 911 calls and the provision of location information to emergency answering points.

    B. Provision of Automatic Location Information (ALI). Interconnected VoIP service providers will place the location information for their customers into, or make that information available through, specialized databases maintained by local exchange carriers (and, in at least one case, a state government) across the country.

    C. Customer Notification. Requires that all providers of interconnected VoIP are aware of their interconnected VoIP service's actual E911 capabilities. That all providers of interconnected VoIP service specifically advise every subscriber, both new and existing, prominently and in plain language, the circumstances under which E911 service may not be available through the interconnected VoIP service or may be in some way limited by comparison to traditional E911 service.

    D. Record of Customer Notification. Requires VoIP providers to obtain and keep a record of affirmative acknowledgement by every subscriber, both new and existing, of having received and understood this advisory.

    E. User Notification. In addition, in order to ensure to the extent possible that the advisory is available to all potential users of an interconnected VoIP service, interconnected VoIP service providers must distribute to all subscribers, both new and existing, warning stickers or other appropriate labels warning subscribers if E911 service may be limited or not available and instructing the subscriber to place them on or near the customer premises equipment used in conjunction with the interconnected VoIP service.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Office of the Managing Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11308 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting AGENCY:

    Federal Election Commission.

    DATE AND TIME:

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

    PLACE:

    999 E Street NW., Washington, DC.

    STATUS:

    This meeting was closed to the public.

    ITEMS DISCUSSED:

    Information the premature disclosure of which would be likely to have a considerable adverse effect on the implementation of a proposed Commission action. Internal personnel rules and procedures or matters affecting a particular employee.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Judith Ingram, Press Officer, Telephone: (202) 694-1220.

    Shelley E. Garr, Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11387 Filed 5-7-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6715-01-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION [Notice-CECANF-2015-04; Docket No. 2015-0004; Sequence No. 4] Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities; Announcement of Meeting AGENCY:

    Commission To Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, General Services Administration.

    ACTION:

    Meeting notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), a Federal Advisory Committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, will hold a meeting open to the public on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 and Wednesday, May 20, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., and Wednesday, May 20, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    CECANF will convene its meeting at the Sheraton, 150 West 500 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101. This site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The meeting also will be made available via teleconference and/or webinar.

    Submit comments identified by “Notice-CECANF-2015-04,” by either of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for “Notice-CECANF-2015-04.” Select the link “Comment Now” that corresponds with “Notice-CECANF-2015-04.” Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please include your name, organization name (if any), and “Notice-CECANF-2015-04” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., Room 7003D, Washington, DC 20405, Attention: Tom Hodnett (CD) for CECANF.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite “Notice-CECANF-2015-04” in all correspondence related to this notice. 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:

    Visit the CECANF Web site at https://eliminatechildabusefatalities.sites.usa.gov/ or contact Patricia Brincefield, Communications Director, at 202-818-9596, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street NW., Room 7003D, Washington, DC 20405, Attention: Tom Hodnett (CD) for CECANF.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: CECANF was established to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect.

    Agenda: This meeting will explore key research, policy, and practice in the state of Utah related to addressing and preventing child abuse and neglect fatalities. Commission members will then continue discussing the work plans of the Commission subcommittees, the information that they have obtained to date, and emerging high-level recommendations.

    Attendance at the Meeting: Individuals interested in attending the meeting in person or participating by webinar and teleconference must register in advance. To register to attend in person or by webinar/phone, please go to http://meetingtomorrow.com/webcast/CECANF and follow the prompts. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with the webinar login and teleconference number. Detailed meeting minutes will be posted within 90 days of the meeting. Members of the public will not have the opportunity to ask questions or otherwise participate in the meeting.

    However, members of the public wishing to comment should follow the steps detailed under the heading ADDRESSES in this publication or contact us via the CECANF Web site at https://eliminatechildabusefatalities.sites.usa.gov/contact-us/.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Karen White, Executive Assistant.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11306 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: The Evaluation and System Design for Career Pathways Programs: 2nd Generation of HPOG (HPOG Next Gen Design).

    OMB No.: New Collection.

    Description: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing information collection activities as part of the Evaluation and System Design for Career Pathways Programs: 2nd Generation of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG Next Gen Design). The key goals of the HPOG Next Gen Design project are to establish a data system for program management and evaluation, and to design a study to assess the effectiveness of the new HPOG programs. The study also is intended to evaluate variation in participant impact that may be attributable to different HPOG program components. The impact study design will include a classic experiment in which eligible applicants for the non-Tribal HPOG program services will be randomly assigned to a treatment group offered participation in HPOG and a control group not offered the opportunity to enroll in HPOG. There will be a separate but coordinated evaluation of the HPOG Next Gen Tribal grantees. Both goals require collecting information from HPOG Next Gen grantees on a regular basis. The information collection proposed is an Internet-based collection of information from HPOG Next Gen grantees on: (1) Grantee program designs and offerings; (2) intake information on eligible applicants (both treatment and control) through baseline data collection; and (3) individual enrolled program participants' activities and outcomes.

    The universe of information collection proposed for HPOG Next Gen includes the HPOG Next Gen Participant Accomplishment and Grant Evaluation System (PAGES). PAGES is a performance management system that will collect information from all grantees on their programs and participants on a semi-annual basis over the grant period of performance and intake information on eligible applicants (both treatment and control) through baseline data collection. The data system will meet the performance data needs of the HPOG Next Gen grantees and of the ACF Office of Family Assistance to monitor the performance of the grants and prepare the report to Congress on the grants, as well as support an impact study, a coordinated Tribal evaluation, and other future research and evaluation efforts sponsored by ACF.

    Respondents: Grantee- and participant-level data to be collected by program staff in the approximately 40 grantee organizations (higher education institutions, workforce investment boards, private training institutions, nonprofit organizations, and tribal entities). Applicants at the 40 grantee organizations.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Total number of respondents Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Annual burden hours
    PAGES Grantee—and Participant-Level Data Collection (all grantees) 120 40 2 31.75 2,540 PAGES Participant-Level Baseline Data Collection (participants at non-Tribal grantees participating in impact study) 31,500 10,500 1 .5 5,250 PAGES Participant-Level Baseline Data Collection (participants at Tribal grantees) 1,200 400 1 .25 100 Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 7,890

    Additional Information: Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: OPRE Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address: [email protected]

    OMB Comment: OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: [email protected], Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    Karl Koerper, OPRE Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11266 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-72-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0001] Request for Nominations on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting that any industry organizations interested in participating in the selection of a nonvoting industry representative to serve on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee for the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) notify FDA in writing. FDA is also requesting nominations for a nonvoting industry representative(s) to serve on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. A nominee may either be self-nominated or nominated by an organization to serve as a nonvoting industry representative. Nominations will be accepted for current vacancies effective with this notice.

    DATES:

    Any industry organization interested in participating in the selection of an appropriate nonvoting member to represent industry interests must send a letter stating that interest to the FDA by June 10, 2015, (see sections I and II of this document for further details). Concurrently, nomination materials for prospective candidates should be sent to FDA by June 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    All statements of interest from interested industry organizations interested in participating in the selection process of nonvoting industry representative nomination should be sent to Sujata Vijh (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). All nominations for nonvoting industry representatives may be submitted electronically by accessing the FDA Advisory Committee Membership Nomination Portal: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/FACTRSPortal/FACTRS/index.cfm or by mail to Advisory Committee Oversight and Management Staff, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 32, Rm. 5103, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Information about becoming a member of an FDA advisory committee can also be obtained by visiting FDA's Web site: http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sujata Vijh, Division of Scientific Advisors and Consultants, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 71, Rm. 6128, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-7107, FAX: 301-595-1307, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Agency intends to add a nonvoting industry representative(s) to the following advisory committee:

    I. CBER Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee

    The CBER Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (the Committee) reviews and evaluates data concerning the safety, effectiveness, and appropriate use of vaccines and related biological products which are intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or diagnosis of human diseases, and, as required, any other product for which FDA has regulatory responsibility. The Committee also considers the quality and relevance of FDA's research program which provides scientific support for the regulation of these products and makes appropriate recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.

    II. Selection Procedure

    Any industry organization interested in participating in the selection of an appropriate nonvoting member to represent industry interests should send a letter stating that interest to the FDA contact (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) within 30 days of publication (see DATES). Within the subsequent 30 days, FDA will send a letter to each organization that has expressed an interest, attaching a complete list of all such organizations; and a list of all nominees along with their current resumes. The letter will also state that it is the responsibility of the interested organizations to confer with one another and to select a candidate, within 60 days after the receipt of the FDA letter, to serve as the nonvoting member to represent industry interests for the committee. The interested organizations are not bound by the list of nominees in selecting a candidate. However, if no individual is selected within 60 days, the Commissioner will select the nonvoting member to represent industry interests.

    III. Application Procedure

    Individuals may self-nominate and/or an organization may nominate one or more individuals to serve as a nonvoting industry representative. Contact information, a current curriculum vitae, and the name of the committee of interest should be sent to the FDA Advisory Committee Membership Nomination Portal (see ADDRESSES) within 30 days of publication (see DATES). FDA will forward all nominations to the organizations expressing interest in participating in the selection process for the committee. (Persons who nominate themselves as nonvoting industry representatives will not participate in the selection process).

    FDA seeks to include the views of women, and men, members of all racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with and without disabilities on its advisory committees and, therefore encourages nominations of appropriately qualified candidates from these groups.

    This notice is issued under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2) and 21 CFR part 14, relating to advisory committees.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Jill Hartzler Warner, Associate Commissioner for Special Medical Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11258 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0001] Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of a public advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The meeting will be open to the public.

    Name of Committee: Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee.

    General Function of the Committee: To provide advice and recommendations to the Agency on FDA's regulatory issues.

    Date and Time: The meeting will be held on June 11, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Location: Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg, Grand Ballroom, 620 Perry Pkwy., Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Answers to commonly asked questions including information regarding special accommodations due to a disability, visitor parking, and transportation may be accessed at: http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm408555.htm.

    Contact Person: Kristina Toliver, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31, Rm. 2417, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-9001, FAX: 301-847-8533, email: [email protected], or FDA Advisory Committee Information Line, 1-800-741-8138 (301-443-0572 in the Washington, DC area). A notice in the Federal Register about last minute modifications that impact a previously announced advisory committee meeting cannot always be published quickly enough to provide timely notice. Therefore, you should always check the Agency's Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm and scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link, or call the advisory committee information line to learn about possible modifications before coming to the meeting.

    Agenda: The committee will discuss biologics license application (BLA) 125526, for mepolizumab for injection, submitted by GlaxoSmithKline for the proposed indication of add-on maintenance treatment in patients 12 years and older with severe eosinophilic asthma identified by blood eosinophils greater than or equal to 150 cells/microliter at initiation of treatment or blood eosinophils greater than or equal to 300 cells/microliter in the past 12 months.

    FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its Web site prior to the meeting, the background material will be made publicly available at the location of the advisory committee meeting, and the background material will be posted on FDA's Web site after the meeting. Background material is available at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/default.htm. Scroll down to the appropriate advisory committee meeting link.

    Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the committee. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before May 28, 2015. Oral presentations from the public will be scheduled between approximately 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Those individuals interested in making formal oral presentations should notify the contact person and submit a brief statement of the general nature of the evidence or arguments they wish to present, the names and addresses of proposed participants, and an indication of the approximate time requested to make their presentation on or before May 19, 2015. Time allotted for each presentation may be limited. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public hearing session, FDA may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers for the scheduled open public hearing session. The contact person will notify interested persons regarding their request to speak by May 20, 2015.

    Persons attending FDA's advisory committee meetings are advised that the Agency is not responsible for providing access to electrical outlets.

    FDA 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 Kristina Toliver at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.

    FDA is committed to the orderly conduct of its advisory committee meetings. Please visit our Web site at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/AboutAdvisoryCommittees/ucm111462.htm for procedures on public conduct during advisory committee meetings.

    Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app. 2).

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Jill Hartzler Warner, Associate Commissioner for Special Medical Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11257 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request National Institute of Health Neurobiobank Tissue Access Request SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of Section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for review and approval of the information collection listed below. This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2015, page 8723 and allowed 60-days for public comment. No public comments were received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health, may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Direct Comments To OMB: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, should be directed to the: Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, [email protected] or by fax to 202-395-6974, Attention: NIH Desk Officer.

    Comment Due Date: Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30-days of the date of this publication.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments or request more information on the proposed project contact: NIMH Project Clearance Liaison, Science Policy and Evaluation Branch, OSPPC, NIMH, NIH, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, MSC 9667, Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, or call 301-443-4335 or Email your request, including your address to: [email protected] Formal requests for additional plans and instruments must be requested in writing.

    Proposed Collection: National Institute of Health Neurobiobank Tissue Access Request—Existing without OMB Clearance—National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Health (NIH).

    Need and Use of Information Collection: NIMH is seeking OMB approval for two Neurobiobank data collections: (1) Pre-Mortem Donor Recruitment Form, and (2) Tissue Access Request Form. The pre-mortem donor form will collect information from potential donors to ensure and enable appropriate research use of the tissues and biospecimens. Knowledge about the health history surrounding a particular tissue or biospecimen is essential to ethical scientific research conducted upon it. The tissue access request form will collect information from researchers who wish to gain access to the tissue stored throughout the Neurobiobank network, The NIH Neurobiobank Tissue Access Request form is necessary to verify that the researcher “Recipient” Principal Investigators and their organization or corporations applying to use the tissue is qualified to conduct human tissue research and have approved assurance from the DHHS Office of Human Research Protections to access tissue or biospecimens from the National Neurobiobank for research purposes. The primary use of this information is to document, track, monitor, and evaluate the appropriate use of the Neurobiobank tissue and biospecimen resources, as well as to notify interested recipients of updates, corrections, or other changes to the system.

    OMB approval is requested for 3 years. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 38.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Form Number of respondents Frequency of response Average burden per response
  • (in hours)
  • Total annual burden hours
    Neurobiobank Tissue Access Request 50 1 30/60 25 Pre-Mortem Donor Recruitment Form 50 1 15/60 13 Total 100 38
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Keisha L. Shropshire, NIMH Project Clearance Officer, NIMH, NIH.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11332 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Dementia.

    Date: July 27, 2015.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, 2C212, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Jeannette L. Johnson, Ph.D., National Institutes on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-7705, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National, Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11239 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Nursing Research; Amended Notice of Meeting

    Notice is hereby given of a change in the meeting of the National Institute of Nursing Research Special Emphasis Panel, June 4, 2015, 11:00 a.m. to June 4, 2015, 1:00 p.m., National Institutes of Health, One Democracy Plaza, 6701 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892 which was published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2015, 80 FR 23281.

    The meeting notice is amended to change the date of the meeting from June 4, 2015 to June 11, 2015. The meeting is closed to the public.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Michelle Trout, Program, Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11233 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Special Emphasis Panel, K Award and R13 Conference Review.

    Date: July 9, 2015.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Two Democracy Plaza, Suite 920, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Dennis Hlasta, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Suite 952, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-451-4794, [email protected]

    Dated: May 5, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11248 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Program Project: RNA Binding Protein.

    Date: June 18, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Richard Panniers, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 2212, MSC 7890, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-1741, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Carolyn Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11237 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panel; Aging and Downs Syndrome.

    Date: July 29, 2015.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institute on Aging, Gateway Building, Suite 2C212, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Jeannette L. Johnson, Ph.D., National Institutes on Aging National Institutes of Health, 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2C212, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-7705, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.866, Aging Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11241 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Neural Basis of Psychopathology, Addictions and Sleep Disorders Study Section.

    Date: May 28-29, 2015.

    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Melrose Hotel, 2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Contact Person: Julius Cinque, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5186, MSC 7846, Bethesda, MD 20892, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Endocrinology, Metabolism, Nutrition and Reproductive Sciences Integrated Review Group; Cellular, Molecular and Integrative Reproduction Study Section.

    Date: June 1-2, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Marriot Courtyard Long Beach, CA, 500 E 1st St, Long Beach, CA 90802.

    Contact Person: Gary Hunnicutt, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6164, MSC 7892, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0229, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Bioengineering Sciences & Technologies Integrated Review Group Instrumentation and Systems Development Study Section.

    Date: June 2-3, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

    Contact Person: Kathryn Kalasinsky, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5158 MSC 7806, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-402-1074, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Neurogenesis and Cell Fate Study Section.

    Date: June 3, 2015.

    Time: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202.

    Contact Person: Joanne T Fujii, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4184, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-1178, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Immunology Integrated Review Group; Innate Immunity and Inflammation Study Section.

    Date: June 4-5, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: JW Marriott, 614 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

    Contact Person: Tina McIntyre, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4202, MSC 7812, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-6375, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Genes, Genomes, and Genetics Integrated Review Group; Molecular Genetics B Study Section.

    Date: June 4-5, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

    Contact Person: Richard A Currie, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5128, MSC 7840, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-1219, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR 13-137: Neurotechnology and Low Vision Technology Bioengineering Research Grants.

    Date: June 5, 2015.

    Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hotel Palomar, 2121 P Street NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Contact Person: Robert C Elliott, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3130, MSC 7850, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-3009, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Member Conflict: Molecular Neurogenetics, Imaging Technologies and Bioengineering.

    Date: June 5, 2015.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Cristina Backman, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, ETTN IRG, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5211, MSC 7846, Bethesda, MD 20892, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR Panel: Mouse Models for Translational Research.

    Date: June 5, 2015.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Marriott Wardman Park Washington DC Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW., Washington, DC 20008.

    Contact Person: Jeffrey Smiley, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6194, MSC 7804, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-7945, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11243 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01--P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications/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 grant applications/contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; IMAT Biospecimen Science.

    Date: June 9, 2015.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 3E030, Rockville, MD 20850 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Nicholas J. Kenney, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Technology and Contract Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W246, Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-6374, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Cancer Diagnostic, Prognostics and Detection Special Emphasis Panel.

    Date: June 9, 2015.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 2E914, Rockville, MD 20850 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Gerard Lacourciere, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Technology and Contract Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W248, Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-5457, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NCI Omnibus R03 & R21/SEP-1.

    Date: June 29-30, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Doubletree Hotel Bethesda, (Formerly Holiday Inn Select), 8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.

    Contact Person: Zhiqiang Zou, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Special Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W242, Bethesda, MD 20892, 240-276-6372, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Omnibus SEP-10.

    Date: July 8, 2015.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Cancer Institute, Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W032, Rockville, MD 20850 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Adriana Stoica, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Resources and Training Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W234, Bethesda, MD 20892-9750, 240-276-6368, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.392, Cancer Construction; 93.393, Cancer Cause and Prevention Research; 93.394, Cancer Detection and Diagnosis Research; 93.395, Cancer Treatment Research; 93.396, Cancer Biology Research; 93.397, Cancer Centers Support; 93.398, Cancer Research Manpower; 93.399, Cancer Control, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11242 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of a meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

    The meeting will be closed to the public as indicated below in accordance with the provisions set forth in section 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended for the review, discussion, and evaluation of individual intramural programs and projects conducted by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, including consideration of personal qualifications and performance, and the competence of individual investigators, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

    Date: June 7-9, 2015.

    Time: 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate personal qualifications and performance, and competence of individual investigators.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Porter Neuroscience Center, Bldg. 35, First Floor Conference Room, 610, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: Richard D. Leapman, Intramural Scientific Director, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-496-2599.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. David Clary, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11247 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Initial Review Group, Neurological Sciences and Disorders A.

    Date: June 18-19, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Kinzie Hotel, 20 West Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60654.

    Contact Person: Natalia Strunnikova, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Division of Extramural Research, NINDS/NIH/DHHS/Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Suite 3208, MSC 9529, Bethesda, MD 20892-9529, 301-402-0288, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.853, Clinical Research Related to Neurological Disorders; 93.854, Biological Basis Research in the Neurosciences, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Carolyn Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11236 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Mental Health; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Mental Health Initial Review Group, Interventions Committee for Adult Disorders.

    Date: June 9, 2015.

    Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: David I. Sommers, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Division of Extramural Activities, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 6154, MSC 9606, Bethesda, MD 20892-9606, 301-443-7861, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Mental Health Initial Review Group, Interventions Committee for Disorders Involving Children and Their Families.

    Date: June 9, 2015.

    Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Marcy Ellen Burstein, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Division of Extramural Activities, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 6143, MSC 9606, Bethesda, MD 20892-9606, 301-443-9699, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Mental Health Initial Review Group, Mental Health Services Research Committee.

    Date: June 10, 2015.

    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: St. Gregory Hotel, 2033 M Street NW., Washington, DC 20036.

    Contact Person: Aileen Schulte, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer Division of Extramural Activities, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Blvd., Room 6136, MSC 9606, Bethesda, MD 20852, 301-443-1225, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 93.242, Mental Health Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Carolyn A. Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11238 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections

    552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NHLBI/NINDS & PCORI—Hypertension Disparities Reduction Program Grant Review.

    Date: June 1, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hilton Garden Inn—Bethesda, 7301 Waverly Street, Bethesda, MD 20814.

    Contact Person: Chang Sook Kim, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7188, Bethesda, MD 20892-7924, 301-435-0287, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Neonatal and Pediatric Blood Testing Platform.

    Date: June 1, 2015.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7200, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Michael P. Reilly, Ph.D. Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7200, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-496-9659, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NHLBI/NINDS & PCORI—Hypertension Disparities Reduction Program Research Coordinating Unit Review.

    Date: June 1, 2015.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hilton Garden Inn—Bethesda, 7301 Waverly Street, Bethesda, MD 20814.

    Contact Person: Chang Sook Kim, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7188, Bethesda, MD 20892-7924, 301-435-0287, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.233, National Center for Sleep Disorders Research; 93.837, Heart and Vascular Diseases Research; 93.838, Lung Diseases Research; 93.839, Blood Diseases and Resources Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Michelle Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11235 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NHLBI T32 Institutional Training Grants.

    Date: June 3, 2015.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7189, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Stephanie L Constant, Ph.D. Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7189, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-443-8784 [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NHLBI Community Asthma Empowerment.

    Date: June 5, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Courtyard by Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

    Contact Person: Charles Joyce, Ph.D. Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7196, Bethesda, MD 20892-7924, 301-435-0288 [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator—Directed Therapeutics.

    Date: June 5, 2015.

    Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7185, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Kristen Page, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Office of Scientific Review/DERA National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 7185, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0725, [email protected].

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.233, National Center for Sleep Disorders Research; 93.837, Heart and Vascular Diseases Research; 93.838, Lung Diseases Research; 93.839, Blood Diseases and Resources Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Michelle Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11234 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Initial Review Group Epidemiology, Prevention and Behavior Research Subcommittee.

    Date: June 1, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: NIAAA, NIH 5635 Fishers Lane, Terrace Level Conference Room T-508/509, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Katrina Foster, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, 5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2019, Rockville, MD 20852, (301) 443-4032, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Initial Review Group Clinical, Treatment and Health Services Research Review Subcommittee.

    Date: June 2, 2015.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: NIAAA, NIH, 5635 Fishers Lane, Terrace Level Conference Room T-508/509, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Katrina Foster, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, 5635 Fishers Lane, Room 2019, Rockville, MD 20852, (301) 443-0800, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.271, Alcohol Research Career Development Awards for Scientists and Clinicians; 93.272, Alcohol National Research Service Awards for Research Training; 92.273, Alcohol Research Programs; 93.891, Alcohol Research Center Grants; 93.701, ARRA Related Biomedical Research and Research Supports Awards, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: May 5, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11240 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG-2015-0390] National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; Vacancies AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Request for applications.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee. The National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security on matters relating to activities directly involved with or in support of the exploration of offshore mineral and energy resources insofar as they relate to matters within Coast Guard jurisdiction.

    DATES:

    Completed applications should reach the Coast Guard on or before July 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Applicants should send a cover letter expressing interest in an appointment to the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee that also identifies which membership category the applicant is applying under, along with a resume detailing the applicant's experience via one of the following methods:

    By Email: [email protected]

    By Fax: (202) 372-8382.

    By Mail: Mr. Scott E. Hartley, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, Commandant, (CG-OES-2)/NOSAC U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE., STOP 7509, Washington, DC 20593-7509.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Scott E. Hartley, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, Commandant, (CG-OES-2)/NOSAC U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE., STOP 7509, Washington, DC 20593-7509; email [email protected]; telephone (202) 372-1437; fax (202) 372-8382.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee name is a Federal advisory committee established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, (5 U.S.C. Appendix) to advise the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security on matters relating to activities directly involved with or in support of the exploration of offshore mineral and energy resources insofar as they relate to matters within Coast Guard jurisdiction.

    The Committee expects to meet twice a year: April in New Orleans, LA, and November in Houston, TX. Each National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee member serves a term of office up to three (3) years. Members may be considered to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. All members serve at their own expense and receive no salary or reimbursement of travel expenses, or other compensation from the Federal Government.

    We will consider applications for the four positions listed below that will become vacant on January 31, 2016:

    (a) One member representing companies, organizations, enterprises, or similar entities engaged in offshore operations, who should have recent practical experience on vessels or units involved in the offshore industry;

    (b) One member representing companies, organizations, enterprises, or similar entities providing subsea engineering, construction or remotely operated vehicle support to the offshore industry;

    (c) One member representing companies, organizations, enterprises, or similar entities providing diving services to the offshore industry; and

    (d) One member of the general public.

    To be eligible, applicants for positions (a), (b) or (c) should be employed by companies, organizations, enterprises or similar entities, have expertise, knowledge and experience regarding the technology, equipment and techniques that are used or are being developed for use in the exploration for, and the recovery of, offshore mineral resources.

    The General Public Member, position (d), will be appointed and serve as a Special Government Employee as defined in section 202(a) of Title 18 United States Code. As a candidate for appointment as a Special Government Employee, applicants are required to complete Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports (OGE Form 450). Coast Guard may not release the reports or the information in them to the public except under an order issued by a Federal court or as otherwise provided under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). Applicants can obtain this form by going to the Web site of the Office of Government Ethics (www.oge.gov), or by contacting the individual listed above in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Applications for the General Public Member which are not accompanied by a completed OGE Form 450 will not be considered.

    Registered lobbyists are not eligible to serve on Federal advisory committees in an individual capacity. See “Revised Guidance on Appointment of Lobbyist to Federal Advisory Committees, Boards and Commissions” (79 FR 47482, August 13, 2014). The position we list for a member from the General Public would be someone appointed in their individual capacity and would be designated a Special Government Employee as defined in 202 (a) of Title 18, United States Code. Registered lobbyists are lobbyists required to comply with provisions contained in the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-65; as amended by Title II of Pub. L. 110-81).

    The Department of Homeland Security does not discriminate in selection of Committee members on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disabilities and genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or any other non-merit factor. The Department of Homeland Security strives to achieve a widely diverse candidate pool for all of its recruitment actions.

    If you are interested in applying to become a member of the Committee, send your cover letter and resume to Mr. Scott Hartley, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee by email or mail according to instructions in the ADDRESSES section by the deadline in the DATES section of this notice.

    Note, that during the vetting process, applicants may be asked to provide their date of birth and social security number. All email submittals will receive email receipt confirmation.

    To visit our online docket, go tohttp://www.regulations.gov enter the docket number for this notice (USCG-2015-xxxx) in the Search box, and click “Search”. Please do not post your resume, or Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE 450 Form) if applying for member of the general public position, on this site.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. J.G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11296 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [1651-0103] Agency Information Collection Activities: Passenger List/Crew List (CBP Form I-418) AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    30-Day notice and request for comments; reinstatement of a previously approved collection of information.

    SUMMARY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act: Passenger List/Crew List (CBP Form I-418). CBP is proposing that this information collection be reinstated with a change to the burden hours. This document is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be received on or before June 10, 2015 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments should be addressed to the OMB Desk Officer for Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, and sent via electronic mail to [email protected] or faxed to (202) 395-5806.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information should be directed to Tracey Denning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 90 K Street NE., 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229-1177, at 202-325-0265.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register (80 FR 516) on January 6, 2015, allowing for a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10. CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13; 44 U.S.C. 3507). The comments should address: (a) Whether the 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 estimates of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden, including the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology; and (e) the annual costs to respondents or record keepers from the collection of information (total capital/startup costs and operations and maintenance costs). The comments that are submitted will be summarized and included in the CBP request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. In this document, CBP is soliciting comments concerning the following information collection:

    Title: Passenger List/Crew List.

    OMB Number: 1651-0103.

    Form Number: Form I-418.

    Abstract: CBP Form I-418 is prescribed by CBP, for use by masters, owners, or agents of vessels in complying with Sections 231 and 251 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This form is filled out upon arrival and departure of any person by commercial vessel at any port within the United States from any place outside the United States. The master or commanding officer of the vessel is responsible for providing CBP officers at the port of arrival and departure with lists or manifests of the persons on board such conveyances. CBP is currently working to allow for electronic submission of the information on CBP Form I-418. This form is provided for in 8 CFR 251.1, and 251.3. A copy of CBP Form I-418 can be found at http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/CBP%20Form%20I-418.pdf.

    Current Actions: This submission is being made to reinstate this previously approved information collection with a change to the burden hours resulting from updated estimates of the number of I-418s filed. There are no changes to the information collected or to Form I-418.

    Type of Review: Reinstatement (with change).

    Affected Public: Businesses.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 48,000.

    Estimated Time per Respondent: 1 hour.

    Estimated Total Annual Hours: 48,000.

    Dated: May 6, 2015. Tracey Denning, Agency Clearance Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11335 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Office of the Secretary [Docket No. DHS-2015-0021] Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records AGENCY:

    Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security proposes to update and reissue a current Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information(BCI) System of Records.” This system of records allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect and maintain records on border crossing information for all individuals who enter, are admitted or paroled into, and (when available) exit from the United States, regardless of method or conveyance. Border crossing information includes certain biographic and biometric information; photographs; certain mandatory or voluntary itinerary information provided by air, sea, bus, and rail carriers or any other forms of passenger transportation; and the time and location of the border crossing.

    This system of records notice was previously published in the Federal Register on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 31958). A Final Rule exempting portions of this system from certain provisions of the Privacy Act was published on February 3, 2010, and remains in effect (75 FR 5491). The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection is updating the categories of records to include the capture of biometric information including digital fingerprints, photographs, and iris scans at the border as part of the Department's ongoing effort to better reflect the categories of records in its collection of information. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also is updating the system of records notice to include the collection of records, including photographs of scars, marks, tattoos, and palm prints from individuals in connection with the biometric sharing between the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System/Next Generation Identification of the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security Automated Biometric Identification System information technology platform. Finally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is updating the categories of records collected from an associated Advance Passenger Information System transmission to accurately represent collection of personally identifiable information at the border.

    The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection is updating this system of records notice to provide notice of the collection of biometric information from U.S. citizens and certain aliens upon arrival to, and departure from, the United States.

    The exemptions for the existing system of records notice published May 28, 2013 (78 FR 31958) continue to apply for this updated system of records for those categories of records listed in the previous BCI System of Records Notice. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue an updated notice and Final Rule to address that certain records ingested from the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) (see DHS/CBP-005 Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) SORN, 80 FR 13407 (March 13, 2015)) will continue to be covered by the exemptions claimed for those records in that system pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). The Department of Homeland Security will include this system in its inventory of record systems.

    DATES:

    This updated system will be effective upon the public display of this notice. Although this system is effective upon publication, DHS will accept and consider comments from the public and evaluate the need for any revisions to this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2015-0021 by one of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-343-4010.

    Mail: Karen L. Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, please visit http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general questions, please contact: John Connors (202) 344-1610, Privacy Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Privacy and Diversity Office, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20229. For privacy questions, please contact: Karen L. Neuman, (202) 343-1717, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) proposes to update and reissue a current DHS system of records titled, “DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records.” CBP is updating categories of records for this system of records notice (SORN) to better reflect the categories of records in the DHS/CBP Border Crossing Information system.

    CBP's priority mission is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country while facilitating legitimate travel and trade. To facilitate this mission, CBP maintains border crossing information about all individuals who enter, are admitted or paroled into, and (when available) exit from the United States regardless of method or conveyance. Border crossing information includes certain biographic and biometric information; photographs; certain mandatory or voluntary itinerary information provided by air, sea, bus, and rail carriers or any other forms of passenger transportation; and the time and location of the border crossing. Border crossing information resides on the TECS (not an acronym) information technology platform. DHS/CBP is updating this system of records to provide notice to the public about the update and expansion of the categories of records as part of DHS's ongoing effort to better reflect the categories of records in its collection of information. DHS/CBP previously published this system of records notice in the Federal Register on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 31958).

    CBP is responsible for collecting and reviewing border crossing information from travelers entering and departing the United States as part of DHS/CBP's overall border security and enforcement missions. All individuals crossing the border are subject to CBP processing upon arrival in the United States. Each traveler entering the United States is required to establish his or her identity, nationality, and admissibility, as applicable, to the satisfaction of a CBP officer during the clearance process. To manage this process, CBP creates a record of an individual's admission or parole into the United States at a particular time and port of entry. CBP also collects information about U.S. citizens and certain aliens (in-scope travelers pursuant to 8 CFR 215.8, “requirements for biometric identifiers from aliens on departure from the United States”) upon departure from the United States for law enforcement purposes and to document their border crossing.

    DHS is statutorily mandated to create and integrate an automated entry and exit system that records the arrival and departure of aliens, verifies alien identities, and authenticates alien travel documents through the comparison of biometric identifiers (8 U.S.C. 1365(b)). Certain aliens may be required to provide biometrics (including digital fingerprint scans, palm prints, photographs, facial and iris images, or other biometric identifiers) upon arrival in or departure from the United States. The biometric data is stored in the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) information technology platform. IDENT stores and processes biometric data (e.g., digital fingerprints, palm prints, photographs, and iris scans) and links biometrics with biographic information to establish and verify identities. The IDENT information technology platform serves as the biometric repository for the Department, and also stores related biographic information.

    Previously DHS established the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program to manage an automated entry and exit system. On March 16, 2013, US-VISIT's entry and exit operations (including deployment of a biometric exit system) were transferred to CBP through the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (Pub. L. 113-6, H.R. 933). The Act also transferred US-VISIT's overstay analysis function to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US-VISIT's biometric identity management services to the Office of Biometric Management (OBIM), which is a newly-created office within the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). CBP assumed biometric entry and exit operations on April 1, 2013.

    CBP continues to develop mechanisms to collect biometric information from departing aliens since assuming responsibility for US-VISIT's entry and exit operations. During these operations, CBP officers may employ technology (e.g. wireless handheld devices or standalone kiosk) to collect biographic and biometric information from certain aliens determined to be in-scope pursuant to 8 CFR 215.8 “Requirements for biometric identifiers from aliens on departure from the United States” prior to exiting the United States. Biometrics are checked against the IDENT system's watchlist of known or suspected terrorists (KST), criminals, and immigration violators to help determine if a person is using an alias or attempting to use fraudulent identification. Biographic and biometric data is encrypted when it is collected and the data is transmitted in an encrypted format to the IDENT system. The data is automatically deleted from the mobile device after the transmission is complete. The handheld mobile devices incorporate strict physical and procedural controls, such as Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)-compliant data encryption; residual information removal; and required authorization for users to sign-in using approved user account names and passwords.

    Collection of additional biometric information from individuals crossing the border (such as information regarding scars, marks, tattoos, and palm prints) aids biometric sharing between the Department of Justice (DOJ) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)/Next Generation Identification (NGI) and the IDENT system. The end result is enhanced access to (and in some cases acquisition of) IAFIS/NGI information by the IDENT system and its users. DHS, DOJ/FBI, and the Department of State (DOS)/Bureau of Consular Services entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Improved Information Sharing Services in 2008. The MOUs established the framework for sharing information in accordance with an agreed-upon technical solution for expanded IDENT/IAFIS/NGI interoperability, which provides access to additional data for a greater number of authorized users.

    CBP collects border crossing information stored in this system of records through a number of sources, for example: (1) Travel documents (e.g., a foreign passport) presented by an individual at a CBP port of entry when he or she provided no advance notice of the border crossing to CBP; (2) carriers that submit information in advance of travel through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS); (3) information stored in the Global Enrollment System (GES) (see DHS/CBP-002 Global Enrollment System (GES) SORN, 78 FR 3441, (January 16, 2013)) as part of a trusted or registered traveler program; (4) non-federal governmental authorities that issued valid travel documents approved by the Secretary of DHS (e.g., an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)); (5) another federal agency that issued a valid travel document (e.g., data from a DOS visa, passport including passport card, or Border Crossing Card); or (6) the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) pursuant to the Beyond the Border Entry/Exit Program. When a traveler enters, is admitted to, paroled into, or departs from the United States, his or her biographical information, photograph (when available), and crossing details (time and location) is maintained in accordance with the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information SORN.

    DHS/CBP is updating the categories of records to provide notice that CBP is collecting biometrics such as digital fingerprints, photographs, and iris scans from certain non-U.S. citizens at the time of the border crossing or in support of their use of Global Entry or another trusted traveler program. In addition, CBP is updating the categories of records in the SORN to provide notice that CBP plans to collect information regarding scars, marks, tattoos, and palm prints from individuals at the border to aid biometric interoperability between the IAFIS/NGI and the IDENT system. Finally, CBP is updating the categories of records associated with APIS transmissions to better reflect the information collected and maintained in the DHS/CBP-007 BCI SORN.

    Consistent with DHS's information sharing mission, information stored in the DHS/CBP-007 BCI SORN may be shared with other DHS components that have a need to know the information to carry out their national security, law enforcement, immigration, intelligence, or other homeland security functions.

    The exemptions for the existing system of records notice published May 28, 2013 (78 FR 31958) continue to apply for this updated system of records for those categories of records listed in the previous System of Records Notice. However, several new categories of records may contain law enforcement sensitive information. Due to the nature of this information, CBP will issue an updated notice and final rule for proposed exemptions for these new categories of records pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and 5 U.S.C. 552 a(k)(2). Furthermore, to the extent certain categories of records are ingested from other systems, the exemptions applicable to the source systems will remain in effect.

    II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information practice principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which the Federal Government collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates individuals' records. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, an individual is defined to encompass U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals when systems of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and visitors.

    Below is the description of the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records.

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of this system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress.

    System of Records

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-007.

    System name:

    DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI).

    Security classification:

    Unclassified, Sensitive, For Official Use Only (FOUO), and Law Enforcement-Sensitive (LES).

    System location:

    CBP maintains records at CBP Headquarters in Washington, DC and at field offices. This computer database is located at CBP National Data Center (NDC) in Washington, DC. Computer terminals are located at customhouses, border ports of entry, airport inspection facilities under the jurisdiction of DHS, and other locations at which DHS authorized personnel may be posted to facilitate DHS's mission. Terminals may also be located at appropriate facilities for other participating government agencies.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Individuals with records stored in BCI includes U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and immigrant and non-immigrant aliens who lawfully cross the U.S. border by air, land, or sea, regardless of method of transportation or conveyance.

    Categories of records in the system:

    CBP collects and stores the following records in the BCI system as border crossing information:

    • Full name (last, first, and, if available, middle);

    • Date of birth;

    • Gender;

    • Travel document type and number (e.g., passport information, permanent resident card, Trusted Traveler Program card);

    • Issuing country or entity and expiration date;

    • Photograph (when available);

    • Country of citizenship;

    • Tattoos;

    • Scars;

    • Marks;

    • Palm prints;

    • Digital fingerprints;

    • Photographs;

    • Digital iris scans;

    • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag number(s) (if land or sea border crossing);

    • Date and time of crossing;

    • Lane for clearance processing;

    • Location of crossing;

    • Secondary Examination Status; and

    • For land border crossings only, License Plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (if no plate exists).

    CBP maintains in BCI information derived from an associated APIS transmission (when applicable), including:

    • Full name (last, first, and, if available, middle);

    • Date of birth;

    • Gender;

    • Country of citizenship;

    • Passport/alien registration number and country of issuance;

    • Passport expiration date;

    • Country of residence;

    • Status on board the aircraft;

    • Travel document type;

    • United States destination address (for all private aircraft passengers and crew, and commercial air, rail, bus, and vessel passengers except for U.S. Citizens, LPRs, crew, and those in transit);

    • Place of birth and address of permanent residence (commercial flight crew only);

    • Pilot certificate number and country of issuance (flight crew only, if applicable);

    • Passenger Name Record (PNR) locator number;

    • Primary inspection lane;

    • ID inspector;

    • Records containing the results of comparisons of individuals to information maintained in CBP's law enforcement databases as well as information from the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB);

    • Information on individuals with outstanding wants or warrants; and

    • Information from other government agencies regarding high risk parties.

    CBP collects records under the Entry/Exit Program with Canada, such as border crossing data from the CBSA, including:

    • Full name (last, first, and if available, middle);

    • Date of Birth;

    • Nationality (citizenship);

    • Gender;

    • Document Type;

    • Document Number;

    • Document Country of Issuance;

    • Port of entry location (Port code);

    • Date of entry; and

    • Time of entry.

    In addition, air and sea carriers or operators covered by the APIS rules and rail and bus carriers (to the extent voluntarily applicable) also transmit or provide the following information to CBP for retention in BCI:

    • Airline carrier code;

    • Flight number;

    • Vessel name;

    • Vessel country of registry/flag;

    • International Maritime Organization number or other official number of the vessel;

    • Voyage number;

    • Date of arrival/departure;

    • Foreign airport/port where the passengers and crew members began their air/sea transportation to the United States;

    • For passengers and crew members destined for the United States:

    ○ The location where the passengers and crew members will undergo customs and immigration clearance by CBP.

    • For passengers and crew members who are transiting through (and crew on flights over flying) the United States and not clearing CBP:

    ○ The foreign airport/port of ultimate destination; and

    ○ Status on board (whether an individual is crew or non-crew).

    • For passengers and crew departing the United States:

    ○ Final foreign airport/port of arrival.

    Other information also stored in this system of records includes:

    • Aircraft registration number provided by pilots of private aircraft;

    • Type of aircraft;

    • Call sign (if available);

    • CBP issued decal number (if available);

    • Place of last departure (e.g., ICAO airport code, when available);

    • Date and time of aircraft arrival;

    • Estimated time and location of crossing U.S. border or coastline;

    • Name of intended airport of first landing, if applicable;

    • Owner or lessee name (first, last, and middle, if available, or business entity name);

    • Owner or lessee contact information (address, city, state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address, pilot, or private aircraft pilot name);

    • Pilot information (license number, street address (number and street, city state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address));

    • Pilot license country of issuance;

    • Operator name (for individuals: last, first, and middle, if available; or name of business entity, if available);

    • Operator street address (number and street, city, state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address);

    • Aircraft color(s);

    • Complete itinerary (foreign airport landings within 24 hours prior to landing in the United States);

    • 24-hour emergency point of contact information (e.g., broker, dispatcher, repair shop, or other third party who is knowledgeable about this particular flight)

    ○ Full name (last, first, and middle (if available)) and telephone number;

    • Incident to the transmission of required information via eAPIS (for general aviation itineraries, pilot, and passenger manifests), records will also incorporate the pilot's email address.

    To the extent private aircraft operators and carriers operating in the land border environment may transmit APIS, similar information may also be recorded in BCI by CBP with regard to such travel. CBP also collects the license plate number of the conveyance (or VIN number when no plate exists) in the land border environment for both arrival and departure (when departure information is available).

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Authority for BCI is provided by the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-173, 116 Stat. 543 (2002)); the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (Pub. L. 107-71, 115 Stat. 597); the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638 (2004)); the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1185 and 1354); and the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1322-1683g, including 19 U.S.C. 66, 1433, 1454, 1485, 1624 and 2071).

    Purpose(s):

    CBP collects and maintains this information to vet and inspect persons arriving in or departing from the United States; to determine identity, citizenship, and admissibility; and to identify persons who: (1) May be (or are suspected of being) a terrorist or having affiliations to terrorist organizations; (2) have active warrants for criminal activity; (3) are currently inadmissible or have been previously removed from the United States; or (4) have been otherwise identified as potential security risks or raise a law enforcement concern. For immigrant and non-immigrant aliens, the information is also collected and maintained to ensure information related to a particular border crossing is available for providing any applicable benefits related to immigration or other enforcement purposes. Lastly, CBP maintains information in BCI to retain a historical record of persons crossing the border to facilitate law enforcement, counterterrorism, and benefits processing.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records or information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    A. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), including Offices of the United States Attorneys, or other federal agency conducting litigation or in proceedings before any court, adjudicative, or administrative body, when it is relevant or necessary to the litigation and one of the following is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation:

    1. DHS or any Component thereof;

    2. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;

    3. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity when DOJ or DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or

    4. The United States or any agency thereof.

    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from that congressional office made at the request of the individual to whom the record pertains.

    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or General Services Administration pursuant to records management inspections being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    D. To an agency or organization for the purpose of performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or oversight function.

    E. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:

    1. DHS suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised;

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

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

    F. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are applicable to DHS officers and employees.

    G. To an appropriate federal, state, tribal, local, international, or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, when a record, either on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and consistent with the official duties of the person making the disclosure.

    H. To appropriate federal, state, tribal, local, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations responsible for investigating or prosecuting the violations of, or for enforcing or implementing, a statute, rule, regulation, order, or license, when DHS believes the information would assist enforcement of applicable civil or criminal laws.

    I. To the CBSA for law enforcement and immigration purposes, as well as to facilitate cross-border travel when an individual enters the United States from Canada.

    J. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations when DHS reasonably believes there to be a threat (or potential threat) to national or international security for which the information may be relevant in countering the threat (or potential threat).

    K. To a federal, state, tribal, or local agency, other appropriate entity or individual, or foreign governments, in order to provide relevant information related to intelligence, counterintelligence, or antiterrorism activities authorized by U.S. law, Executive Order, or other applicable national security directive.

    L. To an organization or individual in either the public or private sector (foreign or domestic) when there is a reason to believe that the recipient is (or could become) the target of a particular terrorist activity or conspiracy, or when the information is relevant and necessary to the protection of life or property.

    M. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations for the purposes of protecting the vital interests of the data subject or other persons, including to assist such agencies or organizations in preventing exposure to or transmission of a communicable or quarantinable disease, to combat other significant public health threats, or to provide appropriate notice of any identified health threat or risk.

    N. To a court, magistrate, or administrative tribunal in the course of presenting evidence, including disclosures to opposing counsel or witnesses in the course of civil discovery, litigation, or settlement negotiations, or in response to a subpoena, or in connection with criminal law proceedings.

    O. To third parties during the course of a law enforcement investigation to the extent necessary to obtain information pertinent to the investigation.

    P. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations when DHS is aware of a need to use relevant data for purposes of testing new technology.

    Q. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information or when disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent it is determined that release of the specific information in the context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:

    None.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    CBP stores records in this system electronically in the operational system or on paper in secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records may be stored on magnetic disc, tape, digital media and CD-ROM.

    Retrievability:

    CBP retrieves records by name or other personal identifiers listed in the categories of records, above.

    Safeguards:

    DHS/CBP safeguards records in this system in accordance with applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated systems security and access policies. Strict controls are imposed to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being stored. CBP limits access to BCI to those individuals who have a need to know the information for the performance of their official duties and who also have appropriate clearances or permissions.

    Retention and disposal:

    CBP is working with NARA to develop the appropriate retention schedule based on the information below. For persons CBP determines to be U.S. citizens and LPRs, information in BCI that is related to a particular border crossing is maintained for 15 years from the date when the traveler entered, was admitted to or paroled into, or departed the United States, at which time it is deleted from BCI. For non-immigrant aliens, the information will be maintained for 75 years from the date of admission or parole into or departure from the United States in order to ensure that the information related to a particular border crossing is available for providing any applicable benefits related to immigration or for other law enforcement purposes.

    Information related to border crossings prior to a change in status will follow the 75 year retention period for non-immigrant aliens who become U.S. citizens or LPRs following a border crossing that leads to the creation of a record in BCI. All information regarding border crossing by such persons following their change in status will follow the 15 year retention period applicable to U.S. citizens and LPRs. For all travelers, however, BCI records linked to active law enforcement lookout records, DHS/CBP matches to enforcement activities, or investigations or cases remain accessible for the life of the primary records of the law enforcement activities to which the BCI records may relate, to the extent retention for such purposes exceeds the normal retention period for such data in BCI.

    System Manager and address:

    Director, Office of Automated Systems, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20229.

    Notification procedure:

    DHS allows persons (including foreign nationals) to seek administrative access under the Privacy Act to information maintained in BCI. However, the Secretary of DHS exempted portions of this system from the notification, access, and amendment procedures of the Privacy Act because it is a law enforcement system. Nonetheless, DHS/CBP will consider individual requests to determine whether or not information may be released. Thus, individuals seeking notification of and access to any record contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, may submit a request in writing to the DHS Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer or CBP FOIA Officer, whose contact information can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under “Contacts.” If an individual believes more than one Component maintains Privacy Act records that concern him or her, the individual may submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief FOIA Officer, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW., Building 410, STOP-0655, Washington, DC 20528.

    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or any other Departmental system of records, your request must conform with the Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR part 5. You must first verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, current address, and date and place of birth. You must sign your request and your signature must either be notarized or submitted under 28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty of perjury as a substitute for notarization. Although no specific form is required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, http://www.dhs.gov/foia or 1-866-431-0486. In addition, you should:

    • Explain why you believe the Department would have information on you;

    • Identify which Component(s) of the Department you believe may have the information about you;

    • Specify when you believe the records would have been created; and

    • Provide any other information that will help the FOIA staff determine which DHS Component agency may have responsive records

    If your request is seeking records pertaining to another living individual, you must include a statement from that individual certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.

    Without the above information, CBP may not be able to conduct an effective search, and your request may be denied due to lack of specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

    Record access procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Contesting record procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Record source categories:

    BCI receives information from individuals who arrive in, depart from, or transit through the United States. This system also collects information from carriers that operate vessels, vehicles, aircraft, or trains that enter or exit the United States, including private aircraft operators. Lastly, BCI receives border crossing information received from CBSA.

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    No exemption shall be asserted with respect to information maintained in the system that is collected from a person at the time of crossing and submitted by that person's air, sea, bus, or rail carriers if that person, or his or her agent, seeks access or amendment of such information.

    The Privacy Act, however, requires DHS to maintain an accounting of the disclosures made pursuant to all routines uses. Disclosing the fact that a law enforcement or intelligence agency has sought particular records may affect ongoing law enforcement activities. The Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: Sections (c)(3), (e)(8), and (g) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information. Further, DHS has exempted section (c)(3) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information.

    Additionally, this system contains records or information recompiled from or created from information contained in other systems of records that are exempt from certain provision of the Privacy Act. This system also contains accountings of disclosures made with respect to information maintained in the system. For these records or information only, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(2), DHS will also claim the original exemptions for these records or information from subsections (c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3), and (4); (e)(1), (2), (3), (4)(G) through (I), (5), and (8); (f); and (g) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as necessary and appropriate to protect such information.

    Dated: May 1, 2015. Karen L. Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11288 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5696-N-14] Guidance and Instructions for Extension Requests of 24-Month Expenditure Deadline for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Grantees AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This Notice advises Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) grantees with grants pursuant to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (the Appropriations Act) of the process and requirements associated with grantee requests for an extension of the 24-month expenditure deadline for specific portions of funds obligated under the Appropriations Act.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: May 18, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stanley Gimont, Director, Office of Block Grant Assistance, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 7286, Washington, DC 20410, telephone number 202-708-3587. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Facsimile inquiries may be sent to Mr. Gimont at 202-401-2044. (Except for the “800” number, these telephone numbers are not toll-free.) Email inquiries may be sent to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Applicability II. Background III. Eligible Activities IV. Timeline for Submission V. Requirements for Submission VI. Submission Process VII. Criteria for Approval VIII. Applicable Rules and Considerations IX. Applicability to National Disaster Resilience Competition and Rebuild by Design Projects X. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance XI. Finding of No Significant Impact I. Applicability

    The requirements of this Notice are applicable to all CDBG disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) grants funded pursuant to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (Pub. L. 113-2, approved January 29, 2013) and do not apply to any CDBG-DR grants funded pursuant to other supplemental appropriations.

    II. Background

    The Appropriations Act made available $16 billion in CDBG-DR funds for necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, and economic revitalization in the most impacted and distressed areas resulting from a major disaster declared pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5121 et. seq.) (Stafford Act), due to Hurricane Sandy and other eligible events in calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013. On March 1, 2013, the President issued a sequestration order pursuant to section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, as amended (2 U.S.C. 901a), and reduced the amount of funding for CDBG-DR grants under the Appropriations Act to $15.18 billion. To date, a total of $15.18 billion has been allocated or set aside: $13 billion in response to Hurricane Sandy, $514 million in response to disasters occurring in 2011 or 2012, $655 million in response to 2013 disasters, and $1 billion set aside for the National Disaster Resilience Competition.

    This Notice establishes submission instructions for expenditure deadline extension requests and other related requirements for grantees in receipt of allocations under the Appropriations Act, which are described within the Federal Register Notices published by HUD on March 5, 2013 (78 FR 14329), April 19, 2013 (78 FR 23578), May 29, 2013 (78 FR 32262), August 2, 2013 (78 FR 46999), November 18, 2013 (78 FR 69104), December 16, 2013 (78 FR 76154), March 27, 2014 (79 FR 17173), June 3, 2014 (79 FR 31964), July 11, 2014 (79 FR 40133), October 7, 2014 (79 FR 60490), October 16, 2014 (79 FR 62182), January 8, 2015 (80 FR 1039), and April 2, 2015 (80 FR 17772) referred to collectively in this Notice as the “Prior Notices.” The requirements of the Prior Notices continue to apply, except as modified by this Notice.1

    1 Links to the Prior Notices, the text of the Appropriations Act, and additional guidance prepared by HUD for CDBG-DR grants, are available on the HUD Exchange Web site: https://www .hudexchange.info/cdbg-dr/cdbg-dr-laws-regulations-and-federal-register-notices/.

    The Appropriations Act requires HUD to obligate all funds provided under the Appropriations Act by September 30, 2017. The Appropriations Act also requires that grantees expend funds within 24 months of the date on which HUD obligates funds to a grantee. Funds are obligated to a grantee on the date that HUD signs a grantee's CDBG- DR grant agreement or grant agreement amendment obligating additional funds. Each obligation carries its own expenditure deadline. For each obligation to a grantee, any funds remaining in the grantee's line of credit from that obligation at the time of the expenditure deadline for that obligation will be returned to the U.S. Treasury, or if before September 30, 2017, will be recaptured by HUD. In all instances, grantees must continue to meet the requirements for Federal cash management at 24 CFR 85.20(a)(7), as may be amended, and therefore may not draw down funds in advance of need to attempt to comply with the expenditure deadline in accordance with HUD's long-standing implementation of this requirement.

    Section 904(c) of the Appropriations Act authorizes the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to grant waivers of the 24-month expenditure deadline. To implement this provision of the Appropriations Act, OMB requested Federal agencies receiving an appropriation under the Appropriations Act to identify categories of activities that could be subject to a waiver of the 24-month expenditure deadline. OMB also requested that agencies estimate, for each category of activity, the total amount of funds provided under the Appropriations Act that would likely require a waiver. HUD submitted an analysis of different categories of CDBG-DR activities that would likely necessitate a waiver of the expenditure deadline to OMB. OMB authorized HUD to provide CDBG-DR grantees with expenditure deadline extensions for activities that are inherently long-term and where it would be impracticable to expend funds within the 24-month period and still achieve program missions.

    Although HUD has authority to grant extensions of the 24-month expenditure deadline up to amounts approved by OMB for each of the activity categories described in Section III of this Notice, grantees are advised that 31 U.S.C. 1552(a) continues to apply to funds appropriated under the Appropriations Act. Specifically, CDBG-DR funds are to remain available for expenditure for five years following the period of availability for obligation. All funds under the Appropriations Act, including those subject to a waiver of the expenditure deadline, must be expended by September 30, 2022. Any grant funds that have not been disbursed by September 30, 2022, will be canceled and will no longer be available for disbursement to the grantee for obligation or expenditure for any purpose.

    III. Eligible Activities

    The National Disaster Recovery Framework acknowledges that long-term recovery is inherently a multi-year process. HUD recognizes that grantees allocate a significant portion of CDBG-DR funds to complex and large-scale programs and projects that are long-term in nature. HUD also recognizes that grantees will require CDBG-DR administrative funds to conduct grant closeout and engage in ongoing program oversight, and that these efforts will inevitably extend beyond the 24-month expenditure deadline that applies to each obligation.

    As authorized by OMB, HUD will limit its consideration of expenditure deadline extension requests to certain types of eligible disaster recovery activities undertaken by grantees. HUD will consider grantee programs and projects within the following four categories for expenditure deadline extensions:

    Public facilities and improvements. Typical public facilities and improvement activities include the rehabilitation, replacement, or relocation of damaged public facilities and improvements, as well as investments to increase the resilience of those facilities and improvements.

    Housing. Typical housing activities include new construction, elevation, and rehabilitation of single family or multifamily residential units.

    Economic revitalization. Economic revitalization activities often include the provision of loans and grants to small businesses, job training programs, the construction of education facilities to teach technical skills, making improvements to commercial or retail districts, and financing other efforts that attract and retain workers in disaster-impacted communities.

    Grant administration. Typical administrative activities include salaries, wages, and related costs of grantee or subrecipient staff and others engaged in program management, monitoring, and evaluation. Administrative costs are limited by the Appropriations Act to five percent of each grantee's total allocation.

    IV. Timeline for Submission

    The process for any funds that the grantee believes will not be expended by the 24-month expenditure deadline, as outlined in Section III of each of the prior Federal Register Notices published by HUD on March 5, 2013 (78 FR 14329), May 29, 2013 (78 FR 32262), November 18, 2013 (78 FR 69104), December 16, 2013 (78 FR 76154), June 3, 2014 (79 FR 31964), and October 16, 2014 (79 FR 62185), is hereby revised as follows:

    “The Appropriations Act requires that funds be expended within two years of the date HUD obligates funds to a grantee; and funds are obligated to a grantee upon HUD's signing of a grantee's CDBG-DR grant agreement. In its Action Plan, a grantee must demonstrate how funds will be fully expended within two years of obligation and HUD must obligate all funds not later than September 30, 2017. For any funds that the grantee believes will not be expended by the 24-month deadline and that it desires to retain, the grantee must submit an extension request in a form acceptable to HUD not less than 120 calendar days in advance of the date of the expenditure deadline on those funds justifying why it is necessary to extend the deadline for a specific portion of the funds. In consideration of the timeline for funds with expenditure deadlines in 2015, extension requests for those funds must be submitted to HUD not less than 60 calendar days in advance of the date of the expenditure deadline on those funds. OMB has provided HUD with authority to act on grantee extension requests but grantees are cautioned that such extensions may not be approved. If granted, extensions will be published in the Federal Register. Funds remaining in the grantee's line of credit at the time of its expenditure deadlines will be recaptured by HUD.”

    V. Requirements for Submission

    Grantees seeking an extension of the 24-month deadline for a project or program must provide HUD with detailed information on the compelling legal, policy, or operational challenges that prevent the grantee from meeting the expenditure deadline as well as identify the proposed date for the full expenditure of the specified portion of funds.

    To expedite the review process, HUD has developed a CDBG-DR Expenditure Deadline Extension Request template. Grantees must submit one template per program or project for which a revised expenditure deadline is being requested. In certain cases, HUD may request that a grantee resubmit this template at a project-level if information provided at the programmatic level is insufficient for HUD to assess whether the request meets HUD's criteria for approving an extension, as outlined in Section VII below. This template will ensure that each request captures all of the requirements outlined in this Notice. The template will be posted at: https://www.hudexchange.info/cdbg-dr/. Each grantee must include the following elements, as delineated within the CDBG-DR Expenditure Deadline Extension Request template, as part of its submission:

    (1) A description of the individual program or project for which an extension is being requested, including information on relevant Disaster Recovery Grant Reporting System (DRGR) activity(ies).

    (2) An explanation for why an extension is being requested, including all relevant and compelling statutory, regulatory, policy, or operational challenges, and how the extension will promote a more effective and efficient recovery effort.

    (3) Description of how the provision of an extension would reduce the likelihood of waste, fraud, and abuse, if applicable.

    (4) An identification of all community stakeholders (including state or local entities, subrecipients, nonprofits, and civic organizations) to be affected by the expenditure deadline extension, their role in program or project implementation, and the impact, if any, of the extension on these stakeholders.

    (5) A revised expenditure deadline for the CDBG-DR funds budgeted for the program or project (i.e. the DRGR `end date') as well as a projection of quarterly expenditures for the program or project for which the waiver is requested, including incremental dollar amounts and percentage of funds budgeted for each DRGR activity. This information is required in order for HUD to ensure grantee compliance with revised expenditure deadlines in the DRGR system.

    (6) A description of the risks associated with not receiving the requested extension, such as the estimated percentage of funds which would be at risk of recapture or specific recovery needs that would not be met if the particular program or project cannot be completed or undertaken.

    (7) A description of the monitoring process and internal controls that the grantee and any subrecipients will implement to ensure compliance with the revised expenditure deadline.

    VI. Submission Process

    The submission of any grantee expenditure deadline extension request is subject to the following requirements:

    • Grantee submits the completed CDBG-DR Expenditure Deadline Extension Request template and any attachments to HUD in order to request consideration of the extension request not less than 120 calendar days in advance of the expenditure deadline on the funds (or 60 days for funds expiring in calendar year 2015).

    • HUD reviews the extension request within 45 (or sooner for funds expiring in calendar year 2015) calendar days from date of receipt and approves the request based on the parameters outlined in Section VII of this Notice.

    • HUD sends an extension request approval letter to the grantee. HUD may disapprove the request if it is determined that it does not meet the requirements of this Notice. If the request is not approved, a letter will be sent identifying its deficiencies; the grantee must then re-submit the request within 30 calendar days (or 10 days for funds expiring in the calendar year 2015) of the notification letter;

    • Within 30 calendar days of HUD's approval, the grantee amends its Action Plan for disaster recovery to reflect the approval of the revised expenditure deadline. HUD considers any Action Plan amendments to reflect revised activity expenditure timelines to be non-substantial amendments.

    • Immediately following this amendment, the grantee updates its DRGR Action Plan to reflect the revised `end date' for each DRGR activity covered by the approved waiver.

    • If approved, HUD will publish the extension approval in the Federal Register. HUD will consolidate grantee extension approvals for publication. Therefore, extension approval is effective as of the date of the extension request approval letter, rather than as of the effective date of the published Federal Register notice.

    VII. Criteria for Approval

    Under the authority provided to HUD by OMB, HUD will consider expenditure deadline extension requests for projects or programs based on the Secretary's determination that the extension is necessary and that the request meets the conditions set forth by OMB. HUD will assess extension requests using the following criteria:

    (1) The program or project must be approved in the grantee's Action Plan for disaster recovery prior to the grantee's submission of an expenditure deadline extension request to HUD.

    (2) The CDBG-DR funds associated with the program or project must have been obligated by HUD through a grant agreement, and, therefore, be subject to an established expenditure deadline.

    (3) The information submitted on the CDBG-DR Expenditure Deadline Extension Request template is comprehensive and complete to the satisfaction of HUD, as outlined in Section V of this Notice.

    (4) The revised expenditure deadline for the CDBG-DR funds budgeted for the program or project (i.e. the DRGR `end date') as well as the projection of quarterly expenditures are determined to be achievable based on the grantee's past performance and expenditure rate.

    (5) The grantee's capacity to implement monitoring processes and internal controls as outlined by the grantee in the template are sufficient to ensure compliance with the revised expenditure deadline.

    (6) The grantee has demonstrated that it has evaluated all reasonable alternatives prior to determining that an extension is the only remaining viable alternative.

    (7) HUD can determine, based on the grantee's submission, that the program or project covered by the request satisfies the OMB criteria for activities that are long-term by design, where it is impracticable to expend funds within the 24-month period and achieve program missions, and any other criteria imposed by OMB.

    Regardless of the criteria outlined in this section, HUD retains the authority to deny requested extensions or to provide alternative expenditure deadlines to those proposed by grantees.

    VIII. Applicable Rules and Considerations

    This section of the Notice describes other requirements that grantees should consider prior to requesting an extension of the of the 24-month expenditure deadline for CDBG-DR programs and projects.

    1. Urgent need national objective certification requirements. In HUD's March 5, 2013 Notice (78 FR 14329), grantees receiving funds under the Appropriations Act were provided a waiver of the certification requirements for the documentation of the urgent need national objective, located at§§ 570.208(c) and 570.483(d), until two years after the date HUD obligates funds to a grantee. Grantees seeking a waiver of the expenditure deadline may simultaneously seek an extension of the urgent need certification waiver. However, a grantee's request for an urgent need waiver must demonstrate to HUD that an extension of the urgent need certification waiver for those funds is necessary for recovery and that that remaining needs remain urgent, despite the passage of time since the disaster. HUD may grant a waiver under the authority provided in the Appropriations Act authorizing the Secretary to waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of any statute or regulation that the Secretary administers in connection with HUD's obligation or use by the recipient of these funds (except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment) based upon a determination by the Secretary that good cause exists and that the waiver or alternative requirement is not inconsistent with the overall purposes of Title I of the HCD Act. If approved, the extension of the urgent need certification waiver will only become effective after its publication in in the Federal Register.

    2. Expenditure deadline extensions are program- and project-specific. Any revised expenditure deadline is specific to the program or project as identified in the approval letter from HUD. Grantees may not reallocate funds with a revised expenditure deadline to other recovery programs or projects without HUD authorization. In order to reallocate such funds, the grantee must request an additional extension through the process described in Section VI of this Notice. Grant balances not used for a program or project that receives an expenditure deadline waiver will be canceled if the expenditure deadline on those funds has passed.

    3. Modifications to revised expenditure deadlines. Under limited circumstances and subject to 31 U.S.C. 1552(a), HUD may authorize grantees to further extend the expenditure deadlines associated with recovery programs and projects. In order to revise the expenditure deadline on these funds, the grantee must request an additional extension through the process described in Section VI of this Notice.

    IX. Applicability to National Disaster Resilience Competition and Rebuild by Design Projects

    National Disaster Resilience Competition Projects. Projects that are funded under the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) (FR-5800-N-29) are not subject to the requirements of this Notice. Grantees may instead request extensions of the 24-month expenditure deadline for those projects pursuant to the requirements of the NOFA, as may be amended.

    Rebuild by Design Projects. HUD will also consider extension requests for funds allocated for Rebuild by Design (RBD) Projects, funded under the eligible “Rebuild by Design” activity in Section VII.4.c. of the Notice published on October 16, 2014, subject to any other criteria imposed by OMB. Requests for an extension of the expenditure deadline for RBD Project funds shall be submitted pursuant to the submission process outlined in Section VI of this Notice but instead of submitting the CDBG-DR Expenditure Deadline Extension Request template, grantee submission requests must contain the information required of extension requests under the headline “Expenditure Deadline Waivers” in Appendix E to the NDRC NOFA, as may be amended.

    X. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the disaster recovery grants under this Notice is as follows: 14.269.

    XI. Finding of No Significant Impact

    A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) with respect to the environment has been made in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR part 50, which implement section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)). The FONSI is available for public inspection between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays in the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, an advance appointment to review the docket file must be scheduled by calling the Regulations Division at 202-708-3055 (this is not a toll-free number). Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    Date: May 4, 2015. Harriet Tregoning, Principal Deputy Assistant, Secretary for Community Planning and Development.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11260 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5873-D-01] Delegation of Authority to the Chief Operations Officer AGENCY:

    Office of the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

    ACTION:

    Notice of delegation of authority.

    SUMMARY:

    In this notice, the Deputy Secretary delegates to the Chief Operations Officer all management and supervisory authority for the following offices: The Chief Information Officer (CIO); the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO); the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO); and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

    DATES:

    Effective upon date of signature.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John B. Shumway, Assistant General Counsel for Administrative Law, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 9262, Washington, DC 20410-0500, telephone number 202-402-5190. (This is not a toll-free number.) Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number through TTY by calling 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Certain management and program functions will now be performed by a Chief Operations Officer (COO). These functions include executive scheduling, security and emergency planning, executive secretariat, Freedom of Information Act processing, budgeting, accounting, hiring and training employees, modernizing information technology systems, information security, protecting privacy, procurement and contracting, and disaster preparedness operations. These functions are performed in the offices of the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The COO has been delegated management and program authority for these offices.

    Section A. Authority

    The Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development hereby delegates to the Chief Operations Officer the authority to manage and supervise the following offices and functions:

    1. Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer: This office is responsible for employee performance management; executive resources; human capital field support; human capital policy, planning and training; recruitment and staffing; personnel security; employee assistance program, health and wellness; employee and labor relations; pay, benefits and retirement center; human capital information systems; and budget.

    2. Office of the Chief Information Officer: This office is responsible for modernizing information technology systems, information security, and protecting privacy.

    3. Office of the Chief Procurement Officer: This office is responsible for all procurement and contracting activity by the Department.

    4. Office of the Chief Administrative Officer: This office is responsible for facilities management services; Executive Secretariat correspondence management, processing of Freedom of Information Act requests, and disaster preparedness operations.

    Section B. Authority Excepted

    The authority delegated in this document does not include the authority to sue or be sued or to issue or waive regulations.

    Section C. Authority to Redelegate

    The Chief Operations Officer may redelegate to employees of HUD any of the authority delegated under Section A above.

    Section D. Authority Superseded

    This delegation revokes all previous delegations of authority from the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary to the Assistant Secretary for Administration or the Chief Operations Officer, including the Delegation of Authority to the Chief Operating Officer published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2011 at 76 FR 34745.

    This delegation is effective immediately and until such time as this delegation is revoked. The Deputy Secretary may revoke the authority authorized herein, in whole or part, at any time.

    Authority:

    Section 7(d) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (42 U.S.C. 3535(d)).

    Dated: May 4, 2015. Nani A. Coloretti, Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11334 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FW-HQ-WSFR-2015-N087; FVWF941009000007B-XXX-FF09W11000; FVWF51100900000-XXX-FF09W11000] Proposed Information Collection; Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC) described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act 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 IC is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this IC, we must receive them by July 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send your comments on this IC to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 (mail); or [email protected] (email). Please include “1018-0109” in the subject line of your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request additional information about this IC, contact Hope Grey at [email protected] (email) or 703-358-2482 (telephone).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, administers the following financial assistance programs in whole or in part. We award most financial assistance as grants, but cooperative agreements are possible if the Federal Government will be substantially involved in carrying out the project. You can find a description of most programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

    Program CFDA No. Authority Implementing regulations Clean Vessel Act 15.616 16 U.S.C. 777g(c) 50 CFR 85. Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act 15.614 16 U.S.C. 3951-3956 50 CFR 84. Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund 15.615 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq 50 CFR 81. Everglades Restoration * None Public Law 104-127; 16 U.S.C. 460 l-4 thru l-11 None. Fish and Wildlife Coordination and Assistance Programs (Generic) 15.664 None. Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation * None 16 U.S.C. 777 None. Highlands Conservation Program 15.667 None. Hunter Education and Safety 15.626 16 U.S.C. 669h-1 50 CFR 80. Landowner Incentive * 15.633 Public Law 110-5 None. Multistate Conservation Grants 15.628 16 U.S.C. 669h-2; 16 U.S.C. 777m None. National Outreach and Communication 15.653 16 U.S.C. 777g(d) None. Research Grants (Generic) 15.650 16 U.S.C. 753a; 16 U.S.C. 460 (l-4 thru l-11); 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 None. Service Training and Technical Assistance (Generic Training) 15.649 16 U.S.C. 661 and 16 U.S.C. 742f None. Sport Fish Restoration 15.605 16 U.S.C. 777-777n (except 777e-1) 50 CFR 80. Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act (Boating Infrastructure Grants) 15.622 16 U.S.C. 777g and g-1 50 CFR 86. State Wildlife Grants 15.634 Public Law 110-329 None. Tribal Landowner Incentive * 15.638 Public Law 110-5 None. Tribal Wildlife Grants 15.639 Public Law 110-329 None. Wildlife Conservation and Restoration * 15.625 16 U.S.C. 669b and 669c None. Wildlife Restoration 15.611 16 U.S.C. 669-669k 50 CFR 80. * Program has open grants, but no new funding.

    Authorities and implementing regulations establish the purposes of the grant programs and the types of projects to be funded. Some list eligibility criteria as well as activities ineligible for funding. The authorities and implementing regulations for the competitive programs establish preferences or ranking factors for the selection of projects to be funded. These legal requirements make it essential for an awarding agency to have certain information so that it funds only eligible projects, and, in the case of competitive programs, to select those projects that will result in the greatest return on the Federal investment.

    Some grants are mandatory and receive funds according to a formula set by law or policy. Other grants are discretionary, and we award them based on a competitive process. Mandatory grant recipients must give us specific, detailed project information during the application process so that we can ensure that projects are eligible for the mandatory funding, are substantial in character and design, and comply with all applicable Federal laws. All grantees must submit financial and performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track costs and accomplishments.

    In February 2014, OMB approved our request to use a new electronic system (Wildlife Tracking and Reporting Actions for the Conservation of Species (Wildlife TRACS)) to collect application and performance reporting information on our grant programs. OMB assigned OMB Control No. 1018-0156, which expires February 28, 2017. Wildlife TRACS allows us to take advantage of newer technology and gives applicants direct access to enter project information that can be used to submit an application through http://www.grants.gov. Grantees can also report performance accomplishments in Wildlife TRACS. We are including the use of Wildlife TRACS and the collection of additional information in this revision to OMB Control No. 1018-0109. If OMB approves this revision, we will discontinue OMB Control No. 1018-0156.

    To apply for financial assistance funds, you must submit an application that describes in substantial detail project locations, benefits, funding, and other characteristics. Materials to assist applicants in formulating project proposals are available on Grants.gov. We use the application to determine:

    • Eligibility.

    • Scale of resource values or relative worth of the project.

    • If associated costs are reasonable and allowable.

    • Potential effect of the project on environmental and cultural resources.

    • How well the proposed project will meet the purposes of the program's establishing legislation.

    • If the proposed project is substantial in character and design.

    • For competitive programs, how the proposed project addresses ranking criteria.

    Persons or entities receiving grants must submit periodic performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track costs and accomplishments.

    In addition to the information currently collected under OMB Control No. 1018-0109, we will collect the following additional information currently approved under OMB Control No. 1018-0156:

    For mandatory grant program applications and amendments:

    • Geospatial entry of project location.

    • Project status (active, completed, etc.).

    • Project leader contact information.

    • Partner information.

    • Objectives, including output measures and desired future values.

    • Plan information (for projects connected to plans).

    For all WSFR grant program projects and reports:

    • The information above, as applicable to the approved grant.

    • Public description.

    • Action status (active, completed, etc.).

    • Summary trend information, as applicable.

    • Estimated costs, by action. (non-auditable).

    • Effectiveness measures (initially for State Wildlife Grants).

    For real property acquisition projects, information related to:

    • Transactions, such as dates, method of transfer, title holder, and seller.

    • Identifiers, such as State and Federal Record ID, parcel number, and property name.

    • Values such as appraised value, purchase price and other cost information, and acres or acre feet.

    • Encumbrances.

    • Partners.

    II. Data

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0109.

    Title: Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements, 50 CFR 80, 81, 84, 85, and 86.

    Service Form Number: None.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Description of Respondents: States; the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands; the District of Columbia; the territories of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa; federally recognized tribal governments; institutions of higher education; and nongovernmental organizations.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.

    Frequency of Collection: We require applications annually for new grants. We require amendments on occasion when key elements of a project change. We require quarterly and final performance reports in the National Outreach and Communication Program and annual and final performance reports in the other programs. We may require more frequent reports under the conditions stated at 2 CFR 200.205 and 2 CFR 200.207.

    Activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses
  • Completion time per
  • response
  • Total annual burden hours
    Initial Application (project narrative) 200 2,500 44 110,000 Revision of Award Terms (Amendment) 150 1,500 6 9,000 Performance Reports 200 3,500 12 42,000 Totals 550 7,500 161,000
    III. Comments

    We invite comments concerning this information collection on:

    • Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility;

    • The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information;

    • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents.

    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this IC. 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.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Tina A. Campbell, Chief, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11259 Filed 5-8-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; 96300-1671-0000-R4] Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; Seventeenth Regular Meeting; Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for Consideration AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    To implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES or the Convention), the Parties to the Conv